physicals, beef noodles, & special needs request

Right now, we’re gathering our new documents for our home study update.  Today, I called to schedule our physicals.  Our doctor, who was very interested and encouraging about our adoption, was booked through the month of April.  Obviously, that wasn’t going to work.  Then the receptionist said, “Wait, this is so weird.  Two consecutive appointments just opened up on March 20th.”  It’s not weird – it’s God working!

We also sat down tonight, over my first-ever successful asian meal, and finalized our special needs request, pending approval from our social worker.  We’ve been asking our close friends for prayer, and telling them, “We’re in the same chapter but not on exactly the same page yet.”  We’ve both prayed about it a lot, and know lots of you have been praying, and tonight we were able to come to a decision that we both feel really comfortable with.  I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on that here right now, but our list includes several orthopedic needs as well as cleft lip/palate.  People have written a bunch on blogs about how writing the special needs request was one of the hardest parts – yeah, it was pretty hard.

Thanks for the prayers and for checking in!  Hopefully, some more exciting updates will happen sooner, rather than later.

Here’s what I made for dinner tonight!  We both really liked it, even though I don’t really love either ginger or soy sauce.  It’s from, Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook.

Beef with Noodles

You’ll need:
8 ounces Chinese fine egg noodles
1/2 c. water
3 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. salt
2 t. instant chicken bouillon granules
6 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. beef rump steak
6 green onions
1 piece fresh ginger root
2 garlic cloves

1.  Cook noodles until tender according to package directions.  Drain well.  Place a clean towel over wire cooling racks.  Spread noodles evenly over towel and dry about 3 hours.

2.  Combine water, 2 t. of the soy sauce, the salt, and bouillon.

3.  Heat 4 T. of the oil in wok over high heat.  Stir-fry noodles in the oil 3 minutes.  Pour water mixture over noodles.  Toss noodles until completely coated, about 2 minutes.  Transfer noodles to serving plate.  Keep warm.

4.  Remove and discard fat from meat.  Cut meat across the grain into thin slices about 2 inches long.  Cut inions into thin diagonal slices.  Pare ginger root and cut into thin slices.  Crush or mince garlic.

5.  Hear remaining 2 T. oil in wok over high heat.  Add beef, onions, ginger, garlic, and remaining 1 t. soy sauce.  Stir-fry until beef is done, about 5 minutes.  Spoon meat mixture over noodles.

Home Study Approved!!

Yep!  We are!

We got our completed Home Study in the mail today, have our form printed for USCIS, and have the required funds available to send with it.  One step at a time – God is good!


The last few weeks have been CRAZY.  I did something to my hip, we’ve had some minor document issues for the home study/dossier, we had out-of-town family visit (which was really fun!), and my sweet baby boy hurt his lip and had to get 9 stitches.  Praying for a little bit of a break.  I have the perspective to be so thankful that my kids are healthy and my life is wonderful, but I would also really love to breathe for just a second, if God’s okay with it.

Our home study should be finalized this week, though.  Hooray!  Then, we apply to Citizenship and Immigration Services, then finish up some documents while we wait to get approval from them, then send our Dossier to Ethiopia.  This week – a bunch of notarizations!  That’s easy, and thankfully FREE!

I got a little discouraged about the wait a few times this week.  It’s really early for me to be feeling that way, so we’re trying to stay positive and focus on the tasks that need to be done.  We realized our birth mom could be getting pregnant in the next six months or so, so we’re praying hard for her right now.

Here are some pics from our zoo trip this weekend:


And my little guy recovering well after getting his stitches out this morning:

paperwork, paperwork, paperwork

It’s after midnight, and I’m wide awake making to-do lists.  Our awesome social worker emailed me to let me know she’d be sending me our home study draft in the next few days, and I realized I needed to get back on top of things!  We had taken a little break with document collecting for the last few weeks and need to get back on it.  One nice thing – our adoption agency and our home study agency are the same people, so the paperwork we collected for our home study is a lot of the same paperwork we need for our dossier.  Score!

We’re maybe 2/3 of the way done with dossier paperwork, and I’m struggling with anxiety about the BIG payment that is due with our dossier.  We have a little bit more time to come up with it – we have to get our approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services first, and that takes a little while. But when I look at the numbers, they stress me out!  Then I realize God has shown up at every step of the way, and He will show up again.  I was just telling my husband the other day that I feel like the Israelites, eating their manna and whining about how at least in Egypt they had good food (although they were slaves).  I’m praying Mark 9:24 right now:  “I do believe!  Help me overcome my unbelief!”

One cool thing on the horizon – as soon as we get our home study officially written and completed, we can start applying for some adoption grants.  That process is a little grueling, as well, but will hopefully be fruitful and blessed!

As always, we appreciate your prayers.  We have several other people in our lives who need intercession today, as well. Would you please pray for them right now, too?  I won’t name them, but God will know who you mean.

just life, and some adoption thoughts

just life, and some adoption thoughts

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Nothing major in the big scheme of things, but just lots of little things that are adding up and wearing us out. It was nice tonight, just hanging out with my favorite guy in the garage while he changed the oil.

None of it is adoption-related. We’re in a bit of a lull with that right now, but have been collecting some documents and writing some letters. We did prayerfully decide to bump up our age range to 18 months. It’s hard to think about a child our daughter’s age being plunked into a whole new world with new people, a new language, etc. She’s so attached to us, so aware of the world around her, and has so much language already. But it was weighing on my heart, so I asked my husband to pray about it. He did for a few days and said we should go for it. I’m probably the one who would be more inclined to desire an infant, anyway, and do feel sad about the likelihood of us never having a little baby again.

