Monday, December 27, 2010

What I've been working on...

The McCollum family photo for Kepler's photo book:)
The Kallen family photo for the photo book!

Frosty made it into the 10 page photo book as well!

This is Auntie Mel and Mama...not sure if I'll use this one or not...Mel- do you have one of just you?

Grandma Audrey sent us this great photo for us to use in Kepler's book!

This is Eric and Anesia's photo for Kepler's photo book!

This is the photo Amos chose of us for Kepler's photo book.

This is Kepler's lovie, Frankie Frog. We had his name and orphanage number embroidered on the bottom but we can't show that yet:)

His room will be in the photo book as well.
My parents have yet to send their photo and we need one of the car and an airplane.
I need to get these all printed out, labeled in English and Amharic and laminated for my trip!

Court Date

We have a court date!!! I will be IN ETHIOPIA on Feb 21st (six days after my friend Christina!) giving testimony at the Ethiopian Federal Court:) We got an email on Christmas Eve. It was the best present EVER! We are just waiting to hear our travel dates and then we book some plane tickets!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Good news in good friends

We heard last Friday, Dec 10th that our paperwork has been logged into the Ethiopian courts. This is great news! Things are moving along now. I feel like we are on a conveyor belt...slow but steady:) Usually it takes about 2 weeks to hear about our court date. This means that we are due to hear when our court date is any day now. It's almost time to buy some plane tickets!
I will travel to Addis Ababa for our court date and to meet Kepler. This will be a short trip of about 4-5 days. I will leave him with the orphanage and return the States for 8-1o weeks before returning to Addis to spend 10 days in Addis Ababa, at the orphanage, in Awassa and at the US embassy awaiting his visa.
If you all could pray that his birth mother will attend the court hearing, we would appreciate it. This whole process could be prolonged if she can't/doesn't go to court. We already have to navigate some extra steps because Amos isn't able to go...we certainly don't need any other complications!
While we wait I have the fun job of finding a lovie for him and putting together a little photo album of his adoptive family to take with me on the first trip!
Also, I have met some really great ladies who are all adopting or have adopted from Ethiopia! We are planning to meet once a month as well as get together for a Timkat celebration in January! This is fantastic because it is so important that Kepler have other Ethiopian people around him and people that support and celebrate his home country and adoption. This is such a blessing to us as parents too! It is so nice to talk to people who know what you are talking about and know how you are feeling. We can talk together without having to explain what a dossier is, or log in dates or referrals or where Addis Ababa is. It's wonderful!
Yesterday, my good friend Alison handed me an invite to our Baby Shower!!! I opened the envelope and cried when I saw the picture of Africa and read the words,

"From Ethiopia with Love" and "Children are a gift form God and the heart. It doesn't really matter where they got their start" and "A long and challenging journey has come to an end, Come celebrate the joyous new one that is just to begin!".

Kepler's name is on it and the Amharic symbols for Love and Family. It is beautiful and perfect. Even Amos said that it couldn't be more perfect for our situation. Thanks Alison! I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kepler Update

We got an update on our little Kepler today! He is getting bigger and has grown lots of hair! much bigger that Amos and I looked and scrutinized whether or not he was the same kid we saw a month ago:) He is one pound heavier (9.4kg) and his head is 45cm. He is 64 cm tall! I am so happy to know that he is growing and getting stronger but it's sad that we are missing out on his milestones. His birthday was last Friday and Amos and I wrote letters to him for him to read later on.
I am meeting with a facebook friend named Christina and some of her Ethiopia adoption friends next Tuesday. I am so happy to meet and hopefully connect with other Christian adoption friends that are either traveling to Ethiopia soon or have already brought home their little one. This could be a really good community to belong to for me and for Kepler. Christina and her husband got their referral (a little girl) one month before us from the same agency, Dove! Maybe we will travel together....I don't know! That would be so neat.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The dresser! ...and the room:)

Alright... here is the dresser as we received it from my parents! It was mine and then my sisters and I'm sure it was an older persons before that because there was some 1970's olive green paint about 4 coats down! My brother and I stripped the paint and began HAND SANDING after I broke my dad's sander 2 minutes into the job...shhhh.

I put on about 5 coats of this dark stain and really worried that it wouldn't look good. However after 2 clear sealer coats, it looked really nice!

So after 3 trips out to Granite Falls, $60 in supplies and about 15 hours of stripping, sanding, staining, sealing and papering and hardwaring knobs, Kepler has a very nice dresser with A LOT of sentimental value:) I also included a shot of his room so far!
We are getting closer folks! This part of the wait is so much more fun because I have tasks to do to prepare for him!
I have also been reading two amazing adoption books: Attaching in Adoption and Toddler Adoption, the Weavers Craft. I highly recommend them for anyone who is adopting!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE call!

