Tuesday, December 23, 2008
We applied to America World Adoption Agency in November 2007 and were accepted into their Ethiopia program. This began the paper-chasing phase of the adoption process. Employment verification, insurance letters, identification documents, home study, background checks, and personal references were all gathered, notarized, and certified. This paperwork, called a dossier, was shipped to Ethiopia on June 13, 2008 -- our DTE (dossier to Ethiopia date). Read about the emotions of this here.
Our "ticker" at the top of the blog counts the time since our DTE. We are now waiting for a referral. A referral is when we (the adoptive family) is matched up with an orphan or orphan group. Our paperwork includes approval for two children up to age 6. Referral wait times can be hard to predict, especially with any request outside the more common infant referral. Our agency has suggested that others with similar DTE's as ours might be able to expect a referral in March or April. If no sibling groups have come available by that time, we may be given the opportunity to accept a referral for a single child.
After we accept a referral, AWAA staff in Ethiopia will pursue the legal end of things. We will be assigned a court date. We are cautioned, however, that approximately 30% of cases are not successful on their first appearance in court (often due to an outside organizations's failure to produce necessary paperwork). If we fail to pass court, a new court date will be assigned, usually several weeks later. Only after a successful court case can pictures of and information about any referred child(ren) be shared publicly.
Mike and I will travel to Ethiopia a few short weeks after passing court. We will be in Ethiopia for approximately one week. We will stay in Addis Ababa at a small hotel. All AWAA referred children live at a "transition home" in the city. At this home, we will meet for the first time. A day or so later, we will officially take custody and finalize any more paperwork necessary to come home together.
Then begins the challenge of learning to live together. . . This can be a difficult time for many families. As we approach this new year, we ask for your sensitivity and prayers. The waiting period provides little certainty and can be quite emotional and stressful. A referral may raise hopes, but also anxiety and longing. Finally, the demands of reorienting our family after placement will be great. Thank you to all our wonderful family and friends who we know will support us graciously through the coming months! Your care and concern mean so much!
Hope this helps to clarify the process for any newcomers!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Ethan was helping a woman at the church one day last week. The were in the little kitchen area getting some refreshment items together when Ethan spied a bag of candy up on a shelf. Noticing the direction of his gaze, our kind friend asked him if he would like a piece.
Ethan whispered his response, "Mommy doesn't like me to have a lot of that . . . but I know a hiding spot."
Amused, our friend asked, "Is it in your pocket?"
"No, mommy checks there."
At five years old, he's apparently already got me figured out! At least I still have some good informants!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Come back after the weekend for (hopefully) more regular updates on the Tappers . . . or maybe after December 25th??!!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
A leaf. Behold a single leaf. So fragile, it tears like paper, crushes in your hand to a moist stain, sharply fragrant. Dry, it burns swift and crackling as newsprint, pungent as gunpowder. Yet a leaf may withstand hurricanes, stubbornly clinging to its limb.
Hold it open in your palm. It is perfect as a newborn's smile. Pinch its stem between thumb and forefinger and hold it to the light. Eden bleeds through. Its veins are like bone work in silhouette. This single leaf, joined to the tree, drinks poison from the air, drinks it serenely as Socrates downing his cup of
hemlock, and refuses to return in kind, instead spilling out life-giving oxygen. This leaf tilts to catch the sun, its warmth and radiance, to distill the heat and light down to the shadows, down to the roots, back up to limbs. To shade the earth. To feed you and me.
A leaf. God makes these season after season, one after the other, billions upon billions, from the Garden to the New Jerusalem, most for no eye but His own. He does it faithfully, or else I would not live to tell about it, or you to hear.
Perhaps of all my many sins against heaven, this ranks with the worst: Until this moment, I have never thanked God for a single leaf.
Which is the problem with faithfulness: We hardly notice it. Faithfulness is, by definition, the predictable, the habitual, the sturdy, the routine. It is the evidence of things seen, but seen so often we've grown blind to them. It is the substance of things expected, expected so unthinkingly that we now take them for granted.
