December 24, 2011

my favorite Christmas Present!

Boy, do I ever have a TON to be thankful for! We had a wonderful Christmas with our favorite three year old :) We thoroughly enjoyed watching his awe and wonder and seeing Christmas through a child's eyes again!

My favorite Christmas Present this year was the Lord hearing my prayer to be out of the hundreds on our waitlist for Marlee and we are officially #99 for December!! (we are even lower, unofficially, but I'm not sure by how much so I'll wait till next month for a new official report:)

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas season and a very Happy New Year!

December 11, 2011

Birthday Boy!

We had a wonderful time celebrating our fabulous three year old this weekend! We went to 'pump it up' to bounce and giggle since Myles has been obsessed with both birthdays and pump it up this year-he's been asking for his birthday party there since july! After a morning of friends and jumping we went to chick-fil-a (chick a lay says Myles) for lunch and home for naps! Everytime we sang the birthday song to him this weekend he had to blow out a candle :) Here are a few pics from the occassion...

his Lightning Mcqueen cake I attempted.

You mean Lightning McQueen is on a bouncing ball-what could be better?! Thanks best buddies Sam and Mac!!

Myles is three and on his throne at Pump it Up!

We didn't win the grant contest we were in this past week, but I'm SO thankful to all of you who shopped our 'ordinary hero store' this past week to help us fundraise to bring Marlee home! I don't know our exact total, but it was close to $300!! y'all are awesome!

December 4, 2011

FUNdraising week!!

7 Days left to shop our Ordinary Hero store and help us be one of the top three sellers to win a $500 grant to go toward our adoption!!! We are in the top 15 sellers right now, and need to move up in sales to catch the top 3 spots!

Would you please check out our store and do a little Christmas shopping this week??

Would you please spread the word through facebook and word of mouth that THIS week (until Dec. 11th) we are in a grant contest to win $500 towards adoption costs??

All you have to do is pick out an ornament, a cute t-shirt, some rain boots for children in Ethiopia, adorable wooden frames, or a beautiful piece of jewelry handmade by African women and then select 'Megan Manuel' during your checkout from the affiliates drop down menu and we get 40% credit for your purchase as well as another sale closer to being a top seller for the grant!

Blogger is not cooperating with pictures right now, but I'll keep trying to post some things from the store.


December 1, 2011

Shop with a purpose!

NOW is the time to order Ordinary Hero gear! Shop TODAY through December 11th at midnight ... 40% of your purchase goes toward our adoption costs. Simply choose my name (Megan Manuel) from the drop-down affiliate box. There is even a specials Tab where prices have been slashed! Top seller receives $500 grant from OH! Can you please help me??! They have GREAT new items to choose from..Take a look and Thank you!!! :) For the Ordinary Hero store, just click here! *important* you have to choose my name from the affiliate drop down menu at checkout for us to get credit :)

Anyone enjoy a steamy cup of coffee perfection? Ethiopia's major export is just that-and it's the best in the world in my humble opinion! Get a bag of African coffee for the coffee lover on your Christmas List this year and we get a portion of the proceed and you are helping to sustain the livelihood of Ethiopian coffee farmers as they receive a fair wage for their labors from Just Love Coffee! Their are links on the right sidebar of my blog for both of these fundraisers too!

I don't want to be stingy so I'd love to give you some links to other blogs who did the ground work of compiling awesome lists of 'gifts that give back' for your holiday shopping this year! Alison at Lovin' Much has a Christmas shopping list you can access by clicking on the Christmas Tree on the left sidebar of her blog. Also, Melissa at Road to Mercy, has a great list where you can shop with a purpose.

I got (and don't worry, they've already received them at Thanksgiving) my siblings adoption fundraising T-shirts from Josh and Katie Braddy. You can check out their most awesome t-shirt design at their blog-the Braddy bunch! and my sweet friend Brandy and her husband Jason Hester started a non-profit to benefit orphans and widows in South Africa called Restoration Hope. You can provide a week's salary to a caretaker (usually an older widow) for the orphans at Tabitha Ministries by the purchase of one shirt! You can check out their website and order here!

Me and my sweet sis, Erin at Thanksgiving. I'm wearing the Restoration Hope 'love' shirt and when I gave Erin and Julie their's-they loved them!

November 26, 2011


Myles and his two cousin's, Charley and Reese! cute lil' turkeys!

mom and her two daughters cooking away on Thanksgiving!

my siblings and 'in-loves', awkward posing with the chandelier!

I am so thankful that my whole family got to come to our house this year for Thanksgiving! We had a blast being together and made many fun memories. I'm thankful for so many things as I've been recollecting this past week: my savior who is passionately pursuing our love relationship and growing and deepening my faith, my devoted and loving husband who is my rock, my sweet son who brings me laughter and love everyday, my supportive family who is never far from my heart, and my dear daughter who is getting closer everyday. This month we stay at number 103 on the waitlist, but God is sovereign and I love trusting Him for His perfect timing in growing our family! Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving too! 'Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift."

