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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Travel Dates



We got our travel dates today. Yippy!!!! We will be in Ethiopia on Jan. 25-29. We will leave Pittsburgh on the 24th. That means that in less than a month I will be holding my little girl. I can hardly believe that we are this close. It still seems so far away though I know it will fly by. Katelyn is so excited to finally be a big sister.

Friday, December 26, 2008

We Cry Out

Here is another cool Kim Walker video.


video

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WE PASSED!!!

I got the call this afternoon that we did indeed pass our FIRST court date. God is so good. The best thing is that Matt had just come home from work and actually answered the phone. When Christy said she had good news to tell Matt was so nice that he put it on speaker phone so we both heard that "she was officially ours." I am so glad that we got to be together for this important call. We do not know actual travel dates, though Christy said it would be the end of January or first week of Feb. Either way I am only a month away from holding my little girl in my arms.

I hope you all have a very BLESSED and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Thank you for your prayers and support.

5 Months

Dear Emily,

Your baby is the star of the show. It's amazing what new tricks she's learning. She's actually learning a lot just from watching you. As her mom, you've taken on the role of teacher, too. So enjoy your little attentive student and keep introducing her to the world around. All babies develop at different rates. But, by the end of the 5th month, she'll probably:
Sit with support.
Transfer objects from one hand to another.
Make two-syllable sounds, like "ah-goo."


I got this in an email today and I have to say I sort of wish I hadn't signed up for this little report every month. Today it really hit me hard. I just want to be able to hold my little girl and show her the world and watch her grow. I have this overwhelming sense of longing for her. At some points I just cry because I so badly want to meet her and love on her.

Out of all the waiting we have done in this adoption, I have to say that the waiting to see if the judge has officially made your baby yours, is the hardest. I don't know if we will meet her in a month of in 2 months. I do know that God has ordained that special day and whether is later rather than sooner all of the waiting will be worth it!!!!

Our little girl will be 5 months old on the 28th!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Court Date Arrival

Tonight into tomorrow morning in Ethiopia is our first and hopefully only court date. It is so hard to believe that we have arrived at this point in our adoption. God has blessed us so much on this journey and I have truly come to understand the love of our Heavenly Father so much more this year than any other year in my life. I have learned how to truly step out into faith and be 100% certain that God is going to provide. This time last year was when we decided that we were not going to wait any longer and that we were going to begin the adoption process at the beginning of the year. Its amazing to think back on this past year at everything we have gone through to get us to this point. We thank you all for your support and prayers.

God already knows the outcome of court date and I am going to trust him no matter if we travel in Jan. or if we have to wait longer.

1)Please pray tonight and tomorrow for peace for Matt and I.
We will possibly not hear whether we pasted or not until the first of year.

2) Pray for all the people involved in our court hearing:
Almaz (director of Hannah's Hope)
The judge, that he would not find any reason to not approve our case.
For our little girls birth mom. Pray for God to give her comfort and peace in this time.

3) That our case does not get delayed and rescheduled to a different day.

4) That this is our one and only court date.

We worship an AWESOME God who can move any mountain. A God who gives us the desires of our heart. A God who pierces the darkest places with His light.



Thank you God for all that you have done in our lives. Please be with our little baby girl, hold her and comfort her now and forever. May your will be done today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Floods in Ligonier

Today was an interesting day for us in Ligonier, PA. We should nomally be getting snow the week before Christmas, but today we got hit with a massive rain storm. We have a very small, peaceful trout stream that runs through our property, but now we have white water rafting rapids. This was pretty cool to see the waters running all around us, but I think I rather have the snow. Santa might have to water ski to our house this year. Below is a quick video from around our house.



video

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Let the husband's talk

Hey guys, this is Emily's husband Matt and I'm going to have my turn on this thing. I never hear from the husbands, so maybe I'll start a trend.

I just wanted to share this video from a singer called Kim Walker. The youth pastor of our church introduced us to this song and has kind of become the theme song of our youth group. It's a simple, but amazingly powerful song. I love watching from about 3 minutes on when they start showing the audience. I run the sound at our church and I love watching people during worship. I usually will focus on the people who are so focused on God and praise him anyway they know how. I relate this song to our adoption process and how I feel that we are worshipping God by loving these special children we are bringing into our homes. I hope you enjoy!!!

video

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Katelyn meets Santa

We got to meet Santa Claus this weekend. This man makes even adults believe in Santa. He is so soft spoken, great with kids, and such a kind heart. Katelyn wouldn't sit on his lap at first, but we told him that she was singing "Santa Claus is coming to town" and he sang the whole song to her to try and relax her. The sound on this is very weak, but Katelyn tells him that her little sister is in Ethiopia and that's who Santa is waving to.

video

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Season




The Christmas Season is upon us. Praise God that he has allowed this to be such a busy time to be waiting for a court date to arrive. Today was our Ladies Auxillary Christmas party. My mom, sister, Katelyn, and me all attended this special party. This was Katelyn's first year and she had such a great time. This Thursday I leave with my mom and dad and head to Charleston, WV for the Casting Crowns Christmas concert. I am so excited.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Court Date!!

We have a court date, December 22!!! I am so excited. If we would pass the first time around (which we are praying for) we would travel probably by the end of January. The bad part is that we will not hear anything until after January 5th because of the holiday's. Please pray for peace and patients. This will be an exciting yet on the edge of our seats kind of Christmas.
Not much is new around here just starting to prepare for a new baby and get ready for the holidays.

Wednesday I have my appointment at the travel clinic to begin my immunizations. I talked to our health insurance company and they cover some of our immunizations under our plan. That was music to my ears. Please think of me on this day because I hate needles. I have been through 3 open heart surgery's but the thought of getting shots drives me BUGGY!!!!

