Monday, August 29, 2005

Moving Forward!

Well our homestudy is finished! We are now just waiting on the social worker to write it up (should probably be a few weeks.) She is approving us for the adoption of two little ones from Ethiopia! We are so happy to have this behind us. It's been a draining day-and-a-half, but it went well and things should go smoothly from here. God gave us the words to say and continues to bless the adoption.

The homestudy itself was a little nerve-wracking. A social worker from Ventura (actually a licensed Marriage/Family Therapist who does this on the side) came to our home Sunday afternoon. We were both a little nervous and unsure what to expect. She toured our home and asked tons of questions. :) She interviewed the two of us together and then Kevin by himself. Then today she came and interviewed me by myself. She seemed to think we did well and was extremely impressed by little Anna, who was all smiles and her usual charming self. :) The social worker shared with us a little about some issues we may face in adoption and was overall very encouraging.

In a few weeks, once our homestudy is notarized and written up and sent to our adoption agency (AAI), we will mail our dossier to AAI (miraculously it's all ready to go) and that will be sent off to Ethiopia where it will be translated, etc. Once that happens, we'll be eligible for a referral and the waiting begins!! We hope the wait won't be long but you just never know. It could be pretty much instantaneous, or could take several months.

So that's where we're at. We're thanking God that everything is going so well so far!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Homestudy update!

We officially have a social worker! She is out of Ventura and called me today. Looks like we'll be doing our homestudy on Sunday and Monday! We are so happy as this is a lot sooner than we had thought it would be. It will consist of interviews at our home. Please pray that all goes well and that we survive. :) At the soonest we could be "approved" in a few weeks I would think, and at that point we would send our dossier to AAI. At the rate things seem to be going, it appears we could possibly be eligible for a referral within a few months!

We're very grateful that we don't have to travel at all for our homestudy (our social worker's mom lives in Santa Maria so that's why she'll be in town this weekend!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


So yesterday we got our fingerprints taken at the CIS (used to be INS) office down in Goleta. Quite the experience.

Anna and I picked up Kevin from work and went over to the office. The employees were extremely unfriendly (maybe trying to be professional?) and there was fully a bouncer-type who meets you at the door to find out what you want and to tell you what to do, etc. First he said we couldn't have a drink in there so Kevin had to take it outside. (They let Anna keep her milk thankfully!) The place was dead silent except for Anna babbling away. I was worried they were going to make her go outside! After filling out some paperwork and giving them our ID's they took our prints. Kevin's went fine but apparently my fingers are too small or something, so he kept having to do them over (they do them electronically). He was twisting my pinky finger and pulling it in ways it wasn't meant to bend trying to get enough of it on the screen, which was extremely painful and my whole hand ached for a long time afterwards!

Luckily we finally made it out of there. As a result of our visit Anna can now say the President's name. There in the office there's a picture of President Bush on the wall. Kevin was holding her and said, "That's President Bush" to which Anna responded, "Bush." So now she likes to say "Bush." Very cute.

All of that to say that on our end we are basically done with CIS. Now we just wait for approval from them (our homestudy has to be done before they can give final approval).

On the homestudy front, they said that they are in the process of assigning us a social worker. I don't know how long that will take.

Those are the only updates for now. It's so nice to have the fingerprinting behind us!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Michael W. Smith and Activism

I've been meaning to post something about this but until now have forgotten. Kevin and I attended a Michael W. Smith concert at the end of July at the Mid-State Fair (yes we're fans of his cheesy 1980's pop music!) We were thrilled to learn that he had joined forces with U2's Bono to launch the "ONE" campaign which is the latest effort by DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) to save Africa from the AIDS epidemic. This is what he says about his latest CD:

"From this record, I hope people are convicted about Africa and the AIDS crisis. I hope people's hearts are prepared to receive news about the devastation in Sudan. I hope they see the hurting person next to them and are moved to act. And I hope, more than anything, that people are encouraged, that they know God loves them and because of that there is in fact hope."

We were so excited to see how the Lord had touched his heart for Africa. He wrote a song with some convicting lyrics specifically about all of it, "We Can't Wait Any Longer." The song features the Ugandan Children's Choir singing in Swahili. Listen to the song if you get the chance. In the meantime here are the lyrics:

A silent call from a distant land
Crying for a helping hand, so
How long will it go on?
Ignorance and vanity
Supercede humanity, so
How long it will go on?
I want to know
How long will it go on?

