Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
- Saturday, Nov. 26 - sent Abeba to Lifeline Adoptions in Louisville via Fedex
- Monday, Nov. 28 - Abeba was received in Louisville by Lifeline
- Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Abeba left Louisville bound for St. George, Utah (U.S. home of West Sands which the in-country adoption rep in Ethiopia)
- Thursday, Dec. 1 - Abeba arrived in Utah. While there, she went from the office of West Sands to the State of Utah offices for authentication (meaning they check all of our information and confirm we exist).
- Tuesday, Dec. 20 - Abeba left Utah bound for Washington DC. While there she traveled with a courier called "Caring Hands" that personally babysat her on her trip to the U.S. State Department for authentication and to the Ethiopian Embassy for authentication.
- Tuesday, Dec. 27 - Abeba left Washington DC bound for St. George, Utah to the offices of West Sands. As of right now, she is sitting on Angela's desk at West Sands awaiting her long trip via Fedex to Ethiopia to the West Sands offices there.
That is all we have at this moment. Make sure and pray for Abeba, for safe travel and for a quick, trouble-free trip into the hands of the Ethiopian government...thanks so much and God bless.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
This update is being provided by Jeff (instead of Kelley, who normally writes these and is much more accomplished at this than I am) so here goes.
The past few months have seemed like an absolute whirlwind journey. I recall back in September when Kelley began pelting me at work with things to print off, fill out, look into, scan and email to people, or proof-read and get back to her about. I also remember her asking me to fill out my testimony as to why I believed we should adopt. That part took some time and soul searching but Kelley and I both arrived at the same place in that we believe this is something quite simply that God would have us do. We don’t expect it to be easy; we don’t expect it to be popular with everyone; we expect that our lives will change dramatically the first months when she is home and it will likely take a number of months of basically dropping out of society while we try desperately to connect and repair the damage caused by life in an orphanage. We believe that we are ready for all of this but I am sure that we will realize we likely aren’t fully prepared for what will happen. We will have to place our faith and trust in Christ to carry us through as He has done thus far in our lives.
- Dossier to leave Washington DC in early January and be translated into Amharic for use by the Ethiopian-based group named West Sands.
- We would then have a referral in hand sometime in the February/March time-frame
- After referral, we would get a court date in the May/June time-frame;
- After our initial court date, and considering the rainy season in Ethiopia from mid-June to mid-September, we would hopefully have her home in late September.
Kelley on the other hand (not as optimistic as me) has our referral occurring sometime between April and June, court date in September to October and have her home 4 to 8 weeks later...see, I told you that is really pessimistic. I guess she would prefer to be pleasantly surprised and have our daughter home earlier than expected versus my approach which is to pray for her to be home really soon, even at the risk of being disappointed. That is what makes our home stay balanced.
Lastly, and I have shared this with others, I was not prepared for the realization that God already has us a daughter picked out. She is alive and is likely in an orphanage in Ethiopia. That is extremely exciting and amazing to me. But then the paternal part of me kicks in and I begin wondering to myself "is she cold?" "is someone mistreating her?" "Is she hungry? dry? warm? does she have on clean clothes?" "does she have shoes on her little feet?" It is then that I am overcome with grief and guilt because we have been given so much and want for so little and yet there is a little girl in Ethiopia who doesn't have those things and she doesn't even realize it. Also, I feel extremely guilty and selfish for all these years that God has been wanting us to adopt and was filling my wife's heart with that burden and I selfishly said no, for no good reason. I would encourage you (since you have made it this far in this post) to ask yourself a couple of questions that have been haunting me since September:
- Why is God blessing you the way He is? Is it because there is something special about you? Is it because you are such a good steward of His blessings and you share them with others? Is it because He wants to grant you the American dream so you can retire early to a condo in Florida so you can golf and enjoy the beach whenever you want? Is it so you can have the big house and nice cars so others can watch you pass by and say something like "there goes that guy or girl that must be doing something right because God is really blessing him/her?" Let me let you in on a little secret: there is nothing special about you...The only thing that is possibly special about you is whether you have a relationship with all that is special in this world which is Jesus Christ. That relationship won't cause blessings to flow your way per se. It won't hinder them either per se. The only reason why God blesses people is because He chooses to and He can choose. It is because He is special; not because of you or anything you do, have done or will do.
