Thank you to everyone who bid on this beautiful piece of art!
If you didn't win thank you for supporting our efforts to bring home a son from Ethiopia! Everyone is a special part of this journey!
If you are interested in having this piece for yourself click here to contact Laura Kelley at Pitter Patter Art. She is selling them for $100! She is a very talented local artist that does custom art, paintings, kids clothes, ect...... They too are adopting from Ethiopia so anything you purchase from her goes straight to their adoption fund.
A big thank you to Laura for making this piece for me to raffle and thanks again to all of you!!
They are saying that it will be mailed this Friday. Pray that this week it makes its way through Washington smoothly.
I just read the coolest post ever: This is the world's cutest child recently adopted from Ethiopia. He tells his family about Jesus visiting him in the orphanage. I will let you read it for yourself click here.
Please email me if you are interested in this process: firstname.lastname@example.org
We still have about $16,000 needed before we travel.
We are still coming up with fundraising ideas. Let me know if you have any good ideas too!
Thanks for all of your love and support!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for!
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples." Psalms 105:1
First is my good friend Laura Kelley and her husband Josh. You know Laura, the talented owner of Pitter Patter Art. They are just starting the process to bring home a baby boy from Ethiopia. Check out their blog here. If you haven't checked out the Pitter Patter Art blog you are missing out! Laura paints and hand makes great stuff!
Secondly, the Freemans. You may know Jonathan and Brea from their huge consignment sale Encores and More they run twice a year. They go to Long Hollow with us and are adopting again! This will be #5 for them! A very cool story. Check out their adoption updates here and look what they are doing today and tomorrow for their adoption fund!
Third is the Carman Family. They have two girls and are just starting the process to adopt 1 or 2 children from Ethiopia. This is their story.
We are always excited to journey with other families with our heart for Africa and the orphans there.
#1 please pray for these families as we know first hand that when you step out of the comfortable Christian life into dangerous surrender to God's will, persecution will start.
#2 each of these families are raising money to fund their adoptions. Check out each blog to see the clever things they are doing to bring home a precious orphan!
So what's next everyone ask.
1. America World will review everything.
2. They have a courier service take it from their office in Virginia to D.C. They review it and put their stamp of approval on it.
3. Then it gets mailed to Ethiopia.
4. Once its in Ethiopia we are officially on the waiting list! OH YEAH!!
5. Then we will probably wait 6 months or so for a referral. A referral is a picture, stats, info on a little boy 0-12 months.
We are praying for no big glitches and to travel to pick our son up in the summer!
I have people often call me or see me and say that they would like to adopt. I have a list of about 20 families that have shared that with me and I have a prayer list. I pray that if their calling is from God that He wouldn't give them peace until they followed through.
I am expecting our I-171 within two weeks! That would put our dossier in Ethiopia in December. What a wonderful birthday and Christmas gift that will be for us! Stay tuned.... I will post when we get it.
About 3 weeks ago we also received a letter from our agency stating that b/c of the economy they were increasing fees by about $4,000. I totally understand the increase and know that they really didn't have a choice. Whatever it takes!
It is interesting the encouragement God brings in a waiting time like this. Everywhere I go I seem to see colorful families. Today at the zoo I at least saw 4 families where I thought those kids are adopted. I ended up meeting one family that adopted a sibling group of 3 from Guatemala. It seems like if you get south of Nashville you see it everywhere. I love running into people where conversation always arises about our adoption. I think it is a great time to share the need of orphans and what God is doing personally with us through it. God is continuing to provide for us in some awesome ways.
Thanks for all of your love and support
"Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble." Psalm 41:1
This is a video from one of my favorite pastor/authors John Piper. He is so passionate!
The first half of this great sermon he talks about our adoption by God. The second half is about Christian's adopting.
My notes from the sermon:
1. We adopt for God's glory.
2. In adopting a child we are not to make much of the child but enable the child to make much of God.
God is to be center of our universe, NOT CHILDREN.
3. We model for children and others the mercy and justice mingled in wise proportions.
4. Adoption will bring stress, heartache and suffering just like our adoption through Christ cost God his son's life!
5. We adopt by faith of future grace.
We don't know what adoption will bring but we DO know that his mercies are new every morning!