November 19, 2011

Frames for Fundraising! (and t-shirts, and coffee too!)

These are samples of the colors we have left: baby pink, baby blue, and turquoise! I sold all the rest of the colors at work this week ;) but I have 5 turquoise left, 2 baby pink, and one baby blue.

the baby pink in the picture is mine for Marlee's room, and right now it has a picture that my sweet little 6 year old friend, Brylie Hannula, drew of her and Marlee together-she is SO excited for us to adopt her!! And the pine cone turkey that Myles made has feathers with things he is thankful for (sorry my camera can't pick them up) but it says mommy, daddy, and Marlee ;)

ok, if you'd like to order just email me at what color and how many you would like, along with your name and shipping address ($3 for shipping). They are $35 dollars each and hold a 5x7 photo with hangers on two sides for hanging horizontally or vertically. I actually have mine in a stand, so that's an option too! These are beautiful custom made frames by 'Rustic Creations' and are glassed and backed with great quality! Would make great Christmas presents, or baby gifts-enjoy! Just a reminder that we're also fundraising with Just Love Coffee and all you need to do to order is click on the 'just love coffee button' on the right and it will take you to our ordering page. Go check it out because the Christmas blend 'Falalalala' is back and all the products have been updated! Also, we are selling really cool men's, women's, and children's shirts and some african made jewelry at You can also click on the right sidebar that says 'Ordinary Hero'. Just highlight 'Megan Manuel' from the affiliate name drop down menu when you checkout, and we get 40% of your purchase!

THANK YOU for helping bring Marlee one step closer to her forever home!

November 9, 2011

All I want for Christmas is...a T-shirt of course!

The time has arrived for our Christmas fundraiser! We are selling all sorts of T-shirts!! And we are using a wonderful organization called 'Ordinary Hero' who is letting us be a fundraising affiliate. And there's not just T-shirts, but baby onesies, toddler apparel, jewelry, coffee mugs, and hoodies!

ok here's how easy it is: Click on this link to go to the Ordinary Hero Store.
Pick out what ya want, and when you check out choose 'Megan Manuel' (that would be me!) in the drop down menu that says 'affiliates'. boo-ya! Now we make 40% off your purchase, and it goes right to our agency for our next whopping fee :) and now you have a sweet Christmas present to either give or receive!!

If you don't choose my name from the affiliate drop down menu we will not receive any credit from your purchase, so please remember that little step! Sorry I don't have any pictures to post yet, I'm working on it!

Thank you so much for supporting us as we journey to our daughter! I can't wait to see how God provides through T-shirts :)

October 25, 2011

October 2011 Number

Thought I'd show ya some pictures from our annual pumpkin patch outing this year. I love to measure how much Myles has grown when we do yearly events like this! The first pic is from his first pumpkin patch, and this was year three! Speaking of three...our Number for october is 103! The past three months we've moved 10 spots and in one month alone we moved 8!! This was so encouraging today, since I was prepared for a much higher # since movement has been slower.

We could not get a pic of cousin Charley and Myles together looking at the camera and smiling! They had fun anyhow ;)

Best buds-Mac and Myles were kicking and throwing around some pumpkin 'balls'!

Sweet and sweaty! It should be a sin to be 90 degrees in October!

October 12, 2011

Courts are OPEN!

This is probably just the first court closure we'll have to wait through, but I'm excited to say that it's over! The Ethiopian courts reopened today after 2 months of being closed for the rainy season! Praying for lots of movement in so many adoption cases that have been 'stuck' because of this delay.

October 11, 2011

adoption phase 2: Wait

I'm not assuming that lots of people checkout my blog, but since the purpose of it is to inform friends and family on our adoption journey I wanted to share where we are currently at, and what's coming word...ready....WAITING.

I sometimes liken this journey to pregnancy:) The first trimester of adoption is paperwork-and boy did it make me sick and tired! The second trimester of adoption is more pleasant at first..just waiting..everything is out of your control and for awhile you're so glad you're not doing paperwork anymore that it's a sigh of relief. Then you get the ultrasound and get to see your baby for the first time! That's like the referral of adoption. When you're finally matched with your child and you see pictures. This is definately the highlight of the second trimester! The third trimester of adoption-traveling and more waiting and throw in some paperwork again! The third trimester is just crammed with growing pains and you're big and uncomfortable and there's not too much that can be done for ya!

I've long since given up in hoping in given time frames, but just for an estimate they give us 18-24 more months until we are matched up with our daughter (a referral). This could always change for the shorter or the longer. There's lots going on in an international adoption. There's a lot going on in our adoptive country of Ethiopia right now too-orphanage closures, cases being investigated time and again, courts closing for rainy season, the branch of govt. that handles adoptions is slowing down the number of cases they process etc.

