Sunday, March 28, 2010

Goodbye Spring Break......

Tomorrow we start back up at school after our Spring Break. We did manage to throw some learning in this week. Unfortunately, I don't think it was much fun for Wolfie. You see, we visited Fort Vancouver with some friends of ours and while we were there, we were able to see the "furs" the pioneers would gather and trade with. When Eliza saw the Grey Wolf in the pile she was initially excited, until she realized the wolf was dead. As she put it, "Oh, no!" She seemed to get over it quickly but Wolfie was traumatized and later passed out on a bed in the counting house.

This is a short post but I do hope you enjoy the pictures and that you remember to count your blessings this week.

The kids with some of our dearest friends at Fort Vancouver
Ethan smiling in the jail =)
Wolfie passed out in the counting house with Ella, Eliza's best friend, looking on
Ella & Eliza in the room with the furs
What a good looking group!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wolfie Visits the Zoo

In the last 13+ years of parenting I have seen some pretty cute things, but I have to say that this past weekend at the zoo I about burst from the cuteness. Eliza was pretty insistent that she wanted Daddy to come to the zoo with her and see the "yions". Well, her best buddy Wolfie came too. It was so sweet to see her. Whenever she saw an animal she wanted to share with Wolfie she would run to the wagon, grab him, and then hold him up to see the animal. At one point, she showed Wolfie some wolves. Emma and Faith asked her if they were his cousins. She was pretty sure they were his "brudders". All of the kids did great-and the adults did too! It was a very busy day at the zoo but one of my favorite trips there as of yet. Here are some pictures of the overflowing cuteness.

Wolfie found himself in a tough situation by the "yions". Luckily, Eliza was able to save him.

One very big polar bear decided to sit down right in front of Eliza. So cool!

Here is Eliza showing Wolfie his "brudders".

My favorite people by the tractor.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dossiers, Band Aids, & Injera

A week has passed since our last post and we have been trucking along on the paperwork. We were contacted by the Ethiopia team on Monday and are now gathering the necessary papers for our dossier while we wait for our background checks to go through. For those of you who are not familiar with international adoption, the dossier is the document we send to Ethiopia telling them about us and requesting a referral. Our hope is that we will have everything notarized and ready to be certified before the home study is written up so that we can get it off to Ethiopia quickly. Even though we have been through one adoption with China, Ethiopia is a bit different. For one thing, we have found that the documentation required is less intense than with China. This is a welcome change and is one of the reasons the process takes less time.

Adoption is definitely a hurry up and wait game. You hurry up, get your paperwork done, and then you wait for a referral. You then hurry up and send in your acceptance documents. Then you wait to pass court and get the okay to travel. We have had much practice in the waiting after our experience with Eliza's adoption--we shall see if we have gotten any better at it.

In other family news, we are officially on Spring Break!!! We are taking next week off from school to hopefully enjoy some extra sleep and sunshine. I am not sure about the kids, but I know I am looking forward to it. This is the time of year where I get a little worn out and very ready to be done. I truly do enjoy teaching and learning with the kids, but I am not kidding when I say it is A LOT of work. It's hard to turn it off and just be in "mom" mode sometimes. Right now I am over analyzing my grammar in this post--have I ever mentioned that I prefer just about every subject over grammar?

Here are some important lessons I know I have learned in the last week. I'll share them with you in the hopes that you can learn from my craziness =).

1. If you put a band aid on your daughter's favorite stuffed toy--it won't come off easily. Seriously, we did this with Eliza's Wolfie last week when she got shots and spent a lot of time trying to pry it off piece by piece before bedtime. He still has some goo on him that Eliza reminds us to pray about every morning. If you remember you can pray too for "wolfie Doro band aid", as Eliza would say it.

2. God will and does find new and creative ways to grow you. Just go with it. Finding out we may have to travel twice to Ethiopia was not what we wanted to hear but I have no doubt the Lord will use whatever happens to grow our faith in Him.

3. Mommy time-outs rock! I took one of these a few days ago after dinner and really enjoyed sitting in a quiet room alone finishing up a book. Of course, what really helps is having an awesome husband like Toby who will hang with the kiddos.

4. Sunshine really does make even the most serious person cheerful. The girls and I were so giddy the other day about the sunshine we just had to dance in the kitchen. Really, even Emma, our most serious child, was getting down to the 50s music on my iphone.

5. When going to an Ethiopian restaurant in Portland for a cultural experience, the culture shock is more likely to come from Portland itself. Really and truly the food was so delicious and fun to eat. You use your hands and a bread called injera to eat even the salad. The drive around Portland afterwards in search of dairy free donuts--now that was a bit shocking to this small town girl.

