Thursday, December 31, 2009

Embassy Date

As we have been planning we were given an Embassy date of December 31st. That would be today. We were wondering about this date and it been associated with a holiday. We did some research, asked some questions and were satisfied that all should be just fine. On December 30th we were getting ready to take a nap around 3pm. The night before had been the most challenging and we all needed a nap. Just as we were getting settled my cousin came knocking on our door entered in a bit of a panic. He said,” This is totally an Ethiopian just happened...your representative called and he's sending a taxi for you to get to the Embassy today." Apparently they wanted to close or take December 31st off or something like that. All the details were a bit blurry, all we knew was we needed to hustle. We all ran around and pulled everything together and were waiting by the gate in 15 minutes. And we waited...and waited...and waited. About 45 minutes later our cousin received a call and then another and another explaining what was happening. Still all the details were a bit unclear but we had the jist of them. Now our Embassy date was back to the original date. We were a bit worked up and concerned between the sudden switch of thing, the holiday, the fuzzy details, and this mad dash to the Embassy at the end of the work day and then not having to. We took a deep breath, had a cup of rum tea (very yummy) and took a nap. Ahhh. We continued on believing and praying that all these details would work out. God has not gotten us this far to leave us in crisis situation. Later in the day we learned that a local friend would be here at 8am to take us to the Embassy. The rest of the evening was relaxing and we enjoyed Micah, the family and all the others who are around the house at any given time.

Today is December 31st here in Ethiopia...our original Embassy date. We had the best night yet. Micah was on schedule and we all got lots of rest. We were up early tending to Micah and once he was back to sleep we got ourselves ready. By 8am we were prepped and ready for our adventure to the Embassy. The Embassy is usually 30 minutes away. We are on the opposite side of Addis. Once our driver arrived we loaded in and were off to our very important appointment. Now one thing that I think is just universal is rush hour. The whole world goes to work when the sun rises. In Ethiopia it is no different. Our driver is very knowledgeable about the main road and short cuts as well. As we started off everything was fine and going as smooth as can be in Ethiopia. Now if any of you have ever been to Mexico imagine driving there. Now as you are driving throw out all concern for pedestrians, any amount of safe driving distance between cars and those lines in the road (if they are there) what are those for? Bumper to bumper is taken literally and is a means of survival.

So back to our ride. We hit traffic...rush hour traffic...lots of stopped traffic. Our driver was irritated and on a mission. We proceeded to see all of the back roads (more on these another time) and the road blocks in Addis. Yes, road blocks. Our driver was quite irritated and working his best to get us to the Embassy. So an hour later we arrived at our destination. All thankful to be in one piece. By the way, Micah did wonderfully the entire time. If he was not watching everything he was sleeping and did not fuss or squawk a bit, which is amazing.

As we entered the Embassy we passed through two security points and then on to our destination. We met the person we needed to and another adopting family. Before we knew it our name was called and we proceeded up a long stair case to answer some questions. It was very simple and not stressful and took about 5 minutes. Before we knew it we were heading back to our driver, 30 minutes later. As we got to our meeting point we were met by some local youth who reassured us our driver would be back soon. Um..ya…let’s stand on a corner in a foreign country with no real phone wondering when he would come back…um…no. We found our agencies representative and he made some calls and found our driver. He returned within 5 minutes from his coffee run and collected us safely. We then braced ourselves for our return trip. This time we were able to take all main roads and see more of Addis. We were also able to chat with our driver. Before we knew it we were home again…30 minutes later. It went amazingly smooth all the way around. God’s fingerprints on every aspect. We are excited to now have all the business out of the way.


Monday, December 28, 2009

We Have Arrived

Two days ago we boarded a plane to go meet our son and today we met him. I was tired from the long journey, a 16 hour flight with a forced overnight layover in Dubai and then another four hours to Addis Ababa, but was immediately energized by meeting my son for the first time. He is beautiful and I am overwhelmed with emotion as I try take in the journey and the final arrival. So many experiences all crammed together. We are staying with Monica's cousin who is a missionary here and we had not seem in some time. Lots of emotion needless to say.

Randy, 3;22pm Ethiopian time

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our biggest Christmas gift of all...

Here we are...Christmas afternoon...
We've had a pleasant day of celebrating Jesus' birth with family and friends.
My mom is home from the hospital.
Gifts are opened, wrestled from their packages and have fresh batteries.
Lots of yummy food has been consumed.
Now on to the next phase...
Packing the last suitcase and carry-ons
Cleaning up the house
Enjoying the girls
Loading the car
Passing the information and keys over to the Grandparents
Kissing sweet cheeks
Heading on the adventure of a lifetime
Realizing none of us individually or as a family will ever be the same again
Looking forward to what God has in the works for all of us.
Your prayers are appreciated for health, safety and protection for all.
There's so much to pray for, so pray as you feel lead.
Our friend will be blog sitting so hopefully we can get updates posted.
Thank you all for the part you played in bring Micah home.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request...again!

My mom is once again in the hospital. She has a fever that we could not manage at home. To say we are all depressed is an understatement. Honestly, this all just stinks. We did a Christmas two years ago with my dad in the hospital on was horrible. We do not want to repeat this. Please pray for wisdom for all those involved in figuring this out. Pray she is home tomorrow so we can have Christmas as a family. Please pray we can continue to prepare for our trip to Ethiopia. We leave Christmas night. Pray for the girls and those caring for them. Most of all please pray for peace for all of us. I will keep the blog updated.

Thank you

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

13 days and counting

When you hear this timeline your mind may think about the days until Christmas. It's actually a few days after. Thirteen days is the time until we get to hold our son for the first time. We are getting so excited! Oh my there is so much to do. We appreciate all your prayers as we press on through the to-do lists.

Christmas gifts are also still available and they benefit our adoption as well.

Homemade Strawberrry jam- pint jars are available for $8

Christian Calendars- spiral bond, heavy duty and beautiul are available for $6

Coffee from Just Love Coffee is also available through the link on the right hand side of this post. They have a variety of products or a variety of prices.

If you are interested in jam or calendars please e-mail me at and we can figure out a time to connect.

Thank you for all of your support!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home for Christmas

From the beginning of our adoption journey as we learned of how quickly it could all happen we had one outrageous thought that seemed beyond our reach. I mean, come on who would not want to think this but what are the chances.
We thought it would be so cool if Micah could be home for Christmas.
As I have had time to process the news of our travel dates this evening I have seen God's fingerprints once again. I am humbled at how God has taken care of every detail.
Micah will be home for his first Christmas...
his first Ethiopian Christmas that is...
January 7th is Ethiopian Christmas
This is the day he will arrive back at his forever home
and meet his forever sisters.
God is so good.

Travel Dates!!!!

It's happened. It's really really real. We have tickets and are flying to Ethiopia. Oh my goodness!

We will be leaving December 26th for Ethiopia and returning on January 7th.

