2 Months

As of today, we've been waiting for our referral from Ethiopia for two months. Unbelievably, time has seemed to pass quickly -- especially imagining we could receive our referral in as little as three months (but, possibly five).

Today, several of AWAA's Ethiopia families...Gibson's, Ducommon's, Ord's, and Cox's...received wonderful news! REFERRALS!!!! Praise God !! And it's rumored there may be more referrals next week...

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you- Jesus


AWAA Branson Fellowship Group

Mommies from AWAA Ethiopia program (L to R):
Kim Gillman (dd Jenna), Kari Gibson, & Kelly Blackwell.
Randy, behind Kari, is an Ethiopia program pioneer (literally) and already has three beautiful children from ET.

How many YG-ers does it take?? :)
Kelly & Kari feeding precious Gabby Braner. Gabby and her mom, Jamie Jo, are featured on the AWAA blog with the Rwanda program.

It's always an encouragement to emerge from YG-cyber land & just 'do life together' the ol' fashioned way!! Sadly, our fellowship group won't officially meet again until the fall. Our wonderful hosts, Jamie Jo & Andy Braner, are headed to Colorado for the summer -- Kanakuk Colorado Camp. But, oh, by the end of the summer do I anticipate joy & excitement as we reunite!!!

(Although, girls, I DO expect to unofficially see you all this summer!!)


I don't mind waiting, for you Lord.

I don't mind waiting, either, for You, Lord! (thanks, Kari)

What is it like to WAIT???

Adoptive families have a whole host of lingo…paper-chasing, paper-pregnant, dossier-to, forever family, gotcha day, Yahoo Group stalker …and on & on.

Once a family’s paperwork is complete and submitted to the country they’re adopting from, the family is considered to be ‘paper pregnant.’ But as I was praying this morning for the families who are moments away from receiving their referral, I think ‘paper pregnant’ is a misnomer. 'Paper-conceiving' may be more accurate because waiting for a referral is much like anticipating conception. When a couple is trying to conceive, there’s always that anxious couple days before a pregnancy test can be used to detect that coveted (+) result.

For me, the wait for a referral is like waiting to conceive – the only difference is that with adoption there is definitely a child in our future. And especially for the families who are nearing the end of their wait – every week they wonder, “is this the week?”

And then once a referral for a child is received by a family, it’s as if the pregnancy actually begins. Yes, the child is already born – but several weeks, to months, must be endured until mommy and daddy can hold their long-awaited child in their arms, and take them to their forever-home.


Ethnicity Matters More

As Vince and I were praying about pursing an Ethiopia adoption, we sought wisdom from a variety of people…including people of color. A dear friend of Vince’s from seminary is African American (his mother is African American and his father is from Kenya) so we naturally sough counsel from him – specifically, about his thoughts regarding a black child being raised by white parents. His advice was very enlightening & encouraging.

The first thing he informed us about was that people of color hated to be lumped into the singular category of “black people.” Individuals can share a similar skin color, while having absolutely nothing else in common. Although Vince and I are white, there are many white people that we have nothing in common with – similarly, there will be many ‘black’ people that our Ethiopian child with have nothing in common with.

He detailed the point even further by explaining that because our child is Ethiopian, he/she will identify with other Ethiopians. He explained how important it will be for us to introduce our child to all aspects of Ethiopian ethnicity…especially other Ethiopians.

There are also some college students at our church who are Kenyan – so we sought their international perspective…and they were delighted to hear about our Ethiopian adoption endeavors. They spoke very highly of Ethiopian culture and people – they too stressed the importance of preserving our child’s ethnicity by seeking opportunities to incorporate Ethiopian culture (food, music, tradition, history, etc.) and pursuing intentional relationships with other Ethiopians.

Vince & I concur whole-heartily with the above observations and are excited about weaving Ethiopia into the fibers of our family!!

Those of you who read my previous post may have seen a comment left by an anonymous reader. And they also offered a wonderful perspective about Ethiopian people & adoption…thank you!!

Anonymous said...
"Ethiopians are the only African look like who have no reason to blame, mistrust, accuse, dislike, hate or revenge against anyone especially the European look like. Ethiopians have never been colonized, enslaved, discriminated or anything similar by any white person because of their skin colour. Ethiopians see the Italian invasion of Abyssinia no more or no less than the same way Germany did to the rest of Europe. So, there is no the race thing here.

