Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Love Hate Relationship wih Caller ID

A quick update on our adoption over the past 10 months since my last post- a whole lot of nothing.  That about sums it up.  I guess I shouldn't say that- we've had days where we were told "any day now," but that was 5 months ago.  We've had some great pictures and videos of our girls from families visiting their kids at our orphanage.  I mean, y'all, these are some cute girls!!! I wish I could share these pictures, but that has to wait until they are officially Driggers.  But, yesterday, we got one step closer- we finally got the "official referral."  After months of trying to not sound disappointed when I answer the phone because caller ID has told me it was NOT our adoption agency, I actually saw their name as the caller! Which means we get to go to Haiti to meet these precious babies!!! This is called the bonding, or socialization, visit.  We are required to be in country 2 weeks and will spend all that time with our girls.  Our orphanage is about 3 hours outside of the capital city of Port-au-Prince so they provide a guest room right on the campus of the orphanage.  We stay right there with our girls for two weeks.  Yes, we have to leave them at the end of those two weeks, but let's not talk about that right now, I'm in emotional overload as it is!  Back to the positives- they want us there on November 9th!!!! 12 days from now!!!So, please pray for us as we prepare, both physically and spiritually.  And, most of all, pray for ALL our kids.  Ruby and Lincoln cannot go with us.  Pray that they have so much fun with grandparents that they won't even notice how long we are gone! Pray for our girls in Haiti- they are 1 and 3 so I'm not sure how much they really "get."  But I know they have been through enough already and I can't bear trying to communicate my love for them while saying good-bye, but "I WILL be back!"  To this I cling, my God knows them by name. He placed them in our family. He is better at caring for them, comforting them, and planning for their homecoming then I could ever try to be.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


A very generous friend at our church has a pottery studio and agreed to teach me how to make ornaments to sell.  I spent many hours of peace and quiet working on these ornaments and have plenty available to sell.  At just $10 each I think they are great teacher's gifts or little "happies" for all those people in your life you want to wish a Merry Christmas.  (I even giftwrap!)And you can do it while helping bring our brother and sister home from Haiti! (And, no, we have no news on them!!!)  Just leave a comment, call, text, email, whatever and I will get them to you ASAP!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fundraising trifecta

When our file (dossier) was officially submitted to the Haitian children's services the first half of the international program fee was due.  This pays for orphanage expenses and governmental fees for processing the adoption in Haiti and here.  Since we are now adopting siblings half of this fee was $15,800! Gulp, deep breath.  The other half, another $15,800, will be do in about 6-8 months from the time that file/dossier was submitted, which was August 12 for us.  So, if you're doing the math, in 4-6 months time this large sum will be do and we will also plan our trip to meet the kiddos which is estimated to require an additional $5000 for the two week stay in Haiti.  There will be further expenses beyond that while we wait to be able to actually bring them home.  I won't list these further expenses in detail- but in total, from today we have approximately $26,000 left to pay.  In the past four years of this adoption journey we have paid over $38,000.  While we had very generous giving in our previous fundraisers, the vast majority of that was from our own savings. 
I had a wonderful conversation with our adoption agency just this week and was told that the likelihood that our wait will probably be quicker than the usual wait time of 6-8 (which, as I wrote above is already down to 4-6 months!).  This absolutely thrilled me given how long this adoption has been taking!  However, we do not have the money to pay for the rest of the expenses.  You see, if we had continued with Ethiopia it would have been at least three years and only one child.  We knew that when we switched to Haiti we would not have that time to save, but we felt sure that God was still asking us to take this leap of faith and trust Him to provide.  We have already had some VERY generous contributions and are in the process of applying for numerous grants, I mean numerous!  We know that this is in God's hands, but many of these nonprofit groups have already indicated that our income puts us outside of the usual "demonstrates need" pool of families applying for assistance.  However, we are in that income bracket that sets us apart from the families that can fully fund their own adoption, especially in our given time frame.
So, here we go-------

Fundraiser #1

We still have t-shirts leftover from the original sale.  Unfortunately, there are no smalls left or any size greater than XL.  If the interest is there, we can have this printed again, but I learned my lesson the first time around- do not order t-shirts you do not yet have orders for!  For this reason, we have the following available: 10 mediums, 9 larges, and 3 XL's.  These would also make great Christmas gifts- I even have a tag made up to enclose with them explaining our "cause." See the paypal button at the right to order one or if you live near I can just bring me one, just leave me a comment.

