Monday, November 28, 2011

Adoption Pre-Application

On November 7, Colin and I filled out our pre-application for adoption through All God's Children. I want to share with you all what the pre-application was like and also where we are at right now.

(Every time I write or talk about our adoption, I get so giddy!)

The reason for the pre-application is that the actual application costs $300, and if you don't qualify the first time sending it, you must pay again when you are ready to resubmit it. The pre-ap is completely optional, but we chose to begin with it, and are happy we did.

First of all, the general eligibility requirements are as follows:
  • We must be between 23 and 49 to adopt an infant. check
  • We must be married at least one year. check
  • We must have a positive net worth and an income of at least $10,000 per family member, including the adopted child. check
  • No felonies, all criminal history is reviewed and evaluated. none for us! check
  • Medical history is evaluated. colin had a tumor removed in 2007...waiting on a doctor's note to show it has not reappeared and that his quality of life or life span has not been diminished
The pre-ap was fairly simple to fill out. It asked basic information, such as contact information, occupation and income, past substance abuse or arrests, when we got married, and if we have current children or anyone else in our home.

In more detail we had to list our health information and we have since been given a worksheet to help determine our assets versus our liabilities, so we are certain we have a positive net worth. We are working on filling it out.

Then, we get to the adoption category. :) We stated that we are interested in an Ethiopian infant girl. We filled out that we would consider siblings under 4 years old. We are currently praying if we are meant to just adopt one baby or have the possibility of two open. It is a very tough decision...I will likely post on this topic down the road.

After we sent it in, we received a reply within a day or two. This is when we were given the financial worksheet and topics to think about.

We called the agency with a few questions. They were extremely helpful.

Basically, we are waiting to raise and save the first huge chunk of money that will be needed within the first three months (once we send in our application and are approved). $10,000.

If you would like to help us reach this goal, please visit our Etsy site:

We will make customized orders if you are interested in a particular bible verse on a necklace or any other requests!

All proceeds go directly into our adoption savings account. We are so thrilled to be on this journey and to include you in it! We have been very blessed with your support.

Love Always,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

We. Love. Christmas.

So, the day after Thanksgiving, we break out the music. We break out the cheer. We break out the decorations, my Christmas piano music, and chop down our tree.

This year, we saved all but the music for Saturday, because we were in Spring Valley visiting my parents and got back too late.

So, Saturday, we turned up our tunes, and drove to a Christmas tree farm. Miles and miles of trees, it seemed.

We took a tractor and trailer ride to find our perfect tree. It was sprinkling out; I was secretly hoping it would turn into snow, but no such luck.

We walked, and walked, and walked some more.

Here she is, our voluptuous beauty.

Colin cut her down.

And we took her home. She ended up looking huge once we got her inside.

Here she is all lit up.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing,
Right within your heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

With Love

Hi Friends,

Since making the decision to follow God's calling for us to adopt from Ethiopia on August 21st, we have been filled with a hope so profound. Our faith has been strengthened and expanded.

I feel so blessed to be a part of this incredible support network--blogging! I think it is just incredible that I can type over here in little town Wisconsin and reach YOU, many states, countries, and even continents away. I have felt your love through our struggles and through our triumphs.

Some of you have asked how you can help us at this moment and through our adoption. Here are two huge ways you can be a part of this miracle.

1) Pray. For us. For our paperwork process. For fundraising. For continued hope and strength. For Africa. For the birthparents. For our future little girl who is growing her way into our hearts. For orphans everywhere.

2) Purchase an item off our Etsy site: With Love For Africa. Colin and I have been handcrafting these items (jewelry, tambourines, keychains) for the last few months. There are many options--both for those who have a heart for Africa--and the general public. All items are $5-$20. Please think of us when purchasing Christmas gifts this year--every little bit helps and is a bigger blessing to us than we could ever express!

