Ethiopian Adoption – Part 1

The next several posts to come are the emails I wrote to family and friends while we were on our trip to Ethiopia in March 2011.  Pictures are now added.

March 26, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

These emails are going to serve as a journal of this trip to Ethiopia.  Im sending this to several of you that are family, good friends, prayer warriors and/or maybe I just thought you might be interested :)  If not, just trash it.  I know we are all inundated with paperwork.  I did this on our trips to Russia to adopt and it was comforting to have a connection when 1/2 way around the world.  We are not broadcasting this on facebook or any other social network for safety sake.  (My husband calls me “safety girl.”)  We ask for your prayers on this journey and would love to hear back from you too.
March 26, 2011
We are on the plane to Washington DC.  Tomorrow we will take off from DC straight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The last week has been quite a whirlwind.  10 days ago Matt and I spent 5 days in Chicago celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary.  A wonderful time hanging out with my brother seeing a play, two concerts, the Art Institute and lots of good food.  We knew that we would be flying to Ethiopia April 21st to go to court for the adoption of our new little girl, Selamawit.  Sally.
We got home Sunday night March 20th and Monday late morning I got a call from our Adoption Agency in Virginia.  They said the judge got a hold of our paperwork and our appeal to expedite our case since our little girl is very small and malnourished.  (Our appeal consisted of a one page letter from us that I wrote and my husband, lawyer extraordinaire, approved, and two other 1 page letters from a medical doctor and a neuro-developmental therapist saying similar things in doctor-speak.  By the way, we know she is top-level healthy.  Just needs a little nourishment, brain stimulation and love!)  The judge said “Can they be here tomorrow?”  Our people said no, but they would find out when the soonest would be.
Wow!  Ok, so we went into overdrive figuring out when we could go.  We could leave this Saturday we decided.  Arrive in Addis on Monday.  See our little girl Monday and Tuesday.  Go to court on Wednesday.  Do a few more things Thursday and Friday and then head home.
Our precious friends immediately called and said they wanted to have our 4 children stay with them.   What a relief to have that all figured out rather than patch working together babysitters, family, etc.  Its like they are going to “Farm-Camp.”  They are very excited.   Our friend’s heart has been to sow into us in this way as we pursue adopting children.  I know God is blessing them for it.  Just the other day I was thinking how cool it is that we sow into their ministry and by doing that, we are also sowing into prison ministries because that is one area they work in.  Love how that partnership thing works.
I am expecting big things in Ethiopia.  The judge has expedited her part of this puzzle, but there are several other things that COULD be expedited if the right people made it happen.  Getting passport, birth certificate, the Embassy review of our paperwork and interview, maybe another thing or two.  Normally this paperwork takes 6-12 weeks, but we have heard that expediting things could turn it into 2 weeks.  I would think if someone really wanted to push it, it could go faster than that.  Im not sure what that would mean for us.  Possibly that we would just stay in Ethiopia until it was all worked out and bring Sally home this trip.  Only God knows what is planned.  Im looking forward to watching it play out.
The other issue that is up is that we are approved by US Immigration to adopt 2 children 0-3 years old.  We originally applied for that and anyone that adopts internationally usually gets approved for more children than they really want in case a sibling group turns up or maybe other reasons.  All along we were told that a sibling group under 3 years old was very rare and we might have to wait a long time.   After 16 months of paperwork and waiting we decided to change our request to 1 child.  And we got Sally, a precious 16 month old little girl.  We want the Ethiopians to know, when we get there, that we would still love to adopt two children if it is agreeable to them AND we are thrilled to bring Sally home alone if that is God’s plan.
Today we arrive in Washington DC at 4pm.  We will head to the hotel for a quick overnight stay and be off tomorrow.
My little sister is in Turkey right now.  She gets back to the US in a few days.  There is a lot going on in the Middle East right now with the bombing of Libya.  Im praying for safety for my sis,  peace in the Middle East and a smooth, God-led trip ahead of us.
Love and Peace,
Alliso

These emails are going to serve as a journal of this trip to Ethiopia.  I’m sending this to several of you that are family, good friends, prayer warriors and/or maybe I just thought you might be interested :)  I did this on our trips to Russia to adopt and it was comforting to have a connection when 1/2 way around the world.  We are not broadcasting this yet on facebook or any other social network for safety sake.  (My husband calls me “safety girl.”)  We ask for your prayers on this journey and would love to hear back from you too.

