Monday, November 28, 2011


The wait is over, people! This morning we got clearance from the US Embassy! Yes.... you heard me right... after 5 grueling months, we we finally got the green light to travel to get our boy!


it gets better...


we're going to be reunited with Arthur ON HIS BIRTHDAY!! ...his wonderful, magical birthday! PRAISE GOD!

I hope to be able to go into more detail about some very important things that happened while we waited and the fun little details of today, but I need to finish packing!

Thank you everyone who has followed our story! People we know about and people we don't know about! We have relied on prayers and encouragement and we are so so humbled that you care ;)

Monday, November 7, 2011


Our papers were successfully submitted last Wednesday! (so sorry for the delay updating the blog) This is huge!! We've been waiting for this for 10 weeks and it finally happened!

So what now?? Well, one of three things could happen now...

ONE: The US Embassy could review our file, maybe request a couple additional documents and then clear us for travel! If this happens, it's possible we could be in Ethiopia for Thanksgiving.

TWO: The US Embassy could review our file and determine that there is insufficient evidence to declare Arthur an orphan. In that case, our file would be sent to USCIS Nairobi for review. The staff from USCIS in Nairobi were expected to arrive in Addis Ababa today to start going through these cases. If this happens, it's possible we would be in Ethiopia for Christmas!

THREE: Nairobi reviews our file and wants to investigate our case. If they decide to do an investigation, they have 3 months to collect evidence. If this happens, it's possible that we could be in Ethiopia for Valentine's Day!

Of course, we prefer scenario number one, but we are mostly glad that things are moving again!!

Monday, October 31, 2011


I was trying to wait to share news until we were more certain that we actually had news... but then I just thought... "what the hay"... plus I've been thinking a lot about hope and what it really means to hope and, gosh... sometimes hope is really hard!

Last Wednesday I woke up and something happened... a fire grew in me... I will call it the great Mama fire. Something hit me and I thought... ENOUGH! We've got to do something!! All of the sudden I was ready to call a lawyer, go to Ethiopia, bust through those court doors, whatever... I was hurt and confused and I had hit my limit... I was mad! I emailed our consultant and asked a series of questions and made demands and tried really hard not to direct my anger towards her...

The timing of the "mom fire" became quite humorous when our consultant emailed us back informing us that the judge had fixed our decree. "umm... oh ok." ha!

So this is really exciting news right? But for some reason, we hesitated to celebrate. It probably had something to do with the emotions of the day, or the fact that the email read "it appears that the judge has fixed your documents", but it was mostly the fact that cynicism had crept in... YUCK! Week after week of hoping only to hear nothing new will wear you down. It will make you feel foolish. It will crush your sprit and then you will decide to be cynical instead. Will you pray that we can dare to hope again?


that our agency will collect and translate our documents so that they can be submitted this week

that the US Embassy will accept our case this time

that our case doesn't have to go to Nairobi

that even if it does go to Nairobi it wont be a huge setback

that we will get to reunite with Arthur before his first birthday

that we will get to have Christmas with Arthur

Thursday, October 27, 2011


For a while now, I've felt like I needed to start something. Something creative that will keep me busy and something that can contain some of this anxious energy. I've had several ideas, but never was inspired enough to start. One of the ideas was a series of animal illustrations, but there wasn't a whole lot of substance to that idea... until... again my mom helped me to make this idea more complete. More interesting. 

My mom and I love looking for meaning in God's creation. We will often talk about animals that cross our path and what they mean. It's just cool to stop and think about how every different animal has unique characteristics.

So, the project! I will draw a series of animals. I'll draw animals as they cross our path. I'm starting with a beaver. My mom spotted this one a few weeks ago. The beaver is a builder, seeking alternatives to solve problems. Pretty creative creature!

What animals are crossing your path?

p.s. the series will probably move over to my design blog
Check in there if you want to see more animals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


First of all, Aaron and I are both from Lubbock, Texas though we never really lived life there together. Our dating and married life has been lived in Kansas City and we LOVE that!  We love Kansas City! We've been here for about five years and it's been a great adventure for us! We have loved exploring a new city together, making decisions on our own and growing into who we are as a couple! We started careers here, we bought our first home here, we dreamed BIG dreams here... I was baptized here, and the list goes on!

Kansas City is a huge part of our story and has a special place in our hearts, but the voice calling us home could not be quieted... especially when we thought about starting a family!

We talked about moving back to Texas a lot over the years and knew we wanted to be closer to family at some point. We weren't really in a hurry... every once in a while we would see what jobs were out there and maybe network a little. We knew it would take a pretty big opportunity to get us to seriously think about moving.

Back in April... Aaron started talking with the associate pastor at Kingwood United Methodist church about a new service he had started there and the opportunity to bring in another worship leader. Currently the church is pretty traditional, but this new service has attracted some young families and they're hoping to grow that service.

