Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We are planning to adopt TWO children

Garth and I are excited to announce that we are going to be attempting to adopt 2 unrelated children. About 3 weeks ago, America World had a conference call, and at the end of the call they mentioned that they are opening up the option for parents to do this. After much prayer and talking, we have decided to go forward with this endeavor. One of the kids we adopt will be 5 years old and the other will be 3 or younger, so they won't be the same age. The only thing that is different about this is we will have to fill out a separate application after we have passed our home study visits. We will also be paying an extra $3750 (half of the international program fee). The court hearings will be on the same day as well, so that won't be an issue.

The other change that has happened, is that the law that Ethiopia made stating that parents would need to be present for court has been put on hold. It is possible that it could go back into effect at any time, but right now we can have an AWAA representative go for us. I would still kind of like to go meet our kids and then go to court so the Ethiopian government can see how much we will love and care for these children, but since that will be an added expense that isn't absolutely required, time will tell whether I can or not.

I have also been asked by a number of people where the funds go that we pay in to the adoption agency, so I have outlined them below.

Application fee $250
1st Installment of Program Fee $1500
Home Study $1300 plus mileage for 3 trips
Hague Training $175
Documents/Background Checks/Passports $100-$500
USCIS Fee & Update Fee + Fingerprinting $830
Notarization, Certification, and Authentication $400

Courier Service $150
2nd Installment of Program Fee $2000
Post-Adoption Report Deposit $1000 (fully refundable if all post-adoption reports are returned on time)
Dossier Service and Transportation $800
Half international Program Fee (2 children) $5625

International Specialist Consultation $100-$400
3rd Installment of Program Fee $1500
1/2 International Program Fee (2 children) $5625
Airfare (2 adults) $2400-$4000
Airfare (1 child) $250-$1000
Visas (2 adults) $40
Visa/Embassy Fee (1 child) $400
In-Country Travel Package (2 adults) $1400-$2000

Post Placement visit (2 children) $350 plus mileage
Post Adoption Administrative Fee $385
Re-Adoption (this is so the child will have a US birth certificate) $300-$1000
Post-Adoption Report Refund (refunded in installments as, and only if, each report is returned on time) ($1000)
Other Costs (doctor visit, related co-pays, social security card, passport cost, postage, phone calls, etc.) $100-$1000

This brings us to a grand total of $25,980 to $31,230

Thank you for your continued interest in our adoption. We are hoping that we can begin our home study visits as early as next week. I spoke to our Home study agency today and even though they won't have my background check yet, as soon as they receive the final referral letter, they will begin the visits. Yeah!


Garth and Carmen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Garage sale fundraiser!

Calling all local pack-rats! We would like to take some of the stuff that you have saved over the years so you have room to get more! On June 5, Oakland is having a city-wide garage sale and Garth and I will be participating. The proceeds will obviously be going towards our adoption. We are planning on having it from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 pm. In addition to your stuff, please come to our garage sale and find the treasures that you always wanted! We will be having special discounts throughout as outlined below. We will also put out flyers the week before the garage sale. We would love to see you if you can come! In addition to the specials below, we will have secret discounted items and a special for adoptive parents. Come check it out!

8:00 to 9:00 Early bird special…10% discount on all purchases

Noon to 1:00 Free bottle of water for every $10 of merchandise purchased

2:00 to 3:00 25% discount for all current Smeal and Methodist Health Systems employees (ID required)

4:00 to 8:00 50% off all remaining items

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Fundraiser!!!

Last night, a wonderful friend of mine (thank you Cherry) let me know about a fundraiser that involves the world's favorite hot While Garth and I aren't big coffee drinkers, we know that many people are so we wanted to jump on this opportunity. When you go to the website, make sure you read the story of how Just Love Coffee was started and you will see why this is close to our hearts. The great thing for us is that we don't have to do anything! For every bag of coffee that is purchased off our website, Garth and I will get $5 back to put towards our adoption expenses. There are many different varieties and blends, so try them all! The web address is Thanks for your support!

Garth and Carmen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ethiopia Adoption Program Change

When Garth and I started this adoption process, we were told that there could be changes made by the Ethiopian government at any point of the process and we have just received notification of a fairly significant change. The Ethiopian Federal Court announced a change in the court policies today which requires both prospective adoptive parents to appear at court in person to testify to their desire and commitment to adopt their referred child(ren). Beginning today, families need to be prepared to travel to Ethiopia approximately 4 - 8 weeks after receiving a referral in order to be present in Ethiopia for their appointed court date. Families will remain in Ethiopia for roughly 5 -7 days and will then return to the US. After officially passing court, families will then travel back to Ethiopia approximately 10 -12 weeks later to pick up their adopted child(ren). They also said that roughly 50% of court cases require additional court appearances before successfully passing court. Prospective adoptive parents should only need to be in Ethiopia for the first scheduled court appointment in order to provide their testimony of consent and commitment to the court.

While we weren't planning to have to take 2 trips to Ethiopia, I am hopeful that we will be able to go meet our child(ren) while we are there, and take some presents. Previously, prospective parents would often send care packages with other families that were traveling to get their child, get some pictures of the child, etc. Now hopefully we can do that ourselves!

Monday, March 8, 2010


I have titled this post as waiting because that is basically what we are doing...waiting for Nebraska Christian Services to get everything they need so we can have our first home study visit. But to back up a bit, Garth and I are home from a wonderful vacation in Australia with my mom, Linelle, and another good friend, Rita. We went to Australia because we have a wonderful friend from there, Betty, who has come to Nebraska every year for about the last 30 years to teach, and has been wanting someone to come visit her. It finally happened and I think she was even more excited than we were...if that is possible. We left on February 13 and got back March 1. Words cannot express how wonderful it was to see Betty, see where she lives, visit her church, and meet all her family and friends. The weather was wonderful and we got to see many amazing sights.

When we returned home, we had hoped that NCS would have gotten most of the paperwork back so we could have our home study, but that wasn't the case. One hold-up was the fact that my fingerprints (which weren't scanned electronically) weren't clear enough to analyze so my criminal background check couldn't be retrieved. So, tomorrow I am going to the Nebraska State Patrol to do it over...this time electronically. There are some other documents that have to be submitted before we can have our home study as well, so I am guessing that it will be closer to April before we can have our first visit. The up side to that is that it gives us a few more weeks to start replenishing our checking and saving accounts after our vacation. :-)

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