Sunday, May 27, 2012


"In a world of unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Find in Me the stability for which you have yearned. 
I created a beautifully ordered world: one that reflected My perfection. Now, however, the world is under the bondage of sin and evil. Every person on the planet faces gaping jaws of uncertainty. The only antidote to this poisonous threat is drawing closer to Me. In My Presence you can face uncertainty with perfect Peace."

-Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Hurdle.

We just found out today that our Home Study was sent back from Michigan because they needed more information about a very insignificant detail.

Frustrating. Highly frustrating.

I keep reminding myself that every hangup and every hurdle is only in place so that we specifically end up with the child that we are supposed to have in our lives.

But please keep praying, because, it doesn't make it any less hard. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Little Not So Little Update.

I thought that I would take a moment to "adoption update" all of the wonderful people who so faithfully check into our blog. I know that I write blips here and there about what we are doing, what we have finished, and more often, how I am feeling, but I was kindly and graciously reminded by my mother that it would be nice to do a little recap/update in one post.

Even at the ripe age of 28, I often wonder, "What would I do without my mother?"

So, here is what is up in the Anderson Way of Adoption:

We are adopting from Ethiopia. :) I state this only because we still have had several people ask us where we are adopting from or if we had decided if we were doing international or domestic. If you are new to this blog or new to our story, check out this post on how we came to this decision! As far as preference goes, we have listed a child of either gender between the ages of 0-2 years.

We officially started our adoption process with the Home Study in January. Contrary to what many might think, this only included one visit to our house and the actual "study" of our home was minimal.
I'm not gonna lie...that was slightly disappointing.

The majority of our Home Study was made up of meeting with our Social Worker at the Bethany Agency office, talking about our lives, our families, our hopes, our jobs, our faith...basically like a CSI investigation on steroids and with a strong guarantee of no jail time at the end. (We had some training mixed in with all of that as maybe more like FBI?)

We finished our Home Study at the beginning of April and have currently been waiting for it to be approved by the Bethany headquarters in Michigan. This process has taken a bit longer than we had hoped...but it's almost done!

While we have been waiting for that, we started on our Dossier (Doss-e-ay). Basically, this is all of the official documentation about Erik and Jessa Anderson that will go over to Ethiopia and allow us to be approved to adopt from their country.
It is intense. It has moments of being REAL ugly. And it is tedious. Good thing I inherited my momma's awesome organizational skills. I have never loved 3 ring binders, checklists, and plastic sheet covers so my life!

At this moment, all we are waiting for is our Home Study to be approved and notarized so that we can send it to US Immigration to be approved to bring a child into the country. The rest of our Dossier is COMPLETE! We are hoping to have everything sent off by July....fingers crossed...fingers crossed...


After all of that, we wait. We wait for a long time. We are put onto a waiting list to receive a referral of a child. There are no guarantees, but judging from what I have seen, read, and heard, the wait time is anywhere between 9 and 18 receive a referral. Another 6 or so months to actually get a court date, travel, and officially bring our child home. That is...if all goes smoothly...which in adoption, the road is more like budget cut California roads after the rainy season. 

On the topic of Fundraising...
We have been SOOOOOOOOO blessed. There have been so many instances of grace, compassion, and generosity shown toward us that honestly, we are a little taken back. I have shared this with a few people, but when we started this whole process, finances was one of my biggest fears. It is incredible how God can take one of your biggest fears, when you hand it to Him, and turn it into a reaping of absolute humility and peace. 

If you follow our "Fundraising Thermometer" you have seen that line raising over the last few months to almost half of the cost! It is AMAZING! So, I will take this moment to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the people who have given of there own means to help support us on this journey. There are not even enough words to thank you all enough. You truly do have a special piece of our child's life! 

We obviously have more work to do in terms of working toward the total cost, but feel so confident in God's wide open doors and blessings!

Interpretation: How can you be praying? 
This is another question that we get a lot and probably one of the best ones that we are asked! We firmly believe that your prayers are one of the strongest supports that we can be shown, knowing that God is faithful to His children who come before Him and seek Him. 
So as far as are a few:
  • That ultimately, God would be glorified through this process, through us, and through each person who is uniquely a part of this story.
  • For the process of Ethiopian adoption going on right now, as there are always obstacles, challenges, corruption, and changes. Everything that is happening now effects the lives of children who are waiting for homes with loving families. Please be praying for the Ethiopian and US government, orphanages, and agencies that are working hard to match children with families and care for the orphans. 
  • For the completion of our Home Study and Dossier...for a smooth, error free process...and for wise and discerning eyes to catch anything that needs to be done or changed quickly and effectively
  • Peace, patience, and understanding as we continue to walk through this process. Each new day there are new feelings of excitement, hope, sadness, name it. Our heart is to pursue this journey and our child by following God's heart and living in His promises and displaying His character. But that is really hard sometimes. :)
  • Continued support in finances. I have been abundantly blessed with great photo jobs (which all of the proceeds go toward our adoption) and, as stated before, we have been SO blessed by the generosity of others. But we haven't reached the end yet! So keep praying!

If you are still reading this...
Thank you. Thank you for walking through this with us, being a part of our story, our child's story, and God's amazing story. We couldn't do it without you. 

I think that is it. Holy cow. Talk much? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Traveling the World...One Plate at a Time.

Hanging out with High School students is the best. Especially when it means you get to try new things.

