Thursday, December 30, 2010

5 MONTHS OF PAPER CHASING nears the end!

Well, we officially started our journey into adoption the last week of July 2010.  Here we are in the last week of the year and our paper chase is almost over!  I am waiting for the ever elusive 171H to arrive in the mail.  This is the form from Homeland Security that says it is okay with the US government for Michael and I to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia.  As soon as I have this magic form in my waiting little hands and I have a notary sign the letter that must accompany it,  I will be ready to mail my dossier (That is a fancy word for 5 months of paper work.) to AWAA.

Here is our original dossier and two copies that must be mailed:

One element of our dossier was to scrapbook family photos.  Here is a photo of how they turned out:

They will use ALL this information in our dossier (including the photos) to match us to our Little Girl.  Of course, I believe God already knows who she is and He will be leading them to her.

Once our dossier is approved, it will be mailed to Ethiopia and we will have an official DTE (that is dossier to Ethiopia) date!  So far, I have only had to wait small bits of time between tasks.  Once this dossier is out of my is ALL in God's hands.  There will be nothing else to give me the illusion of control.  I will have only to wait on His perfect timing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Best Christmas...So Far!

Just before Thanksgiving, Michael declared that he wanted to have "an over the top" Christmas this year.  By this he meant lots of Christmas decorations, friends and family filling our home, and plenty of good food. 

He and the kids decorated the outside of the house for the first time sense we have lived here...6 years.  We put up the BIG tree covered in ornaments that we've collected over the years.  The girls share a small tree outside their rooms that they decorate with very feminine ornaments.  Michela and I surpised Michael with  an additional tree while he was away one day.  How many men receive a Christmas tree as a gift and are SO happy about it?!?! 

We had my family over for Christmas Eve and they joined us for the candle light service at our church.  Michael's family came to spend Christmas day with us and helped serve the community Christmas meal at our church.  Sunday morning our Sunday School class came over for breakfast before following each other to Worship.

At church this morning the music leader asked us to think of the best Christmas we have had and Michael said "This was it!"

As if all of this were not enough...we received gifts from our friends and family toward our adoption fund.  (Be sure to check out our puzzle on the PUZZLE PAGE to the left.) We have been SO blessed.  Our cup is overflowing!  This has truly been a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS!

Lord willing, we will do it all again next year with our Little Girl.   Thank you ALL for helping to make this our best far.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Miracle of Adoption

Maybe it's the Christmas season or spending so much time with family, but I am feeling the pain in my heart to hold my youngest daughter. I imagine her smile and I long for the great pleasure of getting to know her.

This week I had a dream that I had a baby without ever being pregnant. When she was born I didn't get to hold her. They took her from me and sent me home. I was not allowed to visit her and I had to wait months to return for her. Can you imagine? Well, that's the best way to explain how this feels. It is such a miracle that God is able to create so much love in a mom who has never even seen her daughter!

Thank you Lord for the miracle of adoption. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your plan. I ask that you would comfort our girl while we can't and prepare her heart for her forever family. Thank you Lord that you have adopted me into your forever family!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Global Rich List is an informative site that allows you to input your income and compare yourself to THE WORLD.  Think you are middle class?  Guess again!  What a sobering reality, when we step outside of this country and compare ourselves to the WHOLE WORLD. 

We have been blessed with SO much!  God has literally filled up our cups until they are overflowing.  I pray that this Thanksgiving you will not only take time to be thankful for the many blessings God has given you, but also take a look around and ask Him what He would like you to do with it.  I've seen it put this way: 

"Choosing to live simply, so others can simply live!"

Please do not think I am claiming to be some expert at this, because I have far from "GOT" this one.  We are however, making an effort as a family to look at our lifestyle through the eyes of a 5 year old ORPHAN girl.  Would she be horrified at the amount of food we throw away?  Just how excessive does a walk-in closet seem?  I could go on and on....

Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!  
Luke 12:48 (The Message)

God may not be leading you to adopt an orphan, but there is a way to help a child stay with their family and receive an education.  You can sponsor a child through World Vision and your monthly gift could keep that child from becoming an orphan due to poverty.

