Monday, September 24, 2012

The Price Tag Game

Before we let you in on our favorite little game, I want to show you something.

This is what is looks like in Friday afternoon in downtown Fort Worth.

What we thought would be a 10 minute drive, turned out to be almost half an hour.  John snapped the picture while I was sweating bullets we would miss our FBI fingerprinting appointments.  Oh well, we made it in time and all is good. Just another day in adoption....

Price Tag Game:  Our dear friends Ally, Mary Morgan, Kimberly, and Andrew have all participated in this game, and let's just say it's more fun with company.  Every once in a while I will go into a favorite store, say Target or Children's Place, and pick a price.  For this example our price was $3.  Then, I go through the baby/toddler section, followed by the boys and girls department, and usually ending in the shoe corner.  Anything that is $3 or less makes it into our cart.  (Okay, not anything.  I do not like skull and crossbones attire, so those items are not purchased.  And, if there are 20 t-shirts of the same design I usually just purchase 2, or one of each size.)  Here is a picture of our Price Tag Game finds from August.

I think the glitter blue flip flops are the best.  Needless to say, our "One Day Nursery" has a closet full of clothes, shoes, and diapers.  What do we do with them?  Well, we would like to send these to Hannah's Hope Orphanage in Ethiopia.  However, we all know the courts are moving slowly right now, so the family trips to Ethiopia aren't happening frequently enough to donate our stash.  So far we have made several donations to our local Gabriel Project.  One of the case managers from All God's Children suggested donating to a local foster care group.  We thought that was a great idea, and if you have any recommendations for the DFW area please let me know.

The best news of all happened last week when I was shopping at Children's Place.  (Not the outlet, just good ole CP.)  My purpose was not the price tag game, but our delightful almost-five-year-old niece.  The manager noticed I had a bag full of PJ's and shoes marked down to $1.99.  She asked if I was donating to a local charity and I explained my purpose. She told me they need a place to donate their $0.99 markdowns.  Something about random sizes and the time it takes to mark each item down.  Long story short, next time they do these markdowns she is going to call me so I can purchase them. (You know I'll bring my coupons to discount them even more!)  Then, I can store them for Gabriel Project or foster care, etc.  Isn't it amazing?

I know, to some this may make me pathetic.  Trust me, sometimes I feel crazy for shopping for the child/children we don't know yet.  However, since we are in the waiting stage of adoption, I tend to get a little stir crazy and want to do SOMETHING.

Lastly, here's a picture we took yesterday with Melissa, an Ethiopia case manager from AGCI.  We were so lucky to be a part of an informational session at a church not even two minutes from our house.  All God's Children is based in Portland, so we were really excited to have the opportunity to meet some of the people who play such an important role in our adoption process.

(I know it's tiny, but my shirt says "Expecting from Ethiopia." Love Cafe Press T-shirts.)

Please continue to keep our family and our child/children in your thoughts and prayers.  Oh, and let us know if you have a happy home for our price tag game finds!

Nicole and John

Saturday, September 1, 2012

So far no morning sickness, but the paper cuts hurt like crazy!!

Okay, so we totally stole the title from an adoption shirt, but it's very fitting for what we are going through right now.

Tomorrow we will be meeting with Tinya, our social worker, to complete our yearly update.  I know, it's  been more than a year since we started this ride, but September 1st marked the date our last home study was completed, authenticated, etc.

As many of you know, adoption comes with a lot of paperwork.  A LOT.  But, if you live like we do and have several "major life changes" (that's adoption language) in a year, you have A TON of paperwork.

To sum it up, without risking any more paper cuts, here are just a few of the changes we will be making in our update:
1.  New House
2.  Nicole's employment change
3.  Sibling gender parameters

So you probably already knew about the new house.  You may or may not know that Nicole has resigned from teaching.  (Yes, I know, it's shocking!)  Most likely you are surprised by #3.  One of the many perks of our new home is that we have four bedrooms.  This means we can now adopt siblings of different genders.  Our agency is a big stickler about separate bedrooms for siblings of different genders, even twin infants! So, now that we have more than enough room, we would be oh so happy to bring a boy and a girl into our home.  Time will tell.

Okay, back tracking a little to #2, Nicole is no longer teaching.  Sad, but true.  Unfortunately she did not receive a teaching position near our new home, so she's taking the year off.  By that we mean she is still working part-time and tutoring, but no longer spends three hours in the car driving to and from the elementary school.  This is a bit scary as we will not be able to save as much each month for the adoption, but THE LORD WILL PROVIDE!

Lastly, we want to give you our numbers.  Let's give you a quick, hopefully not too confusing, explanation on how the numbers work.  When an orphan/orphans are cleared for adoption, the agency will start with family #1 to see if they are a good fit for the child/children.  If not, they move up to #2, #3, etc.  So, the closer you get to one the better chance you have of receiving a referral.  A referral is adoption language for matching a child with their forever family.  We usually receive our updated numbers on the first of each month.

We were placed on the wait list in June.

No numbers in July. : (  August 1st looked like this:

Now before we reveal September numbers, there is something you must know.  August and September are considered the rainy season in Ethiopia.  The courts sometimes close during this time.  From what we hear this year has been better and they have continued to work in the rainy season.  However, we didn't want you to be shocked by the very little progress on the wait list.

Our most recent wait list numbers are....

Please continue praying for strength in our journey, faith in His timing, and peace to the orphans around the world.

With love,
John and Nicole

Just in case you want to see those numbers side by side, here you go!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Adoption can be a roller coaster...

