Friday, January 28, 2011

We Wait Yet Again....

We were hoping that we would get confirmation on our travel dates today, but that didn't happen. Unfortunately, we now have to wait until Monday. UGH!!! If I have learned anything it is how to wait. I don't have it mastered by any means. I am not the most patient person, especially when it comes to my kids. All I can think about is getting on that plane and getting my girl. She has no idea that her life is about to be rocked!!! I pray right now that her transition will be smooth and without heartache. I know that at 8 1/2 months she is beginning to form bonds with caregivers. I know that she has come to rely on and love the people who are caring for her. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it might be for her (and for her nannies). But, I am asking the Lord to comfort her heart and let her sense the peace that passes all understanding. This kind of peace is the kind that only comes from the Lord. I will be there for her and I will love her and I will comfort her, but I can't do it like God can. I has known her since she was knit in her mother's womb. He knows every hair that is on her head. He knew about that little freckle on her finger before I did. He knew that she would have the most beautiful eyes and gentle spirit. Please Lord let this transition be easy for her.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're coming to get you baby girl!!!!!!

Yesterday was a relatively normal day. I had preschool in the morning, then I met my good friend and fellow adoptive mom Lynn at Chick-fil-a for a playdate. I then ran to the grocery to pick up some much needed supplies before I picked up the kids from school. I came home, after picking up the kids, and as I was carrying groceries into the house my cell phone rang. I noticed it was an 812 area code. My first thought was... why is my brother calling me, he never calls. Then I realized it probably wasn't him since he never calls. Then my brain flashed back to our referral call and remembered that it was an 812 number. Isn't it amazing what can flash through your mind in a split second! I answered the phone and on the other line I hear a kind voice that said, "Are you ready to go to Ethiopia?" Well of course I screamed and said yes. She then said who it was and that they had just received confirmation from the Embassy that we have been approved to travel. I could hardly believe what I was hearing!!!! She said she didn't have exact dates but they had an idea of when travel would be so to start getting ready. We will know for certain tomorrow. I hung up the phone and ran downstairs and screamed to Andy... "We're going to AFRICA!!!". I danced around in circles and he had a look on his face that said... what are you talking about. I then explained that I had just gotten off of the phone with our case manager and that we were approved to go get our girl. We are coming to get you baby girl!!!!! Mommy and Daddy will be there soon. I can't wait to hold you. The kids soon came downstairs because of all of the commotion and we asked them what they have been looking forward to for sooo long. Andrea yelled... BABY OLIVIA. We said yep, we are going to go get her! She climbed onto my lap and started to cry. We then decided to go out to eat to celebrate. I am still in shock that we are finally at this point in our journey. I can't believe she will be home with us so soon. I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to my heavenly Father. He answered our prayers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's Update

We received an email from our adoption coordinator this morning and it stated that the Vice Consular Chief has returned from his journey south to investigate the orphanages. He spent the day today writing reports and will issue his report on Bethany soon. These reports will start coming in tomorrow (Bethany may not be the first to receive theirs since many orphanages and agencies were involved in these investigations). So, we just wait our turn. They said this investigative report could have an invitation to travel or it may request more information. Since we have not been pulled into field investigations, we should be ok. So we are praying that the report for our agency will be done quickly and we will receive our invite!!! They also reported that the embassy will be accepting families on several different days and will not be limiting them to 10 slots every 2 weeks. This is REALLY good news because there are almost 30 families ready to travel from our agency!!! We would be spread out over several weeks and the thought of that was really depressing! Now we could go at any time (which in some respects is a little more stressful). We are ready though. We hope we can get my mom up here quickly to watch the kids! She has to fly up from Florida. Talk about crazy. So, we are hopeful for some good news this week! Keep praying.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My New Look

Yes. This is my new look. I completely look like this crazy woman! There is so much going on with our agency and the embassy that I feel so out of control. Ig uess it is a good thing that I realize that, but it doesn't make it any easier. I am going CRAZY!!!! I want my BABY!!!!! I can't really share the details about what we heard today, but it is enough to make one sick. I feel soooo badly for the family that found out some crazy news today, but I am happy that they get to go pick up their child. I am praying that we will hear something soon. We did find out that we may have more opportunities for travel rather than just every 2 weeks. They will let us know more as soon as they find something out. I just feel blah!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The mountain

