Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I have good, great, and wonderful news to share!!!
The good: I had lunch with 10 other wonderful ladies today! It was super!
The great: The African restaurant mentioned in previous posts was visited by our family last night. It was a HIT and we will be back! This was the first time I have been able to choose anything off of a menu since 2003!
THE WONDERFUL... I got an email from our agency saying, "...a sign posted at the court saying
that the idea of having families appear for the court hearings had been suspended indefinately." This is beyond wonderful news! I am so thankful and so full of praise! I continue to feel so blessed by our agency, as they never told us any news based on rumor and I always had hope this would happen! Our God is so amazing!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guess what? I have an African restaurant in my town and ...

everything in it is gluten free!!!!!! I am still in awe of this friends and family! Some of you don't know me or where I live or my food restrictions, but this is a sheer miracle and confirmation number 1238672563270 (I picked this number randomly in case you couldn't tell) that we are in the place we are supposed to be!
So, I used to live near the City (like one of the big three) but we moved last August to a smallish town in a state known for something that doesn't agree with my body :) A couple of months after moving here we noticed that our small town has an African restaurant. We were excited about this and the possibilities it presents for our future family. I was skeptical about actually eating anything more than rice during a visit due to all of my food limitations. Well, some friends from church recently informed me that the whole kitchen is totally gluten free and this fact is advertised on their menu and they have a very good understanding of Celiac disease so I totally believe them :) I have an email in to them right now to find out about dairy and sugar to really put a cherry on top of this discovery, but I am excited that there will be something I can eat!!!!
The restaurant is closed on Monday, but we will be checking it out this week. I will post a review and photos if I remember to take them!
Update: The owner wrote back to me this morning and informed me that the restaurant is totally dairy free as well. They also do not cook with sugars so it is totally Shelly safe! I may never cook again :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Expiration dates in the adoption process

I admit that in general I pay no attention to expiration dates! I don't eat anything dairy or any canned processed foods. All of my meat is in the freezer, and my veggies tell me when they are getting old by their fuzzy factor :) Am I justifying myself, most likely!
Well, when it come to adoption, expiration dates are very important. Each adoptive family has 3 expiration dates to keep track of.
1. Your home study expires at some point. Each state is different which makes it a bit more confusing. Our state says that home studies need to be updated every 18 months. This means our home study expires on June 20th 2011.
2. The USCIS I600A expires every 18 months as well. This is our orphan processing petition. We just received a letter which was very misleading telling us that we needed to file an I-600 18 within 18 months (before September 16th 2011). This means we need to have a referral by that date. This seems pretty do-able, BUT on the top of the form it says it expires on March 16th 2011, which is 12 months away. Anyone know what this means???
3. Our fingerprints expire 15 months after they are taken. This means they expire on June 10th 2011. Why fingerprint expire every 15 months is something that NO ONE in the adoption community can figure out. It is such a random amount of time, and sadly most adoptions take longer than 15 months which means that most people get the prints knowing they will have to be re-printed again in 15 months... sad, but the law so we respect it with confusion.

I know this post might be incredibly boring, but I selfishly wrote it so I could have documentation of our dates for further reference :) If we get within a few months of these dates we will have to re-apply so please pray our sweet little one home by early May 2011 so we don't have to fret!
1. Home study 6-20-11
2. I-600 filed before 9-16-11 OR 3-16-11
3. Fingerprints 6-10-2011

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Update and Adoption agencies... It is like flying coach with Garmin

This is a 2 part entry... first to our family and friends... then to others on the adoption journey...

For our family and friends, there has been no update from our agency about the two trip rule. While we continue to pray that it is just a rumor and that it won't happen, we brace ourselves for the blow we expect to come... by the time our little one is ready for court we will have to travel twice. Yes, this would add 5000 to the adoption cost. Yes, Brandon would have to take off another week of work. Yes, we will get to meet our little one sooner. Yes, we would bond with our sweet baby and LEAVE without our baby. Yes, we would have to wait a few months to be reunited. Yes, we are still praying that whatever is happening will take a LONG time to happen and we will get through with one trip!

Here is the link from the US government about Ethiopian adoption guidelines. This is the latest news directly from the government. When things are official, this website lets us know. You will notice that the two trip rule is not official, so we can keep praying and petitioning our Great King!

