Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Adoption Semi-Blind Date

God blessed me with such a wonderful opportunity today. A few weeks ago I wrote about going to our agency's "Ethiopia Open House" here in Birmingham. It was a time to meet and chat with other adopting moms and dads. After event, a sweet adopting mom named Malyssa contacted me, and after some chatting of Facebook, we decided to get together. Malyssa was also able to get in touch with one other Ethiopia mom-to-be, Amy, and we all met up today for a semi-blind date.

It was SO good to spend time with women who are on the same path. We met at a Starbucks inside a Target (keepin' it classy), and talked for almost three straight hours. Our conversation covered an incredibly wide range of topics, almost all adoption related, of course. We talked about where we each are in the process, how things have gone for us so far, which age range and gender we have been approved for, how we came to choose Ethiopia, what struggles we have faced, how the Lord laid orphan care on our hearts, and on and on and on. It was such a wonderful afternoon, truly a gift from God.

I am often amazed by how well the Lord knows us and knows our hearts. Truly, I should not be surprised; He is the One who created us, after all. But on days like today, when my Heavenly Father so clearly and obviously meets a need of my heart, I am amazed and humbled. Adoption is such a unique experience; it is not something that most people go through. What I mean by that is that adoption is an unnatural process. But it absolutely is something that has been created by God. He started it by adopting us into His family! And so today, God gave me the gift of being able so bask in the joy and comfort of knowing, really knowing, two other women who are experiencing what I am experiencing and feeling what I am feeling. Something I have really been craving and such a beautiful blessing and straight from the Lord.

I think God knew that this was a need my heart has been facing, and in His usual fashion, He answered in a way that was far beyond what I could have ever asked or imagined. I now have two dear friends with whom I can share my heart and our journey toward our child, and two friends I can pray both for and with as we wait for God to knit our families together. It is my prayer that God will continue grow our friendship and our faith in Him and our trust in the truth that He who promised is faithful. I am so grateful to be surrounded, in virtually every aspect of my life, by such a great cloud of witnesses, all of whom continually remind me of God's good and grace.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1


Friday, September 28, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!

The adoption process is full of waiting. Waiting, waiting and more waiting. Adam and I started the process on April 10 of this year, and we have been working toward and waiting for our sweet little one ever since that day. We have passed a lot of milestones along the way. Finishing our home study. Being cleared by immigration. Sending off our dossier. Having our dossier arrive in Ethiopia. In fact, when I look at our "Pray with Us" page, there are more praise reports than prayer requests right now, and that is SUCH a beautiful picture of God's grace and mercy and faithfulness in our lives. Each thing we have prayed for has happened, and, to be completely honest, most of it has happened way faster than we thought it would. And today was no exception.

Adam and I have been blown away by God's work in our lives through this process. We really feel like we are growing and learning every day. As each day passes and we continue to wait, God continues to demonstrate His faithfulness to us. He is teaching us to rely wholly and fully on Him. There are days when it is painful, when we feel like we only ever be waiting. That our whole life will be like this, waiting with no end in sight and aching to have our little one home with us. But then there are days like today. Days when God just kicks the door of doubt down and we are left with our jaws on the floor. 

We finally have one of the things we have really been waiting for. Our VERY FIRST waiting list number! Usually, you only get numbers on the first of every month, but our program director is going out of town next week, so she sent us our number early. Sooooo sweet of her, because you know I would have been fretting like a crazy woman all week long. 

So here it is, for the very first time. We are number...
Attempt 1...

We are #86!!

We are so excited, and for a few different reasons! First (and most obviously), we are one giant step closer to our little one. When I told my dad today, he said, "So God already has a baby out there for you guys. That is so crazy." And it is!! It feels real now. Our name is on a list that will lead us to our sweet child. I can't believe it. I have been saying for a while that, while I know we "have a baby on the way," it hasn't really felt like it. Well, I am happy to say that that is OVER. I do finally feel like we have a baby on the way, and it is absolutely incredible. The second reason we are so excited is that in order for us to be matched with our child, 85 other orphans have to be placed with their forever families. That is 85 precious children who will be welcomed into loving families over the coming months. It is impossible not to see God's beautiful hand in this. 