I hope that everybody has a GREAT Thanksgiving!!! I will be out by 5am shopping on Friday!! Below I have listed some things I am thankful for.
1. My husband
2. My daughters
3. Our families and friends who have given us so much support through the last year.
4. The USA-we are truly so BLESSED to live in this country (economic crisis and all)
5. Having the chance to SERVE the God of the Universe. To Him I owe my life. Thank you God for all the many blessings you have given me and for that is still yet to come.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Faith and Endurance

James 1:2-4
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

Hebrews 11:1-3
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be see.

Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!!

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.


If you have a chance get the new Michael W. Smith cd "A New Hallelujah" it has really lifted my spirit and brought peace to my soul in this "wait".

Friday, October 17, 2008

IT'S A GIRL

**** Same referral post,just a different title. I had it titled the date of when she arrived at AGCI, but fear of releasing too much info I decided to change it.***
Today has been a CRAZY DAY!!!! My phone rang at 6:20 am, I jumped out of bed to find that it was my mother calling to see why I hadn't picked her for work. (My mom and I work together and this week I have been driving.) The bad thing is that I was still sleeping, so I am running around like a nut trying to pack my things and get out of the door in 2 minutes. Luckily, we have a shower at work that I could get reading there with no problem. After I was done showering I put my watch on upside down and then grabbed a cup of coffee. I told my mom "this is going to be the day I get my referral because of how crazy it has been." We plan perfect days for big things to happen and God has different plans. God's plans are so good!!! We are so unworthy of His mighty works but He still continues to BLESS US DAILY!!!! This was far from the perfect day until 6:14 pm eastern standard time. Now about THE CALL!!!! On Friday nights I babysit kids at church for our Celebrate Recovery group. My mom and I had just arrived and we were standing in the lobby talking to a some people. After a couple minutes of catching up Joel (one of the men that wrote a reference letter for our home study) asked me what our new numbers were. So I told him we were unofficially number 1 for a girl and 3 for a boy. I said it could be any second that we get the call. I then proceeded to tell them about how I have all my home calls sent to my cell phone so I don't miss the call. We were laughing about how Matt kept joking that I had to call him before telling my mom about our referral. The words were literally just out of my mouth when my cell phone rang. I checked the caller ID which said AGCI #. I was like "Oh my gosh its them" and ran down the hall. I really don't remember much about the call because I kept thinking to myself I have to call Matt. Now the information you want to hear. ( I just pulled a Christy. For those have already received your referral call, you know what I mean.) We have a little baby girl!!!! She will be 3 months old at the end of this month. We got about 6-8 photos of her. She is so precious!!! I really can't believe that this is all happening. It seems so surreal. Katelyn is so EXCITED. She was waiting at the front door for me to get home so we could see the pictures of her baby sister! Here are some pictures of Katelyn and I looking at our newest family member for the first time. She has already asked when we are going to pick her up. It's going to be a long 3-5 months. Oh yeah I almost forgot that today I received my ERGO Carrier that I purchased on ebay. So in one day I got my carrier and my baby. Now I just need to travel to be able to use the carrier!!! I know, patience.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Night to Remember!



Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman (if you click on the pic it will enlarge)

Tonight was a night I have been waiting months for. When looking forward to this concert I thought we would surely have our referral. That unfortunately has not panned out! As I was sitting at dinner tonight with my parents I said to them "Its funny how God gives you the strength to keep holding on and waiting." I then proceeded to say about how I couldn't wait to read Karen Kingsbury's new book "Sunset" (which came out the end of September), have Fort Ligonier Day's (which is a big fall festival in my town this past weekend) and go to see MWS and SCC on the United Tour. Somewhere in there I figured we would get our referral which would make for the best couple of weeks. God has other plans though. So anyways, as I was sitting or maybe standing (can't really remember) I had a revelation. Watching Steven Curtis Chapman sing "Yours" knowing what his last few months have been like and he is still on stage giving EVERYTHING BACK TO THE LORD I realized I can wait longer for God to reveal to us who our next child will be. God has put this passion in our hearts and just because its not within my time, doesn't mean I am going to get frustrated and not trust God for HIS PERFECT TIME. I am going to use THIS MOMENT of waiting to invest more one on one time with Katelyn, while I don't have to divide my time between two kids and to learn to be a better mother and wife to my family. I am not going to waste THIS MOMENT wallowing in self pity because I'm tired of waiting. I thank God everyday that He has chosen us to go on this adoption journey and if that journey is longer than anticipated than I am going to enjoy the sights. Thank you for reading my ramblings. The concert was AWESOME!!!! It truly renewed my soul and gave me strength to continue my ride.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October Numbers

I am really running out of creativity for posting new numbers. So instead of showing you a picture I am just going to tell you. (I am really praying that these are the last official numbers that I get.) #4 boy and #5 girl

During my prayer time last night I found this verse, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come, there is life and joy." Proverbs 13:12. This verse really spoke to my heart because to be truthful when I got my numbers email I was a little saddened. I am just so ready to see a picture of my child. Is it a boy or girl, when were they born, how old are they, how much do they weigh? Typical questions of an adoptive parent in waiting. But then it hit me again that God already knows all the things and is holding my baby in His hands. If I am number 4 and 5 for the next 12 weeks so be it because God knows it all and when we get THE CALL there will be joy and life and I will know that beyond a shadow of a doubt I trusted God with my whole heart and knew that His timing is perfect.

On a happy note though with our numbers there were 2 possibly 3 girl referrals yesterday. Yeah for all those families that got to see pictures of their babies. This puts unofficially at number 3 or 2 for a girl.

Another exciting tidbit of news to add is that next week at this time I will be getting ready to go see Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith on the United Tour. I am so excited. I have seen Michael W. Smith perform before but never Steven Curtis Chapman. To see them both on the same stage is just AWESOME!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I CAN'T SLEEP!!!

