Sunday, September 30, 2012

Final Total & Thank You!

We can't even begin to describe to all of you how overwhelmed and thankful we are!!! From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU so much for everything everyone did this week!

Here is our Final Total video for Give 1 Save 1.

We are humbled and amazed! 

Thank you!!

We would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who shared, emailed, facebooked, tweeted, space shuttled our story to family, friend, co-workers, and strangers!
We couldn't have done any of this without you!

And to Beth, whose brilliant blog has helped so many families, including us. Thank you so much for time spent, encouragements written, and the love and support you put into each family! We are so grateful!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Totals and...TOTALLY 2 DAYS LEFT!!

(Disclaimer: We were working with limited light on this one...but you guys are still DA BOMB!!)

Well, the weekdays are ended and we are absolutely left blown away by the generosity and love that we have been shown over the last 5 days! 

You guys have been AWESOME!!!!!!!

Check out the totals from this whole week of giving and remember...


We are bringin' this all the way through Sunday!!

So continue to share the love, pass along our info, and donate a $1!! 

Click Here:


copy this link:

and post it, tweet it, email it, hot air balloon it....
to pass on the love!! 

WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!! Even if we haven't met you. 
That is just how incredible you are! :) 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Page by Page Totals

We honestly don't even know where to start today. 
You guys have left us without words other than to say a very huge THANK YOU that is not even as close to as big as it should be! 
And that is the truth! 

So with out delay...
Here are the totals from Day 4!

We've got 3 more days left and we can't wait to see what happens!!
Day 5....HERE WE GO!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Totals and a Ticking Clock

It is officially Day 4 of Give1 Save1 and...


You all are rocking it! 
We mean like...Drop-it-like-its-hot, Call-me-maybe?, Mick-jagger-has-nothin-on-you, ROCKIN it!!!

We are absolutely continually amazed by all of your generosity, encouragement, and love! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!

Here's to Day 4...

Can't wait to see what happens...cause we already know it is going to be incredible!!!! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Totals...With a Little Help From our Friends

Seriously?!?! Stop it! 

Ok...don't stop it but...SERIOUSLY?!

Day 2 totals are in and we are continuing to feel SO COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by everyones generosity and love!

We are on to Day 3 of Give1 Save1 and holdin on to our socks (even though I am still wearing flip flops because thats what happens when you live in California in September) because we know that today will be another day of complete blessing and support! 

Thank you guys for sharing, supporting, uplifting, and walking with us through all of this! We can't even begin to use enough words to thank you all the way we should! 

Remember to keep sharing our story at....

Day 3...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sharpies and Totals

Blown away. Just really stinkin' blown away! Thank you!

But, we aren't done yet...

We still have 6 full more days to keep spreading the love! So...

Click on THIS LINK to take you to Give1 Save1, check out our story, donate, and keep sharing with friends, family, neighbors, churches, strangers, the president...whomever!! 

Wish we had big enough arms to hug all of you at the same time!! (oh wow...that would be kind of messy, yeah?)

Monday, September 24, 2012

We Would Like to Announce...

We know that we have kept you guys on the edge of your seat for a little while.

I also know that Erik has been priming the pump with lots and lots of teasers.
(This is what happens when you go out of town to a place with know internet connection and leave your blog password with your husband).

But without further adieu, we would like to announce that...

We have been chosen as the GIVE1SAVE1 family of the week!!!!!!

Um...get pumped. This is awesome!! Like...REALLY AWESOME! And a huge huge huge huge huge blessing!!!!

What is it, you ask?
Give1Save1 is an incredible blog/concept started by a really amazing woman to help adoptive families raise funds for...well...adopting! The concept is that each week a family is featured by submitting a video and during that week people can go and donate $1 (or more) to help them raise their adoption funds! Incredible, right? Each dollar goes toward not just helping to fund adoption, but saving and restoring lives in all kinds of ways.

And this is us!

So, what does this mean?
For the entire week, we will be featured on this blog allowing people to go and donate to our adoption!! What an awesome opportunity to share our story! We already feel so blessed!!

So here is what to do...let me give you some instructions:

1. Click HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE...that is just 4 options all going to the same place :)

2. Check out our video and hear a little about our story and donate if you can!

3. Pass this on to friends and family like crazy!! This works best the more that we get the word out! Post it to your blogs, Facebook it, Tweet it, put it on the NASA space shuttle...whatever form you got, please use it! And in the words of Erik Anderson, "Shake what your momma gave ya!" (I don't know. He just wanted me to say that).