I hope you all have a wonderful week full of God's many blessings!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Introducing Our T-shirt Fundraiser

Along with our Just Love Coffee fundraiser we now have a store open through Adoption Bug. They have some pretty cool t-shirts and from each purchase from our store we receive a portion for our adoption expenses. We included t-shirts in Amharic (Ethiopian) and Chinese to celebrate not only this adoption but Eliza's adoption as well. If you now of anyone who wants a fabulous t-shirt feel free to direct them to our site =)

Here is a link to the store:

I do have to say that any financial support we get from these sales is great but we appreciate your prayers most of all! Please keep them coming! We just found out this week that the requirements for Ethiopia may have changed and will likely involve two trips; one to meet the baby and one to bring them home. This will add expenses not to mention the hard task of getting on an airplane without our kiddo. It is nothing the Lord cannot work out. I am so glad it is not a surprise to Him.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Just Love Coffee Fundraiser is up and Running!!!

Our first official fundraiser for the adoption is up and running. We are excited to be able to partner with Just Love Coffee. Not only do we receive a portion of each sale but so does a school in Addis Ababa. Also, the coffee is purchased by Just Love Coffee from the coffee farmers in Africa so the money helps them feed their families as well. It's a winning situation all around. The only bummer is I'm allergic to coffee beans so you will have to let me know how good the coffee truly is.

Here is a link to our fundraising store:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Moving Right Along....

This morning Toby and I went in to the doctor's office to get our medical forms filled out. Let me tell you, adoption is not for the faint hearted. I just love that when you grow your family through adoption, the Dad has to get poked along with the Mom. We very happily donated some blood for the tests required and are on the fast track to complete our first "hill" of paperwork this week. So far, everything seems much simpler than our first adoption. Maybe that's because we're pros? Or just that Ethiopia is a simpler process than China? I do have to say that if everything goes well and according to plan, we may have just moved to the express lane.

On another note, while we were at the doctor's office, Eliza happily tagged along until we mentioned the shots she was due for. Poor girl! I hate that part of parenting--you know--the part where you have to do something that is good for them but painful. It was kind of funny to hear her yell, "NO WAY!!!" when they nurse told Toby to pull down her pants. Did I mention that "NO WAY" is her favorite phrase right now? Well, it is. Her wonderful siblings thought it was cute when she said it the first time so it is now said way too often. Let's just say Momma is working on reminding her to say "No thank you" instead. Although, the phrase was said at a birthday party last weekend and last I heard the birthday boy is now using it too. Oh well, whatever we can do to make an impact, right?

Here are some of my favorite moments from the last week:

1--Getting Emma all to myself--poor girl was sick and had to stay home from church but I loved getting to hang out with her

2--Seeing Ethan's new smile after he got his braces on

3--Showing Faith how to cable knit and purl

4--Having Eliza fall asleep on me while rocking her for bed time--you have no idea how huge that is!!

5--Seeing Toby get giddy with excitement every time we cross another "to do" off our list for the adoption

6--Finishing a very long book on international adoption even though I found out it wasn't required for the home study (I was pressured by the kids & Toby to not finish it but I wanted to set an example--can we say PRIDE.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Our Big Announcement

We are approaching our second anniversary of the day we had Eliza placed in our arms. I can't tell you how much we have grown. The Lord has used our daughter to teach us so much. During the LONG wait for her we learned a lot about patience, when we met her face to face we were shown how God's timing truly is the best, and during the last two years we have learned that when God teaches you to love--it knows no bounds.

What does that have to do with a big announcement? Well, we have spent much time in prayer lately about whether or not the Lord would have us grow our family yet again. Can we handle another baby? Would Eliza be able to handle a new brother or sister? Are we crazy to even think about having five kids? What if.....? We found that it was easier to talk ourselves out of it the later in the evening it was. We even decided at Christmas that we were indeed "done" having kids.

Let's just say that the Lord would not leave us alone about it. Last week we stepped out in faith and submitted an application to adopt from Ethiopia. Today we found out that we have been accepted into the program. So far we have seen God do some amazing things. Without our knowledge, Toby's brother and his wife have also decided to adopt from Ethiopia. They submitted an application to the same agency last week. What a journey we get to take together!!!! We also have seen God provide most of the money we will need for the adoption. We are about $10,000 short of our goal. With that in mind we have decided to try to raise the money through a garage sale in June, selling items through companies who help with adoptions, and donations from those who feel led. We are excited to see what God is going to do in the coming months.

Please keep our family and Toby's brother's family in your prayers as we start in the adoption process. Also, please pray for our child and our new niece/nephew in Africa.