Thursday, December 30, 2010

#48!


We received the email yesterday,
and it read...

"You're now a waiting family!!!"

We are overjoyed and eager for the next phase of this journey.

2011 is going to be one of anticipation & patience!

We're #48 on the waiting list!

Happy New Year, y'all!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK 18!

Another 41 puzzle pieces were added this week!
The puzzle is over 84% complete!

what a beautiful sight.

praying that by next Christmas
our little guy will be home,
with us.

what a sweet miracle that would be.

with love.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

beautiful day.

Here are a couple of pictures I've received via email this week.

Thank you, dear friends for your support!

CRAZY!
[matt, that is...and the snow too!]
thanks for bearing the cold for us, friend!
Josiah!

Cooper!

These pictures mean the world to me!
What a joy it is to travel this journey with the love & support of friends & family.

Thanks, guys!
Keep the pictures coming!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

DC Bound!

Our dossier was reviewed by our agency and we "officially" heard on Monday that everything looked great! ...we just had to wait until TODAY for it to be sent to DC [the courier only comes on Thursdays.]

Once in DC it will be authenticated and bundled, then sent back to our agency. Once our agency receives it we will become a waiting family!!!!

music to my ears.

We hope to be at that point in a couple of weeks...
[maybe a little longer-due to the holidays]

We'll update when we hear more, until then...

MERRY CHRISTMAS
&
Happy 2011!

with love,
em


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK 17!

After adding this week's sponsored pieces,
we sat back, speechless.
We're in complete awe & gratitude.

Just over 4 months ago we started out on this quest.
Four months ago we put together the first two pieces of the puzzle.
They read, "mom" & "dad".

And today, over 60 names of individuals and families have been added.
It truly is a beautiful sight.

152 puzzle pieces were added THIS week!
804 pieces sponsored to date!

THANK YOU.



Monday, December 20, 2010

I'll be home for Christmas...


....if only in my dreams.

We won't be home [in Michigan!] for Christmas on December 25...

BUT, we are going home in early January.

If you would like a hand-delivered ONE-LESS t-shirt, we would love to see you & put one in your possession. Come on, dear Dutch friends...it will save you $3 in shipping! :)
LOVE this picture of a fellow Spring Arbor grad [and friend!]
supporting baby h, while pregnant with their first!

Oh, and how I love this little guy [and his family]
like crazy. How it made my heart sing to get this picture
on my phone!

Will you consider helping US
as we long to change the life for ONE [or 2, or 3... :) ]

We have 45 shirts left.
for $20 one can be YOURS.

Thanks, friends.

ALSO, our dossier has been APPROVED by our adoption agency. It will be sent to WASHINGTON DC on Thursday!

Rejoicing, again tonight.




Thursday, December 16, 2010

Signed Sealed Delivered...

Ah! I can't believe we're finally able to post this! Today has arrived, at last!

Tonight our paper chase came to an end. It's been just under four months since we submitted our application to our adoption agency and tonight we mailed in our dossier!!!

In just over 24 hours our adoption agency should be receiving the [large] stack of papers. The first lag in this journey has [almost] come to an end. The last four months have flown by. We've been stretched, challenged, frustrated, overjoyed, and blessed in more ways than we can express.

And, tonight....we're grinning ear to ear, with champagne in hand!

Here are a few pictures from today...

Our kitchen table.
Documents County Certified AND State Authenticated.
ALL DONE!
Hooray for snow days and a completed dossier!!!

And, in a later post I'll write about our amazing FedEx story. God works in crazy ways!

With MUCH joy,
em


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEKS 15 & 16!

34 puzzle pieces were added tonight!!!

652 puzzle pieces have been sponsored.
THANK YOU.
What an incredible gift knowing
people are praying us through this journey.

Your generous hearts inspire us.
$3,260 has been raised with the puzzle, alone.
[which is almost the amount needed to submit our dossier!]

We still need to get all of our documents county certified
and state authenticated,
THEN we get to mail in our dossier!
[hopefully this week!]

We'll keep you posted!