OK, this is for others on the adoption journey with us. Others of you may find it interesting as well!
Throughout the past few days MANY other agencies have been having conference calls with all their clients. Agencies have been sending many emails and keeping those in the process up to date with whatever they have heard. I listened to an hour long conference call from another agency. We didn't chose this agency. This agency sent us lovely information, all flowery, shiny, and beautiful. This agency loves Jesus and began the conference in prayer. This agency is holding hands with its clients. This agency is "first class" in flying terms. This agency charges 5-10 Thousand dollars more than our agency, and the extra money goes to the US part of the agency not the overseas orphan care part. So, for our family, the cost outweighed the benefit and we chose our agency.

We chose the "coach" agency for sure! We knew going into it that the flowery, shiny paper would not be coming our way. We also knew that our agency cares deeply for orphans and does much humanitarian aid in Ethiopia. Almost all our money goes to Ethiopia. Our agency has very few US workers and keeps the US cost way down. At the end of the day (or year or years) we will be on a plane with our baby sitting next to people with babies from other agencies. We will all be parents! I CHOSE to go without the flowers and I am living with it, filled with joy. I trust the people working at our agency. I can't imagine what they are feeling right now. I am guessing SO MANY are calling, complaining, demanding answers etc. I am praying for these lovely people. Please join me!
I have another comparison for you all. We recently became Garmin (GPS) fans. We no longer have to look at maps, just plug in Garmin and we will hopefully arrive safely at our destination. Well, Garmin is very interesting. If we are on non-confusing roads Garmin will tell us when to turn with lots (half a mile) of lead time. When we get into a city Garmin knows there are lots of lane options and we could easily turn too soon. I panic in the car, wondering why Garmin isn't telling us our turn is coming up. Usually Garmin tells us when we are only .2 miles from the turn, which seems to be cutting it close, but you see, if Garmin had told us to turn earlier we would have been in the right lane too soon and we would have taken the wrong exit. When I look at what our agency is doing (or not doing) with the current developments in Ethiopia I am thankful. You see, they are not saying anything until the US government makes it official. While part of me wants them to say something NOW, I can see that it would only lead to confusion. Upon spending time (OK WAY TOO MUCH TIME) reading what other agencies are saying, I am struck by how many different versions there are. Each has a different start date. Each has a different rule. I am content to wait until something is set in stone to learn what I need to learn!
Today friends I challenge you, lets spend most of our adoption think time praying for our agency and its workers. Pray that we will love them like Jesus through these things that they also can't control! Pray that we will trust them to make the decisions that are best for us and our children! Pray that God would be glorified in your/my life today!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adoption Update

Below this update you will find two additional posts. One is a wonderful song that came out a while ago, but my mind has been playing it on repeat for the last 24 hours. Below the song are the lyrics to the song. They are very powerful for me to think about at this time (well always)!

So the update...
Over the past 2 days I have remained quite close to my laptop, and I didn't want to post anything on here until things were official. Well, we still have not heard anything official, so I decided to post on here asking for prayer... Are you curious yet??

Yesterday some of the yahoo groups I am a part of started to have families posting about Ethiopia requiring families to travel to the country two times, once for court and once to pick up your child. Ethiopia has always been a one trip country. Soon it seemed every agency was confirming these rumors. Our agency has NOT confirmed these rumors at this time. I think ours is the only one not to confirm. I am thankful that our agency is waiting until things are official before confirming (other agencies are saying it is official). Our agency was one of the first to process Ethiopian adoptions and I deeply trust them. We have American workers in Ethiopia at all times and actually have US workers traveling there right now too. I do trust that they will tell us information as they know it. I guess many agencies are having a meeting today. I will update the blog as I know more. Please pray dear friends. This might not be the done deal that most are assuming and there is great power in our prayers. We know that the forces of darkness hate adoption and would love to slow and halt the process in Ethiopia! We know that our God is greater than darkness and we cling to that! We know that God's heart is with the orphan and He is in the adoption business!
Please pray that Ethiopian adoptions would continue to be processed for many many years!
Please pray that by some miracle the 2 trip rule would not be set in stone and wouldn't really happen.
Please pray that we will continue to trust God, knowing that He is God and we will "never understand it all."
Please pray for us and other families in the journey, that we would rejoice (Romans 5, James1)!
Please pray against the forces of darkness working within adoption in Jesus' name!
Thank you all so much!!!
Positive news~
We were fingerprinted this morning! Our final "job" in the process is done!
Reflections on Romans 5
This morning I was reading Romans 5 and treasuring its words. Suffering does lead to hope!
Romans 5: 1-8
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

