Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Love Snow!

Adoption Overview

For those of you who may not be completely familiar with the process of international adoption or who are new to our blog, I thought it might be helpful if I shared an overview of the adoption process. Here are the basics of our experience:

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

Secret Hiding Place

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

Choirs, Cuties, and Continuing to Count

Our church Christmas choir presentation went very well this past weekend. Here's a little collage to give you a taste of our experience.

Just for fun this morning, the kids got dressed up and we did portraits at the house. Fun!

Also, we have passed the 6 month mark since shipping our big stack of paperwork to Ethiopia (that's 13 months since we started this adoption journey!) Can't wait to bring home our own Timbits!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Imagine a world where I had time to keep up with my blog....

Just joking, sort of.

Actually, I am putting forth my best explanation for the dearth of updated information on the Tapper clan. As we have entered the Advent season, I find myself increasingly heavy laden with the burden of directing meaningful worship for our local church. While that may sound awful, in reality, it should be described more as awe-full! There is so much wonderful story, creative music, thoughtful poetry, stimulating liturgy, beloved tradition, and unique opportunity for worshipful expression at this particular time of year, that I sense a special urgency--a growing weight of responsibility. Perhaps most appropriately, I think it can best be described as a pregnancy--like Mary's--in which the life of Christ is nourished within.

One practical example of how this "fleshes" out is seen in our upcoming Christmas musical. This Friday night and Sunday morning, our Christmas choir will present "Imagine." This production invites us to "imagine a world without Christmas" and to recognize and rejoice in the glorious realities of God's Kingdom made available to us through His perfect gift, Jesus Christ. Prayers are welcome as we seek to convey our worship to Him and our joy in Him to others.

Come back after the weekend for (hopefully) more regular updates on the Tappers . . . or maybe after December 25th??!!