I was so encouraged by this sermon and it made me really think about things in a new light. I would highly encourage you to watch it. You can watch all of John Piper's sermons at this link. This is one of my favorite places to go to for good sermons to listen to while I fold laundry.
I know that I cannot change the world by adopting just one child but think about it. That could be my son in a couple of years if I don't go.
Have you ever sang "Open the eyes of my heart"? I have and I've prayed that too! I think that God is opening the eyes of my heart. I know that the eyes of my heart have been opened to the orphan crisis but I want more than that. I want Jesus' vision and heart in everything. I want what breaks his heart to break mine! I want to handle and react to situations as he would.
Sometimes I feel him moving in me but I don't know what he is up. Which reminds me of a quote I have read lately. "Figuring out God's ways isn't any of my business. Following Him is." Kay Warren in Dangerous Surrender.
Dangerous Surrender is an incredible-life changing book that I am reading! I am only on Ch 3 but am loving it so far. From what I have heard about the book I am very excited! This is one of the books that was recommended to me and I ordered it having no clue what it was about. Books are recommended to me all of the time but I am not a big reader so I chose carefully. When I got the book in the mail, I literally had no clue what is was about or who it was by. I was pleasantly surprised its by Rick Warren's wife Kay Warren. Like I said I am only on chapter 3 but I know that God opened her eyes to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. After seeing it first hand she now considers herself "gloriously ruined". If you have ever been on a mission trip to a 3rd world country you know what she is talking about. You come home and all of the sudden your problems or stuff have little to no meaning. It's a great experience that I would encourage anyone who can to go!
Having two little ones I often envy those who can just go-pick up and go to Africa on a mission trip. As I read this book I am thinking I want to go now. Although I am so thankful that God got my attention at a time where I am able to adopt a child from Africa. I am so excited to go over and pick up him up. In her book Kay talks about ministering to the moms who have AIDS and their concern is not for themselves but for the children they will leave behind. I wonder if there is a mom right now upset not knowing if her child will have a future. I pray that Jesus comforts the birthmother of our son and that she has a peace knowing that he will be loved. Can you imagine the hurt that mother must feel?
Recently I have had the opportunity to share our story with alot of people. I hope that it will encourage people to step out of their comfort zone! I know so many comment on the high cost of adoption but I promise if it's God's will for you to adopt he will provide. I know things that discouraged me at first-our house was too small, we would have to buy another car, ect.... but when you see multiple kids sleeping on plywood beds with no covers, no shoes on their feet and little food to eat-You have to stop and think what a great life you could make for that child. Plus, the cost is overwhelming at first but after you look at the tax credit and grants available it really isn't that huge!
WAYS GOD HAS PROVIDED FOR US THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS
T-Shirt profit: $300
Clay's Bonus- Was twice what we expected
Income Tax Return: Was about 3 times what we normally get and/or expected.
"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:9 & 10
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." Isaiah 43:6
There is lots of stuff from several families.
2518 Grassland Shores Dr.
Send it to:
America World Adoption Agency
6723 Whittier Ave., Ste. 406
McLean, VA 22101
Include your name and address so they can mail you a receipt. You will receive a receipt from America World for tax purposes at the end of this fiscal year.
Please email me if you have any questions.
Thanks for keeping up with our progress and praying for us!
I can now start appling for grants so I will be busy with that for awhile.
We should have approval through our agency for tax-deductable donations really soon! I will post when that is available. I have some of you ask me about that.
He will have a name when we get his referral but we have the choice to change it. I think we will keep part of his name and change his first name to something easy to pronounce. So, no we don't have a name for him and probably won't name him until we get the referral and see what his name is. There is a slight chance that he could have a super cool name that we wouldn't change.
I love to talk baby names. I take the job of naming a child very seriously. I love to help people name there children too! I am always ready with a list for anyone who ask. Well, I have my list but my husband isn't into the baby name game like I am. So just for some fun blogging interaction here is what I am going to do.
In the comment section leave a baby name suggestion and I will put your name in a drawing for one of our adoption T's--if you already have one you can give it to someone else!! I will announce the winner on Friday! Make sure you put a way for me to contact you with your comment.
