"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dossier

dos·si·er

  [dos-ee-ey, -ee-er, daw-see-ey, -see-er; Fr. daw-syey] 
a collection or file of documents on the same subject, especially complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic.


Also known as the "paperchase".  6 months of hard work.  And it is FINISHED!!!   

It is in the mail today to arrive at AWAA before noon tomorrow.  It will be reviewed by two AWAA staff and then the Dossier is taken to the State Department and Ethiopian Embassy for additional authentication.  After that, it will be sent to Ethiopia and we will be DTE.  Our preliminary DTE date is 4/1/2011.  DTE means that we will officially be on the waiting list.  Also know as "paper pregnant".  Don't laugh when I start pulling out the maternity clothes and starting to eat for two.  It just might happen!!  I am a big fan of the stretchy waistband.  Next Friday, we will get an email telling us our official DTE date and what number we are on the waiting list. 


 I think I checked over these documents 100 times before I got to the post office and then several times actually at the post office.  I spent forever trying to figure out which envelope would be the safest to send this precious cargo in.  I wondered which would be the most waterproof in case of a giant flood in the post office.  Which one would withstand all of the traveling it would be doing in the next 24 hours.  Once the postman helped me pick an envelope, I made him check the insides of all the other envelopes he had tried.  I also had him put tons of tape on that envelope.  Whew!  I left the post office with a huge stomachache.  


Thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for us, written reference letters for us, and notarized tons and tons of documents for us. :) Thank you so much to those who have made donations to our fund.  God has used you to help us on this journey.  I am amazed at how He has provided for us EXACTLY with each phase of this journey.  We have not had any more or any less than what we have needed. I am humbled.   When He calls you to do something BIG and you feel like there is no way, let me tell ya, THERE IS!!  Just be obedient to His calling and He will provide.  Thank you to those who have listened to me talk about adoption over and over and over and over.  This is our life right now and it consumes my mind, my heart and my time.  Your hugs, phone calls and listening ear mean more than you know.  


My heart aches for our daughter to be here with us.  We have a LONG journey still ahead, but God has confirmed over and over again that this is right where he wants us.  He has prepared our hearts for this journey and we are ready and so excited for what he has in store for us.  

Family Photos


We needed a "formal" family photo for our dossier with a posed appearance with everyone in the family looking at the camera smiling.  HA!!!  Not an easy task.  My cousin-in-law (not sure if this is a real term, but using it anyway), Megan, came and took some pics for us.  This is the ONLY picture out of 165 that had all of the above qualifications.
 I wanted to use this one because I look better in it, but none of the kids did.

 She snapped some other great pictures of the kids in between the family photos.







Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Contentment

I woke up yesterday with such anticipation and excitement.  I could not wait to get our dossier mailed off to AWAA.  I barley slept the night before.  We were going to mail it last week, but hit a little road bump with one of the documents.  Well, we hit another road bump yesterday.  To say that I was upset and completely disappointed would be an understatement.  Joel might describe me as completely irrational.  In his sermon on Sunday, he stood up on a chair and said "DO NOT MARRY CRAZY!!"  Well, Joel, I think you married "CRAZY".  What did I do with my disappointment?  Did I get on my knees and pray to the God I know is completely in control of this?  Did I turn on my favorite worship song and sing praises to Him?  Did I pull out His word and seek His wisdom?  NOPE.  I wallowed in my own self-pity ALL. DAY. LONG.  Sorry, Lord.  Sorry, kids and husband.  I was mad.  Things were not going my way.  Of course, God is saying "seriously, Erica, how many times do we have to go over this?  I am in control of this, NOT YOU!!!!"  I sat on the couch ALL DAY just sobbing and acting like a fool.  I went to bed upset.

 I woke up this morning upset.  I didn't even want to get up.  I didn't even go to BSF which I know I would've heard a word from God.  But, I did open up His word and I did turn on my worship music and I reached out to Him.  I began with my Jesus Calling devotional and the first words are "REJOICE AND BE THANKFUL!"  Oops....that is NOT me.  "Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances."  "I do my greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts"  Oops...NOT me again.  I completely shut Him out.  My heart was not trusting.  Then, I started to pray specifically for my children.  I have a little card that I pray different things for them everyday.  Today's was about Contentment.  CONVICTED!!  What kind of example am I to be for my children on being content if I am not content?  "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  Phillipians 4:12-13  For some reason, I have always skipped over verse 12, or never really paid attention to it.

I am so thankful for a God who meets me right where I am.  That He does not expect me to be perfect and that His grace is sufficient.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day of the Dinosaurs

We started out our morning at dinosaur world.  This place had giant life-sized dinosaur statues.  I thought it was pretty interesting.  



 The boys got to do a fossil dig and come home with a few fossils.


 So scary....


 This was my favorite spot.  The little brachiosauruses were drinking out of the pond and little did they know they were about to be someones lunch.  YIKES!!!
 Look at how BIG this guy is!!



 After dino world we decided to grab lunch in downtown Glen Rose.  We chose the Green Pickle.  Let's just say that small towns are not known for there fast and quality service.  At least in this town.  
 Clayton was NOT a happy camper.  We waited an hour for our food.  It was a neat little place, but just SLOW!!!  Add that to my list of why I do not live in a small town.  
 Then we were off  to Dinosaur Valley State Park.
 I remember coming here as a kid, but I don't remember it well.  It was really neat hiking and searching for all the dinosaur tracks.  
 It is AMAZING to me that these tracks have been here for millions of years.  