We have to thank all of you who have been praying for the perfect flights. We did indeed get the perfect flights. We got the airline that we had hoped for. The timing of flights leaving/arriving are also very good. We get to be here for Christmas and enjoy that with our girls and family! Randy gets wrap up his work and finish off a week! We don't have to do any traveling in the middle of the night to catch a flight or have any extra hotel stays to catch a plane! The girls are still out of school the entire time we are gone! It is so awesome to see it all come together. We are beyond blessed!

Again, we could not be doing this without all of you and your prayers. We have felt the prayer throughout every day. We have seen prayers answered at every step. Please know you are a very important and appreciated part of our adoption!

Now we will begin to start collecting, packing and organizing.
Keep praying!
Here we go!


Wait for the Lord;
be strong
and take heart
wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14
This is the verse we are clinging to as plans are being finalized to go get Micah. Praying and waiting for the Lord to move...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Travel Date?!

So it's been awhile since I've blogged but that does not mean nothings been going on. Every spare minute has been filled and we have been maximizing every moment we can. I will work to get you up to speed. For now here's the latest.

Friday late afternoon we received an e-mail that had the subject line as "travel". As I saw this all I could do was yell for Randy to come to the office. As I read it informed us that there is a 90% chance that we have an Embassy date set for the very near future. This is where I lost all sense of composure and clarity of thought. I began to stutter and hyperventilate as Randy rushed into the office and I was trying to relay this exciting information. As he watched my efforts to communicate you could see the concern over what could this be all about. Between my attempts and him reading the e-mail the message was relayed and my brain was in a tail spin with no sight of recovery. I could hardly believe it. This is all real and it's happening in real life. Wow!

Now we have been asked to look for flight reservations. This is quite the experience during the holidays. I never imagined we would be getting plane tickets that cost so much at any point in our lives. To get tickets this time of year with our time frame and parameters is not a task for the faint of heart. We have a very real chance that we will be on an airplane for Christmas day. We are holding on to God's faithfulness and praying through every step of the way.

We would appreciate your prayers for the following details:
-For it to be 100% confirmed.
-For the perfect tickets regarding timing of purchase, price, timing of travel, seat location and number of layovers.
-For Micah to continue to improve and be prepared for us to come.
-For the funding to come in.
-For prep in packing, our home, the girls, etc.
-For good health for everyone in our family and those who will be helping care for our girls while we are gone.
-For clarity of thought in everything.

-also for my mom. This last week we have seen significant improvements. Please pray she continues to move forward and that she will regain her strength.

Thank you all so much!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving thoughts

Our family has so much to be thankful for, especially this year. Micah Paul has given us a whole new category of life to give thanks for.

We are thankful for Micah Paul's birthmother. Without her we would not experiencing this amazing journey.

We are thankful for the police officer that found Micah Paul and showed compassion towards him.

We are thankful for the orphanage and nanny who cared or Micah Paul the first 5 weeks of his fragile life.

We are thankful for Celebrate Children International who registered Micah Paul with their agency so his forever family could find him.

We are thankful our cousins, Joey and Destiny, who prayed earnestly and sought God's will about caring for Micah Paul. When God confirmed His will to them they obediently followed regardless of how complicated it would make their lives and ministry.

We are thankful for the nanny that helps our cousins currently care for Micah Paul.

We are thankful for the MANY people all over the world, including the orphans in Ethiopia, who have prayed for and who have prayed over Micah Paul and his precious life.

We are thankful for our friends who have adopted and have been willing to share their expereriences with us as we are on this journey.

We are thankful for our Fresno agency, Chrysalis House, that got us off to an efficent start on our journey.

We are thankful for our Florida agency, Celebrate Children International, for jumpstarting our process as well and helping us to maximize our efforts during the paper chase.

We are thankful for Gods fingerprints and timing that have guided us through each step of the process.

We are thankful for all the people who have processed the many pieces of paperwork that are needed to complete our adoption.

We are thankful for our girls and how well they have adjusted so far through our adoption journey.

We are thankful for family and friends who are so supportive.

This is a Thanksgiving that will always be memorable. We have wonderful memories of passing court, becoming parents again and looking forward to meeting our son and brinnging him home. We hope you have a season full of blessed memories to reflect on throughout the year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And the news is....


Here's our son Micah Paul
Isn't he so handsome!
Of all the days...blogger is not wanting to do what I am asking it to so more will come but here's the basics.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Court Date

Our court date is quickly approaching. This Thursday November 19th is our day in court in Ethiopia. We do not need to be there. We just wait here to hear the news. We are believing that we are going to PASS court the first time. The time difference is 10 hours so basically when we go to bed on Wednesday our representative will be preparing to present our case. We can hear at anytime that night or Thursday what the outcome is. We would greatly appreciate any extra prayer during this week and especially Wednesday and Thursday. Please pray we PASS court this time. Once we do we will be the legal parents of Micah Paul, our names will be on his birth certificate. He will be ours! We will promptly post the cute pictures we have of him for all of you to see. He is so handsome. I can't wait to share!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Boutique Fundraiser

This weekend we are going to have a booth at our churches Holiday Boutique. The proceeds from our sales will go towards bringing Micah Paul Home!
We will be selling a variety of goods. Here are the items we will be featuring:
-Christian Wall Calenders for $6. These are beautiful glossy pictures of God's Creations with a verse for each week. They are spiral bound and sturdy. These would be wonderful for gift giving.
-Homemade Washcloths that have lovingly and generously been made by our sweet 10 year old friend who also has a heart for orphans. She wanted to do something to contribute to our adoption and this was the perfect project.
-Homemade Strawberry and Strawberry-Apricot Jam is $8 a pint.
-Homemade Marshmallows are $2 a bag. These are wrapped in a cello bag and tied with a pretty ribbon. These are perfect for a small gift for a teacher or friend.
-Chocolate Dipped Pretzels will also be available. These will be dipped in white chocolate and dark chocolate decorated with coordinating sprinkles. These are easy little gifts or favors as well.
-Just Love Coffee Shop information will be available. We have an account set up and our web page is:
For every bag purchased our profit is almost half and they have a great selection to choose from. This ministry also donates money to an Ethiopian Orphanage and uses their profits to help families adopt from any country, not just Ethiopia. They have a great story so go check it out.
-Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries information will also be available. This is a ministry that allows people to make a donation and receive a tax-deduction.
Where: The Bridge Church
3438 E. Ashlan
When: Saturday November 21st
from 8am to 12pm
We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Micah's Grandma is home...Keep Praying!

Today Micah's Grandma, Marilyn, came home from the hospital after 11 long days. Coming home is a relief and comes with a HUGE amount of new responsibilities for the family. For the next 4-6 weeks she will be fed by IV for 14 hours a day. She is also receiving 3 other medications by IV as well. We met with the home health nurse today and everything is getting set up. The nurse has said that the amount of medications she is on is beyond what they do in home health care. Usually this amount of medication is given only at the hospital. This translates to us, the family, having a HUGE responsibility in administering the meds at the varying times throughout the day and night. To be honest, we are all overwhelmed by the everything. The new language we are learning, the emotional support that is needed, the physical needs, the large quantity of's A LOT.

