February Update

It has been a busy two months since I updated. So, here’s a short and sweet update:

1. Both boys have started preschool. They live in a large Catholic orphanage that has volunteers from around the world come assist in the day to day activities. The volunteers run this little preschool. Apparently, the boys are learning English, but I anticipate it will be pretty basic.

2. We got recent pictures, and the boys look so old. It kind of breaks my heart. Bo’s eye is all better and both look healthy.

3. We’ve been waiting so long that in November we were told we needed to update one of Sebbie’s documents. Well after two months we finally got it last week, and it was submitted today.

4.So, we *could* get a court date any day now. We’ve been here before and obviously there are no guarantees, but we are hopeful that we are almost done!


An Update: Yay, Boo

It’s been forever since I updated.

We were pretty crushed when we did not get a court date before closure in August. So devastated, that I decided to jump on a plane anyways and see my babies. Here’s a quick recap: It was wonderful, amazing, and the best decision ever. Leaving was awful. I was sitting on the floor with the boys and all three of us were sobbing. Ethiopia is beautiful. Sebona and Bongatin are fantastic. Their orphanage is a good place, not a home, but they are well cared for.

Courts re-openned in October and movement is slow, like always. However, we did receive some fantastic news. Bongatin now has every signature and clearance needed to travel. If we wanted to, we could schedule a court date for him and bring him home (yay!). But, Sebona is still waiting on his last signature (boo). From the beginning, we have said we wouldn’t split them up. They have lost so much in their lives. Their grief was tangible when I visited. They have been living together for a year at this point. They sleep in beds next to each other. They are very close to one another. I can’t imagine separating them. So, for now we will wait and pray Sebbie’s clearance comes soon so we can bring them home together.

Lastly, we heard this week that Bo has a nasty eye infection. It is likely from infected molluscum.  Please pray that it gets better, and he can get good medical care if needed.

Please keep the prayers coming for these boys and our family. We are so ready for them to come home.

Shopping for Travel

Alternate titles for this blog post could be:

  1. A Blog Post with Pictures!
  2. First Shopping Spree Since Starting the Adoption Process: I Don’t Love Budgeting, But It Works
  3. Retail Therapy
  4. We Still Haven’t Given Up Hope on Traveling
  5. If Only I Was a Professional Blogger and Getting Paid for Product Placement

Yesterday after church on the car ride home, I announced that I wasn’t giving up hope. As foolish as it may be, until August 5th, I am not giving up hope of traveling this summer. Crazier things have happened, and I am totally fine with God using our story to show off. And my loving, sweet, and maybe indulging husband said that if we are traveling soon, we should go shopping and get prepared.

This may be one of his top ten best ideas ever. He got a babysitter, took me out for sushi, and then shopped in Target with me until the store closed (and we weren’t even finished).

Here is my photo diary of everything we got:


This picture is when our cart was relatively full of just medications and cleaning supplies. I know in all likelihood we will get sick, but I’ll be darned if I don’t do everything possible to keep us healthy.


Embarrassing picture. David looked embarrassed of me as he took it. I’m sharing it anyways. Please note the tag still on the sunglasses. I’m so classy.


Here are all of the medications and first aid supplies. Please note the glycerin suppositories and the anti-diarrheal. We have all our bases covered.


Here are the toiletries (well, the new stuff we need for the boys or travel related). The moist flushable wipes are apparently a necessity if we get sick. Please Lord, let’s leave these untouched. Also, I cut the picture a little short. There are still more bottles of hand sanitizer.


Here’s random stuff for the boys, and yes I know we need more underwear. I was tired by this point and was forgetting the fact that 3 weeks with no washer means you can’t have too many pairs of underwear. And you can see the cute sippy cups for the boys: Superman for Sebbie and Batman for Bo. I may be a little too excited about these.


General travel supplies, including a lantern for power outages.


Cute little backpacks (not from Target but too cute not to share)!


A sneak peak at coordinating shirts for all five kids. I mean seriously, I am so impressed with how well these all work together. Fun fact, Sebbie, Bo, and George all wear the same clothing size. I may dress them as triplets as long as they let me.


These shirts make my heart soar. I can’t wait to see the boys wearing them.


And these……oh man……these are what the boys will wear when we meet all of our family and friends at the airport. (And folks, I know we will be tired, but we want a huge crowd at the airport to welcome us home. We like a good party, and nothing is worth celebrating more!)

Now, literally, all we need are signatures and court dates. That’s it….


(Have you travelled internationally with kids? Any tips? Anything we missed?

Have your travelled for adoption? Give me your best tips. )




Embassy Interview #2

Seriously folks. I am done. I can barely look at the pictures of our boys anymore. It is just too sad. We need them home. They need to come home. NO CHILD SHOULD GROW UP IN AN ORPHANAGE. Precious time is being wasted while our boys sit and wait. We got a new picture of them last week, and their was such deep sadness in their eyes.  Both of our boys were blessed to live with family for their early years. They know what family feels like. They know the comfort of home. And, now they’ve lost it. And no matter how great of an orphanage they are in, they deserve more.