So that puts us in a hard position of waiting. If you've never had to wait on the Lord to fulfill a promise to you, or wait on His timing in your life-it's h.a.r.d. Just to share a little bit personally, I've been discouraged about the daunting wait in front of us. How could God ask us to wait so long for something that His heart is obviously for?!? Then I'm brought back to surrender and humility. God is most interested in my sanctification. This process is maybe just as much about our becoming more Christ-like as it is about adopting an orphan into our family. A sweet friend asked me this week how people could help encourage us during this time. (not many people around here doing what we're doing and so it's new to all of us:) I'm not totally sure about my answer, but I do enjoy talking about our adoption, and making fun but small preparations for her. I have to pace myself with such a wait in front of me, and too much too soon isn't going to be healthy for me. An example of a really encouraging time was this past sunday when a sweet african american friend gave me some hair books to practice with and we just laughed and talked awhile about how this white girl needed all the help she could get, and she told me she could be on my speed dial for hair 911! :) I will continue to update our monthly number on the waitlist, but it may get hard for me to just focus on a number. So maybe instead of asking me what number we are, ask me if I'm looking to Christ and surrendering to His perfect timing!

As hard as waiting can be, waiting is also very purposeful. This article I read really hit home with the purposes he gives for waiting on God. I encourage you to read it if you're in a season of waiting too.

God's Will For Your Wait

October 3, 2011

Trips to PA are fun!

so two weeks out of september I was in Pennsylvania at home celebrating with my kissin' cousin Katie (we were born in the same month in '82- we're 29 forever!) at her shower and wedding! One was a trip by myself (ohh lala!) and the next was with my boys which was a blast! I haven't been home in the fall in a l.o.n.g. time so this was a treat! but I'm having a hard time catching up on my life now that I'm back to MS! Here's some highlights...

he really wanted to carry his back pack and pull his red suitcase. So it may have looked to some like child slave labor, but it really wasn't :)

not his first flight, but the first one he remembers and really knew what was going on-SO excited!!

the view down my parent's street

pumpkin time!

katie and I at her Bridal breakfast!

but the best part was seeing Nana and Papa he told us when we got home ;)

September 17, 2011

Africa in Jackson

I've wanted to go to Africa so bad lately partly because we have a team from church there right now ministering to a whole bunch of our friends on the field, and because I have just wanted to go forever and now the anticipation is just building and growing:) so today we decided to get as close as we could and go to the Jackson Zoo-ha! It was a fun morning and when we got to the 'African forest' I saw a chance for a creative way to share our September number...can you see the numbers the boys are holding up?!?

Our September Number is 111!

He had to ride an animal while at the zoo :)

Myles standing on one foot like the flamingoes!

Myles and Michael woke up the orangotanges (sp??) with their 'calls', and it kinda freaked Michael out a bit!

a Tiger resting right by the majestic!

The osterich was about to sit on all her eggs. I loved watching her nudge them all, count them, move them all close together and then sit on them while the 'daddy' was busy scouring the perimeter of their exhibit to keep all of us away from his babies!

September 11, 2011


9-11 story for Pinelake Kids from K!Lake on Vimeo.

Our children's minister from the Resevoir campus, Curt Hale, created this for our kids at church. I wanted to save it for my kiddos one day when they can better understand. I can't believe it's been 10 years since I walked into my college dorm lobby to sobbing crowds huddled around our TV as we watched a plane crash into the world trade center. I'm so glad that God is sovereign, good, and victorious over evil! I'll remember the sacrifices of so many people to give me freedom and protection in our nation. Grateful today.

September 9, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday 2011 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

so it's friday and I'm just doing some thinkin and prayin. Orphan Sunday is an initiative to bring the orphan crisis to the church's attention. I would love to participate as a church in the November 6th 'orphan sunday', but my participation of bringing this urgent need up to the church isn't really contingent on whether my church has a 'special service' or not. The church as a body is a beautiful thing when it works together to obey God's commands. I would love to see us grow in obedience to caring for the orphan and the widow! Please pray today for them, for provision of their needs,for peace in their turbulence, and comfort in their pains. Talk about it this week with your spouse, friend, coworker. Pray for an adoptive family. Support a child with a sponsorship through an aid relief agency like 'World Vision' or 'Compassion International'. Volunteer in your community to help impoverished children or families. Let's show them we are Christians by our LOVE.

August 30, 2011

BEMM fundraiser-thru this week only!

So I've been prayin' and thinkin' and plannin' about...fundraisers. The first three letters of that word do NOT describe it accurately for me at all. Whatever it stems from I'm not sure, but bottom line-I don't like fundraising. I'd much rather be giving it to someone when a friend messaged me about this fundraiser today I decided to jump on it-a way to do both!

