Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I got home from work today and saw the many flags in our yard that will mark off where our new septic tank and leachfield will go.  The flags are for the locators to check for underground interferences.  It was a reminder of the amount of mess that awaits our backyard.

After getting in the house, I found out that our internet was not working very well on our computer.  Drat.  Reboot.  Hope it somehow starts working correctly.

Next, I was reminded that the low oil level and low coolant lights were both, yes both, on on the Suburban.  Oh yeah.  Off to Wal-Mart to buy oil and coolant.

As I'm thinking about these things that have happened since getting home, the phone rings and it's Heather's cousin in Kansas City.  He informs us that Heather's uncle died today.  Unexpected.  He was in his upper 80's, but still unexpected.  He was a wonderful man.  Always sweet, always kind.  He will be missed.

Right after getting of the phone with him, my cell phone rang.  It's Sherri.  She says that Scott (Mr. Basketball from my previous post) fainted while teaching a class at St. Lukes, fell and hit his head.  He was in the hospital.  She needed to drop her kids off so we could take them to Awana and she could run to the hospital.  He is staying overnight and they are meeting with a cardiologist in the morning.  This is the guy that I was playing basketball with two nights ago.  The guy that I've ran "give and go" with a thousand times against our kids in Upward basketball practice.  Now he's in the hospital.  He's doing OK.  Sounds like some type of irregular heartbeat.  We'll find out more info in the morning.

Suddenly the internet and oil and coolant levels weren't such a big deal.  Suddenly, the lives of people topped the list of what's important and what's not.  It is good to be reminded that whether we have problems with our internet, or problems with our car, or problems with a death in the family, or problems with our heart, God is in control and holds us in the palm of His hands.  He is always faithful.  He is always good.

We reflect on the ultimate priorities this week as we remember His work on the cross on Good Friday and the ultimate celebration, His resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Thank you God for putting all things in perspective and opening our eyes to the true priority of life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Thankful

We sent our list of medical conditions that we would be open to this morning to Cindy.  After prayer and advice from friends, we decided on a list of items we felt comfortable with.  It is still difficult to go through a list of 50 or more conditions and state whether or not you are open to the condition and if so, to what degree.  Items in the list that we had to look through included simple things like:  birthmarks, warts, allergies, learning disabilities, and so on.  Items on the other end of the spectrum include:  spina bifida, autism, cerebral palsey, and so on.  It's hard to picture the many orphans in Ethiopia that have one or more of these either simple or extreme medical conditions and are waiting for a family to love them, hold them, care for them.  We are resting in God's leading with the choices we made.  I am thankful He doesn't have a list limiting who He adopts.

We were encouraged by hospitality again last night as our care group met at the Voloshens.  We had a great time of togetherness, meat nachos, chocolate, and coffee.  It was good to talk about what God was doing in our lives.  The Voloshens definitely put the "care" in care group!

We finished up basketball tonight with a 1.5 hour scrimmage, pizza, and pop.  I was off my game tonight as I only took 2 or 3 boys to the floor.  Scott (Mr. Basketball) was on fire shooting three's as usual and Pastor ("the ghost") was unstoppable in the paint.  It was a great year and it was a lot of fun to see Don, George Stokely and the boys improve through the year.

Sunshine goes to Norfolk tomorrow for her last show choir show of the year.  She's excited about that.  She's especially excited because they are taking a charter bus instead of a regular school bus.  She gets to hang with her school peeps and do swingin' show choir moves all day.  She will have fun.  Heather is taking the kids to Norfolk also and will get to see her dad and the legendary Roxanne.

Anderson and Big Mac are looking forward to a possible trip to a baseball field on Saturday to play some ball.  They can't stop talking about it.  I told them that if it doesn't rain, we'll definitely make it happen.

Baseball season is upon us and it sounds we will have at least two boys playing.  That will certainly liven up the summer.

As we think about the busyness that's about to start (baseball, septic tank work, summer, and oh yeah, adoption), we're thankful for kids that liven up our lives.  I'm thankful to God for blessing us abundantly beyond all we could ask or think.  I'm thankful that we have healthy kids that can run and play.  I'm thankful that He has entrusted us with their spiritual, physical, and emotional development.  I'm thankful that even when there is much craziness, there is much love.  I'm thankful that the love that I experience for my children is only a shadow of the love the Father has for me.  I'm thankful that He has opened a door for us to bring another child into our deeply blessed lives.  I'm thankful that these are rich, rich times in our lives.