It definitely caught our attention, but... Houston? Really? Houston was never really on our radar and actually before all this came about I had never even been there (seeing as how it's 9 hours from Lubbock! Ha!) In May the church flew us both out for an interview and to be honest... we struggled to be open minded about it. We knew we needed to be, we just didn't think this was "it". But the more we talked, the more we really began to see that we had a lot of similar ideas about what this service could look like. We also started to see what this opportunity could mean for our family. I would have the opportunity to work from home part time and be with Arthur! We would be close to family... we would no longer have to endure freezing cold, snowy, depressing winters ;) but seriously... winters here are horrible and I will not miss them.

After a lot of thought and months of going back and forth... we decided to take the plunge!

So... what does this mean for our adoption? Well, to be honest... the timing of this move has the potential to mean BIG MESS as far as our adoption goes. Our house has been on the market for a couple weeks now. If it sells, we will be relieved knowing that we can go to Houston and not have two house payments! BUT if it doesn't sell and we are still the owners when Arthur comes home... it will mean a little less money and a lot less paperwork. So, I guess we're ok either way... I honestly lean more toward the house selling, but who knows what God is going to do! We'll have to wait and see... we're getting a little tired of "wait and see"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Today I woke up confused, angry, and a little hopeless. I just felt like this was all just a cruel joke and that God was withholding Arthur until we learned what He wanted us to learn. But what?? What else God? I don't know how to let go more than I already have! What other work needs to be done?? In a conversation with my mom this morning she said...

"Go cover yourself in light and pray"

I grumpily said to myself "light? what light? It's a cloudy, gloomy day." I fought her direction for about an hour and then finally got up from my desk and went to my car and began my quest to find light... as soon as I exited the garage I saw a lone street light on in an abandoned parking lot! (I'm a very literal person, if you hadn't figured that out). I parked the car, grabbed my bible and sat in that vacant parking lot  under the light and began to pray.

Ok what I'm about to say is a little cheesy, but this is just what happened... and hey, I was desperate! I opened my bible and as I was praying the wind blew the pages to Jeremiah 29... hmmm. I sat there a little longer and then realized that I really needed to do this with Aaron, so I marked the page and headed home.

We read through a few chapters and then talked through what we were feeling. Some things became VERY clear! First of all, a lot of scripture about waiting points to Christ's coming. I found myself reading along feeling encouraged and then realizing "oh, the prize in the end is Christ? not Arthur?" We read about how Jeremiah was called to purchase land even though it was about to be handed over to the Babylonians. He held on to God's promise of restoration and praised Him, believing there was "nothing too hard for Him". There were so many things that stood out, but the one that Aaron and I want to hold onto in this time is Jeremiah 30:40 & 41

 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. 41 I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land.

It's difficult to even sum up what God did for us today through this strange little bunny trail, but I think we realized that we were the ones withholding. We have been withholding our worship, saving it for the victory that He will bring in the end, but how did we forget?... the victory has already been won! Arthur is not the victory, Christ in us is the victory and we have been reminded that our worship to Him should not cease in this time of waiting!

God has called us to trust in his promise to us... and that even in the midst of the "babylonian defeat", he has promised us good. We are thanking Him for today for calling us into this incredible journey. We are thanking Him for all that He has done already! We are thanking Him for the "path by which we came" (Jeremiah 31:21) We are thanking Him that we can now see the the beauty of the sun on a cloudy day...

Monday, October 17, 2011


Thank you Nathan and Michelle for capturing this sweet video of our boys!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


...It's time to get real! I just want you guys to know that things are not looking good. Five families (that we know of) now have gotten news from the US Embassy that there is insufficient evidence to move forward with their adoption at this time. The cases are being forwarded to another government entity and the families were told that they will be notified again in 1-2 months after the case has been reviewed. This is happening across all agencies. I keep reminding myself that while this is a crazy mess... the ultimate goal is to insure that no unethical adoptions go through the system! And if any of these kids were put into this system by unethical means, I pray that they are uncovered and that those children can go back to their birth families!

We still have not been submitted to the US Embassy, but we definitely have common links with some of the families who are getting this news, so I would guess that we are in the same boat. And somehow the Lord is giving me tremendous strength and peace about it! 

I feel like my trust has grown and it goes so much deeper now! Before I would set limits to my trust... I would set out timelines for how long my trust would last. Week after week I would pray and hope that good news would come and if it didn't, I felt like God had not been faithful... but really it was just that my faith and trust was conditional on a timeline. I thought that one more week was all I could bear. I'm finding out that my trust can go beyond a timeline! What an amazing thing God has done in my heart. No matter how long this takes or how it ends, this will remain true...

Monday, October 10, 2011


Finally! a smile on that boy's face!! He just needed a little encouragement from a friend. There are so many reasons I love this photo... I mean the BATMAN shirt alone is awesome!! But, I just love how it illustrates that they are in this together just like their mothers and fathers all the way across the world. When things started getting crazy, all of the families started reaching out to each other... mostly on facebook. I started to realize that it wasn't just us stuck in this whole mess! We started stalking each other for bits and pieces of news. We encouraged each other and prayed for each other. I decided to start a group for us and while we've had our moments of gloom and doom and bringing each other down... it's mostly been a place we can go to be lifted up. I really don't know what I would do without these other families! They are the only ones who really know how Aaron and I feel!