Yesterday and today we were able to participate in the Bethany bi-weekly conference call. It honestly feels really good to by-pass our coordinator and get it semi-directly from the source. Even though we aren't speaking directly with the staff in ET, we are talking to the people at the national branch that filters through all of the information. We found out some good things: 1) 3 cases have been approved for embassy appointments and one of those is a Shalom case! 2) They have NOT requested any further information regarding our particular case, which indicates they have all that they need. 3) The Vice Consular Chief is suppose to travel out to the orphange this week. 4) Bethany will be in contact with the Embassy again on Thursday. 5) We are still hopeful for the Feb. 1 Embassy date. I know this does not seem like a lot of information, but it is more progress than we have seen in over a month. We are still trying to remain optimistic about it. Andy just has a feeling that we will be hearing something in the next few days. I hope he is right. To be honest I have really been struggling and I need some Hope to grab onto. I know Jesus is our source of Hope, but sometimes we simple minded people need something tangible, some kind of confirmation. I know in the grand scheme of things this wait does not seem like a very long time, but with all of the unknowns hanging there it seems like an eternity. I appreciate all of your support and prayers as we traverse this journey. This portion of our sojourn is almost complete, but it feels like the last 100 yards before the summit... tough, grueling, tiresome, draining. But once we reach the summit, what a sight we will behold! We will have our girl in our arms!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


We had a BLAST yesterday with a group of friends! We had a last minute get together with other adoptive families. Two families drove over from Ohio and 2 families came from the Indy area. With 5 families there were 11 kids represented from 3 different countries! We spent the first part of the afternoon catching up while the kids ran around the house and played. We then fired up the four wheeler and hooked a sled to it with a rope. All of the kids took turns on the sled while I dragged them around the property... even though there wasn't much snow! We know how to have a good time. I don't have a picture to post, but even the littles got out there and had a blast. One little even cried hysterically when he had to get off of the sled! I wish we had a bigger sled with more snow so that more kids could ride at one time. One of the mommas got on the sled too!!!! After everyone came in and warmed up it was time for homemade pizzas. All of the kids got a pile of dough and they got to make their own pizza crust into whatever shape they wanted (we had squares, circles, a gingerbread man, a really long breadstick thing, ovals, Ethiopia shapes, etc). Lots of CREATIVITY!!! The kids were then able to put whatever topping they wanted on their pizza. The grown-ups had YUMMY homemade wheat crust with YUMMY toppings. My friend Lynn brought salad and chocolate pie!!! Fun times at the Cottongim house. It will be so great when Miss Olivia joins the group for some fun. Hopefully we will hear some good news later this week. We did find out that our case has NOT been selected for investigation, so that is really good news. We have a conference call this afternoon so maybe we will get some more info. Until then, here is a picture of Nathan and his little friend eating their pizza creations!!

Friday, January 14, 2011


We received some news yesterday regarding our case and all of the cases that come from our orphanage that have been submitted to the Embassy. We had a conference call with the director of the ET program and other families in our situation. They received word that the Vice Consulate Chief will be going to the orphanage in Awassa to "check everything out" sometime next week. We don't know what day he/she will be going or how long he/she will be staying. We do know that this person contacted our agency and got a contact name/phone number/ and driving directions to the orphanage. They aren't giving us any timeline other than this. They do hope to "wrap up" the cases from this orphanage after this visit. Our agency is very confident that this person will find things in order and will be pleased with their findings. This was encouraging, but there were others on the call who were talking about worse case scenarios and I could hardly handle it. The good news is they told us to wait a couple of weeks before we apply to CIS for an extension on our I-171H. This made it sound like they were hopeful for a quick resolution. My prayer is that this person will go early this week and find out that everything is in order quickly and return so that cases can be processed for the next embassy appointments. Our agency was able to send one family for embassy next week. I must admit I was discouraged by this because we should have gone a couple of weeks ago. I have had a rough couple of days and I just need to try to keep my mind occupied. There's nothing we can do except pray.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An amazing find!!

Check out this beautiful doll. She just came in the mail today! She is slightly smaller than an American Girl doll, but the quality is awesome!!! She is gorgeous. We ordered her from Target and I am amazed at her beauty. We will be putting her back for future birthdays. Even her jewelry is beautiful.

Turn your head to notice that a portion of the proceeds go to World Vision!

What's happening at home!

With everything going on with the adoption, it's easy to lose sight of all of the fun we are still having at home. We have been pretty busy and we are still enjoying ourselves. We had quite a bit of snow this week and we quickly got our snow gear on and enjoyed the great outdoors. It was still a little cold, but we went out and had a great time. We wanted to build a snow fort, but the snow was not the kind you can pack. It was really powdery. The kids still had a great time running around (and so did the dogs!).