Fundraiser #2

Our cousin (actually Jason's), Shannon, is an ambassador for a company called Noonday Collection.  As Shannon has shared, this company's mission is "to create economic opportunities in developing countries. We do this by creating marketplace for our artisan's handmade, fair trade accessories! I've visited groups in South Africa, Haiti and Guatemala and I can testify to what a huge difference this work is making in their lives! Dignified work provides food, clean water, education, and helps families stay together."  The women in these countries make gorgeous jewelry and accessories that are made available at Noonday's trunk and catalog shows.  Shannon was hosting a party at our adoption agency this week and when she discovered our ties there she offered to give 20% of the sales to our adoption.  So, this means you can support our kids in Haiti and women around the world trying to provide for their own kids!  Win-Win.  I recently had another dear friend host a show at her house and Noonday sent $100 to our agency for our adoption.  All of the items would make wonderful Christmas presents!  Here's the catch- you only have until Sunday so head over to her web site at and enter "America World" at check out so the funds will go towards our adoption!

 Fundraiser #3

I debated over this one a ton, but I'm gonna bite the bullet and host another garage sale!  We would love any donations those living near would like to bring over or have us pick up!  We hope to have this on Saturday, November 8- while the weather is nice.  We would also love to sell baked goods with coffee for our "shoppers," so this another way you could help. 
While this is humbling, I am excited to see how the Lord choses to bring His children to a forever family and thank you all for loving them before we even know them!
Stay tuned, I have some other opportunities for later if they work out!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Another year passes already?

Yes, another year has passed since I last posted.  Do you see a pattern forming here?  I like to keep you in suspense, always wanting more!  Sure, that's what I'm doing....
Actually, there has been quite a lot going on in the past year.  We did finish all our dossier paperwork for Ethiopia and sent off to our agency the first of November for it to go to the Ethiopian embassy in D.C. for authentication.  What an exciting time!  We finished.  The paperwork was done.  It was correct.  I didn't wake up every morning wondering if we'd get the last signature today and if the notary on it would be valid or if there would be some strange mix up like someone putting the wrong year when they dated it!  We knew we had a three year wait (at least) and we settled in to just accepting it and feeling confident that God was using that time to help us save money to pay the rest of the expenses of the adoption and prepare ourselves as a family. 
We were sitting at a soccer game one evening just before thanksgiving and I took a minute to check my email.  There was an email from the director of our adoption's agency's Haiti director.  She was sending out an email to everyone in the adoption process to alert them to the need for a number of children in one of their orphanages to find families or they would have to pass them along to another agency.  The list only included genders and age.  All throughout this process we have wanted to adopt siblings but with Ethiopia this would take so much longer.  And, here, on this list were a number of sibling sets in the age range we wanted.  I showed it to Jason and we agreed it wouldn't hurt to inquire more.  We knew the offices were closed, but as soon as they opened the next morning I called.  We heard back that afternoon.  All of those children were being considered by other families.  That's amazing!!!  As far as we know, they all found their families from that one email.
We talked for a while to the director of the Haiti program about the need in Haiti.  She said that since the earthquake in 2010 the orphanages have been overcrowded with children.  Not only did more children lose their families, but the government had since closed a number of orphanages for substandard conditions so the other orphanages were having to take in more children.  She said the wait time was around 18-24 months tops and they definitely could refer us a sister AND a brother.  After much prayer and discussion we decided to pursue the transfer from the Ethiopia program to the Haiti program.  For us, this adoption is not a pursuit of a certain nationality, but of a child in need.  Yes, there are children in need everywhere, but we felt that the need was immediate in Haiti and we could fill it.  At the time we transferred, the government had certain age and length of marriage stipulations in place that we met but that a lot of families would not.  And we love the thought that because Haiti is closer and easier to travel to, we could visit again and take our children back some day, and maybe have more involvement as a church family.
We decided to move forward and apply for a transfer to the Haiti program and the first of the year, 2014, we were accepted into the Haiti program!!!! When we made our first inquiries into the Haiti adoption process we were told that most of the documents we collected for the Ethiopian dossier would easily transfer to the dossier needed for Haiti, with some additional items needed.  Now that we were officially in the program, the program director had a chance to look at our documents and realized that ALL of them had to be obtained again since Haiti requires that they be no more than a year old, where Ethiopia allowed them to be older.  AND we had to get a formal psychological evaluation.  Not only did all of this mean more time and hassle, but a good deal more money as everything had to be paid for again- home study updates, blood work, physicals, background checks, and a psychologist.  But, with the experience gleaned over the PAST 2 times we had done this already, it only took five months his time- um, did I just type only?!  It seemed like forever. Then, off the new dossier went to translation in May.  Long story short the translation took twice as long as predicted, was then sent to Haiti to be legalized in July.  At that point it was supposed to take up to two months before formal submission to the IBESR (the governing body in Haiti that decides which children are truly adoptable and which families are eligible to receive them).  And finally........ this went quicker than expected and a month later, August 12th to be exact, we were submitted and began the wait for a referral for our kids!!!! In 6-8 months we will receive a file and pictures of TWO kids (siblings)- one boy 0-4 years old and one girl 0-6 years old!  We are thrilled, we are overwhelmed, we are expectant!!! More details later on with all that we are thinking, needing, and praying.  Thanks for continuing to follow this very long journey we have been on, though we know:
"beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" 2 Peter 3:8