- Why were you born in America and not Ethiopia or Uganda or some other country? Is it because you are special (see first bullet above this one)? Is it because God didn't think you could handle it? What if it was because of God's plan to give a certain amount of blessings to some and a smaller or larger amount to others so that BOTH would appreciate HIM? For the one who has little, rather than feeling sorry for themselves and worrying about what they don't have, they praise God for His blessings and also praise Him when someone (maybe you) give them something in His name. Or on the other hand, for the one who has been given much, rather than building idols to yourself and standing with your head high and your chest stuck out, you instead are seen with your head bowed and your knee bent as you praise God from whom all blessings flow and you make it your life's work to give away all that He has blessed you with to the ones that need it most. What if you made it your calling to be a conduit of blessings (a constant flow) rather than a faucet of blessings (which is an intermittent flow for the times the urge hits you).
Sunday, December 25, 2011
It’s been a while since I’ve been one of those people…you know, the ones who send a cheesy Christmas letter.
Graduations & travel were high on the list in 2011. Collectively, we earned two diplomas and covered a lot of territory in 2011.
Braeden is currently an 8th grader at Sunset Middle; he continues to play his guitar & play it well. He’s adjusting to being the only child at home (it does have its perks, you know). He spent a week at Student Life Camp at Orange Beach & a week this fall on a Disney cruise with family friends.
Jordan graduated from High School in May &, before long, we found ourselves packing him up & moving him to Jackson, TN where he attends Union University. He is majoring in Biblical Studies/Theology (with a minor in Philosophy) & has transitioned well to college life. He also attended Student Life Camp at Orange Beach. In May, he was part of a 20-member team from our church who partnered with Casas Por Cristo in Juarez, Mexico to build a house for a needy family. Before school started in August, he and Jeff took a little father/son graduation trip to Washington, DC as well.
Kelley (that’s me) continues to enjoy her dream job of staying at home where I’m available to drive the taxi, participate in weekly Bible studies, spend time with friends and family, take advantage of volunteer opportunities, shop a little and, lately, work on an enormous amount of paperwork (details later). In July, I traveled with Ordinary Hero to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was 10 days that forever changed my heart.
Jeff continues to work for O’Charleys, Inc. where he has been for 10 years. He graduated from Vanderbilt University’s MBA program in July and we are so glad to have him back in our fold after 2 years of hard, hard, hard work and dedication. Jeff traveled with his MBA team in April to Hungary and Turkey and then, with Jordan, to DC. We’ve all also enjoyed a couple of weekend trips to Jackson for UU events.
2012 will bring changes to our family as well as we have begun the process to adopt internationally (thus the paperwork discussed above). In case you’re thinking we’re crazy, we are. And if you’re thinking we’re too old for this, we are. But, with God all things are possible. And it was He who laid this on our hearts. We have seen the need; we have been made aware of the crisis that is the orphan and we have chosen to step out in faith and obedience to be His hands and feet. He has blessed us too much not to.
Next year, our picture will be different; our letter (if we have the energy to write it) will include tales of how we’ve been changed by the love of a little girl who will make her way from Ethiopia right into our hearts in Tennessee. We thank you, in advance, for your prayers for this journey to her. We invite you to follow along on our blog (www.movedtomove.blogspot.com).
Much love from the Williams Family……….Jeff, Kelley, Jordan and Braeden
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
And, now, for a shameless plug.....if you'd like to order something great from Thirty-One, hop on over to Melody's page and place an order. She is donating her commission to our adoption fund (melt my heart). Act fast because we will be closing the party on Sunday (12/11) in order for all items to be received in time for Christmas.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
One of the last paperwork steps (aside from the dossier) was to send our I600A off to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Our sweet Social Worker, on her way out of town to celebrate Thanksgiving, dropped our completed home study packets in the mail to us so that we could get things moving. I might have bugged her a bit. She mailed these to us on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (11/23); we FedEx'ed (sorry Chris) our dossier on Saturday (11/26th...only because no one would have been available to sign for it before Monday, the 28th...see "dah-see-ay" post below). On Monday, (11/28), I completed all of the copies, etc. that had to accompany the I600A (copies of birth certificates; marriage license; original, notarized copy of home study; check for $975.00) and sent it on its way.
It seemed only appropriate as we mailed our dossier last week that, as our journey officially began, that of our friends Chris and Valerie came to a sweet end (or in some ways, the true beginning but, for the purposes of this post, an end). As we were letting go of our paperwork, they were in Ethiopia to travel home with their girls, Hana and Abekeya.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Which makes it only natural that we would partner with them to fundraise for our adoption. Kelly Putty has a great thing going over at OH....helping on so many different levels. OH ministers both locally and globally, encouraging each of us to "change the world for one".
