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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking forward

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Hope everyone enjoyed the first part of their holiday. We're looking forward to another short week of Dad working and being at home with us for a long weekend again! I have to say that I'm hoping that 2010 is the year we bring home our third child from Ethiopia (or at least have a face and tentative travel dates to pray over!). I am frustrated lately that it seems as if our adoption paperwork is stuck somewhere in never never land. I'm still waiting on that letter assigning us a time for our finger print appointments and I'm giving it time with the holidays happening right now. And it's not that we're not busy or even content with our lives as they are right now, but I'm frustrated that we started this and we've prayed for this and we've talked about this and we're ready to move along with this and it seems as if we're totally stalled out. So will you pray with us and for us? We need a jump start and we're hoping that letter is in the mail and will be here any day so at least we know we're moving forward with this. We appreciate your prayer and are looking forward to a fantastic 2010!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No words...

Watch this...

And then read this...

Let's try this again...

So remember the post about how I like to get things taken care of with this adoption ASAP and get all stressed about it? And the post about how I overnighted our home study paperwork twice because the first one didn't get there fast enough and our case worker received it all twice? Well, I thought I would try on patience for a change so when I mailed our home study in to the USCIS office I kept letting it go when I didn't receive a confirmation letter. I kept looking for it (as mentioned in a previous post) but I just figured it was there and being processed very S L O W L Y. Well, last night I figured it was slow enough. I really have no clue how to go about finding out where our home study is or if it arrived or not. This office not only handles all orphan petitions but all immigration cases which means there are not phone numbers posted on their website. It's a big office with lots of local offices and I didn't have a clue how to go about checking on our application. So I got on our AWAA Yahoo group created just for those adopting from Ethiopia through AWAA (our agency) and asked those who were also paper chasing if they had heard anything since sending in paper work to the new address. Turns out yes they have and not only that but a woman who has adopted from Ethiopia who lives out in Katy (that we met a while back at a Tom Davis Chick-fil-a event) responded that there is a Houston CIS e-mail address. WHAT?? An e-mail address? How have I missed this in my EXTENSIVE, EXHAUSTIVE search of this website? SURE ENOUGH I get on to find it and there it is plain as day! Can we all see God's hand here? Love things like that...I digress. So I e-mail the Houston office last night and ask if they have received our home study not really expecting a response for a couple of days. By 7:30 this morning they have e-mailed back that they have not gotten our home study and until they are in receipt of this they cannot schedule our finger prints which is the last thing standing in our way before we mail off ALL of our paperwork and officially get on the waiting list for our child. SOO...I run around like a chicken with my head cut off and scramble all the paperwork together and make copies (one at a time on our home printer with Wyatt trying to pull them off to hand them to mommy!) and put the boys in the car and head to the nearest Parcel Plus and over night it all again! Deja Vu! Now it should be there again by 10:30 tomorrow morning. Never mind where the other one is or why it was signed for but nobody has it. I don't care (shouldn't I? quite a bit of PERSONAL information there!) where it is just as long as someone who SHOULD have it gets it somehow! Ugghhhh...craziness. And the poor boys! The craziness that ensued this morning...ahhh...I'll spare you the details but I am not proud of how I handle those little souls when I'm in a hurry and stressed like I was. Definitely something to work on!

So tips to those who are behind us on this journey. First off...check on things quickly if you don't get confirmation. Give it time (10 days to 2 weeks) but then e-mail away. Secondly, when it comes to mailing in your I-600A application and the decision to file your application before your home study is complete my only advice to you is that if you decide to file the application maybe hold the check to mail in with the home study so you have another way of knowing if they got it. But scratch that if you live in Texas like us because it just donned on me that we had to mail in a money order! Okay...so I guess my only advice is to have a great sense of humor and expect delays. Oh, and to remember when your youngest finds a lone crayon and is coloring on the white couch with it while you're frantically trying to make copies of important paper work scaring the you know what out of him when you yell like a banshee will only prolong getting back to making copies! Color away little Wyatt! We'll just throw it in the wash...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All I really want for Christmas is...

WATER! Yes...that is right. Water. CLEAN water. And I don't mean for myself here...I mean for those around the world that do not have the option of clean water. Clean water to wash their clothes, clean water to cook with, and most importantly clean water to drink. I can't imagine being a mom and not being able to provide the basic need of clean water. I also don't know if I can even imagine...I mean really IMAGINE what that would even be like? And while I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with this location that I live in that provides the basic necessity of water so easily to all of us I have been reminded how so many people in OUR world do not have this basic convenience. Look at the image above and really look at it. Now imagine if that were you and your child was thirsty. Your only option is to dip your child's cup down in that water to quench their thirst. No apple juice, no lemonade, no milk, no CLEAN WATER.

So before you buy another THING for Christmas...buy water. $10 will provide someone in Africa clean water for 10 years. My family wants for nothing and we do not need another thing so we will be asking for water. I will also be giving water this holiday season. And BOY DO I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT...now, my relatives may not be so keen to recieve water for Christmas but as I've been reminded lately from some encouraging fellow bloggers isn't it supposed to be CHRISTmas anyhow? Aren't we supposed to get caught up in how to glorify Him more and praise Him on this holiday built around His birthday? I will be the first to say that I don't do that...it has taken me 32 years and countless large and small gifts to really "get" CHRISTmas. And while I will give in to the consumerism of the holiday more times than I care to admit this season and will take gifts and give gifts I will also be asking for and giving water. How does one give water you ask? Perfect...let me tell you my friends!