Thank you all so much for the supportive comments you have given through the years and last few months especially. They mean so much to me!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Sounds of Hope

Last Sunday, after our Ethiopian food experience, Colin, Lia, and I went to the Sounds of Hope tour concert in Mequon, WI. Best. Concert. Ever.

The bands were: Building 429, Leeland, and Royal Tailor. Leeland is quite possibly my favorite artist/band. I had 3 of his cds and now own 4.

The fourth album, The Great Awakening, stirs a fresh desire for personal and worldwide worship revival.
Leeland is a fantastic songwriter and not only sings with a God-given passion, but speaks with a faith so magnificent. I was so inspired from the words they sing and speak, and their love and advocacy for orphans world-wide.

In the middle of the concert tour, the lead singer of Building 429 stopped to advocate for child sponsorship. He gave a powerful testimony of how he used to think sponsorship was 'dumb'. Now he sponsors 5 children after seeing the powerful effects a small contribution can have on these children--not just the food and schooling it provides--but the LOVE it shows these children and families. The love from both you and God. Life-changing.

ROYAL TAILOR (Hold Me Together)

LEELAND (Follow You, Sound of Melodies, Tears of the Saints)


BUILDING 429 (Listen to the Sound, Glory Defined)

I leave you with a clip of Leeland live, singing "I Wonder"
with his brother and sister. Amazing harmony. Amazing lyrics.

One man wakes, awakens another
Second one wakes his next door brother
Three awake and rouse a town and turn the whole place upside down
Many awake will cause such a fuss
It finally awakes all of us
One man awakes with dawn in his eyes, truly then it multiplies.
~Anonymous poem turned song by Leeland of the late 1700s revival era~

Liebster Blog Award

Lovely Heather from Everyday Evans awarded me with the Liebster Blog Award. Woohoo!

The Liebster Award spotlights up-and-coming bloggers who generally have less than 200 followers.

Upon receipt of the Liebster Award, there are a few very simple rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog
2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Now for my picks:
1. Lia at foodgetaboutit!
2. Kristen at Faith, Fertility, and Domesticity
3. Jen at Adventures for Four
4. Hannah at Life Happens
5. All in His Perfect Timing

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant

Last Sunday, I got to experience Ethiopian cuisine! I went to Ethiopian Cottage Restaurant in Milwaukee with Colin and my 'person', Lia.

Me and Colin.

Me and Lia.

 The Moseb is a traditional Ethiopian basketweave table. We sat in a circle around it.

 We ordered two appetizers: Beef Sambusa (two thin shells stuffed with a blend of minced beef and spices) and Kategna (2 pieces of Injera bread spread with kibe, garlic, and spicy sauce).

 For our entree, we shared a sampler platter. I forgot to take a picture until we had nearly demolished it, so this one is off their website. On our sampler was Alicha Wat (beef with a mild sauce of onion, garlic, and ginger), Doro Wat (spicy chicken with Berbere sauce and a hard-boiled egg), Yemisir Wat (red lentils in a spicy onion sauce), Dinch Alicha (potatoes and carrots cooked with onions, garlic, ginger, and other spices), and vegetables served on Injera.

Injera is the Ethiopian equivalent to dinnerware! All the above food was served directly on the Injera bread with rolled up Injera as well. Injera has the consistency of a crepe, but is slightly tart and spongy. It is made of teff, a traditional grain in Ethiopia. You must eat the food by scooping it up with pieces of Injera.

 Colin had Bedele, an Ethiopian beer. It was light and citrusy.

Lia and I had a glass of Ethiopian honey wine.
It was more of a dessert wine: sweet with a taste of honey.

We had such a wonderful experience, we can't wait to go back! It was special being able to taste the cuisine of the country we are adopting from.

I recommend it to any foodies! You will be familiar with many of the tastes--the spices are delicious.

