Monday, December 30, 2013

Update on Ethiopia and Adoption

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that there were some decisions being made in Ethiopia about international adoption. After posting for prayers, we waited to hear from our adoption agency. Today we final received word on what was happening. This is the information we received from our adoption agency.

Over the weekend in Ethiopia a multiday meeting was held by the House of Representatives along with MOWCYA (Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs) officials. Around 400 people were present.  A research paper prepared by MOWCYA in conjunction with Parliament was presented regarding issues of sexual harassment, drug abuse and adoption within Ethiopia.  After the presentation, those in attendance were divided into six groups to discuss and respond to 15 questions.  Seven of the 15 questions were directly related to adoption. Our adoption agency is in the process of translating the research paper and questions.  Each group had a mixed representation of parliament officials, MOWCYA officials, Court President and officials, NGOs, adoption agency representatives, teachers, and public attendees.  Our adoption agency's in-country director was at the meeting, and she was working with one of the groups.

The groups met for hours, and finally had one person from each group share what they discussed.  Regarding adoption issues, it was noted that many Parliament officials involved strongly lobbied for the closure of international adoption while many of the groups encouraged a greater focus on domestic adoption while continuing international adoption as a good option for children. The speaker of the House of Representatives stated that government officials were shown to have had conflicts of interest leading to corruption and did not speak positively regarding international adoption.  In closing he noted that a strategic plan would be provided after 10 business days.
Discussions of Ethiopia “shutting down to international adoption are not new.  Nevertheless, this is a crucial time in Ethiopia regarding the direction of international adoption.  Ethiopia is a country that values their children and has been historically very supportive of international adoption. While the prevention of corruption and safe guards on behalf of children are critically important and reform is needed, adoption is a very politically charged issue within Ethiopia. Several government officials continue to be greatly supportive of international adoption and recognize that numerous children are in great need of a permanent family.  

Our adoption agency is supposed to hold a conference call on Thursday to try to give us as much information that they have learned from now until then. I am very grateful that our agency is very much involved and doing everything they can. I have a feeling that we won't know much more until the plan from the Ethiopian government is shared. Yes, I am concerned that this could even slow the process down even more, but until we know for sure we will just wait and pray. Jeffrey and I refuse to be fearful and get sick over all of this. Many people in our current situation are freaking out and panicking, but we know that it won't change anything.

Please join us in praying for the Ethiopia officials and the children of Ethiopia.

Friday, December 27, 2013

1 year DTE

Tomorrow marks one year DTE. In adoption world, DTE stands for Dossier to Ethiopia. This means tomorrow marks that all our paperwork has been in a desk, in a file, in an office, somewhere in Ethiopia for a year.

When we started the program, we thought that today we would be much closer to our baby than where we actually are. When we started the program, we were told that people were waiting around 12-18 months to receive a referral for their baby; sadly, these wait times have changed drastically since we started.

Internationally adoption as a whole has really decreased in the last few years due to a number of different reasons. To give you an idea, in 2010 our adoption agency was able to match and bring home 80 infants and 52 toddlers in the Ethiopia program. This year 17 infants and 8 toddlers were matched. That is a huge difference in just a matter of three years. With these numbers, you can imagine that we are slowly moving up the list to receive a referral. To be honest and give you the real numbers, people who are currently receiving referrals for babies have been waiting for 24-30months since DTE. So yes, although Jeffrey and I have been waiting much longer than a year, in adoption world, your wait doesn't really matter until you are DTE. Unfortunately, we are being told that wait times are likely to increase even more. The adoption world is so unpredictable. We are currently working with two different governments which is never easy.

