Care Package Updates

Now that we have passed court and the boys are legally ours, we are so excited to be able to share all the pictures taken for us by families delivering our care packages!!

Care Package 1 - Thank you Sabini Family!!

"The attached pictures are of Ephrem, Eyob was away from the TH at a routine medical appointment. I asked twice if he returned and they took his care package to give to him later.
Ephrem is a sweet little boy. He looks a bit worried in your photos because he was just presented to us by his nanny--she had to return to her other I am sorry to get such a worried little face on your photo. He walks well; he is alert and obviously knows strangers from his nanny. He
cries appropriately. He seems to hear acutely. He got a little scared when we opened the care I just decided to love on him and prayed over him. I brought him back to his little play group and then he wouldn't leave me...he just stood with me...I assured him you were coming soon and showered him with kisses and hugs. He is a sweetie and will be incredibly blessed to be in the arms of his mother and father--forever!!!"

Care Package 2 - Thank You Butler Family!!
"Your two boys were soooo sweet. They couldn’t wait to get into their snack bags. We had a hard time explaining to them that they could only eat one at a time. They wanted everything opened so they could try everything. We also found that the small toy dinosaurs you sent seemed to scare them a little so we left them in a small bag for later. Hopefully they warm up soon."

Care Package 3 - Thank You Roach Family!!

"Your boys are just the sweetest little guys!! Can't remember which one is which but the little one is definitely the more reserved little guy and just taking things in. The older one is just the best big brother! He seems to be protective and nurturing with his little brother. They are really adorable. By the way, just my opinion, but I think your little guys favor you both!"

12/30/09 - So What Happens Next?

After wishing us congratulations, everyone has either asked this question or thought it: "So, what happens next?" And the simple answer ... we keep waiting!

We are now into the phase of waiting for tentative travel dates. Our international agency America World will email us with tentative travel dates probably next week, but they will not be concreate until all necessary paperwork is complete.

Paperwork still needing to be completed/approved:
* Our new fingerprints (taken today as the old ones expire January 15)
* Our home study update which increased our age range (begun in September and received by USCIS December 2nd)
* A new home study update because Mike has a different job (just when we thought life couldn't get any crazier!)

PRAISE: We continue to praise God for the wonderful gift of the boys and are sooooo excited for them to begin life here! And we praise God because they are coming home!!!

PRAYER: We need HUGE prayer for speed and efficiency in getting all our paperwork done and approved and to the correct offices - "Savior He can move the mountains" and we have a few mountains to move over the month of January!!

12/15/09 - Still Waiting

We received another call from Nicole saying it could be another two weeks before the number is corrected and we officially pass court but that they (America World) are being persistent in dealing with the orphanage to get the number changed!

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. - Psalm 27:14

Mom and Dad's Dresser Drawers

We have had a nine dresser drawer in our playing growing up ever since I was a little girl. Many, many, many years ago, my Dad painted it and stenciled our three kids names on it. Since then spouses have been added and then grandchildren. After we received our referral in October, I thought, now two new names can go on the dresser. They were there about two weeks until I noticed them!!

(us: Amy and Mike and John and Ryan, my brother Donny and his two girls Samantha and Maddy, and my sister Sarah and her husband Ken)

The Waiting Place

"You get so confused that you'll start in to race, down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace, and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. The Waiting Place...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting." Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Nicole, our Family Coordinator from America World, called Friday to say there was no new news in regard to our court case. We totally appreciated the call but find ourselves in a not so fun waiting place:

* for the number to be changed on the piece of paper that will allow us to pass court and the boys to be legally ours which will lead to tentative travel dates
* a new I171-H form which would mean our age range increase has been approved - this will lead to waiting for the form to be forwarded to the National Visa Center which will lead to waiting for the information to be forwarded to the Ethiopian Embassy in Addis Ababa which will lead to concrete travel dates

Add this to the uncertainty of life and international adoption, and we are working hard to stay joyful!