Then I was reading Kristin Swick Wong’s book, Carried Safely Home, which was one of the required books for our home study, and she mentioned that when they adopted their second son, she really wanted an infant, and they got referred to a baby who was about to celebrate his first birthday. They wanted to do something to observe his birthday, even though they didn’t have him home yet, so they were planning a little party, but she was having a hard time getting in the mood to celebrate. She said some things on pages 111-113 that brought me such peace about the decision:

“It strikes me that this boy not being home for his first birthday is only one small part of a broader tragedy. He was conceived and born in such a place that his birth mother felt the need to leave him. He will probably never know her, his father, or his whole story. We will participate in mending what is broken, but will not be able to restore those painful beginnings or fill in the missing pieces of his life. Our losing the first year is only one manifestation of a little life begun with loss. I am sad for this baby.

Still, driving home in the balloon-filled car, it strikes me that we are following in the footsteps of Jesus. My instinct is to move away from pain. But Jesus does not turn from our tragedies; he joins us in them, entering willingly into our messy lives. To walk with us, he left perfection and was born into the world, naked and cold. He spent years living and walking and talking with people shattered by grief and shame. He did not remove himself from earthly afflictions but chose to feel thirst, exhaustion, homelessness. He welcomed those who came to him for comfort and help, even when others thought he should send them away. He cried at the death of his friend. His heart went out to a widow whose only son had died. He decided to love and spend his life with a group of men he knew would betray, deny, and abandon him…

What if I gave up my goals for a picture-perfect family with cooing baby in arms? What if I believed that I do not need to erase all the hurts? What if I entered this child’s life, with Jesus, looked for how to apply his ointment to the wounds, then watched for him to create beauty from the ashes? How freeing this could be.

We are following in the footsteps of the Man of Sorrows. I feel released from the anxiety about this child’s beginnings, and I am willing to lose his infancy. I am sad for him but am more willing to live with that sadness, heartened to think that by choosing to enter this child’s broken life we are choosing to follow Jesus. Home with balloons, I am able to celebrate the first birthday of a dear little boy. My dear little boy.”

Which do you want first?

Which do you want first?

The good news or the bad news?

The good news is really good! We mailed off our Home Study paperwork today!!

The bad news is not great, but totally unrelated to the adoption (other than financially):

My car met a pole today, and the pole won. I have never had an at-fault accident, and I’m not super excited for my first one to happen to one of the nicest cars I’ve owned, and at one of the most inopportune times to throw away hundreds of dollars on a deductible and raised monthly insurance rates. Hey – we’re all fine, we have good insurance, we’ll get a rental as part of our policy. Guess I should focus on the positive, huh? Say it with me, and maybe I’ll eventually be able to hear it: “It’s just stuff. It’s just stuff. It’s just stuff.”

I’ll just picture our Home Study Paperwork racing to the agency. In the big picture, that’s a lot more important, anyway!

just a little update

Hello!  We had a sort of dreary week, weather-wise, but it finally cleared up this afternoon.  (Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy it because a certain someone had three apology letters to write, but at least he got them finished in time to get a little sunshine at baseball practice.)

We’ve been busy.  We finished our Hague training, and printing those certificates was so satisfying!  We really did learn a lot, though, and are already implementing some of it with our kiddos.  It’s been neat to see my husband really buy-in to most of what they were saying.  He’s sort of a manly, good-ol-boy type, so I wasn’t sure how it would all go, but he seems totally on board and ready to try some new strategies, and he really sees why those things would be imperative with a grieving child.  I married a good one, y’all!  So thankful for him.

We also had our physicals, although we don’t have any results back yet, and still have to go in Monday for our TB tests, and then again Wednesday to have them read.  Then just a couple of loose ends (letter from my other doctor, cat vaccines, a couple of notarizations, and a life insurance detail), and we will be READY to mail in our home study paperwork!  That is also a good chunk of the dossier paperwork, so that is exciting.  Once we’re done with the home study, we will wait to get fingerprinted with Homeland Security and then wait for them to approve us, and finish up our other dossier documents during that waiting period.  Moving forward!

Of course, to submit our dossier, we have to have the next step of fees, which are pretty intimidating.  We’re almost half-way to having that ready, thanks to lots of good Origami Owl sales (thank you!), some very sweet donations (thank you!), and the great adoption benefits through my husband’s company.  That other half seems scary to me when I’m thinking about it at one in the morning, but I know God has miraculously provided what we’ve got so far and will continue to provide in amazing ways.

One way he’s providing is with the Double Dave’s Pizza fundraiser!  We’re looking at mid-May, so if you live near us and want to come, ask me for the details.  We’re going to spread the word like crazy and try to pack that place!

The plans for this weekend mostly revolve around church, friends/family, and baseball.  Our favorite kind of weekend!



We have made so much progress on the home study paperwork this week! It’s exciting to be moving forward. We just have a few items left to check off and can hopefully get it mailed in within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I always have the dossier pictures in the back of my mind. We have to have four that show us having fun and doing activities we enjoy doing together – sort of to show our real life. I got this one today while we were playing at our new favorite park. Definitely a dossier contender!