Today I received the final notarized copies of our home study and within a couple hours I had my application to adopt our daughter on it's way to USCIS (immigration).  I will be celebrating this Thanksgiving!  We are one step closer to our little girl!  We have SO much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crazy Love

I read the book "Crazy Love" by Franacis Chan; it is a great book.  Really makes you stop and think, but that is not what I am talking about...exactly.

I had a hard day yesterday.  I've been expecting my final home study any day, so I became obsessed with checking my email.   I was frustrated every time my phone dinged to indicate a new email and it was NOT my home study.  It was, however, multiple emails from other adoptive moms whose hearts were heavy yesterday as well.  You see, this adoption thing is a long process (yes we know that when we sign up for it) and it gets very hard to wait for each step that brings you one step closer to your child.  Then God used another mom to deliver the most wonderful email we could have all received yesterday.  No it wasn't the one we were each waiting for, but it was the one we needed.

She started by sharing our pain; they are also waiting and understand exactly how it feels.  Then she added a BUT....
"I know my redeemer lives! Through all this waiting and hurting I pray that we will all know that in a deeper and more real way.  Doesn't the pain of waiting attest to His faithfulness?  He cares for the widows and the orphans in their distress!  We are being used by Him right now to care for our children.  Thank God for the miracle of adoption!  Is it not CRAZY that we are so deeply longing to LOVE, hold and call our own children that we haven't even met yet (or even know of)?!  Only God can do that!  Take heart; we are not alone.  He is working and will fight for our children!"

WOW! I needed that yesterday.  I have to be patient and wait on God in this process, but it is okay to feel a little CRAZY LOVE for a daughter I haven't even met yet.  God is doing that! WOW!

Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house.
God makes homes for the homeless and leads prisoners to freedom...       Psalm 68:5 

Monday, November 8, 2010

How was Orphan Sunday?

Yesterday was Orphan Sunday; a day set aside to remind the church of God's command to care for the fatherless.  My family wore our shirts from and handed out fliers with 10 steps to orphan care.  Our pastor showed a video from that reminds the church of God's command.  We spent the afternoon filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child (30 from one SS class), had lunch with good friends and then had an emotionally connected bible study in our home last night.  What a BLESSED and GLORIOUS day it was!  God is GOOD!!!

Isn't it great to know that God cannot/will not be out given!
The Message reads like this: Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple.  Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.  Malachi 3:10
Go ahead...put Him to the test.  He wants you to!

Our adoption process is still moving along.  We are waiting on the final notarized copy of our home study which will come when our social worker (and new family friend) receives the criminal background check on Michela.  Yes, that is correct; all family members over 14 must have a criminal background check and she turns 14 this Thursday!  I have all the paperwork ready to go to USCIS as soon as we receive the home study.  We are hoping to be DTE in January (That is have our dossier/paperwork to Ethiopia).  What a great way to start the new year!

Thank you to all of you who have made donations to our puzzle fund raiser.  Please continue to pray for our family and the roll that God wants each of you to play in the care of His children. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

Sunday, October 31, 2010

ALL God's Children

Our adoption agency has a site that connects families in the adoption process. We can be a great source of information and encouragement to each other. I have found this group to be AMAZING! This past week, five families from the group were in Ethiopia to appear in court and adopt their children. They were able to send this email back to us from there:

We (the five families in Eth for court right now) visited an orphanage today.
We all walked away with broken hearts, stunned at the reality of life for the
kids there.

They do not have any diapers. Yes, you read that correctly. An orphanage full
of babies and toddlers, and there are no diapers. They have rags and ripped
pieces of sheets that they wrap around their bottoms, and keep them in place with
onesie t-shirts. Every single baby we held today was soaking wet (or worse),
their entire outfit. They lay on the floor, soaking wet, and get changed on the
floor...where they all crawl around and play with the few toys that they have.

In addition, they had no mattresses in many of the cribs. Babies sleeping on
the wooden bottom of a crib. I don't know that I would have believed it if I
hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Tears filled my eyes when I read this (as they do now). My daughter could be one of the children in this orphanage. Can you just imagine the difference we could make in this world if we thought of every one of these children as ours. Well, God does! Every one of these children are His.

Next Sunday, November 7, is Orphan Sunday. One day out of the year set aside to remind the church that God is the Father to every one of these children and that together, we CAN make a difference!