We Are Unofficially #3 on the boy list and #5 on the girl list. I can't believe it!! I am so excited about soon getting to see a picture of my son or daughter! It seems like we've been on the waiting list forever, yet it seems like our journey has been set on full speed. So we will see what this week brings for everyone on the waiting list. Please pray that I don't go insane until we get our referral.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Losing Control.......



Katelyn has decided that she no longer likes the way that I dress her and being 4 1/2 she is now practising her Independence. Today she wanted to go out and play and I told her that it was cold out so she would have to wear sweatpants and this is what she came out wearing. I literally laughed out loud. I think instead of practising writing her name we should go over what colors go together. The many joys of parenting!!

On the adoption front Brian and Autumn got their referral yesterday. I am so excited for them. This now makes us unofficially #7 on the boy list!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Timeline of our numbers

April 24 #24 boy and #32 girl
May 13 #23 boy and #32 girl
June 4 #19 boy and #24 girl
July 7 #12 boy and #14 girl
Aug. 6 #10 boy and #14 girl
Sep. 4 #8 boy and #9 girl

It is amazing when you look at your numbers this way just how fast time has gone, even though it feels like we have been on the waiting list forever!!! Can't wait until next month!!! I hope I move down one on the boys list because that would mean that Brian and Autumn got there referral!!! I am so anxious for them to get their call!!







We got our monthly call today and we are so excited!!! We are #8 for a boy and #9 for a girl. I can't believe how close we are on the girls list. When we first started we were 32 for a girl and 24 for a boy that was on April 24, 2008. We are being very patient and waiting on God's perfect timing. I have found that reading as many books as I can helps pass the time!!!
We will keep you all posted with any news we may recieve!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

WE ARE BLESSED

I just got home after a very long day at work, proceeded by 2 hours of grocery shopping. After standing in line for like 10 minutes I then found out that I had gone over my food budget, I still had the money but I've been trying to watch every penny I spend. I was so frustrated and just down about my whole entire day. Then like always I get on the computer and found this news story about Ethiopia(http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-08-17-ethiopia_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip) and I realized that my worst day multiplied by 100 still will never equal to one good day of theirs. We are so blessed to be able to live in this country of such wealth and abundance. We are so blessed to be able to have AT LEAST three meals a day. Followed by a good nights sleep in nice comfy bed in our nice big houses.
Not much is new in the adoption process. We will be getting our bi-weekly update this Friday and our monthly call next week. I can't wait to see what our numbers will be!!!! Please continue to keep us in your prayers because we have some decisions that we need to make for after our adoption is complete.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Not much movement

We got our call today with our new numbers, unfortunately though I was not home. I am sort of glad that I was not home because I think that Kate would have heard the disappointment in my voice. I don't want to be disappointed but can't help feeling a little down. Our new numbers are 10 for a boy and 14 for a girl. It is so hard knowing that courts are closed for August and September and that there most likely will not be much movement until they reopen. When we started this journey in January I was hoping to have received my referral by September 8th. That will be the 11th year anniversary of my grandmother's death. It sure doesn't look like that dream will happen. God's ways are not our ways and I trust that His ways are better than mine, so with that said I WILL TRUST that sooner than later God will reveal to us the child that HE has CHOSEN FOR US TO LOVE AND CARE FOR!!!
A little update on what's been happening around here.... This past weekend we had a yard sale at Matt's parents house and raised $560 towards the adoption. We had so many people give us stuff to sale and we are so very grateful to them. It was awesome. We started setting up at 6 am and had our first sale at about 6:30 and it wasn't supposed to start until 8am. I kept thinking of the movie "Field of Dreams" when he kept hearing in his dream the voice that said "If you build it they will come". We have been very blessed with all the support from our families also!!! We thank you all for your prayers,support and love. We couldn't this without your help. Also this month we applied for a grant through Shaohannah's Hope. We will likely not hear anything from them until November.
This past month has been a very big reading and learning month for me. I normally always read just christian fiction but am stepping out of my normalcy and reading some non-fiction christian books. I just finished "Red Letters" by Tom Davis. Great book!!! Really inspires you to do more with your time and money. Having said that I have joined the 5 for 50 campaign. You can read more about it at www.fivefor50.com Another great book that I read was The Same Kind of Different as ME by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This was an awesome book with alot of life lessons.
This Saturday is our 6 year anniversary so we have decided to go on an overnight trip a couple hours from here. We are so excited. We have not done this in over 5 years and we feel this is probably our last chance for another 5 years. I will try to post some pics of our weekend.
All in all I am praying that these two months go quickly and that I stay busy to help pass the time. On the other hand it makes me sad to wish my life away. These are two months of Katelyn's life that I don't get back.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Unofficial number

I can't believe that we could possibly be in the single digits on the boys list. Our unofficial number on the boys list could be #9!!! A couple that is three slots behind us got their numbers today and were told that they are #12 on the boy list. That would then put us at 9!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

NEW NUMBERS!!!!

We got our monthly call today and it was well worth the wait. We are #12 on the boy list and #14 on the girl list. We are so close yet so far away. Matt and I are getting very excited.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No new numbers yet

Sorry that I have not posted anything in a long time. I have been so crazy busy. I am still trying to get into a new routine since starting to take Tuesday's off.

Today, I spent my day at work though because the doctor that normally does surgeries on Tuesday is on vacation and so I could take Katelyn with me. I am also taking a half day tomorrow and then off the rest of the week. I figured that sometime this week I needed to make some money!! My entire 11 hour day was spent setting up and programing new computers, printers and moving furniture. How exciting! It was a good challenge for me. I love challenges. I was so excited when I checked my email to see that Karen and Sharon made it through court!!! I literally screamed with excitement. Than I got to see the referrals that were given out today. Talk about an awesome day for AGCI!! I still do not have my new numbers to update you with though.
I am sure that I will hear from Kate tomorrow or Thursday. I will update you all as soon as I get them.

