Friday, March 26, 2010


Waiting ... for those of you who have asked, based on our Agency's new Referral Waiting Clocks, it appears as though we may be waiting about 8 more months for a referral. (October-November range).  That could change... for the better or for the worse.  Plus with the new travel, court and embassy changes, we can expect another 4 - 8 month wait after referral until Baby E is home. 

Funny thing is, we are ok with that.  What??? That doesn't even make sense to me, but I guess it goes back to the whole trust and peace aspect of trusting God in this journey.  He is the one who first placed this on our hearts, so He is the one who will help us grow and learn patience and peace through all of this.  I must admit, I wince and pout (if truth be known) every time I see a change coming that's going to mess with MY plan, but guess what... it's not MY plan :) 

I still continue to hope and pray that the changes going on in Ethiopia will be for the better, not just for us, but for other families who are just beginning the process, or who are deciding whether or not Ethiopia is the right country for them.  The children are precious and I would hate to see families shy away from Ethiopia because of some of the bad press and changes.  Adoption is always risky and unpredictable.. that's not new news, but there is always that hope that things won't affect you.  When things to happen, you have to do what you can and let God do what you can't (I stole that from Joyce Meyer).   So for now, we'll be happy to wait. 

Adoption Tax Credit Extended & Improved

Considering adoption?  Now might be the perfect time to start the process!

We have just found out, that the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC), which was scheduled to expire in 2010, was extended for one-year (through December 31, 2011). This is awesome news to those in the process or considering adoption. This will especially be helpful to those couples (like us) who have to travel to Ethiopia two times (adding $5,000-$7,000 to their expenses).

What is the ATC: The ATC is a critically important element in finding permanent families for children in the U.S. foster care system and the children of our world, who live without permanent parental care. The ATC makes adoption a viable option for many families who may otherwise be unable to afford to adopt.

The highlights of the credit are:
* The maximum credit was increased from $12,150 to $13,170
* The ATC is now retroactive to January 1, 2009. This represents a potential increase of $1,000 for adoptive families.
* The ATC was made refundable. If a family has no tax liability, the IRS will refund the amount due.

 I haven’t read all the small print yet, but this is such good news for those (like us) who will not be able to complete their adoption process in 2010, as previously thought. Goodness, I hope we have our baby home in 2011!

We know this won't cover all of our expenses, but it's a great start.  Plus, no matter what, we would still find a way to get Baby E home, regardless of the tax credit.  So to us, this is just a really nice BONUS!  God is good. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two Months Waiting

Two Months Waiting

Not a whole lot to report.  Just the changes that are already posted.  But something to ponder -- We recently went to the Skillet/TobyMac Concert with the boys (which was totally awesome, by the way....).  TMac sang some of his new songs, but some old ones too.  One of his songs reminded me of something. . . he didn't sing the whole song "Irene" just the chorus, but it goes something like this . . .

Hush little baby baby don't you cry

Daddy's gonna sing you a lullaby

Everything's gonna be alright

The Lord's gonna answer your prayer tonight

Hush little baby don't you cry

Daddy's gonna sing you a lullaby

Everything's gonna be alright

The Lord's gonna answer your prayer tonight

He just kept singing those words over and over.  Suddenly those words sunk in and spoke to me.  Of course everything is going to be alright.  As believers, we know that, but it's so easy to forget that in the middle of a crisis or situation.   I think in a world of instant gratification, it's easy to lose sight of the grand plan of things and get caught up in one little detail or set back. 

But we have to remember, all those little things and set backs were already figured into the grand scheme of things, unbeknownst to us.  These little things are not changing our path or His plan for us or for our family-- He already figured them into the 'package deal.'  There's no fine print or hidden costs in His plan for us -- he already PAID it in FULL -- and guess what.... It's a free gift.  Have you accepted it? 

Thanks Toby for reminding me of something I already knew, but had forgotten for the slightest moment. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Even with the unknowns and the weekly changes that have been occuring in Ethiopia, Brad and I feel a sense of peace.  It's wierd -- especially for me, being the control-freak that I am -- I normally would be freaking out!  But we feel peace.  It's all apart of the plan -- the growing, the stretching, the maturing of our faith.  The trusting that things will work out -- perhaps not as we have planned in our human minds -- but exactly how He has planned for it to happen.