4. Lastly, this is an incredible place that helps out tons of families walking through this journey, not just us! So, show the love and check it out on other weeks as well to see how you can help save lives all over the world!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Top Secret News - 48 hrs

Hello Everyone,

Have you ever been blown away by God's blessings? So much so that it leaves you shaking your head in humble wonder?

That's where I'm at right now. God just threw down a huge blessing that inches us closer to the next chapter in our adoption journey.

I'm serious! We have some fantastic, amazing, ridiculously incredible news to share with everyone. It's sort of like waiting in line at Disneyland to ride space mountain! (just less screaming children who have been "holding it" for the last hour while waiting in line)

The anticipation is killing me!

I think I will just go ahead and say it.... We are...


Jessa made me "pinky promise" while looking her in the eye that I would keep this one a secret....something which I am dreadful at!

So until these 48 hours pass, we will all patiently wait together!

I promise this isn't a "Y2K" fake out, we really do have something exciting to tell you.

Time to stop before I spill it. Stay Tuned!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Deliver-ing?

Looks like I won't be the only thing on a plane this weekend.

We just found out that our Dossier arrived back from Washington D.C., authenticated and ready to be sent on it's way to Ethiopia!

So, while I'm sailing the blue skies over the Rockies, our future parenthood will be voyaging it's way over the blue seas of the Atlantic.

Sounds like a good travel weekend to me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 24th.

Awesome, right?

Want to know what this is all about?

It is really cool...

Like really really REALLY cool.

Like Gangnam Style cool.

Stay tuned because there is a countdown. The final countdown?


Just stay tuned.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Good vs. The Ugly

Adoption is a beautiful thing.

When Erik and I started this process, we found ourselves obsessively drawn toward watching Ethiopian Adoption "Gotcha Day" videos on YouTube.

If you need a REALLY good full body cleansing cry...go look it up. You can thank me later.

Everyone always tells us that they are so excited for us. That this is such an amazing thing that we are going through. That adoption...well...adoption is a beautiful thing.

I don't disagree. But I also think there are some really ugly sides. Some really hard sides. Some really messed up and upsetting things about it that come with the good.

We have been getting updates for the past couple of months about the government process in Ethiopia and how things are changing. We were told that we might be seeing an increase in wait times but would be officially notified by mid-September.

On Friday, we found out that Dossiers sent to Ethiopia as of August are looking at a 29-31 month wait time from the time our Dossier is in Ethiopia to referral.
29-31 months?
They don't show that in the "Gotcha Day" videos.

We have made a lot of great friends through this adoption process that I know are hearing the same news and I know are saddened, discouraged, and broken-hearted.

We also know that there are a lot of kids in Ethiopia waiting for homes, waiting for families, waiting for someone to do something.

It doesn't make sense.
It makes me so mad.
It breaks our hearts.
It makes us hate the bad so much.
It makes us question the good.
It throws everything up in the air and begs the question, "What happens now?"

I am slightly at a loss today.

"But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and do not grow faint." Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another Not So Little Fall Update...

In the wake of a busy summer, busy ministry season, and busy photography season, we haven't gotten a chance to do very much updating. I'm fearing that people feel left in the dark. ALAS FRIENDS! You are not in the dark. Here comes (drum roll, please) A SEPTEMBER UPDATE!!!!! WOOOO!!!

I feel like I just asked someone to come on down for the Price is Right.

Where shall I begin? How about May?

We officially completed all of the paperwork that we could for our dossier (quite eager and motivated). The hardest thing about being eager and motivated, however, is that not everyone is on the same track as you. This led us to a lot of waiting. Waiting for our home study to be complete, waiting for United States Immigration to approve us, waiting for paperwork, signatures, notaries, stamps, seals, envelopes...basically everything you can think of in the first 3 rows of Office Depot.

Our home study was finally "officially" completed and we received our biometrics appointments for fingerprints for USCIS...for July...for when we would be out of town.
So, we rescheduled, took another dose of "patience" medicine, and settled into what would soon become a very familiar waiting game.
However, this waiting game was also filled with some great distractions like a trip to Kauai, a trip to Texas for a beautiful wedding, Vacation Bible School, a camping trip, and lots of fun photo shoots!

