Friday, February 21, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Another week has come and gone. It's hard to believe there is only one week left of February.

Things are seeming to be few and far between on our blog these days, I'm sorry about that! There really aren't many updates to share. Until we have more excitement going on, here are the top five moments of the week.

1. It's my birthday tomorrow! Yes, I'll be the big 2-3. It's even more exciting that my wonderful friend, Anneli is coming to visit. We met while we were both abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece and became insta-friends. She's one of those people I can talk to about anything and everything. And share a twin bed, too.

2. This weather. I know I've talked about weather in the last several posts, but come on. How it it possible to have rain, then snow, then 45° sun. It just makes no sense. Yesterday we had a terrible blizzard with thunderstorms, yes, thunderstorms, hail, and four inches of wet, heavy snow. With this crazy weather though, we've had two beautiful 55° days. Spring is coming, I just know it.

3. We got some IAG adoption news this week. The Department of Justice will be setting up a phone call with all the adoptive parents early next week. We haven't decided if we'll attend that, just because we weren't very far into the process. If anything, though, it may be good to just listen and understand. They also said they would be setting up a meeting with the Embasy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to check on the orphanages and facilities.

4. Friend time. I went out to have some pizza slices and a few beers with a good friend that I work with earlier this week. We're both pretty busy at work, and often there's so much going on, we don't get a chance to sit down and chat about life. It was so nice to get to talk with her and know what's going on in her life! And Old Chicago never disappoints. 

5. Adam and I will be flying to Mexico next week and we are so excited to take a break and get away! Both of us have been feeling extra stressed at work, so a nice long, warm vacation is just what we need. We started getting some things ready this week, but I have a feeling this coming week will be a little scrambled. But it will all be worth it when we're sitting on a beach. We're heading down to Cancun with Adam's parents, who are leaving this week. It will be fun to soak up the sun (and margs!) with them for an entire week.

Until next week, sending blessings your way.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Agency?

Ever since last week, we've been in kind of a weird place. We contacted Bethany Christian Services, which was one of the agencies we were looking at when we started this process. Bethany is out of Michigan and has offices in Pella and Des Moines.

We started by filling out the preliminary application, which is free. The preliminary application asked basic questions, and based on our answers, it approves us for certain countries. We got pre-approved for Ethiopia, Uganda, and South Africa. Things that are taken into consideration are age, length of marriage, income, etc.

Wait times for Ethiopia are quite a bit longer than what we were originally thinking; somewhere between 30 and 36 months from time of dossier submission to referral.

Before submitting the formal application, potential applicants need to meet with the director, Marlene Hibma. We made an appointment to meet with her next week, so we'll more then.

Until then, we'll be praying that God blesses us with the patience we'll need to continue with this process.

Friday, February 14, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Whoo hoo! It's Friday yet again, was it just me, or did this week go by rather slowly? None the less, here are my top five moments for the week:

1. We visited some friends in Cedar Falls last weekend. My friend Sarah is getting her masters at UNI, and we hadn't been up there in a while. On top of that, it was her boyfriend's birthday. Spencer has become like a brother to us so it was fun to help him celebrate.

2. On Sunday Adam and I went to a movie with some other friends of ours. We joined a connection group through our church and host at our house every week. The group is for young, married couples, so everyone is pretty much in the same stages of life as us. It's been fun getting to know other Christian couples our age.

3. Can we talk about this weather? Okay, so I know most people in the United States are in this awful snow/ice storm, but here in Ames, it's actually been quite pleasant! Right now, I think it's about 12° outside, but yesterday it got up to 47°. It was amazing! I took Nellie for a great, long walk to somewhat tire her out. I even had my back windows down when I was driving. This next week has some good weather to look forward to, too.

Do you see that? Next week is supposed to be in the 40s again. I hope that means Spring is on it's way! 

4. it's Valentine's day! I hope you're able to spend some time with those you love. And if not, you really don't need a day dedicated to love, live like every day is Valentine's day. We aren't too big on the  hype of the holiday, so we're just going to spend the evening hanging out. Adam has been very busy working on the house so he's going to take the night off. We may go get burritos, rent a movie. We're such romantics. 

5. And a not so great moment. . .

I'm not sure if anyone has seen this article regarding our agency. Some of the current and former employees were charged with conspiring to defraud the United States. They are accused of obtaining U.S. visas by submitting fraudulent adoption contracts that were signed by orphanages that never cared for the children that were being adopted. We've been asked to contact the state department with questions.

So, we're kind of in a weird spot. Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but we will be moving on to a different agency. We had some other options when we were choosing an agency, so we've contacted them for more information. 

We're blessed to have such great people in our life; I told one of my good friends at work yesterday and she asked if she could pray for me. Of course! What a blessing it is to have such a great friend working next to me every day. 

This is just part of the plan. Onward! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Info Packet!

On Friday we received our Ethiopian Program Manual! It's a one-inch binder full of separate packets of information on various topics. We were instructed to read the information carefully and comprehend all aspects of what our agency will be providing. They mentioned that most parents that understand what the agency provides and what the parents provide, have a much better experience and process.

Right now, we're waiting to hear back on our official 'approval'. I think we could probably move forward and start our homestudy process, but we're going to try and take things one step at a time.

After our approval, we'll start the dossier. A dossier consists of documents that represent you before the Ethiopian authorities. These are things like our birth certificates, marriage certificates, our homestudy report, etc.

We haven't gotten all the way through the binder yet, but we're going through it little by little so we don't get an information overload.

Friday, February 7, 2014

High Five for Friday!

I'm going to try and do a post at the end of every week to talk about all the awesome things that happened this week. You know, like a top-5-moments-type-of-thing. So here goes:

1. The Olympics are on! Okay, I may not be that excited, but this is an exciting time for my husband! Adam loves the Olympics, so there's a good chance they'll be on at our house for the next two weeks. Need a place to watch? Come on over.

2. Yesterday one of my co-workers brought in his new puppy, Kiva. He is the sweetest! 

No caption needed.
3. I finally decided to chop my hair off. I've always loved having long hair, but there's just something about short hair. Maybe I'm just trying to make myself believe summer is coming. Holy cow it is cold out! Of course, now I need to be sure and remember my scarf. 

4. Adam and I are remodeling our house and things are moving along nicely! We started on the basement so we could move down there when we remodel the main floor. We started a blog on our remodel, head on over to Hometown Renovations and check it out! 

5. Of course there has been great progress on our adoption this week. We've been in contact with a homestudy agency and told them we would circle back after we got accepted. It's been difficult being patient; we're just trying to remember to take things one step at a time. We also watched some of the sweetest 'metcha day' videos. These are recorded when adoptive parents meet their new children for the first time. If you have a tissue handy, watch this video, it's so incredibly sweet. It's almost surreal to think Adam and I could be doing that soon. 

Have a happy, happy weekend! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Things Are Moving!

I know I said I would check back when/if we got accepted, but yesterday was a pretty good day. I contacted IAG to see that they had received our application we sent last Friday. I received an email back rather quickly that said they had received our application and would begin processing it immediately.

In the mean time, they said they were sending us an Ethiopian Program Manual that we should receive in a few days. They said it should help answer some of the questions we may have, and may also overwhelm us–he recommended we don't look ahead. . . but how am I supposed to not look ahead?! We'll see. 

The director, Jim, told us that this long process may seem overwhelming at times, but he assured us that IAG will help guide us and keep us focused. We feel very fortunate to be working with (what seems like) such a great agency. 

I looked down at my phone yesterday morning and saw these: three email notifications all dealing with the adoption. I couldn't help but giggle and feel very blessed. 
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