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him. Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. Isaiah 8:17-18

The Boys Christmas Tree

We enjoyed decorating the boys Christmas tree last week. We set aside all the fun, kid like ornaments to use for their tree. And we talked about how next year there would be two little boys putting the ornaments on and how they would probably all be in one spot!!

We love the angel we found at Hobby Lobby last year (which was 50% off!):

This ornament we bought in Galena before we had even attended the America World seminar and knew anything about adopting from Ethiopia! We also didn't even notice the color of Mary, Joseph, and the angel. Can you say total God thing!!

Amy's favorite book is Where the Wild Things Are and this was a gift last year:

Amy had this Fisher Price toy when she was little. And the door on the ornament moos just like the toy:

Mike contributed this ornament to the tree, from the classic Grinch movie, his heart is a hologram that grows:

A gift from one of Amy's college friends, who doesn't love the Cat in the Hat:

Every child's favorite book and always the most popular checked out book at the library:

Can't wait until the boys are familiar with all these stories and toys!!

New Staff at the Transition House

Our boys are presently living at the Transition House run by our international agency America World. America World has recently added some new staff to the facility and we feel SO BLESSED and EXCITED by the additions! Click on the link after each to learn more from our agencies blog!
A Peditrician
A Child Developemental Psycologist to help children with the transition into new families
A Teacher to work with children ages 3 and up

12/10/09 - Care Package Updates

So the 100th post is about loving on the boys - awesome!

We received pictures and personal observations from the first care package arriving. They were FANTASTIC!!! They were only about Ryan as John was out at a doctor's appointment, but we're soooo grateful to have them. They family traveling and thus bringing our care packages to the boys observed several things about Ryan: he runs and walks normally, cries appropriately, seems to hear normally, and knows the difference between strangers and his nanny/care giver (that alone is great as it shows he has the ability to bond!). We got some pictures of our little guy but he was very wary of the whole process which is understandable! He was loved on and prayed over which comforts this Mommy's heart. And to look at a picture of a package that I wrote Ryan's name on and see my handwriting and know it's in Ethiopia with our son - WOW!!

The second care package should have been given to the boys this week so we should hear how that went/get pictures next week or the week after. Again, we are so grateful to a family from Oklahoma for loving on our boys!!

Our third care package arrived in Ohio today and will be leaving with a family heading to Ethiopia on December 19th! Included were a photo album containing number, color, and shape pictures of items around the house as well as pictures showing how to play the bowling and golf game included, a bag of gummy bears, 2 Fruit by the Foots, a bus and truck board book with wheels, parachute animals, windup walking plastic snowmen, and two pairs of fun fuzzy slipper socks. The ice cream bubbles pictured didn't fit. Gotta love Dollar Tree and the dollar section at Super Walmart. I hope the boys do!!

12/02/09 - Court

Well the good news is we didn't fail court!! The not as good news is that we didn't quite pass either!

Paperwork was presented to the judge which listed six children's cases. In reality, there were nine children's cases being presented to her. So the number needs to be switched on the paperwork. The judge didn't even reschedule another court date (which is great!), so that means as soon as the number gets changed and she receives the corrected paper, the boys should legally be ours! Our agency thinks this will happen next week... so we wait a little longer!

PRAISE: Praise God we didn't fail!! Or weren't assigned another court date a month from now!! And that everything on our end looked good!!

PRAYER: Please pray for speed and efficiency in correcting the paperwork error. Please pray for enough daily grace for us as we wait just a little longer. Also please pray for federal (USCIS) approval of our increased age range paperwork. We are expecting/hoping to receive our updated form (I171-H) in the mail next week or the week after.

12/01/09 - My Verses for Today

While we are sleeping tonight, courts will open in Ethiopia. A judge will look at our case and decide if everything is in order. We will either pass and the boys will legally become ours or we will not pass, our agency will fix what ever did not go well, and we will be assigned another court date.

"Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:2