June has been wedding month for us. First, my cousin got married on the 14th. She had an adult only reception which meant that Katelyn stayed the night at Matt's parents. She had so much fun that she told Matt on the phone Sunday that we didn't have to come pick her up. We had a great time at the wedding with my family. Below is a picture of the "kid table" or aka "the loud table". We all had so much spending time catching up with my cousin Gina (who we only get to see maybe once or twice a year) and enjoying our time together.
Dave, Krista, me, Matt, Jenn, Timmy and Gina.

Next, I have included some pictures of June 21. This is the day that we went shopping for my sister's wedding dress. She is getting married July 24, 2009. We wanted to start looking to see what was out there, but low and behold she tried on her "dress". When she walked out of the dressing we all teared up. She looks so beautiful in it!!! We also found Katelyn's flower girl dress which almost looks like a wedding dress. It was the first one she tried on and then continued to wear it for the next hour. She felt like a princess.





The next day we had my sister-in-laws sister's wedding shower. She is getting married on the 23 of August. I have known Andrea since like 4th or 5th grade. It is so sad sometimes how fast life goes. Yet exciting to start new chapters in our lives.

Hope I haven't bored you all with my update. I will try to not go so long this month without posting.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Numbers!!!

Asra-zetegn:mamush
Haya-amst: mimi


Well, Kate called today with our updated numbers. I wasn't home yet from work, but she was kind enough to leave a message and an email. For those of you who are not up on your Amharic I will translate the top words for you- 19 for a baby boy and 25 for a baby girl. Our original numbers were 24 for a boy and 32 for a girl. We are moving right along. Hopefully this next month will go as fast as our first. We have still not received our FDL yet. Boy am I glad they changed the policy or we would still be waiting to get on the waiting list.

Over the weekend we celebrated Katelyn's 4TH Birthday. I decided to go all out for her party being that this is her last birthday as an only child.(Hopefully) The theme of her party was Cinderella so I got this great idea to make her a castle cake. I went to Joanne's with my 50% off coupon and bought the Castle kit. Friday night I spent 2 1/2 hours cooking and then woke up Sat. and cooked and decorated this cake for another 4 hours. My house was a mess with cooking stuff spread all over the kitchen and the dining room. I thought my mom and dad were going to have a heart attack when they came to help me. They walked in and just looked all around and both said at the same time "Oh my Gosh". My house is always spotless and it shocked them to see it such disarray 4 hours before I was having both our families over. To make a long story short everything turned our beautifully. The cake was perfect!!! The only bad thing is that Katelyn would not blow out the candles. I had to help her. I think she heard me say to many times "watch the cake", she was so afraid she was going to hurt it. I have included pictures of Katelyn and I baking Friday night, the finished product and some other random shots.

I have started to take Tuesday's off from work so that Katelyn and I can share this special time together before she goes to kindergarten and we get the baby. We are having "Mommy Dates" (for anyone who has read the children's book written by Karen Kingsbury). This past Tuesday we spent all day buying and planting flowers. It is so nice to have these special days.






Monday, May 26, 2008

Lots of news to report!!

My sister Krista and my future brother-in-law Dave.
Matt, Katelyn and I eating at Abay Restaurant.
Matt and I's first Ethiopian meal.

First, the most important news to report is that my little sister got engaged on Tuesday!!! I am so excited for her as she has found her prince. Dave is a kind and compassionate man, who brings such joy and laughter to our family. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is going to make my sister very happy. They are planning a July 2009 wedding.

Next, we found an Ethiopian restaurant that is about an hour from our house. We had a great time trying some of their food and experiencing a little of their culture. The owner had decorated the restaurant with artwork that he bought in Ethiopia. Katelyn was a tad confused all day when we kept talking about going to an Ethiopian restaurant. She would come to me and say " Mommy, are we going to Ethiopia today?"

Also, we received our bi-weekly email from AGCI and learned that in the last two weeks there have been 9 referrals. We were only aware of 4. That means that we are getting closer and closer to our little baby. We should get our monthly update call this week. This will tell us what our new numbers are. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue on this journey.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Unofficial Numbers

Well this has been a exciting week for AGCI families. After 7 long weeks of no referrals there have been 4 referrals given out this week. That makes our new unofficial numbers (we only get official numbers once a month when our case manager calls us) BOY #21 and GIRL #29!!! I am anxious to see what the next few months hold for us.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Starbucks

Long Post. I found this article on the Ethiopian Embassy website. It really makes me want to purchase more coffee from Starbucks. I think it is awesome that they are trying to invest so much in Ethiopia. Let me know what you think?



Ethiopian Prime Minister and Starbucks Chairman Discuss Ways to Support Ethiopian Coffee Industry


Starbucks Announces Plan to Open First Farmer Support Center in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Seattle Wash.; November 28, 2007 - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq: SBUX) chairman Howard Schultz today reaffirmed their commitment to making Ethiopia a leading force in the global specialty coffee marketplace. Schultz and Prime Minister Meles said their discussions reflected a deepening relationship between Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, and Starbucks, one of the world's largest specialty coffee companies.

The Prime Minister and Schultz discussed ways to expand the branding and marketing of Ethiopia's world-renowned fine coffees in order to help achieve better prices for farmers and improved opportunities for the millions of Ethiopians who depend on coffee for their livelihood.

Schultz announced that the company will open a Starbucks Farmer Support Center in the Ethiopian capital in 2008. The facility, the first in Africa, will enable Starbucks to work collaboratively with Ethiopian farmers to raise both the quality and production of the country's high quality specialty coffees.

