Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I've always believed in Christmas magic. Seriously, I was that kid in 6th grade who knew in my head that there was no Santa, but my heart still thought that just maybe he was real. Last night we got a bit of our own Christmas magic. We have now received an official referral for our baby girl, Nana. I'll be posting pictures soon, but I want to make sure it's okay to do that first.

Friends, your prayers and support have meant the world to us through this process and now we need them even more. Now it's time to pray her home!

By the way...we went back and bought the doll.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've been trying to track down paperwork for our baby girl all week now. What a good Christmas gift it would have been to have received her paperwork before Christmas. I just made one last ditch effort phone call, only to get a voicemail stating that the office will be closed until after New Years. I felt God clearly tell me it was time to set it aside and enjoy Christmas with the three children I have with me now, and that He will be very near to our fourth child this Christmas.

I almost bought a baby doll today, but I stopped myself. Next year.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care. I remember very clearly hanging these last Christmas. I was so hopeful that in a year's time we would need to add a stocking or two. But, there are three again this year. Three beautiful boys live in this house, full of energy and life. Maybe next year we'll be able to add one or two.

A glimmer of hope today. Praying for more information to post here soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's the first week of Advent. The candle of hope has been lit at our dinner table each night this week. It's almost as though she is home with us, represented by the hope of this flame.
Last November my mom bought a ring for me. I wear it every day. It's a simple silver band with the word HOPE inscribed on it.
We continue to hope and pray. There is nothing else we can do right now.
May His Hope fill you and your family during this season of Advent.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I have been waiting about a month now to post our latest news. Every time I started to post an update here, I decided to wait because I thought we would have more information soon. But, the information we have been waiting for still has not come, and as our anxiety level builds I decided now would be a good time to post this information because we need some prayer support.

We are in the process of accepting the referral of a baby girl in Liberia. She is now about 9 months old. This is not at all what we expected when we began this process, yet at the same time it is very clear that God has guided us to this place. We are waiting now for more paperwork from Liberia regarding her medical exam and social history. We cannot finalize this referral until we receive this paperwork and we cannot move forward with this adoption until the referral is finalized. So, we wait. I feel completely powerless, because I am. I can do nothing right now to help this child that we have made room for in our hearts.

So, friends, we ask for your prayers. Please pray for our family as we wait, and more importantly, please pray for the baby girl we hope to bring home soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Mind of Christ

These lyrics seem to run through my head constantly right now.

To receive when others reject, to treat each one with true respect,
To shield when others throw stones, to be with one whos all alone,
To think and choose to see the very best,
To live like this is nothing less than to possess

The mind of Christ, my highest goal
The Lords delight, the desire of my soul
The Fathers heart will always guide my life
If I will have in me the mind of Christ

To build up when others tear down, to seek the lost until theyre found,
To give grace where its needed most, rejecting pride when others boast,
To sacrifice my all without regret,
To live like this is nothing less than to possess.

We hope to have more information to share with you all soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some good news

Eric just called from work with great news. OSU has changed their policies on adoption benefits. We had originally been told that would be receiving $4000 towards this adoption. We were very grateful for any help we would be receiving from Eric's employer, and $4000 is a lot of money. Now they are giving $5000 per CHILD. That means a grand total of $10,000! Eric called to talk with someone to make sure that he understood the policy, and they confirmed that we would be receiving this amount. This brings us much closer to our end goal. It is a reimbursement policy, so we will not receive the $10,000 until the girls are home. We will have to pay for our expenses up front, and then we will be reimbursed when this is all over.

God is good, all the time. He is working, even when I can't see His hand moving. He is with our girls today. He knows them. He created their inmost being. He knit them together in their mother's womb.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I received this email today from Diana regarding adoptions in Liberia. If you have lost track of where we are in the process, we are still waiting for our referral.

I spoke with Patty this morning regarding adoptions in Liberia. The legislature is out on a six-month intermission, during which time no new work will be done on the new law. However, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued an Executive Order to the Ministry of Health declaring that pending the new law, the Ministry of Health must continue processing adoptions promptly according to the existing law.

Following the issuance of the order, the Ministry resumed work on the cases of ten special needs children in the care of Acres of Hope, Liberia. Two of those cases are already completed. The Ministry stated that the remainder would be finished today, after which they will resume work on cases not involving special needs. The Deputy Minister of Health has been working very closely with Acres of Hope, Liberia staff as the representatives of the newly formed Liberian adoption providers’ association.

The orphanage has been able to accept four new babies as a few children have gone home, and we anticipate being able to make more new referrals in the coming months. At this time we expect that adoptions in Liberia will shortly resume their normal pace and more children will come home.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Somewhere on the west coast of Africa, a story has begun to unfold. It began last November when we simply said "yes" to God's call. Actually it began long before that, longer than I'm sure I even know. I know very little about this story, God has not chosen to reveal much to me yet. However, He has begun to make the pieces fit together. I've thought about God's hand moving in this story often today, as though I can almost see His hand resting on my daughters, guiding the steps of their birth families and directing this story as He sees fit.

