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Saturday, January 29, 2011

HAPPY HAPPY DAY!






FINALLY we received our FINAL homestudy report! Our caseworker quickly approved it and today we mailed in our I-600 form. Basically its the first step in having the good ole' US of A approve our adoption and bringing a foreign child into our country. After they receive the form (we're already obsessed with tracking it on fedex.com) we get mailed a fingerprint appointment and after the really really expensive fingerprinting experience, we wait for the USCIS (United States Child Immigration Services) to approve our adoption. THEN, we can send our paperwork to ETHIOPIA (well, after we get it all notarized and authenticated by the State of Utah). This all sounds like a lot, but we're actually quite far and these steps we hope will go smoothly and quickly. That is, if the US gov't is fast! :) This is all GOOD news. We hope to be paper pregnant ASAP! WE ARE SO CLOSE TO BEING DONE! Actually, we'll never be done, as our parenting journey is just beginning! :) But our part is nearing completion so that is reason to celebrate! The wait for an infant just increased from 4-6 months to 5-8, but that will give us time to save up the next $8000 that we'll need to accept our baby referral. Good news this week is that our agency matched 3 babies and 2 older children with families! A dear friend (you may remember her from a few posts back---I posted her POWERFUL prayer over me and my health) moved up to #3 on the list! :) WOO HOO! She's been waiting 6 months! Anyway, we're super excited that we've overcome such HUGE obstacles, and after 2 years, 2 weeks and 27 days, we're finally turning things over to the government which is a HUGE step! I cannot say enough good things about our agency and caseworker. She is AMAZING! She gets back to my emails immediately, and is just so unbelievably on top of things! I can't get over her grace, tender heart and support. She is just incredible! We have not one ill word to say about our agency. There is some child trafficking going on in Ethiopia which has slowed things down with other agencies and orphanages. But our agency is extending the length of time to referrals because they want to make sure that they are doing everything with as high of standards and morals as possible. They pray over individual families when they make their matches and make sure everything is legal. We believe God's hand is directing our agency as they push through the process for us and match children to families. We trust them implicitly. We HIGHLY recommend them! :)




Please join us in praying for SPEEDY finger print appointment, SPEEDY 171 acceptance form, and SPEEDY state authentication! I am not going to mention a date we're hoping to be DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) by, but I believe if we pray it will go faster! :) We have ALL the money for our initial payments and paperwork transport to Ethiopia! :)

GO GOD!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lee's 40th!!!

THE OLD FART HIMSELF (IN GOOFY GAG GLASSES)

We celebrated Lee's 40th in style! Of course I went a little nuts and decorated like crazy, sent lee a cookie bouquet, made a funny basket with 40 birthday gag gifts and we had wonderful guests come to town to celebrate! The weekend was filled with good food, beverage, skiing, and fun! I was blessed to have my bestie Amy come to town with her hubby Brett and hang out! We had some quality girl time, shopping and pulling out college scrapbooks and laughing, crying and bonding. Lee kept talking about the weekend after it happened as I did as well! He so enjoyed skiing and spending time with wonderful friends and his brother. Thank you Kevin, Amy and Brett for coming to visit! :) And thanks to all of you who texted, called and sent cards! He really felt special. :) It was the perfect way to celebrate for the "old fart."


Kevin with his new hoodie with thumb holes. :)


I made two ice cream cakes at Lee's request



The cake with all the "Over the Hill Candles" Not sure why Lee is holding the olives and water bottle :) Embarrassed?




Good test of the smoke detectors :)




After Skiing


BEAUTY


Amy and I on the ski lift





Me and my girl :)




The cake


Pretty ski spot!



The cookie bouquet



The basket and its contents: Koozie, white out for whiting out dirty undies, farting key chain, prunes, fiber pills, whoopie cushion, snuggie (from Tommy and Jane), ben gay, hearing aid and assorted other goodies. :)





What Lee came home from work to


Apres' Ski



Going shopping. :)



A couple of fun videos. The first is the big bday candle blow-out and the second is when Lee came home on his actual birthday. Be sure to scroll to the right of this blog to silence the music player (black box at the bottom of the right panel pics and words-Click the pause button and come back to click the play button on these videos)
















Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Ethiopia???

We have been asked over and over why we chose Ethiopia. Was there another country we considered? Well, uh, No. I have thought I'd adopt an Ethiopian orphan since I was 9 and when Lee and I discussed and prayed about the country we'd adopt from, there was NEVER a question. Other families agonize over picking the "right" country and well, that just wasn't an issue for us. :)
The facts and statistics sealed the deal.

This country has been rocked with turmoil and is poverty-stricken. This little video says it all.




So why Ethiopia?


BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE OUR CHILD IS...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ethiopian Celebration Night!!!