Steffany is a fellow AP (adoptive parent) and in her blog posts she loves to use acronyms!! She has created an organization called BEMM (Because Every Mother Matters) to help Ethiopian mamma's and prevent more orphans. She is trying to purchase an ambulance for a village that could save 40 mama's and their babies every month, and she is raising the funds for this project


If you click on the link below, there's a BEMM 'button' on the right hand side of her blog. Anyone who donates $20 to the ambulance fund can put our families name down in the 'notes for recipient' line as you are reviewing your donation, and we are entered in a chance to win some cash for our adoption fund! Win/win! Do it soon, though-we only have until sunday! and only donations with our name on it will be used toward this project.

Here it is in her words, but blogger wont let me link to it:

or you can go straight to Because Every Mother Matters website and donate.

Thanks, and have a great week!

August 24, 2011

trippling our fun

What's going on with us lately? well, church. In the south, it seems, we have a phenomenon where when people go back to school (in our case at MC-college) they come back to church. It's just the ebb and flow of church attendance I guess. This year, our 'storefront' church building that holds 350 people with 6 classrooms and two potties:) was definately a fire hazard!

Here it is in my pastor's/hubbie's words:

Here are some pics that don't do our people justice, but I was so surprised and excited that I just started snapping :) We had about 100 people come to church last week that couldn't fit in our worship center, overflow room, or Den (where fussy babies and their parents go to see the service). so they huddled lobby furniture around-including rocking chairs from the nursery and faced the little TV in the lobby to worship together!

Michael trying to direct people and not sure what to do!

standing room only in the worship center!

people starting to gather for worship in the lobby. Welcome to church!

please pray for our body as we embark on another journey of faith!

August 19, 2011


The courts are at 'recess' right now in Ethiopia, so our numbers may be slow moving through october when they reopen. It's the rainy season, and I pray they really do get rain. The drought is so severe in most of the country as well as throughout the horn of Africa. I'm so glad God is sovereign in the midst of suffering. Please pray with me for the people of Africa!

Our August number is officially 117!

August 15, 2011

7 years together

Not too shabby for a self-portrait of us, hun! Michael and I got to celebrate 7 years together this weekend!! Saturday we went to the Fairview Inn and ate at Sophia's restaurant, then we went to Belhaven and rocked in the rocking chairs and remembered where our love began. It was so sweet and fun! 'our swing' by the lake isn't there anymore, but the rocking chair's in front of the fountain are, and we had many late night talks there too :) Having such a love is truly one of the biggest blessings of my life and one that we try not to take for granted. Marriage takes a lot of maintenance work, but is so rewarding! We've had lots of adventures in our 7 years together (Myles being the biggest) and are looking forward to many more to come, Lord willing! This year, as a wife, I was challenged to really intercede in prayer for my husband in an intentional way. I've had times when I did this well, and times I haven't, and I can really tell that my prayers mattered. I would encourage all the girls out there to be praying for your husband (future or present) and to get specific. God delights to answer us and bless us in our relationships!

May you be blessed in yours today!

July 29, 2011

Marlee has a number!

At 1:30 today we got a call from AGCI saying we were officially on the waitlist at Number 121! And in the above picture I'm working on making a countdown banner! We were all in the car on the way home from the church and I said "Yea!!! Hooray!! wow, that's the biggest number I've heard of yet!" So our parameters on the 'girls waitlist' are no. 121 for an infant girl 0-12 months old! Marlee may have a number now, but she was and always will be much more than a number to us. She's being wonderfully made by our loving Father in her birthmother's womb. We are so excited to be waiting on you, Marlee!
"Love is never tired of waiting" 1 Corinthians 13:4

And Isn't this bib adorable?! It was sent to me from a dear friend, Kat, from Uganda! Thank you so much Kat! You are so thoughtful and it came yesterday-when I really needed the encouragement :) AND it will match perfectly with the fabric you got me so she'll have a matching bib and outfit from you in Africa!

July 28, 2011

Is it Friday yet??

Though the Lord has been steadily showing me things and growing me-I have a LONG ways to go. starting with my impatience...:) honestly though, this week especially, I have felt so impatient with this adoption journey. And I've learned that often times my impatience is a direct result to an ungrateful heart. who knows if that's the case this time or not, but I do know I will justify myself to the bitter end usually and, people, it gets a whole lot worse!

Two things are heavy on my heart and mind right now...
1. yesterday I was finally able to send in our paperwork revisions, but I had missed the delivery truck by 10 min. so my overnight shipping turned into the next day's which means that our papers will arrive to our agency friday mid-morning. If our case manager is able to review them friday, and we need no more revisions we MAY be put on the waiting list...possibly will have to wait until next week if they are swamped. I am very ready to be officially 'waiting' haha, but I'm also very nervous. And if you know me, you would say 'Amen' to that last statement ;) I've wondered "Do I have what it takes to stick out this 18+ months of waiting?" Myles reminded me in our paperwork-errand running this week that we follow Jesus; and trusting Him is what I need! So I'm trying to do this-moment. by. moment.