In this past year, I have experienced so many different emotions. I have been extremely excited as we received news our papers arrived in Ethiopia. I have felt extremely discouraged as more news about wait times kept coming. I have felt helpless as this process is so out of my control. I have felt loved as friends and family members have supported us in some many different ways. I have felt sad as I cried in bed at night longing to meet my baby. I have felt encouraged as I watched families bring their children home. I have been angry and confused when I don't understand why things are happening and why it is so difficult to bring a child who needs a family home. I have felt confident in knowing that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Basically this year has been an emotional roller coaster. There have been some ups, but to be honest there were more downs. My heart has ached, my eyes have burned, and faith has been tested.

Though this year has probably been one of the most challenging years of my life, I feel like I am finally at peace. Jeffrey and I know that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Though it may not be in what we would feel is ideal timing, we know that there is a baby that belongs with our family, and we will wait however long we need to wait to get our baby home. There is nothing I can do but pray and wait. Though this year has been challenging, I feel like we are stronger in our faith, closer to each other, and more in love with this baby than we could ever imagine. I would not trade this experience for anything else. 

Please continue to pray for us, our baby, and our adoption as we wait for the day to become a forever family.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


This week, my dear husband posted a picture of me holding a sign with the time that we have been waiting. This count is from when we were accepted into the Ethiopian Program with our adoption agency. My heart has been ready for adoption for much longer, but this was when the true wait began.

I think sometimes people forget that I have been waiting for so long because I don't look physically uncomfortable, but I am so ready for this wait to be over. I am also a visual learner, so I appreciated his visual representation of our wait.

Thank you all for your sweet and encouraging comments and prayers. We love you.

This has been the most challenging, frustrating, emotional, beautiful, and exciting time of my life. I can't wait for the day- whenever it may be.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monthly Conference Call

Yesterday, we listened to our adoption agency's monthly conference call. I will say that these conference calls can be very discouraging. There hasn't been one referral the whole month of November, and there was only one in October.

With our government and the Ethiopian government both having shut downs, things have definitely been moving slowly. Not to mention that there is now another step that we have to go through with our government. We are praying for a flood of referrals to come soon!

We were happy to hear that several families have cleared embassy and have brought their children home during this drought of referrals. I assure you the referrals have nothing to due with lack of children. There are plenty of children who need homes; they just are paper ready to be placed with a family. This process is confusing, frustrating, and challenging, but we know in the end it will be so worth it.

One thing I am sure about is that I do feel we picked a great adoption agency that has a lot of integrity and does things the right way which may not always be the fastest (sadly there are adoption agencies that are more about the money), but we feel they definitely have the child at their more important interest, and we respect that.

We pray that you all have a blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We love you.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Superman's Mother

Last night, my family watched the new Superman movie. Although most people probably wouldn't really focus on the adoption aspect of the movie, it obviously gripped me. Don't get me wrong, I loved the special effects (especially on my parents' 3-D TV).

In the movie, the story starts in Krypton where Kal-El's parents have to make the tough decision to send their baby to a world far far away. As you watch the movie, you see how this was a difficult decision for his mother. She had after all just carried him in her womb and gave birth to him. She clearly loved her son, but knew he would not make it in their world, so she chose to send him somewhere else.

I think sometimes as an adoptive mother, it can be easy for me to feel the pain and longing for this child who has a special place in my heart, but to forget that adoption comes from a much more painful place than just my waiting. I never want to forget about the woman who is probably enduring so much more pain than I can never imagine. Although I truly believe that adoption is a beautiful story, it does not come without pain, and it is not founded on something lovely. Although it is our first option, I know it is not the mommy's on the other side of the world. Somehow our baby became an orphan and through whatever route that may be, it was not a happy one. Right now, we have no idea who our baby's birth mother is. We won't know if our baby is an orphan due to death/disease or for other circumstances (commonly poverty) until we receive all our papers, but whatever the reason, I want our baby to know that he/she has two mommies that love him/her so much.
This woman who I do not know but hope to meet if she is still alive is so much braver and stronger than me. Yes, I am receiving this baby as my own, but she is giving this child up and trusting me with her own. Though this journey is difficult and I know we have many more challenges ahead, I never want to lose sight that I am not the only one facing challenges in this process. I am so honored to be the one who will be raising this child. I pray for my superman or superwoman's mommy; in my eyes she is the true hero. Please pray for her and for our baby.

*I also loved the adoption story with Superman's adoptive parents, but I don't want to focus on that because I don't want to take away from this post's purpose. Another blog for another time.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


              With November being National Adoption Month, I wanted to   
               provide our friends and family with simply ways to educate
               themselves about adoption and orphans. My goal is to write at least
               one opportunity a week. Some weeks I may get a little ambitious  
               and write more than one!

               This week is easy. All you have to do is watch a movie. Months  
               ago, I told you all about a movie that was being shown in theaters.
               This movie is now available on Netflix. Click here.

You can also borrow the movie from us. We have it at our house. We wanted to have a showing at our house this month, but with Thanksgiving and other prior engagements, it was hard to find the time.

The movie is about four orphans around the world. The film shows how some international adoption laws are making it almost impossible for orphans to come home. There are children who have families who are ready to bring them home, but they are stuck in the orphanages with not much hope to get out. VIDEO TRAILER

Friday, November 8, 2013


Wow! First of all, I am sorry I have been such a blog slacker. Life has been rather chaotic lately.

As you know, the month of November is a time of year where people express their thankfulness maybe a little more often than other times of the year. People do the daily thankful post on Facebook, they may sit around the dinner table and talk about what they are thankful for, and a wide variety of other ways to show their gratitude. 

At first glance and looking at where we are in the adoption process there can seem very little to be thankful for, but as I look deeper into what we have learned throughout this year, we have so much to be thankful for.

1. We cannot be more thankful for the friends and family who have stood with us as we stepped into this crazy journey. You have prayed for us, encouraged us, and financially supported us. We could not be where we are without all of you! On days that have been tough, some of you have come with just the right words. When we have had fundraisers, you have been the heroes. You have invited others, helped out, attended, and donated. We are so blessed and thankful to have such a huge circle of people who understand what we are doing and want to be a part of it.

2. We are thankful for each other. Although I think I tend to show my emotions about the adoption much more than Jeffrey does, this has been a trying and emotional journey for both of us. Together we have worked as a team and completed hours and hours of paperwork, talked to government workers, social workers, and more. We both also know that we are supposed to be doing this, and that we do have a child on the other side of the world who is supposed to be a part of our family.

3. We are thankful for the lessons we have learned. This process has been more difficult on every level than we could ever imagine. Though it is no where near to being over, we have already learned so much.   
             -We have learned that some things are just completely out of our control, and that we just have to trust in the Lord.
             - We have learned that we need to enjoy where we are right now. We can't constantly be fretting about what may happen or when things will happen.
             - We have learned so many lessons about life and about ourselves. The list could be a blog by itself. 
We are definitely not the same people we were when we started this process.

4. We are thankful for our child. Though we have not met, we are constantly thinking and absolutely in love with this person we do not know. We are so honored to be the parents of this beautiful, unique, and extremely loved child.  

5. We are thankful that we are closer than we were a year ago. Though it doesn't feel like it, and we aren't nearly as close to bringing our baby home as we want to be, we are thankful that we are a little closer. 

6. We are thankful for our adoption agency and for our social worker. Though they are sometimes the bearer of bad news, they have always been honest, and we feel like we are working with trustworthy people.

7. We are also so incredibly thankful for the opportunity our adoption has given us to speak to people about orphans around the world. We pray that our adoption will be encouraging to others who may feel this is something for their family. We also pray that others will see the need to get involved in helping orphans around the world.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I challenge you to look a little different at the difficult circumstances in your life. Though you may not be where you want to be, there are still reasons to stop and celebrate. 

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Special Orders

This past Sunday, our church had a guest speaker who gave an analogy that really hit home for me.