There are 19 of us who have passed court and are in different stages with the U.S. Embassy. And after almost 7 weeks, only 5 of the 19 have been cleared for travel to pick up their kids. The bond that has been created between these families is something that would  not have happened if our adoptions went smoothly. I'm starting to see huge blessing in this time of pain and waiting. We are already starting to plan reunions for the group and I LOVE the idea that these kids get to have relationships with each other throughout their lives. It's a huge part of their history that could have been easily lost.

I also had to share that Arthur just turned 10 months and he is standing all by himself!! Such a big boy!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Last Friday Aaron accepted a job in Kingwood, Texas. We're really excited about this new adventure. It's going to be great to get back to Texas and be close to family again. It's also going to be so so sad for us to leave this amazing city that has become home to us. I have a lot more to say about how this came to be and what our timeline looks like.  Stay tuned...


Here are the newest pictures of our sad little, serious little boy. I am ready to get an updated picture of that boy smiling! Why so serious, Arthur?? You need to lighten up little dude! Maybe it's because they put him in a little girls outfit. He. Is. Pissed.

Last week we were filled with hope because we knew our papers were traveling back to court to be fixed. We thought for sure they would be fixed and we would finally be submitted!! Well Friday came and went without a lot of movement. So once again we put all of our hopes into the next week... this week. And now it's already Wednesday. How long does it take to sign a damn piece of paper?? Do it NOW, please??

The part that is especially hard for me to think about now is... even if we do get submitted this week, it will likely be another 6 weeks before we get to get Arthur. We've been watching the families who have been submitted and it seems to be taking anywhere from 4-8 weeks! BAH!! I'm so done with this whole thing. It's just the worst. Please pray for us as this wait is sometimes just unbearable. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Not what I was hoping for, but check out the time on that email! Just a little wink from God. Thanks!

(Sorry, I should have explained better. I just got so excited. Blogger shows that I posted the 62 hour post at 8:21 PM on Monday. I got this email from our consultant exactly 62 hours later... down to the minute! ha! I just feel like it's God saying "I haven't forgotten you" So encouraged today.) 

Monday, September 26, 2011


Today Kelsey left this comment on our blog...

... and we thought, "why not?" Let's give it a shot. Let's countdown and see what happens 62 hours from now! Ready... go! Can you tell we're getting to that delirious part of our wait? It's been 3 months since we saw our son! Ridiculous!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Since that last post, so many people reached out to me with encouragement and sweet words of advice and it has been oh so helpful. Most days I can manage, but then there are those days when I just don't think I can bear it another minute. I'm feeling much better now and excited to start a new week. I'm pretty sure Peg is working on getting us some new photos... AND guess what?! The judge is back and her staff must be up and running because she has agreed to look at our papers (and hopefully fix our decree) this week! By the looks of this fortune cookie Aaron got last week... it could be Monday :)

Also, there is a very big meeting happening at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia this week! Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children's Issues at the U.S. Department of State, and Joanna Ruppel, Chief of International Operations for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Serviceswill all be there to discuss inter-country adoption in Africa and specifically in Ethiopia. They will also discuss Embassy procedures and answer questions.

I'm hoping this meeting will clear some things up so that we can see clearance for a lot of families. There's a group of about 20 of us from Children's Hope who are just stuck right now. Only 3 families have received clearance!

The good news is, our agency has been able to see what the Embassy wants from the families cases that were submitted a few weeks ago. Now they are ready with the documents as soon as the Embassy requests them. Hopefully that means that by the time we actually get submitted things will move along a little quicker. 

Here's to a new week! I feel like it's going to be an exciting one!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


About a month ago, everything was running so smoothly and we were on track to bring Arthur home around the first week of September... (at the latest!) Aaron and I were busy putting the finishing touches on the room, I was making plans for maternity leave, we met with pediatricians, even had Arthur's bag packed! It was such a joyful time as we felt Arthur's homecoming so near! We would sit in his room and read books and look at all his things. We were ready! Our hearts were readying for this change. We were becoming parents.

When we got the news that we might have a considerably longer wait, it was such a shock! It took time for us to adjust to this change. We had already imagined so many things with this nine month old boy. I was all caught up on "What to Expect" in month nine. We pictured one last summer swim with our boy. We were picking out his Halloween costume.

For a while I just couldn't believe it. I kept expecting good news, only to be disappointed again. Day after day, that became too painful. Keeping my heart fully open to our son and feeling the same pain every day was so hard. I wasn't getting my work done. I was forcing joy.

Slowly, I closed myself off to that pain and disappointment. I stopped going into his room. I stopped hoping for and imagining a homecoming. It was just too hard to keep going there.

I had lunch with a friend, neighbor and mother and I shared how I was feeling with her... she also let me have it! Saying,

"You're shutting off to your son! That's not ok!"

Wow! I hate that this is happening and I honestly don't know how to climb out of this pit. I feel so selfish and cowardly and cold for doing this, but right now it's the only way I function :(

I know there are so many adoptive families who have done this. Gone through this wait after meeting your child. How did you do it?? 

