Tuesday, December 22, 2009

booked and paid for tickets... FINAL ANSWER :)

We have finalized tickets. again. This time, we have to spend less time in Ethiopia, and we have a 2 days stop in Cairo. Initially, I was feeling hesitant about Cairo. We will have 4-55lb bags to drag, jet lag, busy schedule BUT we get to meet our very special friends there for a little reunion/ touring time. Tim is so excited about seeing the pyramids too... if you know Tim, you are just smiling right now and nodding. He has a "100 things to do in my lifetime list", and I believe he will cover at least two of them on this upcoming trip... maybe three (Tim, is being a dad on there?).

Life is crazy around here. If you haven't received a thank you note yet, We are truly appreciative for the gifts and wishes. If you haven't received a Christmas card, you won't :) but we love you and wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS.

We have a great traveling families group going to Ethiopia the week we are there. I get to take pictures of some very special kids that are waiting for their forever families and deliver care packages!!! We hope to take some video and a ton of pictures.

Our house is a war zone!! If you dropped by today, you would be VERY afraid.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's a wild ride...

There's nothing simple about adoption. From the forms that are I171-h, 600a, 601, to silly paperwork that has you driving 120 miles to obtain just one bitty stamp. This year has been a wild ride for us. We've moved twice, made extensive :) repairs to our new place, Tim's had several second jobs, and THIS THING CALLED ADOPTION.

All that to say, we may have different travel dates. We are hopeful that our agency will confirm for us that we only need to go to Ethiopia for 1 week. It's all about being patient, and waiting on the Lord. We've become better at it this year, and we have found that there IS joy in the unknown. There IS a reason that things happen the way they do. I just prayed a minute ago that God would work out all the details and reveal them to us as He sees fit. I'm just glad I didn't send the reply to our travel agent, stating "buy the tickets." (which I was seconds from doing!!).
Stay posted for a new picture of Woineshet's room... Coming soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tickets on hold...

Hi, just an update from the Shaw's here. We have two and a half tickets reserved today on Emirates airline. We spend the night in Dubai, and arrive in Ethiopia January 11th!! We've been praying and searching for cheaper flights, and the nice people at Golden Rule Travel really got back with us quick. I think we will purchase these tomorrow. It's a difficult choice, because our travel dates are tentative, and might not be confirmed until 10 days before we leave... at which time the airline tickets would be HIGH HIGH HIGH!! So, it's a gamble, but we know who is in charge :)
Thanks for keeping all this in your prayers. We certainly can't think of anything better than this Christmas gift we have been given!! We are both working on Christmas (which we don't mind at all this year!) and leave the next day for a long ago planned family trip. So, our life is going to get a bit crazy in the next few weeks. We will try to post, and keep ya updated.
We love you!!
Tim and Abigail
p.s Christmas in Ethiopia is January 7th. If you haven't visited Abbysinia, (I hope I spelled that right) our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Maybe you should. Tiru is a doll, and the kitfo and injera can NOT be beat (get extra cheese). They have a buffet this Sunday, let me know if you need details!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


We just got this photo from a friend who went to Ethiopia and visited Woineshet. There really isn't much more to say, except that she pointed to me and said "mama."

We are currently looking for tickets and praying for some embassy issues that may keep us in Ethiopia longer. Either way, we are leaving soon, and have SO much to be grateful for. We love Winnie with all our hearts, and Tim and I share so much excitement for the day we UNITE our family.

p.s. I can't thank Cristina enough for loving on Winnie and taking this priceless photo. The encouragement I got from hearing about her... well, it keeps me going, keeps my eye on the prize :)

I have a fun, crazy blog I follow for adoption...http://mycrazyadoption.org/
Check it out!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

riding in LUXURY

Did you know that carseats now have a recline button? oh, and a cup holder? Also a few storage bays for snacks, barbies, etc. Winnie's grandma and grandpa bought her a SWEET carseat/booster today. She'll be riding in style.

Today we sat behind an African couple with two small girls. As much as I love Rich (our pastor) I couldn't help staring at the 4 year old girl. In fact, the dad turned around once and probably thought it odd that I was flat out gazing at her :) Her dad wrapped his arm around her and rubbed her arm. When it was time to leave, he zipped her up and put her hat on!! I couldn't help thinking about all the little girls like Winnie that don't have a dad to love them. They might smile and have fun at the orphanage, but to be without the love of a mom and dad is a deep and lasting loss.