2. You probably already know, but there is a devestating drought turning into famine right now in the Horn of Africa. It's the worst it's been in decades they are saying. Worst right now in Somalia-oh my heart breaks for this country that is war-torn and now destitute as thousands seek salvation in refugee camps in Kenya-which is also feeling the hard effects of drought, high food prices, corrupt governments, and now thousands more refugees. Ethiopia is right along with them; as is Uganda. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by injustice and poverty. My heart breaks. I'm so glad our Heavenly Father's heart breaks too, and He will uphold the cause of the poor. So I've been praying, and struggling with what to do. We sponsor some children through www.World and (Blogger wont let me post pics or link to their websites right now, but these are at least their URL addresses) Our almost 9 year old little boy, Gideon, lives in rural Kenya so I donated to compassion's "african drought" fund. I have Marlee's birthmother in my heart too as I think about such hardship in these countries. I can't imagine what it would be like to be pregnant on the equator in the third world during a severe drought. We get updates from compassion and in the one I got yesterday they said many women are reporting miscarriages after having to work/walk so hard/long to get water. compassion also has a fund for pregnant women and babies 'at risk'. I may donate to that as well. But is that all? God, what would you have your church do to help save your people? what would you have me do? It's hard to sit in my airconditioned house sipping on clean cold water while dinner is in the oven and know this is not even close to reality for millions of people around the world.

So, I'm unsure of what to do, and maybe you are too. Maybe we should hang out, pray together, see what God wants to say. Check out those website links and donate if that's what you hear God saying to you too.

Hopefully I'll have more uplifting news tomorrow/soon!

July 21, 2011

"F"avorable "D"etermination "L"etter

Our FDL came in the mail yesterday. what?!? haha I could not believe it, even when I saw it! It has only been a week since we were printed and we already received it in the mail-crazy! that may have been the shortest wait for an FDL in recent history! I guess we waited on the front end this time. That letter completes the dossier officially and speaking of dossier's; ours is being reviewed tomorrow! Pray it doesn't need revisions and we can jump on the waitlist!

July 13, 2011

The Dossier is Done!

I'm sitting outside on my front porch watching the rain showers bless the earth; and it's a very literal picture of what God has done in my life over the past 9 months-blessed me. Today was the biometric fingerprinting appointment for Michael and I. The sweetest lady did our prints and we were so disappointed we didn't get her name! She said she loves getting to meet the families of adoptees and loves to watch the children as they grow in their forever families. She even got our blog address to follow our journey! These prints provided us the last piece of paperwork we needed to finish our "Dossier"! The approval letter (FDL-Favorable Determination Letter) will come in several weeks and will officially complete our dossier, but our agency is letting us turn in the paperwork and start waiting without the letter. :)

After we got printed, Michael and I went to Keifer's to get some lunch and celebrate quickly before we had to get back to "life" and Michael asked me how I felt now that our paperwork was done. "Well, excited, I guess, but it hasn't hit me yet" is basically what I told him!

I know you wont believe me, but I'll tell you anyways...I went to pick up Myles and on the way home I saw a big rain cloud and a scattered rain shower on the right side of the interstate. Well, I asked God if He would move that shower over to the left side of the road and let it rain at my house and be a sign of Him raining His blessings down on us. I'm not lying when I tell you, I looked at the traffic ahead of me for a sec, then looked down at my tea, got a drink, looked back at the sky, and the shower was on the left hand side of the road! I hadn't turned, or exited, and there was not a path of rain across the road or anything. I believe God just moved it...for me. It looked like it was positioned right over our neighborhood! I just started to thank God for all of His blessings in my life, and how He had done a work in me over these past 9 months. The tears started to flow as I recounted the two things I was most fearful over beginning an adoption-money and the paperwork-He had used me to accomplish. Y'all get it?? He did it! and He used me! Humbling, and amazing to me! As I looked down at that massive stack of papers I became so grateful for the calling He gave us to not only get Marlee; but to complete a Dossier-because it has increased my faith. oh, and I've also learned to throw all my timetables out the window! ha! Our 6 month deadline was tuesday...printed wednesday and mailed in...Our agency has been gracious and at least they received it in the deadline week, right?!

Thank you, Lord, for pouring your blessings out on me and my family in so many ways, but also for the very specific ways you have loved me through all the small details of compiling a dossier. I love that when I am weak, You are very strong. And thank you for showing me You will go to the ends of the earth for your children. Your love is amazing!

July 1, 2011


Today was the first day I haven't stalked the mailbox. Today was the first day I didn't even get the mail at all. Today I had resigned to the holiday weekend bringing me NO official government mail that I have been waiting for. Today I was wrong!

Our US.CIS biometric fingerprinting appointment came in the mail TODAY!!