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A few weeks ago, the Ethiopian adoption community caught wind of this Buy One Get One Free promotion on Ethiopian Air. News of this promotion spread just as all of the Ethiopian Adoptive parents were starting to go a little crazy and were desperate to see their kids. NOT a good combo!

How gracious of God to send the travel angels down and give us this deal...

I mean, how can we really put a price on seeing our son?

We'll never regret it. This boy really needs his mama!

Better yet, we'll just go over there and wait it out! 

I gotta see him! 

I know it sounds crazy, but we just HAVE to go!

So many thoughts spinning through my head. So many people generously offering advice, financial support...  And it's true that we are both fortunate to have flexible jobs. We're fortunate that friends and family want to give us money to help ease this burden for us. But deep down I never really felt peace about going. Going felt more like a panicked, dramatic and desperate response. (Well, the panic probably had to do with the fact that you had a window of 4 days to book your flight.)

The more we walked down that bright and shiny road with blinking lights and signs that said "Go see your son", the more we found doors closing and a path that really led nowhere.

Our travel agent attempted to explain all these extra fees that i didn't understand and then finally compared the BOGO flight to a regular flight on another airline without a promotion.... The BOGO flights were only $70 cheaper!! AND they had us staying in D.C. overnight...

We spoke with the agency about our idea to come visit. They were so helpful and gave us a lot of information, but she couldn't really guarantee that we would be able to spend a lot of time with our boy. Their staff at the transition home is so busy!

Then my mom really let me have it when she said... "You know, this is really more for you and Aaron. Arthur wont remember this." Ouch! That hurt to hear,  but she's right! Don't you love how moms can just give it to you straight.

No, it's not ideal for Arthur to be in the transition home for this long, but he's healthy and the staff there are so sweet and loving towards him This is not a life and death situation. And even with help, we would still be spending everything that we have saved up for our second trip. If we are going to spend more money I think it would be more wise to spend it on a longer leave from work.

This journey is tough, but I want to believe that God is bigger than all of this... bigger than the distance. Bigger than 2 more months apart. Bigger than the demands of the US Embassy. I know that this is the path he has us on and that all will be redeemed in the end.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


new photo :)
It was an uncomfortable thing for me to invite people into our home and pray with us. The day after I requested prayer (from almost every person I know) I felt so weak, so selfish. I know so many people who are going through things that just as or maybe even more difficult than this and I wished that I was stronger. A couple of friends encouraged me that day and told me that they really admired the way we called on our community and hoped that our example would lead more people to do the same in tough times. Those words gave me a new excitement leading in to our night of prayer. We had no idea what to expect, but we went ahead and gathered all the chairs we could find and fit them in our living room. When we began to pray I realized that EVERY CHAIR was taken! It was such an amazing night filled with beautiful words from our friends. It was perfect. Every prayer was so unique. Each one spoke about our Father's heart for us and our family. He's walking alongside us,  sharing in our pain.  

Kelsey prayed through the story in Exodus about God leading the Israelites out of Egypt. She thanked the Lord for the path He chose for them. It was not the shortest path and the Israelites didn't understand. They panicked and doubted, but in the end it was clear that there was great purpose in that path. God did not forget them. God knew the best way!  

On Thursday we received the news that we would in fact have to wait for the courts to reopen. This was definitely hard news to take, but I'm trusting that there is a great purpose in this path that we can't see. So, the big question is WHEN DO THE COURTS REOPEN? Well... the courts could reopen anywhere between the end of September and the end of October. We probably wont know for sure until about a week before they open. Today we heard that the judge is back in Addis now and just might be back in the office next week. Oh, I hope!!!!  

I knew a lot of people weren't going to be able to be there in person, and I decided to write down the name of every person who committed to praying on our chalkboard door. I love the idea that we can show Arthur later how many people prayed for us during this tough time. Thank you so much!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The weekend was long. and sad. I got so nervous last night thinking about what we might hear today. I knew there was a good chance that the news would not be good.

Let me catch you up... A couple weeks ago we received news that we could not be submitted to the Embassy because of some mismatch paperwork. The big question then was "Do we need a judge to sign off on this fix?" If we did it would likely mean waiting until the courts reopen in October.

Unfortunately, the answer is "yes we do need a judge to sign off on the fix," BUT last week our agency found a judge who has helped with things like this in the past. She was not willing to sign off on our decree without seeing all the paperwork to back it up. So, now we are trying to find someone who can get into the courts and gather the necessary documents to take to this judge so that she has proof and will sign for us. They are also going to go back to plan A, which was write a narrative explaining our case in more detail and then see if the Embassy would take another look.

Does any of this really make sense? ...honestly, a lot of it doesn't. I have asked so many questions and have questions still... like "Why is our paperwork stuck somewhere in the courts instead of traveling with the rest of our case to the Embassy?" and "If the courts are closed, why are there judges still working?"

We want to invite you to pray with us tomorrow night at 8:30 CST. If you know us and you know where we live, we're inviting you to come over and pray with us. Here are some requests:

That God would miraculously have this problem fixed and that we could be submitted this week.

That God would prepare Aaron and I for whatever wait is before us.