Please pray:
-For us all to be able to absorb these instructions and be accurate
-For Marilyn to be encouraged
-For Paul, Marilyn's husband, to be peaceful and encouraged
-For healing
-For the scheduling of everything
-For anything else you feel lead to pray for...

We greatly appreciate your prayers and support. There is no way we could make it without all of you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Today is the 3 month anniversary of us beginning the process to adopt Micah. This is amazingly quick. We have our court date in 1 week. We will officially be the parents of 6 month old Micah Paul, as long as we pass court. We are working to wrap our brains around everything that is swirling around us.

Also a quick update on Micah's grandma. She will be released from the hospital tomorrow morning. She has a long recover ahead of her. Your continued prayers are appreciated as our family works together to help out my parents.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Micah's grandma needs your prayers...

A few weeks ago I blogged about my mom, Marilyn, and how she had to be taken to the hospital. Unfortunately the situation is not over. My mom is very private about her health so I'm going to try to honor that while calling all our family and friends to pray.

At the end of September my mom had bariatric surgery that was necessary due to her diabetes. She has never recovered. The first 2 weeks she was back in the hospital 2 times. We have been battling dehydration and and malnourishment ever since. She has not been able to regain her strength. This last Tuesday she was taken back to the hospital. Since Tuesday she has been through another round of testing. This time the doctors found a large amount of infection surrounding her surgery that was only detected by a CAT scan. They have done a procedure to drain that infection and are going in again today to install a drain to continue that process. She will be in the hospital for at least 2-3 days. She will be going home with an IV for nutrition. She is only allowed to take liquids by mouth to take her needed medications.

As I'm sure you can imagine. She is very discouraged. We are all weary but hopeful that the latest findings will be the what helps her turn around. The last 5 weeks have been a roller coaster. We would appreciate your prayers. I am praying she can recover and feel like she can enjoy the holidays and her new grandson. She loves this season and it's hard for her to have to be missing out on so much. We also need her to be better since we will be leaving the country in a short time. We have plenty of family and friends who can help with the girls. We would just feel better to know she is definitely recovering. It seems like every time we think it's going to get better it turns and gets worse.

Please Pray for:
-The doctors to see what they need to, fix what's broken and to have steady hands in the process, all with wisdom and discernment.
-Her body to be strengthened and heal.
-The pain to be managed and gone.
-Her to be encouraged.
-My dad to get the rest he needs.
-My mom's work to be taken care of.
-Peacefulness for all of us.

Thank you so much for your prayers. We appreciate them greatly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Court Date and more...

WOO HOO!!!!!
Here's some answers to some of the questions that come next:
What does this mean?
This means that our case will be presented in Ethiopian court by a local representative from our adoption agency. When we pass court (it is possible to not pass and be delayed, but we are not going there) we will legally be Micah's parents on his birth certificate.
When do we travel to get him?
We will travel approximately 5 weeks later. Yes, this means we could be saying Merry Christmas to our girls and stepping on an airplane.
Yesterday, the girls asked me if they could put Micah on their Christmas Lists. They also stopped what they were doing and prayed for Micah to have a good sleep, to be healthy and to be here by Christmas. This was very precious. It was heartwarming to hear them pray for him and to be genuinely excited to get their brother home. It was priceless today for them to wake up and see that their prayers were being answered. In their minds this will be the Christmas their brother came home.
Another cool thing about the timing is the change in our agencies Embassy dates. Our agency did have appointments scheduled every other Tuesday which would of put the December dates as the 1st, 15th and the 29th. Now the dates are moved to Thursday's. This puts the date we are most likely to get, pending no delays, as being Dec. 31st! What a way to start the New Year! Now, I am still praying for a miracle and praying for a Dec. 17th Embassy date. This would mean that several pieces of paperwork would have to get done quickly once we pass court and be ready by Dec. 3rd. None of this is in our control. It's all done in Ethiopia. If we were to get the sooner date we would be home for Christmas.
What's next?
Lots of prayer! We will also continue working to raise funds towards the paperwork fees to bring him home.
Fundraising opportunities:
We currently have an account with Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministries. This account allows people to make donations towards our adoption and receive a tax deductible receipt. If you would like to make a donation you can click on the link on the top right side of the blog and it will take you right there.
On November 21st our MOPS group at church is having a Boutique from 8am-12pm. We will have a booth at the boutique selling a variety of items. We will have strawberry jam, homemade marshmallows and mini pumpkin pies. There may also be some other items we are still deciding on. All of these items are great as gifts for teachers and friends. I'll post more about these items later. All the proceeds from this sale will also go towards the adoption.
Another HUGE accomplishment is that we have completed applications to 7 different agencies for financial assistance in some form whether it be a grant, loan or donations for tax deductions. These can be lengthy and detailed and require stamina to complete. Now we wait to see if any funds come in this way. Depending on the timeline of things we may be able to fill out some more but for now we are going to be happy with our accomplishment and take a break for a week or so while we prep for these other fundraising opportunities.
Prayer Request
-For us to pass court on Nov. 19th
-For health of Micah and all of us here.
-For the finances to come together through fundraising and grants.
-For all the logistics of traveling to another country and collecting all that we need to take with us.
God has been so incredibly awesome in this whole process. We are blessed beyond words by all we have seen Him do in the last 2-1/2 months. Thank you all for taking this journey with us.
*I had to add the *'s so it would leave spaces between the paragraphs.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Submitted to Court

This week our Dossier has been translated and submitted to Ethiopian court to receive a date. We are totally amazed how fast things are moving.Now we are waiting for for the courts to assign us a date. Once we pass court and we will travel approximately 5 weeks later. This puts us traveling as early as December. We could have a Christmas baby. We are very excited and working diligently towards completing all the details. Your prayers are appreciated for all of the above, our court date to come quickly, for us to pass the first time, for the funding to be provided for and an early December Embassy date.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In translation

This morning I e-mailed with CCI in Florida and it was confirmed that our Dossier is in Ethiopia being translated. This usually takes about a week or so. Once this is done we can get a court date. Please continue to pray that everything keeps moving along for not only us but for all the Ethiopia cases. We greatly appreciate all your prayers and support!


Today we received our
in the mail!
YAY God!

Happy Anniversary (a couple days late)

Today marks the 2 Month Anniversary (plus 2 days) of starting the adoption process! Is this really happening?! It has gone so fast. We can't wait to see the rest of God's plan unfold over the next 2 months. I don't think I can even imagine what the next 2 months will look like. I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

Immigration Miracles

Today I received a call from Immigration. They had a question about our form and wanted to clarify some information. I was so excited about this because this meant a real live breathing person was processing our paperwork and it was not sitting in a "To-Do" pile on a desk. Praise God! So I immediately confirmed the correct information and e-mailed her back. I was appreciative in my response but did not want to be overly pushy about a timeline of when we could expect this coveted piece of paper. To my surprise she e-mailed back promptly that our paperwork was complete, copies were being sent to the correct people and our copy was put in the mail today! TODAY! Our coveted piece of paper is on it's way to US! Yay God!

