Monday, January 25, 2010

The Puzzle

Hello everyone! I have been asked by several people about our puzzle FUNdraiser so I thought I should get it going. As I said before, we will be putting together a puzzle for our adopted child and would like to give you an opportunity to sponsor as many of those pieces as you choose. As the pieces are sponsored, we will start putting the puzzle together. Periodically I will take a picture of our puzzle and post it here. I will let you know on Facebook when I have updated our blog. If you would like me to e-mail you instead, please let me know and I will be happy to do that.

How the puzzle works
As people sponsor a puzzle piece, their name will be written on the back of that piece. When the puzzle is completed, we will frame the puzzle that shows who sponsored each piece. This way, when our child comes home, he or she will have a beautiful record of how many people helped to bring them to their forever family.

How to sponsor a puzzle piece
You can sponsor in two ways. On our blog there is a "Donate" icon towards the top on the right side. You can click on that and donate through Paypal. There is a box that you can enter the reason for your donation. In that box please enter some reference to the puzzle.

The second way to sponsor a piece is to send us money directly. Towards the bottom of my blog on the right you will see an "About Me" section which includes our mailing address. On the memo line of your check, please reference the puzzle.

How much does it cost?
Each sponsorship is $10 per puzzle piece. This sponsorship is NOT tax deductible. If you would prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, as soon as we have completed our home study then there is a fund through AWAA that you can donate to. As soon as we finish our home study, I will post the information for that.

Thank you so much for your sponsorships. It means a lot to us!


Carmen and Garth

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Welcome to our Adoption blog!

Welcome to our blog! Garth and I are very excited to begin the journey of adopting a child or children from Ethiopia and would like to share this journey with you.

As some of you may know, our journey up to this point has had its highs and lows, but the Lord has brought us through all of them and we now know that the timing is perfect for us to move forward with adoption. In this initial blog, I would like to address some of the common questions that get asked in regards to international adoption.

How did you decide to use America World Adoption? After receiving the information packets for the international adoption agencies around Omaha, Garth and I spent a few days praying and asking God which one was the best match for us. The answer came in the form of a Bible verse that America World Adoption has, which is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope". This verse has been very special to me for as long as I can remember, and when we received AWAA's information packet, that verse was listed on all their information.

How much does it cost? International adoption costs vary between countries, but the estimated cost for an adoption from Ethiopia is around $22,000 to $31,000.

Why Ethiopia? When Garth and I started thinking about adoption, the countries that we mainly considered were China, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. After reviewing the information about all of these countries, Ethiopia was our best match. Some people may be concerned about having a multi-racial family, but Garth and I have no doubt that we will love any child, no matter what color skin they have. We will also be incorporating some of the Ethiopian culture into our lives and teach our new child about the country they were born in.

How long will it take to get your child? There are several steps to international adoption. The first step is to have a home study and complete the dossier that will eventually get sent to Ethiopia. This process usually takes between 3 and 6 months. After completing the dossier, we wait for a referral. The wait time for this is currently 5-7 months. When we get the referral, we will receive a picture of the child and known medical and family history. We will be able to accept or decline that referral. Once we have accepted a referral, we will buy our plane tickets and plan to travel to Ethiopia. We will be in Ethiopia for approximately 7 days. Once we reach Ethiopia, we will be able to meet our child right away and spend time with them while we wait for Ethiopia to finalize everything. Overall, it will take anywhere from 9 months to 1-1/2 years. Of course, as with any government, things can change which can either shorten or lengthen the time it takes.

That is the story in a nutshell, but I am sure that we will learn a great deal more as the time goes on. Please follow along with us while we take this exciting journey. I will try to update this blog as things unfold. Feel free to make comments and ask questions. We will need as much encouragement and support as we can get during these next several months.

In the next few weeks, we will be having a puzzle FUNdraiser. We will be putting together a puzzle that is Africa-related for our adopted child, and we would like to give you the chance to sponsor parts of that puzzle. If you choose to participate, your name will be written on the back of that puzzle piece and when it is completed, our new child will be able to see who helped to bring them to their forever home. We will keep you updated as the puzzle is completed.

Love, Garth and Carmen

Today I Kissed an Angel

Today I kissed an angel. I knew it from the start. The first time my angel smiled at me; I gave away my heart.

Today I kissed an angel; This angel child of mine. Though not of my creation, My child by God's design.

Today I kissed an angel. My heart is dancing wild; Our family, by a miracle; Blessed by our angel child.

All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman