Saturday, November 26, 2005

CIS Approval!

Yesterday in the mail we received Form I-171H, our CIS approval letter!!! This is a big thing; basically it means that we can legally bring two orphans into our country! (It also will allow our children to get visas to leave their country.) We've been waiting and waiting (we were fingerprinted in August) and it finally came. It also verified that our advance processing application has been forwarded to the American embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At any rate, this is one more thing that is done and one step closer. We're so thankful there weren't any problems with our prints, etc. and that as far as our government is concerned, we're cleared to go!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Weekly update

No news to report, unfortunately. Except that the stroller came and it's awesome! We got it out of the box and pushed Anna around the house in it. It's great. Now we just need to fill it!

I also just sold something on ebay! My first time. We bought (well Kevin bought) this DVD of Ellen's standup comedy at Costco a couple of months ago. We watched it and it wasn't all that great, and we knew we wouldn't want to watch it again. SO I sold it on ebay! Hee, hee! I have to ship it out today (gotta get that positive feedback.....) Ebay is the embodiment of the expression "one man's junk is another man's treasure" or something like that.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we're spending it at Grandma and Grandpa Perruzzi's house (my parents). Last night as we were tucking Anna in, I asked Anna if she wanted to see "Moses", "Rose", (my parents' cats) and Grandma and Grandpa the next day. She immediately started saying "Momees" and trying to climb out of her bed, and then started to cry! Poor kid! I apparently got her all excited about the cats and Grandma and Grandpa and she wanted to see them right then! She cried herself to sleep! Too much Thanksgiving excitement I guess...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The List

Well Kevin called our agency AAI this morning to pay a fee we owed them, and spoke to the head of the agency. He asked where we were at on the "waiting list" so to speak, and found out that we are FIRST on the list of families wanting siblings!! We are number four overall although the three families ahead of us have all received referrals (for single babies), they just haven't formally accepted them yet. SO that is very, very good news!

She said that the orphanages they work with in Ethiopia know that AAI has a family ready to go for twins--meaning us! Very exciting. Even though it could still be awhile, it's good to know that we aren't behind someone else waiting for the same thing, and that all of the orphanages know that there is a family waiting to take twins.

One thing we are praying about is that the referral will include a little girl--we would really, really love Anna Beth to have a sister. So please be praying for that and that we won't have to wait too terribly long. This waiting stuff is hard!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

First purchase!

I just had to post and say that today we made our very first purchase for our babies from Ethiopia: a double stroller! For some reason this makes me really excited, I think because it makes it seem so much more real! We found a good deal online on the Peg Perego Aria 5 Twin MT Stroller in black. It's pretty stylin'--check it out!

Even though we don't even have a referral yet, we bought it anyway. :) Can't hurt to be prepared!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Quick update

I just heard today that things in Addis Ababa seem to have calmed down. The medical clinic has reopened, most of the taxis are running, the courts are reopening, and families have gotten new travel dates to collect their children. So for now, things seem to be getting back to normal. Let's pray they stay that way!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Political unrest in Ethiopia

Just wanted to share a little about what is currently going on in Ethiopia. Back in May elections were held and starting in June, the opposition party began saying that the election was rigged, corrupt, etc. These people have been staging protests. The police have been shooting and killing many of these protestors (prime minister Meles Zenawi and his government are responsible for having the police do this.) Meles' government is said to have little tolerance for opposition. At any rate, these violent demonstrations primarily took place in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa (where our agency's facility, as well as most of the NGO's, are located, as well as the American embassy, medical clinics, etc.)

The last couple of days have been peaceful, with no shootings. However the entire city has shut down due to the opposition party "organizing" a taxi strike (taxis are the main transportation there), in other words anyone operating their taxi or going somewhere in a car is risking being hurt by the opposition party.

What does this mean for adoption? Sadly, many of our agency's parents were scheduled to pick up their children this month, but that has been postponed for two weeks at least, because due to the fact that no one in Addis is going out of their home to go to work, the American embassy isn't able to offer travel visas to these kids and the kids are unable to go to the medical clinic to get their final medical (required for them to get the visa to leave.) Also, because the town is essentially shut down, that means that no deliveries are happening (to stores, etc.) so grocery stores that are open hardly have any food and our agency's facility is running low. No one knows yet what the next day will bring. Please pray that these political issues can be sorted out peacefully with no more lives lost and that life can return to normal for those living in Ethiopia.

I don't know if any of this affects us directly, but obviously it could affect our eventual travel to Ethiopia. Interestingly, just as quickly as these things crop up, they can calm down, at least for awhile (as evidenced by the last two days being extremely peaceful, and the fact that since June until now things have been calm.) Travel would be a long way off for us anyway being that we don't have a referral yet, but we are thankful that Ethiopia would allow us to just have the children escorted home, if unrest is still a problem then.