We got the call at 3:55 this afternoon! We have been matched! I was driving into our parking lot at home when I recognized the number on my ringing phone. I answered trying to be calm thinking that they could just be needing something from us. I asked, "Do you have a referral for us?" and the sweet lady at the agency, Tami replied, "Yes I do!". I turned off the car and my mind went a million different directions as I tried to figure out the best way to hear this information. I wanted to be with Amos but he was still at work. I told Tami, "I'll drive to his work! I'll be there in a half hour!" But she said she had to leave at 5:00. Traffic could be bad and I decided I was in no condition to drive! I was shaking and out of words when Tami told me she could put Amos on a conference call with us and then email us the pictures and records. I ran upstairs and opened the email while Amos did the same at work. We saw the face of the sweetest little 11 month old boy I've ever laid eyes on! He is sitting in a little plastic chair and he is not sure if he likes the camera or not!
He is healthy and we are full of joy at the thought of bringing him home into the Kallen family! I can't post names or pictures yet but I assure you, Baby Kallen is on his way!
We will officially say yes tomorrow in a conference call and then send off some paperwork and $5000. We will wait for our court date and then I will make travel plans to be in Ethiopia for the court hearing. This is usually about 2-3 months from now. I will get to meet him and see him for a little bit before I have to return home. We have to wait about 3 weeks and then I travel with my sister to pick him up and bring him home!
I have never felt this much joy before. The only thing that will top this is holding him for the first time and then stepping off that plane with him and having Amos see him for the first time.
Thanks for your prayers everyone! Continue to pray because we have TONS to accomplish in the next few months!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A little change

Okay, a little change is happening. I have been thinking about this the last couple of days and finally got a chance to run it past Amos and he was okay with it. We are officially changing our request to be matched with a child 9-16 months old to a child that is 0-16 months old. I think our age bracket before was too narrow, possibly making children that may be available not eligible to be matched with us. As it stood before if a child became available that was 6 months old, they would not call us because we asked for a child at least 3 months older than that.
I was thinking about our old age bracket and thought about the 2 trip rule. Due to the 2 trip rule, our child will be about 4-5 months older when we bring them home than we originally thought with the 1 trip rule. I think this wider, age window MAY help us get matched more quickly and help our child be closer to our target age spectrum when they arrive home in the US.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Three plus months in line

Hi Readers,

We are 3 1/2 months into our wait for a referral. While I'm anxious, it feels really exciting knowing that we could get a call any day! For those of you just tuning in now, the average wait time for a referral is 4-6 months. I HOPE we are somewhere in that margin and not beyond it!
We had our agency phone meeting about our referral and travel. The list of things I have to do before, during and after travel is so daunting. Amos read over it with WIDE eyes. I am a bit worried too but at this point I feel like I would walk through fire if it lead to us bringing our baby home. It looks like my sister will be traveling with me for the second trip. I am so thankful for this as I know I'll be exhausted and required to do many important things at the Ethiopian court and US embassy. I need her brain to help me through my list WHILE adjusting to being a mommy in a 3rd world country.
Another hurdle we will need to overcome is the finances. When we say yes to our referral, we will need to send $5,300 with our answer to get things going in Ethiopia. After that we need to by the plane ticket ($1000-1400) and book a room at the guest house ($1000). This is more than we have in our savings account now but I know God will be faithful and he will help us be creative with our finances to make this next step.
We received a little booklet of Amharic words to practice before the trip! I love this. I plan to make some flash cards to learn some words for the meeting of our little one on the first trip! An Ethiopian mom at my school is very excited to help me with this:)
Lets hope and pray for finances to fall into place and a referral call soon!
For now,
Dehna hunu (good-bye)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Creeping Closer!

Hi Everyone!
Our dossier has been in Ethiopia for 2 months now! That means we are 2 months into our 4-6 month wait! This feels good.
I started school today. I was thinking about how good this year is going to be on my drive into work. God has blessed my school. I have a wonderful class and wonderful teacher team that I can leave when I need to hop a plane to Africa. It's all been arranged and set up for me to be a mommy! It's fun to think that sometime this year, we will get a phone call saying that they have a baby for us. We've never gotten this far! The anticipation and excitement of it all is great.
This fall brings school, Cross Training (with my 9-11 year olds), Safe Families, Kid's Church and regular coffee breaks with my friend. Winter is on it's way which means the holidays are right around the corner. This year is going to fly by and somewhere in the middle of it we get a baby!!! I haven't posted any pics in a while so I added this one of Amo and I at Ruby Beach:)
A couple things I'm learning to value: delegation, trust and surrender.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Doing okay...