When The Arabs and Ottomans directly and indirectly invaded Ethiopia 1529-1543) to spread Islam through massacre against Christians and destruction against all religion symbols including burning down more than 2000(two thousands churches), the European Christian sisters and brothers came to defend Ethiopia. And as a result the barbaric Islamic invaders were driven out much of Northern and central Ethiopia despite since then the situation in the country has been dramatically changed.
This is the mentality Ethiopians have about the European look like person.
So, your future Ethiopian children will have many reasons to embrace you with heart that you are their parents unconditionally. Although Ethiopians are considered to be blacks, their history, character, culture and the likes are very different from the rest of Africa.
You, my dear and the rest of the adopting parents need to understand Ethiopians with their long tradition of Christian faith(Became a nation religion since 333AC) and they consider the European look like people thier sisters and brothers in faith. Because they never tested as it was happened to the rest of Africa, many Ethiopians have no any racism feeling under their skin.
So, don't warry about your children race issue. Tell them about the Ethiopian people brother/-sisterhood history with the white race."


Race Matters...

…this is my conclusion thus far based on the trans-racial adoption/family lit that I’ve read. (I’d be interested to know what the rest of my fellow-YG is discovering as well) However, just because race does matter, doesn’t mean it has to be problematic.

All of my life I’ve believed that being “color-blind” was a politically-correct attitude worth achieving – but what I’ve discovered is, in fact, quite the opposite. The notion that someone is “color-blind” suggests that there is an attribute that needs to be overlooked (ie- skin color). If skin color isn’t a big deal, then I shouldn’t need to be “blind” to it.

According to dictionary.com, when blind is used as an adjective, it means: unwilling or unable to perceive or understand; lacking all consciousness or awareness. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a good thing to me???

A recurrent struggle for adolescent trans-racial adoptees seems to be that people are color-blind – especially their family members. Dismissing the race issue isolates adopted children as they begin to perceived race differences in their environment; they don’t have the freedom the to openly & verbally wrestle with this new-found awareness, because their family’s first response is to minimize differences in race.

Talking about skin color isn’t taboo – I don’t believe God gave us diversity, only to ignore it. Vince & and I are going to strive for our home to be a safe place to discover and talk about our differences from the very beginning, so, instead of fearing them, our children will hopefully embrace them.

…just a few thoughts for today – I’ll revisit this issue soon…

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
-MLK, Jr


A smolder wick He did not put out...

OK -- great news!
Our friends, Missy & Brad, who are also adopting concurrently (but several steps ahead of us) read our previous post and immediately sent me an email. It appears they've decided NOT to update their home study until after they complete their first adoption because they'll have to update with a new 'addition' anyway. Duh- makes sense! Our China coordinator with AWAA didn't seem to be in a hurry for us to update at our 12-month expiration, so maybe our social worker didn't realize we don't need to update our HS since we switched our I-171H to Ethiopia. (ok- how many times can I use 'update' in one paragraph???) All that said, I'm going to CONFIRM with AWAA that we can hold off on our China paperwork. Oh, please....

CONGRATS to the Coen's & Harbaugh's -- both families had successful court dates last Friday & will be traveling to ET in the next couple of weeks to meet (hug, squeeze, kiss, love) & bring home their newest family members. Yeah! You can check out their blogs & meet their children (lower right).



I am so feeling this picture right now!
We received a packet in the mail yesterday to update our China home study...might I add, the very same home study we updated 1/08 for our Ethiopia adoption.
It never ends -- the packet included forms for health exams, financial info, and on and on... We JUST did all this in January. I'm praying we can just submit copies from our January paper-chase for our update.


Hubby's Birthday

Well, yesterday was Vince's 36th birthday...and he's a little anxious about his ever-approach- ing 40th...

Although, I think his anxiety will soon sub-side. The combination of getting older, AND not having children yet has had him a little panicky --
but, I know his anxiety will have been but a dream when he's celebrating his 37th birthday next year with our precious son or daughter from Ethiopia...

For his birthday, we stayed Thursday night in Branson (we're only 25 miles away) -- we went to the Tanger outlet mall (the baby clothes were oh-so-tempting), went out for dinner, and then spent the evening and following morning in our hotel room watching Animal Planet & HGTV. We don't have cable/dish at home, so, that's usually the highlight of our travels. I know, I know...all you parents of young children, don't shame us for being so boring before children come...
Friday night I surprised Vince by prearranging for some friends to drop-in on/surprise us at a local coffee shop...we had a great evening.
It was a wonderfully, relaxing two days -- but I'm sure we'd both admit the greatest part of Vince's birthday was contemplating how different our lives will be on his birthday next year!!! And, oh, for the better!!

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