When you go to a drive-thru and order something special that is not on the basic menu, they ask you to pull over and wait. As you are waiting, others may be driving through and getting their orders. At times it may not seem fair that other people are receiving their order, but you have to remember that you are asking for a special. Sometimes, special blessings require a little longer wait.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Update on the Conference Call

Last week, I told you that we were supposed to hear from our adoption agency about current wait times. WARNING: I have been delaying this post because it is heartbreaking. The current wait time for a family to receive a referral (match with child) is 30-36 months. As far as the unofficial list, we have not really moved.

I hate writing discouraging news like this, but Jeffrey and I feel like it is important to keep all our friends and family in the loop. We know that many of you pray for us and think about us often, and we want you to know what is realistically happening.

So, it sounds like we have a long journey ahead of us! December 28th will be one year that our papers have been in Ethiopia although we have been in the adoption process since last May. December puts us at 12 months for what our adoption agency is referring to when it comes to wait times. This puts us at possibly two more years after December (CUE THE CRYING/SOBBING). I am like many of you still struggling with the fact that there are millions of orphans needing homes, and the government is making it impossible for people to bring them home. Like I am have said before, the government of Ethiopia has decided to significantly slowed down all adoption clearances. Now, I don't want to be a biased source. We could bring a special needs/older child home much sooner. Most of these children are HIV positive and over the age of seven. We pray for these children often, but do not currently feel that this is the right option for us.

On a trying to be positive note, this time will allow us to raise more of the funds we need to bring our baby home. We still need to raise a large amount of money! It will also give me time to finish graduate school; i don't want to be in school with a baby.

Sorry for the not so exciting news. Please continue to keep us, our baby, and this process in your prayers.

We love you.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


 Christmas is just around the corner, and you need a family photo for your Christmas card! Some of you may want to give photos as gifts! Others may just need an updated family photo for your living room! Whatever your reason for photos, this is the fundraiser for you! You won't find a better price for great photos, and you are helping us become one step closer to our forever family.

Jeffrey and I are booking 1 hour photo shoots beginning as early as September. We will be shooting through the month of November. All shoots will take place outside unless you have an available inside location that you prefer. Spots are limited due to our availability, so please book with us as soon as possible.

All the photos on this post are from some recent shoots we have done. Thank you to the wonderful families who helped us get this fundraiser started and who have allowed us to share some of their photos.

WHEN: When you book
WHERE: Locations can be suggested or you can pick a location
 PRICE: $150
WHAT IS INCLUDED: 1 hour photo shoot. Edited photos on a CD with a print release form for all the edited photos.
or via phone or Facebook

Please contact us if you have any questions!

*We are not trying to start a photography business or take business away from others. We are solely just trying to use our talents to help bring our baby home.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


For those of you who check our blog often, I am sorry I haven't posted an update in a while. I want to tell you that it is because I am back to school and life has just been crazy lately, but that isn't the case. Although life is crazy and we are going non-stop, the real reason for no updates is there hasn't been any updates. This Friday our adoption agency is having a conference call with all the families who are adopting from Ethiopia and waiting just like us. They are going to discuss wait times, PAIR (which is the new step to the Ethiopia adoption process that will start in October), and referrals (being matched to a child). Since our adoption agency is on the East Coast and the call is at 3 p.m., Jeffrey and I will still be at work. We will have to wait for our adoption agency to email use the recording of the call instead of listening to it live. Although I am very interested to find out what they have to say, I am dreading this call. Please pray we hear some good news. I will update you on the information once we get the recording. It will probably be sometime next week that we receive the audio. I just wanted to typed a brief update or not so much of an update to keep you all informed.

Thank you for all your love and support.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wait by Russel Kelfer


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, He replied.
I pleaded, and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why.
Is your hand shortened?  Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future, and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me 'wait'?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no', to which I can resign.

"And Lord, you have promised that if we believe, 
We need but ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
"I'm weary of asking: I need a reply!"