Okay, cranky rant over. Here are three quick updates:

  1. Sebbie’s PAIR interview is tomorrow. Bo already finished this part of the process and we are eager for Sebbie to finish. Please pray that everyone shows up and it goes perfectly and he passes.
  2. A few weeks ago we were fortunate enough to meet some Ethiopian government officials when they came to visit the US. (They even came to our house, but more on that another day.) One of the women was from Gambella, the region Bo is from, and I was able to ask her about the pronunciation of his name. (He is from a remote region and they do not speak Amharic, so finding someone in Addis who knew how to say his name was hard.) As we assumed, we were wrong on the pronunciation. Bongatin is pronounced more as two syllables and not three. It sounds like bōng-tēn. The “g” sound is very hard and emphasized, but not a full “ga” syllable in the middle. Does that make any sense?
  3. Finally, the Ethiopian government closes for two months during the rainy season every year. This year the closure will be from August 5th-October 5th. If you remember, court dates are scheduled three weeks in advance. What that means is, if we don’t get a court date this week, we won’t be travelling to pick up our boys until November at the earliest. So, we are praying for a miracle.

In between all the adoption stress, we are having an amazing summer. The kids are perfecting their swimming and biking skills. Mari taught herself to do the backstroke last night after watching a video of an Olympic trial race. She did it all the way across the giant pool we belong to. The girl is a natural. Jack learned to ride a two wheeler in June and he is already doing the trick where he puts his feet up by the handle bar and balances. David built an awesome deck railing. George has perfected the most annoying screech sound in the universe. And I am enjoying all the sunshine and time outside with the kids.


1.5 out of 5 (a good update)

I haven’t been able to sleep lately. I struggled with pregnancy insomnia, so I am chalking this up to adoption insomnia. Last night was the first good night sleep in awhile. And, it was glorious. David learned early in our marriage that not only do you never wake a sleeping baby, but you never, ever, ever wake an exhausted mother. Well, this morning David wakes me up, and I admit my first reaction was confusion than crankiness. But, he quickly told me we got an email from US Immigration that Sebbie’s case was finally sent to Ethiopia. (All crabby morning crankies instantly disappear.) We submitted his case February 3rd, but because of the birth certificate debacle it’s just been sitting in Missouri. Finally some progress!!!!

This means that Sebbie is half of the way done with the passing US Immigration. Now that his case is in Addis, they will go over all the paperwork and schedule an interview with someone who has first hand knowledge as to how he ended up in an orphanage. This is the last step in gaining PAIR approval (US Immigration approval).

Speaking of PAIR approval, WE RECEIVED BO’S PAIR LETTER IN THE MAIL TODAY!!! This is so enormous.


If you remember our last blog post, Bo passing PAIR is one of the five final things we needed before we could travel. So, if you add Sebbie being 1/2 done to Bo being completely done, we are now done with 1.5 of our final 5 steps.

It’s baby steps y’all, but today was a big day. I suggested we celebrate by flying to Addis for the weekend. David said no. So I think I’ll ask for a bottle of wine instead.

The Final Five

We’ve been asked a million times, “When are you going to bring home your boys?”. Our short answer is, “We don’t know”. There are a million moving parts and it’s rather exhausting keeping up with every step. Additionally each boys case is independent of the other, which means we have to do everything twice. So (in very brief terms) here are the five things that need to happen before we can travel:

  1. Sebbie needs to pass US Immigration. This is a two step process and he is HOPEFULLY near the end of step one. (The birth certificate debacle was for step one of immigration.)
  2. Bo needs to pass US Immigration. He completed step one months ago, but is yet to pass step two.
  3. Sebbie’s case needs to pass through Ethiopia’s child protective services and receive the all important signature.
  4. Bo’s case needs to pass through Ethiopia’s child protective services and receive the all important signature.
  5. We need to be granted a court date. Most likely the boys’ cases will go to court at the same time.

The timeline for each of these steps is variable. But looking at what still needs to be done, the soonest we could travel would be August (but realistically we are thinking it will be later).

06/16/2016 UPDATE HERE


It was close…

This was a really tough week for our adoption. Everything turned out great, but I think I shaved five years off my life with stress.

I have asked for prayers for missing paperwork since we got our referral in December. We have been attempting to get Sebona’s birth certificate for months (and by “we” I mean our agency). I assumed it would take awhile, but we would get it well before our deadline. Yep, totally didn’t happen. I called our immigration officer last week, and in a very polite, but clear way, she said I had ten days to get her the birth certificate or they would close Sebbie’s case and we would have to start over. This could have added months to our timeline. Panicked, I called Sally (the Ethiopian director at our agency) in tears. I was an emotional wreck. Tears and wine flowed freely this week.  We had spent 5 months trying to get this birth certificate and failed, and now we had 10 days. To add to the stress, I was an emotional basket-case because Sebbie turned three last week and I wanted to be there to snuggle him not messing around with paperwork.

It ended up taking a long trip to Sebbie’s birth town and a lots of hardwork, but they got it. I needed to have it arrive by mail to the office in Missouri today. We got an email with the scanned birth certificate yesterday.  Did you know that overnighting 10 pages of paper is rather pricey? Yep, but totally worth it.

Now let’s hope everything is accepted and his case is sent to Ethiopia soon!!