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Monday, November 29, 2010

Adoption Family of the Week #14-The Alleca Family!

This week our featured family is Tony and Paige Alleca. If their name sounds familiar to you, it's because they are the ones taking the care packages to our boys next week! Tony and Paige have 3 beautiful biological children Francesca, 13, Marianna, 10, and Matteo, 7, but they always felt as though they weren't done yet. Paige is the youngest of 8 children so a large family is normal for them. God put adoption on Paige's heart shortly after Matteo was born. In fact, Paige had the AWAA application for 5 years before they both knew it was the right time. After attending an AWAA seminar in May 2009, they knew the time was right, and they felt the Lord leading them to Ethiopia. They knew from the start they wanted to adopt two children and keeping a sibling group together was very important to them. They made a few adjustments to their age range during the process but in the end they let God choose their children. Tamirat and Million were hand picked by God to fit perfectly in their family. After a year and a half, they will finally be a family of 7! Their embassy appointment is on December 8 and following that, they will be able to bring Tamirat and Million home forever! Check out their blog here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coming soon....

I am very excited to tell you that this coming Friday, December 3, we will be having another fundraiser...but I'm not telling you what it is yet. Any guesses?

Just Love Coffee winner

Thank you to those who bought coffee from us during our Black Friday weekend contest! Garth and I are excited to share that the winner of the four free bags of coffee is...

HEATHER CHENEY!

Congratulations, Heather!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just Love Coffee Black Friday contest

Hey friends and family! I wanted to let you know about a contest that Just Love Coffee is having this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! The family who sells the most coffee in those three days will get 20 FREE bags of coffee of their choice. To sweeten the pot, Garth and I are going to have our own give-away. For every bag of coffee you buy, we will put your name in the hat for FOUR free bags of coffee of your choice. If you buy five bags of coffee, we will give you 6 entries. So check out the selection today!

Thanksgiving thoughts

All this week most of us have been bustling around grocery shopping, cleaning, making plans to travel to visit family, and thinking about the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc. that most of us will soon be eating.

I admit that I LOVE Thanksgiving. I love thinking about all the things that I am thankful for, I love getting together with family and friends, and of course I love the food. But this year there is a bit of sadness invading my feelings as well. You see, in addition to not being able to share our Thanksgiving with Jeremiah and S***, Thursday is also S***'s birthday. Every part of my mommy's heart wants to fly over there so I can be with him on his birthday. I want to shower him with hugs and kisses, play with him, give him a birthday cake, and sing to him (of course I would do that with Jeremiah as well).  As I sit here typing this, tears are streaming down my face with love and loneliness for our boys.

I am also having a hard time thinking about the fact that while we will be stuffing ourselves, there are children who will only get a bowl of rice...


or a slice of bread...

So tomorrow as you are being thankful for the blessings that the Lord has given you, say a prayer for those people who won't be partaking in the feast that many of us will be; those who are thankful for whatever food they get.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Adoption Family of the Week #13-The McKinney family!


This week's featured family is Tony and Michelle McKinney from the MD/DC/VA area. They are a blended family with two boys, MJ and C, from Tony and Michelle, and an adult son, Anthony, who became part of Michelle's family when she married Tony. When Michelle's mom died when she was about 6 years old, she was adopted by her aunt and uncle, so obviously adoption is important to her. When they got married in 1998, they talked about the possibility of adopting regularly. Even after their boys were born, they still wanted to adopt, although it was centered around domestic adoption. On September 1, 2009, however, God began to change all that. Michelle was watching a Gotcha Day video from another adoptive mom and her heart began softening for international adoption. Previous to this moment, adopting from another country had never entered her mind. For one thing, she doesn't like taking long trips anywhere. But on that day, she felt the Lord telling her to consider international adoption. When she talked to Tony about it, he thought it was a GREAT idea! Michelle also shared with Tony this draw to Ethiopia that she felt was from the Lord and showed him the stats about Ethiopia, some adoption stories, etc. and he agreed that they would pursue a baby girl from Ethiopia, who they will name Selah. So, on October 30, 2009, they joined the AWAA Ethiopia program.