Lately, I've heard a few people say they would adopt if they could. It's usually the money thing that makes it seem impossible. Man, don't lose hope!! There are a lot of kids out their (millions to be exact) that are hoping they will find a mom and dad to love them and be their family. They will watch Tim and I come get Winnie, and wonder when it will be their turn. So, you've already got kids, your too old for more kids, there's no room at your inn for another little person...There are so many reasons we talk ourselves out of things, rationalize why it can't be done... IT IS POSSIBLE, and YOU MAY BE THE ANSWER TO SOME LITTLE PERSONS PRAYERS. I'm just sayin' :)

Less than a month to Winnie!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just in from Ethiopia...

So, we got word from our friend in Ethiopia. She visited Winnie the day of her court, and sounds like they had a great day!!!

"Hi Mommy,

I can't open your attachment but I am assuming it is good news by the subect line. I saw Winnie yesteday. I have fantastic photos that I will burn to a CD when I get home. The files re huge becuse my camera takes high res. Anyway, all I can say is that she is awesome! Our God isawesome! She is fun, funny, smiley, healthy, giggly. Wait until you see her in person. I have so much to tell you. The card was a huge hit nd the dress is adorable. It is all captured in the photos. She's a little chunker. She is right at the edge of the size you sent. I think it was 3T so she is really on her way to 4t. She and W*** are hugging in one of her photos and that is definitely going up on the wall in her room."

So, our girls big :) and smiley. I knew that already, and so do you, cause now I can post pictures !!!!

Yesterday we had 3 different tentative travel dates. We think we have them just about nailed down, January 10th - January 22nd. We will receive confirmation from our agency and BOOK OUR TICKETS TO GO TO ETHIOPIA!!!!!
Things are really starting to feel real. We really are a family of three. We really have a date to go now. We really have a bunch to do!!
God has poured blessing on our family, and we are so grateful!!!
Tonight we are having a glass of wine and a Shaw family planning meeting.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

more pics

It's official

tick tock tick tock

Well, it's 530pm in Ethiopia. Courts should be closed and our case should have been heard. My e-mail friend Cristina should have played, hugged, and loved on Winnie today. Our daughter might be dancing around in her new poppy dress(if she can squeeze into that 3t), looking at our pictures, and eating protein bars as I type this :) Oh, and listening to me say "I love you" over and over again via the recordable hallmark card.
We could be traveling to Ethiopia in about a month. 1 month. just a few short weeks. just past Christmas. 4 or 5 saturdays away. Ok, you get it...
several people have asked me if I'm excited, how do you even have words to say it?

So, we are waiting for the phone call, and continue to leave it in God's timing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More good news

We received an email today with tentative travel dates. We must plan to be in Ethiopia for 2 weeks at this point and may be leaving around January 12th!!! We are hoping to go a few days early and travel to Winnie's home town of SIdamo. Well keep ya posted...
Continue praying for successful court date December 8th!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

He made it...

to court!! That's right, I found out from our agency that the uncle did make it to court Tuesday. He should not need to come back!! This is very good news for our case. We are so excited for our next court hearing, but trying not to count the days or make ourselves crazed by it :) hah, easy to type, harder to do... but seriously, we have such a supernatural peace about it right now. There's no sadness or disappointment, we are just eager to see what next Tuesday has for our little family.

Winnie is growing leaps and bounds. A traveling family sent us pictures today, and told me she was wearing 5-6 clothes. Well, there goes the 3T wardrobe I've been organizing in her room :) So, we'll just have to wait and see what she fits into when she arrives!! So far, she likes m&m's, I'm a little teapot book, pictures of herself (more so than pictures of us), hair things, and the 3T dress that I'm pretty sure will NOT fit her !!! She is described as being "very funny" and imitates the caregivers. I will be SO happy to see these things myself!!!

What are we doing to occupy ourselves? We are going to see the movie The Blind Side and have Indian food tonight. A little Shaw date night. Tim leaves for Georgia this weekend, and we've got a pretty busy December ahead of us. I will start packing my bags the day we pass court :) and Tim will pack his at midnight, the night before our plane leaves!!!