So today is a day of serious rejoicing in our lives. We are on our way to becoming a family of three (well, 3.5 if you count the pup)! God is being so gracious as we seek to follow the crazy, curvy, twisty, turny path He has laid out for us. We are continuing to pray that God will strengthen us and uphold us during this time of waiting. We (OK, mostly me) are not great waiters. And we know that we will need the Lord to get us through this season. But there is such hope in this, the fact that all of this waiting is truly only a season. That means that one day it will end. That is the hope we are clinging to, the truth that God has called us to this, and because He is the One who called us, we know that He is the One who will bring through it. And when He brings us through it, there will be a beautiful child for us to love for the rest of our lives. More than that, we will be able to tell our sweet little one about how the Lord brought us all together, just like He planned all along. 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for He who promised is faithful." 
Hebrews 10:23


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adoption Tees Around the U.S: Post #2

Today we continue our adoption t-shirt journey around the U.S. I am super excited about this post, because it involves some of the people I love the most in the whole wide world! Meet my beautiful family!
                                                     Grandparents-to-be! Aren't they cute? 
                                                        Auntie Brookie and Uncle Josh
                                                               Brooke and Christina
                                                                   The whole family! 
I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am for each of these incredible people. They have loved and supported us every step of the way. Mom and Dad, thank you for being so encouraging and a constant source of love, advice and all kinds of support. Brooke and Josh, thank you for being excited right alongside us. We are SO happy that our sweet little one will have you in his/her life to look up to. Christina, thank you for your sweet spirit and love for this family (and extra thanks for staying up till midnight with me to watch gymnastics during the Olympics!). 

God has blessed my life in many ways over the years, but few of His blessings equal that of my family. Adam and I are so grateful to God that our child will be surrounded by family members (on both sides!) who love the Lord and each other. 

On a random silly side note, all of these pictures were taken in the restaurant where Adam asked my dad if he could marry me. Glad my Pop said yes! 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Ok. Here it goes... We have been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security to bring our little one home! After a VERY rough day at work, I came home to this:

                                       Started freaking out as soon as I saw the return address!
                                                              Some beautiful words!
                                                                   And there it is!

Our FDL (favorable determination letter) was the absolute last thing we were waiting on, and now we are done. 100%. We are going to forward this to our agency this week, and they will catch it up with our dossier, which is in Ethiopia...just in case you forgot ;).

"A Father to the fatherless, a Defender of the widows is God in His holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5


Monday, September 17, 2012


Dossier To Ethiopia. I have been looking forward to typing those letters for a long time now. At around 9:15 this morning, our dossier arrived in Ethiopia and was safely delivered to West Sands Adoption in Addis Ababa. Like a super-stalker, I had been tracking our dossier's progress from Utah where our placing agency is located. When I went to sleep last night, it was in Dubai (thank you, Fed Ex tracking), and it was in transit when I got to work this morning. Naturally, I kept the tracking page open and was refreshing it every few minutes. And then finally, there it was.

Isn't that just a beautiful picture? A few minutes later, we got an email from Lesley letting us know that our dossier had been received. I feel like such a weight has been lifted. All of our paperwork has arrived safely, and we are now a waiting family. Rejoicing in God's goodness. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

"Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you in the sight of the children of mankind!" Psalm 31:19


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Best Email Yet

Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! We got the email today that our dossier is officially on its way to Ethiopia! That means we have been approved by all government and adoption agencies. Oh my. I cannot even begin to explain how I am feeling right now. But before I even try to get in to all that, let me explain to you how I found out that our dossier had been sent.

Adam and I are in the process of training for a few races here in Birmingham, and we went to a park near our house to run this afternoon. Right when we got home, I went to use the restroom (sorry if that is a lot of info). From the dining room, my dear sweet husband yells, "Have you checked your email today?" I told him that I had not, and he shouts back, "Oh. Well, our dossier has been sent to Ethiopia." Seriously, Adam? SERIOUSLY? So I fly out of the hall bathroom and down to the dining room to see for myself, and sure enough, there it is. A notification from the Ethiopia program director, Lesley, that our paperwork has been sent. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. This, of course, was followed by much hugging, laughing and me hopping around our house out of sheer excitement. So our paperwork should land some time this week (I think), and then we will get our first official waiting list number at the beginning of October. Still smiling!

This came at SUCH a good time, too. Not that there is a bad time to get this kind of news. But today had been a bit of a rough day. Every now and then I get this rising feeling of panic related to the adoption and our children in general. And it happened a few times today, so I was feeling a little fragile. I had asked the Lord to please help me through this. Did He ever!

I am blown away by God's faithfulness to me, especially on days like these and especially in the midst of my unfaithfulness to Him. So often (like today, for instance), I give in to fear and doubt. I lose my trust in the Lord and even feel like He is not here with me. But even when I do that, He refuses to let me go. He will not abandon me. Plain and simple. When my heart and soul are attacked by fear and doubt, He shows up and reminds me of who He is and what He has promised. And He shows me His faithfulness. And in doing so, He quiets my heart and fills me with His boundless love and peace. Now that certainly does not mean that this panicky feeling will never strike again, but I know that when it does, my Great God will be there, in His faithfulness, reminding me of who He is and Whose I am. Thank you, Jesus, for your unending mercy and patience with a sinner like me.

"Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you." Psalm 89:8


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ethiopia Open House

We had a great opportunity last night. Our agency, Lifeline Children's Services, hosted an open house for all families living in the state of Alabama and adopting from Ethiopia. Huge thank you to Lifeline for doing this! It was so good to meet other people who are doing the same thing we are doing. We were amazed by how many couples were able to make it, and that was just those living within reasonable driving distance of Birmingham. I am really looking forward to getting to know these wonderful people better in the weeks and months to come. Praising the Lord for new friendships!

On a related note, we are still waiting for our dossier to land in Ethiopia. Please keep praying for us. We are really hoping that our paperwork arrives before the end of September so that we can get our first waiting list number at the beginning of October. We are praying hard, and we really appreciate you joining with us.

On an unrelated note, check out this picture. This was the sky on my way to work on Tuesday morning. Don't worry, Mom, I was at a red light when I snapped this shot.
As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself, "Wow. God. That is incredible. You did that." He really is something, isn't He? 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims the work of His hands." Psalm 19:1


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adoption Tees Around the U.S.: Post #1

Our t-shirt fundraiser over the summer was a HUGE success! We cannot give enough thanks to all of you who supported us through purchasing an adoption shirt to help bring Baby Knott home. As we are entering the real waiting phase (super excited to be a "waiting family" by the way), there will not be as much going on for me to write about. SO I had this idea that as you send us pictures of you wearing your t-shirts (please, please do this if you ordered one), we are going to post them on our blog as a shout out to you and your awesomeness. Up first, we have some of the grandparents-to-be!

                                                          Adoption tees at the beach!
                                                                   At Tyndall AFB
                                                              At Auburn! War Eagle!!

Thank you JoAnne and Mike for your unconditional love and support as we seek to expand our family in this way. You have been rocks for us to lean on and sources of sound and Godly advice all along the way. We cannot wait for you to meet your grandbaby!


P.S. If you ordered during the second go-round, we are currently working on getting your shirt(s) to you! We hope to have this done by next week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Resting Up and Finishing Up

The last several days have been glorious. Adam and I were able to sneak away to the beach for Labor Day weekend as a late anniversary trip. We spent our actual anniversary (5 years! Yay!) in our Crossings class for internationally adopting parents. While that was fun and very much worthwhile, it was SO nice to get away with just my man and not have to worry about a thing. The trip came at the perfect time, too, as we are really wrapping up our adoption "to dos." We spent the vast majority of the weekend soaking up the sun and catching up on some reading, and we came back feeling really rested and refreshed. And that was a nice change up for us. We have been running the adoption paper chase race for the last four months, and we are now approaching the finish line (just the paper chase finish line, though). As usual, I did not do a good job remembering to take pictures--something I need to seriously improve upon before little one gets here--and I only have two from the whole weekend (and I am hanging my head in shame as I type this). But here they are:

                                                            The view from our back porch
                                                     Lunch at Pickles before heading home

All in all the weekend was absolutely wonderful. It was especially fun to imagine what future trips to the beach might be like with our little one. Definitely looking forward to that.

When we got back to Birmingham, it was straight back to work. And today...we did the LAST thing we have to do on the paperwork side of the adoption. USCIS biometric fingerprinting. Sounds fancy, doesn't it? Par for the course, I got myself all worked up about it, but the whole process ended up being pretty easy. We just had our fingerprints scanned in, and they were automatically sent off to USCIS. I am not sure if I have explained what USCIS actually is before. So, here goes. The United States Citizen and Immigration Service is the department of the government in charge of letting people into the U.S. and allowing them to become citizens. When you are adopting internationally, you have to file a petition for permission to bring your child into the country. We sent off our application a little while ago, and part of the process includes yet another set of fingerprints (hopefully the last set). So that is what we did today, and we are hoping to get our clearance in the mail soon. Once that happens, we just forward it to Lifeline, and they send it to meet up with our dossier, even if it is already in Ethiopia. :)

                             Please ignore my sunshine eyes. Adam was smart and put on his shades.

So as of today, we are rested up and finished up. Thank you so much for all of your prayers. You have played such a key role in helping us get to where we are now. And now it is time to rest in God's unwavering goodness and faithfulness.

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God alone. My hope comes from Him." Psalm 62:5


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