Hello faithful friends who check this blog! You have no idea how much it means to me that you haven't given up an interest in our adoption!
So our dossier has been in Ethiopia for a little over 5 weeks now. We don't expect to hear that we have a referral for another few months but one can hope that something goes faster than expected right? ...especially since EVERYTHING has gone much slower than expected and thought possible up to this point.
Today was a bit happy and a bit sad. My friend boarded a plane today for Ethiopia to pick up her little boy. I am very happy for her but super...I guess 'jealous' is the word. I don't want to hear any encouragement such as "everything happens when it's supposed to" or "God's timing is perfect". I just might strangle the next person to say that. I know it's true. And it will happen when it happens but I don't want to hear it anymore. This friend of mine started the adoption process a year and a half after us. One thing is for sure: nothing in the adoption world is fair. There is not a single file line and it isn't a turn taking deal. Another friend of mine has been waiting over 3 years. I guess it's a lot like life. Some people completely sail through and others have to claw their way along while getting hit with baseball bats.
Another thing that is killing me: the 212 lady friends of mine that are pregnant. People have had babies already that were nowhere near pregnant when we started our process! This is nuts! It should be harder and take longer to grow a human being than get one that is in need.
Anywho... I probably should say that I am very happy for all my adoptive parent friends and mommies to be. Congrats to everyone! I just needed to rant a little:)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Good News!

Hi Everyone!
I have to go back in time a week or so to bring you up to speed:) After our dossier arrived at our agency in Oregon we were notified that we were missing our rental lease. I looked at that paperwork for 2 years and didn't see that we needed to include 3 notarized, certified copies of our lease. I saw that you needed to include a copy of the deed to your house but we don't own so I skipped that part. Ooops. I guess one little thing like that isn't too bad considering everything else looked great! To make a long story shorter, we got our stuff off and heard this week that our dossier was shipped via DHL to Ethiopia. I got a tracking number and tracked it from Oregon to Ohio to Germany to Belgium and (drum roll...) finally it arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday!!!
So now we wait for the orphanage board to match us with our baby!!! Can you feel my excitement?!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Finally Waiting In a Line!

Hello Friends,
Are you ready for some good news?! I am on cloud 9!
We mailed off our dossier to our agency yesterday! I should arrive in Oregon on Monday and from there go to the orphanage in Ethiopia!!! Then it will fall into the hands of a board member of the SOS EE orphanage who will read over everything about us and match us with a child!
Some of you are thinking you missed an announcement of us getting an answer to our letter to the Ethiopian govt asking if Amos can be excused from court. We have not received an answer yet but I found out some info this week that lead to our decision to send off the dossier without hearing back from our letter.
First of all, our letter went to one of the 3 judges in Ethiopia. He looked over our letter and gave us the thumbs up. However, he wanted to make sure he was correct in his thinking so he sent it to the top judge and there it sits (has been sitting for 6 weeks now). Ethiopia adoption courts are extremely backed up hearing cases and will continue to be until they close down hearings for August and September. Our agency was surprised that our letter didn't get an answer faster but they think it is because the courts are in 5th gear with all the changes happening.
Secondly, we boiled it down to this. If our letter gets a thumbs up, we will send off our dossier and I will travel alone. If our letter gets a thumbs down, we will pay more and wait longer to have our child escorted to the US. Either way, we need to send off our dossier and be matched with a child so I asked (again) if we can just send off our dossier to get that 4-6 month wait going while we wait to hear back from our letter (which we think will get the thumbs up). Makes sense right? I tried doing this 2 months ago (Sending dossier and letter at the same time) but I got a 'no' from the agency). I think they wanted to keep things in a sequential order and we didn't want to loose $6500 if the letter got a thumbs down. However, escorting is still available so we will get a baby either way!!! And the agency really didn't think an answer would take this long.
Lastly, I heard from an adoption friend today that Ethiopia is showing more grace on the 2 parent travel rule than previously feared. So we have that going for us!
So that's the skinny! Good news! I am seriously so happy to be waiting for both at the same time. The thought of waiting for an answer for an unknown amount of time just so you can wait for 4-6 months on top of that to be matched is awful.
So hopefully we hear back officially about our letter soon and then we'll know whether to just wait on our referral (child they match us with) or get paperwork together to have our child escorted when we get matched. Either way, our paperwork will soon be on the desk of someone who will match us with our baby! ...Our baby that we have waited 2 years and 9 months for!
Those of you who pray for us can pray that our dossier arrives safely in Oregon and then Ethiopia and that it falls into the right person's hands there.
Thanks everyone:)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moving Along...slowly....