He has continued to shower His goodness upon us, and I am thankful.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fellowship Heals Many Wounds

After a rough day at work yesterday, I was excited that the Reynolds were coming over for dinner, dessert, and coffee.  Work was rough for a number of reasons which I won't elaborate on - but I am confident that everyone has recently had one of those days.

The Reynolds are an amazing family.  God has poured forth His power through their family to display His capabilities and His limitlessness.  They adopted one domestically, then had biological twins, then adopted three siblings from Russia, then three more siblings from Russia, and now are in the process of adopting three more non-siblings from Russia.  If you lost count, that's a current tally of 9 with 3 more on the way.  They have amazing hearts toward the lonely and defenseless, the afflicted and the needy - the ones that are fatherless on this earth.  It was encouraging to hear their current status of gathering documents - once again - for this adoption.  Since they have lived in 10 states and 1 foreign country, their documentation requirements probably exceed what would be required to build a nuclear reactor in your backyard.  It would probably be easier to get a season pass to Fort Knox than to get approval for adopting three non-siblings from Russia when you already have nine.  Yet, they do it without complaint and with a glimmer of joy in their eyes as they think of being part of God's plan to rescue a few orphans from the destitute orphanages of the former communist State.

Certainly, one of the highlights was the dessert!  This was what was left of one of the two cakes that one of their girls made (thanks for the great cake S!).  I'm certain the remainder of it will be gone before lunch this morning!  Also included in the evening dinner was some home cooking that closely resembled Little Caesar's Pizza.  How many pizzas do you order when a family of 11 comes over?  Our calculations may need some fine tuning.  There was one piece left, but I think that was the piece that no one wants to be the one to take.  So next time, more pizza!  Especially after their next three (Nadia, Anastasia, and Nickolai) come to join their family.  The coffee was also refreshing, but not as good as sharing the word with each other and hearing their vision for abandoned children.  God I thank You for Your work in and through their family.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Home Study Update

Another email from Cindy today.  She had five additional items from our home study that needed clarification based on comments she had received from AGCI.  One of the clarifications needed was the specific medical issues we could accept in our child.  This was a very hard list to work through.  There were probably 50 different medical conditions listed - ranging from very mild, correctable items to severe conditions.  It's quite sobering to go through a list and make a mental choice that we would accept a child with certain conditions and not a child with certain other conditions.  How do we make that choice?  What about the child that we are saying "no" to?  We continue to trust God that we are moving forward under His leading.  It's quite a thought to start to think of specifics like medical conditions.  These aren't the kind of boxes that we were told to check prior to our biological children being born.

As we contemplated these choices, one of the things we thought about was how will this child fit in to our family of seven?   One of the joys of a large family is having constant excitement and stimulation.  I am looking forward to sharing that joy with our new one.  She will be surrounded with love continuously.

Heather talked to Kiersten (our case worker) at AGCI tonight.  I included a photo of Keirsten tonight only because they are amazing people at AGCI and they need some type of famous recognition - so what better recognition than to be on the "room for more" blog?  Fame is sure to come her way.  After they discussed a number of different items related to our home study, Heather asked Kiersten about our time table.  Our next step is to get the home study approved and then sent to AGCI with our dossier.  Once that happens we "get a number."  The number is the number of people ahead of you waiting for a referral (paired with a child).  Because we are waiting for a "waiting child" (greater than 1 year old), we will be on a different list than most.  Kiersten mentioned that other families who have recently had similar child requests have moved "rather quickly" from dossier to referral.  When asked what "rather quickly" meant, she wasn't too specific, only that things could move "rather quickly."  We were very excited and looking forward even more to the possibility of all this really happening.  It all makes us pause and wonder how we could be selected to have such an honor to welcome one of His fatherless ones into our home.  Wow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great News!

We got an email from Cindy (our social worker) that said she had completed our home study draft!!!! She sent a copy to AGCI (our agency) and to us for review. We are stoked! Thank you Cindy for all your hard work. For that effort, you get your picture posted again on our blog. I know you really appreciate that. We are still waiting for our background check info to come back from Georgia. I went into detail previously (see post) on why that could be and won't go into it again. So please pray that Bubba from Georgia would send our background check info in to Cindy soon! Once that's in and AGCI has agreed to the home study, we can get our dossier moving. God has been good to keep things moving along. We are thankful for His leading.