Side note: We hope to have our home study to USCIS by next week!
UPDATE: KP was our winner! Congrats!
We have continued to have amazing things happen financially! Just over the weekend we received $750 in donations. That is so huge and encouraging to us!
Click here to check out this post from one of my favorite blogs. This family just returned home with a little 4 year old boy from Ethiopia. He is beautiful!! They took pictures of other little boys in his orphanage that need families now. Can you help?
I AM DONE WITH OUR PAPERWORK! We are finished with home study visits and our social worker is now writing up our home study. We'll keep you posted!
I listened to a series from a church in Tulsa that has started an adoption ministry. The preacher's name is Dr. Alex Himaya. He is the founding and Senior Pastor of The Church at BattleCreek, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Church at BattleCreek is one of the fastest growing churches in America. It has grown from 120 to over 2,000 in attendance in its first four years of existence. He spoke at our church last year and he is awesome. He is passionate about the orphans of this world and their church is stepping up and doing something about it. The last I heard about this church was that 40 couples had adopted 70 children! That is so cool and I think that our church could step up and do the same!
I just listened to a couple of his sermons about adoption and orphans. Click here to listen. I took notes between folding laundry.
Here are some of the things I wrote down:
If you lined up all of the orphans of the world shoulder to shoulder they would rap around the equator of the earth 3 times! Seriously, visualize that!
James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
Why did God have James write this?
1. Orphans cannot repay you.
2. To teach us about the love of God. (orphans are often slow to love you back)
3. God is for adoption!
Right now there are 115, 000 children ready to be adopted in the US.
Since Clay and I have started this process we have had so many families say- "we would like to adopt one day" or "I have always thought I would adopt."
1/3 of Christians consider adopting but only 2% actually do. LETS CHANGE THIS NUMBER! IF GOD IS PRICKING YOUR HEART-PRAY FOR GUIDANCE AND TAKE ACTION!
I am so excited to change a little boys life through adoption! I see it as a privilege to get to experience something that is so close to our Father's heart.
I love this video and it forever changed the way I will raise my children.
Our home study at our house went great. Our social worker is super sweet and is full of great information and advice.
The only things we have left to do.
Clay has to write his autobiography before Tuesday.
We have two more home study visits(8/27 and 9/2)
We have to have proof of dog records! Ooopps I guess I need to take Oscar to the vet and get his shots. This requirement makes me laugh.
After our home study is complete we will then mail it to the government USCIS office for their approval for the I-171 "Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition" I don't fully understand it but it is a form that we will eagerly wait on before we can mail our dossier to Ethiopia. They said it could take up to 3 months but from what I have seen a couple of months is common.
So if our home study is done around the first of September and we wait for the I-171 for two months. That would mean our dossier should be in Ethiopia in November. The current wait time to get a referral for an infant boy is now 5-7 months. So April to July we could have a referral for an infant boy 0 to 12 months old. That isn't too far off! I am so excited.
Sunday night we went to an Ethiopian fellowship that our adoption agency plans each month. It was amazing to be able to meet people that are passionate about the Lord's heart for orphans. The people there either have children adopted from Ethiopia or are in the process like us! It was so encouraging!! I was so excited to get to meet and pray with people passionate about changing the orphan crisis in our world!
A couple of families there Sunday night were inspired to adopt through this precious family's video. They hosted our meeting last night and I got to love on Levi Jeremiah. He is beautiful!! They have an amazing story. Here is their blog. They are adopting two more children soon! Look what their biological children are doing to raise money to help bring home two more Ethiopian children. I love this story. Their children get it. They saw orphans in Ethiopia and their lives will never be the same! Oh how I long for the day that my children get it! I love to see children selling their possessions to help orphans.
Today we had our first home study meeting at Panera. It was great! I just handed in alot of paperwork and they asked us some questions. They were super sweet and very laid back. Our "in home" home study is tomorrow. Yeah! I am so excited b/c I want to get the home study done and sent to USCIS, ASAP! The following week we should be able to get the individual home study interviews scheduled. Things are moving! :)
I have always been told that our daughter had to be 2 years before we could mail our dossier to Ethiopia. Yesterday I found out that wasn't true and that we could mail it as soon as it was ready!!!!!!!!!!! I WAS ON CLOUD 9!!