I have so much more to post, both here and on my other journal. But, it will take time for these thoughts to develop. That's enough for today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rock Hill

I would like for you to take a minute to read here about the community of Rock Hill in Monrovia, Liberia. Acres of Hope just dedicated two new wells for the people in Rock Hill. Many people ask us why we are adopting internationally. These are the conditions in Liberia, I don't think we even like to think that some where in the world people live like this. Once you make your mind and your heart pay attention, I don't know how you could walk away. I can only imagine what our time in Liberia will be like and how it will change us forever.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just to keep you up to speed on the progress with adoptions in's another update we received. By the way, the hearing that was supposed to take place on September 8th did not take place.

12 September 2008

Dear Families and Friends of Acres of Hope,

I was able to speak with Patty a bit late last night and she was very positive about recent developments in Liberia , subsequent to the meeting with the President's representatives.

The legislature has reminded the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare that adoptions are to take place under the old law, which remains in effect until the new one is in place. They urged the Ministry to find a way to continue processing adoptions efficiently and without fraud or abuse.

The Ministry responded by attending to the case histories of the special needs children in the Acres of Hope Liberia Adoption Program. These cases are expected to move swiftly and smoothly from this point forward, with other cases following soon.

Please persevere in prayer for all of this. As always, updates will be published here as news is available.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The garage sale was a HUGE success! Thank you so much to everyone that donated items, we had so much stuff. About 20 families donated... you can only imagine what my parents garage, driveway and yard looked like. It was a lot of work, but worth it. The final count hasn't been made yet, but it looks like we brought in about $1,000! I can't thank my parents enough for hosting this fund raiser. They worked very hard to make this a success, and sacrificed the use of their garage for the last month! My mom has some pictures of the sale and the boy's lemonade stand. My favorite part of the weekend was when Trey found a bell in one of the boxes and took it to driveway with him. He started ringing it and shouting, "Who wants brownies, cookies or lemonade" at the top of his little lungs. No one could resist him.

Also, we have another update regarding the adoption legislation in Liberia...

3 September 2008

Dear Families and Friends of Acres of Hope,

It is with great anticipation that we announce that the final public hearing on the Liberian Child Act (which includes the new international adoption policies) is scheduled to be held this Monday, 8 September. This will be the final opportunity for the Liberian public to make their voices heard regarding the new Act prior to its ratification. It is incumbent on every one of us to pray for this historic meeting as we have already been praying for the Act. Please join in prayer that children will be truly protected by the Act, that Satan and his schemes to hurt them will crumble, that truth and ethics will be the victors, and that God’s will will be done in the final days of this process.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another update from Acres of Hope...

21 August 2008

Dear Families,

Like many aspects of this life, awaiting the revisions to the Liberian Child Act is both a trial and a blessing. Throughout every level of this organization, we share with you the burden of waiting and struggling to be patient. We realize this is a very difficult time and deeply appreciate your patience and your continued prayers. While this is trying on a personal level, it is also very exciting on a more global level. Acres of Hope Liberia is thrilled to be able to influence the new Child Act that not only impacts adoptions, but also protects every child who lives in Liberia. We truly are blessed to not only witness this moment in Liberia's history, but to be able to make a difference in the lives of all Liberian children.

The legislature is still in session and hard at work on the new policies contained in the Child Act, which contains the "who, what, and how" of international adoption. They are actively seeking the input of adoption professionals in Liberia, who have formed an association under the leadership of AoHL staff. The new association has been meeting regularly and working hard between meetings to formulate a proposal for the consideration of the House Committee. The proposal is influenced by the professional experience of the members as well as the policies of other nations. The Committee, which remains favorable toward international adoption, is also receiving input from the various Ministries that have an interest in children. They are planning more public hearings for the near future and things are certainly moving forward with the new policies. While the process is slow and laborious, we support what the legislature is doing and share the common goal that the new policies will stand strong for decades to come.

The Minister of Health and Social Welfare made the statement that Acres of Hope is the finest agency in the country the other day over the radio waves. As you can imagine, we were very pleased to hear this. We believe that it is because of this positive reputation and relationship that we have been able to continue our work during this period. Adoptions continue to trickle through the system while we all wait for the new policies. In July, there were 4 new referrals and 7 children have come home since the last update. Several more children will travel home in the next few weeks.

This is certainly a time to remain faithful to prayer. The life of every child in Liberia will be impacted by these policies. And each child who is eligible for adoption is being impacted by the current slow-down. In your prayers, I hope you will take to heart the following familiar words from 1 Peter 5:7-11: "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to his eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power is his forever and ever. Amen."

