"Sometimes I would like to ask God, why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it... but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." Anonymous

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We've turned 10 for 2011!

What does this mean?  It means we are the 10th family in line for a baby girl on the "unofficial" waiting list compiled by our adoption agenciesYahoo Group!  Mostly it means we are still moving up the list!  We are slowly getting closer to getting a referral for our baby girl!  God has been so good to us on this adoption journey and in our lives in general.  We give Him all the praise and glory for what He has done, is doing, and continues to do.  We serve an AWESOME GOD!
Happy New Year to all of our Dear Friends!  Thank you for your prayers.
We love you,
Angi & Tim

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ethiopia is an amazing country. I marvel at the history...

The Eighth Wonder of the World
Standing on top of a hill, one can see the House of St. George standing in a pit neatly chiseled out of the surrounding rock. The cross-shaped roof reveals that this is indeed an unusual building.
The House of St. George and ten other nearby churches, all cut from solid rock, have won praise as the "eighth wonder of the world."

Text and Photographs by Wang Chih-hung
Translated by Lin Sen-shou
Reprinted with permission from Rhythms Magazine
Ethiopians are proud that as early as the fourth century, when Europe was still populated by barbarians, the entire country adopted Christianity as the state religion. When the Moslems swept through the African continent, Ethiopia, the first country in Africa to be baptized, was also the last Christian fortress to hold out against Islam. Nowadays, almost half of the population of 60 million Ethiopians still belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The legend of Lalibela
Ethiopia appears in the Bible as many as thirty-three times and also many times in the old Koran. Perhaps it was because they heard Abyssinia, the ancient name for Ethiopia, mentioned so many times in ancient legends and historical stories that so many people from ancient Greece, Israel and Rome came to Ethiopia.
In the town of Lalibela, halfway up Roha Mountain in Welo province about 800 kilometers [500 miles] north of Addis Ababa, are the famous eleven churches hewn from solid rock. Built in the twelfth century, they are still standing in excellent condition. Visitors consider them the eighth wonder of the world, and UNESCO has even listed them as a world heritage site.
Lalibela was actually the name of a legendary Ethiopian ruler. The name in the Agaw language means, "The bee recognizes his power to rule." Legend has it that when Lalibela was born, his mother discovered a swarm of bees around him. Believing the bees had the power to tell the future, his mother shouted, "The bees know the boy will be king in the future!"
After Lalibela returned from a journey to Jerusalem, he won out against his brother and sister, who had tried to poison him, and ascended to the throne. Legend also says that while he was in Jerusalem, an angel took him to heaven, where God gave him a vision of churches such as no one had ever seen before and ordered him to build them.
It is said that the churches in Lalibela were built with amazing speed, and even until this day everyone still believes that angels came at night and helped to complete them.
A Portuguese priest, Fr. Francisco Alvares, came to Ethiopia in 1520. He recorded that someone told him that in the twelfth century, white people and red people came from Palestine to help carve out these impressive buildings.
After a visit to the House of Golgotha, Fr. Alvares wrote, "Its walls are the products of perfection, and there is no need to mention the flower-patterned window frame on the windows and the doors. I believe the work couldn't be more appealing to our eyes even if jewelers decorated them with silver or artisans polished them with wax."
After he had described the churches, Fr. Alvares concluded, "The more I describe the details of these outstanding churches, the more I begin to worry that people may not believe me and will see my descriptions as false. Therefore, I swear before God that what I have written above is nothing but the truth."

Amazing structure, perfect design
Among these eleven churches, four were hewn from solid rock and are independent buildings, while the other seven buildings were created from natural clefts and caves in a red cliff. Bet Giorgis--the House of St. George--is seen as the perfect design for a stone church. Although it was built last, it is the most famous of all.
Before entering the building itself, looking from the entrance on top of the mount, the first impression of the church is its giant cross-shaped roof. A few steps further, the twelve-meter-high, cross-shaped church can be seen standing tall and upright in the square hole below.
An eight-step staircase leads us to the main entrance, facing west. The building has no pillars and looks like it was formed by two rectangles cutting across each other. It was directly hewn from the base of the rock, with no other foundation. There are three elegantly carved bases: the one at the bottom is as high as an adult's shoulder; the other two are a bit shorter.
Many round holes of various sizes--tombs of priests--can be found in the walls surrounding the church. The magnificent appearance and the tall rock pillars of another church--Bet Medhane Alem, or the House of the Savior of the World--are equally stunning.

Simplicity and energy
As I mentioned earlier, seven churches were carved from the cliff. They have either one side or two sides, or they have four sides with the roofs still attached to the cliff. For example, the entrance to the House of St. Gabriel and St. Raphael is located in the center of a cliff, and is decorated with carved reliefs. Outside the door, the path to the outside world crosses a stone bridge. There is another exit at the back of the church. The rest of the building is hidden inside the cliff.
These eleven churches have been playing their original role since the twelfth century. Although they are as hard as rock, time has left its marks on the churches. Wind and water erosion is slowly crumbling the churches. Currently, they are being carefully repaired with help from UNESCO.
In a way, the whole town of Lalibela is a living sculptural masterpiece, used as an offering to honor the Almighty. No one can escape from the shock or the awe they feel when they see these buildings.
The expertise shown in these buildings may have passed into oblivion or vanished forever into distant, mysterious human history. But the buildings are monuments to the spirit and vitality of those ancient Christians--a form of simplicity and energy that shall last forever in this place.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Story written by an Adoptive Momma friend...(GOD is good!)

Time to introduce Hatmaker kids...and their beautiful names.

by Jen Hatmaker on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at 5:56pm
Day 14

During the first week of October, I suffered inexplicable sadness for our Ethiopian kids, yet unknown to us. I couldn’t quit crying. I couldn’t stop worrying. I felt heavy and dark without knowing why. With tears burning at the slightest provocation, I threw my emotions into the Facebook ring for some backup. From adopting friends, a common thread rose up:
“God is prompting you to pray for your children for some reason. You don’t know them yet, but he knows they are yours. Intercede for them this week, then write these dates down. Once you receive your referral, check their paperwork and you might discover divine timing.” A slew of similar stories were posted.