Me and a few of the wonderful ladies from our High School group have made it a habit to get together for dinner once a month and try out the awesome cultures of food that Modesto has to offer. Surprisingly, there are quite a few!

Anthony Bourdain...move over!!

So far, we've hit up the All-American/Greek pita, Japanese Sushi, and fine Indian cuisine complete with dinner time Bollywood entertainment!

We try to find places that the majority of our circles of friends and family don't go. No chain restaurants allowed.

It is awesome!

There is nothing like sitting around a table and experiencing food and culture that we don't usually partake in or, in most cases, are too scared to try. It is quite the thrill waiting to see what each dish will look like when it comes to the table!
As we eat, we come up with crazy ideas of the next places that we will stumble upon in our travels!

So far on the docket we have Authentic Italian, Thai, and...Russian?

However, the best the great conversations we have, the life experiences that we talk about, and the time we spend just being "world travelers".

Often times, the best part of traveling isn't even the places you go. It is the people you are with and those that you meet in the process.

And these people are some of the world's finest.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

That Binder Be Talkin' Jazz...

I feel like I'm in 4th grade again.

In 4th grade we made Missouri Notebooks. That would be like 50 solid pages of facts and famous people from Missouri. Everything from the Bluebird to Mark Twain. (You may not know, but Missouri is kickin!)

Only this binder is not about Missouri. And the facts are not along the lines of making a raft to sail down the Mississippi.

This binder is our life.
Every. Last. Detail.

May I introduce you to...the Dossier.

That would be doss-e-ay (for those of you who, like me before 2 months ago, called it something that sounded more like a reindeer).

Basically, this is every last detail of our lives - certified, notarized, state sealed, and making it possible for us to adopt from Ethiopia. And it is....well...a bit intimidating. And by a bit, I mean...a lot.

And let me tell you, this guy LOVES to talk jazz. Like the kid that shoots spitballs at you while you are taking your Algebra test. Nasty. Just plain ole nasty.

So, how does one go about taking down this giant?

You got it. One shiny little plastic page protector at a time.

We have taken our trips to the doctors, the courthouse, the banks, written our letters to the Secretary of States from Iowa and Missouri, made stupid amounts of copies and notarized the majority of our documents (thanks to the incredible blessing of a awesomely gracious friend and notary who offered to help us out)!

We aren't done yet. We still have Immigration and a few other documents that we are waiting on. But every time I check off a little box on our Dossier Checklist, I feel a bit stronger. A bit more confident. And a bit closer.

It is like the first time that you jump off of the really high diving board at the pool. Not the regular one, but the one that is like 20 stories high or something ridiculous like that. The first time you jump, it is terrifying. Straight up, wet your pants a little, crazy scary. But, once you jump...once you know you are capable of doing gets easier. It just takes the first jump. It really isn't as bad as it looks.

The Dossier...

It's all bark.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


No, friends, this is not a cry for help because our ship is going down.

And no...this is not me about to breakout into Rhianna lyrics (although I should seriously reconsider that option).

Let's just say it is more like a simple equation to my life.

I forgot how much I miss driving in the car by myself. Since we sold our second car, there aren't a lot of moments where it is just me and the road for an extended amount of time. I love the sweet moments that I have with Erik when we do drive around together but let's be honest...I'm somewhat of a free bird. I like to fly alone sometimes. Straight up.

Since today's photo shoots took me from the Central Valley to the Bay Area and then to the Foothills of the Sierras, you could say that I had quite a bit of time to myself. Just me and the 1990 Toyota Corolla. The car of champions.

I discovered as I drove that my most favorite things to do when I'm driving alone can be summed up in the often misused but always important acronym: S.O.S.

So here you have it...

S: Sing
Sing your heart out. Sing at the top of your lungs. Try to figure out songs you don't really know and be okay with being completely out of tune or totally hitting the wrong note because you aren't sure where the song really goes.

But here is the secret to my "alone time singing". I don't do it to songs on the radio or on a CD. That is right, folks. I go "au natural". And it is usually to the tune of Frank Sinatra. Watch out, Ole Blue Eyes. You've got competition.

O: Observe
This part usually results in a lot of swerving and a one to many "close calls" but I find it to be worth it. (Disclaimer: I haven't gotten into an accident yet, so this is subject to change if the situation arises.)

It is good for the soul to look around. And contrary to popular belief, that Ford Taurus in front of you with the 3 old ladies on a day trip driving 25 miles/hour under the speed limit really isn't worth the road rage.

I think that we miss out on a lot. You never know when you are going to see something really incredible...or maybe not so incredible...but just refreshing.

Today, I observed about 200 cows, one of which was chewing the fence on the side of the road. Maybe not incredible, but it definitely made me smile.

S: Stop
We are busy people. I get that. I am seriously busy ALL OF THE TIME. But that doesn't mean that we don't have time to stop on the side of the road and take in some fresh air and maybe some fresh vision. I often stop when I am driving alone.

This makes Erik really frustrated because usually he is waiting for me to get home or worried about why I am stopping on a dirt road in the middle of no where by myself. Valid.

But today, I stopped...just for a moment. I stopped because I was thankful for the time to do just that. And because a lot of times, in all of my busyness, I forget how much beauty is really all around me.

So don't be afraid to S.O.S. every now and then. 

It is like the Chicken Soup for the Soul of the 21 Century. Promise. 


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chuck Norris and the Dossier

A dear friend of mine told me today to kick the Dossier's butt.

Dear Dossier,

Consider yourself warned.