Colin & Noelle

Colin & Noelle


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Friday, June 29, 2012

Coming Up for July...

June was a busy month for us. We wrapped up our home study binder, held two fundraising events (a massive garage sale & frozen yogurt fundraiser), signed up with Adoption Bug to sell these T-Shirts, and took a 9-day trip to Washington state to visit the majority of our family (some of whom we hadn't seen in a year and a half).

And while many of those moments have been filled with excitement and joy, there have been many challenging and emotionally difficult moments as well. I'd say June was probably one of the most hectic months (and for good reason - we got a lot accomplished!). But to be honest, we're just so exhausted from going, going, going... it can be so easy to feel rushed and forget to take some time to relax. And it also doesn't help that our bodies still seem to be stuck on pacific time! ;)

But let's talk July.

We can't say we know entirely what it will bring, but we DO have some exciting things on our radar!

  • Towards the beginning of July we have our first interview for our home study, where a social worker will come into our home, check out where we live, and conduct an interview to evaluate us as future parents. 
  • We also plan to start the educational portion of our home study. We have 3 required classes we are about ready to enroll in, as well as documents to review and be quizzed on, and a cultural exploration essay to write about the country of Ethiopia! There may be additional classes or assignments that are tailored to our specific situation that I believe we will address with our social worker at the interview. (Including classes on African hair and skin care, Creative discipline methods, Nutrition for children, creating a "lifebook" for your child, and marriage-building classes among others.) Some of these required courses will be available to us online, such as in video conferencing, and others will require we drive to the agency (about 2 hours away) to participate in class. 

I guess that's only two major things - Home Study Interview, and Home Study Education. But each are huge steps that we are anxious to get started on! Now -- off to get this house clean and organized before our home visit! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


     The other day on our flight to Denver, I casually picked up a copy of "Hemispheres" (United Airlines' in-flight magazine). What started as a browse to relieve boredom, quickly changed into an exciting read as I discovered an article written about Ethiopia's history and culture, primarily focusing on their music scene. The author, Rachel Slade, talks about the exile and return of Ethiopia's unique style of Jazz music -- EthioJazz. I couldn't pull my eyes away -- and I'm not usually the type to find reading about music irresistible. But this article was interesting and intriguing.

     Call it the history-lover in me -- or my love for discovering new cultures -- that had me thoroughly enjoying this article, but perhaps it was so intriguing because it was something so new, and yet seemed so vitally important because this heritage will belong to our child. When I originally saw the title "The Ballad of Addis Ababa", a little piece of me jumped for joy, and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I wanted to soak in each word; memorize each photo. At this point, Colin and I probably know more than the average American about Ethiopia - much of those facts we hold in our repertoire being things such as their national language, climate, etc. But this article? It spoke to what life is like in Ethiopia, from an angle I had yet to discover. And I want to know as much as I can before we travel there (twice), and especially as we do our best to teach our child about their beautiful background as they grow up. I took a few copies with me and will find a place for safe-keeping. I hope to hold onto it for little one, and perhaps one day they, too, will enjoy reading a little about the culture they were born into, and what Ethiopia was like roughly around the time they were born.

     I don't know if this article will hold as much meaning to many of you who do not have an "Ethiopia radar" that goes off at key words such as "Addis Ababa", but it is still interesting just the same... Hope you enjoy it!



Friday, June 15, 2012

T-Shirts For Sale!

Many of you have expressed a desire for something to order online, other than coffee. (I'm still surprised at the lack of coffee drinkers I've been meeting!)

So we've set up an "online storefront" of sorts, where we are selling T-shirts!

Okay, so why do I love this so much? Not only does each sale help us raise money for our adoption, but when you order and wear one of these shirts, you are advocating for adoption and raising awareness! Each time you wear it it'll be a reminder of the role you played in helping our family grow!

The site we are using is They work with many adoptive families, and the site is set up to help fundraise for adoption! If you order a T-shirt, it has to be from OUR store (at the link below) if you are hoping for it to benefit our adoption.

Disclaimer: Our store is only allowed to carry certain shirts offered on the site, so we chose our 6 favorites. If you would like a shirt outside of what our "store" offers, that is great as well, but we will not receive credit for it. In that case, if it is at all possible, please look around at other families' stores to see if they are offering what you'd like! At the very least, it would be wonderful to help another family with their adoption! *Some shirts are available for purchase directly from the website, but not as part of any fundraisers - simply for sale by*

Okay. The good part.
Here's what we're selling...

[Check out the photo captions for more info; click to zoom]
"Faith, Hope, Love" in Amharic,
the primary language of Ethiopia.
"Adoption Rocks"
The heart contains the Ethiopian flag.

"How do you reach 147 Million Orphans?
One at a time."

[The following are part of the Show Hope collection, from the
"Show Hope" foundation, which supports adoption & orphan care,
founded by Mary Beth & Steven Curtis Chapman.]

Ready to make a purchase?
Or would you like to browse around?

CLICK HERE  to view our Adoption Bug storefront!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One step closer.

Well. It's official. Our Home Study Binder is in the mail and on its way to the agency!

Whew. I feel like I can breathe again. And at the same time, I feel slightly more anxious than before.

While it's nice to be done with our binder (and I couldn't get it out the door fast enough today), there is a part of me that's a little sad. It's done. It's over. Gone. We put our energy into that binder for the past two months, and we have been through so many obstacles to get it complete. I carefully hand-made the divider tabs, as well as a little "scrapbook" page for the cover (so now my creativity is in it as well), I poured out my soul in my autobiography -- out there for a stranger to judge before s/he ever meets us, and we've spent countless hours working on obtaining all the documents we needed. I have spent nearly every waking moment that I've been able to, protecting that binder with my life, and it's been a constant "to do" on our list. There hasn't been a day in the past two months that has gone by where I haven't thought to myself, "Ah, I really need to get ______ done for our binder soon!" Now, my brain is in a total transition, and I'm not sure whether to jump right into the next step -- or sleep for a week straight. ;)

So it's a little weird. But overall, we are ecstatic! This means we are one step closer, which is a wonderful feeling...