I need to learn how to make these dishes myself! I will post any great recipes I find.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Answered Prayer

Last Sunday, Orphan Sunday, I spent the day in prayer, reading my Bible and a few devotionals. I have never been one to pray for God to send me signs, but I prayed specifically that He would send me one if it was His timing for us to begin the paperwork process for our adoption.

I think the biggest struggle for us has been giving our complete trust and faith to God in His timing, not ours. It's very difficult to 'let go and let God'. We are so ready for a baby, we are ready for our next few years to be consumed with paperwork, home studies, and tons of waiting (we think!), but are we ready for the financial side? We are beginning to learn that we must just trust God to provide.

Just a few short hours after I prayed that prayer, I got a strong urge to check our adoption e-mail ( I was humbled when I discovered a sweet blog reader friend gave us a generous donation for our adoption fund. I cried. He delivered.

Since then, we sold two very cute bracelets off our Etsy site!

So we are trusting! We excitedly filled out our pre-application Monday, November 7th, and recieved our review on it the next day. We have to go over it and then call an adoption coordinator with questions. We've got a few. :)

Praising and Trusting,

"That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." ~Romans 1:12

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. A reminder to do our part in caring for the orphans however God has called us to. This might be through prayer, sponsorship, foster care, donations, Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, serving meals, missions trips, visits to an orphanage, adoption, or just getting the word out.

The goal for today and every day is that 'God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well'.

I feel so honored to be on an adoption journey right now. God defends the fatherless and blesses the childless. The best part is--God adopted you and me first. We are children of God.

The statistics are mind-boggling. I have been truly humbled. I have so much to give. Most of all, I have an endless supply of love to distribute.

Watch this 2 minute video for more information.

Defend the cause of the fatherless. ~Isaiah 1:17

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Potstickers and Dipping Sauce

Potstickers and Dipping Sauce
Makes: 4 servings

For the Filling:
1/2 lb. ground pork or ground turkey
2 green onions, minced
2 Tbsps. minced canned bamboo shoots
1-1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1 clove garlic
22 potsticker/wonton wrappers
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 C water
          For the sauce:
          6 Tbsp. soy sauce
          1/4 C Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
          2 tsp. sesame oil
          2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1. Combine dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Brown meat.
3. Add onions, garlic, bamboo, ginger, and pepper.
4. Combine cornstarch and soy sauce. Add to ground meat.
5. Put approximately 1 Tbsp filling on each wrapper. Brush sides of wrapper with water to seal edges.
6. On medium high heat in a fry pan, add the oil. Add 1/2 of potstickers. Cook to brown for 3 minutes or so. Add 2/3 C water to fry pan. They are done when the water has evaporated.
7. Make second batch and serve with dipping sauce!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Saw What I Saw

Hi Friends!

I just can not believe it is November already. Really? Thanksgiving is coming soon and Christmas music is peeking its way into the light.

Although I do not enjoy the chilly temperatures that go along with this fall into winter season, I am excited for these holidays (and, dare I say it, our first snowfall??). One might say they are my favorite.

I am praying there aren't too many more years of holidays that are just 'us two'. I can't wait to spread the joy with a special someone one day. But, that can wait for another post, another time.

What's new with me lately?

God has answered a prayer of mine so loud. He has blessed me with client referral after referral! I signed a music therapy contract with a hospice provider this summer, and basically had to build up my client list from zero. I am up to 29. 29!! I can't believe it. God is providing. Separately, I also lead 2 music therapy groups a week for adults with mental disabilities. Whew.

2 weeks ago, Colin and I were invited to our neighbor's home for dinner. They are a family from India, and let me tell you, I now LOVE Indian food!! The ingredients and spices are incredible. I think I now have an excuse to go recipe searching. :)

This is a music video I found of Sara Groves' "I Saw What I Saw". It was inspired by her trip to Rwanda. The words hit me every time I hear it.

Blessings to you all!
And all of us have had that veil removed
so that we can be mirrors
that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord.
And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us,
we become more and more like Him
and reflect His glory even more.
~2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT