It's a bedtime tradition that began with Little Nutbrown Hare, and each night we try to outdo the last...I love you to the moon and the beach and the mountians...and one of my favorites, "to Jesus and the angels" and back...We never imagined we would be saying, I love you to Africa and seems like the furthest imaginable place, but yet in God's perfect timing, we plan to go.... to Africa and back!!! And when we get back, we will have another little cheek to kiss goodnight...please keep us in your prayers and enjoy this journey with us!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Our Homestudy's Complete!

Yesterday we received our notarized copy of our completed homestudy! In the adoption process, this is a big step that I am so happy to have behind us. Everything to move forward has been waiting on having this important document. Now that we have the completed homestudy, our I600a has been filed with US Immigration. Once the USCIS receives our I600a they will "invite" us to be fingerprinted. Who knew getting your fingerprints on goverment file would be such a privilege! Once we have been fingerprinted, we will receive the next form, the 171H.  These are all steps for US immigration which will officially approve us by the US government to bring our child home and make him a US citizen. Whew...then once we receive the 171H, we can submit the Dossier. That will then place us on the official "waiting list". Our caseworker has told us to anticipate it to take 3-4 weeks to receive our fingerprinting invitation and another 3-4 weeks to receive the 171H. While we wait we are focusing on fundraising and grants. I have two grant applications right now, which  I have been waiting on the completed homestudy to be able to submit. I will soon be submitting these for the organizations to review. Please pray specifically that they will consider us for a grant. The US tax rebate for adoption is no longer available (as of 2011, great timing!) so we are really hoping to receive grants and plan to work hard on fundraising! One fundraiser that we are applying for that I'm really excited about is called "Both Hands" through Lifesong for Orphans. It will involve us getting a group of volunteers together that are willing to have a "mailing party" with us and send out letters requesting sponsorship to everyone they know. The sponsors will be sponsoring the volunteers to work with us for one day on a project to do home improvements on a widows home, while raising money for our adoption costs! It's such a neat idea and once we recieve approval I'll post more information about it. Something to be thinking about, for anyone who might like to be involved! We also received encouraging news from our adoption agency this week. They have had the first family arrive home with their little boy from the Congo since all of the changes at the orphanage there. They shared with us some emails they received from the family while they were in country and they had a wonderful experience. Everything went smoothly for them and they were even able to meet their son's birthmother! The agency said that all of the changes seem to be for the better and they anticipate things to run more smoothly now, allowing them to get children home to their waiting families even sooner! Thank you to everyone for keeping us and our little son in your prayers. In addition to all of the adoption projects we continue to enjoy time with Emmaline. We are so blessed to have such an amazing little daughter! Here's what we've been up to lately...

Enjoying time with school friends at Jamie's birthday party
Emmaline and her  buddy Jamie

Enjoying more time with friends at Macey's birthday party. Two partys in one day!!!


Emmaline had very good reasoning to convince me she should wear these shoes with the dress. "Mommy, your shoes have to have a 'conversation' with your dress. These shoes have a conversation..." Who can argue with that!

Time with cousins, while remembering Great Grandma Dickinson

A peak at some of the handmade jewelry we're selling for a fundraiser!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Orphanage Update...

I heard from our agency caseworker regarding the orphanage in Congo, here's part of her email:

"We really feel that things are starting to move well once again in the DRC especially with our new staff that is in place.  We feel this transition was a godsend."

I'm learning very quickly in this process that all you can do is trust people whom we have never met, and maybe never will meet, to trust our hearts as we make decisions, and to most of all trust that God is in ultimate control. I know there will be lots of ups and downs during our adoption journey, and I'm realizing it will be our trust in God and His plan that will get us through! Thank you to everyone who said an extra prayer this week for the children at the orphanage!

On a lighter note...I am LOVING the "147 million orphans" merchandise!!! The shirts are really soft and share such a neat message and the original handcrafted jewelry is awesome! The beads are made in Uganda by local women and the earrings are made in Haiti. The women who make the jewelry now have jobs to help support their families, and they make some amazing pieces, of which no two look alike. I wore the earrings to work for the first time the other day and had orders for 4 pair within the first hour! I have ordered several pieces and they are selling themselves! I will try to post some pictures soon of pieces I have available for purchase, you can also view their link: to see what is available to have me order.