So Brandon and I prayed desperately for our kids. Were they losing a parent? Were they suffering? Were they tender and lonely? Were they especially hopeless? Their need was unknown, but the ache was acute. So I cried the tears I just knew they were crying, and I begged Jesus to be so near, so gentle in their young, tragic lives while they waited for us, wishing a family wanted them but too afraid to hope.

Sensitive to their fragility, I spent that week checking (obsessing over) the Waiting Children’s List on our adoption agency’s website. I’ve been drawn to these kids since the beginning of our adoption journey. These children have not been requested or matched, unwanted even within the adoption community. Their crimes: 1.) Too old – meaning over five, 2.) too sick – HIV, TB, birth defects, or 3.) too many – siblings.

This very week a new little face hit the WCL: a darling, bright and shiny seven-year-old boy. I instantly loved his personality. He looked like Gavin in an African way. He seemed ornery, which I adore. So I pulled him up every day. Every day. Every day. I sent the link to Brandon. I sent the link to friends. I checked back in. I watched other WCL kids move from “available” to “file under review” while his smiling face remained “available.” On a Wednesday, I sent this to our family coordinator:

Hi Caitlin!

Sweet adorable Beniam is a healthy seven-year old on the WCL. He totally falls within our request range and since he's on there, I'm assuming there are no other requests for a seven-year-old boy. Would AWAA consider placing him with an unrelated younger girl and allowing us to consider them together?

We were exactly hoping for a seven-year-old boy and a younger girl. We would be so happy to apply for unrelated kiddos if this was a possibility.

Jen Hatmaker

For a week, we emailed back and forth about unrelated kids (sweet, precious Caitlin – extra jewels in her crown for fielding my relentless emails). I cannot explain how drawn to Ben we were. Every time we looked at him, he became more beautiful, more precious, more Hatmaker-ish. Our social worker needed to approve us for an unrelated placement, as we were approved for siblings. That, friends, sounded like a formality, so we got our ducks in a row to speed that process up.

Exactly one week after that email, my phone rang the following Wednesday with that heart-attack-inducing-breath-stealing caller ID: “AWAA – Caitlin”. Adopting parents with submitted dossiers wait for that with such anxiety and anticipation, that should we be on a conference call with the President of the United States, we would scream in his ear, “I GOTTA GO!!!!!” and click over. Parents call their agencies ten billion times; they call us never, but when they do, this is what they say:

“Jen? It’s Caitlin. Sit down…this is your referral call.”

The world stopped spinning.

Time froze.

Nothing else existed.

“SHUT UP!!!” is how I responded as a mature, emotionally controlled girl. Our dossier was submitted 48 days ago; this referral was fast. I couldn’t think straight. The referral call includes sitting at your computer while your family coordinator introduces your child with the highly anticipated email file, including pictures.

I told Caitlin I’d call her back in ten minutes, because I needed to get Brandon home. Ring-ring:

“Are you stalking me? I just left! You know you can’t live without me.”

“Brandon, zip it! We. Just. Got. Our. Referral. Call.

(Insert screeching brakes.)

We called Caitlin back and discovered our referral was one gorgeous, unbelievably perfect five-year-old girl. She was beautiful in every way. Brandon fell especially hard. With her little chicklet teeth and her shy smile, it seemed we might finally get a “gentle child,” which required adoption since our gene pool squashed that characteristic.

But besides “adopting” and “Ethiopia,” the other crystal clear detail was “two children.” Back in December when adopting from Ethiopia was imminent, Brandon kept bringing up two kids. Normally the bleeding heart, I was reluctant (could also be: defiant, obstinate, terrified) to consider two, knowing we are already a circus and doubting my ability to parent five kids. But Brandon couldn’t shake it, so we spent a week praying and fasting about one versus two.

On the final day of our fast, unknown to anyone but us, one of my dearest friends called: “Jen? I’ve been praying about your adoption. If this is irrelevant, just forget it, but every time I pray, I get the feeling you and Brandon are considering siblings…”

*Jen stops breathing*

“…I don’t know why I keep getting this message. But if you are, we’ve prayed about it, and we want to pay for the second child. Whatever the cost increase is for adopting two instead of one, we’ll cover the entire amount.”

*Jen bawls eyes out.*

God? We’re fasting to hear from you: One or two kids?

Insert: The Most Obvious Answer Ever Received In Our Lives.

Without question, we knew God had two kids for us, so this referral for just one was terribly confusing. We were starved for clarity, staring at each other like one of us had an explanation, the key to unlocking this baffling development. Our strategy has been, “Go back to what you know for sure. What was the last thing you heard?” The marching orders for two children was iron-clad, so I went three weeks back to those dark days full of prayer and sorrow. I confirmed the dates then searched this beautiful girl’s file:

It was the week she was brought to the orphanage.

Shipped twelve hours north of her village, her people, everything she knew to a crowded orphanage with children and workers who spoke a different language, it must’ve been devastating. She must’ve felt so alone. At age five. Except Jesus never leaves his little ones, his most vulnerable. He was there in the scary van ride north. He was there in her confusion and fear. He was there as she was assigned a bed and communal clothes and had her beautiful head shaved. He was there that first heart-breaking night. And he made sure we were there in spirit, too.

I am telling you, we felt her grief. We carried her turmoil. We cried her tears. Jesus made sure we sat watch with Him over her. He invited us into the vigil he was keeping on her behalf. Exactly three weeks after her first lonely night in the orphanage, we got her referral.

She was ours. We knew it.