While I was researching our answer I was talking to our Fresno Agency, CHI. The wonderful lady I was speaking with informed me of another "God Thing" that I may not realize. Right after, literally a day or two, she mailed our home study to the Fresno Immigration Office the rules changed. Now instead of mailing I-600 forms to the local office all forms must be sent to Texas and then sent back to the local office. This can add a decent amount of time the processing. Fortunately our paperwork was started and our home study was received just fine. CHI then learned that there was a 30 day grace period so we were covered. That however also confirmed God's fingerprints all over this adoption timeline. If we had not made schedule changes to accommodate our home study visits or moved quickly on the other paperwork we could of easily, EASILY missed the 30 day grace period.

So far the news today has left us in awe the most. First to see all our hard work and pushing through really did pay off. Second, we have the coveted I-171H on it's way to us. This is the last legal document we are waiting on. We can go as fast as Ethiopian Courts want us to. Wow! It's a surreal feeling to have that hurdle completed. We are closer than ever.

This week Ethiopian courts opened back up for business. Many families are waiting to hear the status of their cases. Pray that the courts will get going and start issuing court dates to all of us.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We just received an e-mail from CCI that they have received our Dossier! Usually they turn the Dossier around the same day and send it to Ethiopia. I'm not sure if FedEx is open for them to do this. Either way, our Dossier will be heading to Ethiopia probably on Monday. Something else that is really cool is that on Monday Ethiopian courts open again after about a month long break. We have not lost any time in this process. We are so excited to be holding our son and it is getting so much closer. We are so blessed!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Immigration fingerprints and adoption hangover

This morning we went out to get our fingerprints. It went very smooth and we were the first to be seen for fingerprints. As we sat there we realized just how tired we were and decided that we were experiencing "Adoption Hangover". Everything has moved so fast and has been so intense we are lagging.

We are very tired. Randy is on-call this week and I feel like it's a week of every extra thing you can imagine. From school pictures, a wedding cake due this weekend, tons of financial assistance paperwork to complete and submit, mountains of laundry to catch up on, helping my parents, grocery shopping, delivering borrowed items, meeting to finish the last bible study lesson, you name it, I feel like it's on our plate this week. We are exhausted! Please pray for us to be able to get a bit of rest.

The news...

As we sat there I had just downed 2 cups of coffee when Josh called us.

**Disclaimer**Everything is okay, everything is going to be alright, I am not going to give details for confidentiality reasons. Please take the info for what it is and keep us all in your prayers. I'm including this info to show how God can orchestrate every detail of our day and so many people all for His good.

As I answered the phone I thought it would be weird to be getting a call from Josh on his and Stephanie's Anniversary. I then answered and this is how it went:

Me: "Hello"
Josh: "Has dad called you?"
Me: "No, what's going on?!"
Josh: "He had to take mom to the hospital per doctors orders" Mom is now home and much better.

Okay, now this is not the call you ever want to get. I took a deep breath and collected more details. As we were talking our food came. We were reassured that Josh and Steph were going to pick up our youngest from school and we should be home in time to pick up our oldest. FedExing our dossier was going to have to wait until we got back to Fresno.

As we drove back home I was able to work on various adoption papers and organize some things to be FedExed that afternoon. It was very productive and we were home by 12:30pm. Amazing.

Now for the fingerprints of the day. Here's a timeline per say of the events and how we could see God all over without a doubt.

-Originally my cousin was going to watch the girls. She was sick so we needed to find a plan B.
-Dad chose to stay home to help us and be home with my mom.
-Dad got girls off to school without incident and went home.
-Once home he called the Dr. and was instructed to get mom to the hospital. This had to happen by medical transport. Thankfully he was home, it happened early in the day so the girls did not witness this.
-Josh and Steph just happened to be off and was able to pick up our youngest.
-Our paperwork was done in under 10 minutes so we could leave quickly and head home.

Now, I had sent out a quick e-mail with a few prayer requests for this day. One of which was to pray for our immigration paperwork to move quickly.

-We arrived home, got our mail and inside the mail was a letter from the Immigration office. WHAT! This is starting to feel like our own family version of The Amazing Race. The next clue was the letter with our appointment for our fingerprints. We then read that the office would not be open until Tuesday, today. Do you realize this is totally an answer to many of your prayers for us! So cool.

-Randy then picked up our oldest from school while I finished collecting and organizing adoption papers to be mailed.

Next Randy camped out at a local FedEx Kinkos and copied, organized, stapled and shipped our Dossier out to DC and additional paperwork to Florida. Again, WHEW! It's done. DONE! God is so good to show us his fingerprints in all of this Awesome, uncertain and crazy events of the day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Easy our youngest would say...

The long awaited day had arrived. Around 4:45 my dad came over to stay with the girls and get them off to school. We left for Sacramento at 5am on Monday morning. The trip was very smooth aside from a 15 minute delay due to a 3 car accident. We found where we were going without any problem and also found parking very easily as well. We arrived at the office at 8:20, just seconds, literally before another gentleman. We were instructed to fill out a form, which we did very quickly to be in front of this other man. The clerk came over looked at our two forms and then took them to process at his desk. We were prepared to have a 2 hour wait based on what other people experienced. So we sat for a minute and chatted with this other gentleman to find out he was there with his 17 documents for his families Russian adoption. Before we knew it our documents were ready and we were done. DONE. We were literally seconds ahead of a 2 hour wait. Whew. At 8:30 we were walking out of the Secretary of State office with our mission complete. Next business of the day was to find food. We had been up for 4 hours and had not eaten or drank anything yet. After a quick walk around the block for some fresh air we decided to drive to find some food. As we drove around we found a Denny's and decided to just stop there since we were now in the busy traffic of the morning. As we were waiting for our food we got a phone call from my brother, Josh with some news...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sacramento here we come!

Tomorrow morning we are traveling to Sacramento to have our Dossier authenticated. This is HUGE and exciting. It's still sinking in how HUGE this is. For those of you who do not know, a Dossier is a large number of documents that make up information on every area of your life. It's kind of like a book about your family with all your personal information in it. Once we have it authenticated we will then go and make the copies we need and FedEx it out to the Assistant Stork in Washington D.C. and send a packet of copies to our agency in Florida, Celebrate Children International. This now means it is out of our hands completely. There will be nothing we can do to speed anything along. We've done our job and now it is in the hands of others. WOW! We are excited to see what God has next for us.

Please pray for:
-Safe travel
-A good day for the girls and grandparents here at home.
-The safety of our Dossier as it passes through many hands and crosses many states.
-Immigration to get our request moving. (More on this later)
-Micah to continue to grow and develop, also that he can continue to be increasingly peaceful.

Once again, thank you all so much for your prayers and support! We feel them, see them and greatly appreciate them!