We are so grateful for all the prayers, phone calls, and just plain LOVE we have from friends and family. Thank you,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Court Today

We have some bad news to share about our court date... We received word this morning from AWAA that we did not pass court. Although details are not available, it sounds like our paperwork did not make it to the court house today. Our new scheduled court date is December 8th. I am honestly not looking forward to another week of anxiousness, fear and anticipation. Of course we are not the only family waiting for news today. We know that we are sharing the same feelings with other families. I pray that they all recieved better news than we did this morning.

We feel broken today, bent to our knees. In our helplessness we know that God is in control of this situation. We know that He is faithful and amazing. We know that all of the the orphans in Ethiopia are His children and that he is unfailing in His love for them. So what will we do? For the next week we will wait, pray and be still in our faith, knowing that He is God and His plan for us is good...

Monday, November 30, 2009

OH Boy!!

Well, I dropped the ball with the daily blog thing!!! Yikes, sorry if you were following along. We both worked on THanksgiving and during the weekend. In between that, we spent a lot of time praying. Also, our internet is down.
So, I'm shaking a little as I type this. Our long awaited court date is tomorrow, December 1st!! We have experienced a wide array of emotions, now it's just anticipation and excitement. We both spent time fasting and praying this weekend (and a little hunting in the woods). God is so good. We know no matter what the outcome, God's hand is on this. The wait has been hard, but we've learned so much about what it means to trust Him. This time has been good, but MAN we are ready to bring our little girl home!! The minute I woke up this morning, I started praying that Winnie's uncle was on his way to Addis now. I prayed for the paperwork to be present at court and translated accurately. I prayed for a favorable judge :) I prayed for the electricity to be on, and staff to be working.
PLEASE, pray for our case tonight. Ethiopian time is ahead of us, so our case will be heard while we sleep tonight. If we pass court, we will have ALL KINDS OF PICTURES here tomorrow.

So, I'm thankful for our house, our friends, two wonderful jobs that bring home the bacon, and unexpected moments when God says "see, I care, that little thing that was icing on the cake, yep... I wanted you to have that too, cause I love you." That brings me up to date on my thankfuls!!!

Now, ways to get involved and give back...
www.worldvision.org we sponsor a little girl in Uganda. This agency is amazing, has a very, very low overhead, which is important so most of the money goes straight where it's needed most. You can buy a chickie, goat, clean water, school supplies, or malaria skito nets for children all over the world. What a gift to give fresh milk, meat, water to drink... you could change a life for VERY little.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today we are thankful for having a daughter on the way. God has been so very gracious to Tim and I, and answered this long time desire. We are thankful that God protected her and brought her to a safe place. We rejoice that 4 months ago we saw this tiny, beautiful, happy face staring back at us on the "waiting child" page. and... in 5 days she could be officially a SHAW.

Today's way to give is one of my favorites!!!!! It costs .44$ and takes MAYBE ten minutes. Will you take a minute to write a note to a senior citizen? I got a call last night from a lady that I wrote a note to a while back. She said "hon, I've had a stroke, I can't write back. Would you keep writing? It's so good to hear from you..." We all must know someone lonely. Stop and send them a note of encouragement.

Psalm 150:6 "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 3

I just got new pics of Winnie from a traveling family and from her November update, a double blessing. Once again, she is healthy and happy in each picture. She's got a really snazzy new hair do too :) We are so grateful for our daughter. It's bittersweet today. I've got these new pictures, but Tim and I are feeling really impatient. She's grown again. So big. Every part of me wants to leave work right now, catch the next plane out of town, go straight to that orphanage and scoop her up!!! ... maybe it's that crazy yellow fever shot going to my head.

I read a children's story book about a little bird who had no mother. He went around and asked all the animals, "are you my mother?" each one said no. Finally a mama bear found the bird and said, "little bird, come with me, I'll be your mother!" In our hearts this is already a done deal, we are her mom and dad.

Today's way to give is to go visit AHOPE website. I just bought some of the coolest necklaces there. If you happen to get one for Christmas, act surprised :) Ahope has 2 orphanages in Ethiopia for HIV and AIDS orphans. These are the kids with little hope for adoption... and BIG dreams for life. There are some amazing products at the store, so please go to www.ahopestore.com
If you don't want to make a purchase, WON'T YOU VISIT THE WEBSITE AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE KIDS? December 1st is world AIDS day, show your support!!!