For those of you that might be wondering how on earth it took us so long to compile a binder of documents, or are simply curious as to the end results -- take a look at the finished product...

I had a little fun with the cover...

This is basically our entire life in a binder.

So, what's next?

Well, a few things.

First, a trip to visit family in Seattle. It will be nice to get away for a little while.

Second, over the next week or so, our agency will review our binder and give us a call to schedule interviews (the actual "home study" portion). This is where we will meet in their office (we think), and they will come to our house to make sure that we are suitable to have children in our family/home. Our *hope* is that we could get this done shortly after returning from Seattle.

Third, we are going to start compiling our Dossier! It will be similar to the binder in the way that it's a compilation of a ton of documents. But it's very different. It is basically a set of documentation that gets sent to Ethiopia. When it arrives in country, we will get put on the waitlist! That's the summed up version, anyway... We are hoping that if all goes well, we can get it sent out sometime in August or September! We want to get on the waitlist and start counting down already! :)

Thanks for checking in on our process! We could use lots of prayers for our home study to go well, and for our Dossier paperwork to go smoothly.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fro-Yo For A Cause!

At the risk of overloading you with all sorts of fundraisers... we have a new one! ;)

We hope you can all make it next MONDAY the 11th of JUNE.    [One week away!]

We have been so excited to announce this...

To check out what Orange Leaf is all about, go to:

All of this is thanks to our sweet friend, Randa. She is the one who is truly responsible for getting this put together. She contacted Orange Leaf on our behalf, asking if they would be willing to do a fundraiser for us! Thanks Randa! :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Garage Sale: Success!

Thanks to Matt & Matt for designing & making
these custom posterboards for our yard sale!!

Starting several weeks ago, we began collecting a ton of donations. We had such a small amount to begin with. I remember before collecting donated items, I thought to myself that maybe we could get $50 for everything. If we were really lucky, we could possibly walk away with $100. On a great day. After gathering donations, however, I had no idea what to expect. We had a LOT of donations. But could they really all sell? Will our yard sale even be a hit?

Mmm. Coffee.
Needed this to get us going!
So I basically spent the past several days collecting and organizing donations. Friday, I spent a while trying to organize. Colin and I were up until nearly 1am still prepping. Since we knew the garage sale was starting at 8am, and we could expect people to show up an hour early, we got up at 5:30am, started setting up outside at 6am, and were getting our first customers right around 7am!

It was so interesting doing our first ever garage sale, as well as doing it as an adoption fundraiser! We had the opportunity to share a little of our story, hand out business cards, talk about our Just Love Coffee fundraiser, sell handcrafted cards made by my mom, Lauri, and her friend Cindy, among other things. It also allowed us to interact with our community about adoption. We met another couple who have a little boy, born in Ethiopia, who live close to us! We heard some of our customers' comments, which brought to light what others think about adoption (not necessarily bad, just some common misconceptions, as well as much support!). I even had the chance to encourage one woman who mentioned that her and her husband had been thinking of adoption for their future as well! How awesome is that? It makes me appreciate that we have to fundraise and can't just write a check. Writing a check is easy. After the day I've just had on my feet, believe me, part of me wishes I could just write a check for the entire adoption. But the part of me that can see beyond the hours spent, and feel beyond the sore feet and body, knows that this is for the best. It gets us involved in our community to not only raise money, but to raise awareness for adoption!

Leatha helping out!
At one point, after a few hours had passed and we had sold a bit of stuff, a girl drove up to our sale and informed us that she lived just around the corner. Her name is Eva, and her family was just about wrapped up with their sale. Eva being adopted herself, was moved when she heard that her neighbors were fundraising for an adoption! Her family asked if we wanted the rest of their stuff, and we gladly said yes! What a blessing to have even more to add to our pile! She contributed a ton of household items and some awesome vintage board games! Thank you Eva for your donations and your wonderful heart!

In terms of how we chose to set up, we followed some of the advice found here, on the blog "Saying Yes to Adoption" that I've mentioned before. It was so helpful!
We added a donation jar!
[Label hand-made by yours truly.]
We sold cards made by my mom
& her friend Cindy!

It was a LONG day. About 12 hours. We're soooore. But we're feeling so blessed at the turnout. Only by the grace of God have we done as well as we have.

Here we are, in the process:

First, we were busy. Jealous of miss Patton napping.

So I joined her. :)

Colin (exhausted).

Okay, little one. Some day you will look back
and see all the work we put into bringing you
home. Yes, child. This includes, blood, sweat,
tears, and now... sunburns.  ; )

So... the big question... how'd we do?

Thanks to ALL OF YOU, we have made approximately.... 



This is waaaay above and beyond any hopes we could have had. And we still have a ton of stuff left over. We are still discussing what to do with leftover donations, but for one day, this is a HUGE profit to go towards our adoption!! We can't tell you how much this helps, and how much it means to us! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. It is only because of a wonderful, faithful God, and supportive, loving friends like you all! Especially those of you in our church family who in every way imagineable have stepped in to help us. You are a true example of community & what it means to come together for the sake of placing the the lonely in families. Adoption is precious in God's sight, and every "little" effort is a big one in His sight. And it is a huge blessing to us! Thank you, most of all, for coming along side us, as your family. We can't wait until we can bring a new child to join our lives, and we are excited about the generous, loving community we will be bringing him or her into! :)