Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Submitted to Embassy...wooo hoooo!

Well the title pretty much sums it up, YES, we found out at 7:52am today that we were submitted to the U.S Embassy!!!!  Now we wait and pray that we are cleared soon and can travel to bring our son home!  I cannot believe that I started this blog over 2 years ago and I can vividly recall writing about our first fundraiser, now we are on our LAST fundraiser and soon will be traveling back to Ethiopia to bring our boy home forever. 

There are less than 2 weeks left in our raffle fundraiser.  If you want to enter to win a Kindle Fire and help us reach our amount needed to be fully funded, you can purchase tickets here or message me, all the details can be found if you click on the ticket picture to the right.  There are ways to get extra entries too :) 

Just updated our fundraising thermometer...only $7,564 more to go.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What's Your Story???

Yesterday in church the topic was a continued series on "I Am Less; He is More" and the first point was this:

How do I become less and He become greater?  It's not a formula; It's a journey!!!!

"Never make a principle out of your experiences; let God be as original with other people as He was with you"  ~Oswald Chambers

After hearing this my mind immediately drifted towards adoption and the journeys each of us go on.  Each adoption journey is so unique and we should be so excited about that, so excited to see how God is going to write our stories yet it is so easy to get caught up in how other adoptions are looking and trying to plan our own around others.  I'm guilty of it too, thinking back over the last 2 years there were many times when I thought "why did they get a referral before us?", "why are they already fully funded and we are having to do every fundraiser ever imaginable?", "why is everything so easy for them and so hard for us?"  and I could go on.  You know you have done this too, even if you aren't adopting, you know as a human being, we compare our lives to everyone else all the time...why do they have such a nice house, such well behaved kids, such a  great marriage, good health, great jobs, etc.

WHY do we do this???  Does it get us anywhere? NO.  Does it make us feel better? NO.  Does it allow us to see what God's plan is for our lives? Nope.  Why can't we just be happy for how everything plays out, the good and especially the bad and realize if we don't stop comparing and complaining about why WE don't have this or that and "they" do, we will never see how God is trying to use us. 

I'll be 100% honest here, I still am trying to plan out the rest of this adoption, comparing other families timelines, to try and determine when we will travel next, but I have gotten a lot better since, oh, maybe January of this year...about 1.5 yrs after our adoption started.  I started realizing this was OUR unique story and I needed to be content with what God had in store for us and let him "take the wheel" basically and just be patient, listen and follow.  I'm not gonna lie and say it has been easy but I have felt a HUGE weight lifted from my back since I came to this realization and magically, as soon as that happened I can say the following happened:  we got our referral, we got a crazy quick court date, we had all the funds needed to get to our court date and all given to us within weeks of needing them, we had an amazing time with our son, and now will be bringing him home soon.  Yes, many good things happened so of course I would be a "believer" in this so I continue to pray that I always remember this time and that when the down times come, and I know they will, to know that when I trusted and put my story in God's hands, it went the way it was supposed to.  Also to know that in the end, this was just "our" story and I need to remember not to prescribe this formula to other adopting families because they will need their own journey just like we did.

So if you are thinking about adopting, in the process or have already, I would love to hear YOUR STORY.  Also if you are in the process or just beginning, write the Oswald Chambers quote down and look at it daily to remind yourself not to hear other family's stories and think that is the formula that you HAVE to follow in order to get further, let God use you uniquely to write your story.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

30 days being a family of 4

Yesterday was May 18th, 30 days since Fetinet legally became our son and although this is exciting, it is also bittersweet because he is not home with us.  By the normal timelines it could be 30-36 more days before he will be home with us forever but we did get some exciting news that may mean he could be here closer to that 30 day mark.  We got an email saying they are hoping to get us submitted to embassy THIS coming Monday, May, 21st!  This means that if all goes well and no extra documents are needed then it may be a couple weeks and they will schedule the birth parent interview (yes, they have 2 now, one before court and one before embassy), then if that goes well, then we will soon after get an email saying we have been cleared and can choose 3 dates to travel.  They will then pick one of those dates for us and we will book our flights and go bring him home!  I have a gut feeling I will be in Ethiopia during the last week of June so please pray with me that it happens!

We do have a lot to do between now and then though, final education requirements, updated USCIS fingerprints and of course a few more dollars to raise, well more like $8,910 more dollars but who's counting?