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I can't even bear to look at how long it's been since I last posted- I am guessing over two years- that's the amount of time that has passed since we had to put our adoption on hold.  It's the amount of time it has taken to get "settled"- and I don't mean just physically.  And then add the amount of time it has taken me to try and find the words, the explanation, the insight into what's been happening during that time.  I still don't have it, I don't know why it's been so long.  I can't make that time seem worthwhile in my eyes and maybe even in your eyes.  I see the families that began the adoption journey at the same time we did, and even after, with children home while somewhere there is still an orphaned child for us, and more time has passed.  But I know I am looking, feeling, and judging with earthly eyes.  He has ordained this time for my good, for my family's good, for our child in Ethiopia's good, and for His glory.  And not just glory on the day that child is declared to be ours, the day when all of this time will have passed and an orphan is with a family- that is my limited understanding of glory.  Apparently, this time without answer is glorious.  It is not for nothing that we have waiting- God's plan, God's good, God's control, God's presence, God's unfailing love has not been on hold.

you probably can't read it but it's our final homestudy BOOK
A few weeks ago we got the final copy of our homestudy.  This marked a huge milestone of movement.  We had gotten this far in West Virginia and had to stop.  Holding the copies in our hands, receiving a final email from our social worker, and getting the go ahead to file it with immigration was so very exciting. 

We mailed our I-600A application to the immigration office to await an appointment for more fingerprinting.  Basically, we need their approval to bring an orphan into this country with the intent to adopt.  The application stated it could take up to six weeks to receive this appointment time.  A week later we got a letter with an appointment for May 14!  The fingerprinting only took a few minutes, then we were told it would take another 6 weeks for the final letter of permission to bring an orphan to this country.  We need this letter to add to the large stack of documents to send to Ethiopia (the dossier) to be added to the wait list.  A week later and we get this rather informal looking letter in the mail.  Sooooo much faster than I thought!!!!!  After years passing this is suddenly moving very quickly and it is so exciting and it finally seems real.  We have a few things to finish- we have to have all these documents to be state certified which means sending them to the Mississippi secretary of state, some photo pages to make, and then this huge dossier is sent to our agency who sends it to the capitol to be certified there and then on to the Ethiopian government!