So last time we blogged we were waiting to hear back about a Waiting Child.  The good news is, that child has a forever family working their way to Ethiopia.  On the other hand, we are not her forever family.  The wait continues...

Last week I went in for another physical, as requested by All God's Children.  This appointment was long awaited because for several weeks I have been trying to get my insurance company to cover this medical cost.  Insurance said no because I had a physical in August 2011, they don't cover two physicals in one year.  (Since I'm a teacher my insurance coverage is August to July.)   I thought I would be leaving the doctor with a bill to the tune of $700.  To my surprise the doctor signed off on the paperwork without a second thought and without charging me a dime.  In his words, "You are perfectly healthy and you will make a wonderful parent."  What a blessing!

So, it's back to waiting and praying.  We are okay with that, because right now our lives are a little bit crazy.

Remember how John started that new job in the fall?  Well, he loves it. I love it.  Youth ministry is his calling for sure.  On the flip side, the 45 minute commute to work is not so fun.  When I drive out there on Wednesdays for youth group it takes me anywhere from an hour to two to get there.  Gotta love rush hour.  Plus, it's difficult for me to get involved in other ministries in programs when we are so far away.  That being said, John and I have thoroughly enjoyed house hunting for the last several weeks.  (Did you catch my sarcasm in that last sentence?)  We know the perfect house is out there and we will find it!  Can't wait to be closer to our church family.

Our car situation has been another wild adventure.  John and I bought a beautiful, brand new white Ford Explorer in November.  This is what it looks like now-

Check out the roof.

Glass and water everywhere.

Not so beautiful.  On April 3 tornadoes tore through DFW.  Our school was hit.  HARD.  We are so fortunate that no one was hurt.  It caused horrible damage to the roof of our school and most of the cars in the parking lot were totalled.  Our car is sitting in a shop awaiting repairs.  I can't wait to get our pretty car back, and hopefully soon before rental car coverage runs out.

Lastly, the best news of all is our wonderfully talented friend Holly took lots of family pictures for us. Perhaps you already noticed the new banner up top.  They turned out fantastic and we can't wait to get them printed and framed.  This summer I'm determined to figure out a way to add more pictures to this blog. In the meantime, here's are some of my favorites.

Thanks again for your continued prayers.  Adoption can be a roller coaster, but it will be totally worth it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11

Last Friday we received an email from our adoption agency in regard to a waiting child in Ethiopia.  This email was sent to several families that, like us, were part of the Ethiopia adoption program. Amazingly, this child fit our already approved home study criteria.  We immediately contacted All God's Children to express our interest in making this child a part of our family.  When John connected with our case manager on Monday, she told him she was expecting our call.  She said she had a feeling we would be interested in this waiting child.  We stayed up late last night making the last bit of revisions to our dossier in preparation for our follow-up call today.

The good news is, we finished our documents, John got them notarized, and they are in the mail headed to All God's Children.  On the flip side, our case manager was out sick today so we were unable to reconnect.  We are hoping to know more soon.

Although we would love to be the family this child has been waiting for, we really just hope and pray that this child gets home soon.  We realize that may be with another family, and we are at peace with that.  Please join us in prayer for this waiting child in Ethiopia.  Pray that this child gets home to their forever family as quickly as possible.

If you are curious about the waiting child program, or just want a little lift, I've attached a video from our agency below. To read more about the waiting child program click here.

Be The Difference from Videos for AGCI on Vimeo.

Nicole and John Scott

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday ah-By-ah (Daddy)!

Yesterday we celebrated John's 30th birthday with a dinner downtown.  Usually we do not go out to restaurants outside our zip code, but thanks to the Wharton's we had dinner reservations at The Common Table.  Here's a picture of John celebrating.

When I asked John how he wanted to celebrate his big day, he responded with, "Can we just go to bed early?"  Ha!  I guess that what's you get when you hit the big three-o!  Annie hit the target when she gave John this card:

On another note, yesterday morning we received a newsletter from our adoption agency.  Unfortunately, the timeline has changed for our adoption.  From what we understand, the U.S. Embassy has revised the requirements to declare a child an orphan.  This means it will take quite a bit longer for the children to be declared orphans, and a slower process for the adoptive families.  At this point our agency is predicting 18-24 months for our referral.   We definitely weren't expecting this, but are trying to stay optimistic.  We've been saying from the beginning that we will do this in His time, so there must be a reason for this change.  In the mean time, we will enjoy the time we have together and continue to pray for our sweet child.

Hope you all are doing well!  Happy early Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Paperwork Sent!!!

After many months of working hard to get all our paperwork in order for the adoption, it has arrived in Oregon.  It seemed as though it was taking forever, but we able to persevere through delays and changes to get it completed.  In total we had 46 pieces of paper that we had to have 2 copies of for a grand total of 98 pieces of paper sent to All God's Children.  This completes our dossier stage of the process.  We are now in the review stage, which shouldn't take too long.  We are also waiting on the completion of our Addendum to our Home Study.  Since John now has a new full time job, we needed to note that change in our file.  Luckily we did not have to totally redo our Home Study, but were able to just make an addendum to it.  Our next step is for All God's Children to review all our paperwork and have them okay everything.  From there they will send it over to Ethiopia where we will get in line for our court date that will result in our referral.  The referral is the courts sending us the information for the child they believe will most benefit from our family.  We will then have one week to review and pray over this information and decide if this is the child that will become ours.  This is when things get exciting.  After we approve the referral we will be making two trips to Ethiopia for court appearances finalizing our adoption.

We are so excited to be making this giant leap forward in our adoption process.  Again we cannot thank everyone enough for their love and support and most importantly their prayers as we continue moving towards growing our family.


Nicole and John