We got our home study! and Catching up

Okay, so this is a little late but none the less exciting! On September 30, 2009 we received our completed and signed home study! Yippee! and of course there is a great story of God's fingerprints all over it.

On September 28th we were able to finish paying for our home study with the money raised from the Yard Sale. Our agency then contacted our social worker to see when she could come and sign it with a notary. She did not have any plans to be in Fresno last week so the agency mailed it to her on Monday and she would take care of it where she was at. I had called to check in and learned of the need for it to be mailed, no big deal, just trying to plan our trip to Sacramento. We also learned that our social worker should get it Thursday, would have it signed, notarized and connect with Randy to deliver it. On Thursday we had our travel shots scheduled so Randy was going to only work a half day. This obviously could be cutting it close to coordinate if the mail came late and then coordinating the other factors of getting it signed and notarized. So I e-mailed our Social worker to let her know the schedule changes we had and that if we needed to drive and get it on Friday then we would. I also let her know that I would pray for early mail and I did. That afternoon I checked my e-mail and this is what I found:

"Girl…God is just working overtime for you! I just checked my mail (early) and the packet got here in one day and before my mail is usually delivered!!"

Ummm....Woo Hoo! That is more than I even expected. I was praying for early mail on Thursday! Randy came home with the home studies on Wednesday night! We then went out to celebrate by trying a new frozen yogurt place. Yummy!

Thursday afternoon we both got our travel shots...5 shots each and picked up 2 prescriptions each as well. We should be covered. Our biggest prayer was that we would not get sick from them. There is too much to do and even if one of us went down it would be bad let alone both of us. Praise God! Neither of us got sick. A BIG relief for us. We are feeling so blessed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

BIG Thank You's!

Yesterday was a HUGE success. We could not of done it without all of you who helped in the many ways from donations, setting up, doing our dishes, shopping, selling, organizing, cleaning up, and most of all the prayers.

There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:5-7

We would like to thank you all who have had any part in helping this Yard Sale fundraiser happen!

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for.....
Drumroll please...
The Yard Sale Fundraiser brought in
$2700 dollars!!!!!
We are beyond pleased. We will be able to move forward Monday with the next steps in the process. Stay tuned for the updates coming soon!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Most AWESOME Social Worker!

I want to tell you all that we have the most AWESOME Social Worker through our Fresno agency, Chrysalis House, Inc. She is writing our home study for us. She has done a great job. We were able to get all our visits done in a 10 day period. Then she cranked out our report and we received a rough draft a WEEK later....yes, 7 days later. Sooo quick and thorough. The report looked wonderful first time around, at least to us it did. There may be changes as far as structure and technical things but first time around was really good. We may even have it done this week. Who knows! It's all going so fast. We are very pleased. We highly recommend Chrysalis House and love our Social Worker. We would appreciate your prayers for her and her families health as if they get sick it directly affects her ability to work in general. Thank you sooo much!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yard Sale Fundraiser

Hello family and friends!

Our Yard Sale is coming soon...Next weekend!

So far we have gotten some great donations. There's going to be some good stuff to sell. You don't want to miss it! Remember, if you come and help you get first choice of the best selection.

All of the proceeds will go towards bringing home our little orphaned, 4-month old (and oh so tiny) Micah “Samuel” from Ethiopia.

How can you help?

1. We are still collecting donations! We have a lot to raise which means we can use a lot of stuff. To donate sellable items such as furniture, household items, clothes and miscellaneous goods, please contact Monica at 289-2566 (her cell phone number) or email me at . She will arrange with you to collect the donations.

2. We also need A LOT of help with everything from sorting and pricing on Thursday and Friday, to set up, selling, refreshing the tables, working the refreshment booth, and cleaning up.

3. We could use some more Easy-Up tents, Pop-up tents, and clothing racks. If you have any of these items we could borrow it would be greatly appreciated. We also need hangers for the great clothes we have.

4. Spreading the Word
- Tell your friends!
- Email people you know!
- Facebook and Tweet about it! It's easy, just link to this post.

5. PRAYER - We would love to have this fundraiser covered in prayer. We have really felt everyone's prayer along the way so far! Would you please join us in praying for this yard sale? We need prayer for...

- Good weather (Under 100 degrees...please)
- Lots of traffic (shoppers, shoppers, shoppers)
- Plenty of help
- No parking issues
- Health and energy for all of us working the sale
- Nice neighbors that don't get annoyed by our sale
- God to move in a MIGHTY way again through this fundraiser!

If you can help in any way please e-mail me ( and let me know your availability.

The BIG date:

The Yard Sale will be September 26, 2009, at 7am to 12pm. The location is 4153 E. Buckingham Way, Fresno, CA 93726 (near the corner of Cedar and Ashlan)

Please call or email Monica if you have any questions. Also, if you would be interested in helping at the yard sale, volunteers are welcomed!

Please feel free to pass along this message to anyone who may be interested.

We could not do this without you all! Thank you so much!

The Coombs Family

Friday, September 18, 2009

Very productive and exciting day!

Today was the day! Today Randy and I took all the papers from our paper chase to be notarized. We packed up our box of paper and headed off. For about an hour and a half we signed, initialed, dratted (sp?), and fingerprinted our way through every paper. We are so blessed that our church supports adoption by providing notary services. We have figured out that if we had to pay for notary service it would of costs us $800-$1200 up to this point. Wow! God is so good! Once we were done with our notary friend we headed to copy and fax all the info. Randy, the paper master, got all our paper in order, copied it 4 times and then faxed the 100 pages to our agency in Florida. Whew! What a task. He did a great job keeping everything organized.

When we got our mail today we had a surprise. It felt like the reward at the end of all the hard work this morning. To our surprise we received our Passports! Yay! A bonus was also that we received our birth certificates back. We did not realize these would be coming back to us so that was exciting too. We then went and checked e-mail and the Director of our Florida agency said that the papers we faxed looked good! Yay! Whew!

We are getting closer everyday to our son! We are so excited and can hardly wait. The girls are continuing to incorporate him into our everyday life. Our youngest, Miss Creative, has quite the craft box started of all the projects she has made for him. Our oldest, Miss Logistic, is talking about what he will and will not be capable of doing when he gets here. He is so much a part of our day already. It's really cool to see how God has gone before us and is prepping the girls. Even to the point of the content of Saturday morning cartoons. This last week two of the cartoons had adoption and special needs themes in them. Randy and I were standing there watching the shows and looking at each other thinking, "This is so cool!" It is so exciting to see how God is moving before us everyday in this process.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Treasures are being sorted and prepped

For the last week we have been sorting and sifting through yard sale donations. We are going to have an awesome yard sale! There is some really fun stuff coming to us and there will be some great finds for those searching. I love to yard sale and I would camp out at this one for awhile to see all the treasures. I just wanted to give all you bargain hunters a heads up.

So mark your calendars! Saturday September 26th at 7am.

Looking forward to seeing you here!