She was the “younger unrelated girl” we asked for when pursuing Ben. It all locked into place. Within hours of the call, we asked for him too. For four agonizing days, we fought for his referral, this bright, shiny boy who’d seen hundreds of babies and toddlers come and go while he waited for someone to want him. For four days, we pleaded our case against staunch resistance. For four days, prayers and emails and calls flooded in, as our Christian community rallied for this unwanted, yet so wanted boy.

Enter The Great Silence, Compline, the prayer of completion. Every Sunday night at 9pm, the parents adopting through our agency join in prayer all over the world. We pray for our children, the nannies, our paperwork, referrals, court dates, traveling mercies, approvals, and grace. I told my adoption community: “Please pray for our expanded referral. We want this boy so desperately, but the forces against his placement seem insurmountable.”

We were hanging on by a thread. We knew God said adopt two children from Ethiopia. We knew he connected us in prayer to our daughter’s traumatic abandonment. We knew he imprinted Ben on our hearts already, before we even had a referral. We knew these two children belonged to us, but the approval looked hopeless.

From nearly every state and several other countries, we prayed at 9pm, the hour of The Great Silence. We interceded for each other and begged God to move for the orphan. We voiced our impossible circumstances and trusted him to work the common, everyday miracles that surround adoption. We acknowledged his sovereignty over bureaucracy, embassies, social workers, and poverty. We prayed for completion: Our children home. Hesitantly, timidly, I said, “I trust you, God.” At 9:27pm, our social worker sent this:

“I am going to approve this referral.”

No words can describe the rejoicing in our house, and certainly in the heavens. Another orphan found his home, despite the odds, regardless of “the rules.” Yet again, God moved mountains for the very least; the most unwanted, unloved kids on earth. The day our Ethiopian children were born, the angels celebrated their immense value, the image of God they each bear. Their tragic circumstances didn’t lessen their worth but raised them to the highest level of divine attention:
  • The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
  • I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
  • I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
  • God sets the lonely in families.
  • Blessed are you who are poor, for your is the kingdom of God.
  • Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
We’ve been invited into a beautiful story, involving hundreds of saints in prayer for the redemption of two abandoned treasures. God captured an entire community with love for two children whose names were headed into the oblivion of poverty and despair. As selfish plans fail daily, and greedy dreams burn out as God removes his hand from endeavors we are using his name to endorse, Jesus gently placed two African orphans in the center of a faith community, restoring their names from a statistic back to the loved, precious, essential children they are.

I want you to know their names.

Our Beniam is seven, and we’ll call him Ben; the son we fought for. Our daughter’s name is Matawi, which means “Remembrance.” We will call her Remy, because she was never forgotten; not by her Creator, not by her Savior, and not by us. God walked with our children through every sorrow; their plight was ever before him. Though family and village and country and government and even the whole world turned from their distress, abdicating responsibility and ignoring their cries, God never forgot, never slept, never stopped working until his children were restored.

He remembered them.

For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, <span>I will not forget you</span>! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips. Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.
Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce? But this is what the LORD says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”
~Isaiah 49

A distant kiss for our remembered daughter...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We're #12!!!!!

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  What's going on with all the 12's? 
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Well... we are now number 12 in line for a baby girl on our Yahoo Groups "unoffical waiting list" for Ethiiopa!  Our paperwork has been in Ethiopia for 3 months and 3  weeks!      
   Woohoo... as George Jefferson would say "We're movin' on up!"                                       
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meet our new Ugandan Sponsored Child- Viola Nalwoge

Want to make a difference in the life of a child?

A friend I have met has moved to Uganda to help the children of Bugabo Village.  She could use our help too. 
Christie Cotney  writes...    
Give the gift of education that will last a lifetime :)  If you would like to read the story about how God has asked me to find sponsors for 220 children, click here.

Here's what you need to know about sponsoring a child in the Bugabo Village:
  • Cost - $100 will cover tuition, uniform, shoes, school supplies, a meal during school, and medical/dental visits (as needed) for one year. I would prefer the payment in a lump sum. However, if you can only pay monthly, let me know so we can work out the details.
  • Child - I will get pictures and profiles of the children when I get to the village and will post them in an album on Facebook. The profiles will tell you specifics about the child (name, sex, age, parent(s) names, favorite sport, how many brothers/sisters, what they want to be when they grow up, favorite color, favorite food(s), and favorite animal) and this info will be listed in the caption of each photo. You can then comment under the child you (or your family) chooses. If you are not friends with me on Facebook, add me by clicking on the badge in the right hand column :)
  • Communication - I will be right there in the village, so communication with your child will be as often as you want to check in with him/her. This will be in addition to the normal communication - exchanging actual letters, and pictures with him/her when I come to visit the States. I also have a brand new laptop that some friends bought for my ministry that has a webcam on it, and have been daydreaming about the children using Skype to communicate with their sponsors. This is something I think your family would really enjoy, especially if you have little ones at home.
  • Concerns - God has just recently revealed to me what my ministry is for Him. Due to this, I do not have a 501(3)c to make your donations tax deductible at this time, but I am praying about when I can do that. Until then, if you are more comfortable donating to an organization that will give you a tax deduction for your donation, please leave me a comment and I will give you suggestions. Please note that the Bugabo Village sponsorship is only $100/year and the other organizations are usually a monthly commitment of $30-40/month.

or go to www.compassinmyheart.blogspot.com for more details and to donate on-line.
You can sponsor by or by sending a check to:

Christie Cotney
PO Box 401
Alabaster, AL 35007

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Orphanage Supply Collections...

are in full gear!  Our friends Brandy & Logan Wade contacted us about getting items together to send with fellow adoptive parents leaving this Friday for Ethiopia.  We had 1 1/2 days to get supplies gathered.  Well within 24 hours... calls had been made, people contacted, supplies collected, then organized and shipped to WI.  This was all accomplished in less than 38 hours of the original request for help.  Wow!
It is good to see God move!  To see God's people heed His call is a blessing! 
God is faithful and He provides.
Thanks be to God for the supplies that are on their way to Ethiopian orphanages and also for the cash donation going from our Orphan/Adoption Ministry at church!  Blessing upon blessing... I have seen today! 