Ordinary Hero offers adopting families and individuals going on mission trips to fundraise through their online store. Many of you made purchases last year to help me fund my trip and now you have the opportunity to shop many new OH items to benefit our adoption. 40% of everything that you purchase will be returned to us in the form of a commission check made payable to our agency.
There are a wide variety of items available; many added new today. I'm thinking if you went over to www.ordinaryherostore.org and you had your Christmas list handy, you could check a few things off of that list. In fact, if you happen to draw my name, my wish list includes a cute key fob, a camera strap and an acrylic tumbler (with straw). ;). AND....40% would go toward our adoption.
One of the neatest things over at the OH store is the opportunity to purchase items which will be donated to children/people in Ethiopia....a donkey for the women on Entoto Mountain, to help carry their loads; a sheep which will feed 40 children (like these that we picked up in Addis Ababa and fed to the children of Korah). Your money is put to work well when you make these purchases.....donations for the people of Ethiopia and 40% of the purchase price toward the $30,000.00 costs of bringing our little girl home.
Last but not least, from today through midnight on the 11th there is a grant contest going on. Ordinary Hero will give $500.00 each to the top three sellers during this period of time.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
According to dictionary dot com........
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I wanted to share this video from my trip (I even make an appearance). One of the sweetest moments of our entire 10 days was being able to reveal to the young boy at the end of the video that he had been chosen and that he would soon have a family of his own. Please pray for him and his family; they have passed court and are awaiting clearance for travel.
Enjoy (but scroll to the bottom first and pause the music on my playlist).......
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Because of the age of child we will be adopting (3-5 years old), it came to mind one day that somewhere in Africa, we have a daughter. She's not not yet conceived. She's not waiting to be born. She is alive and she is somewhere in Ethiopia. We don't know if she's cold, if she's hungry, if she's hurting or loved. And that's hard. It makes things very real and very personal. It makes me look at every little girl (red or yellow, black or white) about that age and wonder.
And when I wonder, I'm often reminded of my own words to my friend Valerie (when she was wondering and worrying about her own little girls in Ethiopia). I told her one day, "as much as YOU love those little girls, HE loves them more". It sounded good at the time and I know that it's true but it sure takes on different meaning now.
Our paperwork is almost done. We have one online seminar to complete and two documents that we should have in our hands in the next day or two. Those two papers will complete our dossier and then it will leave our hands; bound for Ethiopia. Where our daughter is.
People sometimes wonder, "why Ethiopia"? And I could go on and on about why but, mostly, it's where God told us our daughter was/is. And He loves her more than we do. He knows her name and how many curly little hairs she has on her head.
EDITED TO ADD: By the way, He knows and loves Valerie (and Chris)'s girls too. And it seems that He may be arranging for them to be home for Thanksgiving (when we all thought it was a stretch that they'd be home for Christmas). Keep them in your prayers as they hear later this week if/when they are cleared for travel.
Monday, November 7, 2011
God has such a way of placing just the right people in your life at just the right times. One of the many ways that He goes about accomplishing his purposes in our lives.
If you have talked to or followed me at all since July, it is no surprise to you that my life was "completely screwed up", as my husband says (and he means that in a good way), in and through my trip to Ethiopia. I haven't and will never be the same (Praise the Lord!). Aside from the obvious things of breaking my heart for what breaks His; aside from allowing me to love because He first loved me in a new and different way, in a new and different place, that trip also gave me the opportunity to meet some great new friends. People who have a similar heart for the orphan (and for Ethiopia) and several who God used to confirm what He was speaking directly into my/our heart(s).
I treasure these friendships and the experiences that we shared together. I would love to be returning to Ethiopia with them in 2012 but God's plan for me this year was a little different. Maybe next year.
But, today, one of those friends, Amy, is featuring our family over here. Thanks Amy for your dedication to helping fellow adoptive families raise funds
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Adoption isn't easy. Nothing about it is. It is not for the faint of heart and not to be taken lightly. But what it is is this. It is what we are called to do. As Christians, we are called to love others with ALL of our heart, ALL of our soul, ALL of our mind and ALL of our strength...and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I don't know about you but I don't want myself to be cold, dirty, thirsty, hungry, homeless, scared, lost or unwanted.