I find myself so thankful to live in a country where we (for the most part) have the freedom to disagree, voice our dissent, and walk down the street without fear of being arrested or killed. I know I take that for granted but have been reminded of our amazing freedoms these last few days.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Since beginning this adoption, we've noticed that people are pretty curious about what we're doing, why we're doing it, and when we're doing it. So I've decided to compile some of the more "frequently asked questions" and our answers to them.

  • Why are you adopting when you can have "your own" children? I think that many, many people associate adoption with infertility and are genuinely surprised when someone chooses to adopt that is able to have biological children. The simple answer to this question is, "because we really want to!":) The fact is that there are millions upon millions of orphaned children in the world. The Bible tells us in James that "true religion" is caring for the widows and the orphans. When God spoke these things to us through James I believe He meant more than simply giving them money occasionally. We have a roof over our heads and plenty of food, and we believe that is meant to be shared. God has given us hearts for growing our family and hearts for the "least of these" as the Bible says. With so many Christians world-wide I think it is tragic that so many orphans languish in these orphanages year after year. And finally, these children WILL be "our own." That is the amazing, beautiful thing about adoption.

  • Why are you adopting from Ethiopia when there are plenty of orphans here? A child orphaned in the United States of America, the most prosperous nation in the world, still has much more opportunity than a child orphaned in Ethiopia. Many kids in the foster system in our country also come from abusive homes with a lot of psychological damage, which we don't currently feel equipped to handle at this time. AND, there are currently 20 couples waiting to adopt for every infant born here, so there is not really a need for adoptive parents of infants in the U.S. right now. Some people are perhaps of the opinion that we should "take care of our own" first, however John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world...", and therefore so should we. Our government has systems in place to care for "our own," while many children orphaned in Africa live on the streets. Africa has a huge orphan crisis, the result of poverty, AIDS, and other poverty-related illnesses, and I believe that God is calling on us who have more than we need, wanting to use us to help those who are in need. We can be part of His plan if we let Him work through us.

  • Why Ethiopia? I guess the simple answer would be that God has drawn us to Africa. Ethiopia is a beautiful country with an amazing history and amazing, hard-working, beautiful people. We are also eligible to adopt from Ethiopia even though only one of us is 25 (many countries require both parents to be 25, some 30.)

  • What age/sex child are you getting? Our only age specification is that they would be younger than Anna (although we're approved for up to age 3.) We are waiting for a sibling set of two, which will most likely be twins, with at least one girl.

  • When will you get them? I have no idea. :) Right now we're waiting for a referral and all of our documents are in Ethiopia. We could get a referral tomorrow, or it could be another few months. (A referral means that they contact you with children meeting what you had specified.) We have been waiting four weeks and a day so far. :)

  • Do you have to travel to get them? No, but we're going to! Ethiopia is one of the few countries that allows a child to be escorted to the United States, but we look forward to traveling to Ethiopia and seeing their homeland and culture.

  • Isn't it like you're buying children? Nope. We pay certain fees but they are all for paperwork processing, our agency, legal fees for your case to go to court, travel/escort fees, etc. You do not pay any sort of fee for the child. It's a pretty complex process involving a lot of different people, governments, and languages!

  • Will they be healthy? Most likely, by third-world standards. That means that sometimes they will have things like lice, scabies, ringworm, etc. which are all treatable. We are approved for moderate special-needs but most likely our referral will be for healthy children. Sadly, most children born with special-needs in Africa don't survive due to lack of medical care. All children are tested for HIV, TB, and Hepatitus upon coming into care at the orphanage.

One month mark

Well as of yesterday it has been exactly four weeks that our documents have been in Ethiopia and that we have been waiting for a referral. I have to admit I am getting very impatient! It is hard to have to wait!

In the meantime, I have been doing a lot of reading on related topics:

  • I read a WONDERFUL book which I wholeheartedly recommend, "I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World: A Guide for Parents and Teachers." Written by a black psychologist with two children of her own, it is extremely practical and offers so many insights into how children perceive race, the different issues black children will face and how as parents we can minimize those issues.

  • "Codeword: Catherine," written by a missionary who lived in Ethiopia and helped the grandchildren of the late emperor Haile Sellassie escape out of Ethiopia during the revolution in the 70's. Sad but great story that offers a glimpse into the somewhat recent history of Ethiopia.

  • "Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing", by Dr. Wess Stafford, the president and CEO of Compassion, Intl. It's an amazing story that details his growing up in a remote tribe of Africa as the son of missionary parents and talks about why it's so important to help children in need, and why children need to be valued more than they are.

  • And I'm currently reading "Notes From the Hyena's Belly: An Ethiopian Boyhood" , which is also pretty interesting. It is an autobiography by Nega Mezlekia, an Ethiopian man who grew up in Jijiga, Ethiopia. It is definitely more of a cynical look at life in Ethiopia, as opposed to a memoir full of warm, happy memories. It also has a lot to say about the revolution of the 70's.

Blog Template by