Today, I thank God for my family. We all had dinner last night, and really had a blast. "He sets the Lonely in Families..." Psalms 68:6
my dad is so generous. He still teaches me how to give without expecting and love without limiting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 2

Last night I had the pleasure of going to a "fair trade" party. This isn't a typical, ORDER STUFF SO I GET FREE THINGS party, but a HELP OTHERS, PURCHASE FAIRLY party. How refreshing!!! This is just what I would expect from my good friend Kris. So, here's the deal: There are kids forced to work 20 hours a day in the cocoa factories that make the nestle treats we eat. That coffee you buy super cheap at the grocery, it probably wasn't purchased from the little family in Ethiopia, Columbia, or Indonesia at a price that can sustain their living expenses and feed their families. The stationary made in China might not have been so good for Mother Earth.
I sat at Kris' house last night and ordered a bag of coffee from Sidamo. The tiny village where my child was born. Could her mom and dad have been coffee farmers? What would a fair price do for her remaining family?
Won't you make "fair choices" this holiday season?
It really doesn't matter where you choose to buy them...just please know that a little more change for an awesome product can make a HUGE difference for the struggling families around the world. (is that a runon sentence, or what?)
Here's the website for Four Winds International:
I believe she will be putting coffee, tea, and chocolates on shortly (the chocolate is OH SO GOOD, and the Sidamo single origin coffee is close to my heart).

On to my Thankfulness. I am so thankful that God cares about the injustice in the world, and offers hope.

7 days 'til court!!
Abigail (and Tim, who's been working a lot lately and I miss!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

At Risk for being called a "DOWNER DEBBIE"

I posted an article on facebook this morning. It wasn't pretty. A story about a little girl in foster care who was abused and beaten by her foster family, many have wanted to adopt her, until they find out she is HIV+. The good news, she's got a loving family that WANTS HER!!
So, here's the conflict in my heart this morning... I read the article, was deeply touched with the needs of orphans in general, and specifically HIV+ orphans, and hesitated to post the article.
WHY? Because I'm sometimes accused of being a "downer Debbie," and I cared what other people thought this morning. Ugghh. My heart is to be an advocate for these children but so often it gets bogged down with our life, here, far away from poverty in our city, country, and world. I forget that 95% of the world isn't wandering through Whole Foods, splurging on a coffee drink, or even worrying about how to afford new tires. Reality is a world where orphans are treated very badly and are at risk for many scary, sad situations. When I choose to ignore the reality, I feel like I am adding to the problem.
There is always good news...
I am amazed by how many ways I can be involved. In fact, sometimes it's so overwhelming that it's much easier to do nothing. So, for every day until our court date... 8 days (but who's counting??) I am going to share a way to make a difference in the lives of those other 95%. Caution, they may be orphan focused :) but know that there are plenty of other "needs" in our world!!
I'm also going to share something I'm thankful for each day. So, today it's you...
I am so grateful for friends and family who care!! Tim and I have been so blessed by the amount of support and love you have poured out to us. Thank you for understanding our new parent worries, for sharing your stories, for walking with us through this exciting and sometimes trying time.

Today's way to reach out, help the Johnson family bring this little girl home...
If you cannot, will you remember to pray for her? I am sure that there is some attachment/emotional challenges that this family will encounter, and they could use our prayers.

Urgent Situation - Johnson Family Adoption
The Johnson family is adopting a 3 yr old girl from Eastern Europe. The little girl was previously living with a paid Eastern European foster-family. Unfortunately, the guardianship paperwork was incomplete and the little girl ended up in a dangerous situation. The foster-father severely tortured and beat her. She was dropped off at a hospital covered in scratches and bruises and she had been dragged around by the hair, pulling it out by the roots. Video. She was also malnourished. The foster-father is now in prison for 4 years and the foster-mother has been heavily fined for not protecting the child.
After the extensive news coverage, many families in the little girl’s home country expressed interest in fostering or adopting her, but when her health status was made known to them, they refused her. The stigma surrounding HIV in Eastern Europe is still very problematic, and people living with the virus often face severe discrimination and abuse.

