Saturday, November 15, 2008


Yes, today is National Adoption Day.  My prayer is for the 143 million orphans in the world, of which 4.3 million are in Ethiopia that's 12% of the children in Ethiopia
720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone
1 in 6 children die before their 5th birthday
44% of the population in Ethiopia is under 15 years old
60% of children in Ethiopia suffer from the effects of malnutrition
1/2 of the children in Ethiopia will never attend school
Ethiopia's median age is 17.8 years
1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
in the 90's, the population (3%) grew more than food production (2.2%)
Ethiopia doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000
in 1993, after 30 years of war Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia without a seaport
1n 2009, we bring our son home from Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I hope you are all getting excited for us.  Things are moving.  Kellar's birth certificate arrived today.  Our social worker called to schedule our homestudy- Monday November 17 at 8:30 am for 4 hours.  Pray for us during this visit.
Also today, our agency informed all Ethiopia families that the referral time has increased from 3-5 months to 4-6 months (whole months).  Not to bad.  Now this is after our paperwork is in Ethiopia and translated.

I'm on a new food kick!
Tonight for dinner we had pumpkin sage sauce over cheese ravioli.
Basically it is alfredo sauce (10oz.) with 1/2 cup pumpkin (I added extra) and a tablespoon sage along with 1 cup water from the pasta.  It went over well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Application complete

Yesterday I was able to mail the remainder of our application.  This included my doctor's form, Kellar's employment letter, proof of health insurance from company, and 12 pictures of our home and family. 
Hopefully we hear very soon about our homestudy visit.  Once this is complete and in the Gladney office they will review our application and decide to make us officially in the Ethiopia program.  I am taking this one day at a time.  

Pomegranate experience:
The kids discovered a display of pomegranates in our Walmart and wanted to try one.  At that time I was in a hurry and said maybe next time.  This weekend we were in our new Fresh Market and the kids told Kellar "mommy wants to buy one" so he goes over to the display while I am in the long line to check out and he freaks out not knowing which to pick.  Sunday I was back in our Walmart and the kids and I picked one out.  We opened it yesterday at dinner and enjoyed this new fruit for us all.  Kellar was still apprehensive, but he too bit into the juicy, red arils.  Kellar compared it to a cross between cranberry and corn.  So next time you are in your local grocery, why not pick out a pomegranate and enjoy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Two in One Day

Wow, who knew blogging can be such fun.
I love chocolate chip cookies.  Why does Walmart not carry their brand of chocolate chips any longer?  
Back in August, I got together with the college girls and made cookies.  Here is the chocolate chip cookie recipe we used (everyone said they were the best the ever tasted)

1 cup butter 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups chocolate chips-I use milk chocolate
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375
In large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs on at a time. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt then stir into sugar mixture.  Mix in chips.  You know the rest (drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet)
Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Eat while warm.  Yummy!

It's November

What a week in our nations history!  Many of you may have voted for our President-elect and many of you did not.  Now history would have also been made if McCain and Palin won.  I do have to admit for a family who is about to bring home our chocolate chip, it is amazing that our nation has an African American president- elect and what that will mean to our son.  

On Wednesday morning Kellar and I were out the door by 6:30 am to head to Durham.  We arrived at the USCIS office for our 8:30 fingerprinting appointment.  After going through security we checked in, filled out more paperwork, and waited along with a couple who are adopting, and several others who were obviously not from the United States.  I was called first.  The fingerprinting is done on a glass plate connected to a computer.  They used windex to wipe my fingers.  They do a flat screen with 4 fingers then the thumb.  Then they roll each finger,  I had to redo several fingers as my print did not pass.  On the other hand, Kellar passed with high scores for each finger.  Then we filled out a survey and were done.

November is National Adoption Month
Things you can pray for our family:
1.  quick paperwork processing
2.  upcoming home study visit
3.  homeschooling 
4.  unity in all decisions
5.  Kellar's final weeks of teaching for the semester
6.  our son in Ethiopia and his birth family

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We cut our spending

Kellar had this wonderful idea to help out our expenses.  For the entire month of October we would not buy any extra items (snack food, candy, clothes, haircuts, toys...).  In August we spent a total of $684.15 and in September we spent $556.59 on groceries and out to eat adventures.  August averages to be $171.03 a person and September's average is $139.15.  In October I am proud to say I cut that spending to $502.72 (averages $125.68 a person).  Now this was not always easy.  I had a few moments that going out would have been easier than fixing my family dinner.  We did continue our Friday nights eat out tradition.  We went to places where kids eat free on Friday (Moe's and Bar-B-Cutie), when we went to Texas Steakhouse we had kids eat free coupons.  The children were on board with us.  We are continuing this in November.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Application Information