In addition to this important work in Liberia, Acres of Hope has been developing prospects for international adoptions from both Ghana and Congo. There is a small handful of families in the pioneering stage of the program in Ghana, which is looking very promising. We are developing new pages for this website regarding the Ghana program, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the program or know anyone who might be interested in a pioneering program, I'd be happy to receive an email or phone call. Patty is visiting Congo in the immediate future, so more information about that pioneering program will be forthcoming as well. Please be praying for these new programs, for the children and families and staff who are and will be involved.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Each time we get a note or a call from one of you saying you are praying diligently, it touches our hearts.

We ask for your prayers as well. For our family, for the children who will one day join our family, and for all of the children in Liberia. We continue to trust in God's perfect timing.

**by the way, these posts always say they are posted by Eric, but it's usually Kerri. I just post on his account. Just to clarify for our friend Ryan who started his comment with "Hey Man" Love you and miss you, friend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good News for Liberia

The Peace Corps return to more here.

Yesterday at Meijer a woman commented..."wow, three boys." I hear this a lot. I turned to ask a store associate a question and when I turned back around she said, "Are you pregnant with twins?" I immediately looked at my stomach, wondering if I should keep wearing those empire waist shirts. I told her I wasn't and I'm sure I had a confused look on my face. She explained that while I was asking the store associate my question, Trey had proudly told her that soon there would be five kids in our family. My boys are so excited to meet there sisters! It's really hard for them to understand this wait.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yesterday my mom and I started setting up for the garage sale. My brother and his wife were out on a walk and when they came back they told us they saw some furniture on the side of the road in good condition that we should get for the sale. So, we went and found it and loaded a couple of things into the van. In the middle of hauling a somewhat heavy entertainment center into the van my mom said, "I can't wait to tell the girls about how we were out trash picking to raise money to bring them home!" Seriously, we will have so many stories to share with them. So many people are helping us raise the money we need.

I called the Dispatch to place the ad for the garage sale. $48!!!! I think that's a little ridiculous. Now we really need sell a lot of stuff! Thanks for all of your donations. I think by the time we get it all together we're going to have a really huge garage sale.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Garage Sale Date

I posted the wrong date for the garage sale we are having. It's September 5th and 6th. So, if you have donations we'll need them before that weekend. If you love garage sales, like I do, and want to help...let me know. Thanks to the Snyder's for their great donations they brought this weekend! We really appreciate it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

September 12th and 13th we will be having a garage sale at my parent's house to raise money for the adoption. We would greatly appreciate any donations. If you have stuff around that you want to get rid of, we'll take it! If you would be able to help set up, that would be great too. My boys are planning a big lemonade sale as well for the 13th. They are really excited about raising money to help bring their sisters home. They both came to me last week and said they had decided that we should start a restaurant to raise money for the adoption. I tried to nicely explain why that might not work, while thanking them for their thoughtfulness at the same time. They've decided that a lemonade sale will be close enough.

Check back soon for details on a spaghetti dinner at our church in September as well. Our family at St. John's Episcopal have given us their full support and we are so thankful for their encouragement!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's been a long time since I've updated here. Not much to report, we continue to wait. We've been having a lot of fun this summer and I often what the girls would think if they were with us. Would COSI be incredibly overwhelming? Would they enjoy two weeks at the beach? How crowded will the cottage at the lake seem with five kids running around? What will they think about all of this water we play in and take for granted each day?

It's time to start working seriously again on the financial aspect of all of this. We were really moving along and had relaxed a little about the fundraising. However, we have recently found out the Eric's employer will be giving us half of what we had originally thought we would be receiving. Then we received a letter in the mail from Shaohannah's Hope that we would not be receiving a grant from them. God has still provided an amazing amount of money towards all of this, and we are so grateful. But, it's time to think and pray about how we are going to get the rest of the money we need together. I need to look into more grants, loans, and fundraisers this week. We would ask that you pray with us.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm posting from the's really nice to be on vacation. I wanted to take a minute to update with some exciting adoption news. We are officially moving forward, FINALLY! What that means is that we get to wait some more. We are now just waiting for something different. Instead of waiting for new adoption legislation in Liberia, we are now waiting for a referral of children. Some of you may have thought we were already waiting for a referral, but we had told the powers that be that we would not be accepting a referral until we, and the incredible staff at Lighthouse, felt comfortable with the direction the legislation process was taking in Liberia. That time has now come. I'm gearing up for a long wait, that way if for some reason this moves quickly I'll be pleasantly surprised!

Back to the beach...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another update from Acres...

6 June 2008

Dear Families and Friends,

I know you are all very anxious for the new legislation to be revealed. So are we! The legislators have now agreed to stay in session until the end of June to complete the temporary emergency policy. The staff and lawyers have been working hard on a new proposal that will go before the law-makers next week. Obviously, this proposal is pro-adoption and designed to facilitate the international adoption process. Until the new policy is passed, however, we will not have the details to share. Thank you for your continued prayers. As always, we will keep you informed as things develop.