Yard Sale

We are preparing for a HUGE yard sale. All of the proceeds will go towards bringing home our little orphaned, 4-month old (and oh so tiny) Micah “Samuel” from Ethiopia.
To donate sellable items such as furniture, household items, clothes and miscellaneous goods, please contact me at . We will arrange with you to collect the donations.

The big date:
The yard sale will be September 26, 2009, at 7:00am. The location is 4153 E. Buckingham Way, Fresno, CA 93726 (near the corner of Cedar and Ashlan)

Please email Monica if you have any questions. Also, if you would be interested in helping at the yardsale, volunteers are welcomed!

Please feel free to pass along this message to anyone who may be interested.

Thank you so much!
The Coombs Family

One Month Anniversary!

One month ago today we attended the informational meeting at Chrysalis House that began this amazing crazy journey. Wow! God is so good!

Home Study visits

This week we have been able to complete our home study visits. Thursday we had our long awaited "Home Visit" that we had been preparing for for the last month. Everything went really well. The girls did a good job talking to her and I was able to do my interview without much interruption from our oldest who stayed home sick. We were all very pleased with how it went. We want to thank everyone who was praying. Now we would like to ask everyone to pray for our social worker and her family. Please pray for good health, clarity of mind and God speed for the next few weeks as she is formulating and typing our report. Pray that she will have productive days everyday for the next few weeks. We greatly appreciate it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Happy Birthday gift!

Last week Randy had a birthday. For dinner we brought in Panda Express, a family favorite. After we had eaten and were transitioning to opening gifts Randy opened a fortune cookie and this is what it said:

We thought this was very timely and made us smile.
Happy Birthday Honey!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our first interview and DVD's

Yesterday we had our first interview with our social worker who is doing our home study. It went very well and we like her very much. We were also very excited to be able to schedule the rest of our interviews for next week! Yay! So we have 1 week to finish getting our house organized and ready. We would appreciate your prayers for this process to go smoothly. We will keep you updated.

Earlier this week we also received two DVD's from our agency with video clips of our little boy. He is so cute! It was very special to sit down with the girls and watch video of their little brother. They asked all kinds of questions and were happy to see him.

A cute conversation

Coming home from school earlier this week the girls and I had a conversation that went like this...

Our oldest: "Mommy, is Micah (Samuel) going to be like a Christmas present?"

Me: "We don't know but we will tell you as soon as we do."

Our youngest: In a very matter of fact way she said, "I don't think he will like being in a box. I think he's going to break out of it."

It was so funny!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is this really happening?

Thursday I was working on locating how to request a form that is related to our fingerprints. I took a deep breath as I was about to dive into, what seemed, like a bottomless pit of the automated telephone options on the other side of the government phone number I was about to dial. Okay, here I go..................If this then press 2, and then on I went to press 3, and 2 and 1 and 3 and 2 and 1 and then it was a dead end so I decided to press 0. I had been writing down my path just in case I ever needed to get back here. The phone actually rang and a live person answered! I explained what I was looking for and he knew the answer but wanted to make sure. He forwarded me to another live person! This guy was the most helpful government worker I have ever spoken to on the phone! (I'm not saying there are not others out there, my husband is also a government worker. This is just from my experience.) I was shocked at the great service I was receiving. He was patient, calm, helpful, apologetic for any wait time and double checking himself with the info he was providing me. He walked me through the website to find the forms I needed and then made sure I had them filled out correctly! He explained exactly what the letter we needed would look like and the precautions they take with Foreign Adoption requests so that the letter is as acceptable as possible to other countries. He also explained the 1-8 week wait time and reassured me that when these forms come in they do them the same day and get them back out. He then gave me his personal desk phone number and said to call him once our prints were done and he would look for it and get it back out to us. WOW! I then thanked him, asked for his name and the name and number of his boss so I could express my gratitude for the incredible service I had just received. He supplied me with the info and I made the call immediately. I had to leave a message so I made it a long one and left my contact info so I could be reached. I totally consider this to be answers to prayers from so many of you who are praying for things to go smooth and quick. Thank you sooo much!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Closer

Today we were assigned a social worker to complete our home study and should hear from her very soon. We were advised that this adoption is on a fast track, which was very encouraging. Both agencies are motivated to get this child home. Yippee! According to the adoption agency, Ethiopian courts are closed until the beginning of October, but if the Dossier is received in Ethiopia by the time court reopens a November court date could be possible. WOW!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Last medical form...

...Check a

Woo Hoo!

God's faithfulness

So you know how there are things in life you pray for and wait and wait and may not feel like any answers are coming. I've had one thing in particular like this. I haven't been focusing on it, just praying here and there and waiting or forgetting for the moment or putting it on the back burner. Well, on Sunday morning out of the blue, no warning, my prayer was answered after 3 years. I never saw it coming. I'm writing this to show how faithful God is even when we push our own prayers aside. He's heard and he has not forgotten. I am so thankful. In the midst of the adoption busyness God's also bringing things together for my own needs as well. So cool!

Parenting Class and a Celebration

Saturday we attended our second and last required parenting class. Once again it was very enjoyable and informative. We now have new friends with the common thread of adoption. We are also excited to be able to check another box off the list. We are waiting on 3 items now to either come in the mail, results to be turned in and one appointment to be completed. Woo Hoo! We are plowing through.

In the evening we were excited to join our friends in celebrating their adoption from Ethiopia at their fundraiser dinner and auction. We went as a family to enjoy the experience. The entire evening was full of a slide show, traditional music, silent auction, and dessert auction. The girls did very well. We fed them dinner ahead of time and explained that we wanted them to try some of the traditional food that was served. They did try it and were good sports about it. We'll keep working on them and find something the whole family will enjoy. The evening was great exposure for them. What was even more exciting was to see so many people come together to support our friends and their son. The goal of the evening was met and it was a success all around. This coming Friday our friends will be traveling to pick up their son! We are so happy for them.

An unexpected call and God's humor

Do you know those days where something good or something not so great happens in every aspect of your day whether it be with family members, your home, your work, etc. You are watching your day pinball between the good, bad and ugly hoping it will end with the good. Friday was one of those days. I was working to focus on the good since it's great and trying to not let the rest bother me. Needless to say I was emotionally spent and needed a nap that was not going to happen.

In the midst on the difficulties the phone rang. I actually don't really know why I answered it...long distance I don't know...busy cleaning up a situation...but I answered. To my surprise it was the Executive Director of Chrysalis House, our Fresno agency. I was totally caught off guard and trying to process what was happening. I collected myself and was able to form coherent sentences. He was calling to welcome us to the agency and chat about our son a bit. We spent a good amount of time going over the information they know about Samuel and his possible needs. Both agencies wanted to make sure we were informed and thinking about what kind of services we would need to pursue once he is ours and home in the US. There were no surprises and nothing that would change our decision. I then also shared the resources within our family, friends and community that would be available to us upon Samuel's arrival. The Directors response was, "Wow! We wanted to make sure you were ready with a team when you return home...sounds like you have an army waiting." Yep, we sure do. He then also expressed their commitment to our case and how excited they were to be working with us. We feel the same about them. They have been a wonderful agency to work with as well.