We can't wait any longer
They're crying out, doesn't it matter?
We can't wait any longer
No, no.
Too long in a slumber
Shaking up, waking up now.
We can't any longer.
No, no.

Another child is laid to rest
Another day of hopelessness, so
How long it will go on?
And every day we're on the fence
Brings a
nother fatal consequence, so
How long will it go on?
I want to know
How long will it go on?

Yuko awezayo kusikia kilio chetu?
(Can somebody hear us crying out?)
Twaomba msaada wenu
(Somebody help us)

Aweko mwenye kuttuoka
(Somebody save us)

Aweko mwenye kutupa uhuru
(Somebody free us)

It is so amazing to see Christians stepping out and loving our brothers and sisters around the world, and fighting to help them. Just yesterday at church our pastor talked about how it's so easy living on the Central Coast of California to forget about the hurting people in the world and how we need to actually DO something to help. It was so neat to see that our pastor is passionate about our world and about reaching out to love others.

I think the fact that AIDS has become so politicized in our own country, coupled with our insulation from (and attitudes toward) the rest of the world, have caused many people (even Christians) to shy away from any activism related to the African AIDS crisis. Thank goodness that people like Bono and Michael W. Smith have taken the initiative to use their celebrity status to bring awareness to such important issues.

On a side note, the Ugandan Children's Choir, "Watoto," is worth checking out! A pastor and his wife started this ministry for orphans in Uganda. There is a huge center where these orphans come to live. Orphans from this facility make up the choir, which travels around the world performing and sharing how their lives have been transformed by Jesus. Very, very cool. They have a website,

Random update

Well on the adoption front all things are quiet. We completed/mailed off the last of our homestudy paperwork (hooray!) and so now I guess we're just waiting to hear back for an appointment for an interview with a social worker. We've compiled pretty much everything for our dossier (packet of documents to be mailed to Ethiopia) but have to wait until our homestudy is done and approved before we send it to AAI.

Sooo we're just waiting. It all seems so surreal right now. It's hard to believe that in a matter of months (maybe around 6?) we'll be going from being a one child family to probably having three little ones! I just can't wait to see Anna as a big sister playing with her new siblings from Ethiopia! It is exciting as well as I have come in contact with a woman in San Luis Obispo (30 minutes away from here and where we spend a lot of time) who with her husband is adopting two girls from Ethiopia, through our agency! The girls are 3 and 5 and they travel to pick them up in less than a month. We hope to get together at some point. I think it will be so neat for our Ethiopian children to know other children who share the same history and homeland.

At this point we are planning to adopt two babies from Ethiopia (don't know if we mentioned that yet.) Possibly twins or siblings or even unrelated children from the same orphanage. I heard that there are currently four sets of infant twins waiting to be adopted but I don't know if they will still be waiting once we're eligible for a referral. We stated that we want at least one to be a girl and that both would be younger than Anna. There is always a need for families to adopt sibling groups, as they're harder to place. I can't wait to find out who our children will be!

I guess that's all there is to report. :) Anna is currently loading up her John Deere gator (kind of like a tractor but a 4X2) with dolls and blankets and a paper clip, and is now trying to climb onto it herself. What a goofy little kid! :)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Eden and Addisalem

Well this isn't adoption news but I thought I'd share it anyway. :) I posted before about the organization over in Ethiopia, AHOPE, which is a home for HIV-positive orphans. Well, we just found out that we are sponsoring two little girls there (they are sisters), both HIV-positive and both have been orphaned. Their names are Eden (which means "paradise" and is of course from the Bible) and Addisalem (meaning "new world.") Eden is 4 years old and Addisalem is 9 years old. Their mother passed away only a few months ago from AIDS and these little girls just came into care at AHOPE. We'll be able to correspond with them through mail and I'm hoping we'll get to meet them when we travel to Ethiopia somewhere down the road to get our adopted children.

Eden and Addisalem are from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. They have three older siblings, the oldest who they have lost contact with and then two older brothers (ages 14 and 17.) The boys were forced to drop out of school as they couldn't afford it any longer and have been working as shoe-shiners. The people at AHOPE are looking into finding support for the boys so they can at least finish school. I'm not sure if the boys are HIV-positive as well.

AHOPE is an amazing place doing an amazing work. These children have not only lost their mothers and fathers, they are also facing life with a terminal illness. AHOPE provides them with a loving home, good nutrition, health care, and an education. They always need sponsors (each child requires 3-4 sponsors to cover the cost of care) so please prayerfully consider sponsoring one of God's precious children in Ethiopia!

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