As the situation begins to settle down in Liberia, Lighthouse thinks that we will be able to request a referral in a couple of weeks. Although having all of our paperwork completed would have made us referral ready awhile ago, we decide to not accept any referrals until the future of adoptions in Liberia became a little more clear. We are so ready to move forward in all of this, but at the same time we have wanted to make wise choices. So for now, we continue to wait and hope that we will hear more positive news soon.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Please continue to pray. This is the latest on the Acres website...

30 May 2008

Thank you again for all your prayers for the policy-writing process for Liberian intercountry adoptions. Patty has been heard on the radio two days in a row and has appeared in the newpapers twice. The staff have been meeting regularly with the Congress and aiding in the development of an emergency policy to bridge the gap until the next legislative session begins in the fall. The Congress has agreed to stay in session for at least one additional week into their customary break in order to stabilize this matter. A revised proposal (developed in cooperation with adoption professionals and a US lawyer and judge) will be submitted and discussed on Monday, with the hopes of passing it by the end of the week.

In addition, AOH(L) Executive Director Patty Anglin, AOHL Country Director Eric Sewa, and AOHL Operations Manager Gregory Coleman met with the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Thursday to donate financial aid to the victims of the May 12 earthquake in China. The donation is earmarked to meet the needs of children orphaned and/or displaced by the tragedy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My brother's wife is pregnant, 31 weeks now. We see her at least once a week and it's been so fun to watch her belly get bigger. We are so excited for them. At times, I admit, a touch of jealousy moves in...only because the end is in sight for them, it's predictable. She knows this baby will be here in July. I'm waiting. No answers. I'm getting used to it, but it doesn't mean it's always easy. I have no idea when this will end. I have no idea how long I'll be "paper pregnant."

Yesterday my aunt sent me a beautiful card. She didn't want me to think our girls are ever forgotten, to remind me that she is praying with me while I wait for the girls God has chosen for us.

My belly isn't growing this time around. There's no kicking inside as a constant reminder of the new life that will be joining our home. But, believe me when I say that not a minute goes by that I don't think about our new children and the life they will bring to our home.

So, we continue to wait and pray.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I received this email today from Lighthouse...

Dear Lighthouse Liberia families,

The following is a report from the Acres of Hope Staff:

Dear Families and Friends of AOH:

We want to thank you abundantly for your fervent prayers for the public hearings on adoption today in Liberia. The meeting lasted almost 7 hours and was filled with testimonies from people of every opinion. One of our missionaries, David Felando, testified as both an adoptee and an adoptive parent whose family of nine, including their two Liberian children, is now living and working in Liberia. Patty also testified as an adoptive mother of many, including two Liberians, and also as an adoption professional. In addition, several of our birth parents gave testimony from their hearts.

Overall, the Liberian staff feels very positive about the hearing. The Congress listened to both sides, but expressed support for international adoption. In fact, one Congressman closed the meeting with remarks that strongly supported the need for adoptions to continue.

No policy was decided today, but the staff will be meeting with Congress more next week to develop the policies. I do not have more details at this time, but as things unfold, we will keep you abreast.

We will share any further reports with you immediately.

Thank you for praying with us this week. Please continue to pray with us.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth are incredible advocates for international adoption. They have adopted three little girls from China and established Shaohannah's Hope, an organization that has provided adoption assistance to so many families. On Wednesday their five year old daughter, Maria, was killed in an accident at their home. Please read more here and pray for their family tonight.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Public hearings begin on May 23rd in Liberia. Lawmakers will be working on new adoption legislation that will greatly effect our adoption. Until these things are settled, out adoption is essentially on hold. Please see the letter below, posted on the Acres of Hope website.

Editor's Note: On May 14, we were informed that the date of the public hearings has been changed to May 23rd. )

13 May 2008

Dear Families and Friends of AOH:

We now know the date of the public hearings regarding adoptions in Liberia . They will be held on 21 May. Please pray for the legislators and other policy-makers as they prepare for these meetings. Also, please pray for those on the side of adoption to make their points clearly understood, to present the facts with both truth and passion, and to be confident in their role as a voice for those who have no voice. Pray that the new policies will guard the rights of families and children without placing undue strain on participants in the adoption triad (biological families, orphans, and adoptive parents). Pray that God's heart for orphans and for adoption will shine out clearly and that God will be glorified by each word spoken and by each one's attitude. Please also pray that the Father would send his angels to do battle with the forces of Satan that would threaten the very lives of the children of Liberia . Pray that darkness will gain no foothold here, that Christ will be the clear and total victor.

In addition, please continue to pray for families and children who are waiting. Keep the staff of AOHL uplifted during this difficult and stressful time.

Thank you. Without your support, we would crumble. With your prayers, the lives of orphans will be saved.

Please pray with our family. Thank you.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This morning my boys had waffles, hot off the waffle iron for breakfast. For lunch, vegan mac and cheese from scratch. Dessert options after lunch included daddy's amazing scones, mommy's brownies, or Aldi's strawberry frozen fruit bars. Guess what Riley said when I gave him those dessert options after he had already eaten these two delicious meals today? He said, "That's all?" You can only imagine the lengthy lecture that followed about what children in Liberia have to eat each day. Seriously, it is so important to me that they begin to understand now that the world is so much larger than their own little part of it that they see each day.