Go here to charity:water and either donate in someone's name as a gift or buy a gift from their e-store. Or go here to Water 4 Christmas and give or see their Etsy store to buy gifts that will donate profits to clean water. Or go here where your $10 will make a world of difference to someone. Either way...please GIVE...let clean water be a gift you give this Christmas. Give HOPE. Give JOY. GIVE because Christ first GAVE to us. Give because we are called to give. Won't it feel good to say "I got clean water for children" rather than "I got more stuff that I didn't need nor have space for?"

Now...I will end with my FAVORITE new video...it changed my holiday traditions. My prayer is that it will change yours too!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

First gift

This is copied from Brandi M.'s blog "Living Freely" that I follow. These stories always make me thankful that there are ways that God is using us to help those that otherwise wouldn't receive help. And I was left with the question on my heart tonight about what it is that I really want for Christmas. I'm praying that I will be challenged this year to move away from materialism and more towards eternal gifts this season. I am praying that my and your first gift this Christmas will be towards something lasting and here is a great place to start.

This entire blog is at the request of Joseph, our country director for Uganda. He came across this boy and his family and really wants to see them receive help. He asked Vince and I last week if there were any way we could spread the word. Please read and be a part of HOPE.

"Bosco is a born of 1996, from Obule Ajet, Ngariam Sub County, Usuk County, Katakwi District in Eastern Uganda. Bosco is an Orphan with 05 siblings and a mother (Alinga Christine-29 years). He is in Primary/Grade Three in Obule Ajet Primary School . His performance at school is quite satisfactory. Bosco has horrific story, he was picked by his uncle who is a casual worker in one of the sugar estates in Eastern Uganda called Kakira. While with his uncle, Bosco developed wounds on his left leg which the uncle did not give much attention to treat. The condition grew worse and the wounds became septic. Bosco’s uncle decides to bring him back to the village, however, he did not hand him back to his other. Bosco was left with his relatives who later notified the Bosco’s mother to come and pick her son who was ailing. On responding to the call, the mother found Bosco with a very sick left leg with septic wounds. Bosco was overwhelmed with pain and the mother henceforth decided to seek medical attention from the nearby Health Centres. The condition was advanced so they referred them to Soroti Referral Hospital . On thorough examination, the doctors diagnosed that the condition could not be treated and therefore recommended Bosco’s leg be amputated. Having come up with the cost for the operation, Bosco needs 2,000,000/= Uganda Shillings (excluding upkeep in the hospital and transportation) to have a successful operation/ amputation on his left leg. However, this colossal sum of money is a real nightmare to Bosco’s family. The mother is requesting people of good will and charities to come to her rescue as she cannot meet this cost."

The total comes to $1200 with another $300 needed for his hospital stay and transportation. Joseph asked us to just raise the $1200 and he would cover the rest. Can you believe that? Joseph, my precious African Papa, offering to pay 20% of this need out of his own pocket. Pockets that aren't as deep as many of ours. Pockets that are already covering school fees and needs for more orphans than any of us can get an accurate count on :-) It challenged me and I hope it challenges you to really ask the question: how might God want to use ME in bringing HOPE to Bosco. We'd like to raise the full $1500, allowing Joseph to bless this family or the others he comes across instead. Since we don't get to see all the needs...let US respond to the ones we DO see, am I right?

Go to www.HopeChest.org to give!!!!
In the notes section write: Uganda / Bosco so that it's designated correctly!
I'll update you as funds come in... pray with me for $1500 to meet this precious boy's need.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What waiting does...

What does waiting for something do to you? Are you anxious, nervous, worried, unaffected? For us waiting has acted as huge sifter sifting out our thoughts about this adoption. It seems we've come so far in 4 short months and yet we know we have so far to go. Every day we get deeper and deeper into this thing called adoption...deeper and deeper into this love for a country that we didn't give much thought to a year ago. So where has that love led us? What have we to show for God's calling on us to make a child our own from a country so far away? Yes, we've filled out paper work and sat through interviews and accumulated LOTS of information about our family. But we've also spent countless hours in prayer for a nation we feel deeply for. We've prayed over families who are in different stages of this journey and are finding it difficult to get court dates or embassy approval or are waiting on referrals. We have opened our hearts to love more and our perspective has shifted. And we've been inspired to dig deeper. We've had to look long and hard at our budget and we've had the pleasure of deciding what we could "live without" to help make this adoption a reality. It's unreal to think a continent away there are mothers living in such extreme poverty that they cannot care for their children and must abandon them much less make a decision on what cable package they can live with. Or there are children orphaned from a disease that we can easily manage here with affordable medications. Or worse yet, orphaned children DYING from a disease that currently others in other parts of the world live with just fine because of two little pills. Oh, but for the grace of God that is not my reality and my family. But even with these sobering thoughts we are thankful that we are in a position to add to our family this way. We are blessed to get to walk these paths with our Savior. Even on the days when the letter doesn't come in the mail, or the fees are overwhelming us, or we can't get anyone to answer the phone at an office we need a piece of paper from...we count ourselves blessed. We are also learning that faith without works is dead. And I don't know about you, but I don't want dead faith. We've been wrestling with where God will lead us and we feel like He's been asking us if we'll follow Him or if we're going to lead and keep looking back to see if He's following. We've have felt led to special needs children or to multiple children but the door has not opened for us in these areas yet. I am however confident that God is preparing us for something big, something that was not in our heads at the beginning of this journey and if this has unfolded for us in just 4 short months then I can't wait to see how He leads us there. We do know that we love our Savior and we are striving every day to let Him lead as we wait...and we're sifting out our previous ideas about what we thought this would all look like and the new realities are so much clearer and bolder and scarier...not at all what we thought our suburban little family in Houston would like 5 years ago. But I am so happy and free and excited to say that I love what the waiting does for us...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gonna Run 2.14.10