Love, Em

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Present & Accounted For!

Every document is in hand [even the before-mentioned approval from citizen and immigration, which came TODAY!]

All of our paperwork has been faxed to our adoption agency for approval!!!

Our [

dos·sier]

noun
\ˈdȯs-ˌyā, ˈdäs-; ˈdȯ-sē-ˌā, ˈdä-\
which is, a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject
>[merriam webster dictionary]
is almost complete!
[we still have to get the documents county certified and state authenticated...which we hope to do tomorrow & Monday]

Praise God.
just wanted to pass on our good news.
Here's to hoping that our paperwork passes the first time around!
much LOVE.
em

Friday, December 3, 2010

birthday surprise.

Yesterday marked my 27th birthday!

And, it was TWO days after our fingerprinting appointment.
[see previous post]

Just for fun I thought I would call to see when we
may hear about our approval letter [I-171H] from immigration and citizenship.
[the LAST document we need before we mail in our dossier!]

It can take weeks or months to hear back.
[we were expecting six weeks or so]

Well, I personally spoke with the officer who was processing our case.
She said she would have it done by
the end of the day!!!
[TRULY A MIRACLE!]

We should be receiving that coveted piece of paper in the mail next week!!!

[The officer probably thought I was crazy, I kept thanking her and blabbing on how she made my day!]

So, we're scurrying around today to finish paperwork on our end.

What a perfect birthday gift!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fingerprints & Finger Food!

We were fingerprinted today.
[and completely giddy about it!]

We were grinning from ear to ear.
We laughed, a lot.

To celebrate we went to a family-owned Ethiopian
restaurant in Chapel Hill.
We didn't quite know what to expect...

But, we were pleasantly surprised!
It was delicious and an amazing way to end the day.

The end of our paperwork chase is near!

Here are a few pictures to document the day.



highly recommend it!

We're one step closer
to bringing our babe home!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEKS 11-14!

We had some work to do on the puzzle tonight.
The results are incredible.

In the last four weeks, 109 puzzle pieces have been sponsored.

618 PUZZLE PIECES have been sponsored to date!!!!!

what an answer to prayer.
what a humble reminder,
God does provide.

thank you for your generous support.
we are so blessed,
and have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

why we do what we do.

...the ramblings of my heart.

My eyes have been opened to the devastating statistics of Ethiopia, and orphans worldwide.
The reality of the number of children without a family or a home is haunting.

The need is great.
There are over 147 MILLION orphans worldwide, a number far too great to comprehend.

I know God has called us to adopt. I whole heartedly believe this is HIS will for our lives.
I know some people question our heart's desire. They don't understand why.

But, the more I learn, the more my heart aches. I simply cannot turn away...

Because, My life is not my own.
I belong to my faithful Savior.
AND, this world is not all about me.

I want to be passionate about what my Father is passionate about.
I want to be moved into action over social injustices that cause Him pain.
I want my heart to be in tune with my Jesus.

I wish in the 21st century we could find a way to cure AIDS, illness, poverty & clean drinking water was in plenty. I wish there wasn't a need for adoption, simply because every child already had a home AND a family.

However, today...that is not our reality.

We're not in this to "rescue" or "save" a child. [those words actually make me shutter in relation to adoption.]

we're simply loving our Jesus and trying our best to follow Him...

[and we're having a rockin' good time doing so.]

Somehow along the way we just get the incredible privilege of welcoming a little Ethiopian kiddo into our lives.

and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another step closer.

Friday was a good day.
a really good day...

2 1/2 weeks after submitting our I-600A...
we received our fingerprinting appointment!!!


I opened the mail and
jumped up and down
all while sitting in the car
trying to dial the hubby's number.

we were told months.
it happened in two weeks.

So, while I screamed with joy my eyes filled with tears.
God is in control.

what an amazing reminder.

NOVEMBER 30, 2010...
Another step in our adoption journey
will be completed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Four More: ONE-LESS.

Way to represent, Calvin College!
Thank you for your support.
Way to rock out in the tees!

much love.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Update!