Nathan licking the snow off of his face
Andrea closing her eyes as the wind blows

Noah giving us his toothless grin

Molly wondering why we have to be out in the cold

Biscuit enjoying the snow

The playground

This past weekend Noah participated in his first Cubscout Derby! He did AWESOME!!! There were 32 cars that raced that night and he finished in the top 5. We were soooo proud of him. He was just excited to get to play with the car after the race. Because of all of the stuff you have to do to the car to make sure it runs smoothly, Noah couldn't play with it. He won several of the races too! We are sooo proud of him. We look forward to next year's race. Daddy is already planning ahead for what he is going to do differently to make it run faster!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

United in Prayer

Yesterday I posted on the Bethany Forum about how I felt that we are under attack as adopting parents as well as the entire adoption program in Ethiopia. I encouraged others to join me in prayer for all of our adoptions and the result has been unbelievable. We have the next month covered in prayer and fasting!!! I firmly believe that this will overflow into future months. I believe in the power of prayer, and I firmly believe in the power of unified prayer. We are really looking forward to the results of this prayer and fasting. These results range from changed lives for the one fasting including a deeper relationship with God to seeing positive results in the adoption program in Ethiopia. I know that I serve a powerful Lord. I know He answers prayers. I know that His heart is bent to those seeking Him. I know that God wants the orphan placed in families. I know that He is capable of moving mountains. I believe we will see big things these next couple of months. Join us in the prayer and fasting!!!

As for our case, we did not receive any word today regarding us traveling for the 18th, so we are focusing our prayers for the 1st of Feb. Let's go God!!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Still Hopeful

I know that it is highly unlikely for us to get the Jan. 18 Embassy date, but we still remain hopeful. We will know tomorrow or Tuesday if we are invited or not. I am learning to not get too worked up over it, but to trust in the Lord to renew my strength. It is not an easy wait, but it is out of our control. All we can do is trust Him to get us through to the next step, and that is bringing her home. I can get all nervous and worked up; I can worry and distressed; I can become consumed with it. But that is not what He wants. He calls me to trust in Him... to put my petitions before Him... to rest in Him. Sometimes our choices are made once and that is all that is needed. But this choice is one that I have to make minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. I admit that I don't always make the choice to trust Him and rest in Him. I get caught up in the moment and forget about God and His role in my life and our baby's life. I take it all personally. I even get mad at God sometimes. I admit that I just want to bring my baby home. I want to get her out of institutionalized care and into the arms of a family that loves every little part of her. It has been soooo long. Maybe God wanted her to experience Ethiopian Christmas (which was Jan. 7, Friday) in her birth country. Maybe they celebrated in a special way that needed to be imprinted into her spirit. I know we will look at Jan. 7 differently from now on. It will be a day focused on the Lord and the land of our daughter's birth. So, we are fervently praying for good news this week... hoping for the next Embassy date, but acknowledging that the Lord is in control and He has a divine plan for our daughter's homecoming.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Another Day

Another day has come and gone and we still don't know anything more than we knew 2 weeks ago. I so long for a timeline. I have been working on her bedroom and filling her dresser. I do hope she can wear the clothes in it. If we go too long, she will have outgrown everything and we will have to start over. I am still trying to stay optimistic for the 18th of this month being our new embassy date, but I have nothing promising it. I just want to be prepared. That means we would leave next week. It's not looking too good since we haven't heard anything yet. How long do they need? Lord, please make it quick.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Life has been extremely busy since we returned from our court trip. We quickly jumped into the Christmas festivites including several programs, parties, snow days, decorations, family, etc., etc. It almost seems like a blur. Christmas morning was so fun. The kids could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve and Noah was up at 5am. I repeat... 5am. We didn't get to bed until nearly 2am so we were pretty sleepy on Christmas day. We then headed to my parents for our annual family Christmas brunch. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the kids, playing games, and resting. The next day we celebrated at our house with the Cottongim side of the family and had another great time together. Once all of the Christmas festivites calmed down, we soon found out that our case had been submitted to the Embassy and we were given an "unofficial" invitation to travel for the Jan. 4 Embassy date. We were somewhat in limbo because we didn't know if we should purchase tickets. A few days went by and we still were not given any indication if we were suppose to travel. By Thursday we went ahead and purchased tickets because they kept going up in price so we didn't want to risk them going up any more. The worst that could happen is that we could have to pay a rescheduling fee. Unfortunately our agency was extremely slow in getting us information so we contacted someone in country ourselves to hear what was going on. By Tuesday (24 hours before we were suppose to travel) we got ahold of someone in country and found out that we were not invited to travel at this time and we would not know when we would be. My heart just broke. I was soooo looking forward to bringing home our lovely little girl for the New Year. We know that God has His perfect timing, but it is difficult to see why the delay is now necessary. She is legally our daughter in Ethiopia. We are just waiting on the US Embassy to issue her a visa and invite us to travel. The disappointing part is that they only have appointments every 2 weeks, so if we don't get the next upcoming date we are pushed out another 2 weeks. If you could remember to (particularly this upcoming week) please pray daily for our case to be completed. I can't imagine waiting much longer to bring home little Miss O. After holding her and getting to know her preciousness, I long for her more than I can describe. The bags sit in our foyer ready to go (well... almost ready to go, I am re-evaluating how to pack and what I want to take). I need to focus on the upcoming week since school begins. Hopefully we will hear something this week.