On September 26, 2010, their paper pregnancy was complete, but they are waiting for the rest of the money needed to send in their dossier. They have two fundraisers which include Michelle's Etsy store where you can get handmade glass tile pendants and they also have t-shirts. According to their blog, they need approximately $2700 more before they can send in their dossier, so if you if you are led to help them, please do! Wouldn't it be a great present for them to have all the money needed by Christmas?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Immunizations

Who reading this likes to get shots? Anyone? No, I didn't think so. Well tomorrow, Garth and I get to begin to get our immunizations. We will be leaving at about 7:00 a.m. to go to the Omaha Travel Clinic to get our yellow fever, typhoid, meningococcal, and polio shots, and they will also give us malaria pills and an antibiotic to take while we are in Ethiopia. Thankfully our shots will be in our arms, though!

Then on Thursday, we will be going to Tekamah to get the rest of our immunizations from the Goldenrod Hills Community Action who give a few immunizations at a GREATLY reduced price. In Tekemah, I will only have to get a Hepatitis A shot, but Garth will also have to get Hepatitis B, MMR, and TDaP. 

While we are not very excited to get all these shots, it does mean that we are that much closer to seeing our boys so bring on the needles!

Care Packages!

Now that we know who our sons are, we can send care packages to them with other families who are going over for their court or Embassy hearings. Today I mailed our first care package to Paige Alleca and her husband Anthony who are waiting for their Embassy appointment. You can see the pictures below, but for S*** we got a a train that makes noise, a Nerf basketball, a pull along duck, and a chunky dump truck. For Jeremiah, we got 6 matchbox cars, a Nerf football, and a photo album with several pictures of  their new family. When Paige and Anthony take our care packages, they will also take new pictures of the boys that they will then e-mail to us...quickly I hope! :-) So let's all pray that they will get a quick Embassy appointment so they can bring their new son and daughter home, and we can get new pictures!

S**** and Jeremiah's first care package

Jeremiah's 1st care package

S***'s first care package

Pending Adoption Legislation

On AWAA's blog today, they told us about some pending legislation in the House of Representatives that deals directly with international adoption and encouraged us to contact our House members and tell them to SUPPORT the International Adoption Simplification Act and Help Haiti Act of 2010. To get the contact information of your House member, click here.

International Adoption Simplification Act: Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to include in the definition of "child" a child adopted under the age of 18 (16 under current law).  This bill includes an exemption from required admissions vaccination documentation, certain children who have been adopted in a foreign country that is a signatory to the Hague or who are emigrating from such a country for U.S. adoption.

Help Haiti Act of 2010: Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to adjust to permanent resident status an alien who: (1) was granted parole admission into the United States pursuant to the humanitarian parole policy for certain Haitian orphans announced on January 18, 2010, and suspended as to new applications on April 15, 2010; (2) is physically present in the United States; (3) is admissible as an immigrant; and (4) files an application for adjustment not later than three years after enactment of this Act.

Thank you for contacting your House member!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Adoption Family of the Week #12-The Anderson Family!

This week's featured family is especially fun for me to write about because I have met them! Garth and I got to have lunch at Olive Garden one afternoon with the Anderson's and another family who is adopting from Ethiopia, the Paddack's. It is so much fun meeting people who are on this journey with us especially when they live so close!

John and Christina Anderson live in Omaha, Nebraska and they have three children, Ethan, Cerra, and Brantley. They began the paperwork process in March of this year and were DTE on August 27. They are requesting a baby girl up to 12 months and will name her Nora Carolyne (African name) Anderson. To read more of their story, check out their blog. They have a "Just Love Nora" coffee fundraiser so if you would like to help them bring Nora home, order some coffee or anything else from their site here. You can also pray that they receive their referral quickly for their new baby daughter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One week down!