Fortunately, the Johnsons are now completing their dossier paperwork and hope to travel to Russia soon to finalize the adoption and bring the little girl home. They had started to save money to adopt in 2-3 years, but then they heard about this story, realized the urgency of the situation and decided to start adoption proceedings right away. They are trying to raise $6,000 for travel funds and could really use some help. Please consider donating to their adoption fund, and please help to spread the word about their story. Feel free to copy and paste this post.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Our friends from Westerville Fire Department threw us a surprise shower... I thought we were going to an insurance meeting (ugg) and when we got there, It was our friends ready to welcome Winnie. Wow!! We were showered with food, drinks, and lots of gifts for our girl.

We spent some great quality time with our friends this afternoon. It is so wonderful to have the support of our fire department family, and knowing that they are sharing in our experience.

A very cute sign we thought... it was all so wonderful!!

Little Winnie, We can't wait 'til you are home!! So many people love you. Today was one of those special times when your daddy and I feel like it's real, you are gonna be here soon!! We can't wait to play and read to you, and dress you in your new clothes!!!

Thank You Everyone!! 15 Days to Court!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Just in from Ethiopia...

So, here's the little snippet we got today...

"I know you're anxious to see W********, so here is one pic to tide you over until we get home.

She is adorable and just as sweet as her picture! She loved the M and M's, but I think the biggest hit was the phone. That got the biggest grins. The shoes you sent were just a tad too big, so when you come pick her up don't get anything smaller than a 9. The shoes definitely were not TOO big. She looked adorable walking off with her sunglasses and her phone hanging from her arm
Thank you Kavanaugh family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was so fun to see her with the cell phone toy that had our greeting recorded. She is just so happy!!

Tim and I had our first amharic lesson on Saturday. This was really interesting, and as soon as we are well (both sick right now) we are going to start practicing this in our home :)
here's a sample:
Edima-neh, winnieyay? (how are you, sweet Winnie?)
Buna yeetahftahl (delicious coffee)
Libseh lieahtishnah Timyay ( sweet Tim, please don't go potty in your pants!!!)

We met with our friends friday night, and got to hang out with "vanilla" Winnie, who asked where "my Winnie" was!!! It was too cute. She twirled and talked to her friend, Timshaw. She also took us to her room, where I saw a 31/2 year old's room. I gained a lot of insight on what I should include... lots of dolls, books, toys, princess bed, and pink and purple. It was such a sweet glimpse into our future with a 3 year old!!

It was also Tim's birthday this weekend. We spent some time with his dad, step mom, and brother. Every so often, Jake (brother, 5 years old) says, "I love you, Abigail." He's a caring, sweet dirt bike riding dude :) He brought us up some old toys... Dora doll, shopping cart, sweeper, and many other things that I can't really identify (but soon will know well.)

22 days til' court... and counting. Thanks for all your support!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Winnie's room...in progress

We got the plaster and painting done!!! and we are starting to move some furniture in the room. Sure hope she likes pink and green :) Virgil, our cat, does! We are counting down the days to court, and our Winnie coming home.

Large Care Package

We recently mailed a care package to Winnie via a family from Missouri. I just wanted to post a pic of what we had sent to her.....or intended to send. The thing is that I may have violated the weight restriction on the care package ( and maybe the generosity of the family that had agreed to take it in their personal luggage...) , actually with the help of my Foodsaver 2000, I nearly quadrupled the weight of any other families package.... We opted for a smaller assortment at the prospect of the family having to take another piece of luggage. You'd be amazed at how much you can fit into a one gallon foodsaver bag with the proper motivation...(and without thinking about how much it weighs). Our sincere thanks to Kavanaugh's for their help and our prayers go out to them for their trip and for the newest member of their family.