I was trying to remember how long we've been waiting for this little letter yesterday, I think it's 8 weeks, but I'm a little fuzzy after so long :) I really was ok in my spirit about waiting on it-knowing it would come in God's perfect time. It's just great when NOW (Mine and Myles favorite word) is God's timing :)
Today was ordained by a sovereign God. The way He cares about the small details in our days is humbling and fills me with gratitude. He cares for you too. He is teaching me to pour my heart out to Him more and more because He is so trustworthy and He loves so deeply.

Now, we WAIT until our appointment (july 13th) and then send in our paperwork with a photocopy of our fingerprint letter! We'll WAIT until the US.CIS approves our fingerprints to be "officially done" with paperwork, but they will let us turn it all in after we get our prints taken. When we send in our papers, they will put us on the "WAITing list" to be matched up with our little girl!!

More WAITing to come, but another step closer to Marlee is SO sweet!!

June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to Myle's amazing daddy!! Michael's such an inspiration to me everyday. He loves Myles (and Me) from a heart filled with the Holy Spirit who is in love with our Heavenly Father. Thank you for being a great dad!! (and husband, and man!) And a big Happy Father's Day to big Bob and Papa Hulley who our Michael and I's wonderful father's/superheroes and are such great individuals to imitate the way they live and love!

The rest of these pictures are a representation of what we've been up to lately...warning-I'm writing this late at night and it's an attempt at not taking our position in our adoption journey too seriously! I thought we'd have great news last week-or was that two weeks ago?? can't remember-but we're still waiting on a fingerprint appointment to come in the mail before we can turn in our paperwork!

Myles taking pics at the beach with his cousins Charley and Reese-He loved it this year!

the first thing I bought for Marlee...I've wanted one of these tutu swimsuits for a little girl forever, and Michael didn't even balk at me buying it today. He knew I needed encouragement :)

Me anxiously scouring through the day's mail!

June 4, 2011

news on the paperwork chase

It's been over a week now and I need to update y'all on our paperwork "chase" as some call it! (I have a few other choice words I could call it, but I'll refrain for now:) Anyways, I have to admit that I've got some nervous energy surrounding all this adoption paperwork right now! this past week has been full of adoption talk from our sweet adoption fellowship group get together, some fellow ethiopia adopting mamas got together for coffee one night, and some more news from our agency! So I thought I would put all the facts in bullet form for easier reading:

1. Our agency has confirmed MOWA (Ethiopian govt. that processes adoptions) is only processing 5 adoption cases a day. (this is a large slow down)

2. Our agency has also decided that they would change their policy that we came in under from needing our FDL (favorable determination letter) to complete our paperwork/dossier to not needing it during our "6 month time limit". (we have 6 months to turn in all our paperwork and we have one week left and all we are waiting on is that letter) SO-we are hoping to have BIG and exciting news for y'all on monday ;) stay tuned.

3. We got our first grant money yesterday that will allow us to pay the fees needed to turn in our paperwork!!

4. I had to make some revisions on our paperwork and sweet Tammy from church helped me get that all done yesterday and make all my copies I needed!

that may make little to zero sense to you, but in a nutshell-we are getting very close to being done with all this paperwork phase and moving into the "waiting phase". Soon you can just ask me "what are you waiting on now?" and that may be a great blog heading in the future too! thanks for all of your prayers and encouragement as we press on to do God's will for our lives!

May 25, 2011

Let's pray them home

I've posted a few times about our friends, Cody and Melissa Busby, who are adopting a little girl, Mercy, from Uganda. Melissa has been in Uganda for 8 months today and is still waiting on a favorable ruling and a visa for Mercy to enter the U.S. They have been to court many times and have completed numerous "paperwork chases". They have a court appointment tomorrow, which is actually really early thursday morning for us. Would you pray with us for their favorable ruling, and visa's tonight?? Here's a link to Melissa's blog with some prayer points.
God, would you see and hear your servants as they seek your will to be done during this court appointment tomorrow in Uganda. Would you hold all of them in your hand and grant them your peaceful presence. Would you reunite their family soon and bring about a favorable ruling, a visa, plane tickets, and joy in your will.

May 18, 2011

It's In!

This morning I was having a prayer time, and I asked the Lord for our homestudy to be finished today. Then I jumped in the shower and the crazy day began. After I got home from work I put myles down for a rest and went to the front porch with my bible. I started reading and after a little while I kept getting this feeling like I should go check the mail, I tried to ignore it a few times and chalked it up to my distracting brain...but I finally got up and went to the mailbox. Well, I pulled out a thick manilla envelope with our homestudy agency's address in the return spot! I opened it to find two original copies of our homestudy, one already sent to our agency, and one already sent to Dept. of Human Services. They said "It is with great pleasure that we approve you for the adoption of a child"!! The Lord heard me, and answered me-Thank you, Lord!

We needed the completed homestudy to file our next piece of paperwork-the I-600A. So I need to get on that since approval from the government (USCIS) may take up to 8-12 weeks! That's the last piece of paper we need to send in all our paperwork to our agency and get on a waiting list to be matched with a child.