As of today, we have sold
56 ONE-LESS T-SHIRTS!

Thank you for all of your support!

***If you have bought a "ONE-LESS" t-shirt, we want a picture of YOU in it!***
[We're all about community, people!]
SO, for the TEXANS, MICHIGANDERS, NORTH CAROLINIANS,
and peeps in OHIO...Please email me your pictures!

Here is picture of our dear friend, Rachel.
She's amazing.
Her blog is amazing.
Her photography is amazing.
and, so is her love for AFRICA.

Go check out her blog and make sure you find her recipe for
[my mouth is watering just typing that.]

thanks, friends.
exciting things are happening.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

book review.

I just finished reading this book:

with the stirring of numerous emotions,
it has opened my heart to a whole new world.

it's a must read.
you won't regret it.
[i didn't]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MI Craft Show Represents!

The "ONE-LESS" t-shirts are coming to a craft show near YOU!
[if you live in the Grand Rapids area!]

This Saturday, November 6 from 9am-2pm at:
Legacy Christian Middle School
67 68th Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49548

My sister has a booth and is selling her insanely cute handmade headbands.
She has graciously offered to also sell the "ONE-LESS" shirts...

AND merchandise from JUMPING ON THE BED DESIGNS!

100% of the t-shirt proceeds will go towards our adoption!!!
[as well as a portion of the sales from Jumping on the Bed Designs.]

So, save on shipping...stop by her booth on Saturday!
Go say "hi". Check out the sweet things she's selling.
And, if nothing else...just go talk to her.
she's completely amazing.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a good place.

We found out it may be a matter of months before we get our fingerprinting appointment and approval from USCIS. But, it's ok. We are where we're suppose to be. God has granted us peace, and I'm grateful. I look with anticipation to the day we'll be a family of three...but, for today I'm going to savor the moments of waiting.


my heart is content.
and i for that, i rejoice.



Monday, November 1, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK TEN!

WEEK TEN.
50 Pieces sponsored.
We're over half way done with the puzzle!!!
THANK YOU to those who are making this possible!

509 pieces sponsored to date.

thanks, friends.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK NINE!

It has been nine weeks since we began our puzzle fundraiser.
In NINE weeks 459 puzzle pieces have been sponsored.
Some of the puzzle pieces have names of people we don't know and have never met.
Some have names of new friends and friends of old.
Some have names of relatives, our church family, & co-workers.
It's a beautiful thing.

We are so grateful for the prayers, for the love, for the financial support.
The puzzle is progressing, every week....and that leaves me speechless.


Another 24 pieces were added this past week.

AND, on Tuesday we submitted our application to USCIS [United States Citizenship & Immigration]. This is HUGE! It's paper chasing time, folks! One step closer to getting on the wait list! Prayers appreciated as we embark on this next step...it's still so surreal!

and completely wonderful.


love, em


Friday, October 22, 2010

It's here!

WE HAVE OUR COMPLETED HOME STUDY IN HAND!!!


just thought we would share in the good news.


have a great weekend y'all.

blessings,
j & e


Thursday, October 21, 2010

today's thought...

i played outside today with the little guy i babysit.
we played with sidewalk chalk.

the weather was perfect.
70's and sunny.

and i thought to myself....
[insert smile HERE]

"i can't wait to be a mom"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK EIGHT!

Week EIGHT.
28 puzzle pieces added.
435 pieces total!!!


We're back in town after a wonderful weekend away with family....we added our puzzle pieces [thanks to the generous donations of dear friends!] and organized the ONE LESS t-shirts because they have ARRIVED!!!

Thanks to Justin at JGUNN Designs for his quick turn-around time and amazing work!
[we highly recommend him!]

So, if we have your order and you're in the Raleigh area we'll hand deliver your shirt soon.
If you're in the Grand Rapids area and want to order one, my sister and brother have extras!
Leave a message and we'll get one in your hands.
IF you need one shipped, we can do that too!

You can place an order using paypal, located on the right side bar.
[or leave a message if you prefer to send a check!]

