September 30, 2011

Staying Busy

Here is a little update as to what we've been up to.

1. Praying, praying, praying. We have been wrapped up in prayer lately. Praying for guidance on this journey. He has been answering our prayers and providing encouragement daily.
 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

2. Stuffing Envelopes. I have been a printing, folding, addressing, stuffing, sealing queen these past few days. I have almost all of our support letters ready to mail out within the next day or so! I'm hoping the letters will be well received and we'll have an overwhelming amount of support in return.

3. Home Study Paperwork. We haven't officially started our home study yet, but hey, a girl can be prepared. :) There's a form for everything you could imagine...general application, medical history, financial statement, child factors checklist, personal reference release and our autobiography. Trey is least excited about the autobiography because he's not really a man of many words and he has to do this one on his own. No help from wifey. :) It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say the stack of papers is about a mile high. With that being said, We're tackling it with ferocity in order to get it done as quick as possible. 


3. Family Pictures. We met up with Christine Smith Photography this week to take this cute picture.

We'll be using these in our support letters, fundraisers and a few other projects.

4. Preparing for our first adoption garage sale. We've been hassling asking our friends to donate anything they have lying around for our garage sale. I don't think they mind too much though, it's for a good cause. ;) We still have a ways to go in the sellable goods category, but we're hoping to have the sale in October.

5. Enjoying time with this sweet boy.

I'm so blessed to be able to stay home with Kipton! I just love every minute with him. So, in between working on adoption business during naptimes, I'm playing with my favorite little man. Mommyhood is for sure the best!!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I know I will because I'll be spending it with my two favorite guys!!

September 26, 2011

Adoption Process Overview

I have had lots of people ask me what our adoption process will entail, so I wanted to give everyone a very concise overview. 

This is from start to finish for an international adoption:
  • Choose country to adopt from
  • Choose agency that works with your country
  • Provide initial application, with references, to adoption agency for review
  • Receive preliminary approval into the program
  • Begin your home study with a licensed home study provider
  • Receive official acceptance into the program (Requires home study review)
  • Make application for USCIS approval
  • Dossier compilation and submitted to agency for approval
  • Send Complete Dossier for authentication and translation
  • Start your immunizations
  • Receive Referral for your child. (Normally, within 3-6 months after Dossier submission)
  • Receive Court Assignment (1-6 months post referral)
  • Travel for 1st visitation and court appearance
  • Prepare final documents and discuss travel
  • Pick up your Child (Normally, 8-10 weeks post court approval)
  • Come home celebrating your new child
  • Complete a series of post placement assessments
  • Enjoy your new family
I hope this helps you understand the process more, but if you're anything like I was, you're probably just more confused. :)  That is alright though, we'll figure everything out as we go along.

On a completely different note, I found an amazing fundraiser that I'm very excited about! It's called Leaves of Love.  For every donation we receive the donor will place his/her fingerprint on our tree to make leaves.  It is such a neat idea.  We will be taking our naked tree to all our fundraising events and adding a fingerprint for every online donation. 

Super cute, huh? I hope you'll consider being a part of our family tree!!

September 23, 2011

Our BIG Decision!!

Well, if you haven't guessed what our decision is just by looking over our blog,
 let me fill you in...


I know, I know it seems crazy?! You're thinking "Why in the world would Ashton & Trey adopt? They can have kids of their own." or "Oh no, adopted kids are crazy. They'll have so many issues." or "Adoption is so expensive, you don't have that kind of money." :) Trust me we've heard it all. The real reason we have decided to adopt is because we have always felt a calling to adoption. We have talked about the subject several times throughout our marriage and always said it was something we wanted to day. Well folks, today is that day!!

God has placed a burning desire in our hearts to begin this process now. It is truly the biggest leap of faith that we have ever taken. Now I'm sure you're wondering...Why Ethiopia?

We chose Ethiopia for several reasons.
1. Ethiopia is one of the few countries that allows couples under 30 to adopt. We're only 23 so that was a biggie.
2. The countries adoption program is relatively quick compared to other countries. (about 12-18 months) 
3. It is one of the poorest nations in the world, with almost 5 million orphans.
4. We considered domestic adoption because there are lots of children in the US who need homes, but honestly none of those children are at such a risk for dying like the children in Ethiopia. 1 in 6 children die before their 5th birthday!
5. Our adoption will be noticable. We want to welcome a child of a different nationality into our home in hopes of that opening up doors to spread the news of how God adopted each one of us into his family, even if we were different. (Plus, they are absolutely gorgeous ;), but that's just a plus.)
6. But most of all, we chose Ethiopia because that's where God is leading us.

We know this is going to be a wonderful journey and no doubt frustrating at times, but we serve a mighty God who will be there for us every step of the way.  We trust that our Lord knows the plans he has for us, big plans. :)  We might not completely understand why he called us to adopt, but we know that's what he wants from us so we will follow.  I would much rather risk failure doing what He wants than risk displeasing Him. “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Ok, now you're probably wondering about the child we will be adopting. :) We have decided that we are going to adopt a little boy whose age will be somewhere in the range of 6 months to 2 years. His name will be Kade Asher. Already my mind wanders thinking about him, if he is born yet, is he loved, is he hungry? My heart aches at these thoughts.

If you would, please begin praying for our son and our journey...
Pray for protection over Kade and his mother.
Pray for a smooth adoption process.
Pray for clarity, wisdom and strength for Trey and I throughout the process.
Pray that all the glory will go to God.
Pray that the funds will be raised to help us proceed with the adoption.
Also, pray for the agencies and people that we will be partnering with.

All in all, we are so thrilled about this step to growing our family! I hope you will join us on our journey.

(This video will help you understand why we chose adoption through Ethiopia.)