That God would begin to bond our family even while we're apart.

That God would give us and our agency wisdom and clarity for our situation.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Wow! This week has been tough. Full of uncertainty, worry, doubt, and pain, but through it all God has been so near and He has shown us SO MUCH! I can honestly say now that even if I could I would not change what happened last week.

The first couple of days I felt like a toddler crossing my arms, scrunching my eyebrows and saying "NO FAIR!" We felt singled out. We felt like we did something wrong and we were in time out. Then the weekend hit and things got real! I could not shake the thought that Arthur was not going to come home. I tried to  ignore it, but it just kept nagging. I didn't even want to say it out loud. I felt like saying it out loud would somehow give it more power. Plus, I didn't want to freak Aaron out! I was confused. I didn't know if this was just a lie or if this was God asking me to surrender. I sat in church Sunday searching scripture,  texting my mom, texting Aaron's mom. I wanted answers!

As I got up to leave, a woman at church stopped me and asked how I was doing... I told her "I just keep thinking the worst and I feel like God is asking me to give Arthur up. And giving him up fully means trusting Him even if we lose Arthur!" There. I said it! It was a miraculous moment of clarity. She, being a mother of three, encouraged me and gently confirmed that I was on the right track. It's something every mother has to do... and most of the time more than once.

Well, people it's Thursday and I have given Arthur up to God three times! ha! I'm feeling a lot of peace.  I've had to grieve my timeline and sort of gear up for something new. I have a deeper appreciation for this process and what a gift it is that we get to bring this little boy home!

We are feeling your prayers and feeling so loved!


Monday, August 29, 2011


Last week's news has been difficult to handle. The weekends are always long because there's no new information. There's no one working on our case over the weekend. We are excited about a new week and we're inviting joy into our lives.

We have been dying to show you Arthur's room, but we've been waiting because something really exciting happened! The beautiful people at ohdeedoh have decided to feature Art's room on their blog! See the post here under "kids room tours". Still can't believe it! What a great way to express joy and hope as we start the week! Our friends at SCOUT PHOTO did an amazing job capturing the space!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Up until a few weeks ago, I would have said that the adoption process really wasn't that bad. The wait was hard, but we were prepared for that. Every once in a while we would hear something scary, but it would soon be cleared up. Everything had sort of gone as expected until yesterday...

After we passed court we were told to expect to wait 4-6 weeks to travel.... well 4 weeks came and went and we hadn't even been submitted to the Embassy! I was starting to feel so anxious and and angry and I didn't know what I would do if we went another week without being submitted!!! I would lose my mind! Well, yesterday the rest of the families were submitted and for reasons I don't totally understand our case was sent back.

I took the day off and Aaron and I just crawled into bed and pouted and snuggled and prayed. This morning I really felt better. I was hopeful. I focused on hearing positive news today while keeping my "worst case scenario" at a comfortable distance. Unfortunately, I found out today that my "worst case scenario" might actually be my best case scenario. It's crazy how things can change in one day!

Our agency sent us an update today. Here's part of it...

" ...the best thing for us to do is to take your adoption decree back to the courts next week and ask the registrar to fix the decree to say "...private information..." This is the way the courts have written decrees for other families in the past in similar situations and it sounds like this is exactly what the Embassy wants it to say. I do not know why the courts changed their wording on the decrees and it is more than unfortunate to have this wording holding up your submission to the Embassy. I think that this is a good idea to just ask them to correct it. She said she hopes the registrar can fix the decree without the judge being present; otherwise there it would have to wait until after the courts re-open. Have your prayer team pray specifically that this can be rewritten without the judge.

Let’s keep the prayers coming! God is in the business of miracles and he can both move this out of the way and bring peace beyond all understanding to you in this time!"

First of all, how amazing is Ashley from our agency... I really love her. This news was not necessarily the news I was hoping for, but so many people have been praying. The things that are holding this up seem so trivial... it almost gives me more hope that God is all over this. Surely He could have overcome this if He wanted to and with so many people praying I just feel like there's got to be some reason for this hold up.

A friend asked me how I was feeling today... I said, "mad, helpless, sad, anxious, stupid, desperate" I'm feeling all of those things, but I'm also trusting in God and remembering that Arthur is His child and He knows how the rest of this is going to go. I am holding onto my dream and feeling so lucky that I get to be a part of this amazing story.

Thank you so much for your prayers and tremendous support!! We really need you guys right now.

Pouting on the porch... I like how you can see my Arthur ring even in this dark picture.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today marks five weeks of waiting since we passed court and nine weeks of waiting since we met our sweet boy. NINE WEEKS! That sixty-three days! Two months of growth and development we've missed out on.

I'm trying to be careful and really think about what I say and what I post on facebook. In the past 24 hours I have posted and deleted two different comments! ha! I don't want to be negative or complainy... I'm just SO CRANKY.

One of the comments was about maternity leave. It's been a frustrating topic since day one. Frustrating and just so complicated it's hard to even explain. In my personal opinion, every mama, adoptive or not should get six months paid maternity leave with their child. Sound good?

When I step back and take a deep breath I can see clearly how lucky I am...