"We will be working closely with Starbucks to bring badly needed investment and technology to our coffee industry, as well as brand recognition and promotion for our high-grade Arabica beans," said Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. "These measures will afford Ethiopia new leverage in the global coffee market. I am extremely encouraged that Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz shares our belief in a bright future for Ethiopia's coffee economy."

Earlier this year, Starbucks signed a distribution, marketing and licensing agreement with Ethiopia and has agreed to assist in expanding consumer awareness of Ethiopia's famed coffee brands -- Sidamo, Harar/Harrar and Yirgacheffe.

In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Meles, Schultz and other top Starbucks executives will have a roundtable discussion with government officials, coffee farmers, exporters and other coffee stakeholders to share ideas on how to strengthen the partnership and improve the Ethiopian coffee industry. On Friday, Schultz will address leaders of the Ethiopian business community and young entrepreneurs.

The Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Addis Ababa will provide resources and ongoing support to coffee communities with the goal of improving coffee quality and growing practices and increasing the number of farmers participating in the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, Starbucks sustainable coffee buying guidelines.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity for Starbucks to continue to partner with the Ethiopian coffee community to support their efforts to produce some of the world's finest coffees. We have always recognized that coffee farmers play a critical role in Starbucks success and we are proud to help expand the audience and demand for Ethiopian specialty coffees. Prime Minister Meles has a deep understanding of the global coffee business and is genuinely committed to forging public-private partnerships to ensure a bright future for Ethiopian farmers." Schultz said.

Between 2002 and 2006, Starbucks increased its Ethiopian coffee purchases by nearly 400 percent. Today, Ethiopian coffee can be found in nearly all of Starbucks' U.S. stores. In 2008 Starbucks plans to intensify its promotion of Ethiopian coffees.

As part of Starbucks' expanded economic investment in the region, Schultz also announced that the company is negotiating with an Ethiopian apparel factory to manufacture its Starbucks black aprons, worn by approximately 27,000 Coffee Masters worldwide. Starbucks has also invested in school and bridge infrastructure projects in Ethiopia, and is working with the nonprofit organizations CARE and WaterAid to address rural development challenges in Ethiopian communities.

Schultz is joined in Ethiopia by Cliff Burrows, president Starbucks EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Dub Hay, Starbucks senior vice president of Coffee & Global Procurement, and Sandra Taylor, Starbucks senior vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Moving on Up!!!

Well one of our AGCI families got their referral call yesterday for a little boy. That means that Matt and I have now moved up a number. We are now 23 on the boys list and still 32 on the girls list. Please continue to pray that the floodgates of referrals open!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Numbers!! (part 2)

It seems I keep getting my information in 2 parts. Just talked to Kate yesterday and she gave us our numbers for where we are on the boy and girl waiting list!! Drum roll please......... 24 for a boy and 32 for a girl!!! Our parameters are a boy or girl under 12 months. We are so excited!! As soon as I got off the phone Katelyn came over to me and said "Mommy when is our baby coming home." I had to tell her it will still be a little while. I don't know who is more anxious Katelyn or Matt and I.

Last night I attended my cousins last college musical. She is going to be graduating next week and moving to either Chicago or New York to pursue an acting career. As I watched her perform I had tears in my eyes as I was reliving our last 21 years together. It just struck me how fast life goes and how our plans are never really what God has planned for our lives. Though at the end of day your life is a hundred times better than you ever dreamed it could be. We never dreamed that we would all be grown up and making adult decisions. Please pray for Darcy as she is scared to death as she makes this HUGE leap into her future.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Number!!

I just got an email back from AGCI. We are number 46!! It seems like it will take so long to be to number 1. I am praying God gives me patience.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dossier!! (part 2)

Sorry to leave you hanging. I wasn't able to get on the computer the whole weekend since being at the conference. Kate called Thursday night to say that our dossier was being sent to the U.S. Department of State and the Ethiopian Embassy to be authenticated on Friday. The only thing we had to do was send an additional picture of our passport photographs. I just sent those out in the mail today. I was so excited that everything was perfect. So the only number she has given me so far is our overall number of 46. Hopefully she will call tonight with the breakdown of numbers. Thank you all for your prayers!!

My mom and I had a great time at the Women of Faith conference. It was great to get away after the last few months of constant paperwork and relax and be refreshed in my walk with God.

I will update you with our official numbers when I get them!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dossier!!

I just got an email from Kate (AGCI) telling me that she received our dossier and she will be going through it today and giving me a call this afternoon. Oh boy do I pray that everything is perfect!!! My heart is racing a mile a minute.

Tomorrow my mom and I are leaving for Ohio to go to a Women of Faith conference. I am so excited!! The last conference that my mom and went to I was pregnant with Katelyn. I find it so fitting that now we are so close to the waiting list for our next child. I can't wait to just be in that arena filled with thousands of women praising God.

Please continue to be praying for us and our child.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fingerprint Appointment!!

Wow!! We already got our appointment to have our fingerprints done. We go the week of April 29th. Maybe this is normal to get it back within a couple days, but I thought we wouldn't hear anything for about a week or two. It says Pittsburgh office processing time is 6-8 weeks from receipt date of Home Study. I can't believe it!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dossier Off to AGCI!!!