If you ordered one, but haven't paid, you can do so via paypal [which adds shipping costs of $3]
or you can send a check to our home address [please include $3 for shipping]

We're excited, folks.

Our home study is in the final stages of being completed...and then the real work begins!

with love,
e&j










Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK SEVEN

Here are week seven puzzle results:
[one day late]

76 pieces sponsored this week!
407 pieces sponsored to date!

we're humbled and forever grateful.

so, amesege'nallo'.
[that's amharic for, thank you.]

incase you didn't know...

“I am more of a dreamer and my husband is more realistic. He keeps me grounded and I keep him on his toes!”


[hapner home study, 2010]


...that made it in our report, too.




AND, for last week's puzzle results....check back TONIGHT!



Sunday, October 10, 2010

saxophone, marching band & home studies.

We received the first draft our of home study late Friday night. Our social worker mentally prepared us for how difficult it may be to read a report that represents our 26 years of existence, in nine neatly printed pages.

But, we were pleasantly surprised. I really feel that the study represents us well and our love for one another, family and our Heavenly Father....and that makes me smile.

AND, on a slightly humorous note, the report included that Jim played the saxophone in high school AND was in marching band-ha! love that.

[seriously, who would have thought such things would make it into a legal document that will be sent to the United States AND Ethiopian Embassies?!?! ]

it's the little things in life.
and it keeps us laughing.

ejh







Thursday, October 7, 2010

oh, patience...

We're standing still.
Hoping & praying our home study report is finished, soon.
Once we verify the report accurately sums up 26 years of existence, it will be sent to our adoption agency to review.

From there it will go back to the home study agency to notarize.
THEN we can proceed with the paper chase.

complex process...
and right now, we're content, in the moment, looking with great excitement to the road that lies ahead.

We ordered the t-shirts last night. We should have them next weekend [they are being hand delivered from Michigan!] Order information will be coming soon...

We ordered plenty of extras.
Our goal is to sell out.
So, spread the word & the love. [thanks to those who already have]

Off to make dinner...

Peace, friends.
em



Monday, October 4, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK SIX!

We're speechless at this week's puzzle results.
Friends, we cannot thank you enough.


THANK YOU for loving us and believing in his calling in our lives.
Thank you for giving, even when times are tough and money tight.
Thank you for your kind words and cards of encouragement.
We're so grateful that y'all have joined us in this journey.
We can't wait to meet our little one and introduce him to YOU.

Six weeks into our fundraising efforts and
331 puzzle pieces have been sponsored to date!
83 puzzle pieces sponsored this week!

We're getting there and it's so encouraging...
in HIM alone.
em

ONE LESS.

To raise awareness,
to spread the love,
and to help with the crazy costs of international adoption....
We are selling t-shirts!

There are approximately 5 million orphans in Ethiopia,
a country smaller than the size of Texas.

We're grateful [and super excited!] that God has called US to
care for one of his orphans...

there will be
ONE LESS.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


Here is the design.
[Thank you, Tyler for your amazing work]
The design will be printed on a white short-sleeve shirt.



We hope to put in an order by the end of this week.
If interested, PLEASE leave a comment
with your size.
[price $20.]

We hope to get an idea of how many to pre-order.

This design has been a work in progress for a couple of weeks...
just last week we came across Matthew West's new song, titled "One Less",
written about adoption.

so great.
Check it out here!

Puzzle update coming soon...
[after our home study is over-Jim's in his solo interview as I type!]

LOVE.
em

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Future Flair.

I'm writing in anticipation of our next fundraiser. I simply can't wait.
Let's just say it involves work of the great, Tyler. [graphic designer and college roommate of the hubby AND groomsmen in our wedding].

As soon as the design is complete I'll post pictures.
I'm stoked.

The money raised from THIS fundraiser will go towards the $7,200 needed once we accept the referral of our kiddo. [Can't WAIT for that day!]

We're two pieces short of completing 25% of our puzzle!!! A huge thank you to those who have prayed for us, sponsored pieces, and shown us your love during this crazy, unpredictable and wonderful time in our lives. It is such a joy to write your names on the pieces, knowing you gave of yourself to help us, as we welcome a little one into our family. What a blessing.