I work for a company who offers adoption assistance! wow!

I have a husband with a very flexible schedule (allowing him to watch Arthur when I go back to work)

I have a debt free life (if you don't count our house and one car)

A debt free adoption (with help from all of you lovely people)

Oh! and the most beautiful son in the whole world. I'm going to stop complaining now.

Hoping to share good news soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


How stinkin' cute are these little ones in their JAMBO shirts!!! Thank you, friends, for the pictures!! Makes me smile :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


I know you've all been wondering... "why is this taking so long" and "when are you going back??" These are the things we wonder EVERY DAY! I feel the need to explain a little bit about what's going on right now. You all know we passed court on July 20th. Here is a list of things that have to happen before we can go get him...

1. The adoption decree is written by the judge naming the adoptive parents as the legal parents of the child. DONE

2. The child's birth certificate is filed for DONE

3. The child is taken to have photo taken for passport. Passport is created. DONE

4. Child has visa medical exam. DONE

5. All documents (along with any supporting documents) are submitted to the US Embassy in order for a visa interview to be scheduled. NOT DONE

There are twelve different families from CHI who sort of went through all of these steps together. Last thursday the staff in Ethiopia gathered all the documents for these twelve cases and took them over to the US Embassy to be submitted and something really stupid happened.... they turned them away. Apparently it was too late in the afternoon, even though they went around the same time they had gone previously. From what I understand the staff pleaded and did everything they could it was just not going to happen. The thing that really bums me out about this happening is that Thursday is the only day that cases can be submitted to the US Embassy, so we have to wait a whole week to try again! BOO!!

After our case is finally submitted, we will start receiving emails from the Embassy regarding the progress of our case. It's not uncommon for the Embassy to request additional documents or interviews with the birth parents. From what I understand, it typically takes a week or two to be cleared. Once you get clearance from the Embassy your visa appointment is scheduled and it's possible that you could travel that same week!!

So, yes, this is taking a little longer than we expected, but if all goes smoothly from here on out, we could be traveling in mid September.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


So, the weekend in Lubbock was filled with great times with family, sad times with family, busyness and just a lot of little obstacles Aaron and I had to face together. But, the craziest thing that happened was on the drive home. When we got to Perry, Oklahoma we drove right into a dark and very scary storm. We decided to pull over so Aaron could drive. I was scared! We were under an overpass about to switch drivers when 90 mph winds threw gravel and rain at our back window, shattering it and breaking it in. The rocks continued to fly into the car breaking our side mirrors and rearview mirror (yes! the rearview mirror INSIDE THE CAR!) The dogs were with us. Poor Peaman was so scared he threw up and I somehow managed to catch it in a towel. Does that mean I'm ready to be a mom?

Here are some pictures of the damage.

And this, Ladies and Gentleman is why we have insurance!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I started to write about my crazy weekend and then thought... you guys probably don't care... you probably just want to see more pictures of Arthur. How about these?
Theses are pictures of Arthur pretty soon after he was placed in the orphanage (I'm guessing). We're really lucky to have these pictures. A travel buddy just happened to have them after she requested photos from Numan orphanage. She recognized Arthur and sent them to us! Little bitty baby Arthur... so sweet!

Monday, August 15, 2011


I want to tell you all about it, but while I recount and gather all the pictures I will leave you with this sweet message I received this morning.
I have the best friends!! Thank you Leslie for sharing! This is just the sweetest!

Monday, August 1, 2011


It's been about six weeks since we were in Ethiopia meeting our boy. When we left we talked about what he might be doing when we saw him next. It was hard to think about the things we might miss, but knew it was good for him to grow!

A sweet family from CHI was kind enough to take pictures for us while they were at House of Hope meeting their little girl last week. While it was sort of sad to see the pictures and learn how's he's changed, I am SO PROUD of this boy! Look what he's doing!!

And look at all that hair!!
So ready to go and get that boy!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Yesterday I came home to find a big box of Love it Waiting shirts! They look great! If you ordered one, they are on their way! Unfortunately there is a bit of a delay on the JAMBO tees, but hopefully the store will be stocked up again soon! Stay tuned for another exciting update on the store! (hint: there might be some new designs added to support other families)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


These are the very first pictures we got of Arthur! I think he was about 4 months old here. It's kind of sad for me to think about how much time we've missed with him. You know the mom conversation where the soon to be mom is almost scolded for sleeping in? You know the comments like

"You just wait!"

"You better get your sleep now because..."

Yeah, I'm sort of tired of these comments. For a lot of reasons, but mainly because I would have LOVED to be the one to get up in the middle of the night with Arthur during those tender, newborn weeks. Don't get me wrong, I am all about people telling it like it is! I'm not into sugar-coating life struggles. I just feel like sometimes the way mothers give advice feels like a threat! For a mom-to-be filled with insecurity, the last thing I want to feel is threatened. I want you to tell me the truth, but I also want to be encouraged that I can do this.

Please know that I love you all, little mommy friends! I just thought I would share a little bit about what it feels like to be a mom who has missed the first 8 months of Arthur's little life.