Obama Ends U.S. Travel Ban on Those with HIV-AIDS

Obama Ends U.S. Travel Ban on Those with HIV-AIDS

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Thursday, October 29, 2009


Today, I got the e-mail we've been waiting anxiously for. Our court date is December 1st. This is definetly later than what we had anticipated, or hoped for, but soon enough she will be ours!! We were informed that presently only 50% of kids are passing court the first time. Whether it is the family not being present, judges rescheduling, paper work not being correct, or simply having electricity, there are several possible delays. We have a POA from our agency that will represent us in Ethiopia, so we do not travel until our case passes court. After passing, we will travel usually in 4-5 weeks.
So, we've got 33 days to pray :) Here's a few things to pray for:
1. Winnie to stay healthy during this wait.
2. Her uncle must come to court, and we need to pray that he would be willing and
able to travel hundreds of miles to get there.
3. All our paper work would be perfect and present for court. We've done so much
paper chasing in the last 9 months, we pray perfection over it :)
4. That the Judges have favor on our case, and PASS it on the first go!!!!!

While we count down these next 33 days, we are learning to trust God in this time. It's tough not having any control, and we know that God's timing is paramount in this whole process, so we give it to Him.

We are sending a care package to Winnie today. It's so sweet, some of our family members sent letters to enclose. I'll post a pic or two later today. With a carepackage comes more pictures!!! We can't wait, thanks to the Kavanaugh's for doing this!
More later, Abigail

Psalm 68: 5-6

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing…"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.


...BUT NOT AS MUCH AS YOU, YOU SEE!! OK, I promise, I'm not Kip from Napoleon Dynamite. I am singing the praises of a little toy that looks like a cell phone. It's a "toy" phone that allows you to record your voice for your child. We are sending a care package next week, and got to record a message for Winnie... IN AMHARIC!!!!!!!!!
We went out to celebrate our littlest friend Micah's 1st birthday at Abssynia, Ethiopian restaurant. The owner there is so sweet and kind. She took time to teach Tim and I how to say "we are your new mom and dad, we love you and are coming soon." After practicing it several times to get the right pronunciation, Tim recorded it. We practiced so many times, that the batteries are starting to go, and he sounds very robotic :) Tim tried the Kitfo raw last night, If you know Tim, this is NOT surprising. I shared the cooked kitfo with Julia, and was glad I did.

We also had the pleasure of hanging out with a little boy who's been home from Ethiopia for a little over a month. By the end of the night he was running around with Winnie's new toy and sitting on Tim's lap. I can't tell you how encouraging it is to see newly adopted kiddos doing so well. He knew his colors, please and thank you, mama, and... coffee. Yes, he loves to drink coffee. The earlier mention of him sitting on Tim's lap was really a ploy to get closer to his coffee cup :)

I'm missing Winnie today. Are we capable of missing someone we've never actually met?? I would have been skeptical, until recently. I see her picture on my screen saver at work, on our fridge, in my purse, I talk about her constantly... and I just feel a little empty spot, like I'm not complete right now. There is so much I want to know about my daughter and her little life. I wonder what information she has about us, and what she thinks about the idea of a new family. I see postings of the famine in Ethiopia, and sickness, and I wonder if she's ok today. I wish I could sing her my silly made up songs... I torture the cats with (and sometimes Tim.)

... I bet she has a pretty voice.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Searching for the perfect pink ball

Wow, I haven't been blogging long, and already I'm a bad blogger!! The truth is, there's not much new on the court date. We got word that there is a potential "slow down" due to some investigations into a case in Ethiopia(not ours). I don't have many details, but our agency asked us to overnight yet another packet of info to them.
We did receive four new pictures of our daughter. She has a HUGE smile on her face in every picture. In our September update, we learned she loves to play "nurse" and pretend to pass out medication to the other children. I'm sure any mom would love this, but as a nurse myself, I was just BEAMING when i read it!!! We also learned that she did not speak Amharic (Ethiopia's primary language) when she came to the orphanage. My heart is sad when I think of how scary that had to be for her. The update also said she is VERY FUNNY. I think we have evidence of this in one of her photos, where she is posing :) She's growing fast... I can't wait to post all of these pictures. She's 3 feet and 34 pounds, wearing a 3T.
Tuesday night, Tim looked at me with a really deep, sad expression, which I thought was regarding my tuna noodle casserole with broccoli. He said he just about couldn't handle the wait anymore, and that he just wanted her home now. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have a husband that cares about orphans, injustice, bringing our daughter home, being a servant, loving the Lord, etc. I found a book about Dad's related to their daughters in his computer bag :) ok, he had about 10 books in there, but he cares... and I love it! Anyone who knows us, knows we have our "moments" when it's not rainbows and ponies, but I just had to mention how blessed I am to have Tim. He's going to take some time off when Winnie gets here, I'm sure they will be speaking amharic and making jokes about ol' mom.

