Monday, July 30, 2012

Small Group Service Project

What a wonderful small group we are a part of!! So many of them were asking how they could help us prepare for our trip, so we decided to ask them to help us fill goodie bags for the children at the transition home and the orphanage we will visit. They were anxious to help!

We were able to fill 144 bags with various kid-friendly items. We had a good time working on them and can only imagine how excited the children will be to receive them. We cannot wait to make the delivery!

Thank you, again, to our small group. Jonathan and I are so blessed to have you all as friends : )

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Things are Coming Together!

We have made tremendous progress this weekend! The bags are nearly all packed – with the exception of last minute toiletry items and anticipated (but not yet received) donations! We are feeling really good about having everything together without too much stress : )

 Does anyone notice anything out of place here?

It may be a red flag when the airline sends our bag through the x-ray machine and see a skeleton! Ha!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More Shopping!

Oh my – have I mentioned that we are having way too much fun shopping for our little girl?!?!

After work today, Jonathan and I went into Champaign to buy some additional items we needed to pack and items to have on hand when we meet our daughter. We have been advised – take what you think you need and then 10 times more – as we will have several hours to spend with her on the days that we see her and it can be a bit challenging due to the confined space, limited toys available, and the language barrier. So, below is a picture of the items we have bought (so far). I think we are done, but I make no promises : )

Rachel, can you spot the jelly bracelets?? These completely made me think of you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Slowly, but surely...

Jonathan continues to work hard to finish the furniture for our little girl’s room. The bookshelf is done –

- and the dresser is getting closer…

The packing list is finished and has over 100 items – yikes! We are making progress on gathering items, though.

We will continue to keep you posted : )

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flight Arrangements Made

Okay - I have to admit - I woke up this morning and asked Jonathan, "did we really get a court date??" It is all just moving so fast, I thought I had dreamed it! But, it is getting more real each day!

We have made our flight arrangements and now know that we will be flying out of Chicago on the evening of Friday, August 3rd.  We will have one layover and then arrive in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia on the evening of Saturday, August 4th.

We are unsure of our specific in-country itinerary at this time, but do know that we will spend 2-3 days with our little girl, have our court appointment, and travel to the orphanage where she was before coming to the transition home.

It sounds like it will be a busy time, but we cannot wait! Please keep praying : )

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We Have a Court Date!!

The twists and turns of this adoption journey never cease to amaze me! I have decided that I need to stop trying to figure it all out and just enjoy the ride!

We thought that there was no way we would get a court date before the courts closed for the rainy season, but we are glad to say we were wrong! The travel coordinator called us today to let us know we had a court date for August 7th!
This means we will be traveling to Ethiopia in early August (around the 2nd or 3rd). Just in case you didn’t do the math, that means we are leaving in ~ 2 weeks! Yikes! We have a lot to do to prepare, but we will be ready : )

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We will keep you posted as we get more details!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making Progress

We finished painting our daughter’s room this weekend! It turned out very nicely – a pale pink called sweet illusion  : ) Our plan is to get other decorations hung over the next few evenings and then post some pictures…

We also bought fabric for curtains tonight! Grandma Gloria will be working on those to coordinate with the bedspread : )

Friday, July 13, 2012

Preparing for our Little Girl

We are still anxiously awaiting news on a court date…

In the meantime, we are busy preparing our home for our little girl’s arrival : )

·        Jonathan is working on finishing her dresser and bookshelf

·        Sarah is putting together the all-important items - like her new play kitchen : )


·        Plan to shop for paint and fabric for curtains (which Grandma Gloria will be making) tomorrow since the bedding came today!!

We are having so much fun!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nine Months DTE!

Who would have ever guessed that we would have already had a referral by the time we made it to being nine months DTE?!?!  God is so good!

Needless to say, Jonathan and I are having an incredible time shopping for our little girl! We realize that we should not go overboard, as we do not want to overwhelm her when she comes home, but it is hard not to : ) Have any of you spent five minutes in a Toys ‘r Us lately? You could go into debt in the baby doll aisle alone!

Below are a few pictures of some items we have purchased so far – thought you may enjoy seeing them.

The main thing we are holding off on for the moment is clothes. We will buy a few things for care packages to her and for our first trip, but will do the majority of that shopping after we have a chance to meet her in person : )

As always, please continue your prayers for the process to move smoothly and for our little girl to know how much she is loved.

Friday, July 6, 2012

No Specific News

No news on a court date yet.

Just wanted to let everyone know that our home study visit went well yesterday morning and we should have our updated home study to send to USCIS soon. That will allow us to obtain an updated I-171H form, which authorizes us to bring our little girl into the U.S. This is a very important document that we need in order to pass court on our first trip, so the sooner we get it, the better, to ensure we are prepared for that visit (in order to hopefully avoid any unnecessary delays).

At the moment, it seems very unlikely that we will receive a court date before the courts close for the rainy season, but it is never certain. Even if we were to get a court date soon, it would be unlikely that we would have our I-171H from USCIS, which would cause us to not pass court (which actually occurs commonly) the first time. That would cause a delay between trip #1 and trip #2, which we would prefer to avoid. It seems like it would be better to have a bit more time before trip #1 to get all of our paperwork together so that we have a better chance of passing court the first time and getting to travel for trip #2 sooner. That would be good for all of us, I believe, as the time between the two trips will seem like an eternity as it is : )

We will continue to keep you posted. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Acceptance Paperwork Sent

We still feel like we are in a whirlwind!

Jonathan and I were able to speak to Dr. Gray at the International Adoption Clinic in Chicago on Friday afternoon. He reviewed the referral with us and provided his insight, from a medical standpoint, on her history. We enjoyed talking with him – he was very thorough and helpful with our questions.

Since there were no surprises from him, we sent our acceptance paperwork to AWAA on Friday afternoon and are currently waiting to hear back from one of the Africa Coordinators (our family coordinator is on vacation this week!). She will submit our information to the Ethiopian courts to request a court date, which will tell us when we will travel for our first trip! Again, the goal at the moment is to get a court date BEFORE the courts close for the rainy season in August.

Please continue to pray that the process moves smoothly and we hear back soon about a court date. Most importantly, though, please continue your prayers for our little girl : ) She is absolutely beautiful and her information & pictures indicate that she is a happy, outgoing little girl. Even while we cannot be with her to love on her during this time, we know that God is always with her. We pray that she can feel His peace during this uncertain time.