Today, we raked. And I am reminded to say, "Thank you, God, for leaves; for family to share them with; and for your great faithfulness which provides my strength for today and bright hopes for tomorrow."
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
We caught up to Mike around mile 23 and tried to snap a shot of our favorite runner. We were much relieved to get a thumbs-up in response!
Ethan and Abby joined their dad for the last stretch.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
With a cute smile but the most sincere tone, he quickly answered, "Because God made me like that."
Friday, September 26, 2008
We have great neighbors...the kind of neighbors that you like to pop through the hedge to visit when you see them out in the yard. However, our particular neighborly hedge was becoming more like a neighborly jungle. Last week, the men attacked the hedge and came out victorious. We now have a manageable, pop-through-friendly hedge, and we had a great backyard bonfire to celebrate! Here's Abby being cute...
...and Ethan enjoying the night. (This boy also qualifies for the "man" title used above as he was a great helping in transporting cut branches back to the fire pit!)
This one is for any of you who only know the quiet, keep-to-herself Abby. I think she was responding to some silliness prompted by her brother, upping the dramatics by about 5000%!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This week has brought more than its fair share of challenges -- a new class for me, changes in our schedule as Mike adjusts to fall routines, some tough situations with some friends, little activity to report in "adoption world," and, just tonight, the betrayal of our stove. Yes, the ancient Kenmore relic has ceased to provide its cooking/baking capacity. Actually, that's not quite true. The problem was more that it wouldn't stop. Mike removed his scruptious-looking chocolate cheesecake from the oven and reached to turn the oven knob off. It wouldn't budge. So he got a better grip and tried a little harder. With this additional effort, he was rewarded with a sharp snapping sound and hot, rolling metal at his feet. Ahhh, the gas has been turned off, and we are ready to admit that our occasionally mildly-explosive oven and impossible-to-clean stovetop are due for replacement.
In the midst of God's patience-work on me, he provides wonderful relief in the form of heart-lifting comments from two precious children. Abby crawled up on my lap one morning, turned, and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, you're my best friend." If that doesn't warm your heart...
Ethan, our careful observer, has put these skills to use for bedtime prayer time. If you ever get the chance to be in on a prayer with Ethan, sit back and get comfortable (somewhere that provides cover for significant giggling!) I can't replicate one exactly, but it might go something like this: "Thank you God for lights. Thank you God for ceilings. Thank you God for walls and windows and window screens to keep the bugs out. (pause) Thank you God for beds and wood and wood to make bunk beds out of. Thank you God for covers. Thank you God for pillows. (pause) Thank you God for books. (pause) Thank you God for doors and doorknobs. (pause) Thank you God for..." Pretty special. It makes this impatient (and sometimes irritable) Mom realize how much I've got right here and now!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We have officially endured three months of waiting. Sometimes it seems like the days/hours/minutes are just barely crawling by. Other times, I look back and wonder where the time has gone. Today, the hardest part of waiting is all the unknowns. We do not know when we may receive a referral call. The projected wait times put forth by our agency (based on the wait times of those who recently received their referrals) cover the following timeframes: 1) for an infant girl -- 7-9 months; for an infant boy -- 5-7 months; for a toddler or preschool child -- 6-12 months; for a young sibling group -- 5-7 months. According to these figures, we can presume that we might get a call in November, December, or January. It is possible that our agency would let us know about the availability of a single child before a sibling group becomes available. We would be permitted to accept this single child or to decline that referral and continue to wait for a sibling group. So we do not know when we will get a referral or when we will travel. We do not know if we will be offered one or two children. We do not know whether they will be boys or maybe a girl. We do not know how old they will be.
In the midst of my un-knowing, I cling to One Who Knows.
"Lord, You have looked through me and have known me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You understand my thoughts from far away. You look over my path and my lying down. You know all my ways very well. Even before I speak a word, O Lord, You know it all. You have closed me in from behind and in front. And You have laid Your hand upon me. All You know is too great for me. It is too much for me to understand." Psalm 139:1-6 (New Life Version)
Blessed are You, O Lord my God, King of the Universe. Thank You for Your care for me.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
"...everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen." (Romans 11:36)