As far as our homestudy, we received our first draft on Friday! We are waiting now to get the final draft so it can be submitted to our agency! Progress!!! I'll update as soon as the final draft is done and we have submitted our I600a for our Dossier. Thanks again for keeping our quest to bring our kiddo home in your prayers.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Fundraiser!!!

We have a new fundraiser!!! We have been approved by 147 Million Orphans to sell their merchandise to raise money for our adoption expenses! This is such a neat company...They allow us to order products at wholesale cost to generate profits for our adoption and they also use their profits to provide food, water and necessities to orphans around the world. By buying their merchandise, you are helping us with adoption expenses, helping orphans and getting a great product! Use the link below to browse, then contact me to place your order and I will deliver or ship it to you! (Please don't order through this link, if we place the order, we get the profits!) Shopping for a good cause is so much fun! Enjoy :-)

Shop: 147 Million Orphans Fundraising

Friday, June 8, 2012

Today's prayer...

Today, pray for our orphanage in Kinshasa, Congo and pray especially for all of the kids who spend each day there, waiting for a family to call their own... I received an email yesterday from the Executive Director of our agency that started with "I want you to hear this directly from me..." my mind thought, "uh-oh..." The email went on to say:

"In recent months, we received a few concerns from parents about our Congo in-country coordinator and after hearing the concerns, we investigated her management of the orphanage.  As a result of the investigation, our working relationship deteriorated and the coordinator resigned on May 28, 2012.

We are working closely with our in-country attorney to ensure everything is in order.  However, due to these circumstances, please be aware that there may be unforeseen but temporary delays, and we will stay in constant communication to update you on how this may affect your particular adoption."

I don't know details beyond this point, but I do appreciate the fact that if our agency had evidence of misconduct and concerns, that they acted upon them. The kids there, one being our child, are first and foremost and I'm so glad that there are people who are looking out for their well-being. I came across this YouTube video on the OWAS orphanage page and was so excited to get a glimpse inside the place that our child calls home. Take a few minutes to look at it if you can. It was filmed in January of this year, this means that one of the kids seen could very well be ours!

I will update, as I get more information, but please just keep these kids and this orphanage in your prayers. I believe in the power of prayer!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Home visit...DONE!

We have our homestudy home visit behind us now! It seemed to go very was definitely more relaxed than I expected. Our caseworker basically seemed to be here to confirm that we have adequate space for another child...She did not seem to be here to confirm that all my baseboards had been cleaned and all of my closets were organized! As she casually glanced in each room I wanted to scream "but you didn't look under that cabinet or go in that have to see all that I've done to get ready for this visit!" The good part is that my house is nice and clean and organized, and it wasn't scrutinized! The other part of the visit that I was nervous about was her "interview" with Emmaline. I felt pretty sure Emmaline would just be very shy and not say a word, or open up and say something embarrassing...she had something else up her sleeve... From the moment the caseworker arrived she apparently only had the vocabulary of a shy two year old! My "four and a half" year old who was asking me that morning how to write our address and learning my phone number could only hold up four fingers in front of her face when asked her age, and when asked what she likes to do for fun could only say, in a babyish voice "you chase me"... Really!?!?! When she came inside for the tour of our home Emmaline could only say, "you see my doll house and toys"...oh well. Maybe, as my Dad suggested, Emmaline had a very thought out plan to show our case worker first hand how we deal with a two year old! I'm sure that was it! As everyone knows, when working with kids, nothing is predictable and we are hoping our caseworker realizes we can raise a child to be a little bit more intelligent than Emmaline appeared to be! Now we wait for our homestudy to be completed. We expect this to take about 2 weeks. Once the homestudy is completed it will be submitted to our agency and we will be able to submit our first set of immigration papers. Once we have these documents we can submit our Dossier, along with our next payment (new donation link in the right hand margin!) and we will officially be on the waiting list to be matched with our little boy! Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We have reached this point much sooner than I expected we would and I believe it is because God is leading each step and answering prayers for this process to progress as smoothly as possible! Along with home visit preparation this week we were able to take time to swim with friends, pick strawberries and bake a yummy strawberry cake together. Here are a few pictures from the week...