 We had to wade across the water to see some tracks.  It was FREEZING.  

 These are some more tracks.  They are all up and down the river.  It appears that a meat-eating dinosaur was chasing and trying to kill a plant-eating dinosaur.

The boys had a blast being outdoors.  Els is not much of a hiker yet, but he still had fun.  
We had so much fun on our mini vacay.  We will for sure be going back soon, maybe with our tents for a little camping and to go to Fossil Rim. But, for now, back to the real world.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break Getaway

It was time for a getaway.  The paperchase was getting to me.  The new changes in ET were getting to me.  We needed to be refreshed.    So we took a "spontaneous" (as spontaneous as you can get with a family of 5) mini vacay to Glen Rose.  I had been here many times as a kid and knew that it was a perfect little getaway for our kids.  They LOVE the outdoors and dinosaurs, so the perfect combo.  Plus, it is cheap.  My kind of place.  Of course, before we left town, we had to do a little more "paperchasing" so I could at least relax a little on the trip.  Thanks to my hubs for dealing with me in my psycho stress mode. 
When we got there we went to this cool place called Big Rocks Park.  The boys had a blast here.  It was exactly as the name states....BIG ROCKS.  and it was FREEEEEEEEE!!!!



The boys spent hours jumping, climbing, and hiding in these BIG ROCKS.  The perfect place for boys.



 Els spent his time hanging on tight to his momma.  He was not a big fan of the BIG ROCKS.




 Then we went for a little dinner at the local DQ and had some swim time at the hotel.  
It was a little difficult having an almost two year old sleeping in the same room with you.  He thought he was our entertainment for the night.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Final Touches

We are putting our final touches on our dossier.  We just recieved the final document for our homestudy.  The I-171H.  I was not expecting this for several more weeks, so when I opened it in the mail I didn't really think anything of it.  It usually takes several weeks to months.  It only took four business days.  I thought it was just a form saying it was processing.  But, then I looked at it again and there it was.  Teeny tiny on the bottom of the form "I-171H".  I still could be looking at the wrong thing.  I am waiting for confirmation from our Family Coordinator to make sure.  I did not think we would be DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) this soon.  Of course, I do not have everything together because I was not expecting this so soon.  Going to get our last document tomorrow.  I am so ready to get this out of my hands and let God take care of the rest.  All of our paperwork has to go to our agency for approval and then we will be DTE and put on the waiting list.  Hoping we will be DTE by next Friday 3/25/2011.  :) :) :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Wait

That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.  We are enlarged in the waiting.  We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us.  But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.  Romans 8:24-25


A Heavy Heart

I woke up with a heavy heart this morning.  Sad, worried, fearful.  These things are not from the Lord.

I was listening to Hillsong United "Desert Song" this morning and I love the chorus.



All of my life
in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship.

No matter what,  HE is GOD.  HE is bigger than this.  


"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thess 5:16-18

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One Step Closer

We are now fingerprinted!!  Wooohooo!  Now we just wait for our I-171H.  This is the last piece of paper we need to complete our paperchasing.  So ready to be DTE (dossier to Ethiopia).  Then we wait.  There are some changes going on right now in Ethiopia that would decrease the amount of cases heard each day.  They would be  going from 50 cases down to 5.  So, our wait may be even longer.  I am trying to cling to my faith and not let fear seep in.  God is in control of this.  He knows my future.  He knows our daughter.  His timing is perfect.  I am clinging to these truths.  I LOVED our bsf bible study this week.  On the back page of the notes it had a box that had the themes of Isaiah 40-48 and the words just jumped off the page at me.

God is....
comfort
eternal 
omniscient
omnipotent
righteous
the only God
Gracious
compassionate
righteous judge
sovereign
creator

What a MIGHTY GOD I serve!!

Whom shall I fear??

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celebrating Clayton

Since Clayton had a Saturday birthday this year, he got to celebrate for two days.  Friday we celebrated at school.  I took him McDonald's for lunch and brought cupcakes for his class. 

After school, my parents came and picked him up and took him to a very special place.  The Magic Time Machine.  He has been wanting to go somewhere he could eat popcorn shrimp and that he did.  
 He got to spend the whole evening, night and the next morning with Nonna and Nonae.  They took him for a special trip to Toys R Us (the kids LOVE this).  He picked out legos galore.  The next day they went to Bass Pro shop to get him a giant tackle box (which he carries everywhere and sleep with) to store all of his legos.  He loves it.  They took him to see the movie Rango and to a yummy buffet breakfast.  If anyone knows Clayton well, you know he loves a buffet.  He comes by it honestly.  When he got home, he could not wait to open more presents.  He had requested my Gramma's famous oatmeal cookies (famous to me).  They are a fave in our family of five.  
 We had planned on taking him bowling or roller skating for the afternoon, but all he wanted to do was build all of his new lego sets.  

Gigi and Grandpa met us for dinner at Tin Star (another fave) and he got some new DS games and some new mighty beanz.  We had a super fun day celebrating this boy!!!  I still cannot believe he is 8.