We are awaiting to see if we will receive grants from a few places we recently applied but we are also starting a new and FINAL fundraiser...yes I cannot believe this is IT but it will be our last one!  We have been blessed by our previous fundraisers in so many ways, more than simply financially.  We have made forever friends, have opened others' eyes to adoption and have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into them which has made this whole adoption extra special.  It has also made us realize how God works and has amazed us and others to see how good He is in a tangible way.  So from t-shirts and coffee sales, to a garage sale and puzzle piece fundraiser, to a BBQ benefit dinner and half marathon, we now bring you our Raffle to Bring Fetinet Home.

You can click on the link above or on the tab at the top of our home page or on the picture in the top right corner of tickets, and it will take you to the raffle.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us thus far, we have come a long way and love to think of each and every one of you who have helped get to where we are.  We can't wait to share the story of this journey with Fetinet when he gets older! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Our Court Trip in Ethiopia

We are excited to introduce our son, Fetinet Nikao

Well, we have been home from Ethiopia for almost 3 weeks now.  We have been very busy with getting our house ready to become a family of four and have been and still are, working on adoption grants, USCIS paperwork and continuing education.  To be honest I am so over all this paperwork and to-do's and just want my boy home!  I have been "nesting" I guess one would say.  Just like a couple months before Jalen came into this world, last touches were being done to his room and cleaning and organizing was in full force, yep, same thing going on now.  We have no idea when we will get the email saying we are cleared from the US Embassy, and can book our flights to go get Fetinet and bring him home and I want to have everything done and ready just like I did when I was pregnant, although I probably won't pack my bags this time.  We do know that lately it is taking 30-90 days before most families are getting the email and we are guessing we will bringing him home sometime between mid June to mid July!

While we were in Ethiopia we got to spend every day with our boy.  After breakfast we were taken to the transition home where he lives and and got to play with him and the other kids.  The cool thing is that all but 2 of the kids that are there now are kids that will be coming home very soon too and we know their families and all are within a drive from us!  We got to take a package to a little boy who will be meeting his forever family in the next couple weeks and got to take pictures and videos to share with all of their families who are waiting to travel for their court dates.  We also got to meet up with a great friend of mine whom we had never met in person but God gave us court dates within days of each other so it was very fitting that we met in Ethiopia.  We made friends with another couple who was staying at the guest house we were at and were also there for their court date, as well as we made friends with the guest house staff who were wonderful and we look forward to visiting them again real soon.  We got to take Fetinet to lunch everyday, got to give him his first ice cream, took him to the museum, zoo (which is very VERY little so he will be in shock when he comes to a zoo here), and got to play a lot of "futbol" with him, one of his favorite things to do.  We also got to meet his father and that was one of the best experiences we could have asked for.  We got to ask him questions, tell him about us and got pictures with him as well as a video of him leaving a message for Fetinet that we will show him when he is older.  We are keeping most of that time to ourselves for the privacy of our son but just know we couldn't have been more blessed by that meeting.

We got to ask Fetinet (through a translator) what his favorite colors were, if he wanted to share a room with Jalen, if he wanted top or bottom bunk and a bunch of other things to get his room ready when he gets here.  I also have been learning a little bit of Amharic and had a phrase book with me so I could say things to him like:  I am your mommy, this is your brother (while showing him pictures, are you hungry?, are you happy?, I love you, you are going to live with us and we are excited to have you in our family.  These all came from a little book I got on Amazon that gives words and phrases for adopting families, very helpful and he thought it was funny having me talk to him in his language as I was reading from this book :)

For those who have asked about him.  He is 7 years old and is in school now in which he learns Amharic (the native language of Addis Ababa but not his native language) and English amongst many other subjects but this was his first year so his English is very little.  We will be working with him to learn English and from what we have been told, many kids pick up on it pretty quick, but will also be trying to learn his language as well so we can make him feel more at home.  He will start 1st grade in the fall at the school right by our house and I have a meeting in 2 weeks with the principal to see the rooms and get information that the kindergartners know and what the 1st graders will be expected to know.   This school has yet to have a student from another country but this fall they will have one from Haiti, one from Ethiopia and one from the Ukraine...our town is becoming quite the adoption community!

So now I will leave you with a few photos from our trip...there are so many I would love to share but I would be here all night so we'll start with these :)
some random pictures of Addis Ababa

just need one more hand in this picture to be complete but oh how I love it!

views from our room

out to lunch at top view where he ate his first ice cream

out to lunch and carry his Brown Bear with him everywhere

this was in the midst of me taking picture after picture of him and he thought it was pretty funny
we got to visit Fetinet at school while he was taking a test, he got to leave early with us for the day but it was amazing talking to his teachers and the school psychologist and getting pictures of his classroom and classmates!

our first family picture after passing court