This news is VERY wonderful... and we still have work to do. 
The orphanages need continued support to care for Gods children.  We fully intend to continue supply collections.
 Can you help us?  Do you have baby items laying around the house?  Can you pick up a tube of diaper cream for us to send?  Everyone giving a little is what made the last 38 hours possible!  Thank you!
To see and read about the items shipped today go to...  http://www.ourethiopiandaughter.weebly.com/

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sometimes I think we forget...

I think sometimes we forget...
...that GOD is in charge of it ALL
...that HE is fighting the fight
...that we should be in the fight with HIM
...that we are NOT of this world, but we are of HIM
...that by HIS hand we are delivered
...that by HIS hand our children WILL be delivered
...that this life is not about what we can GET from HIM
...this life is about what HE gave
...that our existence is to exalt HIM
...that our struggles are HIS struggles
...that our brothers and sisters are looking for HIM

The song above challenges us... do we dare, do we dare to believe that we (and our children) have a reason to sing?  That the pain we (and our children) have been feeling is the pain before the healing?  Have we forgotten how much HE has fought and is fighting for us? 
His people, His children, His creation... 
He loves you, He will not forsake you... share the GOOD NEWS!  

"Before the Morning"
Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you get there
so just say a prayer.
and hold on, cause there's good who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning
yeah, yeah,
before the morning,
yeah, yeah

Once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
memory, memory, yeah

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

com'n, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the hurt before the healing
the pain you've been feeling,
just the dark before the morning
before the morning, yeah, yeah
before the morning

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

AMAZING! Nathaniel adopted 6/2008

Just in case any of you might wonder if malnutrition or early orphanage life might affect the smarts of Ethiopian kids check out this little boys smarts... He is in the video to the right titled "Nathaniel- 2 years old for President!"
(be sure to turn off the page music @ bottom of page before playing video) Enjoy!

Note from his Mommy- Holly...
We have been home with our not-so-little- anymore Nathaniel since June 2008, and are nearing the home stretch of our paperchase for another Ethiopian miracle!

Anyway, we moved to Western Nebraska in January of last year. We quickly realized that we were about 3 1/2 hours away from Mt Rushmore. After visiting once in May, my 2 year old son became OBSESSED with the Presidents of the United States! So much so that we have now gone to Mt Rushmore 4 times since May and he asks to "play the President" each night after dinner (this means going through the flash cards).

He is determined that he wants to be the President of the United States and wants to live in the White House.
I am telling you all this because I have uploaded him reciting his presidents to YouTube.

The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dsZ7kSWpAE

Enjoy! Thanks for letting me brag! :-)
A Proud Mama,
Holly West
Home with Nathaniel Mesfin since 06/2008
Paperchasing for our Ethiopian Miracle!

Update on Ethiopian orphanage... supplies are helping!

A fellow adoptive Mother visiting in Ethiopia sent us this message today concerning KVI Orphanage and how supplies that have been taken are making a difference!  Let's keep it up- the kids and their nannies are counting on us!
Angi & Tim

Hi Group!
We spent some time this morning at Kingdom Vision...
We were so impressed! There were a few nannies tending the children while the
majority were in the back having their morning devotions and singing
beautifully! The children were so well behaved and looked very happy. Of
course all of them were runny nosed and raspy, but we know that's the norm here.
A few ladies had just finished cleaning and it looks like they do a great job
with that, considering. The baby beds had mattresses (thanks to the last group
here). Just wanted to report that out of the 4 orphanages that we've visited,
we were really impressed with this one. Of course, they can use all the
donations they can get, so keep it coming! It sounds like maybe there has been
some improvement from all of your help last month?? Praise God!
Can't wait for all of you to see all this for yourselves-- we're praying for
movement as the Transition Home looks filled to the max!
God Bless,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Most frequently asked adoption question...

The most frequently asked adoption question we receive now is... "So where are you in the process now, when do you get to bring her home?" 
Well... our paperwork has been in Ethiopia for 3 months, and 2 weeks as of today.  We have been at #13, then back to #14, then back to #13 again on the baby girl list for almost 1 month.  When adopting from Ethiopia you can choose an age range and gender of your child/children, so this is what determines which "list"you are placed on.  Once the adoption paperwork is sent to Ethiopia (ours was sent 08/19/10) then that particular families wait begins.  When our paperwork arrived in Ethiopia over 3 + months ago we were placed in line (unofficially) at #27 for a baby girl.  So your guess is as good as ours as to WHEN we will receive a referral, but if time passes as it has the last 3+ months it makes us hopeful that we might receive a referral in another 3 months?!  Referrals speed-up and slow-down during the waiting process for several different reasons- none we can control.  So will continue to wait upon the Lord.  We know He has the plan.