I've been avoiding this post until I knew for sure that I would actually plan on going through with it but here it is. I know if I put it out there then I have to follow through with it (however, who's going to remember this post 3 1/2 months from now!!!???) Josh has been training for the January Houston marathon for some time now (and studying for his CPA exams...there honey...I put that out there as well...same rules apply about putting it out there and having to finish!!! HA!) and this past weekend he ran his first half marathon. The boys and I and my mom went downtown to see him finish...apparently I got bitten by the running bug and my mom began talking about how much fun it would be to take a weekend trip to Austin and watch Josh run that half marathon. Somehow this transformed into me thinking that I could train and ALSO run that half marathon! Josh did awesome in his first half marathon and had a goal to finish in under two hours. His official race time was 1:53...NICE! Good job Joshy! So I had to ask him to sign up for the half with me and run my much, much slower race pace as my Valentines gift! So I will be training the next 10 weeks to get ready. I equate it to him studying for his test (which he hates!) because even though I LOVE my daily workouts at the gym I pretty much do anything to avoid running as exercise! Super step...no problem, hour long muscle blast classes...sign me up. But run miles as in with an S on the end as in multiple miles and I'd rather sit at home on a rainy day with no TV and two crazy boys! Ok...it's not that bad and I will admit I enjoyed my first run a little so we'll see where this goes! If I can think of a good way I will definitely try to find a way to turn this into some kind of small fundraising opportunity for our adoption or another fantastic cause so stay tuned! Now before this turns into a running blog I'll turn in for the night. Here's to 4 more miles tomorrow!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Waiting on a letter...

Just wanted to give a little update on our journey. We are currently waiting on a piece of mail from USCIS to tell us when our finger print appointments will be. This will basically conclude the last step of our paper chasing process. However this step could possibly take a while. They recently changed the procedure for mailing in this application and supporting documents (home study, birth certificates, marriage license, copies of drivers license, big check) and now require the entire US to mail this to an office in Lewisville, TX instead of your local USCIS office so I'm not sure how that will affect us right now. I will tell you that the boys now know our routine of checking the mail REGULARLY for this letter! We check the mail ALL THE TIME now! Josh used to have to do it before coming in the house in the afternoons but he knows that more than likely I've already done it. Before all of this adoption excitement I wasn't really all that concerned with what came in that mailbox. Now it is quite the adventure!

I will tell you that we've been using this time to really get on our knees about what age and gender we request when we send off our dossier to Ethiopia. I think we've finally learned after 32 years that many times all God wants us to do is surrender our plans to Him and let Him lead us instead of choosing our own path and that is a lesson that I'm sure we'll continue to learn over and over. By requesting "either" gender we're pretty confident that would mean boy since the wait time for a boy is considerably less right now. I WOULD LOVE A BOY and would also LOVE A SHORTER WAIT TIME!! However, I also know that Josh would love to have a daughter (as would I of course...I guess spending all day every day with two boys leaves me leaning towards boys) and recently after both of us discussing this issue and finally coming to the conclusion that we just needed to put it in God's hands I've just kinda been having visions of a little sister joining our family next. I don't know where we're headed after this adoption as far as more kiddos (we'll be running out of car space and bedrooms!) so I think we'll be requesting a female infant 0-12 months. Our home study requires us to adopt a child at least 12 months younger than Wyatt right now so adopting an older child is not doable at the moment. I will say that I don't believe that chance is involved when it comes to the child that is born to you...down to the gender. I believe that God knowingly gave us two boys with two very different personalities as He gives to everyone. So being able to "choose" the gender has always bothered me a bit. However, I feel that we finally have a peace about requesting a gender and I couldn't be more thrilled to delve into the world of all things a little girl will bring! Oliver often refers to the child we'll be adopting as "she" or "sister" so maybe I should've known all along it would be a girl...

All that to say that this journey is a blind one and you never know...we might end up with a sibling group of 4 between the ages of 2 and 14! HA! Guess there is always our second adoption to accomplish that...anyone know of a good used mini-van we can buy???

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Here are the pics of our trip to Dewberry Farms last weekend. Weather was overcast, windy, and very chilly! THIS WEEKEND would have been absolutely perfect...sunny, cool, calm! Oh well...enjoy the pics of our future farmers of America!

A lover of swings...Two little pumpkins!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our weekend: One finalized home study, two birthday celebrations, and one day at the farm!