Wow! I did not see this post going here when I started writing today, but there you have it!

Monday, July 25, 2011


"I have had you on my heart so much lately *tears* - I just want you
to know that you are going to be such a radiant and amazing mama.
And Aaron is like a dream dad! In these weeks that you wait
to get Arthur, know that I am praying over him every day
and that I am praying for you and Aaron also - that God would help
this time to go so quickly, that He would surround you with
legions of Angels on your trip there and back and that your transition
to parenthood would be the most precious time you've ever experienced.
Arthur is amazingly adorable, and I can't wait to meet him!!"

Just feeling so lucky to be surrounded by such great friends! Thank you, Shanda!


Last week my sweet friends at work threw me a baby shower! Wow!!!! It really blew me away! These people are so thoughtful and talented. It was just perfect! And of course... no diaper cake in sight! ;)

The spread... so cute!!

The invite!

Onesies and table decorations! See... so thoughtful! If you look close you
can see how each onesie has a special connection to our story.

#2 Cowboy boot because we are from Texas

The humor! Thanks, Sam!
The handmade! Love the simplicity of this :)
Handmade by Sandi

And finally the quiz. All the questions came from the blog! So fun!

A MILLION thank you's to all my fellow Hallmarkers!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Remember this post? Well, the dang thing is finally finished! I picked it up this week! It is absolutely perfect! Paseo Upholstery did a great job fixing it up! The nursery feels a little more complete. More pics of his room coming soon!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I've been so excited to share this, but couldn't until we passed court. It starts on the morning of December 1st... about 7 months ago. I woke up and felt my insides aching and remembered a dream I had that night. I woke Aaron up and told him all about how I dreamt Arthur was born. It was honestly kind of strange... the way dreams usually are, but I couldn't help but wonder if Arthur actually was born that day all the way across the world!

When I got to work I told our social worker all about it on gchat. She said "Oh my gosh, Heather! It's totally possible that he was born today! I've heard of that happening a lot! You should write it down!" So, I did. I wrote it down right here on this blog.

A couple months later things got kind of crazy with the news that Ethiopia would cut inter-country adoptions by 90 percent! This news was heartbreaking! I pushed through and tried to stay positive, and really made myself crazy trying to figure out what God was doing through all of this. It just didn't make sense to me. I remembered the dream I had and decided to look on the Waiting Child List. (a list of mostly healthy children who are a little older and are waiting to be adopted). I thought... I wonder if there's a boy on the list with the December 1st birthday. I mean... what are the chances? There were only about 20 kids on the list at the time. As I scrolled down I felt the chills run across my skin as I saw a boy, born on December 1st! He was so beautiful, he seemed to have such a sweet spirit... he was TEN!

"Ten?! Hmm... I just don't know about that. Aaron's going to think that I'm nuts!" I felt nuts, but when I told Aaron about it, I was kind of surprised by his response. He, too felt that the birthday was significant and thought it was something we needed to pay attention to. He said "I just don't feel right saying, 'Yes, Lord we want to care for orphans, but not a ten-year-old,' Let's pray about it." So, we prayed about it. We asked our family to pray about it. I kept remembering things I had learned from an adoption conference I had attended a few months before. Learning more about orphan care actually created a lot of doubt in my mind about our decision to adopt a baby internationally. And the news of the slow down made me fear we were just adding to the "baby business".

We eventually decided that this little ten-year-old was not our child. Which was kind of tough for me. I had been staring at his photo and daydreaming about our family. I just felt connected to him because of that birthday! Pretty soon after that, things started picking up and referrals started pouring in! I started to get excited again about a baby. The baby God had for us.

Within a couple weeks we had moved all the way up on the wait list and Ashley (our consultant) called us with the news of our son! She had both of us on the line...

ASHLEY: "Ok guys, are you ready to hear about your son?"

AARON: "Yes!"

ME: "I think so..."

ASHLEY: "Ok, I'm probably going to mess up his name. I haven't heard this name before. His name is Fuad Amina"

AARON: "ok..."

ME: an echoing, "ok..."

ASHLEY: "He was born on December 1st... Heather, are you still breathing?" (She knew about the dream too)


AARON: an echoing, "OH MY GOSH!"

The rest of the conversation was such a blur! I just felt paralyzed by the power of what the Lord had done. So overwhelmed by how big He is!! I mean, I felt my son being born all the way across the world! What a beautiful gift for us. For me. For Arthur. All of my doubts and insecurities vanished that day. This is our son!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Our consultant called this morning with the news that the letter came and we passed court! He is officially ours! 4-6 weeks from now we will be going to get him!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


First, let's just get it out there... yes, it's been 18 business days and still no letter :( Yes, this has been difficult to handle. The other families and I are really hoping that tomorrow is the day! (The day we get news of the letter and pass court and Arthur is ours)

In the mean time I have been blessed by friends throwing me showers :)
One of our dear friends gave us the book, "Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew". It's a book that a lot of you adoptive parents out there have already read or heard about. It's seems to be filled with a lot of truths that make you go... "ouch" take a few deep breaths. Aaron and I read through the chapter titles and to be honest, a lot of them kind of kicked our butts. I'm excited to read through the book with Aaron and maybe gain a new perspective. Here are the chapter titles. I'd love to hear from some of you who have already read the book. What did you think?