So soon after the call the pinball shot back into a difficult area. I immediately called in some prayer support. Today was a day that needed extra prayer for sure. Once my distress signal was heard I went back to the task at hand...frosting 6 dozen cupcakes for 2 separate parties. I was going through the motions of completing the task at hand while processing the days events when my eyes were opened. I was frosting cupcakes for our friends birthday. He wanted cupcakes frosted yellow with happy faces on them made out of candy. All of a sudden as I am mentally reaching deep to find my content, peaceful place, I look at the table below me and I have over a dozen happy faces staring at me. How could I not smile? I got the message found my peaceful place and pressed on with the days tasks. Thankfully the rest of the day was fine, all the tasks were complete and I slept good that night. In the midst of this wonderfully exciting and crazy season of life it's so comforting to be able to see God in the details whether they are big, small or frosting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A "Picture" of baby Samuel

Since we are not allowed to post or distribute a picture of of Samuel until the Adoption is final, I asked Chloe to draw her best picture of Samuel. I don't know if you can make it out, but Chloe wrote the words "I love you " on the left side. Children are so precious!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Today...YAY...I'm on today!

Today was a pretty simple day. This morning I mailed the I-600 to immigration, I think, it went wherever it was addressed to for whatever we need it for. I also had my TB test read. The list is getting shorter. Our eyelids are getting heavier.I also managed to maintain the work we accomplished yesterday. Whew!

Now I can also say,"The blog is current!" I can hardly keep my eyes open to type right now. Okay, I've nodded off 2 times, make that 3...see you tomorrow

Team work

Wednesday, yesterday, was a very productive day. We decided that since Randy was off work early it was a perfect day to organize the house. My very generous friend took a day off work and came to help me purge our home. We literally started at one end of the house and began a yard sale pile, trash pile and laundry pile. This is what we did for 9 hours, floors are clear, clutter is tossed, and I can see my kitchen again. We got through most of the house, threw 4 bags of trash and treasures away from the girls rooms and a few more from the rest of the house. My friend is amazing and we are eternally appreciative for her and all that she adds to our family.

Other things accomplished:
Randy's TB test read
4 Birth Certificates purchased
2 Marriage Licenses purchased
CCI Application mailed

Another productive day! Yay!

I have Oxygen and a blood pressure

Tuesday Randy woke up at O'O' dark thirty to go have lab work done and be on the way to work by O' dark thirty.

Today I also have my physical appointment. I pick up our notary, who is Awesome, and we head out to the appointment. As we are driving I am sharing our story with her since the blog had not been started yet. This was also the first day I left both girls at school and I was by myself, quite an adjustment. I was experiencing a wide range of emotions at this point. As we wait we talk some more and it is just so hard to contain my excitement. We get called back and they do the normal vital signs or at least they tried. The nurse went to take my blood pressure and it would not take. I sat there for at least 7 minutes while the machine tried over and over to find my BP. I was trying very hard to calm down and breath easy. Then she said, "Let's see if you have oxygen."....Nope, no BP and no oxygen. Finally she gave up and said,"Let's go do it manually, my ears have to work." At this point she is baffled. So she does it manually and thankfully my BP was within the normal range. I am quite positive that it was through the roof and God knew it needed some time to come down. Whew! Passed another test.

The remainder of the day I worked on getting the blog up, continued organizing and we worked on the application to CCI, our international agency.


In the midst of the Monday paper chase I needed to call our pediatrician. We need to have a medical form filled out for both our girls saying they are in good health. We just so happened to have a well check-up for our youngest (soon to be middle) daughter, scheduled for Friday August 21st. Imagine that...fingerprints. I was calling to first give them a heads up on the form and that I was bringing a notary. I was also hoping that they would "fit" our oldest daughter in at the same time. So I go through my conversation explaining what we need and why and they say,"Our next opening is on October 20th." Ummm, okay, I'm thinking fast and working to be appropriate. I respond,"that is not going to work. We need this done ASAP." And I go on to use all my buzz words such as 2 months preemie, special needs, expedited process, etc. She is silently looking and I am trying to breath and praying like crazy. Then I hear exactly what I was looking for,"How about Tuesday August 24th?" In my most thankful voice I said,"That will work, put us down." Whew!

So we will have managed to get all our medical forms done in an 8 day period! Yay God!

Once we had everything collected, including our youngest from kindergarten, we decided to take it to our agency, Chrysalis House, just because we could, it would show them again that we are on top of things and it also made sure nothing happened to it before Saturday. We walked in and handed them our next stack of paperwork, they were surprised and happy. As they were recording they received everything they were looking at the computer screen and all of a sudden both of the ladies jaws dropped.

Them-in disbelief," fingerprints." As they are staring at the monitor. "It...took...1 hour and 41 minutes. That's unheard of"

FINGERPRINTS!!!!!! (In more ways than one)

At the same time they received another clients prints that had been holding up their home study for 3-4 MONTHS! MONTHS!

We felt soooo blessed and stunned ourselves.

The rest of our day consisted of organizing and cleaning the house guessed it...more paperwork.

An update from Ethiopia

Monday morning as we were leaving for school this came in from our cousins.

Since Samuel arrived a little over 2 months ago, we have been blessed to see God do so much. His arms no longer shake or tremble consistently in the way they did. His sleep patterns have improved and lengthened, and his eating has certainly increased. He has grown a good bit from that time and we have seen the Lord bring about His joy in Samuel's life. One particular weekend, after a week of really praying for the joy of the Lord in Samuel's heart, we had two specific prayer times over him concerning different struggles that existed. Specifically, he often acted as if he was behind a veil and could not relate to us much at all. With this, he made virtually no eye contact and smiles were non-existent. But we really felt God gave us specific ways to pray, and we know you were much involved in this as well. After the prayer times we praised God as we saw immediate change. Eye contact began to be more frequent, a few smiles began to pop up, and he began to interact with his surroundings like he hadn't before, like a veil had been lifted. Our nanny who helps with Samuel here even came in the day after these prayer times and said, "What happened, he is so different." We praised God for what He had done, and we continue to today. Each day we try to look back over all the Lord has done already in his little precious life, and thank God for His plans and all that we have seen Him do on Samuel's behalf. Again, thank you for joining us in prayer amidst this all.

It's an incredible amount for such a young and small little boy to be enduring, but he is still progressing well. God is certainly carrying him through this. They are not sure what his prognosis will be as to long term effects, but they told us that many of his symptoms would show as what is described with Cerebral Palsy. He continues to get stronger and each day is just a day we hold him up before the Lord for God to give him exactly what He knows Samuel needs that day. God certainly looks down on him with a special love, and we continue to trust the Lord for His best in Samuel's life.