On other fronts, we are still moving forward with our septic tank replacement. After 3 backups this winter (I won't go into detail here - though we've been spared any damage inside), our system requires replacement due to problems with the drainfield. I've learned way more about septic systems than I care to know. We expect our septic guy to start on the replacement in a couple of weeks. That should be a breath of fresh air when it is complete.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Congratulations Sunshine and Natalie

Congratulations Sunshine and Natalie for being selected to the National Honor Society. Two well deserving girls! They both clearly get their honorable-ness from their moms! Way to go girls. (and why are you standing next to all of the vending machines???)

No update from Cindy today on our homestudy status. We're hoping to hear something from her this week. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Orphans, Adoption, and Magnifying God

This video captures a combination of great footage of orphan kids in Ethiopia along with some powerful quotes that flash on the screen. Take the time to pause the video when the quotes come on the screen and meditate on the words. They strike true for whatever phase of life you are in - not just with respect to adoption and orphans - and speak to the greatness of our God and the priority He should have in our lives.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Teenagers with a camera......

This is what happens when one of your teenagers owns a camera.....

cool dudes

bro and sis - posin'

We call him "the big fella"

Teaching his brother the art of "coolness"

No one as cute as Eddie Joe

Believe me - there are thousands where these came from.......

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Growing Adoptions

Ethiopian adoption statistic taken from the US Dept of State website.

Home Study Update

Heather talked to Cindy (our social worker) today. Cindy was working on our homestudy today and had a few questions. She said she was going to work on it most of the day and try and get a lot done. We were very excited to hear about that. After she completes it, she will then email a copy to our Agency. Once the Agency agrees that it meets all the requirements, Cindy will send us the official notarized copies and we'll be off onto the next step.

We also did some digging into when we can get moving on our USCIS (U.S. Citizen Immigration Service) I-600A form. The official title of this form is the "Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition" - though most people probably already know that. This is part of the process that will need to be completed to allow our little girl to immigrate into the U.S. When we submit our I-600A form, we also need a notarized, completed copy of our homestudy to go along with it. We had hoped we could get that process going, but have been unable to get in touch with a real person to see if we could submit the form and follow up with the homestudy later. To no avail, they are like an impenetrable fortress. Other than a 1-800 number that goes into no man's land, we have been unable to find a phone number that connects to a real person. Their website is very good, but they clearly do not want any phone calls. I don't think a telemarketer could even get in touch with them. We don't think it will be a hold up in the process though, and so we will wait until our homestudy is completed before we submit the I-600A form.

Congratulations to the Gitlins. Their dossier has arrived in Ethiopia and they will likely get to avoid needing to take two trips. You can see their story at Our Hearts are in Africa.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another AGCI Email

Another email we received from our agency AGCI. This helps to clarify that our additional trip to Ethiopia will be following the referral completion. We will the make travel arrangements so that we can appear in court in Ethiopia. We anticipate this could be mid-summer, but could also end up being in the fall.

Good Afternoon Families,
I hope that you are all doing well—spring is certainly starting to show its face more and more and we are ready for that here!
We have received several emails asking about when a family has a “file opened” and we thought that we would just make sure that everyone understands what this is and when this happens. This takes place after a family has officially accepted the referral of a child and all of the referral documents have been completed and are into our office. Once these documents are in we will then notify our staff in Ethiopia of the family’s intention to move forward. In the past we were able to notify our staff that a family was going forward once the international pediatrician review took place. However, due to Court appointments currently being scheduled 1-3 weeks out, going forward we will require all documents to be in the office to allow for sufficient time to prepare for travel. Once our staff is notified they will begin translation of the documents and then submit or “open file” at the Court. This happens simultaneously to the same paperwork being filed with MOWA and the Central Authority.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Email from AGCI

We got the following information in an email from AGCI tonight. We are still trying to understand what it means specifically for us:

Dear Families,

Today we talked to Almaz quite extensively about the new travel process in Ethiopia. Overall it was all good news—at least for families that are further along in their adoption process. Mainly, we did learn that this 2 trip process will still be in place. The positive side of this though is that they will allow any family who currently has a file open (we have connected with those that this applies to) or will have a file opened in the next few weeks.
We also did learn that when families do travel for their first trip that it appears that this will be for the Court appointment. This was one option we talked about on the conference call although we were somewhat hoping this would not be the case. Now, from a families perspective this actually might be better because you will go a few days prior to Court, spend time with your child(ren) and address any concerns and then attend the Court appointment. The benefit is that it is more likely that those who are adopting a child who is relinquished will have the opportunity to meet the birth family. The downside is that we will not be able to be flexible with travel dates and there will be very quick travel planning due to the pre-scheduled Court appointment.
As we have been saying this will be an ongoing conversation, we will continue to learn more with time.

We hope to better understand how the timing of this second trip will work. We hope to find out more information this week.

God has been good to continue to remind us that He is in control, His plans are better than my plans.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Together for Adoption Video

Amazing video of orphans in Ethiopia set to Steven Curtis Chapman's "Treasure of Jesus". The video was put together by Together for Adoption. This was the video our church showed last November on Orphan Sunday that helped stir our hearts.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

State Piano, Dad's B-day, and State Basketball

Heather and Sandy took Katie and Lindsey to the IMTA (Iowa Music Teachers Assoc) state piano competition today. The competition was in Waverly, IA (I think it's about as far east as Delaware). The girls were very nervous. The four ladies courageously took on the day at 7:00 am this morning with a pan full of Sandy's cinnamon rolls to begin the 5 hour drive. My only responsibility was to have the coffee ready for the 6:30 am departure (which I should have known actually means 7:20 am). I think the girls played well although both of them apparently had tears afterwards. I'm proud of both of them for making it to the state competition. That's a great accomplishment.

The boys and I (including Cody) headed to Fremont, NE today to celebrate Dad's b-day. He turns 72 tomorrow. We had a good day. We got two homecooked meals and even some homemade strawberry shortcake. Not bad with Heather being out of town. Usually my homecooking eerily resembles McDonald's or Taco John's when Heather is gone.

On another note, the South Sioux City Boys Basketball team won state today. It's the first state championship for the SSC boys' team. It was a very exciting game - it went into overtime vs. Omaha Skutt. They should do well over the next few years since they are a very young team.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Information from our AGCI phone call

We had our conference call this afternoon at 5:00 pm with our agency AGCI. There were 77 families on the phone to hear what the latest developments were. That doesn't include the many families that took part in the identical call yesterday.

There have been several reports recently that have shed a negative light on Ethiopian adoptions. Specifically, two have been at the forefront - one by ABC and one by CBS. As a result of the bad publicity, Ethiopian officials have requested changes to their adoption program. They are now implementing an additional travel trip by the adoptive parents. This new requirement is being implemented immediately and there are still many unknowns as to how the details will be handled.

We now know that this additional trip will last 5-7 days and will take place at some point following the referral (when we are paired with an adoptee). The purpose of this trip is to meet the child and to be present for some of the legal proceedings in Ethiopian. Then we will fly back home (without our girl) and wait for 2-4 months when we will take another trip to Ethiopia, lasting again for 5-7 days, and bring home our girl.

The purpose of the added trip is to make sure the prospective adoptive parents have met their adoptee and have thought about things for awhile before taking legal custody. There have been some issues with some parents backing out after meeting their child.

This additional requirement has taken us by surprise. We're feeling a little bit shocked and concerned over the apparent instability. The additional trip results in adding $4,000 - $6,000 to the cost of the adoption. It requires an additional week of vacation from work. It involves many additional details. But in the end we are reminded that adoption is about the kids and if this helps the kids, then that's a good thing.

We are also reminded again that changes can take place at any time. With the recent bad publicity there's always a chance that more changes could happen to the Ethiopian program and it could even close. But our hope is not in governments, social workers, legal proceedings, news reports, or anything else man controls. Our hope is in God and He is in control of the situation. We rest in Him.

Please continue to pray for the situation. We appreciate your support.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AGCI Phone Call

We found out today that our agency is holding a conference call tomorrow for everyone who is in the process of adopting from Ethiopia through them. The conference call is about changes that are happening to the Ethiopian program. We don't know what the changes are and do not know if they are serious or if it will cause a major disruption to our plans.

