Monday, December 6, 2010

WE ARE #95!!!

YEAH!!!! We are so excited to finally be on the wait list! We are requesting a Girl age 1-4 yrs old. I just checked the "unofficial" wait list and most of the families on the list are waiting on babies not toddlers. :) Which means we could jump to the front of the line faster.  Our agency still says that they expect our wait to be 9-12 months. :( We'll just have to "Wait" and see. HA!

Leigh Anne

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Dossier is in the Mail!!!

I'm so THRILLED  to report that we mailed our Dossier today! The letter from South Carolina that we were waiting on came in on Tuesday. We had a small delay with Thanksgiving mail but 6 months of paperwork is on it's way to All God's Children. It will hopefully be approved by Friday and we will get our waiting list number. Once we are on the waiting list we expect a 10-12 month or so wait for our referral. Then we will see our sweet baby's picture and proceed with more paperwork to bring her home. This is such a huge milestone for us and we are beyond EXCITED! The lady at the UPS store didn't even look at me strange when I asked her to take a picture of me with the box.

Leigh Anne

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An update and Ethiopian food!

I'm so disappointed to report that we are at a standstill with our paperwork. We have been ready and waiting for almost a month now and we are still waiting. We turned in our home study and it has been approved but we were waiting on two pieces of paperwork before we can move to our dossier. (the FBI fingerprint document and a letter from South Carolina). The FBI letter was the one that we were worried would take a long time to receive. Two weeks ago we received the FBI letter. Our wonderful case worker said that she was expecting the letter from South Carolina any day now. I was so excited, I immediately called Stuart at work and I called my sister, "the letter is here!" Did I mention that was 2 weeks ago? We have emailed and called and we're still waiting. For those of you who are new to the adoption world, you have to have a letter from each state (that you lived in for more than 6 weeks) that states that you didn't commit a crime against a child while living there. (Stuart went to Clemson Univ.) Now as soon as the letter arrives I will fedex it immediately to AGCI then send in our Dossier paperwork and once approved we're ON THE WAITING LIST! Our wait will be anywhere from 10-18 months so getting on the list as quickly as we can is very important to us.
I know that I sound really frustrated and I am but I do remind myself everyday that this is ALL God's timing. Thanks for letting me vent! :)

I also wanted to share some pictures of us going to GOJO Ethiopian Restaurant for dinner. The kiddos were very excited! We all loved the enjera (which is a spongy type of bread). We also had some rice and lamb stew, and beef tibs. I'm sure that I broke all the rules when I asked for a fork but the kiddos loved using their fingers. It was a great experience! If you like spicy food definitely give it a try. I was really proud of the kids for trying everything but they did leave the restaurant a little hungry so we went through the Wendy's drive-thru on our way home. :)

That's all for now! I'll post again when "THE LETTER" arrives.
Leigh Anne

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Stuart and I went to dinner with some friends, one of the couples that was there is also adopting a baby from Ethiopia and she told me about a book that changed her life. She said, you must read this book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I said you are not going to believe this but I have that book at home. It was a gift and I can't remember who gave it to me but I know I have that book. So that night I came home found the book and started reading. All I can say is "AMAZING!" Everyone has to read this book. This morning I went to his website to learn more about the author and I found this video that I loved.  I think it explains a lot of what Stuart and I are trying to change about our lives. We have gotten a lot of weird looks and negative responses in regards to our adoption. Questions like Why would you choose to adopt when you have such a wonderful family already? What if doesn't go well? What if the child has issues? To be quite honest we thought of all of those questions too and the answer to those questions is because GOD wants us too! He has made our path very clear and the reason I know that is that we have such peace about our decision. We don't want to live safe anymore. We want to jump out of the bubble that we live in and live "Crazy for God". Our life on this earth is so short in comparison to eternity. Let's stand on the balance beam of life and JUMP! This journey is bigger that the adoption of a child. We are just getting started. Stay tuned. Please watch this video and get crazy with us!  Crazy Love!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We've been busy!

Ok! I know it's been a while since my last post but I'm still trying to get the hang of blogging.
I know a lot of you are new to the adoption world so I wanted to update you on the process and our progress.  We are having our 2nd meeting with our home study agency on Tuesday and here is the paperwork we have been asked to complete. and I'm happy to say that it is all done. :)

Birth certificates for all family members, Marriage certificate, Medicals for all household members, Financial statement, Autobiographies, Photographs, Police record check, Adoption Questionnaire, Birthparent Questionnaire, Marriage Questionnaire. We have also started on our Dossier paperwork which requires fingerprinting for an FBI check (love the photo of Stuart getting his fingerprints done) and we have completed 10 hours of online education and The Eyes Wide Open Book (this book was sooo detailed that I wanted to scream, "I get it! Is this really necessary?" ) (those of you who know me know how much I LOVE details. :) Anyway, it's done! YEA!
Now, look back up to the picture with the paperwork. Does anyone notice the house plans underneath? Yes! We are building a house too! We sold our last house and moved into a rental for what we thought would be maybe a 1-1.5 year commitment and we will be celebrating 2 years in the rental in December. Thank goodness we love our rental house. We are expecting that the new house will be finished in March. They are starting the drywall next week so I went over to the house today and filled the walls with our favorite scriptures. Clayton our 9yr old went with me and he thought it was so cool to run around and read all the verses. I will take Thomas 7yrs and Caroline 5yrs over tomorrow so they can see it too.