Now, back to our next fundraiser....
it's cool.
you're going to want one, i promise.

Sorry for the cliff hanger :)
stay tuned.

with love on a rainy Raleigh night.
em

Monday, September 27, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK FIVE!

Home study visit #1: COMPLETE.
It went well, I think.
It was intense.
Tough questions with a wide range of topics [such as parenting and creating ethnic & culture diversity]
Good stuff...
[but, I'm glad it's over!]

Next week: Individual interviews.

Now, onto the fun part of this post: puzzle results for week 5! A huge thank you to the families [and their kids] who donated!

28 puzzle pieces added this week!
248 pieces sponsored to date!
What a joy it is to watch our puzzle take shape!

With love & gratitude.
em & jim.


Home Study: TODAY 6pm

I probably shouldn't be sitting here typing.
There's a kitchen to clean, papers to put away, laundry to be done, grocery shopping to do and errands to run....

AND, did I mention our home study is tonight at 6?!?

But, adoption blogs are way more entertaining to read than the before mentioned chores!

I'm strangely at peace about our home study, and actually looking forward to it! Our house isn't even near perfect, but, it's clean [or will be by 6pm!]

I'm excited to cross things off our adoption to-do list and the home study is a big one. We've been at a standstill for the last couple of weeks. It's exciting to get the ball rolling, again.

AND, even more exciting news-I've joined a Yahoo forum of families in NC who have adopted from Ethiopia. They get together for picnics & play dates. Oh, how my heart rejoices in the thought of a plethora of sweet and stickin' adorable Ethiopian children running around here in our home state! Oh, where would we be without the internet?!?

sweet bliss.

We'll keep you posted how things go tonight.
Prayers appreciated!

AND, keep a look out for our puzzle update-we'll post it tonight after our social worker leaves!

blessings,
em

Monday, September 20, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK FOUR!

I'm excited to post pictures of this week's puzzle progress! THANK YOU for your generous donations, thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement. This journey would not be possible without all of you! So, without further ado, here are puzzle results after week four.

64 puzzle pieces sponsored this week!


220 pieces sponsored to date!
$1,100 raised!!!


I have shed more tears [of joy, excitement, and pure gratitude] in the last four weeks, because of all of you [and YouTube :)]


We are so humbled by your love.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Swaddling PRO.


We attended a "baby basics" class at the Hospital last night.
[it's an adoption requirement.]

ohhhhhhh, the sight of Jim diapering a doll makes my heart sing.
[it was pure enjoyment]

I promised myself there WOULD be pictures.
[but, I failed....everyone was so serious.]

We were definitely the gigglers in the group-ha.


AND, we looked like fish out of water.
Everyone had big 'ole preggo bellies.
We clearly did not.


Swaddling, bathing, dressing, diapering, soothing, feeding.
We're ready now!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK THREE!

We added four more puzzle pieces to the mix this week!
...which brings us to a grand total of 156 pieces sponsored!!!


THANK YOU.
so.much.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Moving forward...

Our home study is scheduled for September 27 & October 4!!!

Our social worker hopes to have the report completed by October 7. [We're keeping our fingers crossed!]

AND THEN...

-we can submit our I-600A application
-wait for our fingerprinting appointments
-prepare documents for our dossier
-submit our dossier
-and WAIT for our referral! [on average 8-10 months for a little boy!]

UNTIL THEN...

we will be...

-completing 10+ hours of online adoption education courses
-taking a parenting class [scheduled for September 15]
-getting our lives & house in order, beginning with installing a dishwasher, tonight :)

Pure craziness.

It's hard to believe it's only been a month since we decided to pursue adoption in Ethiopia.

In some respects it feels like it's been a lifetime coming. I feel like navigating this adoption process is a bit like learning a foreign language. [Exciting, frustrating, discouraging, unfamilar]
But, when things start "clicking" and the light bulb turns on....a weight is lifted and a glimmer of hope prevails.