We are anxiously awaiting a court date. We have plenty to keep us busy until then!! We are both working a few jobs each, and trying to finally get situated in the new house. Sunday we'll be going to enjoy injera bread, kitfo, coffee, and our little friend Micah, who has been home about 6 months from Ethiopia. Happy 1st Birthday!!
Check back soon, hopefully we'll have a court date :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

court delayed

We got an email on Friday afternoon stating that the court in Ethiopia is going to extend it's leave. SO, we will be waiting for a court date a little longer than expected, and our care package for Winnie will not be delivered until the family is rescheduled for court. I'm still looking for the pink ball, so at least I have more time to find that perfect one!
You know, we were aware going into this that international adoption certainly has it's share of problems and challenges. The waiting and uncertainty is just part of it. We will certainly keep posting as we get a court date, and come closer to traveling :)Of course we are a little bummed.
Thinking postively... we should get our September update of Winnie this week. YEEAAHH!

Friday, October 2, 2009


This week has been a week of waiting...
1. We are waiting on a court date, courts should reopen next week (they have been closed for rainy season.) We are hoping to have a court date at the end of October or early November. She will be officially ours, and then we can make travel plans to pick her up!!
2. We are waiting for our September updates on Winnie. We got to ask 5 questions about her, and her nannies will respond. We get new height, weight, and PICTURES!!
This update is better than Christmas for us!! We have 12 pictures of her at this point, and they are like GOLD.
3. We were waiting to see if there was a family to take a care package over in October... but, we got our answer today!! The heddleson's are taking over our package when they go to get their sweet little one. This will keep me occupied for the next few days, trying to find a pink ball(she loves balls, and playing chase.)

While waiting, we're working on Winnie's room. Our friend Wendi from Ugly Duckling Studio has volunteered to help us decorate her room... A HUGE RELIEF. We figure she'll be going through so much change, can't communicate with us much, and will be arriving in the dead of winter, so she deserves an amazing, beautiful room! Wendi's got that covered. We'll post some pictures soon.

Also, we are trying to cram in some parenting/adoption books :) I try not to panic when thinking about how to care for a 3 year old, it's in God's hands. Tim, on the other hand, is cool, calm and collected about the whole thing. I love the balance we have with that! We sat on our porch swing the other night, surrounded by hand me down little tyke toys, laughing and dreaming about our future with Winnie.

That brings me to my last thought, we are praying while we wait. There have been lots of sick babies coming home from Ethiopia (a few are in the hospital.) We are praying that Winnie stays well. Also, that God would begin to prepare her heart (and ours) for the BIG changes that are coming soon.

The family that met Winnie a few weeks ago wrote this on their blog...
"I was especially touched to share a care package with a beautiful little three year old who saw her parents for the first time! The smile on her face made my heart sing. She is absolutely beautiful, in spirit and in face!"

We wait with Joy and yearning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fellow Blogger's Post On The Question-Is International Adoption Worthy of Our Time and Money?

I read this post from a fellow blogger and thought it was written so thoughtfully and so well. I really wanted to share. Read this great post (link below in green) on her answer to the following question:
"Why not use the money that you are spending on your adoption and give it to programs that alleviate poverty in the third world and allow impoverished families to provide for their families intstead?"
This is a fair question that she was asked. A question that we have asked ourselves, but were not able to put into words as well.
Click on the link below to read her response, it is a little long but worth reading.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

We wanted to answer some frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why not adopt a child here in the United States? Specifically why Africa?

First and foremost, we both feel that adoption in any form is a wonderful endeavor. There are so many children in the U.S. and abroad who are waiting on families. Not even the best orphanage or foster home can replace a permanent family’s love. We highly encourage families to adopt: domestically and internationally. We met while working in a developing nation, and have seen the living conditions that many orphans face daily. We have always shared a calling for the impoverished and the forgotten; especially those with little hope of finding a forever family. That being said, this is not a rescue mission on our part. It is not an extension of missions work. This is not an effort to “do a good deed”. The decision to adopt from Africa came after asking the Lord for guidance and direction about growing our family. Our decision came after many hours of prayer, and receiving confirmation from God. This is a personal journey to bring our daughter home.