His word says, "I will not leave you as orphans.......". Well....if WE are His hands and His feet, what are we waiting for; what have I been waiting for?
(You'll need to scroll to the bottom of my blog and pause the music so that you can get the full effect of this video....and not go nuts from the competing music:).
(Copy and paste the above link into your browser to view the video. I had to remove it from my blog as it was interfering with the music and wasn't pause-able.)
Saturday, October 29, 2011
When they arrive, we will have a few extras to sell on-demand as well (we have both the US and the Africa designs coming). If you didn't get your order in, it's not too late. If you'd like for me to hold you one of these when they come in, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be ordering more but not until I have enough to order 24 at a time so, once this initial order is complete, it may be a while since I can't order them one or two at a time.
Friday, October 28, 2011
There are just some things that can't be rushed.....one of those is the current InterCountry Adoption Seminar that we are (independently) doing online. We have found that our agency is extremely thorough in educating adoptive parents along the way and, though I believe that that is absolutely best and I know that I will be thankful in the end, sometimes I feel as if we're getting nowhere.....fast.
We are mostly done with the written exercises that were part of our educational requirements (mostly, not completely). We have the seminar that we are doing now plus one other (that we haven't yet registered for) and two books (purchased and begun) to read before all of these requirements are fulfilled.
At the same time, since we completed our home study visits, our Social Worker is working to complete our home study report (which becomes part of our dossier) and I am working, as well, on required document/processing for the dossier paperwork. Some of the paperwork required in the dossier was also required for the Home Study so those are in order but there are others we're starting fresh on; others we had for the Home Study but didn't require notarization....the same paperwork with notarization is required for the dossier so we'll double-back and do those again.
It's likely that no one (but me) cares about all of these details but, just like childbirth, I know that someday I will forget how stressful this was and this will serve as a reminder of the work that was involved.
The EXCITING thing that's happening is that, today, I am placing our first shirt orders. The orders have been trickling in and we are anxious to have those first buyers out in the community wearing our shirt; raising awareness about the orphan crisis that is a reality. If you've been thinking you'd like a shirt, NOW is a great time to order to be certain that we have your size this time around. We will order more in the future but your wait will be longer as we have to have at least 24 to place an order.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The shirts are now available in Youth sizes also. Unfortunately, they cost the same to have printed so the price is the same as the Adult shirts.
Friday, October 21, 2011
The next shirt is for those of you who have adopted or are adopting domestically. A shirt done in shades of blue and green, printed on a bright white t-shirt.
Lastly, we have a shirt for all of you China, Taiwan, India, Korea, etc. adopters. A shirt portraying the continent of Asia on the back. This shirt is done in some fun colors....yellow, orange, grey and teal.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
We had our first home study appointment/visit/interview this week and it went very well.
Just to be transparent and help others understand exactly what all of this entails, here is what our journey has looked like thus far:
- Choose an agency. There are many out there and much to consider but we believe we have found in ours, Lifeline Children's Services, a perfect fit for our family.
- Apply to the agency.
- Receive approval and packet of information regarding the Ethiopia program. This packet includes lots of information about our child's birth country as well as many, many forms that will be completed, oftentimes notarized, etc. In addition, there are educational requirements and did I mention forms?
- Because our agency is out-of-state, we needed to find and apply with a Home Study Agency as well. We chose Adoption Assistance, Inc. and applied with them. They also require lots of paperwork (some of the paperwork is the same as the agency's and, thankfully, we are able in some instances to kill two birds with one stone).
- Next, we had lots of signing and initialing to do to make our agreement with Lifeline official.
- We began reading two required books, "The Connected Child" and "Adoption Parenting".
- We had our first (of two) home study appointments with Adoption Assistance. Our Social Worker met with us here in our home and spoke with us collectively as a family and independently. She also toured our home and made sure that we met some basic safety/security requirements for our future addition.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
- Read about the Christmas outreach here: http://ordinaryheroblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/christmas-stocking-stuffer-outreacha.html
- Follow Chris and Valerie's adoption at www.hulshofhuddle.blogspot.com
- Read here about the 2010 "Kicking and Dreaming" Ethiopia trip: http://www.ordinaryhero.org/Kicking%20And%20Dreaming.html
- Watch this video to see one of the experiences the members of the 2010 team had. Our team will visit this same area in 2011. http://www.vimeo.com/13948413