On that note, I'm signing off, leaving you with a youtube video of "Lucy Lane's Gotcha Day"
Hooray for homecomings! ....and happy tears.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK TWO!

THANK YOU friends, parents of friends, friends from high school and friends from college [some who we haven't talked to since SAU days!] and thank you, dear family, for your generous donations!
Here are the results from week 2!


82 pieces sponsored this week!!!
$410 raised!

Overflowing with JOY.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another milestone.

We sent off our home study application this morning!

Another sigh of relief.

It took us a week to:

Answer 41 questions [such as, "What is your greatest life failure up to date?" and "How do you plan to discipline your child?"]

Obtain certificates from NC and MI stating we have no police record.

Complete the bazillion page application packet. [perhaps a slight exaggeration]

Now we're off to enjoy this weekend and accomplish MUCH, starting with painting the house:)

Happy LABOR day weekend, y'all!

love,
em


Friday, September 3, 2010

Callin' All Coffee Lovers!

Purchase Fair Trade Coffee from "Just Love Coffee" and part of the proceeds will go to help build a school for older children in Ethiopia, as well as to our adoption fund! We'll receive $5 for every bag of coffee purchased!!! [through our store] Click on the link above or go to: https://www.justlovecoffee.com/thehapners

good coffee.
good cause.

JUST LOVE.



Monday, August 30, 2010

Puzzle Results: WEEK ONE!


Here are the results after 7 days of fundraising:


A HUGE thank you to those who have already donated!!!

We have 70 puzzle pieces sponsored and have raised $350!

We're on our way...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fleeting Moments.

We started this blog as a personal journal, to put into ink all the emotion, fears, anxieties and JOYS that this journey brings. To remember the good, the bad and everything in-between. So, please bear with me as we track on in this adventure, I feel like my footing is slightly slipping.

At numerous times during the past few days I have had fleeting moments of sheer doubt regarding finances [or lack there of] and moments of panic regarding the overwhelming paperwork.

But, then I remind myself....

Just.To.Breath.

I dream of the day we meet our babe.
And the day we take our little one HOME.
Thoughts of pure joy as we get to cuddle and hold him close.

...and every doubt and fear is erased.

A smile creeps onto my face, because I know...it WILL be ok.

By God's good grace, the paperwork will get done, a home study agency picked out, and finances raised.

I feel better already, thanks for listening...dear friends.

ejh

Monday, August 23, 2010

Many pieces, one puzzle.

Our adoption process has officially begun, thus so has our fundraising efforts. We have a substantial amount of money to raise over the next year. It's overwhelming when we sit down and look at the costs of international adoption; however, we fully believe this is God's calling and
He will provide.

We're learning to trust [whole heartedly.]

First and foremost, we ask for your prayers. We cannot do this alone. Please pray that God will guide us, grant us wisdom, patience and peace. Please continue to lift up our little guy and his family too.

Secondly, we ask that you may consider financially supporting us on this journey. We'll be doing numerous fundraisers throughout the upcoming months to raise finances required to bring our kiddo home! [i love typing that!]

Now...onto the fun part...

In effort to raise funds needed for our home study and dossier, we bought this 1,000 piece puzzle. Appropriately titled, "Waiting for the Bus" by Julia Cairns. A beautiful depiction of African culture...

We're inviting you to "sponsor" two pieces of the puzzle for $10. With each piece of the puzzle you sponsor, we'll write your name on the back and put that piece of puzzle into place. A permanent reminder of the part you played in this season of life.

Once all the pieces are sponsored and the puzzle complete, we'll frame it in double sided glass and display it in our house. It will be constant visual reminder of all those who prayed for us and financially supported us in this journey.

We'll post updates periodically as pieces are sponsored and added.

*If you wish to sponsor puzzle pieces, you may do so by clicking on the "donate" Paypal button located on the right side of our blog or you can send it to our home address [please email us for details.]

Thanks for loving us well.
We're humbled at the love and support we're already received.
The body of Christ is a beautiful thing...