WOW. We had the opportunity to attend an Ethiopian Celebration Night. Our Ethio/Utah group sponsors events twice per year and we were fortunate to be able to attend. We arrived early to help set up and it was wonderful because Audio-Visual help was needed and my husband came to the rescue! We also had met some families I had been emailing with...It was wonderful to see rainbow families pouring in. There were over 100 people there! Some families with children adopted from other countries too. We met two amazing couples, with similar journeys with whom we have lots in common. Lee instantly hit it off with Brian, who was sporting MegaDeath tshirt and a Slayer belt. :) I bonded with his wife, and felt like we'd known each other for years! Several little girls latched onto me, and were hugging me and pretending to hold me captive in their jail. :) I mentioned to Lee that I wondered if I now wanted a girl more. :) I have a strong feeling we'll be back more than once to Ethiopia. *sigh* Even going the first time can't get here soon enough for me...


Can I tell you how happy I was at this event? The Ethiopian food, music and beautiful kids running around left me breathless. My hair stood up on end with the goosebumps I experienced. Several times my eyes welled up with tears. I felt at peace and at home. Even though we don't have our child yet, we belonged. I imagined that this might be a glimpse of heaven. Where color doesn't matter and everyone sings and dances to music praising God. To me, it was indeed a glimpse of heaven. AWWWWWW! What a good night! We were both on a high when we got home for sure. At next year's celebration we'll be with our little angel!


***To watch the videos, scroll over to the right of this page and you'll see the music player (right and bottom of all the pictures/words etc.) Click the pause button and then play on the videos I posted and you can hear.






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The night culminated in some of the girls doing authentic Ethiopian dances and the little kids joining them for "lessons." As we were leaving, Lee and I met the President of the Utah Ethiopian Association, and a beautiful lady who works for the Association. I believe the Ethiopian people are some of the most beautiful on earth. Their unique and strong features and creamy brown skin is enviable. Their camaraderie and pride in their children is evident. I can't wait to travel to a country full of these amazing individuals.




Lee all duded up in his new birthday shirt








Look at the little cutie inthe brown Africa shirt and the white skirt. Adorable! Loved her!





The one in the purple sweater is a SASS! She poked me with a light saber and took me captive. Her name is Margie and her twin sister is Brikelle. :)






Little cutie



See the little girl in the front wearing her authentic Ethiopian dress?








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A little update! Our homestudy is FINALLY done and in the final approval with our agency! We had to complete some additional forms for our social worker to use to complete the report but it was ok because we'll have to have it done anyway for our Dossier! And, good news, we have ALL the money we need to send it to Ethiopia!!! We have been so diligent and have saved about 90% of the money ourselves. :) Just waiting for the US government to send us the forms we need to be approved! C'MON UNCLE SAM!!!! :)

Every single day (though it hasn't happened as fast as we'd have liked) is one more day closer to our child. They have extended the match time from 4-6 months to 6-8 but we're ok with it. It will give us more time to save to travel twice to ET and more time to decorate the nursery! We are really enjoying our time together, to sleep in, go to movies, hang with our new friends and just be. Before the carpet gets ripped out from under us! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

CHRISTmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas! After a LONG drive to Kansas (and a failed attempt to make it one day, we opted to stay in a hotel in Colby, KS---Just couldn't do the 15 hours in one day!) :) We made it to Wichita on Christmas eve day. We so enjoyed spending lazy time with the family and watching Maddie enjoy her very first Christmas! We spent a great deal of time visiting Kylie's Wichita friends and even made a trip up north to visit family again. It was such a blessed time. On the way back we stopped in Colorado Springs and visited our best friends Karl and Amy and Matthew, Julie and Addy! We stayed up till 1:30 am gabbing! Daisie really enjoyed her visit to Grammie and Grampie's and the squirrels galore! Finally, she enjoyed frolicking with Emma, her very best doggie friend in the whole wide world!



We decided not to do Christmas cards this year and in turn to use the money to donate to our baby fund and give some funds to our neighbors who just lost their husband/dad.
We still did a little family photo shoot. Daisie was not amused! We can't wait to have professional photos done next year! There is an awesome website of photographers who donate FREE services for families who have adopted! We also can't wait to enjoy our best friend Amy's services (she took the Yellowstone photos previous posted!)

Adorable, beautiful Madison Grace! Her outfit cracks me up!


Ready for Christmas!



Let's do this!



Maddie enjoyed the paper and bows as much as the gifts!

Me feeding my Maddie-Punkin-Pie


Me and Maddie Cakes in our jammies!


Maddie in her new overalls and K-state shirt (at Aunt Joan's)

Maddie wearing the sleeper we got her and decorated with bows!


New toys!


Maddie's photo shoot in Montana

Playin on Christmas Day

Pretty pretty baby girl


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Daisie and Emma going crazy!!! (SCROLL TO THE RIGHT AND CLICK "PAUSE" ON THE MUSIC PLAYER TO HEAR VIDEO)