Well, we have officially mailed our dossier to AGCI!!! I am so excited. I am going to be so lost when I go to work tomorrow and not have to take all my paperwork with me. For the last 2 months I have carried everything with me just in case I would need it. I was always going through everything at work so I knew just what I had to do that week. I am praying without cease that all of the documents are correct and don't need any changes made. I do know that this is probably impossible but we worship a God who does the impossible.
Yesterday I mailed out our I-600A application to US CIS. I do know that they had already received it at 11:00 a.m. today. (thanks to UPS tracking) How did people go through adoptions years ago without being able to track their package at the touch of a button. I sure do hope that somebody is working overtime to process our request!! Ha Ha!
Funny thing about the UPS Store today. I had said to Matt on our way there that we should just pay the extra money to have it over-nighted to AGCI. He said yeah that's fine. So when the girl asked how we wanted it shipped we told her and she said ok that will be $80. Needless to say its going ground (cheapest way)and should be there by Wed.

Once again keep us in your prayers until we hear back from Kate @ AGCI!!!!!

I just remembered that I forgot to update everyone on the Policy change at our agency. It used to be that you had to wait until after you were fingerprinted and got you Favorable Determination Letter from immigration to be added to the waiting list for your child. Know as soon as your dossier is checked and on its way to Washington DC to be authenticated you are then added to the waiting list. This means for Matt and I once our dossier is approved we will have a number!!!!!! Before we would have had to wait at least another 2-3 months before that would have happened.

I will let everyone know when we have any news!!!!! THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finalized Home Study Report!!!

Sorry I have been so behind at posting news. Today our social worker is coming to the house to give us our finalized, notarized home study!!! I can't believe that this part is all done. I should be sending out our completed dossier by the end of the week. Tomorrow I am sending the application for US CIS. The bad thing about getting all the this paperwork done is that then everything is out of your hands. There is nothing else to do except wait. If you know me, you know that I am not a patient person. I try so hard but it just is not in my genes. Ha Ha!!! I keep reminding myself of Habakkuk 2:3: "But these things I plan won't happen right away, slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient, for it will surely take place. It will not be late by one single day." God knows the exact day that we will meet our child and I find comfort and peace in that.

I am looking for ways to raise money for the adoption. Does anyone have any good ideas of what to do? I do know that we are having a couple yard sales in the summer and I am trying to make decorative pillows to sale. Other than that I am fresh out of ideas.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Katelyn's new hair cut!!





Here is Katelyn with her new hair cut!! Sadly it makes her look so grown up.

We are quickly finishing up all our paperwork for our dossier. Today I met the notary at Matt's doctor and she notarized his health form. Tomorrow I will be meeting her at my doctors to notarize my health form. All that is left to do is to then find all of our pictures we need. It is so hard to think that we are already at this point. I have thought about adopting for so long and it is crazy that this is all finaly taking shape. (Crazy in a good way.)

Matt is out of town for the next few days with work so its just Katelyn and I chilling out at home. We sure do miss him when he is gone. Our house is just different without him.

We still didn't hear anything about our homestudy. They said to allow 5-7 days but I thought maybe we could hear something before that. I am not a very patient person.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008





What do you do while waiting for your social worker to arrive for your first visit? Take pictures.

Long time no blogging.

Sorry it has been so long. We have been so busy trying to get everything wrapped up with our home study and dossier. We fit 4 visits into 9 days. CRAZY. I forgot to mention that all of them were at our house. As I sit here typing, the rough draft of our home study should be in Martha's (@ AGCI) email. This process takes about 5-7days for her to read through it and have our social worker make any changes necessary.

I only have a couple more things to put into our dossier and them I am finished with that. I should be able to send it into AGCI by the end of next week. It all depends on when we get the final copy of our home study. I am getting very excited, but yet very nervous just not knowing if the dossier papers are all right. Did anybody else feel this way? I will feel better when they have looked through it and said "yeah everything is perfect."

I am enclosing the pictures of our nursery. It not at all finished. I still have so much to decorate. That I am saving for after we get to see the picture of our child.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I just received back from the State our authenticated Power of Attorney letter. Can you believe it? I mailed it out Tuesday evening and have already received it Friday morning. You go PA!!!
Yesterday's home visit went very well. Our SW was here for about an hour and half. She interviewed Matt by himself first, then she interviewed us both about our marriage, Katelyn and the way we discipline. Fifteen questions down and one hundred more to go. I feel so much better though. The hardest part is not knowing what to expect. Now that we know it is very easy we are no longer stressed. On a funny note- we were sitting at the table yesterday when she was interviewing us and both Matt and I look up at the ceiling fan and yes we forgot to clean it. Boy was it dirty. So before Tuesday's meeting I have to clean the ceiling fan.

In case I don't get on until after Sunday I would like to wish everybody a very happy and blessed Easter. Praise God for sending us His one and only son, so that He could make a way for us. What a wonderful Savior!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

UPS!

So you know how I was saying in my previous post "only in America". Well now I feel the same way about UPS. I mailed our Power of Attorney document today to the State to be authenticated and had to send a pre-paid air bill for them to return the paper. Lets just say that I walked into the UPS Store at 4:09 and walked out at 4:47. CRAZY!! I was praying the entire time I was there for our document to make it to the Department of State. A couple of times I actually thought about grabbing it and running out the door. The next time I am definatly going to FedEx.
ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT TO OUR HOME VISIT.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Clean, Clean, Clean

My weekend was full of cleaning. Our home visit is this Thursday. I can't believe how fast this month has gone. I know, I have read about how you should not worry about how clean your house is, but this obsessive compulsive cleaner in me just came out. I think I have officially rearranged every room in my house. Some exciting news is that we already have the crib set up in the baby's room. After we moved all Matt's furniture out I didn't want to just leave that room empty, so we moved in all the furniture. Katelyn was so excited. She made me put her rocker in there so that she can rock the baby to sleep. The cute thing is that she goes in the room and reads to her baby dolls. I think it is going to help her to start the bonding process, plus get her used to the fact that there is a baby coming. I will post pictures as soon as I can.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Husband!!





