Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pondering Ethiopia

A lot of people have asked exactly where we are in the process.

So far the things we have done:
•Provide initial application for review.
•Receive preliminary approval into the program.
•Begin the home study with an agency.

We have completed our first home study visit which was a tour of our house and an interview with both of us about our marriage. It took about three hours I think. We still have two more visits to do for our homestudy. Part of the home study is getting a lot of documents together (birth certificates, marriage licenses, driver's licenses, etc), 8 hours of online training and reading a book that is required.
Ok, then here is the good stuff:
•Make application for USCIS approval.
•Meet with agency for Dossier compilation (this is more paperwork!)
•Send Complete Dossier for authentication and translation.
•Attend a parent workshop.
•Start our immunizations. (not so excited about this!)
•Receive Referral for our child! (I'm told this is anywhere from 2-9 months)
•Go to court in Ethiopia and return home to wait for next appointment(2-6 months post referral)
•Pick up our Child! (Normally, 6-8 weeks post court approval)
•Ususal length of stay is 5-7 days in Ethiopia.

So that is the plan! We need to get our home study completed before we can start applying for grants. We can’t have our second home study visit until we get our fingerprint packets in for a background check. We are still waiting for those packets to come in the mail so we can complete them. Hurry and wait. You get the picture! Our total timeline I have been told could be anywhere from 9 months to 18 months from beginning to bringing our child home. We are expecting our child to be somewhere around the toddler size and we don’t know whether we are expecting a boy or a girl. Really the only thing we know for sure is that before the beginning of time God set this child apart to be a Kessler!

I have been reading a lot about Ethiopia and work that is being done there. It is amazing to me how this whole new world has opened up that I sort of knew existed but somehow ignored. I asked Brian if we could just think about the possibility of me staying in Ethiopia a tad bit longer (since we have to pay to fly there anyway) and seeing if I could work with one of these groups like World Vision that are already there. His response was “I have to take a midterm- don’t cloud my mind with craziness”! Hmmm … I will take that to mean “we can pray about it”. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm no Esther

If you have ever read the story of Esther you know that the Jews were going to be killed if Esther (the queen) didn't go to the king and try to stop it. She was afraid of being killed herself since she wasn't allowed to approach the king unless he called for her. But Mordecai, the uncle who had raised her said "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). That last line has been playing on my mind a lot lately. Esther did end up going to the king and because of that the Jews were saved. I am not the kind of heroine Esther was. In fact, I would describe myself as pretty average. But I do realize that by Ethiopian standards I live in a palace. I have luxuries I take for granted. In fact, compared to most of the world I live like a queen. It leaves me to wonder why I have so much when others have so little. Do I deserve more? Well, you may not know me but let me assure you the answer to that is no. I can’t give a good reason for why I was born in the U.S. and not some remote village in Africa or some country where the people are so oppressed they can’t even worship God without fear of being beaten or even killed. I have been thinking lately, as we pursue the adoption of an orphan whose name I don’t know and whose face I have never seen, maybe God has placed me here in these circumstances for “such a time as this”.

So, why a blog?

I am new to this whole blogging thing. I actually said I would never blog because I wasn't sure I liked the feeling of putting myself out there like that. I wasn't sure if I had anything to say that someone would want to hear, and I am keenly aware that my spelling skills are less than stellar. So, what changed my mind? Brian actually convinced me to start early. He reasoned that if our baby hasn't been born yet we would have the chance to look back and see what we were doing on the day he or she was born. I think that is sweet, but I had other reasons too. I have read statistics that around 34% of Christians consider adopting and only 1% actually do. What is up with that? I suspect there are probably a lot of reasons. I think we Christians are called to do a lot of things we never do.

My hope is that others will follow our journey and realize that adoption is not as impossible as you think it is. Not everyone should adopt. But maybe there is something in your life that God has called you to do and like me, you keep telling Him “there has GOT to be someone more qualified for that!” Maybe you point to a pastor or that couple you really respect and think “now THEY could make a difference somehow”. There are probably a lot of blogs out there where people try to convince you they are really spectacular. This isn't one of those blogs. My hope is that you will realize we are everyday, average people. We didn't have thousands of dollars sitting in savings when we started this process to adopt. We didn’t have any misconceptions that we are the perfect parents. We just had a tugging in our heart that God was calling us to do something and we decided to say “yes”. This is our adoption journey and you are invited to come along for the ride!