All of this paperwork costs a pretty penny to turn in. Would you continue to pray with us that God would provide the funds we need when we need them-I know He will! Would you buy some coffee from our 'just love coffee' fundraiser, or consider donating to our adoption fund? Both can be done on the right side of our blog...just click on the links. Right now, we are about halfway to what we need to turn all this paper in (our Dossier).

In all the small and big moments God has been challenging me to "Trust in Him at all times, O People, Pour out your hearts to Him, for God is a refuge for us." ps. 62:8 I've started practicing my 'trusting of Him' by pouring out my heart to Him, and I'm finding the God of Peace. I pray you will too.

May God's blessing be on you and your family!

May 10, 2011


Today I finished our homestudy! Our case worker hasn't emailed the finished copy to me yet, but I've done all I can do. Hooray!! I've cried, shouted for joy, skipped in the park, and now I'm all out of emotions so I'm gonna take a nap. Thank you Jesus for your grace.

April 29, 2011

Restoration Hope

Jason and Brandy Hester are dear friends of Michael and I, and they have started a non-profit called Restoration Hope. They're responding to God's call to care for orphans-specifically He has called them to GO to S. Africa to aid in the orphan crisis there. Would you go to their website now and check it out?!

They've been such a blessing to Michael and I as we are hearing God call us to care for orphans by adoption. They have given God their YES before even knowing the details. I have learned a lot by watching their faith journey so far, and I'm so excited for what God has in store for their family in the future. Would you PRAY that God would lead them, provide for them, protect them in every way, grow them closer to Christ and each other, and use them to restore hope to the people in S. Africa?!

So, stepping out of comfort into faith is always scary and risky, but well worth it. I hope that if God calls me to follow Him to hard places I will say yes like the Hester's have! They have begun the non-profit, and are now in the throes of fundraising. (yucko) Just piddling in fundraising for the past few months for an adoption, I can't imagine fundraising for your ministry, livelihood, and children!! Would you please consider supporting God's work to bring His Kingdom to the children of S. Africa by writing a check or buying a t-shirt??! I got a "love" t-shirt for my birthday, and I truly LOVE it! I would recommend getting a size bigger than you normally wear. They are available on the website as well.

Another tidbit of info I'll include since I'm going to jump in on this part all you sewers out there-we are making simple clothing (dresses and shorts) for the children that the Hester's are serving in Africa! If you're interested, just email me at :)

A quick adoption update on us: yesterday we finally finished our local background checks that have taken over a month to complete thanks to God and a sweet notary named Julie! Here's Myles on one of our many trips. Seriously, how do you take a still shot of a two year old?!?

And my renewed passport that we have waited on since early march came in today!! So I called our social worker and she emailed me that we are all paid up for the homestudy, but she still hasn't written it (typical I think). So a few more papers to notarize next week and we should have the "Dossier" all packaged and ready to ship when the completed homestudy arrives! My goal to ship it off to AGCI was mother's day-so now my new goal is Memorial day. I won't be surprised if it's Father's day before it gets in our hands though!

choosing joy. :)

April 15, 2011

picture updates

So this weekend is my brother, Brian's, wedding! He gets to marry a beautiful, smart, talented, sweet red head named Julie!! So tomorrow I get a sister-in-love! I'll post about the wedding later, in the meantime here's some pics of a visit we had with our good friends Jill and Matt from California and their little boy Dawson! There's a pic of me and Hannah Wallace showing off our haircuts. She and her husband, John, had a haircut fundraiser for their adoption of a little one from Ethiopia, and their little girl, Ivy, and Myles had fun playing! And our best buddies Katie and Mac Curtis at storytime at the library. Katie just gave Mac a little baby sister on thursday so CONGRATS to all on sweet RoseMary Claire's arrival!!

April 7, 2011

Home Inspection and Jewelry

Long time no blog, I know-sorry! I do this thing when I get overwhelmed-withdrawing! :) This process is emotional and the paperwork process is getting me a little flustered and leaving me feel awfully vulnerable and weak. I'm SO not type A (have I mentioned that before?! ha) but today was encouraging because we finished up our part of the homestudy with our social worker coming to our home for our final 'inspection/visit"!

She mainly wanted to see our smoke detectors and wondered which room Marlee will be in, and which one Myles will be in. I've given this a lot of thought, and I'll probably give it even more, but for now I'm going to convert his crib to a toddler bed this summer and let him stay in that until we get closer to going to pick up Marlee. Then he'll move rooms into the big boy double bed and I'll keep the nursery for Marlee. I'll just make it girly :)

We haven't heard any official word from Ethiopia about how many cases they will process after they finish up these backlogged cases and the ones they started processing before March 8th (the day they said they were cutting back processing times by 90%) There are some encouraging things being done to help them 'speed up' the process and ensure they are ethical, but we have no 'timeline' as of yet.

