Monday, March 29, 2010

Oh For Grace To Trust Him More

We have finally received our USCIS approval!!! Even though we've been on a wait list, we technically have not been considered "paper ready." Meaning, if a referral had come through for us, we would not have been selected because we were still waiting on USCIS. Now, when it's time, we will be ready and ripe for a referral.

We also found out that the Adoption Tax Credit has been extended until the end of 2011. This credit will be a big financial help with our adoption but cannot be claimed until the kids are home. It had been set to expire December 31, 2010 which would have really put us in a race against time so to speak. We were afraid our adoption may not be finalized by then, which would have meant, no credit for us. So, now we just have to hope the kids are home by December 31, 2011.

There is an important meeting this week concerning the orphanages on hold in the Oromia region. Please join us in prayer for them to be re-opened! God's been teaching us a lot about trusting in Him. It so often seems the harder we try to trust the more we make a mess of things. Our prayer has become the song, Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. There's especially one line that has been such a comfort.
Oh for grace to trust Him more...Oh for grace to trust Him more...Oh for grace to trust Him more...
His grace...not by our strength or striving...but through His grace!

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 Trips It Is

We just found out as of March 1, that all adoptive families will now have to make 2 trips to Ethiopia. We knew this was a possibility, and in many ways, we are relieved that a definite decision has been made which we can now prepare for. We're very thankful that it happened at this point in the process for us. Some families literally have to switch gears for their first trip in a few days! Our first trip will be about 2-3 months after we receive our referral for 5-7 days. We will appear at the court hearing where we officially adopt them and the birth family gives them up. We'll then come home for 2-3 months and return for a 7-10 day trip where we appear for the embassy appt and then bring them home. I spoke with our case manager earlier this week and he assured me that these kinds of decisions are making adoption stronger and healthier in Ethiopia. Although it's so hard to predict when getting 2 children, he said that we can hope for a referral by September. That is if referrals continue at the slow pace they've been going. Keep praying for the four Oromia region orphanages to reopen! Here are the ups and downs as we see it for 2 trips. For us, we'd travel 3 times around the world to get them home if that's what it took!
Downsides
-Paying for 2 trips to Ethiopia instead of 1
-Taking time off work, twice
-Meeting our little ones only to leave them there for 2-3 months
Upsides
-Meeting any surviving birth family at the court hearing
-The children would come home on an IR-3 visa, meaning we wouldn't have to readopt them in the states
-We'll meet them earlier in the process and be there when they actually become "ours"
-We'll be able to take lots of pictures, give the children special things until we return, and meet their caregivers for the time we'll be apart
-2 trips to soak in the culture and country of our children

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We're All Waiting

Things are still moving very slowly in Ethiopia these days. They have upcoming elections in May, and it seems the focus of the country is there. We were told that they are currently finishing up referrals from families who went on the waiting list for infants in June. Please continue praying for the Oromia region to reopen. There are many families who received their referral late fall and finally got to see the face of their little one only to have the orphanages be put on hold. I can't imagine how difficult these past few months have been for them. There are also countless children with no place to go right now. I've been so focused lately on "our waiting" for these children and how hard it is. The other night Nate had the thought that our children are waiting for us as much as we're waiting for them. They may not even realize it yet. But, they're waiting, we're waiting, their birth parents are waiting, and really we're all waiting on God to bring restoration. It was a different perspective that helped us put our trust in Him.

A praise is that we were able to sell all of our puppies to wonderful loving homes! It's been a lot of hard work, but was so worth it. God made some really neat connections through our puppy buyers and many of them are now praying for us in their home churches. We had a successful fingerprinting appt on March 1st. They had to work hard to get a print from Nate's thumb he had surgery on, but they got it! Hopefully we'll receive our paperwork back sometime in April. Even though we are on a waiting list, completing this last step through USCIS is what makes you 100% ready to go in the eyes of Ethiopia. Some agencies will not put you on a waiting list until this step is complete. Our agency does allow you to go on the waiting list while you're in the process of completing this, assuming you'll have at least a few months of waiting.

We will be purchasing our puzzle soon and posting details about how you can get involved in our first official fundraiser! You may have noticed there is now music being played on our blog. We're a little limited with what we can add, but I hope you enjoy the songs! On Our Side has especially been meaningful as of late. Here's a photo after our fingerprinting appt. We celebrated with some $.99 McDonald's coffee:-).