It has been one week and one day since we first got to see the pictures of our sons, and it went by pretty quickly! Garth and I have been praying for our children since we began this journey and it was wonderful to finally be able to pray for them by name! It was also very exciting to be able to share our news with everyone, and we even were mentioned on a local Omaha radio station! That was a fun surprise! Garth and I, well mostly me, have started thinking about the things that we will need to get to prepare for our sons and I'm excited to say that I was able to find some of them already this week! For their beds, I had originally thought of getting toddler beds, but while talking to my mom, she suggested bunk beds since kids grow out of toddler beds so quickly. She is so wise. I wanted to find some wood beds because the room that they will be sleeping in has wood panels for walls, so I was very excited when I found a lady in Blair who was selling her wood bunk beds for a very reasonable price on Craig's List. We will be getting those beds today! I also knew that I would need one more car seat as well as booster seats that I also found on Craig's list. I can't remember if I mentioned this in my posts before, but I am REALLY HOPING to be able to stay in Ethiopia from the time of our court date until our Embassy appointment so I can bond with our boys before we can even bring them home. To do that, we will need to have everything ready before we go so Garth doesn't have to try to go shopping for things without me.

We have also decided on their names. I have always wanted to incorporate the grandparent's names into our children's names. The older child has a beautiful, but unusual, name, so we will be changing it to Jeremiah J**** -Ned Druckenmiller. The younger child has a fairly common American name, so we will leave it the same and his name will be S**** Theodore Druckenmiller. I have always loved the name Jeremiah and my favorite Bible verse is out of Jeremiah. In fact, it's at the top of this blog page! Jeremiah means "Sent by God" and Ned means "Wealth Protector". S*** means "Listening" and Theodore means "Gift of God". I don't know the meaning of J**** yet, but I'm hoping to find out the end of this month. I am so glad God "listened" to our prayers and He is "sending" these "gifts" to us!

I would also like to begin sharing some photos that pertain to Ethiopia when I send out these update blogs. This first picture is the Ethiopian flag. The red stripe stands for power, yellow for the church, peace, natural wealth, and love, and green for the land and hope. The star is for the unity of the people, the disk is for peace, the prosperity for all ethnicities, races, religions, and gender. The blue background stands for peace and democracy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It was an ordinary day...



Friday, November 5, 2010 started out to be a regular day. Garth got up and went to work at about 6:00 a.m. and I got up around 8:30 to do some things around the house before I started working. During my afternoon break, I decided to check my e-mail. Fridays are usually quite busy for the Ethiopia Yahoo Group because families get e-mails about being DTE as well as referral calls/e-mails. Among the YG e-mails was one from a family who had received a referral the previous Friday for two boys ages 2 and 4. When I saw their DTE date, I noticed that it was the same as ours, 9/3/10. While I was very happy for them, the human side of me was very frustrated that we didn't get that referral. I had a little pity party and even told God that it wasn't fair (just like my 3-year-old nephew). I knew in my heart that we would get a referral at the exact right time, but I desperately wanted it to be now! Well about 20 minutes after I had that little pity party, my cell phone rang...the caller ID said "AWAA". My heart skipped a beat and I mentally told myself not to get too excited (even though my heart was beating about twice as fast as normal). When I answered, Caitlin identified herself and told me that this wasn't an official referral call...and my heart dropped. You see, when Garth and I had sent in our official request, we had said that we would prefer a boy and a girl, but were open to both children being the same gender. Caitlin then said that they had two brothers who were available to be adopted and since we were open to having them be the same gender, wanted to give us the chance to get that referral. Inside I was screaming "YES! SEND US THE REFERRAL" but I calmly told Caitlin that I would have to talk to Garth and let her know. I hung up the phone and immediately started crying. It occurred to me that God was probably up in heaven laughing hysterically that just a few minutes before I was having a pity party over not getting a referral. :-) I hadn't even seen the pictures of the boys or anything, but my inner being was saying that I was finally going to be a mom...the one thing I had been dreaming about for as long as I can remember. I called Garth and was able to compose myself enough when the receptionist answered, but as soon as I heard Garth's voice say "Garth speaking" I started to cry again. Of course Garth was wondering what was going on and I eventually was able to tell him...we MIGHT have a referral. I told him about Caitlin's call and he said..."let's talk about it tonight." Once again, my heart dropped. That meant that we wouldn't be able to get the information until Monday and I would have the entire weekend to wonder what they look like, their information, etc. Thankfully, about 30 minutes later, I got an e-mail from Garth that said to let Caitlin know that we would like the referral. HALLELUJAH!!! My hands were shaking so bad while I was dialing AWAA's phone number that I was sure I would enter the wrong number, but thankfully I didn't. When Caitlin answered the phone, I told her we would LOVE to get the referral e-mail, to which she replied, "Then this is your official referral call!" The boys are so adorable. I wish I could share their pictures with you and tell you their names, but we can't until we pass court.

