We’re Adding to Our Nest!

Yes, ok, well if you’ve been reading this ole blog for any amount of time, you already know that.  What you may not know is that we now have a really cute tee shirt to tell everyone about it!

(And yes, what follows is a shameless advertisement for yet another cool tee which you yourself can get your hot little hands on. Exclusively at):

Jay and I have tried with each of our designs to create something we love enough to wear ourselves. So, a lot of thought and agonizing has gone into each of our logos that you see at AdoptionTee.

Well, a little while back we started working on a design that we were really excited about, but for a completely different purpose. Someone got a peek at it, and their comment was “Wow, that would make a REALLY cute tee shirt!” So…. my hubs, aka the Head Designer, quickly got to work translating the design into something that could be adapted for the Adoption Tee store.

And so it is with much enthusiasm that I give you “We’re Adding to our Nest”:

Wait, is the detail too hard to make out? Well, honestly: what can you expect from a tee shirt that stands only 3 inches tall??  In my opinion this would more appropriately be called a wee shirt, heheheheheh.

Ok, seriously, here’s a close-up (on pink this time)!

Isn’t it just perfect for someone who is adding a child to their family, whether by adoption or the biological route? Since families come in all different sizes we thought it would be fun to offer the tee in different versions…and it comes in kids’ sizes too, so you can pop one on your toddler and/or older kiddo(s) to surprise Grandma and Grandpa with the great news!

So, if you are expecting your first little bundle of joy? Try this on for size:

Or if you are maybe adding a second to your little brood:

Working on lucky #3?

Thinking that 3 isn’t quite an even enough number, so why not have a 4th?

Love bigger families and adding child #5? We’ve even got you covered!

Sooooooo we stopped at 5.  However, if anyone is reading this who has more birds, I mean kids than are pictured on a shirt, and you just have to have one in your family’s size…please leave a comment either here or at

AdoptionTee (there is a place on the front page for feedback)

and let the head designer know.  We are happy to fill custom orders.

And what if your family is complete and there is just no more “nesting” going on? But still…you just love birdies and gotta have you a shirt?

Or, maybe there are those of you like my tween-aged daughter who says yes she likes birds and desperately wants a birdie shirt, but maybe doesn’t want to personally wear one that advertises “adding to a nest”  for various reasons….how does this one work for ya? (I like to call it “Birds but no Words”):

We have mugs, water bottles, and aprons and totes with the birdies also, sans words. Who wouldn’t want to drink their morning coffee in something this cute?

So, so many choices! I can’t say I envy any of you who are trying to pick out JUST ONE!

Well, thanks for indulging me. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta run…and go pick me out a “Nest” shirt in my size!

WE ARE ON THE WAITLIST!

Last week we received an email from our Gladney caseworker that started with:

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Hello, Jay and Tricia!

Congratulations! You have officially been placed on waitlist to receive a referral as of 11/16/2010!

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HOORAY!!

Time for a little happy dancing….

So what does “being on the waitlist mean”?

Waitlisted means that all our paperwork for the application, homestudy, and dossier part of the adoption process is complete. We are on the list now in Ethiopia, and in line to eventually receive information about the little one that Gladney has for us. For the next several months, we will be waiting. Waiting, praying, learning all we can until our agency Gladney matches us with the child they feel best fits, based on her needs and what they know of our family. Jay and I will complete a good bit of required education and training as part of our preparation before we receive our referral.

Are you asking for a girl or a boy? How old?

Many friends have asked if we get to choose boy or girl. Yes, with Ethiopia you get to choose. Jay and I were truly open to either gender. Practically speaking a boy would be “simpler” with bedroom arrangements in our current house. However, our sweet daughter has prayed faithfully for a sister since she was about four years old. Part of the backstory to our adoption journey is that she began asking about adopting a sister several years ago. Though we laughed, and brushed her off in the past, when it came time to specify boy or girl, we felt for her sake that we had to ask for a little girl. And we are truly delighted at the thought of another girl in the family!

We have asked for a little toddler girl somewhere between 18 to 30 months of age, with the caveat that if Gladney has a little girl in care that is a bit out of that range on either side but who appears to be a solid match from their point of view, to please let us know. We have to set an age range based on our agency’s advice and what we feel is the best match for our family.

This was an agonizingly hard decision, but from the first moment Jay and I each began feeling pulled toward adoption, we have never envisioned a tiny baby. Separately, without ever talking about it to each other, we both felt pulled toward a toddler. We absolutely adore babies, but the reality is that we have been blessed to enjoy four tiny babies in our home. Once children hit toddler age the chances of them being adopted drop somewhat, though in actuality there are a lot of families on Gladney’s referral list who ask for toddlers, and many of the people we know who have adopted or are adopting here in Dallas bring home toddlers. We are very, very excited about our little girl, and finding out who she is, and how old she will be.