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So I slumped in my chair; defeated and taut
And grumbled to God; "So I'm waiting, for what?"

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes met with mine
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, darken the sun,
Raise the dead, cause the mountains to run.

"All you see I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust, just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence was all you could see.

"You would never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of My comfort late in the night;
The faith that I give when you walk without sight;
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"And you never would know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for thee.'
Yes, your dreams for that loved one o'ernight could come true,
But the loss! if you lost what I'm doing in you!

"So be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late, 
My most precious answer of still...wait." 

--"Wait" by Russell Kelfer

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Rainy Season

Our adoption agency sends us a weekly update about Ethiopia and the adoption process. I haven't ever posted their weekly update to our blog, but I thought this week was one you would all be interested. I have discussed the rainy season with many of you, and thought you would like to read more. I did edit the weekly update a little, but most of it is pure copy and paste.

Ethiopia’s Rainy Season
There are three seasons in Ethiopia. From September to February is the long dry season known as the bega; this is followed by a short rainy season, the belg, in March and April. May is a hot and dry month preceding the long rainy season, kremt, in June, July, and August. Total annual precipitation varies from 20 to 40 inches (500 to 1,000 mm).
Source: Britannica Online 

During the rainy season, many roads are impassable until dryer weather. This makes it difficult for Ethiopian court staff to get to the court, and more difficult in general to travel around Ethiopia. In the capital of Addis Ababa many side streets aren’t paved and get very muddy and problematic to travel on. This is the case to a greater degree outside the city of Addis.

With the rainy season approaching in Ethiopia, we expect the courts to close as they typically do each year. The court is scheduled to close from August 6th until October.  We do not know yet the exact date court will open again. It is generally a date early in October.

During closure, no court dates will be held or issued. Please keep in mind that the court closure does not affect the Embassy process.  The Embassy remains open during court closure and families are still able to travel for their Embassy appointment. It is also the case that referrals are still issued during court closure.  Families who receive referrals during the closure will receive court dates when the court opens again in October.


I feel like a lot of my post lately have been more of updates than anything, and although I want to keep you all informed, I also want to write more. I intended to write this post actually a while ago, but I wasn't really exactly sure what I wanted to say. This week, I was talking to my friend, Steph, about this topic, and I decided to just go for it.........

"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you"
"They say it's your birthday!"
"A Happy Birthday to You! A Happy Birthday to you!"

There are many renditions of the birthday song. Some families I know even have their own special versions or traditions that go along with birthdays. Right around my birthday, I was receiving cards, text messages, Facebook posts, etc, and I started to think how birthdays are such a huge deal here in the United States. There are even special birthdays that are even a bigger deal than others. Jeffrey and I have been so blessed to be a part of many first birthday celebrations. We are at the age where many of our friends have babies or are having babies, and we are so blessed to celebrate with them the first year of life.

As an adoptive mommy, I have come to the realization that I am going to miss many first. The first cry, the first coo, the first smile, the first feeding, the first diaper blowout (maybe I'm okay with missing that one-JUST KIDDING), the first bath-okay I think you get it. I did not however think I would miss the first birthday. This is something that I have really been looking forward to. Since Jeffrey and I are adopting an infant, I assumed that we would still be able to have the big first birthday celebration. You know the one with the little cake and the messy baby. I am not trying to be super negative here, but trends that I am seeing are telling me that there is a huge possibility that even though we may meet our baby before he/she is one, we may not bring them home till after.

Last month, I just couldn't shake this. I was lying in bed the day before my birthday and just sobbing. Jeffrey maybe assumed I was freaked about being another year older, but still of course asked what was wrong. I told him how I had been thinking about birthdays, and I was doing the math with the current adoption trends in Ethiopia. I was literally a mess that night thinking about our baby's first birthday. Sure, I know that we could celebrate afterwards if we really wanted to, but that is so not even the point. The point is my baby is special and loved, and it breaks my heart so incredibly much to think that there could possibly be no cake, no songs, no presents, and no mommy and daddy on his/her special day.