Yippeee! We got an e-mail on Friday afternoon saying our home study was finalized and notarized and in the mail! We were told that we may be waiting a "few more weeks" and were very pleasantly surprised when the e-mail came at 4:58 on Friday afternoon! We should have it in our hands on Monday and then can send it in to USCIS and wait for them to give us an appointment for our fingerprints. Then we wait for our official document saying we can bring over an "immigrant" from Ethiopia and then we are closer to having all of our documents sent to Ethiopia and we'll officially be on the waiting list. One step closer!

We had a fantastic weekend celebrating birthdays! Josh's birthday was last Wednesday...and I spent the ENTIRE day making Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child! It was pretty good if I do say so myself. My birthday is Monday so we had a babysitter both Friday and Saturday night and went and enjoyed some incredible dinners without rushing through and feeling bad about leaving an entire meal under a certain someone's highchair! It was divine! We also took the boys and went out Dewberry Farms on Saturday where they got to go on a hay ride to pick a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch, ride a barrel train, tour the petting zoo, play on multiple playgrounds, sit on a tractor, and eat homemade fudge! Not bad for a Saturday! I'll post pictures soon...it was very chilly for south Texas and being from Houston I just knew it would warm up and didn't dress the boys accordingly! They at least wore long sleeves but would've done better with sweatshirts or windbreakers! Who would've thought?? Houston in October?? HA! Happy Fall Ya'll!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Still waiting...

So we're still waiting to get an official copy of our recent home study. We've approved it and I believe our case workers supervisor has approved it and now we're waiting on AWAA (our agency) to approve it which should hopefully be this week?? Ordinarily waiting this long for something would drive me batty but with the start of preschool, trying to coax an 18 month old to give up his paci, and potty training a stubborn 3 year old (who is GREAT at telling us he has to go potty at bedtime to get out of bed but NOT SO GREAT the rest of the day) the last two or so weeks have flown by. However, we are ready to move on to the next step which is...you guessed it...more waiting! We'll mail our home study to USCIS (Department of Homeland Security basically) and then wait for our fingerprint appointment to be cleared by the FBI and then when that is done we will wait for the government to send us an approval form to bring home an immigrant or OUR CHILD (as we like to say)! So right now we wait...

Which is ok...Josh's birthday is on Wednesday of this week and mine is next Monday so we'll be celebrating this weekend. We have a babysitter both Friday and Saturday and by that I mean the kind we pay for. And the real treat in that is that we can just head home after our "date" and the kids are already fast asleep in bed! We do love free family babysitters but we figure you only turn 32 once so might as well go all out! HA! This should help pass the time a little easier...yippee for birthday celebrations! We'll share more soon hopefully...God has been working heavily in our lives lately. More on that later..

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Study complete!

Woo Hoo! We did it! We completed our home study and now we wait! I have to say it was not the easiest two hours...she finished our couple interviews or tried to finish them as the boys were running around like crazies during the whole interview. It's hard to discuss your philosophy of parenting when you want to stop and YELL at your kids to sit down and zip it! About an hour in we gave up on our perfect parents facade and let Oliver turn a Thomas video on that he found in the entertainment center and asked to watch. We put it on in the kitchen and gave them about a dozen peanut butter cookies each and our case worker goes "Ohhh...it DOES get quiet!!" HA! Favorite moment! She was great...didn't pass any judgement on any of it so it was fun to sit and chat and joke around. Oliver gets so shy when spoken to directly so he didn't have much to share verbally until she asked to see his room and he then went on and on about his books, his CD player, his bed, the stair banister the "worker men" came to put in, etc. Oh kiddos...can't live without them! Now we wait to receive the written home study that we mail in to the US Dept. of Homeland Security and then they fingerprint us for FBI and then send us our I-700 and that is the last piece of paper we're waiting on! Almost there folks...almost there. And by that I mean paper work done...not waiting part done but little steps.

Ahhhh...now the house is clean (well everything is hidden anyway...Josh calls cleaning around here "hiding" since we hide things better than we clean them!!) and the boys are down (long weekend with birthday parties, sip and sees, home study interviews) and we're waiting on our chicken and pineapple pizza and FREE cinnapie to get here while we relax before our crazy week starts up!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The "lady" and the "baby"...

We have our final home study visit tomorrow and this is the one where our case worker will come to the house and inspect it and will finish our interviews. She will also try to "interview" Oliver (anyone living in the house with us over 3 years old has to be interviewed). He cracks me up...he knows we're adopting and we talk about our new baby and we usually call her "sister" as in we're thinking we'll request a girl most days (but God is the author of this journey so we realize that might change as we journey down this road). So when I was cleaning up this afternoon (the kind of cleaning where I "arrange" the toys and threaten him to not touch a single one) he knew something was up. I told him the "lady" was coming...he said "The lady to talk about the baby with no mommy or daddy?" Aha...yes that lady! So we've been getting everything picked up and cleaned up and I started to wonder how clean is clean if you know someone is coming over to inspect your home to see if you're fit to raise another child? I know it will be no big deal and I doubt she'll check for dust or look to see that our bathroom hamper is sweater storage at the moment or that the high chair probably has enough food in the cracks and crannies to feed Wyatt at his next 3 meals alone! But it is a little stressful if I stop to think about it! Guess I won't let myself think about it past this blog post. Oliver told Josh during bath time tonight that the lady is coming tomorrow to talk about the baby. Then he thought to ask where the baby will sit because he thought she was bringing the baby with her and if there was going to be a new baby then they would need a spot for her in the bathtub. Josh tried to explain that she would not be bringing the baby but would only be talking to us to make sure we have enough room for a baby. Oliver will probably think we're playing this long, drawn out imagination game about a baby as the year passes by and he still doesn't have a baby sibling! Oh the day we return with our child and he can't believe his eyes...that in fact we WERE telling the truth this entire time! Sweet boy...at least he's willing to help us clean for the lady who's coming over to talk about the baby! We'll let you know how it goes...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The pressure of being 3...

