Paper Chasing Pro

After my marathon of a day last week--trying to get all our paperwork county certified and state certified in one day among 3 different counties, made me think "what am I doing?!"  I was in such a excited rush to get things done that I almost let it get the better of me. (For a moment I felt like we were on the Amazing Race--one of our favorite reality shows--and I was, in my mind, racing to get us to the finish line = waiting list.  To "beat" the other families.  To be the best).  When 5pm rolled around last Friday and Justin and I were standing in Fedex frantically making copies of every single document before their 6pm pick up we realized there was a mistake.  Actually, two mistakes.  And both meant we had to go back and make corrections before any of this could be mailed off.  I felt my joy just bottom out and standing there in Fedex tears began welling up in my eyes.  "Why can't people just do their jobs correctly??" is all I kept saying.  I mean is it really that hard to type "Kathrine" or to copy the notaries name from one sheet to another??  We were both frustrated realizing that the day had been productive....just not productive enough.  For us.  But for this process?  For what God desired for us to complete?  It was fine.  Actually, it was perfect.  
Then have no care for tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Take the trouble of the day as it comes. Matthew 6:34   
Thankfully, I'm completely ok (and quite excited to be honest!) with where we're at with the checklist now, but it took me a while to move from my amped up gotta-get-it-done attitude to realizing that this isn't a race.  No other family is going to "win" our son before we get there.  We won't be late.  In fact, we'll be just on time.  It took a patient, humorous husband, two friends over the phone and a God that knows my deepest desires of my heart to remind me to step back and look at the whole picture.  That there is a family, a man and a woman who are living life, just like me, doing their day to day activities and at some point there will be a child who comes into this picture. 
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart...." Jeremiah 1:5   
I can't have any control over what she does today, or when our son is placed into the hands of the orphanage workers hands.  Nope.  Nothing I can do about that.  What I can do is find peace and trust in this waiting process.  And to not miss out on this season of our life, right now, where God has called us to be.

A week later, I'm getting ready to go wrap up those previous "mistakes" and send those off to St. Louis where our adoption coordinator will bundle them together and have them couriered off to Washington D.C.  And then, we will officially have all our paper work turned in!  (YES!!..it feels good hear "well done"!)  Next step: waiting list.  And, again I'm sure I'll have to practice giving my plans and agenda over to the Lord as we joyfully wait to hear from Sharon from Children's Hope.  In the mean time though, we've got lots of great things going on with family and friends that we just can't wait to be apart of!!!  Have a great weekend!

In His Grip,
Kati & Justin


Welcome Home 171-H!

Yep!  You're reading that right!! Our 171-H paperwork (aka super awesome piece of paper we need to complete our dossier) arrived yesterday!  Whoooo hoooo!  The officer at our fingerprinting appointment suggested it might take 2-3 months...and it took 10 days.  God is FAITHFUL and really must be getting a kick out of all my reactions to His glorious plan :) 
 So, let's put this in perspective for all those of you who haven't or aren't paper chasing currently.... this is the document that we need from U.S. Immigrations stating that we're allow to come home with a child.  It's detailed in the gender, age, needs, and location and it's got to be spot on because that's what the US Embassy will look at when we travel home with our son.  Yeah, I know it's many months away before we even know our son's face, but it was the last piece of paper we were waiting on before we could move towards that day....  
So today I'm running around like a crazy lady taking all 21 documents to 3 different counties to get each notary's signature certified, and then downtown Cleveland to get all 21 documents state authenticated....and then.......FedEx HERE WE COME TO SHIP OFF OUR DOSSIER!!
Once our paperwork arrives to CHI, it'll go to Washington D.C. and then to Ethiopia.  That will take about 2 weeks and then at that point we'll officially be placed on the waiting list ;) ;)  Oh how exciting and wonderful it is!  Remember the game that children play where they hide something and then tell the seeker "you're getting warmer / hotter" or "you're getting colder" as they approach the object of desire?  I totally feel like Jesus is engaging in that game with Justin and I. And it's so wonderful to hear "warmer...warmer...you're getting hotter" as we are almost done with all the paperwork that has been asked of us. One step at a time! What an adventure it has been so far.  From firefighters to doctors, HR employers to government workers, to such amazing friends and faithful family to police officers: the number of hands that have been apart of this journey thus far is incredible.  Just amazing!
So, will you be praying for us today?  That we'll be patient as we wait in lines, request people's help, and cross all our t's and dot all our i's. That I won't even have a hint of road rage (yes, it's true, sometimes I wear lead shoes ;) ). Hopefully: no hangups and we will be shipping off our dossier this weekend :)  Ultimately: remembering that He's got everything in control because He already know's how today's course of events will flow.  
Be blessed!
Kati & Justin