After waiting in limbo for about 2 months (seems MUCH longer) we heard last Friday what we need to do to progress despite Ethiopia's new 2 parent travel rule. We need 4 letters from Amos' doctor explaining his condition and asking permission for a power of attorney to represent him in court because of the dangers of him traveling. We will send one letter ahead and wait for the Minister of Women's Affairs to decide if his excuse is good enough for him to be absent from court. Hopefully they find his medical excuse a good one and allow me to travel alone. If they allow this, we will send off our dossier immediately along with the other letters from Amos' doctor and wait to be matched with a child!
I read somewhere that the wait times for children 0-2 is decreasing. This is good news for us! I hope it's true. Even if it's not true, it gives me hope.
One step at a time. That's all I can do. If I look too far ahead I get discouraged.
For now, the goal is to get Amos' doctors letters off to our agency so they can forward them onto Ethiopia. We have no idea how long it will take them to get back to us. I'm hoping its weeks rather than months but one can never know...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garage Sale Weekend

What a successful weekend! I am exhausted but I am happy to report that we made $1,423.88 this weekend for the adoption!

Church friends, school friends and family donated TONS of items and baked goods for us to sell! We had the cutest lemonade/baked goods stand with the yummiest treats you could imagine. My Cross Training girls manned the stand. One lady came and bought a lemonade and left us $20 for the adoption. Another man from our church bought 75 cents worth of stuff and gave us $100 that he got from selling some fish tanks. One friend took time to bring me coffee-bless her heart because we got rained on pretty good on Saturday!

We want to thank everyone that donated their time, items or baked goods. You guys are helping make this adoption dream a reality! We especially want to thank the Huguenins who so graciously let us use their home for the sale. This would not have been the success it was without you guys. Hugs to all!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Not So New News

Hello Friends,
So we heard this week that Ethiopia IS indeed requiring two trips and both parents have to go on the first one. However, they are saying that if one parent is not able to travel, that absent parent needs to be represented by a Power of Attorney. I take this as great news! However, now we are in a holding pattern yet again as we wait for more to be released on situations that are deemed acceptable reasons for that one parent to not being in court on the first trip. My gut feeling is that a medical condition will make the list but if I've learned one thing from this adoption process it is DON'T COUNT ON ANYTHING! So we wait some more.
We have come so far and are so close to sending our stuff off to Ethiopia! Prayers for clarification in the Ethiopian government and decision making on Amos and my parts are appreciated:)
Also, our Adoption Garage Sale Fundraiser is this coming weekend, April 24th in Mukilteo! We will be at the Huguenin's home selling lots of really neat stuff that people have donated and baked! Come check us out! And if you have any items you would like to donate to our sale, email or call me! I still have room for more! Thanks to everyone who has supported us through this:)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We are doing a FUNDRAISER! The Mukilteo Neighborhood Garage Sale is Saturday, April 24th! If you have any household items you don't need anymore please contact me about a pick up or a drop off! Also, if you are willing to donate some baked goods, I will take those on Friday, April 23rd or the morning of the Sale! Anything you can donate will help. Thanks so much for your support!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More Waiting

So I just got off the phone with our agency. Rumors and bulletins are flying around everywhere on the Internet about the recent travel requirements. I guess there are varying accounts of decisions that are being made. Some people are saying that the new requirements are being put on hold indefinitely and others are saying they still stand. Our agency's lawyer is meeting with other agencies' lawyers and they are asking the judges in Ethiopia the same questions we are asking. What about parents that can't travel for medical reasons? What about military families with one parent deployed? What about families that are pregnant and can't travel? It's good to know we aren't the only ones who are waiting on pins and needles to hear about these new requirements.
Ethiopia is supposed to release these proclamations with more details by the end of this week or early next week. Until then our dossier and check sits on our kitchen counter waiting. Boy, when people tell you that you will wait a lot for an adoption, they aren't joking. The paperwork is a walk in the park compared to the waiting.
Prayers please!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Final Dossier Check!