This question soon follows "So what does 'a referral' mean?"
When we receive a referral we will receive many things about the child our agency has matched with us.  Among the information we will receive is her picture, her medical and social history, her age, and her health report.  If she matches our age and health request we will accept her referral.  :)

"What happens next?" 
 MEETCHA DAY will be scheduled.  Our adoption agency will make an appointment with the Ethiopian Court and arrange travel for us to go to Ethiopia.  This trip usually happens 4-14 weeks after referral acceptance.  The day we get to MEET Aerie will be our family "Meetcha Day".  The Ethiopian Judge will review our case, along with Aerie's background and paperwork.  The judge will make sure everything is in order.  The judge will have the biological family present their relinquishment in person, and then have us appear to request to be Aerie's new parents.  (Yes... sometimes the adoptive parents get to meet the biological family.)  This trip will last 5-7 days, we will then have to travel home and leave Aerie in the Transition Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"What happens next?"
We will wait for the Embassy to grant us our Embassy appointment(usually 4-?weeks apart).  Once we receive our appointment we will travel back to Ethiopia.  At this point we are not sure how long we will be in Ethiopia, maybe only a few days, or we may choose to go back early, get an apartment/hotel and take Aerie out of the Transition Home to live with us in Ethiopia.  The longer time frame would mean we would need to rely on family and friends to house-sit for us.  Time will tell if we get this luxury (this would mean we could make room in the Transition Home for another orphaned baby, and get to bond with Aerie there).  At the Embassy appointment the U.S. Embassy reviews our case, all paperwork, verifies everything is correct, then grants us Aerie's Visa to become an American Citizen. This will be Aerie's GOTCHA DAY!   Then we will fly home with our sweet gift from God!    

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Water Facts... some facts are hard to swallow

The Youth Group at our church (Linton First Christian Church) is spreading the word about
the condition of safe/unsafe drinking water

Did you know...

884 million people lack access to safe drinking water?  That's approximately 1 out of every 8 persons on earth!

2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation with nearly 1/2 of that number having NO facilities at all!

This means that a lack of water to meet daily needs is a reality today for 1 in 3 people around the world.  Either water is physically scarce due to their geographical location or they live in developing countries that face water shortages due to lack of infrastructure to fetch water from rivers or aquifers.

Less than 1% of the worlds fresh water is readily accessible for human use!

Nearly 2/3 of people who lack access to clean water live off wages of less than $2 a day.

People who live in rural areas or slums often pay 5 to 10 times more money per liter of water than their wealthy counterparts living in the same city.

Poverty and water scarcity force people to rely on unsafe sources for drinking water.  It also means they cannot bathe or clean their clothes or homes properly.

To compensate, millions of women and children spend several hours a day walking 6 or more miles to collect water from polluted sources.  Time that could be spent in school or practicing a trade that would benefit their family's current needs and future success.

The situation is getting worse as needs for water rise along with population growth, urbanization and increases in household, agricultural, and industrial uses.

We realize that facts can sometimes be overwhelming or even desensitize us to the issues, as we begin looking at mass numbers rather than individual lives. 

 But the truth is God has placed us in the most wonderful nation on earth.  He has made us kings of the planet, we have the prosperity and knowledge to make change happen for His children.  He has directed us to care for our brother, the orphan, the widow. 
What will we do for our GOD today?  

Check out:

(The above statistics were gathered from World Health Organization and United Nations)  


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our friends raffle ends 11/26. An I-Pad would make an awesome Christmas gift!

Raffle ends 11/26/10 
** Don't miss out... $10.00 gets you an entry ** 
Your odds are 1 in 68!
Certainly the best chance you'll ever have to win an iPad for $10! It's hard to believe that someone is actually going to win this thing at the end of the week!

Donate $10 through Paypal or by a check in the mail by noon on Friday (11/26) and we'll get your name on a ticket for the drawing.  Purchase five tickets and get the sixth one free!

Every donation goes directly toward our adoption expenses.  You can see a complete list of those expenses on the Our Fundraisers link
You can also help us by forwarding this link on Facebook
or with an email.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What do we say when people ask "Why Ethiopia?"

Lately our answer... "Because that is where our daughter is, and if we have to go halfway around the world to get her... then we will". 
Honestly... How can we express in a few words all we know about the condition of where our child lives?  How can others possibly understand the urgency our hearts feel to get to our child? 
Why Ethiopia?  Because the Bible states that we are to care for orphans and widows in their distress, but it is more than that... does it make sense that
we FEEL her distress?  Well... we do.  Call it Mothers instinct if you want, but this almost crazy longing to get to our child almost paralyzes me sometimes.

Once Tim and I realized what is REALLY happening in this world we had no other response than to act. 

If you have been following our Blog you read about the conditions in the KVI orphanage (one our agencies babies come from) here is an update for you from(http://www.wagest.blogspot.com/)
she writes:
Lately we have had parents who are visiting their children in Ethiopia reporting back about the conditions of the orphanages there. We all knew they weren't the most clean places. Happy places. Places where children are well fed and loved. We knew that. But to hear first-hand descriptions of where my daughter, may, at this moment be sleeping --- it brought me to tears several weeks ago - and it brings me to tears again today.

From another AWAA parent's blog:"Tuesday was another one of those highly emotional days. Wow. We started off early in the morning to visit two orphanages. The first one was right down the street from our guest house, and when we got there, we realized that these were the kids we hear singing every morning!! Boy did this place grab a hold of us. We walked in to dozens of older children all sitting in a line outside. Then we went to the toddler room. As soon as I picked up the first child, I discovered that they weren’t wearing diapers and just about every one of them was wet. Their beds were soaked. Some didn’t even have mattresses because they were laying out in the sun to dry. One little boy was so scared when we came that he ran to a corner and faced the wall to be avoided. Then we visited the infant room where we saw a similar situation. No diapers, wet mattresses, 3 to 4 babies to a crib. It was heart breaking. One of the families brought diapers to donate, so the ladies immediately started putting diapers on the kids, covering mattresses with plastic and sheets, and holding each of those babies. I don’t tell you about these conditions to speak badly of the orphanage. The truth is, it’s all they have. I picked up the first baby I saw in the room, and she clung to me for dear life, crying if I tried to put her down. When I could calm her down to put on a diaper, her entire bottom was blistered. We stood crowded in that tiny room as long as our guide would allow us to stay. There were moments when I thought about all the germs, infections, and rashes I was touching, but we all decided it was more important for these children to be visited and loved than for us to get dirty. B and I also spent some time outside with the older kids and they would beg us to sit next to them in their line. When we did, they’d weave their arms through ours and hang on tight to ensure we wouldn’t get up. Some would cry if you didn’t sit by them, some would search our pockets, and one even snatched our camera. An older girl walked down the line with an old rag wiping the tears and snot from their faces all on the same spot. Needless to say, our group gave bins and bins of donations to this particular orphanage. To those who donated from home, THANK YOU! Pictures weren’t allowed, but I just wish you could see with your own eyes how needed this stuff was. You cared for the least of these on Tuesday through your generosity." And this orphanage is, thankfully, being helped by those visiting parents. Who bought those mattresses. Who bought the plastic sheeting to wrap them. Who bought the diapers to put on those babies. And yet - the need is still so great.

