Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3

Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Away

We headed to Chicago this past weekend for a little shopping, and some r & r.  I love!  We booked a nice hotel near Schaumburg for $45 a night!

One of the reasons for our trip to Chicago was to meet up with our friends Sara & Don Jones (7500 miles blog).  Scott and I went to high school with Sara and they are also adopting from Ethiopia.  We were able to catch up with them over a delicious dinner.  It was great to be able to share stories and see how our experiences have been similar and different.  They are currently on the waiting list and are hoping to get a referral soon.

We headed downtown for the day on Sunday to walk around and do a little more shopping.  

And of course a trip to the Windy City would not be complete without a piece of the thick and cheesy goodness of Chicago style pizza:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I wonder...

I can’t help but there a birth mother in Ethiopia carrying our baby right now?  We look at the proposed adoption timeline and it could very well be.  
So my mind many weeks pregnant is she?  Has she felt the baby kick?
Has she already made the extremely tough decision to give up her baby?  
Does she have enough food to eat?  Does she have to walk miles and miles just for clean water?
Does she live in the city or a remote village?  
Does she have someone to care for her during her pregnancy?  
We may never know the answers to many of these questions, so we do the only thing we can...pray.  We pray that she has a healthy pregnancy and enough nourishment for herself and the baby.  We pray for her as she makes one of the hardest decisions of her life and that she has support from friends or family.  And we pray for that little baby inside of her:)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Merry Ganna!

Today, January 7, is Christmas (Ganna) in Ethiopia!  The Ethiopian calendar is a little different from ours, so today they celebrate Christ's birth.  Ganna is widely celebrated since just under half of the population are Orthodox Christians.

Twelve days later, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ.

Ganna and Timkat are not occasions for giving gifts in Ethiopia. If a child receives any gift at all, it is usually a small gift of clothing. Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.  Sounds like a great way to celebrate!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Process

As we mentioned before, the Ethiopian adoption process is long and requires a lot of paperwork.  We turned in our official application to Bethany Christian Services in Holland on 12/17/10 and are excited to have the first step completed.  The next step is to complete a home study which we started today.  A home study consists of four meetings.  Today we both met our case worker and she was able to answer many of our questions.  We will each have a meeting with our case worker separately, and then one meeting together in our home.  We hope to have the home study complete in the next few weeks.

Once our home study is approved we will move on to the immigration process.  We are not exactly sure what this entails yet, but we do know it takes approximately 8 weeks to complete.  While we work through immigration we will simultaneously be creating our Ethiopian dossier...a packet of information that is sent on our behalf to the government there to review and approve.  If things go as planned the dossier will be approved just before the immigration process is wrapped up.

These three steps (home study, immigration, Ethiopian dossier) are the main items needed to get us to "waiting for referral" status.  We don't know exactly how long this will take, but we are shooting to have all of this done by May.  The average wait is then 6-12 months for a referral for a child in the age range we are requesting (12 months or younger...we can specify boy or girl, but have not yet decided:).  Once we receive and approve a referral (a match with a child) we are required to make two separate trips to Ethiopia.  The first trip is usually around 5-7 days and takes place about 2 months after receiving the referral.  The purpose of this trip is to attend a court hearing to make our adoption official.  We will then travel back home and expect to go back to Ethiopia approximately 2 months later for another 5-7 days for the Embassy appointment and to bring our child home!  I suppose if all of the time estimates are accurate our child will be home with us in the early 2012.  We just need to stay flexible though as the process can always change.

So now we are in between home studies and are focusing on completing necessary online training and learning about the country of Ethiopia and other Ethiopian adoption stories.

More to come soon!  Thanks for your interest and prayers!