This is my favorite picture of Matt and I. It was from our trip to Myrtle Beach for my brother and sister-in-laws vow renewal. It was such a great trip. I also just wanted to give a shout out to my wonderful husband. Today he came home with a pair of pj bottoms and a polo shirt from American Eagle for me. I told him I didn't want anything for my birthday, but I guess he couldn't resist. I love you Matt!!!!

The second picture I cherish as a parent. A couple of months ago Matt's mom and dad gave him his bible that he got when he was confirmed into church when he was like 12.
Matt decided that he wanted to give the bible to Katelyn now and let her have a bible like mommy and daddy. Well the one morning I walk into her room and she has her bible as you can see right next to her pillows. My heart melted. Then as I walked closer I noticed that she had her play cell phone on top. I guess she sleeps with what she holds dear.

The Start of Our Dossier!








Last night we had our dossier orientation call with our case manager. I think I will be ok with getting all the documents done correctly and in a timely manner. While I was on the phone with her Katelyn kept saying in the background, "tell her I want a baby boy from Ethiopia." It was so funny. For anybody that has any advice for us on completing our dossier, please let me know.
Today is my 26th birthday. It is so hard to believe that I am already 26!!! I just can't believe how fast the years have gone. I had a great day. Thursdays are our administrative days at work. We don't have any patients and we go out to eat lunch. Being that I was princess for the day I picked the Olive Garden for lunch. I got there endless soup and salad, which is probably by far my favorite meal. I was so full!!! There is that special rule that applies on birthdays that you don't count calories!!! (Though I am going to work out as soon as I am done blogging.) My thoughts today like every other day continued to turn towards Ethiopia. I just kept thinking about what stage will we be at next year. Will we be home (I hope), how long will we have been home, will we be adjusted, you know all those thoughts that adoptive parents think every day of our journey.

Other exciting news that I have is that we finally finished Matt's den!!!!! Yippee! Here are some pictures of how it turned out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Ligonier, Pa. It was about 65-70 degrees and sunshine. This was great considering that last Friday we had a huge snow storm that dumped about 6in. of snow. I know I said huge and it was only 6in. but it took us 2 1/2 hours to get home from work when it should only take about a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Anyways, it was a very good Monday. We went to see the Bodies Exhibit. It was absoulutly amazing. It really makes you realize how awesome our God is. Just to see how our bodies are composed and how each tiny little fiber and nerve matters. It made me begin to think about the church as a body and how important every single person is. No matter our size, age, income, color of hair or race, we each matter to our God. When I left for work today it was pouring down rain. I got Katelyn in the car and she said "God hates the rain." I said "No Katelyn God made that rain. He made it to wash away the dirt and to make flowers and grass grow and to provide water for us to drink." Why is it that we take each and every tiny thing and make it a complaint. Unless we wake up morning and the sun is shining and it 75 we are not happy. I have learned through my years that God takes the rainy days to make the sunny days better.
I got an email from AGCI yesterday stating that they recieved our contracts and they were going to start to process them. By Friday they should mailing out the dossier packet. Also thanks to Robin (my sister-in-law) who found an ad for nursery furniture on Craigslist.org, I was able to purchase a crib and furniture for the baby's room. One more thing off my large list!!!!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Only in America

Only in America does it take a college education to send an envelope priority mail. Every time I go to the post office I feel so stupid. Today I finally got it right but needed to ask which way was best to get our contracts to AGCI by Monday. If only postal workers where more understanding of my lack of intellegance in the mailing field. No wonder they go postal. Anyways I got our contracts mailed today if you haven't already caught that. We also wrote our check for our agency fee and orphan care donation. I feel more at peace everytime we have completed a step that takes us closer to our next son or daughter. It will take AGCI 3 days to process our contracts and then they will send us our dossier packet. Also our homestudy got moved to March 20 instead of the 13th. This worked out perfectly because it gives us more time to finish up Matt's den.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Orientation Call

Last night we had our Orientation call with Kari from AGCI. She just went over the entire process and what will happen after each step is completed. She said that since we are asking for an infant that the we can expect to be on the waiting list for about 4-6 months if not a little longer and then about 3-5 months after that to travel. Matt and I are at peace with that because we know that it is all in Gods timing. Our next step it to get the contracts signed and mailed back.
Katelyn is getting very excited about her "baby sister"! She has no desire for a baby brother. The only tiny problem is she keeps saying that the baby is in mommys belly. (A couple of her friends in pre-school have mommy's that are pregnant.) We keep reminding her that our baby is in Ethiopia. Then she understands. (Well as much as a 3 year old can understand)
For now everything else is the same. Still working on finishing up Matt's den and patiently waiting for spring to come to Pennsylvania.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

First Fingerprints

Today Matt and I went and got fingerprinted. It is a new law in Pennsylvania that all teachers, childcare workers, foster parents and adoptive parents have to be fingerprinted for Pennsylvania clearance. They said it could take 6-12 weeks to get it back. Without this clearance we can't finish the homestudy process. (Make sense) Anyways, we have our home visit scheduled for March 13. This Tuesday we will be having our orientation call with AGCI. After this we can get our contracts signed and notarized and then mailed in with our first BIG check. Yippy!!! After that we can start on our dossier paperwork. Things are moving right along. Keep us in your prayers.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Febuary 15, 2008

We received our Orientation packet on Friday!! It was very exciting! After reading some of the contracts I realized that I soley have to rely on God to provide for us all that we need. (not that I didn't know this before) He tends to keep reminding me that without Him we can do nothing on our own. Continue to pray for Matt and I as we continue through this stage of paperwork.
Not much else is new in our world. Matt continues to be busy at work and I continue to be slow. We found out today that Dr. Kumar(the doctor I work for) is going to India for the next two weeks. This will allow for alot of free time at work. Sometimes the down time drives me crazy because the days sort of seem to drag. Anyways, we will soon be into spring which will help speed along our time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Waiting for our Orientation Packet!