.ten dollars. 2 pieces. one step closer.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Q&A

We are so grateful for the out pour of love and support y'all have graciously given us in the last few days. We're so blessed.

Our excitement swells as we dream of the future and as we're in a standstill with paperwork until later this week.

We'll revel in the moment, knowing the next step is a slightly tedious one [however, it's one step closer to bringing our kiddo home!]

What a joy your emails and comments have been to read. There were two questions that many of you asked, so I thought I would answer them here.

Q: How long is the adoption process in Ethiopia?
A: Our guess is about 18 months. Things are always changing in Ethiopia and the process could always speed up or slow down. The next phase is one of paperwork, which should take 3-4 months. Once our paperwork approved the wait period currently is 8-10 months to receive a referral for a baby boy. We'll have to travel to Ethiopia twice, once to go to court and once to bring our kiddo home.

Q: Boy or girl? Age preference?
A: Our preference is for a boy, 0-12 months. With that being said, we're open to what God has in store for our family.

We should be receiving more information from our adoption agency in the mail later this week.

Lately I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not just dreaming...this feels so surreal, and I love it!

Off to enjoy the rest of this Sunday.
blessings to all.
em

Friday, August 20, 2010

Approved!

Our two weeks miraculously turned into 18 hours!

I received the phone call just before 11 this morning.
Let's pray the rest of the process goes this fast....

We're celebrating over here tonight!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

a plea for patience.

We received an email confirmation that our application was received.

The two weeks waiting process begins NOW.
[not 4 days ago, like we thought....]

and so i pray....
Dear God,
Grant me patience.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From the beginning.

[WARNING: long post!!!]


Adoption has always been in the back of our minds as something we wanted to do...someday. This is how that "someday" turned into...now.

Friends from Calvin have been working at a children's home in Haiti. I've always had a desire to travel internationally and ever since my days in Romania I've had an itching to go [somewhere] again. Somewhere to love on children that were abandoned, alone, and overcome by poverty. Jim and I decided we wanted to go to Haiti, to love on the kiddos at Children of the Promise and see Jenny and Jamie.

Our tentative plan was to go in January. My application was complete and references written. I was psyched! [Jim was on the youth retreat while I was doing this...and was going to complete his application upon returning to NC [that was before we had a flood and went to Michigan!]

But, the more I thought about going to Haiti, the more hesitant I got. Not about the trip or loving on the kiddos, but about leaving them. I knew a part of my heart would be left behind and I didn't know if I was strong enough to go....without an adoption plan in place.

Jim entertained the thought, but brushed it off.
I was persistent.

We agreed to put in our primary application to Children of the Promise following our trip home to Michigan. On July 28 we submitted it...and waited.

REJECTION. We knew the requirements were strict, but we weren't quite ready to hear you had to be 35 years old and married for 10 years. We were a bit off on both ;)

So now what? We didn't feel a calling to adopt elsewhere...was God telling us to wait? to have biological children first? to adopt from another country?

A few days later God spoke loud and clear to me. [One of the most distinct times in my life I can recall hearing His voice] He was saying "NOW" "Trust me".

However, Jim didn't hear that same message. :) How were we on two different pages and serving the same God? Lots of emotions were involved. My heart was already wrapped around the idea of welcoming an Ethiopian child into our lives. We tried to compromise...and I agreed to multiple different scenarios.

But, God was persistent.

We prayed constantly. Together. Individually. For God to make HIS will known to both of us. That we may be like-minded.

On August 3, 2010 I came home from work...completely exhausted [and slightly cranky]. My husband greeted me with a huge grin. He embraced me. He said he had been talking to God and was now at peace. He too, heard the call.

I can't describe the emotions. Pure joy.
[with a touch of financial fear].
But, we feel we're right where we are suppose to be. Finances still intimidate me. But, we're learning to trust a God who is orchestrating His plan in our lives....and it feels so good.

Our application is almost complete. We should know in two weeks if we qualify [we know we meet Ethiopia's requirements], we just need to be approved by Children's Hope International.

It's been an amazing journey so far.
I'm trying to be patient and enjoy the ride!
with love,
em