The boys started pre-school last week. I thought that sentence would make me sigh with relief and walk around with a big smile but that is not how it happened. I will say before any pre-school drama started I was having a hard time with the smiling part when thinking about school starting up for the boys. We've had a great summer playing and being lazy and growing and hanging out and this would be Wyatt's first time away from mom for that long of a stretch. We do go to the gym every day during the week but the most the boys are in the nursery is for two hours (the limit!!) and they are together playing and it took a while to get Wyatt used to that and happy at drop off. So I was mourning our summer schedule a little bit...knowing that we're one year closer to the year I have to let Oliver go completely, 5 days a week, 7 hours a day and that already makes me sad! (And I never thought I'd be THAT mom...guess I'm realizing that luckily for my boys that I am THAT mom!) Oliver was ready, ready, ready...this is his third year at his school and he loves school! I also knew Wyatt would love school as soon as he got warmed up. Tuesday came and went and I realized that maybe I bit off more than I could chew with Oliver's class. I'll spare you the entire dramatic run down of my week but let's just say that it ended on Thursday with me completely SOBBING in a teacher conference in Oliver's class. L.O.V.E.L.Y...never been much of a CRAZY before but now I am THAT mom too! Anyhow...that kid is extremely intelligent at times, loves books and reading and can now make up his own stories to go with the books, jams out with the best of them to his Jack Johnson Curious George CD and Bible songs CD (nothing like "I'm in the Lord's Army" blaring to get you going in the morning!!), and has the best little conversations with me, Wyatt, and anything else that will listen! However, that child also refuses to put any stock in to potty training! He knows the routine, he knows how to go, he knows why to go, he knows where to go and what to do, but BULL if he cares if he actually DOES any of it!! His school requires the kids in the 3 year old class to be potty trained...and just knowing HOW to use the potty is not enough, you have to actually DO IT! So this week turned in to our first heart tugging parent decision and we decided to remove all pressure and put Oliver in the older 2 year old class. If he was born on his actual due date that would have been the only option anyway and it would have been decided for us so I feel good about our decision...we did the whole follower thing last year with him being the absolute youngest and now he gets to do the leader thing and be the oldest by a month or so. We've talked to him and he doesn't care so why should we? And I have a feeling this won't be the last time we have to make a heart tugging decision about our child. I know we won't always be able to take the pressure off to make life easier but when your 3 shouldn't your life be as pressure free as possible? Won't there be time for academic challenges later in life...like when you're 5?? HA! By the way...Wyatt is loving school and will probably choose to stay in the toddler class forever...messy projects, a play ground just his size (OUTSIDE is what he yells all day long!), two FANTASTIC teachers who have proved to be worthy of the tuition we pay in more ways than just one, and 5 other boys to play trucks with (none of whom take his toy to show him the "correct" way to play with it) I love those boys...and hopefully they'll love school! I can finally say that with a sigh of relief and a smile on my face!

Monday, September 7, 2009

3 down, 1 to go...

Josh and I drove to Huntsville, TX this weekend to get some home study interviews taken care of. On Sunday afternoon we drove up towards Huntsville stopping in The Woodlands on the way to have a nice dinner at Hubble and Hudson Bistro. We enjoyed having dinner without the boys who were staying at my parents house. We then headed on to Huntsville where we met with our social worker at Starbucks. I went first for my interview while Josh went to check us in to the lovely Comfort Suites. After an hour and a half of talking about myself and my childhood/family it was Josh's turn! He did the same and then we thought about trying to catch a late movie but as Josh had gone running Sunday morning at 4:45 he was pretty tired so we went on back to the hotel. The next morning we met our social worker again for our couple interview at 8:00. No big deal...lots of discussing strengths/weaknesses and goals! We headed back to Houston and spent the day at my parents house swimming and enjoying the day off! The boys both start preschool tomorrow...I'm having a hard time with that this year (which is a whole other bag of worms and a post for another day) and am somewhat dreading it tomorrow. Wyatt has never been to school and while I know he will LOVE playing with other boys (there are only 6 boys in his class) and he will LOVE his teachers he will still have a hard time letting go of momma and I dread having to drop him off even when I know it's in his best interest. Oliver has gone to this preschool the last two years and he loves school but this is the start of a new class with higher expectations. He's the youngest with just turning 3 and I'm worried for him but will give him a month and see what happens...I'll be praying them both through the day tomorrow! Oliver is also supposed to be potty trained and while he spent the entire weekend in big boy underwear he hates to stop what he is doing and say he has to go. He'll go if you make him and has no problem doing it on the potty but he is not going to tell you to take him unless he has started to have an accident and then realized he needs to go. Hence the apprehension! But God is big and He is their God too so we'll be laying it down tonight instead of worrying about it and losing sleep! I just love those little boys and it will be hard to let them go...now probably not too hard when I'm having lunch with girl friends or my mom or getting things done without two monkeys in tow but you get the gist! Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Today is the day...