Hopefully I can get it done quickly and get our son here earlier than we thought. I am pushing to have it done by November! It is out of my control b/c the gov't has to do alot but God is in control and we will have our son when the timing is right. I am just excited b/c I was worried we could get stuck in the ethiopian court closure next year but I don't think we will now! Yippy!
We did get fingerprints done today!
Today I got our homestudy paperwork. We will start the homestudy in 2 weeks. We will have 4 meetings with our social worker. There is a lot of paperwork to pull together for this. One thing is a 2-4 page autobiography for Clay and I to do. I got the instructions on it today and guess what, I did it today! Today we got some official looking papers from the government too. They are very vague and tell us to be at the USCIS office at a specific location, date and time. I am pretty sure we are just getting fingerprinted but it doesn't really say that anywhere.
Here is what I have done so far for the Dossier(pronounced dosea) in case you ever hear me say that. The dossier is all of the papers we will send over to Ethiopia-probably in January.
1. Application Letter
2. Ordered new Birth Certificates for the family
3. " " Marriage Cert.
4. Got physicals
5. Proof of insurance through Merck
6. Financial info
7. Proof of income/employment
8. 1 reference letter
9. FBI records/background reports
10. Sent off I 600 gov't form(don't ask I don't know)
11.Got my passport
12. I've finished 8-10 hours of online training! Clay has done 20 mins or so
1. Clay's passport
2. photo pages
3. I 171 approval
4. a finished homestudy report
5. 2 reference letters
Most of these papers have to be notarized so I need to do that too!
Things I have completed for the homestudy:
1. My autobiography(rough draft)
2. Income tax returns
3. Medical reports for my kids
4. copies of insurance cards
5. Police clearance
What I need to do or get:
1. Read 5 books of required reading.
2. along with lots of forms to fill out.
3. Clay's autobiography
With every check mark I put on something completed I know that I am one step closer to our boy or His boy.
Total expenses so far:
Application Fee $250.00
Online Training Fee $175.00
1st payment to AWAA $1,500.00
Tracy's Physical $15.00
Clay's Physical $15.00
USCIS for I600 $830.00
Marriage Cert and 2 birth certs $46.00
Passport Photo(2) $20.00
Passport Clay $100.00
Passport Tracy $100.00
Police Report-Tracy $29.00
Police Report-Clay $29.00
Anslee's Birth Cert $17.00
Post placement fees: $1050
God is still blowing us away with the money coming in. We have no worries regarding the financal end of this. We KNOW that he has called us here and he will provide!
Once our homestudy is complete we can start applying for grants and receiving tax deductable donations.
Thanks again for all of your love and support!
As promised I will answer some questions/issues that have been brought up.
"Will you have more children?" Clay and I have always desired to have a large family but we will let the Lord lead us in that. We are just taking one at a time for now. I would say yes we want more but we don't know what the future holds.
"How long will this process take?" The answer to this changes monthly. The paperwork says a year to two years. When I did my own research I found that right at 12 months people were about to travel and pick up their child. Many resent circumstances have slowed the process down. I am now expecting a referral(matching us with a child and sending us his info) any where from July to October. We would travel to Ethiopia a month to two months after that to pick the child up, we will be there for 1 week. The Ethiopian gov't closes down for 8 weeks late summer so we will probably be slowed down by that a little also.
"What does the Bible say about interracial marriage and interracial dating?"
There is nothing in the Bible that says it is wrong to date or marry a person of a different race.
There are a few incidental mentions of race in the Bible (e.g., that Ethiopians skin was different, Jeremiah 13:23), but there is nothing saying one race is superior to another. Moses was married to a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman (Numbers 12:1-16), and God was angry with Aaron and Miriam for criticizing that marriage.
The apostle Paul encouraged Christians not to marry unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14), but here again, the reason was religious, not racial.
Jesus and His apostles taught that we must respect and show compassion for all people of God's creation without regard to artificial distinctions like race and nationality. In His Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus told of a Samaritan man who was kind to a Jewish man even thought they were enemies of different religions, nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. At the end, Jesus tells us, "Go and do likewise."