Our physical, spiritual, and emotionally beings were all wrapped around our High School Youth Group trip to Tennessee for CHIC. I'm pretty sure that God knew we weren't able to handle much else. We received our fingerprinting appointments for 2 days after we returned from our trip and that was about the most exciting adoption thing that happened all of July.
As I look back on it...I'm so thankful for that.
We did, with the help of a very talented high school student (shout out to Derek Mari! Holla!), create something super special and super amazing that will be shared with you all so very soon. Please stay tuned for further details...shh...

You know those movies that are really good, but somewhere in the middle they hit a slow spot and you are about to fall asleep and then BAM! Something exciting happens and your adrenaline starts pumping and you remember that you are really enjoying that film? That is August.
The beginning of August brought us our Immigration approval, our trip to Sacramento for State Sealing our documents (way less intimidating than expected), our submission of our Dossier and our submission of 4 Grant Applications! Look who got there stride back?
All that mixed in with a trip back east to see Erik's family, our college friends, and my family, the end of Summer Ministry and the Kickoff of Fall Ministry! I needed a nap.

So now we are here. September. It is so hard to believe that it has already been 8 months since this process began. We have discussed how crazy it is when people talk about their adoption experiences taking 2-3 years. Because honestly, these 8 months have gone by so fast. 2-3 years sounds understandable. Do-able even.
When we submitted our Dossier (WAY back in August), we were required to make a payment of $6,000. As of Sunday, we were $1,000 short.
When we started this journey, we committed to our family and to God, that we would not do this process through debt. We committed to walk this journey by paying in cash...which in this world...isn't easy.
Easy would be taking out our credit card and putting the remaining $1000 down until I got paid for the wedding I shot at the end of August. Easy would mean not trusting in God but trusting in us. Easy would mean instant gratification.
Easy isn't what we signed up for.
So, we decided to wait. The paperwork just sitting on someone's desk in Michigan until we turned in our money. A kid potentially just waiting in an orphanage to be called someone's child. Our child. That is hard business.
Enter in Sunday morning...
I decided early on Sunday morning during our ministry fair at church that I was going to write a blog update, because I had a lot of people asking what the status was on our adoption. I knew what I would have to say that our papers were turned in to our Adoption Agency, but not going anywhere anytime soon. Lame answer.
Well, I didn't even really get a chance to say that because 2 hours into the morning, we were told that someone wanted to anonymously give us $1000 for our adoption. Yes. You heard that correctly. $1000.
That would be before anyone knew how much we needed to complete our Dossier.
That would be before I even had the chance to let people know that we were waiting on that money so that our Dossier could be sent on to be Authenticated.
That would be other people not taking the easy way and graciously giving their own money to us.
That would be 2 very humbled people in awe and shock.
That would be a God who knows exactly what we need when we need it.

Yesterday I hit the payment button, leaving .37 cents left in our adoption account. Our Dossier will be sent out to the United States Ethiopian Embassy for Authentication this week and hopefully on to Ethiopia within the next 4 weeks.

That would be where we are. Today.  

God is good.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Man's Trash...

I saw a picture of a nursery on Pinterest a while back and became quickly obsessed with...oh...I don't know...EVERYTHING ABOUT IT!
Usually the one downside to finding these pictures of amazing rooms is that they are comprised of items bought at places like Anthroplogie and Pottery Barn. This limits my ability to swoon for too long before I get super frustrated with my internet searches to remake the room exactly as pictured in relationship to my bank account balances.
But I guess that is when the creativity kicks in, making way to many "close calls" in the car as I check out garage sales while driving. (Highly Recommended with Caution!)
I have, for the last couple of months, been on the hunt for a chair similar to the one that is in this dream room. Please refer to picture below.

Everything I found was just too expensive or just too...horrible. Nothing seemed to meet the happy medium of workable. Until today. 
On the way home from a worship meeting at church this morning, I drove past a garage sale sporting eye catching orange arm chairs in the front yard. I quickly drove home and recruited Erik to go back with me (I use him for his muscles and money...ow ow!) to see what kind of wheelin' and dealin' we could do.
I don't know if it was our dashing good looks, winning personalities, or just their wanting to be rid of this incredible orange rocking arm chair, but we walked away with this gem for $15. 
15 bucks, people! 

So, I realize that this may require some creativity...but isn't that the fun in turning someone's trash into your own little treasure? A treasure that is sure to be used many times for rocking, reading, sleeping, and loving.