We got an email on Monday that my letter from Dr. Beerman was good and we are officially accepted into the Ethiopia Program with All Gods Children. Yippy!!!!! We should recieve our orientation packet tomorrow in the mail. I am so excited and can't wait to see how this journey is going to unfold.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Our first call!

Well it has been a day. I woke up this morning like any other Monday only to find that Katelyn was sick. After sitting at the doctors for 2 hours we learned that Katelyn has strep throat. We did get home in time to receive our first call from All Gods Children about our application. Everything was good except my letter that I had to get from Dr. Beerman about my heart. He needs to add in the letter what my life expectancy is and my prognosis for the future. I hope that this is something he can get back to them very quickly so that we can hopefully proceed to the next step. Please keep us in your prayers as we have this tiny hang-up.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And We're Off!!






It official!!! We're adopting. I mailed our formal application in today to All Gods Children. It has sure been a CRAZY DAY!! I decided to take today off because I had a guy coming to measure our house for new carpet and I had my physical. The morning started off great!! I was heading into get my nails done when my cell phone rang and it was the doctors office. Dr. Lang was sick and I needed to reschedule. No big deal though I am going tomorrow. So I got my nails done, then Katelyn and I went for lunch. After lunch I decided to go into work for a bit and get a few hours in since now I would have to leave early tomorrow for my appt. When I was done my mom and went to the post office to mail the application. Everything went well until we are walking out to the car I get in to start it and .........It didn't start. (Already had this problem this week but it started working again.) Called to have towed. Yep "it will be about an hour." Meanwhile it is a blizzard outside and we have to just sit in the car and wait for the tow truck. Luckily my mom was also driving her car so we did have heat. Called Matt he came to our rescue. Mom left and took Katelyn home with her. So we get home about 1 1/2 later and I'm taking the garbage outside and I hear air coming from Matt's tire. Look at it and.......he picked a up a nail somewhere and has a hole in his tire. It is now 8pm and we still have not had dinner. But the good news is that we are so excited and nothing can take that away. Please keep us in your prayers and I will keep you updated on the process.

Jeremiah 29:11-12

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I WILL LISTEN.

For everyone that knows me you know that my life did not start out perfect. Born with four major heart defects 25 years ago was not an easy thing. Medicine was not like it is today. But we had HOPE and I HAD A FUTURE. In those days there were tons of prayers said for me and GOD LISTENED. As I sit here today in the room that my next child will come home to, I am looking back on my life and thanking God for every blessing he has ever given me. My parents never raised me to think of my heart problems as a burden. It was how I was born. It was what made me special. My mom always talked to me about adoption because we never knew if getting pregnant was an option for me. But guess what? God blessed Matt and I with a beautiful healthy daughter. But before that He blessed me with a great family!! Our family never looked at problems as a problem, they were adventures and each adventure led to another. Through this "disaster" God Blessed me. I was able to experience things normal kids did not get to do. I was picked to be a Make- A- Wish child, which got me a beautiful trip to Hawaii. A few years after my trip to Hawaii I met my wonderful husband. He has been a true inspiration to my life. He is tender, compassionate, caring and most of all organized. He has made life so much better then I could ever have imagined. He keeps me grounded and on the straight and narrow. He is my rock. He also keeps me out of American Eagle!! (which for me is my biggest downfall. $$$$$)
I say all this to say GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL!!! Even when we think life seems bleak and out of control HE IS THERE. He has EACH and EVERY DAY already planned before we even get out of bed. For this GREAT GOD, I AM BLESSED. So today as we start our true journey down the road of adoption I pray for God's strength and guidance. I pray we will know HE is there when things don't seem to be easy. I pray we hear Him in the gentle whispers.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paper Work Paper Work

Well I spent most of Weds. and Thurs. and half of Friday doing paper work!!! Boring but exciting all at the same time. I got alot accomplished in those couple of days. I sent in our home study application on Thursday. I also ordered copies of our birth certificates, sent in our clearances and TODAY we got our passports!! We wanted to go early and get this done because people were saying that it was taking so long to get them back because of all the new travel regulations. Much to our knowledge the postal worker told us we should have them in two weeks. Oh well, at least its one more thing marked off our list. We are getting very excited. We are still working on the room. Sundays are always our construction day. I think we are going to try and get the rest of the wiring done and build our closet for the washer and dryer. I will try to take some pics and upload them maybe tom. or Monday. We really just need to be able to complete our two rooms. After that we will be sending in our application to All Gods Children. Then the fun begins. Until then please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ethiopian Stats

Found this on a different blog last night and thought I should share. This is why Matt and I feel God is calling us to Ethiopia.

According to UNICEF, Poverty deprives children in their early years of life to adequate food, clean water, and medicine.
Startling stats:
• one out of every 20 children born alive die in their first month of life
• one out of ten die before reaching their first birthday
• one out of six die before reaching their fifth birthday

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Begining of Our Journey

In 2007 Matt and I decided that we were now ready to begin our adoption process. We have been married for five years in August. Katelyn, our daughter just turned three in May. We always knew that we wanted to adopt we were just waiting for Gods timing. We have kicked around alot of different countries but feel God is leading us to Ethiopia. I had been on the internet and just stumbled upon Ethiopia and just felt drawn to them. Right now we are working on changing a couple of the rooms in our house to provide another bedroom for our child. After the rooms are finished we will be sending in our applications. We are both really excited to be begining this process, but also a little nervous. There is so much to be done and so much paper work to be filled out it overwhelms you to think of it. Anyways I started this blog so that our family and friends are able to check in and see whats going on and also to try to meet people who have already gone or are in the process of adopting. Please pray for us and for the child God is going to bless us with.