It's really hard to be finishing up paperwork, not knowing how long we might be being pregnant but not knowing a due date! I know this faith journey God has me on is SO good for me, and bringing her home eventually will be SO worth it. Thanks for praying for us this week!

On the fundraising side of things, we are starting a new fundraiser with premier jewelry! My sweet friend from youth ministry days, Becky Reed, has been so gracious to give me the sales from a 2 week jewelry sale!! You can go online and look at and email me to order, or if you're in the area I have a catalog you can look at and order with me! We'll close the fundraiser out on April 20th. Just think of all the things you may need a gift for coming up...graduation, birthdays, mothers day, easter! We also have a few frames left, we always have coffee, and whenever the Lord leads you to donate we are SO blessed!

March 19, 2011

spring 'break'

ok, so this has been a really LONG week for me. Thankfully it is nearing an end and I have some great news! I made it, Myles made it, Michael is scheduled to be back late tonight from his 9 day trip to Paris, Ethiopia has new staff members processing adoptions, and they are NOT restricting the number of cases they are processing!!

So at the beginning of the week we were in a lot of uncertainty with our adoption since we're still in the paperwork process-which got slowed down with some documents I have to redo :( and Ethiopia reducing the no. of adoptions they processed by 90%. I talked to our helpful social worker, and case managers this week and was very encouraged to keep working and trusting the Lord to bring about His perfect will. And at the end of the week (I still can't believe it's only been a week!) we got notice that there is a new staff at the Ministry of Women's Affair's (MOWA-the people who process intl. adoptions in Ethiopia) and they are working hard to make up all these cases the last group of folks left and are going to be processing cases like 'normal' with no drastic cut backs!!

Please pray for these new staff members who are undoubtedly 'swamped' right now. Pray for the children and the families to be patient and understanding and for ethical adoptions to be the foremost concern.

Glory to the Lord! And thank you all for praying!! Here's an bit from an email our agency sent out on St. Patrick's Day!

At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.

We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia.

March 14, 2011

Court attempt #....I lost count!

ok blog friends-My friends, the Busby's, are sending out the Call to Prayer for their adoption of Miss Mercy!! This is another court date that they are attempting and I honestly have lost count how many times they've seen a judge, or suppossed to have seen a judge and things have not gone the way we thought, though God is totally sovereign and has His perfect timing. Please pray for their court appointment in Uganda tomorrow!! Here's a link to Melissa's blog post!

March 8, 2011

Call to Action!

This is an urgent update and a 'Call to Action' on behalf of Ethiopian adoptions. Please pray!! Thank you for your support.

Help Us Advocate For Ethiopian Orphans

An Important Update

The Ethiopian Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) has announced a proposal to decrease the number of adoptions they will process and approve—even by as much as 90%. They are planning to accomplish this decrease by limiting the number of approved cases to only 5 per working day. This change is currently set to begin on March 10, 2011.

Please know that no one fully understands this proposal yet. Our staff, led by Almaz in Ethiopia, are still sorting out what this could mean for each of the children and families that we work with. These children are their passion and they are working on the front lines in this advocacy. Also, this is not limited to AGCI. This will impact every agency and the families that each serve. This means that all agencies are working together in their advocacy making a very strong force that is working on the behalf of children and families. Currently, all agency staff are waiting for the Director of MOWA to return to Ethiopia. Once she returns they will have a chance to sit down and talk over the implications of this proposal.

To attempt to counteract this proposal, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) has put a “Call to Action” in place. This sort of international advocacy is what JCICS does, and they do it well.

We are strongly encouraging you to read their post below and follow the suggested steps. You can also share this with your family, friends, Facebook friends and church to do the same. It is so important that we are all united in this effort! We are all advocates in our own circles of influence—and it is good to partner with you in this!

Thank you again for all that you are doing at this time. You are all valued and important in this process of promoting and preserving the best interest of children in Ethiopia and around the world.

God Bless,

Hollen Frazier
Executive Director


JCICS Call to Action

March 8, 2011

Joint Council: Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children

What You Can Do:

1) Sign the petition to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi – and pass it on!

2) Have you adopted from Ethiopia? Please send us up to 3 photos and 50 words or less with what you would like the Ministry to know about your child – we’ll compile the information and send a book to the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs. Send your photos and stories to by Sunday, March 12, 2011 to be included. Please note that sending photos and stories gives Joint Council unrestricted right to use the information you provide.

3) Share…Please send this Call to Action to family members, other adoptive parents, and everyone you know! Post, forward and share your adoption stories via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Make sure you include us in your posts so we can all hear your stories! Here’s links to our pages: Facebook, Twitter and our our blog.

4) Stay informed: Get up-to-date information regarding the situation in Ethiopia by signing up to receive information from us: click here to do so, make sure you choose “country and issues specific information” and “Ethiopia.” And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our our blog.

5) Help ensure our advocacy can continue: Joint Council is a non-profit and receives no government funding. Please join us in ensuring more children live in safe, permanent and loving families. Donate today!

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