Oh, I love Sundays! It is so quiet out there and on the roads to church (which is a little sad if you think about it) and I love that Josh and I are getting up and getting dressed and going to the same place. Can you tell I'm a stay at home mom?? HA! Josh has been training for the January marathon here in Houston and he's been getting up extra early (4:00 a.m.) on Sundays to meet up with some coworkers and run long distances. I love that he goes that early so he can be home in time to get the boys up and dressed so we can get to church on time! He also has been bringing home warm Shipley donuts (donut holes for the boys) after his runs. I told myself that today would be the day that I did not eat one of those donuts after imagining the effect of these weekly donut breakfasts on my waistline but then he comes in with WARM donuts!!! WARM, delicious, glazed donuts...willpower gone (so is waistline soon too!!). Oliver loves Sundays too...donuts and church! Of course church to him means a classroom with other 3 year olds and cardboard blocks, a HUGE book shelf filled with wooden blocks, toy trucks, puzzles, stickers, etc. so who wouldn't love church?? And start off that adventure with a bag of donut holes and it's a magical day! Wyatt can now also say donuts and yells this word regularly...he tried this trick last week after open house at preschool and Oliver chimed in so we had donuts for lunch!! (It was an emotional open house for me so I gave in!!!!) Anyhoo...all this to say I love church (and donuts!)

Now today is not just church and donut day...Josh and I are headed to Huntsville tonight (another story...our home study case worker lives in Huntsville which somehow means we drive to her...not sure I fully understand that...) and start our individual interviews with said lady. We're staying the night (thanks Gigi and Pop for keeping the boys as they're not invited!!) and then finishing our couple interviews in the morning. I will definitely post again when we get home to let you know how it went! We're excited to get it going as this is one of the last steps in our dossier compilation and we can get our papers in to officially be on the waiting list!! So any prayers that today would go smoothly would be greatly appreciated...that and that our answers aren't completely off the wall! :) Gotta love separate interviews! Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

I dare you to read it...

So I've thoroughly researched all things blog related to Africa and adoption and have seen this blog's ministry button on others blogs. Last night I sat down to read this young girls lastest entry and was moved to share it with all of you. Katie is 20 years old and felt God leading her to Uganda after high school...she was obedient, she stayed, she has 13 foster children, she is LIVING out her FAITH!! Unbelievable story...PLEAE take 5-10 minutes to read the first two blog entries. The August 26th blog entry so sums up what Josh and I have been dealing with as far as wrestling with our meager faith on issues of starvation and extreme poverty and a big GOD who can change it all. We really feel that we've learned that HE has provided for all of these needs through his BODY of believers and that so little are ACTING on what HE has called us to do! Katie states that there is a LARGE number of children with dire needs BUT that there is an even LARGER number of CHRISTIANS and that if only 8% gave time or money then all the needs would be met of these children!!! WHAT??????? How are we MISSING this???? How are so many of us getting it so wrong?? And don't think we feel like we're "doing something" just because we're adopting...we too are struggling to find ways to be used by God to truly make a difference. But I do know this...starting at just FIVE dollars you can donate to this girl's ministry (see AMAZIMA button on this blog's column to the right over there) and only 300 dollars A YEAR will send one child to school, clothe them, provide school supplies, feed them two meals a day, and provide basic medical care!!!!! You can also do something by donating to the five for fifty campaign (another button over there) and make a difference in the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS. And we're right there along with all of you...we're learning this as we go and we're opening up our hearts to be obedient to what God will lead us to!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is this a joke?...

I woke up early this morning and couldn't go back to sleep so I decided to get up and go down and make coffee. Last night I had asked Josh to take our home study paper work to his office to make copies and would get them from him midday and re-mail the packet that never showed up. I realized I wouldn't have a chance if I didn't go right after we left the gym this morning so I decided to make copies one at a time on our home printer since I was up anyway and got it done before the boys woke up. We ran by a local parcel plus and I paid a lot more to ship the packet with Fed-ex but felt better about it! Well, wouldn't you know that as I sat down to check on the first packet that it is now showing up in Huntsville!!?? You gotta love it...maybe I need to learn a patience lesson. You agree? It's that obvious is it? NICE! Well at lest they'll know we're serious (seriously ANXIOUS) about our home study! :) Oh...isn't this a fantastic journey? On a side note, the boys and I had a lovely play date at Noah's Ark pool and are looking forward to capping it off hearing Tom Davis speak tonight at a local Chick-fil-a event while meeting some local Houstonians how have recently brought home their Ethiopian little girls! Fabulous...can't wait to meet some friends who have walked this journey already! Now for a nap...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wouldn't you know...