The five families that visited this orphanage had their guide take them to a store to buy mattresses right then. Members of our group that are traveling to Ethiopia soon have rallied together to bring mattress covers and tons of diapers.

What does God want you to do?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How did we get here?

I have asked myself and Michael this question often in the past few months. I've been asked by friends and family as well as our social worker for our home study. It is surprising how hard it has been to answer this question. With some time to reflect and see God's fingerprints at different points in our lives, the picture is becoming more clear. I would like to try to explain how God has brought us this far.

Both Ethiopia and adoption have occupied places in my heart for as long as I can remember. That was it. They were just small seeds that God watered for many years before they started taking root and eventually grew.

God blessed us with two healthy daughters, so our "back-up" plan of adopting if we could not have children never came out of the shadows. The next time I can recall thinking about adoption, Amelia was in kindergarten (4 years ago). Her teacher had one adopted daughter and was in the process of adopting another. When Amelia was in second grade, her first grade teacher adopted a little boy as a brother to her two biological daughters. Starting to see God? Well, I was. I started telling Michael that I had the feeling God was preparing us...but it wasn't time yet.

God shook my foundation with the earthquake in Haiti. As we watched the aftermath, our hearts began to break for the number of children that would be orphaned. How can we be blessed with so much and not share? About a month later, a friend literally draged me to a bible study by Jen Hatmaker over her little book Interrupted. After reading the first chapter, I bought two more books: one for Michael and one for Michela (13 yrs old). I knew right away this was a journey we were going to have to take as a family. Michela's response was "Let's sell everything and move to Africa." It's funny looking back that she at least had the going to Africa part right. So God interrupted our lives and made it very clear that He had BIG plans for our family, but we still did not know what.

Around this same time, Michela participated in 30 Hour Famine and discovered how it feels to be really hungry. We dicided to sponsor a child through World Vision. When we sat down at the computer I went straight to the children in Ethiopia because that is where my heart was. We sponsor a beautiful 14 year old whose birthday falls on our wedding anniversary. I started carrying her picture in my wallet, praying for her, sending her letters and looking forward to hers. I found myself wishing she could be my daughter and having to explain to the girls that we could not adopt her because she already has parents. Ding! Ding! Ding! So I started to pray that if it was God's will for us to adopt a daughter from Ethiopia he would do ALL the work in Michael's heart. WOW! The power of prayer!!! In July, we started the process to bring our little girl (LG) home.

But that wasn't the end; it was only the beginning! God has opened our eyes to a broken hurting world. A world where 163 million children have no one to love and care for them. I believe God puts it best in Micah 6:8

O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. NLT

People, there is no going back. What has been seen cannot be unseen. I am praying that God will inturrupt your life too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So, I saw this video and read the story that goes with it. The writer for Sesame Street has adopted a little girl from Ethiopia and she was feeling different because of her hair. He created this to help her and other little girls like ours.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Last weekend I had the chance to get away with a friend. We had good food, heard good speakers, and had a good time! She gave me a very special birthday present; she found a t-shirt that has a picture of Africa with the word "eh-my-ay" written across it. This is the sound spelling for the word Mama in Amharic which is the primary language of Ethiopia. I LOVE it and it will be well worn. Thank you Janet.

We found ourselves with a little time on our hands, so we decided to check out Josh Duhamel in "Life as We Know It". (Come on, he has a Anyway, it's the story of a "couple" who's going through the adoption of a little girl who was orphaned when her parents, their friends, died in a car accident. I'm not recommending the movie; it's okay but not family friendly. I will remember this movie because of one small part that caught me completely off guard...when the little girl calls her new caregiver Mama. Wow! I cannot explain the depth of emotion I felt when I realized there is a little girl in Africa who was born to another woman and will someday call ME Mama. What an amazing God we serve who knew Amelia would not be my youngest daughter.

Right now, I am struggling with the fact that our little girl doesn't know we are coming for her. My prayer is that God will comfort her and give her a confidence that she is not alone.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Hallelujah! This week I had a birthday and God blessed me with a very special evening.