What exactly is involved in an adoption application?  
All adoptions agencies probably require different forms, documents...  I can only specifically speak on what Gladney requires and has taken us a month to complete.  First is the 8 page application.  This includes general family information (education, jobs, finances).  Then there are a few pages of international adoption risks and a couple pages accepting those risks.  We needed to notarize a several page agreement with Gladney,  Then there is a plan agreement (basically listing those within the agency who would be working with us).  There was another page listing our child preference (gender, age, and any health concerns).  We are not done yet.  We also needed to give directions to our home for the home study.  We hope we hear very soon about when this will happen.  The North Carolina Gladney social worker lives here in Greenville.  She will come to our home and talk to us and our children.  She will then compile a very important component to our application and what will eventually go to Ethiopia.
We also sent in copies of our birth certificates (for all 4 of us) as well as a copy of our marriage license.  Since I am not employed outside the home Kellar and I designed letterhead for me to use in writing a letter stating I am at home to care for our children.  Kellar needed to obtain a letter from his board of directors stating he is employed as a campus minister.  To go along with this we sent a copy of his ordination certificate.  We are still not done yet.  
Each of us needed to see the doctor and the doctor needed to fill out appropriate forms.  Now our agency gave us a heads up and suggested for the doctor to also sign and have notarized the form to be included in the dossier (big word sounds like doss e ay).  This is the packet of very important documents to go to Ethiopia.  For anyone reading this who may one day adopt internationally, patience as a patient is important.  In both mine and Kellar's cases the forms have had to be redone (a couple times).  I think we may have it correctly now.  No wait just last night we read ahead in our dossier information that all documents need to have our name as it appears on our passports.  My middle name is missing on my doctor dossier document (oops we may need to redue a third time - they know me by name when  I walk in).  But I hear the secretary at Kellar's office runs the other way when he walks in.
Well back to our application, we also need to send proof of health insurance.  This also has caused some headache as they say they are unable to notarize documents.  This needs to not only go to our agency but also in our dossier (therefore it must be notarized).  Hopefully we receive this form sometime soon so we can mail it to Gladney.
I also needed to go to our sheriff's office and have a background check done on us and the have it notarized.  We are still in the process of gathering 10-12 pictures of our family and home to be sent to our agency and Ethiopia.  Lastly we asked 4 very kind people to say kind things about us in reference letters.  Now if we lived in Texas we would also have needed to included pet vaccinations and a sketch of our home.
Wow, what a list.  Now at the same time we were working on our CIS forms.  A basic 2 page application copies of our birth certificates and marriage license.  We have received word from then and we will be fingerprinted in Durham, NC on November 5th at 8:30am.  
If any of you wish to find out more about Gladney's Ethiopia program please check out the website at click on the looking to adopt picture and then the international picture.  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Our journey begins

This year has been amazing.  Kellar and I along with Ashleigh and Elijah have begun a journey to our son/ brother in Ethiopia.  After having our two beautiful children God has laid on our hearts international adoption.  Before our pregnancy with Ashleigh, Kellar and I had talked about one day adopting.  FYI: I read a statistic that says only 4% of those who talk about adopting actually pursue it.  Well that day has arrived.
Let me take you back to March.  God began speaking to Kellar's heart about international adoption.  After prayer, Kellar came to me (fully aware I desired to have more children).  He put forth the idea of having another child that was not birthed by me as well as being from another country.  Wow, my heart leaped.  Then we spent some time in prayer.
For our 14th anniversary we went to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, SCC and his wife have adopted three little girls from China and they have also started an adoption ministry.  At the concert he expressed his love for his girls in his hit song "Cinderella."  We left the concert with God once again tugging our heart strings and felt He was leading us to also adopt from China.  After some online research China was not an option for us.
Then while we on our month long sabbatical God showed us 8 different families (many friends we visited) who had adopted, were in the process, or were also praying about it.  God showed us a beautiful picture of interracial adoption.  When we arrived back in Greenville, I contacted several adoption agencies, asked questions, and prayed.  Kellar's heart was still in China and mine had found the beautiful children in Africa.  In August, God showed us the need for forever families in Ethiopia.
Please join us in prayer for the people of Ethiopia and our little boy.  Our little boy has already been born as we have requested a boy between the ages of 24-40 months old.