However, I was really impressed with a sentence Riley wrote on his own this week. He's in kindergarten and they are learning about sentence structure right now. They had to write a sentence using the word "give." He wrote, "It is good to give the money we don't need to people who need money." Both Riley and Trey received a lecture on greed last week while asking for toys they don't need right now. Maybe my lectures are at least slightly effective!

No adoption news...we're waiting.

Monday, April 28, 2008

As I have mentioned, we have some really great friends who have decided to support our family in this process. The adoption benefit was amazing! The total amount raised was close to 3000. We were humbled by the magnitude of the event. It was very evident that it took many hours of labor to coordinate and create such an evening. Many friends donated artwork, some donated food, and one friend donated a quilt. Some cool t-shirts were sold, and the music was outstanding. Kyle posted some video here and here.
Here are more pictures from the evening...

more photo's here

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We have some pretty great friends.
I can't figure out how to post this so that you can enlarge, but you can on Kristina's blog.
April 26th, 6pm

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Finished up a second batch of paperwork for Shaohannah's Hope grant.

Got an email today from Diana, our dossier is officially complete (finally!) and was mailed out today. That doesn't really mean much given the current situation in Liberia.

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord
to wait.

In the midst of the waiting, God has given us an overwhelming sense of peace. We still don't know exactly where this road will lead us, but we know right now He is telling us to simply wait.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Last night I emailed a good friend and ask her to pray for me. This was her response. I'm posting it here because maybe someone else needs to hear these words as well. I sure needed to today. Thank you friend for your love and prayers...

i have been praying for you guys and will continue throughout today.

it's so hard to remember God and his power sometimes.

in the midst of our daily demands that call our attention all
over the place...our interactions with all of creation and
trying to make sense of it all.

i want to encourage you to take a minute alone.
take as many deep breaths as needed and meditate
that this too--isn't too big for God.

He knows what's going on. He calls us unto Himself and
says not to worry--but to bring everything unto him. this
is where our soul finds rest. this is where he promises his
peace. He doesn't want your soul to be uneasy and anxious.

i honestly don't mean to be preaching at you--it comes from
a sincere hope that peace will be over your soul today.

i love you, kerri.
all will be well,
all will be well,
all will be well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Somewhere out there two little girls are waiting for a mommy and a daddy. I don't know where they are, or how I'm going to find them. Honestly, I'm not even sure what country they are in right now.

All I can do tonight is pray and try to sleep. I'm praying that God gives us clarity and wisdom. I'm praying that He tucks my girls in every night until I find them and bring them home.

Lord help us.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Just to clarify...

I know I just posted...but to clarify a bit about the current situation our family is dealing with, I'm posting again. Also, this is important for recording our story that we'll look back on later. I just got off the phone with Lighthouse. Yes, our dossier will soon be sent to Acres (after I get this a few missing documents, so frustrating). However, we are officially "on hold" as a Lighthouse family with Acres. My understanding of this is that we will not be receiving a referral until the new legislation is passed in Liberia. This safeguards us in many ways, especially financially. It was a good conversation and I felt like I was given clear, honest communication. Yes, we are optimistic, but we are cautious as well. We're moving forward in a way, but at the same time standing still and waiting. I was able to talk with them about our Plan B if the worst were to happen. After a really long week, I feel like I was just given some of the help I needed to establish boundaries that are wise for our family. Unfortunately, my mouth is full of canker sores and my jaw is killing me because I've been clenching my teeth all week.

That's the adoption update of the hour. My poor mother has literally gotten a phone call every hour this week!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Our neighbors have two girls and they know that we are trying to adopt two girls. They just brought me over a huge bag of clothes that their girls have out grown. Of course I had to go through the entire bag immediately. So cute! Girls clothes are so much more fun than boys clothes. I could picture our little girls running around our house in every piece I pulled out...trying so hard to be patient and wait.

We gave Diana the go ahead. Our dossier should be on it's way to Acres of Hope. Now we'll just see how the drama in Liberia plays out and hope for the best.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This fall Eric and I went to Cedar Point by ourselves. While in line for Top Thrill Dragster the roller coaster shut down. We were told we could stay in line, but they didn't know when the ride would start again. It started again a few minutes later, only to shut down three more times. The last time is shut down we were IN THE CAR, ready to ride. We waited three hours and wasted a lot of time. In the end, the ride was worth it. There really isn't anything to compare that ride to.

They've shut down our ride. We have to decide if we're willing to risk the wait. I know if we get to ride, it's going to be worth it. There's nothing in this world better than being a parent, nothing even compares to this kind of joy.

Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The final documents for our Shaohannah's Hope grant applicaton went out today. Please pray along with us as these documents are processed. Trey prayed over them for us before they went to the post office. I should have video taped it.