We are on the plane to Washington DC

We will spend the night in DC tonight and tomorrow fly straight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The last week has been quite a whirlwind.  Ten days ago Matt and I spent 5 days in Chicago celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary.

chicago m and a

A wonderful time hanging out with my brother, Joe, seeing the play “God of Carnage,”

chicago joe and matt

s theater

chicago theater

two concerts,

saw doctorsThe Saw Doctors.  They are from Ireland.

the Art Institute

chicago art

and lots of good food.  We knew that we would be flying to Ethiopia April 21st to go to court for the adoption of our new little girl, Selamawit.  Sally.

Plans Change

We got home Sunday night, March 20th, and Monday late morning I got a call from our Adoption Agency in Virginia.  They said the judge got a hold of our paperwork and our appeal to expedite our case.  (Our appeal consisted of a one page letter from us that I wrote and my husband, lawyer extraordinaire, approved, and two other 1 page letters from a medical doctor and a neuro-developmental therapist saying similar things in doctor-speak.  By the way, from the Jesus point-of-view, we know she is top-level healthy.  Just needs a little nourishment, brain stimulation and love!)  The judge said “Can they be here tomorrow?”  Our people said no, but they would find out when the soonest would be.

Wow!

Ok, so we went into overdrive figuring out when we could go.  We could leave this Saturday we decided.  Arrive in Addis on Monday.  See Sally Monday and Tuesday.  Go to court on Wednesday.  Do a few more things Thursday and Friday and then head home.

Our precious friends immediately called and said they wanted to have our 4 children stay with them.

Lorenzo and Jennifer Dunford.  Hannah, Nathaniel, Micah, Caleb, Esther, Ben, Phoebe and #8 on the way.

Lorenzo and Jennifer Dunford and their children (there are 2 more since this pic was taken!)

What a relief to have that all figured out rather than patch working together babysitters, family, etc.  It’s like they are going to “Farm-Camp.”

farm 2

This is what it looks like at their farm in all directions.  It is out in the middle of NOWHERE!  Awesome!

The children are very excited.

farmWhat a crew!

Our friend’s heart has been to sow into us in this way as we pursue adopting children.  I know God is blessing them for it.  Just the other day I was thinking how cool it is that we sow into their ministry and by doing that, we are also sowing into prison ministries because that is one area they work in.  Love how that partnership thing works.

Expedition

I am expecting big things in Ethiopia.  The judge has expedited her part of this puzzle, but there are several other things that COULD be expedited if the right people made it happen.  Getting passport, birth certificate, the Embassy review of our paperwork and interview, maybe another thing or two.  Normally this paperwork takes 6-12 weeks, but we have heard that expediting things could turn it into 2 weeks.  I would think if someone really wanted to push it, it could go faster than that.  I’m not sure what that would mean for us.  Possibly that we would just stay in Ethiopia until it was all worked out and bring Sally home this trip.   I’m looking forward to watching this play out.

Is it 1 or 2?

The other issue that is up is that we are approved by US Immigration to adopt 2 children 0-3 years old.  We originally applied for that and anyone that adopts internationally usually gets approved for more children than they really want in case a sibling group turns up or maybe other reasons.  All along we were told that a sibling group under 3 years old was very rare and we might have to wait a long time.   After 16 months of paperwork and waiting we decided to change our request to 1 child.  And we got Sally, a precious 16 month old little girl.  We want the Ethiopians to know, when we get there, that we would still love to adopt two children if it is agreeable to them AND we are thrilled to bring Sally home alone if that is God’s plan.

DC

Today we arrive in Washington DC at 4pm.

wash dc airportAt the DC airport waiting for a shuttle to the hotel.  Every time I see Matt standing by suitcases I laugh inside remembering our honeymoon when we packed 2 gigantic duffle bags on rollers and he was dragging them down the cobblestone streets of Madrid like a pack mule.  I have a picture somewhere of that.  He always knows what I’m remembering too.  He doesn’t think it’s as funny as I do for some strange reason :)

We will head to the hotel for a quick overnight stay and be off tomorrow.

My little sister is in Turkey right now.  She gets back to the US in a few days.  There is a lot going on in the Middle East right now with the bombing of Libya.  I’m praying for safety for my sis,  peace in the Middle East and a smooth, God-led trip ahead of us.

Love and Peace,

Allison

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