Thursday, July 30, 2009

Orphans Ticket Home


Currently-RIGHT NOW--there are more than 147 million children orphaned--while we provide abundantly for our own--

homeless--while we have plenty of rooms unused
starving--while we count calories
sick--while we fight over the finest health care in the world
naked--while our closets overflow
enslaved by real oppressors--while we are enslaved by our own schedules

This is the humanitarian crisis of our time! Our generation will be held accountable by God for our actions.

Imagine your own child homeless, starving, sick, naked and enslaved....




When Waiting is Painful
by Dan ~ June 11th, 2009.

When you have a child biologically, you basically know when you will be able hold your child in your arms (assuming it’s a normal pregnancy). You will be holding your child sometime between 37 and 42 weeks after the estimated date of conception.

But when you are bringing a child into your family through adoption, you most often have no idea when you will finally be able to hold your child in your arms. Depending on the type of adoption, it can take anywhere from a few months to several years before you’re holding your child.

Adoption agencies usually provide prospective families with an approximate timeframe for how long the adoption process will likely take (e.g., 12-18 months). But even in best case scenarios, unexpected delays are not unusual. You may have good reason to think that you’ll receive your referral within the next two months, but then something unanticipated happens and “suddenly” two months becomes six.

Waiting is never easy, but when waiting is filled with repeated delays it can become particularly painful. As Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

So, if you are an adoptive parent who is waiting to bring your child home, what can you do when this waiting has become painful? Well, let me encourage you to regularly consider how long God’s own adoption plan is taking.

Ephesians 1:5 says that God predestined us to adoption before he created the world, yet Paul says that Jesus came so that we might receive it (Galatians 4:4-6). Think about it: the adoption to which God predestined us before time did not take effect until Jesus came. That’s a long time between God’s decision to adopt us and our actual adoption.

Add to this the fact that the finalization of our adoption is yet still future (Romans 8:23), and you can begin to sense how unbelievably patient God is. God is not in a hurry to bring us home. The wisdom of his adoption plan is perfect.

We must be careful, though, not to look at his unbelievable patience and conclude that he must not be that passionate about bringing us home. No, God demonstrated his adoptive love for us by sending his Son to become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). God is far more passionate about bringing us home than we are about bringing our new child home.

So, when waiting becomes painful, look at the patience of God in his adoption of you. It will fill you with fresh hope, endurance, and, yes, even joy. God’s adoption plans are
perfect, for you and for your child. And they all end in joy.

Today and Yesterday

Yesterday, my non-napper Caroline bit the dust during afternoon snack. Later that night while I was working, Caleb camouflaged himself in the playroom.

The big excitement today was picking Lexi (our dog) up after her ear surgery. It took me about 5 minutes to wrestle the "lamp shade" collar on her, and about 5 seconds for her to wiggle out of it. Always something around here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Referral Update

Every Monday we get an update about referral activity for the previous week. I look forward to finding out how many referrals were made and estimating what number we are on the waiting list. The last two updates have brought news of an increase in referrals (29 one week and 21 the following). This week ZERO :(. Oh well, better luck next week.

Since we don't have much to report on the adoption, I thought I'd post a little about our family life. Here are some pictures from this past weekend. We had a great time at the beach.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Process

People often ask us, "How's the adoption going", so I thought I'd write a little about the process. It all starts with lots (and lots) of paperwork. First we applied to be clients with our agency. Then we had a home study done (interviews, education classes and paperwork that culminates in a 10-12 page report deeming us worthy to become adoptive parents). More paperwork for the agency (including back ground checks, physicals, letters of recommendation, birth and marriage certificates, financial statements and pages of questions regarding our childhood, beliefs, family memories...). Once we were approved to adopt, we got---more paperwork that provided instructions for completing our dossier (a collection of documents that go to Ethiopia). Copy, notarize, certify, and send all this paperwork to our agency-which is then sent to be translated and finally sent to Ethiopia and then wait. That's the short version. It took us about 3 months to complete this process and as of June 11, 2009 we are officially waiting for a referral (a file with our child/children's picture, medical reports and background information). Once we accept the referral, we wait for a court date in Ethiopia to legally adopt the kids and then we travel to pick them up. All the paperwork is done and now we just wait for the kids that match our profile.