Trying to get in touch with Diana. She's been out of the country, but should be back in the States now. I can't seem to locate her. I still have my I-171H at my house. I was hoping it would have already found it's way to Acres of Hope.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's been a really good day, and it just got even better. I have had an amazing day with my family. Eric and I took the boys to the Franklin Park Conservatory and it was so relaxing and fun. Then we came home and colored our Easter eggs. Then the mail came, and guess what was inside my mailbox? MY I-171H APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was supposed to take at least 3 weeks, and I have heard of it taking up to 6 months. The Columbus office is on top of things! It's only been 10 days! If you can't tell, I'm extremely excited. This is the very last document needed to make us referral ready with Acres of Hope. Only a tiny bit of that excitement left when I called Diana to share the news and find out where to fax this to, and I received a voicemail that she was out of the country until the 27th. Oh well--at least I have the paper in my hands.

Other adoption news. We have completed the on-line portion of our grant application for Shaohannah's Hope. I have to get busy quickly on the rest of the documents they need mailed to them this week.

Finally, keep your calendars clear for April 26th. Our amazing friends are planning a benefit for the adoption. More details to come.

And it's March Madness time, a day really doesn't get much better than this.

Added later*************Okay, it can get a little better. Cowboy won $150 in the lottery today. That's a lot of money for an old homeless man. He was so excited!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eric and I have now been officially fingerprinted by the Department of Homeland Security. So weird.

Please pray that our fingerprints are processed quickly. It is supposed to take 3 to 6 weeks for us to get our approval. I have no idea why it would take that long. It was all done on this extremely high tech computer. It seems to me that it shouldn't take long for the computer to tell them if we are criminals or terrorists. Anyway, we are really at a stand still until we hear back from them.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Due to the Blizzard of 2008, our fingerprinting will now be on Wednesday at 8:00am.

I talked with Diana from Lighthouse on the phone this weekend. She has not mailed our dossier to Acres yet, and may not be able to until our I-171H approval. We talked about finances as well. We owe a fee right now, again, it is the EXACT amount that we have in our adoption savings account. We will not owe any more money until we receive the referral of our children. At that time we will owe a tremendous amount of money. I told Eric yesterday that I believe that when the time comes for us to pay for the completion of this adoption, the money will be there again.

I continue to prepare myself for a long referral wait. Who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. But, it seems very likely to me that this will be another time to learn more about waiting on God's timing.

That's all the adoption news I have for now...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fingerprinting this Saturday at 11:00am. The Columbus CIS office seems to be extremely quick and efficient based on our interaction with them over the last two weeks. That isn't always the case from what I've heard. So, I'm hopeful that we will finish all this up soon and have our I-171H approval quickly. We'll see. I don't know why I'm so anxious to finish up immigration, then we'll have nothing to do but wait some more!

It's 8:00 and I'm going to bed. I've decided I need the sleep.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Let's try this again...sent the I600-A BACK to immigrations today. Hopefully I won't hear from then again until they contact us about fingerprinting. I'm not writing all of this out for your reading pleasure, I'm aware that this is not the most exciting kind of information to read. I'm writing each step of this out so it is documented here for us to look back at and for our girls to read some day. I wrote often, either on this blog or in my journal, about each step of my pregnancies with the boys. In a completely different way, I'm pregnant again and I want to record each step of this "pregnancy" as well.

A few weeks ago we attended a service at the big Vineyard church with my in laws. During the praise and worship time the band started playing a song that has become very familiar to me over the last five years. I completely lost it. These are the words...

If You say go, we will go
If You say wait, we will wait
If You say step out on the water
And they say it can't be done
We'll fix our eyes on You and we will come

Your ways are higher than our ways
And the plans that You have laid
Are good and true
If You call us to the fire
You will not withdraw Your hand
We'll gaze into the flames and look for You

We first heard this song while we were planning our move to Columbus from Bowling Green. We had no idea what God had in store for us, all we knew was that He had said to leave EVERYTHING that was familiar and secure and to trust Him for all we needed. At times this song was all I had to cling to. I would listen to it repeatedly, sobbing while I was packing up our house. When we decided to move to Franklinton this song was again extremely important to me. God used it to remind me that it was my job to simply obey Him. And now, this adoption. It's crazy, I know that. I know a lot of people think it's crazy. We know it's what God has called us to. It's as simple as that. So, hearing this song again at Vineyard was extremely emotional for me. Tonight I had dinner with my in-laws and while Pop Pop had the boys in the bathroom my mother-in-law told me that she really believed that God used that song that night as another confirmation that we were doing the right thing. I really needed to hear that tonight.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

One step forward, two steps back. That's how it feels right now. The Columbus immigration office seems to think that I did not mail in enough money with my I600-A, even though I followed all the directions given to me very carefully. Lighthouse actually verified that I had done everything correctly and filed the paperwork for me. So frustrating to receive it all back in the mail today. So, there is nothing I can do about it until Monday. As if the wait for all this immigration stuff isn't long enough...we get to add a few weeks to our wait time now.