Sweet Thomas!
Clayton! All Smiles!

I also have to share how cute my precious kiddos are in their Africa T-shirts. Clayton is sporting his 147 Million Orphans shirt. While Caroline and Thomas are wearing shirts designed by my friend Cynthia. Love them!
Caroline, Strike a pose, girl! Love it!

I will try to update again soon! Keep praying for our sweet baby in Ethiopia!
Leigh Anne

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Paperwork and Setbacks

Ok! so here we go. The paper trail has started. We have selected All God's Children as our adoption agency (inspired by this family) and we are thrilled with our decision. We have been officially approved to start the process, had our orientation call and met with our in home study agency, Catholic Charities. We have filled out lots of paperwork and our dossier will be on it's way to us Monday. During our orientation call I asked " how long is the wait?" unable to answer the question exactly they gave a general range of 5-10 months after the dossier has been completed. So of course, knowing that our child is alive and waiting on us in Africa, we are very impatient to get her home. Stuart and I have been working on all of this together but I have been amazed at his speed. (example) We brought home the paperwork from Catholic Charities and I stayed up until midnight working on my part of the paperwork. (and I didn't even finish) and he told me the next day that he had finished already. I was jealous but very excited. He obviously feels the same way about having our daughter join us as quickly as possible. So here I am feeling really good about how fast we are moving and BAM! All God's Children calls and said the paperwork has changed in Ethiopia and the wait will now be 12-18 months from when we finish our dossier. To say that I'm dissappointed and sad is an understatement. So I am venting at 4:10 am ( I've been up since 2:20). I have heard that there will be many setbacks along the road but this one hurts. I want my daughter home with us , now!!! My mind is filled with questions: How old is she now? (She could be anywhere from 6 months-2 1/2 yrs.based on our parameters). Is she still with her family? Does she have enough to eat? Is there anybody to comfort her when she cries? Now, this is where my faith has to be strong. I will trust God and know that he is taking care of her until she is home. I know that her journey is hard but that he will be with her every step of the way. I know that this is "HIS" plan and I have to trust his wisdom. So I pray, pray, pray for my sweet baby!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Beginning

Wow! I can't believe I'm actually blogging about the adoption of our 4th child! I guess I need to go back to the beginning and tell you how all of this started. It's hard to put into words but it was a feeling I started having about 2 years ago. Yes, Caroline was about 3 yrs old and Stuart looked at me like I was Crazy. All I can say is that God put it on my heart and it simmered there for about a year. Sometimes I would leave church and my heart would be a mess. I mean I had 3 beautiful, healthy children and a wonderful marriage. Why would God tell me I needed more? I struggled with this feeling and finally told Stuart " I think we need to adopt a child" another look of craziness. So I waited. Then, the disaster in Haiti hit. I was a total wreck. I told Stuart once again "we have to help those children". I heard on CNN that a plane was arriving in Pennsylvania with about 80 orphans. I called the Governors office in Pennsylvania and left a message about how we would adopt/foster a child or sibling group. Then I called Stuart " Hey honey, I just signed us up to help some children from Haiti. My, how he loves me! Now, I can't believe that the governors office didn't call the crazy lady from Tennessee, without her husbands approval, back but they didn't. So, Again I waited! Then one day Clayton got in the car from school and said " Mom , we need to adopt one of those children in Haiti" I said really? Why do you say that? he said "because they need help". Then I heard that he had even told the children in his class that he was getting a new brother or sister from Haiti. Tears filled my eyes and I waited. Soon after that, Haiti closed adoptions. Fast forward to May 8th 2010, we were in the kitchen surrounded by the chaos of 3 children and Stuart was standing in front of the TV mesmerized. He was watching a documentary about the orphan crisis in Africa. He wasn't relaxing in front of the TV, I mean he was literally standing in front of the TV. I stood behind him trying to control the children so he could hear and SMILED! The Lord was changing his heart in our kitchen in front of a 20 inch TV screen. It was amazing. That night I couldn't sleep, I woke up and it was Mother's Day. We went to church and I prayed! That night Stuart asked me where do you want to go for dinner. Those of you who know me well, know I'm always craving Mexican food so off we went to Mazatlan in Brentwood. Halfway thru our meal a sweet family arrived with a daughter,2 sons and a beautiful daughter from Ethiopia. Oh my! I said " It's a sign"! This time Stuart didn't look at me like I was crazy he just smiled. On our way home I said "Do you think we need to adopt a boy or a girl"? He replied "a girl"!!!!!!! So here we are after lots of prayer and a ton of research we have narrowed it down to an Ethiopian Princess to join our family of 5. As many of you know the process will take over a year to complete. It will be riddled with complications, paperwork, anxiety, and more paperwork. So pray with us during this process so we may bring our child home quickly and that she is protected and safe until she joins her forever family.

Leigh Anne