We got our paperwork back from Olympia today all shiny and stamped with the Secretary of State seal. This is great! We would be sending our dossier off to our agency today but we are waiting to hear about the new "2 parents traveling" requirement. As soon as we hear more details from our agency we will put this puppy in the mail and wait on a referral!
Today I got all of our dossier paperwork in order. I REALLY hope we did everything correctly!
Baby Kallen, we are not giving up yet! We're trying so hard to bring you home!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Waiting on Info Amos and I talked last night about exactly what our next steps will be. Our paperwork is still with the Secretary of State. This is fine because we don't know details on the new requirements yet. We will not send off $6,500.00 until we know for sure that I can travel alone to Ethiopia. Keep on praying!
On a separate note...I talked with my brother, Jeremy today. He was so encouraging and told us to NOT give up. I agree. Amos and I feel as though we are answering the call no matter how hard it gets. As long as it is possible, we are going to forge ahead. Trying to live a Christ directed life is by no means easy... I am very weary of this process but I do know that God will only give us what we can handle.
Our prayer is that He continues to give us wisdom, patience and direction.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New news we got another email from our agency today. It looks like the new requirements will be pushed back so they won't take effect until May. Amos and I have paperwork in the mail to the Secretary of State to get authenticated. This usually takes about 2 weeks. We hope to send off our dossier to Ethiopia ASAP. We plan on racing the clock and hoping that when it all plays out, we are able to squeeze through on a medical waver or something. We both feel that we are WAY TO CLOSE to throw in the towel now. Prayers for us and for the Ethiopian governing committees are much appreciated.
Oh boy. Waiting is hard but waiting on pins and needles is harder.

Road Block

I'm back from Haiti and Amos and our USCIS approval notice were waiting here for me when I landed! However, yesterday Ethiopia sent word out from their high courts that starting immediately, there will be 2 trips to Ethiopia required and that both parents have to travel at least once...This is devastating to us because Amos cannot travel for any reason. We are holding our breath and hoping to hear more details that might give us a loop hole or something. I could manage 2 trips if I had to but Amos cannot go even once which is the main reason we chose to adopt from Ethiopia. Maybe a Dr.'s note?...Please keep this situation in your prayers for us. We are very nervous.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fingerprints Done!

We got our fingerprints taken this last Tuesday! Yippee! Hopefully there will be an approval notice in the mailbox when I get back from Haiti!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Good news (finally)

Hello! My blog update is an upper today:) I'm sure that is a nice change for you readers!

We received our fingerprint appointment in the mail yesterday! We will go to the immigration office on Feb 23rd! I am so happy that our appointment is not months away and that it is NOT while I am in Haiti!

Also, Amos and I took a drive today up to Diablo. A family at my school gave us a kid holder back pack for hiking this week. While we were up in the mountains and tromping the trails I kept thinking..."soon we will be a family of three doing this!". We had tons of fun today but we are both looking forward to adding to our family.

Lastly, we got our Tshirt sale site up and going! You can purchase a shirt from our online store and help us bring our baby home! This next step is very expensive ($6,400!) and every little bit helps! Visit to browse our designs:)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

We're waiting...

Let's hear it! Hip, hip hooray! We mailed off our home study and I-600A application about two weeks ago. We are hoping to hear from US immigration soon. They will send us an appointment time to get our fingerprints done and then we wait again for the approval of the I-600A.
I am so excited to have it in someone else's corner now. We just have to wait...which isn't easy either but at least our paperwork is somewhere working it's way through the system.
Pray for a speedy appointment and speedy approval!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Backing up to move forward! after wrestling with immigration for a couple of weeks, we are just moving ahead by filing a new I-600A instead of a form to change our existing approved I-800A. We have to pay ANOTHER $670 to file this form and totally loose our $670 for the I-800A but I feel good about it because we will be moving and I know this form will work.
So here I sit with the form all filled out except for a few questions I'm not sure about. I will call the agency tomorrow and they should be able to give me the answers. Then I send it in with our NEW REVISED home study that I picked up last week! I think we have to get fingerprinted again but Amos is betting we don't. I think I will win this one.
This backing up to move forward to Ethiopia still feels REALLY good. I think it will feel even better when our stuff is off to Ethiopia. Then we will officially be further along than we were with Burundi. From what I hear Burundi is still not moving. That is just one more confirmation that we made the right choice to leave the program.
Thanks for continuing to read and care. I know we haven't had much exciting news to report.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Moving Slowly

Hello Readers!
Our home study is in its final stages before getting notarized. Our agency reviewed it and gave it an "excellent" so that's good! I think I have one more final check to make on it and then it will be mailed to us. The next hurdle we have to jump is figuring out how to fill out the I824 as "a petition to change an approved action". Has anyone out there done this? Our agency is thankfully checking on that and hopefully will get back to us shortly after our home study is done so we can ask the good ol US of A to bring a child to the US from Ethiopia instead of Burundi. Yeah....I know. Red Tape.
Yesterday we went to the bank and got a stack of papers notarized for the dossier. After we get our USCIS approval we will be all set to send off our entire dossier to Ethiopia!
In the mean time we are reading Parenting with Love and Logic. I'll keep you posted!