We are reminded once again that nothing is for sure. Our plans are only plans, we have no ability to bring them to completion on our own. Although I say nothing is for sure, I am also reminded that from God's perspective His plans are always for sure. He will bring everything to pass in His timing in His way. So regardless of what happens on the phone call tomorrow, His plans are perfect and He is in control.

Please pray for our call tomorrow. We will post what happens with it.

On another note - Thank you Rachel for mailing the letter! You rock!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Background Checks

One of the requirements for our homestudy is a full background check from each state we have lived in since we have had children. For us, that's three states: Georgia, Iowa, and Nebraska. So far we have received the results from Iowa and Nebraska. We have not received the results from Georgia. I will refrain from any Georgia jokes that might infer any reason for their slowness as being related to their southerness. I also will not try to make you picture someone named Bubba opening the request for a background check on two people from Nebraska. I am certain that the hold-up on our results has nothing at all to do with any of that.

At this point we are only waiting on the Georgia background check (and one other item that I will check on tonight) until Cindy has all the information for our home study compiled. Then the amazing Cindy will write it up and we'll be off to the next stage.

Incidentally, I thought I would include the picture of the place where we had our homestudy interviews. It is in Omaha at 124th and Center at Nebraska Christian Services. That's Heather saying, "Russ, I'm cold. Take the picture and let's get inside."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ethiopian Facts

Some info about Ethiopia. Information was taken from our Agency's (All God's Children) web page. An interesting fact I found on Wikipedia (latin word for "it's gotta be true") is that the capital city Addis Ababa has an elevation of 7,546 feet. That's a couple of thousand feet above Denver, CO. It is high, arid, and near the equator. This makes the temperatures very mild year around.

Other info:

Ethiopia is a country beset by years of war, severe drought, and epidemics, and crippled economically and socially. One of the oldest countries in the world, Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous nation.


Ethiopian Flag

Orphan Statistics

An estimated five million children are orphaned in Ethiopia

Adoption Trend

Immigrant visas issued to US citizens
'94 '95 '96 '97 '98 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07
54 63 0 82 96 0 95 158 105 135 289 441 732 1,255


The most pleasant time to visit Ethiopia is between October and May, while June to September is the rainy season.


Federal Republic


74,777,981 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Life Expectancy

52 years


Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%


Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)


Official Ethiopian currency is the Ethiopian Birr (ETB).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Adoption Books

Just finished a book this morning that I highly recommend. I read it cover to cover this morning, and if you know me that's quite an accomplishment. The book is a story of a 6 week old boy in China that was abandoned in a field after suffering burns over 70% over his body. Apparently his parents so no hope and decided to walk away from him. The story recounts several years of miraculous intervention by people and events around the globe that result in many successful surgeries and ultimately adoption into a loving family. Ultimately it was clearly God's hand and God's providence at work. Though the arduous path was seemingly impossible, it was a series of simple steps set forth in easy motion by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The book is called "Saving Levi" and was written by Lisa Misraje Bentley.

The story reminded me of the reason for adoption: to give abandoned, vulnerable children a loving home. To provide the mom and dad and family that they have lost. To ultimately allow God's love to funnel through us to them. To show them that the sacrifices we make to bring one considered "unworthy" into our home, is a small, small picture of God bringing many "unworthy" ones into His home.

I would also highly recommend another book by the founder of our adoption agency Jan Beazely called "The Strength of Mercy." I also read that book back to back on a Saturday and was greatly moved by their love and compassion on their quest to adopt a little girl from Romania.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Go Eagles

The Eagles basketball team completed their inaugural season tonight. It was the first game of a single elimination tournament. Things didn't go well in the game tonight, but we did have a strong 4th quarter. We lost 41-34. The guys played with great effort. It was fun to see how they improved through the year. Overall, our record was 5-8. We played in a 9 team league. Due to strange scheduling, we ended up playing the top three teams a total of 6 times. That accounted for 6 of our 8 losses. We only played the bottom teams once. We ended up in about the middle of the league. The kids have definitely entered a new league and are near-professional (admission is charged at the door - $1 for kids, $2 for adults) but they are still hanging on to their amateur status.