So I have to share...we've already established that it is my personality to get things done and out the door when I'm anxious about something. So on Monday I ran by the doctor's office to pick up our physical exam letters which was the last piece of our home study packet. I go home and immediately put the boys down for naps and begin assembling our packet and get them ready for mailing. (I also sent one to our case worker to save a step and luckily she e-mailed to tell me this the night before!) We head to the post office and I stand in a very SLOW line with two boys to make sure the letters get mailed correctly and on the last truck out. I accidentally chose to send them certified mail instead of delivery confirmation but as I left I though to myself that that extra step of caution is probably good being that one of the packets had a very large check in it. So I go home relieved to have that part over with. As I get online to check the packages status the following days I realize that neither have been delivered! ????????? I e-mail both women and sure enough one was delivered to AWAA-Texas in Dallas but nobody was there to sign for it because she was on vacation for the week! :) And the other one still hasn't been delivered to Huntsville! Nice huh?? Just when I think I'm in control I'm reminded that I am not the author of this journey and every day is a day that the Lord is using in HIS timeline! Makes me kinda smile though...ironic. And I can smile because I sat there and used our home printer to make copies of everything I sent so I can just resend it all but there goes this week! :) So if anybody out there finds a Home Study application and all kinds of personal information about the Chambers then send it my way!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A little closer...

Well, we are a very near to sending in our huge application packet to begin our face to face portion of our home study!! Wooo Hooo! We have Sable's vet appointment tomorrow to get her up to date on all of her shots and get a piece of paper saying that she's up to date and we'll be ready to go! This is a big accomplishment for us considering that we ALL had to have doctors appointments and then follow up appointments to get our TB test results read and managed to get it all done in one week!! We did also manage to find some incredible new doctors and we didn't know what to expect with new doctors but all of them were incredibly patient and helpful in filling out all of the necessary paper work we needed them to fill out. So all in all it's been a VERY busy week but a productive week! The fire inspector also came out yesterday and we realized (after paying the $160 fee) that it was going to be another $300 or so to be up to code to get the permit they said we need. We obviously didn't pass that inspection and I e-mailed our agency case worker and asked again about needing the inspection and she responded that that permit was definitely not what needed and that our case worker could do it for us! NICE! Of course, we've had some hiccups this week as well. Wouldn't you know it that as we rushed home from the gym this morning and I had 15 minutes to shower and dress before rushing out again to make it to our follow up doctor appointments that Wyatt would find my Iphone and think it funny to go dump it in the toilet?? AND THAT WAS MY REPLACEMENT IPHONE!!! There goes that...guess I'm destined to have a $20 phone now! OH...and Josh did get his autobiography written and it was a great one!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stuck no longer...

So we've been stuck for a week or so on finding out to how to get a fire safety inspection and an environmental health inspection. I have always maintained that I could find anything on the internet and thought this would be no big deal. I figured dozens of people need these inspections every day for adoptions of some sort or other and that if Texas requires it for a home study then somebody, somewhere has to have a contact number for it. BOY WAS I WRONG! I searched many local Houston websites trying to find the info and gave Josh lists of numbers to call from work to try and get somebody on the phone all with no success. Well, on Friday we FINALLY got someone to call us back about the fire safety inspection that knew who we needed to contact (more phone numbers) and after a $160 fee and more phone calls today we might be making progress on that task. Our agency case worker also e-mailed on Friday that our case worker would be able to take care of the environmental health checklist during a visit for the home study so that will be taken care of. Of course after faxing in the credit card payment form and application for the fire inspection we've learned the contact lady did not recieve it (so our credit card info is just floating around a random Houston government office???) and we tried again. We also never heard back from the man that is actually supposed to come out to the house to do the inspection but we've left messages! So hopefully we're getting closer...maybe? I have my doctor's appointment tomorrow and the boys go together on Wednesday (what was I thinking??!!) and Josh goes on Friday and it is my goal to have our paperwork ready to send out next Monday to begin the face to face part of our home study! Then we'll finish up our dossier paper work and...oh we'll get to that part later. One step at a time! Oh, and if I could just get Josh to write his 5 page autobiography! Surely he can find time between work, putting the boys to bed, training for a marathon, and studying for his CPA exam! Easy peasy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Change of pace...

Ok...so remember that post down there that talks about how I rushed the papers out the door so nobody was waiting on us? HA HA HA! Now we have a HUGE pile of paperwork that sits here waiting on US! Boy was I naive! Of course the small things are taken care of...but we now have the check list for our dossier and also the check list for our home study. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of stuff to gather! Let's see where we are with all of it...one of these days when we catch up a little I'll put the checklist up for those that would like to know what is included. We've gotten Josh's proof of employment, I've written my proof of non-employment, we've gotten proof of health insurance, life insurance, marriage certificates, certificates stating we completed our Hague training, and signed all paperwork that just needs signatures. We've all made doctor's appointments that happen next week (I go one day, I take both boys together on one day, and Josh goes a separate day which is no small feat being that we all have new doctors for various reasons), we've ordered our birth certificates, found out where to get our police clearance letters, have written more than half of my autobiography (Josh is still dragging on this part of his assignment), and will be distributing our letters of reference this week. We still need to get Sable (the dog) to her vet appointment for shot updates, copy a whole bunch of stuff, and finally find out how to get a fire safety and environmental health inspection in Houston. Wheeeew! So we're a tad bit busy right now...but we'll be taking a break this weekend to celebrate Oliver's 3rd birthday by inviting friends and family over to dig in the sand (in 102 degree heat...should be a Saharan desert theme instead of construction) and eat LOTS of cake and have a great time! So at least there's that! We'd love your prayers in getting all this paper work done and maybe one or two that I'd relax and let it happen when it happens...let's forget that post down there hinting my personality lends itself otherwise! I will say I've used the office more than I ever thought I would when we moved here not to long ago! Back to typing...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Video Inspiration

I have been obsessed lately with all things related to adoption and specifically Ethiopian adoption. I thought I would use this blog to share some videos that have moved me with those of you that have not explored international adoption. The adoption video is a little long but it gives a pretty thorough glimpse into what adoption from Ethiopia will be like. The Sara Groves video is just beautiful and inspiring. Oh, and don't forget to scroll down before playing these videos to the red and pink playlist and hit pause to hear the sound from the videos only.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Back in their court...