Let me start at the beginning:
One morning I was listening to our local christian radio station and they were raising money for Bibles to be sent to Russia and Ukraine. I felt that tug at my heart in large part because of the things we have learned about the people and orphanages there through our adoption process. I felt God leading me to give a certain amount, but I couldn't help thinking this would come out of our adoption fund. God did not let up, so when I got to work I called and made the donation. A week later, the station called to let me know that because of "my" donation I was invited to a special dinner event with Michael W Smith...the evening of my Birthday! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!?!? We had a wonderful evening and Michael W Smith sang Happy Birthday to me!

His song "A New Hallelujah" now has a special place in my heart. He sings this song with the African Children's Choir! It is a call for the church to rise and sing a new song.

Also this week, Michela (13 year old daughter) bought a new Switchfoot CD that we listened to together in the car. As we listened, we found ourselves focused on the words and silently glancing back and forth at each other. Michela broke the silence when she said "Mom, everything IS NEW. We've heard these songs on the radio a million times, but now they have a whole new meaning."

God is singing a NEW SONG into the hearts of my family and everything IS NEW! HALLELUJAH!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


This weekend we had the opportunity to attend the National Adoption Conference: Together for Adoption in Austin, TX. What an experience! We went hoping to gain valuable information that would prepare us for our little girl, but we were unprepared for what God was hoping to gain from us.

Adoption is overwhelming. We listened to and shared a lot of overwhelming things this weekend.

Overwhelming fear: I think most of us start here and visit here throughout the journey. There is the fear of change. The money fear. And for us, the fear of receiving a child with bigger needs than we can handle.

Let's start with the fear of change. My wonderful and wise pastor says "God loves you too much to leave you where your are." So...if you are going to grow as a believer...there WILL be change.

Now let's talk money. Really? Do you think God will not provide a way for you to take in and care for one of His children if you are following His lead?

Our BIG fear has a simple answer as well. We are NOT capable of handling many issues that children from hard places may have, but God IS and I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

Overwhelming love: There is this growing love in my family for a child we have never met, her family we may never meet and a country we have never seen.

God's amazing love for me. I was once an orphan, lost to sin, but He adopted me into His family by the blood of Jesus. Okay, this was not a surprise. I knew this, but He showed me again with all the beauty and power of His love and He flooded my heart anew.

Overwhelming numbers: How does 163 million orphans in the world sit with you? This is the newest statistic and it is already two years old.

This is one of those numbers that could paralyze us. How does adopting one...or maybe two children help? Well, if THE Church stepped forward and claimed these children as ours. We could have families waiting in line for orphans instead of orphans waiting for families!

That brings me to the overwhelming call: God is the father to the fatherless. He tells us ALL through the Bible to care for the orphans. The insane number of orphans in the world is the only proof needed that we have not been doing this very well.

God broke my heart this weekend and I am praying for the orphans, THE Church, my church and individual families to hear the call of the Spirit and take action to reduce the number of ophans in this world. If God can use me...He can use you!

Lord, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hurry up and wait

So, It turns out that much of adoption is "hurry up and wait". When we were excepted into the program and received a list of all the documents we would need to provide, fill out, sign, and/or have notarized, I became a mad woman working to check everything off the list. In my way of thinking: the sooner I get this done, the sooner I get my daughter. So I hurried and had all but one document (that I can control or at least have the illusion of controlling) completed three weeks ago. Now...I wait. I did at least find out yesterday that our first of four home study interviews will be next week. I am excited about this, but I can't help thinking about the document we signed that says the social worker has TWO months from the last interview to complete the report. So again...I am in a wait.

"Therefore Jesus told them, The right time for me has not yet come...You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to the Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.
John 7:6-8

Jesus moved slowly, not striving or rushing. He patiently waited through his adolescent and young adult years to reveal himself as the Messiah. He waited patiently for his Father's timing during his short ministry. Why is it then that we hate "slow" when God appears to delight in it?
Peter Scazzero in "Daily Office"

I know that God has THE perfect plan and timing to bring our little girl to us, so I will "hurry up and wait" as He directs and hopefully learn to trust Him more in this process.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I can't believe it either.

Don't pass out! It's true: I, Traci Kuykendall, have created my own Blog.
I wanted to create a place where I could easily share our family's journey through adoption to bring our little girl (LG as we call her for now) home from Ethiopia.
I hope you ENJOY!