Lately, I have really had peace about waiting and just trusting that the right baby will be matched with us at the right time, but there are little things that I never even thought about that totally hit me. This time the little or not so little thing was a birthday. As I sobbed in bed, I knew at that moment that I would give up anything to celebrate my baby's birthday with him/her.  This adoption is really revealing many things to us, and one of those being God's love. I know that my love for Baby W doesn't anywhere compare to His love for me or for Baby W, but as a mommy I am learning how a parent gives everything because of love.

I tried to tell myself that it is just one birthday out of many. Maybe I was overreacting. But when I started to think about first birthdays and who deserved to be celebrated I couldn't think of anyone more deserving. ( I KNOW....Of course any mom would say that about their child, and I never want to be that mom that thinks my kid deserves everything and is perfect or more deserving than anyone else's) However, living in a country where AIDS, poverty, and Malaria are so prevalent, and many babies don't see their first birthday, I feel like yes, this child deserves to celebrate life.

Many people constantly tell me that I don't know and that things can change. Though I don't want to be labeled the pessimistic mother, I also need to be very real with myself and not set myself up for more heartache. Some of you may call this not having faith, but I absolutely have faith and I am trusting that all will go according to the way it is supposed to. I know that it is so out of my control, and like I said I really do have peace. Some days are just harder than others. If we happen to know Baby W's birthday and not be there, we will of course send presents and try to do something special here. I will of course pray that Baby W feels loved and extra special on that day. I know that Baby W will be okay because even if his/her mommy and daddy won't be there, Jesus will.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer Fundraisers

We want to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Myrah Whittington and Teresa Fehrenz! These two ladies both approached us about doing fundraisers for our adoption. Thanks to all their hard work, we raised almost $900 this summer.

Teresa held a 31 Party  for us, and she so kindly held it at her home even though she was undergoing a big home improvement project. She was a wonderful host with great snacks including my favorite Eckerts chips and salsa =) People were able to make orders online which made it nice for those who were not able to come to her house. This was her first party ever, and I think it was a great success! Baby Woodson was also able to get a diaper bag from the party which was nice even though daddy wants to use it as a camera bag. She also donated one of the 31 bags for the raffle at the Zumbathon and worked the raffle table. Teresa has gone far beyond anything we could ever ask for; we have been so blessed by her and can't wait for Baby W to meet her!

Myrah held a Zumbathon at Spin City Skate Center and did an amazing job. Not only did she choreograph 20 something dances, she found other Zumba instructors to come and help lead, she got the skating rink for us for free, and she promoted it like crazy. Thank you so much for taking so much for your little free time and investing it in our family, Myrah. Baby W is blessed to have you in his/her life.

There are also others who helped with these fundraisers- Aunt Leah and Uncle Jon came on Jon's birthday to collect tickets and also purchased some of the items in the raffle bag, Jose' Alvarez killed it as the DJ and also helped us carry some extremely heavy risers for the stage, Grandpa Woodson helped us haul the risers back, Sarah Goins and Tara Davis did an amazing job leading some of the dances, and Myrah's family helped do other things at the skating rink. Thank you to Spin City Skating Center for allowing us to use their venue. THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!

We wanted to acknowledge everything they did for us, and we pray that they are all extremely blessed for blessing us. We are so thankful to have people in our lives who see our vision and our purpose behind this adoption.

WE ALSO WANT TO GIVE A HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO PARTICIPATED IN THESE EVENTS! Without you, these events would not have been successful. We are excited about some upcoming fundraisers. More details to follow in upcoming post.

Teresa at the raffle table
Part of the group during Zumba
Aunt Leah and Uncle Jon at the ticket table
DJ Jose'
Please continue to pray for our finances regarding this adoption. Thank you again for all your support. We love you.