Yesterday we got the news that we were accepted into AWAA's Ethiopian adoption program.  With that news came e-mails about starting our online training, contracts that needed to be signed and mailed back, and details about paying our initial program fee.  Being that it is my personality to get things done and not let them sit (when I'm anxious about something that is) I immediately printed out the papers, signed them, wrote the check, stuffed it in the envelope, loaded the boys into the car, and drove to the post office to put it all in the mail.  While doing all of this in a rush, Wyatt pulled the bucket of water catching drips from our shower repair (that's another story) off of the chair to make a huge mess and Oliver was getting frustrated that I wasn't providing his snack fast enough!  But heaven forbid I wait a day and slow down!  I HAD to get it in the mail before last pick up so it would be there on Monday instead of Tuesday!  Now the ball is back in their court and we're waiting on them to process it and assign us a family coordinator which will contact the case worker to start our home study, etc.  See the rush??  This will be my life from now until we send the entire dossier to Ethiopia and then we just sit back and wait.  Sounds easy huh??  It's like a game of hot potato...I don't want to be the reason we're waiting...if it's something we can take care of then I'll do it immediately and then wait on whoever we have to wait on to do their part.  Hopefully we'll get everything we need quickly but I'll tell you that it won't be me we're waiting on!!  Am I my father's daughter or what??  Ohhhhh...we have a LONG journey ahead don't we my dear husband? HA!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


So...for some time now Josh and I have been praying about adoption.  We've both known for a while that God has been calling us to adopt.  And some of you will remember our first Christmas letter saying that we had decided to start our family through adoption.  You will also remember that right after that letter we announced our "SURPRISE" pregnancy and our sweet Oliver's birth.  Then came Wyatt before we knew it and all the while we wondered when adoption would fit in.  We continued to pray and felt God leading us to pursue adoption for our third child.  We began looking at programs that fit our needs (ages of children in home currently, years married, etc.) and were drawn to Africa due to the overwhelming need and the large numbers of orphans.  We thought we were ready in January but we soon realized that the timing was not quite right and we waited.  We also researched and to be honest became overwhelmed.  There was many a day during that time that I thought having another biological child would just be so much easier!!  But I knew in  my heart of hearts that God was calling us to adopt and many a day I did not know if we would be obedient or not.  We are not in a financial standing to commit the money it will take to adopt and we kept praying over that issue and God kept responding that all He wanted from us was faith.  Faith to step out in spite of everything we were feeling overwhelmed by and trust Him.  Finally in July we felt the calling even stronger and knew the timing was right to add another child to our family.  We've also seen God soften hearts of family around us who have volunteered to help finance parts of the adoption which we knew was a huge answer to prayer.  We applied to America World Adoption Agency and today received the amazing phone call letting us know that we have officially been approved to adopt a child from Ethiopia through their agency!  We know there is a LONG road ahead of us but we feel such freedom to be able to tell people that we are officially "paper chasing" now to bring home what will be our third child through adoption from Ethiopia!  We are thrilled to be starting this journey and will admit that we are currently overwhelmed with all that lies ahead but know that God has already laid out the path he would have us take.  We ask our friends and family to begin praying for us as we start this amazing journey.  We will definitely keep you updated through this blog and look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still playing...

Still up playing with changing up the settings...but I have to say I'm quite proud of all I've learned in the blogging world in such a short time.  But that's me...I get on something and then I run with it.  Voila!

Signatures, playlists, links, oh my...

Yay!  Okay, so the blog wasn't necessarily on our "to do" list for the adoption but I knew I wanted to create one so we could keep friends and family up to date on this journey.  I knew this would be easier than constantly e-mailing or calling everyone and this way people can drop by and read updates when and IF they want to.  However, finding a design and getting this blog up and running has been an adventure in itself.  I know a little more about HTML than I ever wanted to know and tonight I have figured out how to insert a signature.  Yipppeeee!  SO personal, yes??  Doesn't it just add so much??  I'm kidding but I'm proud of myself nonetheless!  Oh, and we're still waiting to hear if we've been "officially" accepted into America World's Ethiopia program.  We don't expect to hear until later in the week being that needed staff to approve us is out of office until Wednesday!  So we begin the "waiting" with waiting.  Most of you won't have found this until we're well on our way but I thought I'd use this to journal about the process and figured I'd start at the beginning!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Figuring it out...

Figuring this all out in more ways than one...on the list tonight is all things related to this blog.  A bit frustrating but we're getting there!  Who knew this would consume so much of our time?