Dear Cooper friends:
We are beginning to collect donations of baby items that we WILL take with us when we go to Ethiopia.  We will go 2 times, if you want to donate items (or cash to purchase items) for this orphanage we would be eternally grateful.  As we adoptive parents travel we are taking supplies with us that can not be found or purchased by the orphanages. 
Items needed are:
Diapers (#1- item needed)
diaper cream(#2- item needed)
plastic crib mattress covers
wet wipes
Baby Tylenol
crib fitted sheets
Baby onesies
Baby socks
Teething toys
Toys in general
Your prayers
Love you,
The Coopers
"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. So when you and I hear staggering numbers and statistics about the poor and needy around us and around the world, we have a choice. We can switch the channels on our mega-TVs and continue our comfortable, untroubled, ordinary, churchgoing lives as if the global poor don't exist. We can let these numbers remain cold, distant, and almost imaginary. Or we can open our eyes and our lives to the realities that surround us and begin considering the faces that are represented by these numbers."  David Platt 

2010 Ethiopian Cultural Festival Indianapolis

Tim and myself along with Logan and Brandi Wade attended an Ethiopian Cultural Festival yesterday evening.  The festival was presented by the EthioIndy Church.  We enjoyed traditional Ethiopian food, singing, and dancing.  The four of us are pictured above along with many other families that have adopted or are currently adopting through America World.  It was a blessing to see MANY children that have found their forever families.  We guess there were over 200 people in attendance.  Looking around at the sea of faces and colors made me imagine what Heaven someday will look like: God's beautiful people together worshipping him as one big colorful family. 
You can check out what this church is doing at http://www.ethioindy.com/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Cost of Adoption VS. Cost of a Childs Life

Some say adoption prices are outrageous. 
Well, $23,000.00-$30,000.00 could seem outrageous. 
You want to know what we think is OUTRAGEOUS?  A people that use 86% of the worlds commodities then determines a child isn't worth $30,000.00 of adoption expenses VS. 143 million orphaned, starving, homeless, poor, lonely, and hopeless babies! 
God's children- children of the KING
Paying $23,000.00-$30,000.00 for a human VS. spending the same EASILY for a car, a trip, a boat, an education... (these are valid things to have, but so is a child)  
Do we sound angry?
 We think, dying, suffering, under nourished children OUGHT to make us ANGRY! 

Passion that changes things comes from the knowledge of injustice.  Anger won't change the orphan crisis, but passion- WHOLE HEARTED, get down and dirty PASSION will!  If we as Christians who know the COST of freedom, who know what SACRIFICE is,

Here is a copied portion of a message I received from 2 fellow adoptive Mothers.  They wrote this when they visited an orphanage where OUR daughter could be.  This is what they saw, let them take you there...

 Hey, everyone-
We (the five families in Ethiopia for court right now) visited KVI orphanage today.
We all walked away with broken hearts, stunned at the reality of life for the
kids there.

They do not have any diapers. Yes, you read that correctly. An orphanage full
of babies and toddlers, and there are no diapers. They have rags and ripped
pieces of sheets that they wrap around their bottoms, and keep them in place with
onesie t-shirts. Every single baby we held today was soaking wet (or worse),
their entire outfit. They lay on the floor, soaking wet, and get changed on the
floor...where they all crawl around and play with the few toys that they have.

In addition, they had no mattresses in many of the cribs. Babies sleeping on a
the wooden bottom of a crib. I don't know that I would have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

So...we pooled our money and they helped us find a place that sells crib
mattresses. All well and good...except for the fact that they are NOT vinyl
covered mattresses like we get at home. Cloth covers.

So, while it's great that they at least have crib mattresses, they're going to
be ruined in short order with none of the babies having diapers. We've searched
high and low, and cannot find any waterproof crib pads here in Addis.

MANY WATERPROOF CRIB PADS AS POSSIBLE? The best would be the kind that can just
be wiped clean, and if possible have the fitted sheet edges to wrap around. But
anything waterproof will work! Even if they have the cotton top over vinyl, if
we have enough of them at least they can be changed.

The other obvious need is diapers. Even cloth diapers and plastic pants to go
over would work. Just something.

We're finding that yes, the Transition Home is an orphanage. There are still
conditions there that are hard, as parents, to see. But, it's the Hilton of
orphanages. We would just recommend, based on what we saw here today, that you
split your donations up...if you bring one tote/suitcase of donations for the
Transition Home, bring one or two more for KVI and Kids Care orphanage. Just our two cents!
Thanks for the help with crib pads and diapers for KVI!

Hi all,
We are here in Ethiopia for court. We visited 2 orphanages today and one broke our hearts and needs URGENT help!!!! KVI orphanage. There were no crib mattresses in the cribs and no babies had on diapers! Pieces of ripped up Sheets in the place of diapers!!! we were so disturbed that we went out and bought 6 crib mattresses for KVI and delivered them. Problem is they are NOT plastic covered so they will get ruined quickly! Babies are soaking wet because of no diapers. We all bring donations for the Transition Home and yes they need stuff but take as MUCH as possible to KVI!!! Please traveling families try to bring this trip if you can!! these are their urgent needs:
This is the list they gave us:
Bed sheets twin and crib
bath towels and hand towels
blankets for toddlers
clothes for toddlers( a definite)
tooth brushes/toothpaste
kids DVDs
antibiotic creme
PLEASE  tell all traveling soon!!! I am not saying do not give to TH(Transition home) because they take good care of our kids and do so because of our donations but KVI is in major need!!
Paige and all the families in ET right now
HELP US HELP THEM... will you help us? 

