Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I know that it's been a while since my last post and now I can FINALLY explain why! As most of you know we have been patiently waiting on a referral. Well, in May I received an email from a friend who was in Ethiopia picking up her little boy. She explained that there was a little girl age 4-5 that was waiting on a family and she asked if we might be interested. I immediately called Stuart and he said "yes"! The trick was that she is with a different adoption agency so we would have to terminate with All Gods Children and switch to Celebrate Children International. So in May we started the process and to make an extremely long story short we have finally changed agencies and HAVE A REFERRAL!!!! I could not post anything until it was official and its been killing me.

So the details are: Her name is Marleigh Baredu McWhorter! She is 4 or 5 yrs old and she's ours! Stuart and I traveled to Ethiopia a few weeks ago and met her. The orphanage let us take her back to our hotel in Addis and spend a week getting to know our daughter. It was sooo amazing! It is obvious that she has been loved. She walked right up to us and gave us the biggest hug. The translator explained that we were her new "Mommy and Daddy" and we were in a puddle of tears. She doesn't understand any English so it was a week of charades but she understood that we love her and she loves us. It could not have gone any better.  We took her to the Dr while we were there and she is perfectly healthy. We were hoping for a clearer understanding of her age but we are still not sure. She has tiny little hands and feet but she is really smart and well coordinated. Her paperwork says that she is "Abandoned" with no family listed or birthdate.  I'm so sad for her but I have no doubt that GOD chose us and now she has family and we will celebrate her 5th birthday when she gets home. The hardest thing to do was leave her and fly home but I know that she is in good hands and we will be together again soon. We will travel again (hopefully) in December for her court date and then (hopefully) bring her home by February. Please pray for her process to go quickly!

Stuart and I have a hole in our hearts that won't be full until we get her home but we are overjoyed with the blessing that GOD has given us.

Leigh Anne

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!