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me & Paul with the Ethiopia director

talking to a boy up on a mountain

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Here’s a time line of our adoption process. There were times it felt longer and others shorter, but I think it’s fairly decent.

January 19, 2010—Decided to adopt

January –Mailed out application to first agency

March 10—Denied through agency (religious differences)

March 12—New application to new agency (West Sands Adoptions)

March 17—Began home study

March 24—Approved by West Sands Adoptions

June 30—Home study complete

July 1—Mailed dossier (to UT for authentication) & the I-600a to USCIS

July 19—Dossier on its way to D.C. & the Ethiopian Embassy

July 20—Heard back from USCIS (unfortunately, we had to reschedule the time they gave us for fingerprinting)

July 26–Dossier arrived in Ethiopia

September 7–Received USCIS approval/I-171H

September 23–Received referral

December 21–Court date in Ethiopia — first trip

March 28, 2011–Embassy appointment–second trip, baby came home

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I didn’t know there was a month dedicated to adoption, but there is. If you google it, there’s great information out there.

I must admit, I’m a little nervous about what people’s questions will be when we bring our little girl home, but I’m doing my best to find snarky appropriate answers to rude curious strangers and associates.

“Is she yours?”ย  me: No, I just like to pick up random children to take to the grocery store (park, mall, etc.).

“What happened to her real parents?” me: They were too busy being president and first lady, so I said I’d take over.

“Didn’t that cost a lot of money?” me: No, thankfully we have medical insurance like we did with our others. (that should confuse them a bit.)

I did find a couple interesting links HERE and HERE if you’re interested.

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Well, not right away…but sooner than we thought! Can I just scream “YAY!!” right now?

We got our call today…I was a little confused, because I was told, “We got your date for court. You can travel on December 17th, arriving on the 18th. And court is on the 21st, so you can catch a flight out on the 22nd and be home before Christmas.”

I was speechless. Because first, there is a court date (that we don’t have to be present for). When we pass that, THEN we get a travel date.ย  So I was a little confused.

“So we passed the first court already?”

“No, they combined them to be on the same day.”


Yep…expecting one thing but getting something way better and sooner. I get to see my baby girl right before Christmas. Best. Gift. EVER.

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I have decided to ask everyone to please take this opportunity to help out an orphanage in Ethiopia.

I’m going to take a suitcase (or more) of things for the orphanage our soon-to-be daughter is coming from. I asked our agency what they need and she gave me a list. I’m planning on taking over some clothes, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind more.

So PLEASE…if you can help, please do so. You can give me the items or, if you prefer, cash. Everything will go directly from my hand to the director of the orphanage.ย  One great benefit of cash is the dollar is stretched further there; they’d be able to buy more than we would here.

But here are the items I’d like to take:

  • children’s blankets
  • children’s books (yes, in English)
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • crocs or flip-flops
  • games
  • toys (without batteries)
  • children’s medicines (tylenol, cold & flu, etc)
  • toothbrushes & paste

If I use up my quota of check-on weight for suitcases, I can always take more the second time! So please don’t ever feel it’s too late if you want to help. TIA ๐Ÿ™‚

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Thursday night, (2 days ago) I was doing a spa night for the teen girls at church. Paul was out of town all week so I had the boys with me, and Gab as my lovely assistant.

Midway through my phone rang…I saw a 435 area code (Utah) and figured it was my sister, so I figured I’d call her when I was done. But then by the time we got out, it was after 8pm and I was in a hurry to get the kids home and to bed. When we did finally get home, I told everyone to get pajamas, and took that opportunity to check my email.

And there it was ….”CONGRATULATIONS!!” from our adoption agency! I clicked on it and it read something like, Congratulations, we’ve matched your family to a darling baby girl….

me: What? BABY?? I clicked on the attachment to see her info and photo…birthday read October, 2009! A baby!!! Almost 12 months old. And her name…a beautiful name…Darling photo…she was perfect! (due to Ethiopia’s request, I can’t/won’t post photo or name online until she’s legally ours…but I will tell you her middle name will be Grace, so we’ll go with that for now)

I hurried and called Paul and told him and he said, “Oh, man,ย  you have her photo there? I can’t see her until tomorrow!” So I had sympathy on the guy and forwarded the email to him. Nice of me, I thought ๐Ÿ˜€

We’re very, very excited and began telling everyone the next day.