How much does the adoption process cost? Why so much? Who gets the money? Etc….

The process to adopt our daughter will cost about $25,000. The fees are split up into several areas: U.S. Immigration fees, adoption agency fees (portion goes to the improvement of orphanage), legal costs, social worker fees, Ethiopian government fees, travel costs, medical expenses, and miscellaneous fees and costs. It adds up incredibly quickly.

When does she get here?

We wish we knew the answer to this. Our adoption must pass a court hearing in Ethiopia before we can set up any travel arrangements. About 60% of families pass this process on the first try. Many families do not pass court on the first try due to paperwork, no electricity, family member unable to attend (to assure child is adoptable), or court closings. We are hoping to bring her home in January, but must remind ourselves often that many things could happen to delay this.

Do you have to go get her?

Yes. We are really excited to visit Africa, and specifically Ethiopia. Winnie is living in a “transition home” that is run by our agency. She is in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. At the least, we will be there for 2 weeks. We are hoping to travel around the country, seeing Lalibela, the beginning of the Nile, and collecting memories of our daughter’s homeland. We feel a responsibility to embrace Ethiopia and learn traditions and customs to bring into our home.

Are you keeping her name?

She has a beautiful Amharic name, and we feel that it wouldn’t be fair to take that away from her now, as she already knows her name. We can’t share her name or photos at this time. We do promise to post photos and share her full name as soon as we pass Ethiopian court (she will officially be a Shaw at that point!!!). Until then, we will call her Winnie… and you’ll have to trust us when we say, “she is Amazing”.

Why does it take so long if there are over 4 million orphans in Ethiopia alone?

The first six months are often referred to as the “paper chasing” phase. During this period, prospective adoptive parents collect documents and legal records. In addition, we have met 4 times with our social worker in Upper Sandusky, wrote autobiographies, read books, took classes on adoption, collected references, petitioned to immigration, obtained additional life insurance, had fingerprinting done several times, met with doctors for physical examinations, had background checks, prepared for fire and safety inspections, and had these and many more documents notarized, county and state certified. These documents are combined into one folder called a dossier. The dossier is then sent to Ethiopia for translation and review by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. At this point families wait for a referral or in our case, pursue a child on the “waiting child” list. The adoption then moves through the Ethiopian court system.
This entire process protects the children. Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world who exploit children. The United States, Ethiopia and our agency take every precaution to place children with capable parents in loving homes.

If you have any other questions, please let us know. We are still learning as we go, but remain excited to share.

Friday, September 18, 2009


We've always felt a special spot in our hearts for adoption. I can remember walking to Mozart's when we were dating, and talking about adopting babies. Just as our relationship has grown, so has the desire to add to our little family. According to UNICEF, there are 147,000,000 children orphaned in the world. Try to wrap your mind around that!!! It's hard to imagine millions of orphans living without a family, and we both felt like God was leading us towards these sweet kids.
We began our adoption journey in February, sending out what seemed like a lot of paperwork in an application to America World Adoption Association. We were accepted into the Ethiopia program in March, and began the LONG road of paper chasing. Our initial request was for a healthy infant girl or twins. The process led us all over Ohio, collecting documents, meeting with our social worker, and notarizing and certifying.
As our paperwork came to an end, we were looking forward to sending it all to Ethiopia, and starting the waiting process for a referral. Things changed. We saw the picture of a "waiting child" on our agency's website, and couldn't stop thinking about her. She had the most beautiful smile and sweet little face. After a few weeks of praying and making sure we were on the "same page", we gladly accepted a referral for our daughter.
In the last few weeks, we have made HUGE strides in bringing Winnie home. Our dossier(Gigantic bundle of notorized and certified papers) started it's journey to Africa September 10th. We began to share the good news of our daughter with our family and friends. Winnie received her first package, and got a look at her new mom and dad yesterday. MOST EXCITING to the new parents... we got 8 new pictures of Winnie (THANK YOU MONBERG'S).
We are praying for Winnie's health as she waits in Ethiopia, the paperwork and testing that needs to be done to bring her home, and guidance as we prepare our lives for a 3 year old that speaks no English :)
This is the very brief version, we can't wait to tell you more...