1. "I suffered a profound loss before I was adopted. You are not responsible."

2. "I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed."

3. "If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered."

4. "My unresolved grief may surface in anger towards you."

5. "I need your help in grieving my loss. Teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption and then validate them."

6. "Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them."

7. "I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family."

8. "I need to know the truth about my conception, birth, and family history, no matter how painful the details may be."

9. "I am afraid I was 'given away' by my birth mother because I was a bad baby. I need you to help me dump my toxic shame."

10. "I am afraid you will abandon me."

11. "I may appear more 'whole' than I actually am. I need your help to uncover the parts of myself that I keep hidden so I integrate all the elements of my identity.

12. "I need to gain a sense of personal power."

13. "Please don't say I look or act just like you. I need you to acknowledge and celebrate our differences."

14. "Let me be my own person...But don't let me cut myself off from you."

15. "Please respect my privacy regarding adoption. Don't tell other people without my consent."

16. "Birthdays may be difficult for me."

17. "Not knowing my full medical history can be distressing at times."

18. "I am afraid I will be too much for you to handle."

19. "When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in there with me, and respond wisely."

20. "Even if I decide to search out my birth family, I will always want you to be my parents."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Before we left for Ethiopia we prayed that God would give Arthur visions of our faces so that when he saw us he might recognize us and give us a big smile! Ha! yes, we prayed for a smile. In his referral picture he's smiling so big, so we thought that maybe this wasn't too much to ask. ...that DID NOT HAPPEN! We worked so hard to get that boy to smile that first day and he just did not find us amusing. ha!

He did, however, think that his nurses at the House of Hope were the funniest people on the planet! It was really fun to see him interact with them. It was obvious he had a connection with them. And while you would think that might make me feel a little jealous, it didn't. It made me feel so good about where he was. It so good for him that the people caring for him make him happy! (especially since he's going to be there for a couple more months... boo!)

We got to spend three days with Arthur and he seemed to warm up to us a little more each day. I think we may have even gotten a couple smiles that last day. For the most part, he seems to be a very relaxed, reserved and very inquisitive baby boy. I would guess that he is more on the thoughtful, sensitive side with a HUGE heart (which is cool because his given name means "heart"). Compared to the other baby boys in the room, he just didn't have that "boy" attitude. (meaning rambunctious and destructive and always moving) I know this might be hard to gather from a baby in three days but that is our perception of him so far. Who knows... we could meet a totally different boy in a couple months ;)

It's funny how sometimes we will ask the Lord for things, only to find that He had a better idea. I would be lying if I said we weren't a little disappointed that we didn't get our smile. But as we were leaving, Aaron and I were talking about how cool it is that we are going to have to work for that smile and that one day, we will be the "special ones". The ones he has bonded to and everyone else will have to work for smiles. Building that bond might take a little longer than we thought, but I think it will be a much deeper bond in the end.

Basically, he's perfect! SO perfect for us!


I love how our hands are all intertwined :)

So, what was it like meeting my son for the first time? I've been wanting to write about this, but I just don't know if I can craft the words in a way that really gives that moment justice. I hardly even know where to start.

How about we back up to April 5, when we received THE phone call from our consultant. That day, we got to hear a little bit about our son. It wasn't a lot of information, but there were some details (details that I cannot wait to share) that created a pretty intense connection between me and my boy. God just made it VERY obvious that this was my son and I was meant to be his mama! Aaron and I spent the next three months gazing at the only two pictures we had, noticing every little detail. And, yes, sometimes we held the photo kissed his little two dimensional face.

We received news of our court date on May 20th and had 4 weeks to prepare for our trip. I was nervous! My stomach did a flip every time I thought about meeting Arthur. What would he think of us? What if he didn't respond well to us? What if our white faces and huge glasses scared him? What if he cried and I couldn't console him? What if he liked Aaron more than me? What if we found out he was sick and we had to leave him?

Fast forward to the day we are in Ethiopia about to meet Arthur. We were still nervous, but really more excited than anything! By that time I was just ready to hold him and kiss him, crying or not! We were in a room with two other families who were about to meet their sons for the first time too! The nurses came in and asked the names of our babies so that they could go and get them ready for us. One by one, they brought the babies in. We watched (and filmed and photographed) as the two other families met their boys and then waited patiently (me more patient than Aaron) by the door for Arthur. The nurse walked up to the room carrying Arthur and sweetly kissed him before handing him to Aaron. His eyes fixed on Aaron's face and he touched his face so sweetly and gently almost like he was greeting him in some way. (or maybe he just wanted to put those glasses in his mouth). I stole him away from Aaron pretty quickly and he touched my face the same way he touched Aaron's. He took turns staring at the two of us! It was such an incredible moment! There was an instant connection that I can't explain. All of our insecurities about being parents vanished and in that moment I became a mom and Aaron became a dad!

I actually became an aunt that day too, but I'll tell you more about that later ;)