Monday night practices have been a highlight for the three dads. The part of the practice where the dads take on the kids gets intense. I'm pretty sure I've taken all of them to the floor at least once. Any injuries sustained by the kids are not my fault. If I see a gap in the lane, I'm goin' to the hoop. If I see a player trying to drive into the lane and I'm on defense......well let's just say we don't like to give up open layups. As dads, we're also the refs during practice, and I think we call a pretty fair game.

The line-up in the team photo:
Front row left-to right: Tyler "the dribbler", Levi "downtown", David "Mr. speed", and Ryan "crazy defense"
Back row left-to-right: Coach Russ "the rock", Caleb "postin it up", Luke "sky man", Seth "the smooth", and Coach Scott "the cerebral, 3 point shootin, dribble, drive, and dish Mr. basketball"
Not pictured: Pastor Dave "can't cover me, aka the ghost"

Go Eagles!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Evacuation Plan - Done and Posted!

One of the many, strange requirements of adoption is the Evacuation Plan. This is a requirement to include in our home study to have a statement that says we have an Evacuation Plan. This evacuation plan is to be posted in our home. The evacuation plan is to show an overview of the home and the escape routes. Each room is supposed to have two escape routes which may include a window.

As I thought about this, I pondered our 3 or 4 year old girl. After arriving in the United States, she will have little or no knowledge of English. She will not understand the many strange customs that we have. Much of the food we will eat will be new and different. Sights and sounds will all be new.

She will however, have an Evacuation Plan! She will be excited to see it, memorize it, and practice it. That will keep her comforted to know that there is a plan, it is posted, and it has arrows leading the way out of our home. I see her running to the plan to see where the nearest window, door, or other exit is. She will be safe and always will have an exit nearby. I am considering installing small lights along the floor routing to the nearest exit such as those in airplanes and theaters.

Well, enough for now. I have to go post my newly developed Evacuation Plan.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I sent this video on email to a number of families already but wanted to put it on our web to preserve it for ourselves and so that others might see it too.

As I said in my email, this is an adoption from Ethiopia from our agency All God's Children. It shows the road we will walk down and the gates we will walk through. Take the time to watch it. It's worth it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ryan and Tyler

Since I blogged about Katie the other day, it has been repeatedly suggested to me by R & T that I should blog about them. So they took a series of photographs of themselves that they felt were very bloggable. So for the sake of fairness, I present several pics of them. One of the pics includes Levi D. Based on the responses I get, I will decide which of the kids are most bloggable and deserve future posts.

Obviously, they have some serious issues.....

Adoption Conference

We are planning on attending an adoption conference in Minneapolis on April 29-30. Click here to read the details about the conference. We are very excited that we will be hearing Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth on Thursday night and John Piper on Friday night. In addition, there will be a plethora of sessions during the day Thursday and Friday covering a wide range of adoption topics. They include topics aimed at families as well as topics aimed at churches who want to increase their awareness of orphans. We are looking forward to learning a lot. We'd love to have others accompany us!

Gma and Gpa Nordstrom will be staying at our house to maintain crowd control over the kids so that we can go. Reminder to self - stock the fridge with Diet Coke before we leave.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

Here is the workbook we completed for our agency. The workbook was over 100 pages and included a lot of information. Some was helpful, some was not. The first page included an assignment to draw a picture of your adopted child as you picture they will look. We were to include with the picture specific details of what their clothes will look like and pay attention to facial features. We were supposed to give them special items on their clothes such as a button or ribbon. Then we were supposed to look at the child and imagine them asking us for something. We were also supposed to write down how the entire process made us feel. Needless to say, I found this quite amusing both trying to draw something that looked human and also trying to imagine interacting with this strange creature I've just drawn on the page. Fortunately, there were a lot of other pages in the workbook that were helpful. The book was called "With Eyes Wide Open." My child that I drew did not look like the one in the picture on the cover of the book.Our workbook was sent to AGCI - they have reviewed it and said that we had fully completed it. I can't imagine the laughter in their office as they looked at the picture I drew. I feel glad to bring joy to everyone in the AGCI office in Oregon.

We also completed about 10 hours of online training. It was also helpful at times and unhelpful other times. All in all though, we did learn a lot about the potential difficulties in international adoption. Specifically regarding the issue of taking a child with no parents from a culture, language, sights, sounds, smells, and touches that they are familiar with and transporting them around the globe. While this can create an atmosphere of terror for the child, we know that God can heal all of these deep wounds and can fill the void that all of us have apart from Him.