The Apostle Paul banned all discrimination based on race, social status, etc. among
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NIV, Galatians 3:26-28)
A long history of racism, particularly in the U.S., has made some people believe there is something immoral about dating and marrying outside one's own race. In fact, interracial marriage was illegal in some states until 1967, when those laws were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A number of attempts were made to use the Bible to justify those bans on interracial marriage. Vague assertions were made that God intended for the races to remain separate. Some verses (Exodus 34:10-16, 2 Corinthians 6:14, etc.) were quoted in part or otherwise out of context in an attempt to show that God opposed interracial marriage. (source: www.twopaths.com)
Thanks for your questions and keep them coming!
I do want this blog to focus on our adoption but I have to post a picture of my angels. I am so privileged to be a stay at home mom and love every minute of it. This picture may show you a little bit of the fun we have here.
This is our son who will be 3 in September saying John 3:16. He is the sweetest child ever!
Our daughter sporting her Africa shirt!
So far we have been accepted into the Ethiopia program, started our online training and mailed in our first payments and agreements. This week we will hear from our appointed family coordinator on next steps. We will start our home study soon and will start "the paper chase".
The Garage Sale was HUGE! Thanks to my freshman girls, all of the people who donated and the Tony family! We made over $700! Yeah!
We have sold almost 20 shirts.
People have been so generous in giving! We have received about $1200 in donations.
Thank you, thank you for all of your support and generosity. Every penny counts!!
We have been asked many great questions about this process. Why Ethiopia, will the baby have a name, will you go to Africa to pick him up, will the child be healthy, why a boy, ect.... In the comment section you can leave your questions and we will answer them in a future post!
It will bless and convict!
It is wonderful. Here are some points the speaker made that spoke to us:
**Jesus is hungry in Africa, Jesus is hungry in Sudan.........b/c Jesus says whatever you do to the least of these you are doing to me. (Matthew 25:40)
**Who is going to sing all of those children lullabies and tuck them in at night?
**What are you doing with your spare bedroom?
After all of these things Clay and I were blown away by how personal God is in answering our prayers.
God began revealing his heart for the fatherless to us.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.” Psalm 82:3
"When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” Deut 24:19
"Do not move an ancient boundary stone, or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; He will take up their case against you.” Prov 23:10-11
We felt how much He cared for orphans and the command that we have to take care of them.
I began to research countries in Africa that adopt internationally as well as adoption agencies. We soon found out that our daughter had to be 18 months old before we could even turn in an application to start the process. So here it is almost July and we are turning in some intial paperwork to get the "paper pregnancy" started. Through my research I have found that it will be "on average" a year long process before we fly over to get him. The cost of an international adoption from Ethiopia ranges from $20,000-$30,000 which is much larger than us but not our God. God has confirmed over and over that we are to step out in faith and he will provide.
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
We are very encouraged and cannot wait to see what he does. I know that God has great plans for this child and we feel privileged to be able to do this.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
It has been interesting the reactions that we have already had in sharing our hearts with friends and family. Some negative and many positive. We understand many people have concerns but when you are called by God to do something you can't ignore it. We ask for your prayers as we proceed with this journey. We hope that our blog will open eyes to the needs of orphans from all over the world and encourage people to ask God what their role should be. I have been blessed by many blogs that have also adopted. I want this blog to be a resource for those who are interested in adopting and also allow people to see the adoption process step by step.
How can you help?
#1 Pray for us!!
Pray that we stay in the midst of God's will for our family and that we don't make a move without Him.
#2 Buy a T-Shirt
If you are interested in a shirt they will be $20. The shirt is a dark gray like in the picture. All of the profit will go straight to our adoption fund. On the right side bar of this blog there is a T Shirt order button through paypal. The shirts are on the press and I should have them within a week to a week and a half so you can go ahead and order now if you are interested!
We are so humbled that many people have asked about donating money towards our adoption. If you are interested in this there is also a donation button on the right side bar.
If you are interested in a tax deductable donation email me directly: email@example.com we will have to do this through our agency.
We will post as often as there is news.
Clay and Tracy
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