My Theme Song Lyrics

God is God
~Steven Curtis Chapman
And the pain falls like a curtain
On the things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don’t know

And the questions without answers
Come and paralyze the dancer
So I stand here on the stage afraid to move
Afraid to fall, oh, but fall I must
On this truth that my life has been formed from the dust

God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting
God is God and I am man
So I’ll never understand it all
For only God is God

And the sky begins to thunder
And I’m filled with awe and wonder
‘Til the only burning question that remains
Is who am I

Can I form a single mountain
Take the stars in hand and count them
Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me
He is first and last before all that has been
Beyond all that will pass

Oh, how great are the riches of His wisdom and knowledge
How unsearchable for to Him and through
Him and from Him are all things

So let us worship before the throne
Of the One who is worthy of worship alone

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Injera and M&M's

Yesterday "two sweet boys" and their mom and dad came to visit for a few hours. We showed them the wonderful book of photos we received from our agency on DTE day. Sweet boy A was looking at a photo of injera and told us "it looks like M & M's." Later we were pretending to eat each other and he said I tasted like chocolate!
Either he is filled with cute comments or he heard me say something about our baby having skin like chocolate. I know I didn't talk about that yesterday, but kids remember and kids are deep! I think it was pure cuteness, but all the same, I will remember to explain myself more clearly next time I am in a chocolate/vanilla conversation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am a groupie

...a Yahoo groupie that is!
I am a huge Yahoo group fan! I enjoy being a part of our agencies group, a group for adoptive families in my area, a Christian Ethiopian adoptive family group, an adoption attachment group. I am learning from each of them, but this group is a little different. I joined a group I really have no business being in, but I want to learn... and so I joined "Homeschool adoptive families: This group was started to fill the needs of Christian parents who are homeschooling their internationally adopted children." It is a lovely group of Christian moms filled with insight... note... I said moms :) Hopefully they won't mind my gleaning of information for half of a decade while contributing nothing!
*Normally I would "draft" this post because some might see it as"coming out" and a life time commitment to homeschool and only homeschool. Since I have not yet home-diapered, or home-fed, or home-slept, with my child(ren) I think it is a bit early to profess our schooling choices for our children forever. Like I said, I would have drafted this post... but after my last post I am putting it out there for all to see :)
**I mentioned this group because many of my blogging friends are "homeschooling their internationally adopted children."

"Draft" How many do you have?

It is time to fess up... I have many posts written that end up in the draft folder never to fully make it on to this blog. They are the raw posts of my heart. I am not sure if many/any of them will ever be posted... and that is OK.
Am I the only one who writes and doesn't post? I doubt it.

*Please do not read into this tiny post.
**This is hilarious. I have written and deleted so much explanation from this post that I almost drafted the drafting post :)
***I am posting it now and not explaining a thing!

Monday, March 1, 2010

We are "March"ing in the Light of God...

March is here!!! I have not posted in a while so here are some random highlights:

~I read another Francine Rivers book, "And the Shofar Blew". It was so good and caused me to stay up until 5:20am to finish it!

~We were able to have some time off to rest and renew last week. We are coming back into ministry with renewed joy!

~We got to spend a couple of days with Brandon's best friend and his lovely wife.

~We were again reminded that God's timing is not ours. Two months ago our agency was giving out referrals for people DTE in April 2009... and they still are! So, basically that means there is no movement closer to baby for our family, but God has been faithful!

~We (Well I often fell asleep) watched over 90% of the Olympics! It never gets old look forward to London 2012... hopefully our family will be bigger next time we watch the games!

~We now have a freezer full of meat in our basement! We were able to purchase a quarter of a cow recently and are excited to eat our first roast tonight. We were amazed by the deal we received $2.40/lb for hormone free grass fed beef!

~Our lovely car has been seen at the car spa (repair center) recently. I guess she is getting worn out and needs time to be renewed as well. The spa is expensive and I wish she had cheaper taste!

~Brandon finished preaching through the book of Ephesians and so we begin a new chapter of life at our church. I so enjoyed hearing my wonderful husband preach through this book.