What we do know is that we will definitely be going to Ethiopia 2 times now.  Our first trip will be to appear in court to show our committment to adopt; our second will be to bring Baby E home.  There's probably going to be anywhere from 3 - 6 months in between trips (I am only guessing here -- we haven't received offical word yet)   We are actually excited to be able to visit Ethiopia earlier in the process to meet our daughter and soak in the country, the atmosphere and culture.  It is going to be tough, however, to get back on that plane without our daughter.  I haven't begun to process that yet. 

So, the good news is we will get to see our daughter earlier in the process.  The bad news is that it is going to add about $5,000+ to our adoption expenses.  Again, we feel peace about this and know that we will have it when the time comes.  We are hoping to do a few fundraisers this summer -- an adoption rummage/yard sale; perhaps a family fun day, and we are still collecting donations for our puzzle. 

So many of our family and friends have been generous in support and prayers.  You know who you are -- thank you again for investing in our daughter and family through prayer and support.   We cannot do this on our own and your words of wisdom, prayers and support continue to carry us.  

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.    
I Peter 5:7

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Department of State - Ethiopia Adoption Notice

More information about the delays in Ethiopia:

Adoption Notice

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
Change in Processing Timeline for Adoption Cases
March 5, 2010

The Department of State shares families’ concerns about recent media reports alleging direct recruitment of children from birth parents by adoption service providers or their employees. In response to these reports, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has implemented some changes to adoption visa processing. Adoptive parents should be aware that an I-604 (Determination on Child for Adoption, sometimes referred to as “orphan investigation”) must be completed in connection with every I-600 application. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this investigation may take up to several weeks or even months to complete. Therefore, adoptive parents should not plan to travel to Ethiopia until they have confirmed with their adoption agency that their visa interview appointment has been confirmed.

Adoption agencies submit case paperwork to the U.S. Embassy for review before the Embassy schedules the immigrant visa appointment. In some cases the I-604 determination could take several weeks or more from the time a case is submitted to the U.S. Embassy to the scheduling of a visa interview appointment. We understand that in such cases this will result in a longer period before parents are able to bring their adopted children to the U.S. However, this additional scrutiny is required to ensure that the adoption is legal under both U.S. and Ethiopian law. The U.S. Embassy will work with adoptive parents and their adoption agency to ensure that each case is processed in the most expeditious manner possible in accordance laws and regulations. Families should continue to work through their agency to schedule immigrant visa appointments and answer questions regarding pending cases. . .

Oh Pooh!

This just in -- looks like we will be traveling 2 times to Ethiopia -- once for court and once to bring our little girl home.  The Ethiopian Government has just announced that beginning March 1, 2010, adoptive parent(s) must appear in court for the adoption hearing.  The good news is we will get to see her (hopefully) during the first trip; bad news is we won't be able to bring her home.  Maybe in some twisted way, this change in process will make things more efficient.

One positive thing is that she will come to the US on an IR3 Visa, making her an immediate US Citizen. 
On a negative note -- that's travel expenses times 2!

As soon as I hear more from our Case Manager -- I'll give an update.

Truth is... we'd travel around the world twice to bring our daughter home.  We'll just have to work on the logistics of it! 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

No News

For those of you who have asked -- No news on our end, but we don’t expect to hear anything until this fall or later. We have no idea where we are on the waiting list, and we are not planning on asking anytime soon.  I'm afraid it will just discourage us.  In January, they were giving out referrals for those who submitted their dossier in June 2009.  Probably not too many referrals have been given out since.  (but notice our snail is still smiling!!)

Things are still slow in Ethiopia with ongoing investigations, referrals, court dates and embassy appointments. (Embassy appointments have now gone from 2 weeks after court to 8 weeks after court). We are hoping that is only a temporary thing. We also hope that somewhere along the line, all of the investigations will somehow improve the process and flow of paperwork in Ethiopia. Please keep families that are SO CLOSE to referral and traveling in your prayers. I’m sure it’s difficult to know your little ones face, but be unable to get to Ethiopia to get them.   Also, please keep all the babies and children who are currently waiting in your prayers. Some of these babies are stuck in orphanages that (due to on-going investigations in their region) are unable to give out referrals or move already-referred children to their interim care homes.

We know that everything has a purpose and reason, so we are trusting that God has His hand on this and will make things happen when its time. In the meantime – we wait and take pleasure in all the blessings we already have -- which are too abundant to count!