where we went to be fingerprinted for the I600-
felt kinda like Sidney Bristow or Jack Bauer or 007!
When we started this process in 2010 the wait time was 18 months tops.  During the past two years, Ethiopia has drastically slowed the process under accusations that they were not doing enough to confirm the children were indeed orphans.  We are now probably looking at a wait of 2-3 years.  I really don't ever want to get to the place of anger at the process, because I definitely value the investigation of each and every adoptive family and orphan.  If this is what it takes, then so be it, but it doesn't make it easy.  I will trust that God's plan, God's good, God's control, God's presence, God's unfailing love will not be waiting, but it will be revealed daily to me, to my family, to His precious child miles from their earthly family.  And though my earthly eyes may not see, it will be glorious.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why didn't anyone come for me?

The first weekend of October we had another yard sale. I was praying for the $830 we needed to send with some immigration paperwork that we would need to then send with the mountain of paperwork to Ethiopia (also with $7700). To be honest, as the days went by I just hoped for $500. We got lots of generous donations to sell and at the end of the day the Lord blessed us with a little over $900. Since then, I have learned the immigration fees have gone up and we need that amount to cover the new cost! Isn't God amazing like that! It was a gorgeous fall day, and since I had already done one of these I didn't feel as stressed, which was so nice!

I can't stop thinking about this young woman that was shopping at our sale. She was looking at our t-shirts and asked about what it meant. When I explained to her that this sale was a fundraiser for our adoption she went on to ask, "Why are you adopting from Ethiopia when there are so many kids without homes here in the states? I am not trying to be nosey, it's just that I grew up in the foster care system." My heart sank. This isn't the first time I've had this question posed to me, in fact, at the last yard sale we had a couple tell us just how much they disagreed with international adoption when there are orphans here in the states. Yet, honestly, it was easy to write them off after hearing them demean the birth mom of their child because she went and got "knocked up" again and they guessed they were going to adopt that baby too! Yeah, I know, don't get me started....

But this girl hurt my heart. I had nothing to say but knew nothing trite would quite hit on her real question- "why didn't anyone come for me?" I tried to be as honest as I could- I've always known I would adopt and for whatever reason God impressed on me early two countries, China and Africa. I told her I ached for the needs of orphans everywhere, this is just how I was led. She was very kind and said she could not afford a t-shirt, but handed me a couple of dollars. I was pulled away by some other shoppers and didn't see her again.

I have been hesitant to write much on this blog on the need of orphans, the need for people to consider adoption. I don't want to become an emotionalist about this (if that's even a word). I don't want to offend people with the feeling that they are doing something wrong by not adopting. That's not how I feel. I don't like how many view this as a Christian trend and I don't want to be categorized as such. Over the past 6 years, in particular, I have treasured the knowledge God has given me about my acceptance as His child based only on what He did for me, not what I can do. I don't want to be on the other side again, touting my Christian credentialing (you know, the outreach I've done, the mission trips, the Bible studies I've led, the number of people I've shared the gospel with). And yet, God does ask certain things of us. Adoption is a serious decision, it's not for everyone.

Our social worker really got me thinking about what she called a savior complex. Basically, she didn't want anyone pursuing adoption to "save" a child. To her, it should be more like- "we want kids, there are kids who need families, and this is how we want to grow our family." I definitely don't disagree, if you enter with some lofty pursuit of saving alone, and have no realistic consideration of the impact on you, the child, your family- you need to re-think your decision. And yet, after thinking and thinking this over, this savior "complex" is part of it for me, and I don't think this is wrong. God calls Christians to care for orphans. We do this because we were once orphans, fatherless. Everything we do is because our Father did it first. When we take part in His plan, we not only grow more in Him, we point others to Him. I am not THE Savior, but by taking part in His plan to save an orphan I can point that child to who really came after her. Unwittingly, the girl at the yard sale played a part in that plan by the few dollars she gave. Though I never got to share with her, I pray someday she knows there is a Father in pursuit of her. I pray these words are used to remind everyone of our own need, of the reality of the plight of those children growing up without families, and of those longing to know their Father in heaven.

(an article that stole all of my thoughts, but says it much better than I could:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Study

Did you hear that?
That's me exhaling because our home study is basically over! Last week Jason and I drove to Charleston for the 3 hour interview process then 2 days ago our sweet social worker drove here to conduct individual interviews of me and Jason and do a home safety check and meet our kiddos. For those of you who don't know, as I didn't just weeks ago, the home study actually consists of all these visits. I had already done research to know that to apply for any adoption grants you had to "have your first home study done." Then, when we applied and found out it requires four face-to-face visits with costs broken down over each visit, I thought only the first one was what was needed for grants. Couldn't have been more wrong!!! Those four visits (two of which can be done at one visit as we had this last week) comprise the whole of THE HOME STUDY. Of which, has to be formally written up by our social worker and four copies notarized for various places it has to be sent. If you're adding this up in your head, we have only had 3 visits, you are correct. The fourth visit will be when she gives us these notarized copies and fills us in on the post-placement visits. So weird that this part is done until we get our child home!

The time with our social worker was really good. She has been through this many times and is very helpful. I didn't realize it but went in to this thinking this was a "weeding out" process, they are trying to get rid of the weak ones! Yep, I am in the medical field! Once again, couldn't have been more wrong. She is an advocate for the child with no family. Like me, she wants to see these kids meet their forever families! She wants us to be ready, not scared. She wants to facilitate, not prevent. She's optimistic, not pessimistic. We talked about all the important stuff- we are now going to be a multi-racial family not to mention an adoptive family, wow. Jason and I had talked a lot about this, we are not naive. Yet, the more you talk it out, the more it sinks in, for real! She got to see our kids interact- they are the only thing "Beaver Cleaver-esque" about our family. I can say this because I don't believe I can take any credit- but, they get along fantastically, very minor frustrations and that is usually over Ruby hugging Linc too long! The social worker commented on how we should be aware that Ruby may have a hard time if our next child does not respond to her in the same way Lincoln clearly has! So true!

When asked, Ruby said she is "so excited" about getting a new sister. In fact, from that point on the answer to every question was "play with little sister"- what is your favorite activity? what do you like to do with your little brother? what do you like about preschool? Hilarious! Just like the little kids in Sunday School who answer Jesus to everything! With further prompting, she told the whole tale of liking to do puppet shows for Lincoln except he always tries to look behind the curtain!

The home safety check was not bad at all. I am not a big "cleaner," I do just enough to not be gross! Seriously, just being honest. Nope, don't move the furniture every time I vacuum, the tops of taller things don't get dusted very often, I don't sweep daily, I should but I don't. I even have people over at my house a couple times a week. Maybe that's why I have become less concerned about it, I just can't. I have two small kids who literally come behind me messing as I straighten, I work a couple days a week, and want my home to be open to whomever needs to stop by. I want to impress the social worker, sure, but I just could not bring myself to scrub down the house. Not to mention, she told me not to worry. Yes, I cleaned more than the usual, scrubbed the kitchen floor, organized the back laundry room, etc. I do like a good excuse to do all that stuff, plus it takes my mind off the many things flooding it over this adoption! So, at the end of the day, we have to put up a hand railing down the four back outside stairs, take pictures of the fire escape ladders and fire extinguisher we have on order, and other minor things. Really nothing unreasonable, which also was a surprise.

About a month and it should be final. That piece of the puzzle complete. Another step closer. I cannot believe it! Thanks for the prayers. For those of you who knew via facebook, our A/C broke the day before she was to come. I did not "warm" (get it? warm?) to the idea of deep cleaning in the hot house! But, by afternoon naps it was fixed and cooling down. Your prayers really protected my attitude, because I really didn't wig out, I was just glad it wasn't flooded or something else that would have made it difficult to check the house and thus prolong the process for weeks as Jason is gone next week then we are on vacation the next. So, thank you! And now, more paperwork for the dossier and start work on grant applications- keep the prayers coming!