If you feel lead to help support our adoption you can do so several ways:
Mostly we need your prayers, so does Aerie.
We could use your words of support and encouragement.

If you feel lead to give monetarily to change the orphans situation above you can do so by choosing the DONATE button on the top of this page.
Adoption is expensive...
but consider the result if we do NOTHING...
the cost of doing nothing is too great.  We must act!
We love you,
The Coopers
(If you would like to know more about adoption please comment on this post and leave me your email address- I LOVE to talk about adoption.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Well we have been DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) for 2 months 2 weeks and 4 days.  Our adoption agency has a Yahoo! Group for Ethiopian Adoptive families and we are all kind-of obsessed with our place on the "unofficial list".  This "unofficial list" is maintained by a fellow adoptive mother, she updates the "list" every time a family becomes DTE, gets a referral, or travels for court/embassy appointment.  All the adoptive families LOVE to watch their names move up the list- IE: closer to a referral for their child/children.  We all rejoice and cry together.  It is an AMAZING community.  We have come to rely on their insights, and encouragement.  Well... when we began this journey a little over 2 1/2 months ago we were #27 on the little girl list.
  WE ARE NOW #13! ! ! ! !  
We serve an AWESOME and AMAZING GOD! 
He has been guiding this adoption and we are totally in awe of his grace, mercy, and love for us and our daughter-to-be.  Please continue to pray for us and Paige.       

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fellow adoptive Mom's adoption story (from buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Adoption Story

I don't know if I have ever shared my adoption story with you all so I thought today maybe I should.

I was adopted at the age of 30 years old into the most amazing family ever.

Statistics show that I was the least likely to be adopted.

I was the child who had waited- far too long- to hear the good news.

I was the child who waited because I had one too many labels, made one too many mistakes, and was viewed as unlikely to succeed.

I was the child who most believed was not worthy of the risk...

not worthy of the effort...

and not worthy of the price.

I was the the child who most people would have never considered.

The child with scars, the child who was dirty, the child who didn't appear to have much potential.

But then one day they told me about The One who was able to see past all of that.

The One who loved me regardless of the mistakes I had made.

The One who saw what I could be- instead of what I was.

The One who thought I was worth it all- so much so that
He was willing to die for me.
The One who saw my worth.

The One who saw my potential.

The One who saw what I could be- if I was given a chance.

The One who never gave up on me.

I am so thankful for The One who paid the price for my adoption.

I know it was expensive.

I know it cost more than anyone could ever imagine.

I know it wasn't easy.

I know that it was painful, that it was hard and it was heart wrenching.

And I know I didn't deserve any of it.

But He came for me anyway...

Regardless of what others would say or think.

Regardless of all of the work that had to be done.

Regardless that there was no guarantee I would love Him back.

Regardless of the cost.

And today I am forever changed.

I am no longer alone, scared, scarred, overlooked and viewed as no one.

Today I am a child to the king~ precious, loved, forgiven, healed, whole.

All because of my adoption.

Adoption is the perfect picture of God's amazing grace and love.

It changes lives and saves souls.

Adoption is...

the heart of God.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will~ Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meet our friends: Logan & Brandi Wade, they are adopting from Ethiopia too. Check out their wonderful Blog.


People who inspire me most are those that give and love without limits. Check out Kari's limitless love for orphans and what she is doing to encourage others to step out in faith...

  • Prize: Mission Trip to Ethiopia, February 17-26, 2011
  • Prize value: $3100
  • Number of winners: 1-2
  • Number of Tee shirts to sell: 183 + 183
  • Ending date of the giveaway: 10/28/10
  • Where it can be won: My Crazy Adoption Blog
  • The prize is from: www.mycrazyadoption.com
  • To enter this giveaway, you can: purchase a tee shirt at My Crazy Adoption Store
Thanks for all your cheers, support and prayers for the missions project!!  You can continue to purchase ANY tee shirts for the giveaway at My Crazy Store.  1 Tee = 1 Entry to win… it’s up to you.
                                                    BUY a T-Shirt to enter this contest.  I have several of Kari T-shirts, they are soft and comfy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My thoughts a little over a year ago...