An exciting part of Samuel's journey however is that on the same day his full diagnosis became clear, we learned that our cousins in California had begun the full process to adopt Samuel permanently into their home. They are fully aware of his diagnosis and feel a special love and a call from God to take this step. Please be in prayer for Samuel and their family as God brings their journey's together. Please be praying for all the details and timing of their adoption process, as they are eager to embrace him as a family and to watch the healing that this kind of love can pour in. We know nothing else to do but to thank and praise God for His perfect plan for Samuel and for this special development in the family. He could not be loved anymore already by the family God has raised up and we are in awe of how the Lord brought things together in such timing with his diagnosis. The same day the world would try to deliver Samuel a blow, God answered with His love. And as we know, love never fails!

I'm in awe of the fingerprints again...

Monday Mania

August 17, 2009: The paper chase
On todays agenda: Kids to school, DMV, Live Scan, Physical, and Passports.

Kids to school- check
DMV- check
Live Scan- check
Physical- check
Passports- check
Sanity.....ok check

What a blessing as there was no one else waiting for Live Scan and Passports. We were in out of of both of those places quick! The Live Scan person remembered doing prints for Monica's cousin for his home study not too long ago before he returned to Ethiopia where he and his wife are missionaries. He is the one currentling caring for the baby we are adopting. It really felt like God has cleared the way for us and all was accomplished before needing to pick up our oldest from school. It was a blessing to accomplish all of this in one day minimizing my time off from work! What a gracious God we have.

Lots of sharing

We woke up and realized this is our first Sunday at church since we have announced our plans through calls, facebook and e-mails. Oh, my, be ready with our story. It has been so quick and so filled with God's guiding it has to be told...there's just so much in such a short time. Not one detail can be completely appreciated with out the others. God has moved so swiftly and clearly. Wow! We soon figured out how to say things in "bullet point" format and tried to tell several people at once. While at church we also secured a notary to go with Randy to his appointment. Woo Hoo! The morning was exhausting and given we are running on adrenaline and our hearts are jumping with joy it was emotional on many levels.

After church I had the opportunity to go to a baby shower of a friend of ours. This is especially exciting because they are an adoptive family as well. They are leaving in a couple of weeks to go pick up their some from Ethiopia too! Soooo cool. Our boys are going to be friends. It was an honor to share this special time with her. The afternoon was filled with blessing her in this new adventure, eating some wonderful Ethiopian food and helping her fill her nursery with all the essentials a new mommy needs. We had a great time!

Once I was leaving I was planning in my head what was next. I had a friend who was planning to come help me organize our home but I talked with her and she was not feeling well. So we were going to reschedule for later in the week. I needed to make sure we prepared for the first day of school. I needed to remember that we needed to take them to school in the morning. Thankfully Randy had the day off so we should be okay with this. As I was pulling into the neighborhood I received a text from Randy, "Bio and financial done" Once home I concluded that I need to finish paperwork too and then start working on organizing the house. I also had some time slated to hang out with the girls and prep for school.

Randy went out to get a few things from the hardware store. While he was gone I wanted to finish my paperwork to surprise him. I also made a call to our doctors 24hr nurse service in hopes of making an appointment. A very nice lady answered and I explained our situation and how we needed to get this form filled out quickly. She looked and said,"How about Tuesday at 10am?" My jaw dropped and I was stunned. Through my stuttering in excitement I was able to say,"Yes! I'll take it!" Usually it takes days or weeks to get in....more fingerprints. Once he returned I met him and shared all I had accomplished and the incredible news about my appointment time. Now I just needed to find a notary to go with me.

We now began our nightly routine...get the girls clean and ready for school, lay out clothes and shoes for the next day, read books, tuck them in guessed it....more paperwork. Yes, there is more! We sat down and prepped all the paperwork for the following day. All the applications and forms needed to get everything done and on the way. Whew!

Parenting class and a fun surprise

Our Saturday morning began early. We left our house in time to get to my parents to drop off the girls and photo copy the paperwork we had completed so far. With our paperwork in hand we arrived to our class just before 9am. As we walked in we were greeted by the Adoption Services Manager who teaches the class. We said our hello's and Randy handed her packet which contained 2/3 of the paperwork. She was pleasantly surprised and obviously knew we were not wasting any time. At this point it had been 5 days since the info meeting and 1 day since receiving the home study packet. It was so clear to us that God lined everything up, who were we to not keep up pace. Usually CHI has Info Meetings every 6-8 weeks and the Classes are the same way. We just saved a good chunk of time.

We got settled in class and really it all felt surreal. A whirl wind. Later, when I was telling our friend this she confirmed my feelings, "It should feel surreal! This is fast." Now coming from her makes her statement even more impactful. She has adopted several times and is known for being very driven and efficient in completing paperwork. If we were keeping pace with her or surpassing it...that again is a sign of God's hand in it all.

So back to the class. The others taking the class had very interesting stories. Some had pictures and others had no idea who their child was going to be. We really enjoyed everyone's company. The materials were very interesting. Nothing was not anything we did not know but having an adoption spin on it freshened up the information and it held our attention. Randy also had the opportunity to contribute to the curriculum. The topics before and after lunch were centered around child abuse, recognizing it, effects of, neglect and trauma. The instructor was ready but not...I mean who really wants to have to have to talk about this but unfortunately it's necessary. Randy was able to give input, statistics and answer some questions from his first had experience. We had a couple in the class who are planning to do foster care and then adopt so this was very interesting to them. We made it through the tough topics and moved onto less intense subjects. The class flew by and before we knew it we were done with the first day. Yippee!

As we walked out of the office I looked at him and said, "You're taking Monday off right." at the same time he was saying,"There's no way I can work on Monday." We were in agreement he needed the whole day off instead of just the two hours to take the girls to the first day of school.

We left and headed to get the girls. We arrived at my parents as Aunt Stephie and our oldest were just arriving. Our oldest hurried in the house ahead of us obviously on a mission. Once we were all in and starting to hear about their adventures they had a surprise for us. Aunt Stephie took our oldest shopping for an outfit for her new brother. We opened the box and inside we found a cute little outfit, a long sleeved light blue onesie with sports balls all over and on the front it said "Little Brother" and there were a pair of navy pants to match. So cute. Our first baby gift. Wow! We proceeded to listen to the stories of the day, gather everyone and everything up and head home.

Once home, Randy decided to try to call our doctors 24 hour line and see if he could get an appointment. So he calls and before I know it he comes to me and proudly announces,"I have a physical tomorrow at 10:15." I am stunned, shocked and amazed. Seriously, this Monday that he is taking off anyway...WOW...God is so good.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the girls having some family time and a little prep for the first day of school. Bedtime came, we tucked them in and once guessed it....paperwork here we come! I must say I have given Randy a new nickname after these last few days. He is now the "Paper Master". He has done such a great job printing, organizing, reading the fine print, collecting, and supervising the paper I am tremendously grateful. I have been able to just ask what's next and he hands me the next stack to either fill out, initial and sign or proof read. Then I return it and he puts it in it's home. Again, off to bed late to dream of our boy. He is so precious and it makes it all worth it.