But here’s the really funny thing….In January, Paul was out of town. That’s when we decided to adopt. Now, 9 months later, when he was out of town again, we got the referral! I had a feeling it might go down like that, and it was amazing how it worked out.

So the next step is to mail our acceptance paperwork in…then it gets sent to Ethiopia and they will set up a court date. We’ll travel to Ethiopia for the adoption itself and to meet Grace. Then we come home (and I post pics!!!) and wait until her new birth certificate and visa are ready for her to travel. When those are done, I travel to pick her up and bring her home!

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Not much going on right now. Still waiting, but September is the estimated month that we should get a referral, so I’m praying hard!

We got our USCIS approval today, so that’s a big load off.

A few weeks after we sent in our form, I got a letter back from them saying our dossier was not complete and needed to be re-done. I was freakin’ out!! So stressed. I called our home study guy and told him what was going on, faxed him the letter and he mailed the revised copy the next day to us. Unfortunately, the mail seemed slower than normal and it took a week to get it. Then, of course, we had to make a copy for ourselves and send the original to USCIS and hope it was good enough. Finally, after 3 weeks of stressing out over it, we got the approval.

Now I will mail a copy to our adoption agency and then we continue to wait for our referral.

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I actually finished a book with chapters!! I’m embarrassed to say it’s the first one since Dean was born. Yep, 2 years…I used to be an avid reader, but other things and fatigue usually change my time I once spent for reading.

Anyway, it was a good book. Upbeat, positive yet keeping a real perspective. I recommend it to anyone that knows us ๐Ÿ™‚

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So for awhile now we’ve been waiting on our home study to be complete.

Yesterday, we got the completed report back and we passed ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay!!

So we mailed off our I-600a, which is a petition to adopt an orphan. That goes to USCIS and takes from 5 weeks-3 months to be approved.

We also mailed our dossier to our adoption agency, where it will get authenticated, which will take 2-3 weeks.

Then, when that’s all done, it all goes to the Ethiopian government to be approved and then we wait for a referral of a child.

Basically, we’ve done all that we can and need to do and now it’s just a waiting game!

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Sunday was the last of our home study visits. Now we just wait for the report papers so we can send them off to where they need to go.

The other thing was the yard sale…we got rained out the first weekend, but now I’m glad we did. We ended up with a couple friends (they get together every year and have a big one) at one house.ย  This sale was seriously huge! I forgot the exact number of tables, but I think it was in the 40’s range…yes, 40-something tables loaded with all kinds of stuff.

On day one (Friday), at 3pm, we got pounded with a very fast-moving storm. When we first heard thunder, we started tarping and moving the tables closer together. By the time we were done, we were soaked.ย  Dripping. And it was windy so we had to find rocks and paving stones to put on the tarps because they kept blowing away. It was crazy.

Day 2 started out cloudy and threatening, but turned out really nice. We closed up about 3pm, took down the tables, and took them back to church (where we borrowed them from). I got home at 5:30. LONG day.

But all in all, it was good. We made a couple hundred more than I thought we’d get. In a couple months I’m going to hold a smaller one at our house just to get rid of the last of our stuff and make just a little more. Every little bit is necessary.

So what’s next??

*the I-600a (with a few documents including the home study report) needs to go to the USCIS—there’s a 5-week to 3-month wait on that

*the dossier needs to be sent to our Agency (including the I-600a acceptance paper) to get authenticated

*the dossier will then be sent to Ethiopia

*if Ethiopia accepts us, we then wait for a referral….they will find a child for us and send us a picture

*after acceptance of referral (after we say “yes” to the child) they set a date for us to go out there…we visit the child and start the adoption paperwork….then we come home for a few weeks and one of us will go back to Ethiopia to pick her up and bring her home!

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