When I asked God to bring us a child, his child, I always hoped that he would bless us.  After 13 years I wondered if he would, not if he could.  His child, our child, what did they look like?  I imagined they wouldn’t look like me.  That’s o.k. because I had always imagined they would be His and we would get the benefit of loving them.  Questions… What would the world say about our decision to adopt internationally/interracially?  People had plenty of concerns and lots of hesitation and advice.  But I still felt God’s leading, prompting… a lot of the time to tears.  Would the world understand our little mixed up family of different race and beginnings?  Or did it matter?  What does God’s heart say?  What does God’s family look like?  Are we meant to love his children based on color, or social status?  ”Of course not” I felt Him say.  Then why do I struggle so?   God, I came to realize, was doing exactly what I have asked him to do.  Over and over I have prayed, “Use me Oh God, empty me of me, and fill me with you.  Help me to see your will God.  Let me see with Your eyes, not mine”.  My heart struggles with the needs of the worlds’ children, her orphans.  So many, how will we choose which one to help?  Then months of waiting turn into years, and we wait.  God’s word says “Wait upon the Lord and he will renew thy strength”.  My concern… will I be strong enough, bold enough, and fearless enough?  Can I be Jesus to the world?  Lucky for me God made both myself and Tim naturally bold.  So that hurdle is crossed, but still to be different, God’s kind of different, you not only have to be bold but armed… armed with His strength.
The waiting looks a little to those watching us like lethargy.  It probably doesn’t help that we have become somewhat private about the matter.  Some have said maybe we are just selfish for not having any children, some pity us for not being able to have “your own children”, and others are just honestly perplexed with us.  We are well… just waiting.  Tim and I determined a long time ago that when God had a child for us he would bring them to us.  Hence my wonder if he ever would after 13 years, not if he could.  We would never pretend to know better than God, so we wait.  I pretty much can’t sit still, just ask my Mom, so I determined that while I waited I would study.  What does God’s word say about adoption?  Plenty!  Well this will fill some time.   Funny that God’s strength seems to pour from his word.  So, while we wait we will gain strength and understanding.
I now pray for peace.  Peace that God is moving.   ”God moves in his time not ours” I’ve heard over and over and have begun to realize it is true, and that someone before me made up that saying because they too waited and waited, then God moved. 
 I see God moving in big ways in our Sunday school class formed to teach believers about what God says about orphans, adoption, and “the least of these”.  The pure love of God pouring right down into our classroom, out into the congregation and then across the sea is almost unfathomable.  To ask God and actually watch him move moves me into speechlessness.  I do not have the words to express how thankful I am to God for using a little Sunday school class in Linton, IN to be part of His will for His people.  His grace is sufficient not only for us but for this hurting world.  You know your God is big but there are times when I truly see His magnitude that I can hardly contain the emotions that sweep over me.  I know God can, and will do immeasurably more than we ask.  I see him do it every day now, strange how I missed it before.    
A.C. 09/07/09

Current time in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa

Adoption Time-line

02/02/10- Ethiopia adoption application & fee sent.

02/17/10- Accepted into America Worlds Ethiopia Program!

02/20/10- Paid initial AWAA program fee.

Start paper chase...

03/02/10- Ordered our birth certificates.

03/02/10- Spoke w/and chose GLAD as Home-Study Agency.

03/03/10- Got Angi's employeement & life ins. verification.

03/04/10- Received Tim's birth cert. in mail.

03/04/10- Went to courthouse, got Marriage Cert.

03/05/10- Received Angi's birth cert. in mail.

03/05/10- Scheduled Tim's phys. letter doctor appt.for 3/8

03/08/10- Mailed GLAD application letter & fee.

03/10/10- Ethiopia made big change- 2 trips required now.

03/11/10- Rec'd GLAD/AWAA Post Placement Agreement.

03/11/10- Rec'd Tim's Health/Life Ins. letter.

03/12/10- Jack & Annie rabie shots/Home Study Requirment

03/13/10- Rosie & Sara rabie shots.

03/21/10- Began Hague on-line required training course.

03/22/10- GLAD beginning our background checks.

03/22/10- Our HIV tests and Tim's HEP B blood draw done.

03/23/10- Tim's TB Test scheduled for 3/30/10.

03/25/10- Notary notarized all paperwork we've collected.

03/26/10- Kyla, our social work came for 1st & 2nd home visi

03/26/10- Adoption Tax Credit raised to$13,100.00! Go God!

03/27/10- Kyla finished 3rd Home Study visit.

03/27/10- Finished family photo pages.

03/30/10- Tim rescheduled TB Test until 4/6/10.

03/31/10- Picked up Tim's HEP B test results.

04/02/10- Received Archie's referance letter.

04/06/10- Tim had TB test placed.

04/06/10- Angi got bloodwork records.

04/06/10- Re-did Financial Statement/faxed to AWAA.

04/09/10- Tim's TB test results- negative :)

04/10/10- Completed Hague On-line training course.

04/10/10- Dog vaccines done.

04/20/10- Faxed Florida CPS request to FL today.

05/03/10- Had our physical visits today.

05/26/10- Angi's bloodwork drawn.

05/28/10- Angi's bloodwork result- normal.

05/28/10- Tim's bloodwork drawn & normal result.

06/01/10- Our 14th Annivesary- Renee notarized physicals!

06/07/10- Picked up our physicals & faxed to GLAD/AWAA.

06/07/10- Found out GLAD rec'd FL CPS checks 6/4/10.

06/07/10- Requested Dr. letter for Angi.

06/10/10- Picked up & faxed Dr. letter to AWAA.

06/10/10- Waiting for AWAA to approve Home Study.

06/15/10- AWAA read Home Study & requested corrections.

06/23/10- GLAD corrected and sent H.S. back to AWAA.

06/24/10- AWAA approved our Home Study!

07/01/10- Got money order for final GLAD payment.

07/01/10- Met Klya/GLAD in Vincennes, got final HomeStdy

07/02/10- Mailed I-600A application & fee.

07/09/10- Renee notarized rest of Dossier paperwork.

07/09/10- Sent 2 papers to IN State Dept.for Authentication

07/12/10- Fed-Ex package received at IN State Dept.

07/13/10- We rec'd Authenticated papers in mail!

07/14/10- Rec'd Immigration Fingerprinting appt for 8/9/10

07/23/10- Went early-Immigration/Indy. for fingerprinting.

07/26/10- Called USCIS & left msg for Immigration Officer.

07/29/10- Officer Opfer called, USCIS back-logged 3 weeks.

08/05/10- Rec'd I-171H today!Thanks Officer Opfer-speedy

08/06/10- Renee notarized new MOWA letter & I-171H.

08/06/10- Got Cashier's check to go with Dossier.

Paper chase completed!

08/06/10- Shipped Dossier to AWAA by Fed-Ex.

08/10/10- AWAA received Dossier packet.

08/13/10- AWAA approved Dossier, maybe DTE next Fri?

08/13/10- Rec'd U.S.State letter stating I-600A sent to ET!

08/19/10- AWAA Fed-Ex'd our Dossier to Ethiopia!

08/25/10- Dossier arrived in Ethiopia today!

The WAIT begins...