Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh What a Night...

Wow - we had SO MUCH FUN last night.  I have no idea how many people came out, but there were a LOT. Between 5:30-6:30 it was hard to find an empty table - it was a great problem to have!!   The night just couldn't have gone any better.

Gatlin and Cooper, along with Gatlin's sweet friends, Jessie, Caitlyn and Paul, were fabulous helpers and throughout the night they refilled drinks, cleaned tables and carried food to people's tables.  They worked hard and I want them to know how grateful Brian and I were (are) for their servant's hearts.  I know they had a lot of fun, too, so that's an added blessing.

The owner of the franchise is a sweet lady named, Jeanne.  She introduced herself to me the first time I went into the restaurant because she had visited our church and seen me lead worship.   Jeanne is a lovely Christian lady and I am so thankful that she allowed us to have our Spirit Night there (the Cool Springs location doesn't do them).  The manager on duty last night was Tom, and he was incredibly nice and so accommodating.  Kaje is the gal who helped us put the whole thing together.  What a sweetie.  She is a cheerleader for adoption and was very moved by our family's story.  She was there from start to finish last night and she's the one who will actually count up the receipts and let us know how much we made.

So, thank you to everyone who came out to support us and to all who prayed for the night to be a success - because it was.  As I always say....Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!!


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Final Stretch....

We are in the home stretch.  Lord willing, we will have these three amazing kids home SOON.  Our case has been submitted to the Embassy and we are waiting for the "all clear" to travel to bring them home.

We would LOVE to sell some more CDs to help with the travel expenses for this last part of the journey.  The airline tickets will probably be close to $2000 EACH - and we will need two round-trip and three one-ways.  Please consider buying one of the CDs to help us out - OR you can make a tax deductible donation through our Lifesong account.  All your options are on the sidebar.

Thanks to Mary Beth Chapman for giving us a shout out on her page today.  She and Steven are great people and have been a huge encouragement to us on this journey.  Brian is blessed to be a part of Steven's band and we love their awesome family.

I'll let you know as soon as we hear about our Embassy date.  It can't be soon enough for us!!!   Until then, I'm still getting the rooms put together and the house organized.  Right now that seems never-ending, but I'm sure it will eventually be ready.  

Please don't forget to pray for us!!   Thank you!!!  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tick Tock, Tick Tock...

Whew - this waiting can be pretty hard stuff.   Everywhere I look in my house I see the kids.  Earlier today I was doing the dishes and I looked over at the table and I could just picture Bennet sitting there smiling at me.  One day in the near future when she's really there, I just know I'll have a deja vu and feel like I've seen her there before.  I clearly see Kaleb's and Kali's faces - and I miss them.  I feel positive that they're seeing our faces and missing us as well.  I know Bennet is counting days.  Sigh.

So, just a quick update - we got their birth certificates this week and were very happy about the dates of birth they were given.  In case you're not aware of this little tidbit, Ethiopia makes up their birth dates.  It's someone's job to just close their eyes and point at the calendar and say, "Ok, I think September 30th looks good".   Wouldn't that be an interesting job.  Sometimes they do a good job (like in our case) and other times they are really off - as is the case with our friends who are adopting infants, but their new birth certificates say they are 19 months old.  Nope.   The good news is that you can change the year when you re-adopt on this end, but I think the birth date may be set in stone.  I'm not positive about that though as it might be that every state is different.  Anyway, Kaleb and Kali are listed as 6 years old right now and they will turn 7 on June 23.  I was really wanted them to be 7 for as long as possible this year, so that is wonderful.   Bennet is listed as May 8, 2000, so that makes her 10 right now, turning 11 in May.  11 in 2011.  Fun.  I'm sure it will be strange for her to find out she is back to 10 when she thinks she is 12, but we'll just explain to her that the calendar is different in America than it is in Ethiopia.  I was hoping that she would be 11 for as long as possible this year so, again, this was a great date.  And, Bennet shares a birthday with her sweet cousin, Cassi, so that is very special.   Yay for good birth certificates.

As I understand it, now they are getting the medicals updated for the kids and they're getting their Visas/Passports.  When those things are ready then we are submitted to the US Embassy.  Once we are submitted, we wait for the Embassy to "clear us for travel" and then we are given an Embassy date.  The problem is, our Embassy is being REALLY particular right now and requiring a variety of different things before they will clear people.  I think I've mentioned this before, but they are doing things like investigating why one sibling is put up for adoption, yet not another.  They are requiring death certificates for deceased parents (even though the birth certificates are made up - thus, the death certificate is made up as well - this seems pointless to me).  They are interviewing witnesses in abandonment cases.   Anyway, all these new investigations are causing the process to slow down quite a bit.  Even last month people could expect to wait only 4-6 weeks for their Embassy appointment after their court date, but now they are saying we should expect closer to 8 weeks.   But you just can't know.  There are still people who are going to Embassy quickly, just not many.  Basically, there's no rhyme or reason to it and we have no idea when our Embassy date will be, but we are praying so hard to get the February 10 date (or by some absolute miracle, January 27).   In order to get either one of those dates we would have to slide by with no investigations.  Ok - that is the BIG prayer we are praying and asking you to join with us on.

Tomorrow Gatlin and I are going to California for a few days.  She has a recurring role on Adventures in Odyssey for Focus on the Family and she is working Monday and Tuesday.  It will be nice to see our friends out there for a couple days and it will be really nice to eat an In-n-Out burger!!  Woo hoo!!  When we get home there is still so much to do to get ready for the kiddos' arrival.  Pretty much have everything we need for their rooms, just need to get it all put together and organized.  We're close.

Oh, we have a Chick-fil-A spirit night coming up on the 24th and that will be a lot of fun.  I'm hoping tons of our friends come out and eat dinner with us - who doesn't love Chick-fil-A!!!  That is the final fundraiser we'll be doing.  Just praying and trusting God to make the ends meet - there are so many expenses both seen and unseen when you bring home three new kids.  We're walking in faith, believing God to meet our needs.  Thank you so much for donating to our adoption - we are blessed with amazing friends and we couldn't be more grateful.   Love ya'll.