It surely has been too long since I last blogged, but in the midst of the paste 3 months there have been so many opportunities for Justin and I to settle into this adoption thing.  What comes to mind, and I might as well just mention it now, is getting sick and having to remove myself from a lot of the familiar for 3 months.  What started out as strep throat quickly spiraled into a battle with an intestinal infection, and finally kidney stones.  This began (wink*) with our "Operation Ethiopia Day" when we went at marathon pace to get our paper work off to a jump start, including seeing our new family doctor.  Throughout those weeks, looking back the dust is beginning to settle and I am starting to be able to reflect and rejoice at how the Lord was weaving Himself into that period in my life.  We experienced amazing support from close friends and family, to encouraging words that came just at the right time, to the many instances when the love of my life, this soon to be father, took care of me and provided in ways we'd never ventured into before.  I love that man beyond words!!  All that said, in that waiting time of being off work, away from friends, and being home bound I have really, really begun to value home-maker-ness (that's a new word!) and that I didn't have to let me career define my attitude and success.  I don't necessarily know if that is what the Lord will call me to do once we bring this little guy home, but it seemed to be a sneak preview into what might be.  On a lighter note, upon my return to work in June a coworker and physician mentioned to me "Wow, Kati, you know kidney stones are the closest thing we men can experience to labor pains, so it's no joke that it hurt!"....I giggled because a) he doesn't yet know that we're "paper pregnant" as a new friend put it and b) humor me Lord as I want to experience this whole preparation!

Anyway, adoption preparation is moving along really well!  And at this point we are just a few documents away from completing our dossier!!!!!  Our homestudy is complete, our paperwork has been sent off to US Immigrations, the prints of our fingers have been scanned and scanned and scanned, and thankfully friends and family believe in us and our reference letters are complete!  Whew!! We've had a couple of hang ups and kick backs with paperwork, but Sharon our adoption coordinator gave us fare warning to "be flexible" and Justin & I have had to remind one another of that on more than one occasion.  The pictures below will help tell the tale of the fun adventure we've been on these past 3 months!  It could be a matter of weeks until our paper work is sent off to Ethiopia and WE CAN'T BELIEVE IT!   Yes, we're preparing for the big wait but this is part of us becoming a family of 3 and it's the only way we can get to our future son!.........so bring it on ;)  Little JJ (I've dubbed that for the time being as Justin Jr, it'll work for now) you are SO worth it! <3

Hooray!!!  Sending off our I600A form with my mom there to join in the excitement!!  This postlady was just wonderful :)  Later that week we would get notice from Immigrations that our paperwork needed correction...my immediate thought was oh no, this is supposed to take 2 months as it is, but now this is just going to set us back even longer.  To our amazement, a week and a half later we got the letter we were waiting for!!  Thank you LORD!

Happy Mother's Day!  I totally didn't see this one coming, but Justin decided that he was going to let me fully celebrate Mother's Day and in the card he wrote "enjoy this first and last year of no responsibility but fully expecting a child" and he bought us tickets to game 4 of the Cavs playoff series! I was stoked--never been to a game and it was so stinkin fun--even though we lost pretty pitifully!  And this was a gift from my in-laws!  The artist at Junk Posse had a great deal going offering by one get one free.  So, the necklace above has become a staple for Justin and I :)  We're both wearing them as tender, sweet reminders that our hearts are growing already for this little child, his family and his country.  The Cross is cleverly located where Ethiopia is in Africa.