So, when will you get this referral?

These days, referrals are taking around 9 or 10 months on average. So we do not imagine we will receive a match for quite a while.  At the time of referral, we are given every bit of information that Gladney has about our daughter. Medical history, family background, her story.

So….you will bring her home in about 9 or 10 months, after your referral?

No, not yet.  :-) After we are given and accept a referral, there will be a first trip to Ethiopia several weeks later to meet our daughter and complete a court hearing, and then a second return visit another few weeks later where we will receive custody and bring our girlie home.

Then how long WILL it be till she is finally home with you?

Average wait times are just that: averages. We have no exact times, and things change in the adoption world depending on factors often out of the control of our agency’s workers, etc. Given current wait times, estimated time till court dates are issued, and then the two trips are completed, it will probably be about a year before we bring our girlie home. Again, that is the best estimate we have at this time, and could change.

Does Gladney already know who your daughter is?

No. At this time (based on the age we have asked for), our daughter is already alive but neither Gladney nor we know who she is. She may or may not still be with her birth family. At some point she will be processed through a government orphanage, spend a bit of time there, and shortly thereafter be brought into in Gladney’s foster care. Once in Gladney’s care, we know she will receive excellent treatment as they have plenty of people to love and care for these little ones as well as staff and resources to meet their medical and other needs compared to the resources in the government orphanages.

How can we pray for your ongoing adoption process?

* Please pray for our daughter: that the Lord will be protecting her and have His hand on her whatever her situation may be. That she might have precious time with her birth mother or other close family before whatever tragedy occurs which will ultimately separate them.  The fact that this little one and so many millions of others in Ethiopia are in need of a family to adopt them and give them homes means that there has been great tragedy in their lives. Our hearts are heavy for her and for her birth family.

* Please pray for us: that God will be preparing our family to welcome a daughter, a little one who has known loss and hardship at such a young age that most of us cannot even begin to fathom. Pray that Jay and I will be given wisdom, patience, and the ability to meet her needs. Pray that our children will be equipped to be good siblings to this little girl. They are all so excited about their new baby sister.

* Pray for Gladney as they work with so many in the country of Ethiopia, both those who will be adopted, and those who will not. We are very thankful for the good work our agency is doing in Africa to help better the lives of people, and especially children there.

* Pray for God to provide the remainder of our adoption expenses. There are still costs we have not yet incurred which are due upon referral, and we also have the expenses for our travel to Ethiopia to account for. We are so thankful as God has provided beautifully to this point, and we trust that this will all work out.

We are thrilled about this step in the process, and feel it is a huge blessing to get this good news right before Thanksgiving. I had secretly been hoping and praying for waitlist status by the New Year, so this is a wonderful surprise!

Happy Thanksgiving to All of you, dear Readers.

Adoption Tee-Shirts!! (and Sweatshirts, Coffee Mugs, etc…)

Alrighty, Folks!  The people here at House of Horne have been busy, busy, busy working on a new project. And so, without further ado, it is with great excitement that I announce the opening of:

To visit our store, please click here:

www.AdoptionTee.com

The designs are our own, and we currently have four different ones up to choose from. Come in, have a look around, and think about buying a T-shirt (many different styles, fits, and colors available in each design):

a sweatshirt:

a tote bag:

or even a mug for that warm cup ‘o’ joe or hot chocolate!

BBQ Apron, Anyone?

And where else do you suppose you will find a frosty adoption stein to hold your favorite chilled beverage?

In all seriousness, it is our hope that these shirts and other products will appeal to folks all over who have a heart for adoption, and help encourage the message of adoption within the church.

On a personal note, a part of every sale at AdoptionTee will go toward helping us bring our own sweet little girlie home from Ethiopia.

Thanks so much for looking around and supporting us, and please do spread the word to anyone who might be interested that AdoptionTee is open for business!!

Texas Wait No More

A local Dallas church, Watermark, is holding a huge conference this weekend in partnership with Focus on the Family, Dallas CPS and area Adoption Agencies to help focus efforts on finding adoptive families for the children currently in the custody of the state of Texas.

Right now there are over 3500 kids who have legally been declared orphans living here in Texas waiting for families.

Previous efforts like this in the state of Colorado have helped to reduce the number of waiting children in that state by over half. Amazing.

For more information or to register for this event, go HERE.

Navigating the Waters of the Adoption Dossier

We are in the stage of gathering the final documents needed to complete our dossier.  This is very exciting because it means we are near to being officially placed on the waitlist for our little girl! (What will not be exciting is the following explanation of one of the more technical aspects of the whole adoption thing…my apologies in advance for boring the few faithful readers we still have!)