And yet, here's the most important thing I'm learning...God's timing is perfect. And, it's not always important for me to understand.

Tonight it was a joy to watch my little boys play together and I couldn't help but think what this house will look like with two more little people running around giggling.

Thank you so much to those of you who continue to give to help make this dream a reality. We have received such generous gifts, sometimes from people we don't know well at all. Thank you so much.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lighthouse emailed me tonight to let me know that our I600-A was sent out today. Diana is working on getting everything ready for Acres of Hope this week. It feels like we are moving forward a little now, which is a good feeling. Each small step forward makes all of this feel so much more real.

I have a few more thoughts, but it's too late to write them all out now. Maybe tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A message on my answering machine from Lighthouse today...
"We have found your dossier documents. They are safe and sound..."

You have no idea how nervous I have been. Do you realize how long it would have taken us to redo all of this if it had gotten lost in the mail? Yesterday the entire box was missing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Davis Family

Amber's Family

Here are the links that were on my last post. I wanted to provide them again so you can continue to pray for these families.

So, what happened to the rest of that post? I deleted it. It was full of fear...fear that was based on rumored information and someone else's experience. I've been learning a lot about myself over the past two weeks, and a lot of it hasn't been very pretty. But, it's been good to feel like God is teaching me even if the lessons to be learned aren't easy. Here's the main problem...I have serious control issues. I always have. I like to know what's coming. I like when things are predictable. I do everything in my power to make sure I have things running smoothly. These are things that help me feel safe and secure. So, everything about international adoption, especially international adoption from a third world country, goes against all that I find so comforting. When I was pregnant with my boys I felt somewhat like I was still in the driver's seat. I'm sure that this was a false sense of security, but I did what I could. I took my vitamins, went to all my doctor appointments, tried to eat right and rest as much as possible. I was reassured that things were fine every time I heard the baby's heart beat, felt him kick, or saw his little body on an ultrasound. This is all so different. Here's how I feel while I'm waiting this time I'm standing at the end of a pier and throwing a piece of my heart into the ocean. Then I'll have to run down to the shore and wait to see what the waves bring in. Hopefully this piece of my heart that I've been vulnerable with will return to me. But, I can't control the ocean. It has a mind of it's own. I can only hope. So, I came up with my only little solution to make me feel like maybe I could possibly control this process to some degree. I found the world of Liberian adoption blogs. I have read some beautiful stories of children finding forever homes. I've read many miracles and seen pictures of many smiling faces. At the same time I've read the horror stories. I've heard way too many rumors and read way too much gossip. Often this is not malicious or intentional, but it's still not first hand information from my agency. I felt like I could stay on top of things if I read about the experiences of others. I thought that if I read about a problem another family was experiencing I could avoid that problem for our family. Last week was a somewhat unstable week for adoption in Liberia and I read all about it, all the time. I spent way too much time reading and I was suddenly full of fear.

So, here's what it all boils down to...God has called our family and given us a heart for Liberia. He has asked me to respond with child like obedience and He expects me to trust Him. Our prayer and hope is that at the end of this journey two new children will be a part of our family. In the midst of it all, He has some serious lessons for me to learn about being a mother, a wife, and more importantly about being part of His Kingdom.

I've given up reading adoption blogs for Lent.

99% of our dossier has been mailed in! I have one last thing that I will hopefully get this week to send to Lighthouse. The I600-A has been mailed in with the money orders. We keep moving forward.

One last thing...if you are still reading. Please keep saving your change. It may seem like it doesn't really matter because it's such a small amount of money. It adds up! We have now rolled about $550! Thanks so much to everyone who has contributed. If you need a bottle, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I received a copy of our completed home study this week! It's on the way to Lighthouse. Now that we have a completed home study I can start applying for grants.

I'm SOOOOO ready to be done with this dossier. Some of the requirements have changed so we have to redo some things we thought were already done. My goal is to have it all in the mail next Monday.

Apply for grants, complete dossier, complete our I-600A...all of this should be tricky with one mommy and three little boys who are trying to get over the flu.

We have the PBS video "Liberia: America's Stepchild" at our house right now. I haven't watched it yet, but would love some company for a movie night if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We are so close to having a completed home study. All the paper work has been turned in. We were waiting on our child abuse clearances, but those have been completed now as well. Now we will begin working on the immigration phase of all of this, beginning with the filing of our I-600A. I have a lot of questions about this phase, but Diana (from Lighthouse) is at the orphanage in Haiti this week, so most of my questions will have to wait. We have completed about 90% of our dossier paperwork as well. Little by little we keep moving forward on this really long road to our girls in Liberia.