I tend to have a liking [love] for being in the kitchen...and well lets just say one night 1:00 am rolled around and I was still having a blast in my apron decorating the cookies above!  Close friends, Allyson and Eric are waiting on their second child from Ethiopia (so excited for their family) and so at 1:30 am I drove over to their house and tried to be sneaky by leaving a tub of cookies on their door step for their road trip that weekend.  Ha ha!! Little did I know Eric, the husband, was up and was entertained by his wife's friend's bizzare tactics! :) They were yummy though!  And the cookie cutter came from a blogger friend named Erica, who by the way has a fantastic blog that will get you on board for ET adoption excitement!!! (the original pictures got lost on the laptop crash. This one is posted on Facebook, and since we haven't announced our adoption to everyone quite yet, I didn't post the CUTEST pics of cookies that were Africa with a little heart over ET saying "expecting from ET"... But you get the picture :)...

Empress Taytu is an Ethiopian restaurant here in Cleveland (pretty cool, eh?).  Justin was going out of town on business for 2 weeks, and since it fell over Father's Day, I thought I'd surprise him and take him to this place.  It's one of the few ways we can start to identify with what we do know about our little guy: he's Ethiopian!  We LOVED our time there, our waitresses were outstanding and I felt like we could have sat there for hours and just enjoyed one another's conversation and stories.  What a blessing it is to have access to these people and their culture. It was a neat experience and the food settled on our tongues easily.  The coffee ceremony at the end was right up Justin's ally--what a fun, fun date we shared! Can't wait to go back :)

In May I drove up with my mom and dad to Michigan to attend a funeral for a family member whom, although I'd never met her, in the legacy that she left I gained great respect and love for the woman she was.  Lee Ann (my mom's step-sister) was spunky, creative, driven, knew the Lord and passionately wanted to live life fully. She was one incredible woman.  Just recently, she decided that she wanted to learn the trade of metal work, Lee Ann didn't let anything hold her back....she was in her 40s and she was still a learner!  At her funeral many of her pieces of art and jewelry were there for those there.  As I scanned the table my eye picked up on this piece...and I couldn't help the smile that had formed on my face: God is so sweet in how He gives us little moments that are simply meant for us to say "thanks".  This was one of those moments-we're filling our nest and I can't wait to meet Lee Ann in Heaven someday and tell her gift spoke so perfectly to my heart for this adoption :)

Ok, last but not least (I guess this is what I get for waiting sooo long!).  The video above is a song that we sang in church a few months back.  I cannot tell you why, but it spoke so directly to my soul that I felt like the Holy Spirit and I were in true communion as I worshiped that evening.  I started off totally reflecting on the fact that I had been dealing with frustrations over being sick and vulnerable to whatever this bacteria had on my body, and as I sang this song I was reminded that I wasn't alone in this time of resting, healing.  As I began to give it to the Lord, praying for peace and knowing that I could trust Him with it all, I got an overwhelming sense to be praying for my son's mother.  It came out of nowhere (well, we know where!) but once I was able to get over myself and give up my struggles to Christ, it was then that my eyes were opened to the faithfulness He will show her. Could she, will she ever sing this words as a prayer of her heart?  Does she know Christ and will someone introduce her to the Saviour who loves her widely beyond her imagination.  The One whom she can be herself, and in that realize that's just who she was made to be.  Will she be able to trust in You in her pregnancy, her health, her family, her choices and decisions that she is making at this very moment, He will be faithful to her in that moment when she decides to give her son a life that's more than what she can offer him herself.  What about the dad?  Where is his heart?  Whenever that decision comes, I know that it won't be one that is flippantly made, but one that will take months of toiling, fear, unknown, dreams, and tears.  Its humbling to even think through such a choice, but its nothing foreign for some of the women and families I take care of and call my patients.  They make tougher decisions than I will ever face, and I through them I am learning how to pray for this our son's family, this mom, this dad, whom I long to meet some day and wholeheartedly desire to have a family in Christ.  Be blessed by these words and I hope it encourages you today :)

Because of the Cross,