In any international adoption process, there are three  main components to the paper chase:

1-the Application Packet for your adoption agency,

2- the Homestudy, and

3-the Dossier.

The Dossier feels more daunting mostly because some of the documents are more challenging to obtain, and most every document included must be notarized, and then go through an authentication process both at the state and the national level. There are four or five levels of authentication required depending on which state you reside in.  They are:

1. Notary

2. County Clerk (this level is not needed in all states)

3. Secretary of State

4. United States Department of State

5. Ethiopia Embassy

Given the Dossier also requires two sets of official government fingerprints for each parent, you must also wait on approvals, fingerprint dates, responses to applications, etc. Sometimes the wait stretches out so long, that it can seem as if your file got lost in a box somewhere in Gov’t office #547.  (And some of my adopting friends will tell you that their have, poor things!) There are a total of 34 documents needed just for our Dossier, and unfortunately the work of gathering just one document can potentially stretch into weeks due to errors with dates, notarization mess-ups, etc.

This week has had its fill of highs and lows in the Dossier process. We are so very close to the end, and yet little glitches each day have prevented my FedEx’ing the final set of documents off for authentication.

First, this past Monday, November 1st, we were delighted to find an envelope from Homeland Security in our mailbox. YAY! We received our I-600A Customs Approval that I referred to back in this post in record time! Happy Dance! What a wonderful and appropriate way to kick off National Adoption Month!

Then, oops, the joy was short-lived, it appears there was a mix-up with our paperwork from Homeland Security. Yours truly was listed as the main adoptive applicant parent which wouldn’t be a bad thing except that wisdom dictates that the parent with the higher income always be approved as the main applicant. In this case, Jay is the only parent with ANY income, at least for right now, so that was a little bit of an issue. We got that settled…only to run into repeated issues with a medical letter.

A letter from Jay’s personal physician is a mandatory part of the packet, and for whatever reason repeated instructions to the doctor’s office about how the letter is to be dated, notarized, etc, have not been followed. We are currently on our fourth try to get this one little piece of paper correct and I am pretty sure our doctor’s office is rather weary of seeing me in their lobby. Wondering what fault I will find today with their latest draft of the aforementioned letter. Ah well….All other documents are now in order, have been officially notarized, except for one. Like I said, we are so close!

Throughout our dossier process, we have had the blessing of working with a lady who is a pro at dossier preparation. She has been invaluable to us, and because of her, instructions have been laid out very clearly, and so far we have not had to redo documents due to little errors here and there. She is amazingly organized and attentive to details, and knows exactly how to navigate the waters of the process. She is always calm and reassuring, and has answered so many questions for me, and streamlined the process so much for us as we’ve worked together the past few months to put our dossier together.  Jay says the money spent on the fee for her services is the smartest cash we’ve spent thus far on the adoption, and he is right!

Kate at KBS Dossiers already has the endorsement of Gladney as well as so many adoptive parents who testify to what great work she does. In fact, I heard about her way before we began the adoption process because so many adoptive parents give her shout outs on their blogs! But she has been so wonderful to us that I had to mention her.  If you are preparing to work on an international adoption, give her a call!

Truly, we are overjoyed that the process is moving along, and that we are many steps closer to bringing home our little sweetheart from Ethiopia.  I hope to be back before the end of the month to give you the wonderful news that we are officially waitlisted!!!

Article on Ethiopian Adoptions

The Washington Post ran a very encouraging article in October about adoptions from Ethiopia, and I wanted to share it here.

(Click to read)

I do not know the McDurham family personally, but they are friends of friends. I have seen their beautiful little daughter, Ella, featured in another publication recently. Gladney, the agency we are working with, is mentioned in the article as well.

National Adoption Month

If you didn’t already know, November just happens to be National Adoption Month. In honor of the focus on adoption during this month, I have high hopes of trying to catch up on our sad neglected little blog, particularly updating our readers with news pertaining to our own adoption, answering some questions we have been asked by friends and family as we go through the process, and maybe posting a few reviews of books we have read that might be of interest to some of you.

(And while I am aware that we have very few readers left here given the dearth of posts of late, if you have a question you want me to answer, please leave a comment and I will do my best to spend a post – or an email if you prefer – answering your question!)  THANKS!

National Adoption Month seems a good time to say that we are very grateful to our agency, Gladney, for the wonderful work they are doing with us and with so many other families who are pursuing adoption both domestically and internationally. Gladney is also actively championing efforts to provide in-country aid to many of the places in the world where they operate. This is needful, as the reality is that only a very small percent of the 147 million orphans in the world today will actually be adopted into families.