We started this wait as one of about 380 families. Each Monday we get an update of how many referrals were made the prior week. A typical month may bring 20-30 referrals, however in the past two weeks there have been a total of 50 referrals made. One of the orphanages that our agency works with has recently extended services to the Southern Region of Ethiopia and they have received an increase in referral activity. When we submitted our dossier, the wait time for a referral was 12-18 months. We're not sure, but it would seem that with the increase in activity, the wait may decrease slightly. At this time, most families are receiving referrals at the 14 month mark. We're hoping to know who are kids are by next summer.

As we've mentioned, we've applied for siblings. With 5 million orphans, you would think that lots of sibling groups would be in need of adoption. And there are many older siblings waiting for families. Younger sibling groups are not as common. Our agency feels strongly about placing kids in birth order (meaning that they would be younger than our youngest child-Colton is 18 months old). Finding a sibling group that is younger than Colton would mean very close siblings or twins. Our agency has repeatedly told us not to get our hopes up for siblings because our other children are fairly young. So, we are trusting God and placing our "hopes" in Him, knowing that he can do all things. If it is His will to send two children home, then that is just what will happen.

So for now, we pray and wait to see what God has planned.

I Need Africa More Than Africa Needs Me

Why Ethiopia?

*There are about 5 million orphans in a country less than twice the size of Texas
*Between 60-150 million kids live on the streets
*One in six children die before their fifth birthday
*One in ten children die before their first birthday
*Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school
*88% will never attend secondary school
*In the 1980's one million Ethiopians died of starvation
*82% of the population survives on less than 1 dollar a day
*Only 24% of households have access to safe drinking water
*Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
*1 in 3 people are HIV+
*The average life expectancy is 37
*Children and family are honored above all else

Monday, July 20, 2009

How Did We Get Here?

So, I decided to start this blog to document our family's journey to Ethiopia. I read adoption blogs all the time and have been inspired to capture what God is doing in our family. Why are we adopting? Why Ethiopia?

I'll start at the beginning. Nick and I have known that adoption was something we wanted to do for a while. I've know since I was a little girl. Nick, not so much. When we first met, he told me he only wanted to have one child. I told him he was with the wrong girl. Now, three kids later we've started the adoption process (I guess he was with the right girl after all). After our third baby was born, we knew we would adopt (a baby girl, to "balance out" our family). We immediately felt like international adoption was for us. Originally, we thought South America would be the place we would choose. But, as our journey began, we narrowed our country options down to Korea and Ethiopia (there are lots of requirements that countries use to determine a couple's eligibility-age, # kids in the home, medical conditions...). Korea and Ethiopia were the two countries that fit our family. One night in November (Nov 8, 2008) we sat down with all of the information that we had gathered from various adoption agencies to decide what country we would pick. As we talked, we decided that Korea would be the country we would pursue (citing rather superficial reasons like, "her hair will be more like Caroline's"). That night as I lay in bed, I felt very unsettled and prayed "Lord make it clear-what country are we suppose to go to?"

The next day we went to church. We had been invited to try out this new church the week before and loved it. We were instantly drawn there and new that we were being called to change churches. So on our second visit, after praying for the Lord to make our adoption decision clear, we walk in the doors and all of the staff members were wearing "Go to Africa" t-shirts. We had no idea that this church's mission focus was Africa and this happened to be the Sunday that they were calling people to travel to Africa to join Children of the Nations (COTN) in the mission field. We enter the sanctuary and all three overhead screens have a picture of Africa and the words "Go to Africa" on them. As we sat down, a group of African orphans in traditional African clothing come forward to give their testimonies about what God has done for them and proceed to lead our church in worship. I had not told Nick that I had prayed for clarity the night before, but as we sat there, crying through the whole service, I clearly hear God say "Your kids are in Africa, your kids are in Africa" That's right "kids". As the service ended, Nick leaned over to me and said "You want to go?" And that's how we've ended up on this amazing journey to our kids--in Africa!
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