You may be asking yourself "how can they be getting a referral for siblings when they were just number 13 on the list?" My answer is...God works in mysterious ways. It's possible that the families ahead of us wanted a girl or their age range was younger than ours. Whatever the reason, the Lord picked US to be parents to these two boys....and we are THRILLED!

So what happens next? Well, last night Garth and I made the next payment of $9385. You might notice that we don't quite have that full amount yet on our thermometer, but God has always provided in the past and I know he will this time as well.

Tomorrow I am going to Fed Ex the referral acceptance forms to America World who will then begin doing what they do so we can get a court date. The recent court dates have been in January, so it's possible we will be able to go that month or in February to meet our boys! I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adoption Family of the Week #11-The Herwehe Family!


Laura and Charlie Herwehe live in Indianapolis, Indiana and they have been married for 10 years. They have three daughters, Emma, 7, Ellie, 4, and Erin, 2, and they are adopting a baby boy who they will name Elias! They began their adoption journey in October 2009. They completed their dossier and were DTE on March 26, 2010 and received their referral for 1-year-old Elias on October 8. They just found out on November 3 that they have a court date of January 18! They are obviously very excited to be able to meet their new son.

So what made them decide to adopt? Well while Laura was growing up, she lived in Kenya as the child of missionaries. That experience changed her in so many ways; one of which was create a true heart for orphans in Africa, and specifically east Africa. When she met Charlie, she told him about her desires to adopt children from Africa and he said that he, too, had always felt the calling to adopt a child. So, adoption has always been in their plan. After they had their three girls, they felt very strongly that God was calling them to a son in Ethiopia. They are completely in love with Elias and cannot wait to bring him home early next year! Check out their blog here and follow their journey to Elias!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hope is fading

If this doesn't tug at your heart strings...you need to check your pulse. Sunday is Orphan Sunday. What can you do to help an orphan (or 2, or 3, or 4) finally have a forever home?

Hope is Fading – Orphan Sunday from Allan Rosenow on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DTE for two months!


Remember how last month I said that getting through the month wasn't that hard? Well this month was NOT nearly as easy. I didn't think November would ever get here, but it finally did. It wasn't that we weren't busy, because we were.

This past month, Garth and I celebrated our 6-year wedding anniversary by going to Kansas City and while there we got to meet another family who is also adopting from Ethiopia...the Reaser family. Our Tupperware fundraiser ended and we have since added the WalkingTestimony.com fundraiser. We watched the Adoption Learning Partner class "Adopting the Older Child." It is an excellent class and I highly encourage you to watch it if you are adopting.

There have been a LOT of referrals made this month, but not that many sibling or unrelated child referrals, so we are still sitting at 13 for siblings and 3 for unrelated. Here's hoping to moving up the list at least a little bit in the next month!

You will also notice that our thermometers have increased some this month so thank you to all those who have assisted us with that. Every little bit adds up and I enjoy updating the thermometers every other week or so. Some of the ways that Garth and I are trying to save money are by saving money on groceries (which is now much easier to do thanks to Michelle's Money Savers), I am working two mornings a week in the nursery at LifeGate Church(previously Trinity), and I am putting the incentive that I make at work directly into our adoption fund. Garth also has started a new business with silver and gold coins that we are excited about.

Also, for those of you who like to get an early start on Christmas shopping, check out the One Stop Adoption Shop! You can get great items AND help adoptive families bring their kid(s) home. It's a win-win situation! New items are added every Sunday so come back every week.

Thanks for following along and your support.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Fundraiser...Walking Testimony shirts, hats, etc.


As Christians, we are supposed to go out and share the gospel with the world. For most of us, I think, that can be a challenge to do on a regular basis. Well let me help you out by directing you to WalkingTestimony.com. This website is managed by a friend of ours, Steve Morse, and his daughter Meghan. They have allowed us to be affiliates of the website which means that if you go to their site through our link and buy something, we will get 10% of the profits to go toward our adoption. Not only that, but if we get 10 or more sales, we will get 12%! I have placed a link on the left side of our blog under our fundraiser list as well as on this blog. Check it out today here!

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