I was able to spend time with my mom on Monday night. She took me out to dinner and we went to a movie. At dinner she listened well as I poured out all of my emotions about the adoption. My time with her was really a gift because she believes in us and in this dream. I don't know how to put all of my thoughts and feelings about the adoption into words right now, except to say that this is all so huge and overwhelming. Some days thinking about these girls and where they are right now is more that I can handle. I worry a lot right now about if I can trust the people that are in control of this process. I have spent a lot of time praying this week, trying to listen to what God has to say to our family. Over and over again He has told me to simply trust Him. Thank you for your prayers for our family.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Acres of Hope

Conditions in the previous video are the norm in Liberia. The availability of Fresh water is extremely limited. Here is a link to an agency who helped the orphanage we are adopting through build a well to provide safe drinking water.

life water

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I (eric) found this video while studying a bit more about Liberia. I met the songwriter this past fall and the footgage is from somewhere just outside of Monrovia... which is where our future girls live.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's been another busy adoption week here.

--Riley and Trey had their adoption physicals. We love Dr. Turek and it's been great to talk with him about this adoption.

--Denise will be here tomorrow night at 6:30 for our final home study interview. I don't know how long it will take her after this interview to complete our home study. Hopefully not long because we need to a copy to Lighthouse quickly so that they can get moving on our immigration paper work.

--Saturday we have CPR training. Not my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning, but it has to be done.

--We had to read two books on adoption and international adoption for our home study. I finished them today. It was really good to spend time learning. When I was pregnant with Riley I read so much. That's the same way I feel now, like I have so much to learn about parenting these children. They will be my children in the same way that Riley, Trey and Evan are my children. But, they will come with their own set of issues as children who have been separated from their birth parents. If you are reading this and you have adopted internationally, please offer your suggestions on books to read. I'm ready to learn more.

In some ways I'm really ready to be done with this paperwork phase. But, in other ways I think it will be so much harder when all there is to do is wait. I don't wait well. I'm sure God has so much to teach me in this process.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The fire inspection is over. Mr. Inspector was intense, I'm not sure how many times I said "yes sir" in the twenty minutes he was here. I was a little surprised to learn that we are required to have monthly family fire drills until the children we adopt are 18 years old. We have two minutes to get all our kids to the library down the street. We're supposed to time it and record comments each month. I didn't argue with him, I just said "yes sir." He suggested that I do some of them in the middle of the night to practice evacuating the house while everyone is sleeping. I wonder if he has any children.

Our social worker just left. She was here for about two hours. She was extremely nice and gave us a lot of good advice. She talked with the kids first. They were SO well behaved and extremely cute. Riley answered all of her questions like a little man. He gave her direct eye contact the entire time and was very polite. Trey was adorable and did a great job answering her questions. Evan took some kind of super cute pill before she came and just sat by me on the couch saying "yeah" every time she asked one of the boys a question. He would throw his head back and laugh after each "yeah." Then Jen put the boys to bed and we talked with her about our thoughts on adoption, our values, and our parenting philosophy. It went really well. She did a walk through of the house before she left as well. She'll be calling us tomorrow to schedule our next interview and then she will complete our home study!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The first home study interview was supposed to be today, but it was moved to tomorrow night. Denise will be here around 6:30pm. If you know our family well, you know that this is not our best time of the day. But, it was the only option if we wanted to reschedule quickly, so we took it. We also have our fire inspection tomorrow morning as well. It will be a busy day. Some of the things we had to do to get ready for the fire inspection seem a little silly. Should fire ever happen to strike our home, we will be ready with fire evacuation plans posted on the wall. I guess this is just in case we forget where the nearest door or window is located in a moment of panic. But, we do now have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. As often as I let the kids bake and cook, it's probably a really good thing to have! We've been cleaning and baby proofing all weekend and all day today. Yes, I know this house should already be baby proof. It's not. I'm a completely irresponsible parent. Now all outlets have been covered and all cleaning supplies are behind locked cabinets. Should Denise want a snack, the refridgerator has been scrubbed. The kitchen cabinets have been polished, the bathrooms are shining, and the kids lockers and coat closets are nicely organized. I haven't cleaned the base boards, and probably won't have time! I know, I'm paranoid. I'll be so glad when this is over.

Other adoption updates...we are moving along quickly with our dossier and home study paper work. This would be a good time to thank Jen Leonard for her amazing help in this process. We would be a mess without her. She has our paper work so organized and keeps us right on track. We are on target to have it all done by the time Denise is finished preparing our home study. Eric and I have physicals this week and Riley and Trey have well childs next week. Evan is already done with his. Then Dr. Turek will have signed off on all of us and we'll be done with the medical paper work. I also had a good talk with Diana, our contact at Lighthouse. It was good to talk with her about my questions and concerns. Later this month we'll have infant CPR as well.

Finally, we are planning on rolling more coins. We'll probably work on it Friday night. Thank you all for donating your change. You would be amazed at how quickly it adds up. If you have been saving any for us, drop it off if you get a chance. We could also pick it up if that is easier for you. Then we can roll it and deposit it into our adoption savings account!

It's half time and the Bucks aren't looking very good...good night.