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Home Study Freak:)

Yep. I’ve officially been labeled. By my husband:). Since we filled out our application to adopt from Ethiopia with AGCI, I have been a complete nut. I watch you tube videos on Ethiopian adoptions and cry my eyes out. I have gone from blog to blog to blog to blog—reading about other families in the process…gazing over their adoption timeline and they are all so different that I’ve realized…that there will be very few things that I have control over. AND–there will be A LOT of waiting. So–I have become, to myself and my husband, for the month of September–the Home Study Freak. I admit it. My name is Andrea and I am in a rat race to finish my home study as fast as possible.

Today’s gigs—fingerprints, background check, physicals for kids and 1st home study visit. (Can’t believe just 10 days from turning in our official application and we’ve already had our home study visit!) Here are a few pictures (taken from my iphone) of some of today’s fun..
Frank joined me at City Hall today. He got Oooed and Ahhhed over by the sweet ladies doing the fingerprints. He also wanted a background check…but in 10 months he just hasn’t managed to get in to enough trouble for that one. Isn’t he cute:) I can’t believe he’ll be ONE in 2 months. Harder to believe he’ll probably be well over 2 when we finally get to go get our child!

And not only does our home study require us to get physicals–but they need to know our children are healthy too. WHEW! Thankfully, the doc just signed some papers for Frank and Laney b/c they have had more recent visits. But poor Parker was due up for his 5 year check up…and shots. Not fun. But nothing that a little Dunkin Doughnuts couldn’t help afterwards:)
The kiddos waiting on the nurse to come back in…and before poor P’s shots!

I filled out the application with AGCI on September 1st. 10 days later. I have 95% of EVERY application, form, fingerprint, certificate and signature required for the completion of our homestudy. 10 days later we had our first HS visit–and we’ve already planned our next one. Next week:). All 3 of my kids had their physicals today (required by our HS agency) and our background checks will be back on Tuesday. Our first home study visit lasted less than 1 hour today as all the forms she brought for us to fill out—I had already downloaded online, printed off and filled out. Yes, all 50 of them;). I had already been to the courthouse, gotten fingerprinted, and you name it–it was filled out. I was afraid our adoption consultant was going to think I was nuts, but she thought it was great and loved how easy her job was today. I even had “sign here” tabs for her on the forms that required her signature:). We’ll have all our visits completed by the 25th which is the day our adoption physicals are on—then we’ll be done with our home study!

Next up—then of course after the home study…comes the dossier (another crazy list of documents and requirements). But no worries…I already got a sneak peak on that list and certified birth certificates from vital records and new social security cards (no idea where our originals were) have already been ordered, reference letters have already been written and are patiently saved and waiting on friends and family computers, and picture of the outside and inside of our home have already been taken. I’ve heard the dossier is crazy, so thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a headstart once the home study is written and complete. I may have little or no control over the wait–and since these things are what must be completed to “start our wait” and get logged in…I’m ok with being a Home Study Freak (and soon to be Dossier Freak) until then;). It will ALL be worth it in the long run!

Whew…gotta run. 3 more pages to finish…then I’m lighting a fire under Richard’s tail to finish his 16 page personal profile. And no honey, you are not aloud to look at mine or copy:).

Kim - September 12, 2009 - 5:49 am

Love the new label. :o)
And you now win the award for THE BEST EVER Christmas card. Just precious! - September 12, 2009 - 11:44 am

he is 3 and a half months old- can't believe I left out! ๐Ÿ™‚ He will be 6 and 1/2 to 7 months old when we meet him.

Are These Kids All Yours? - September 12, 2009 - 1:54 pm

Hey, you are not crazy!!! I did the same thing last year….and now that we are in the process again- I have flown through everything possibl including all the paperwork- again! I think it is a nesting thing- like mothers know they are getting pregnant (paper pregnant) and they whiz through it…then they begin the physical nesting of preparing the room, clothes, etc. I totally adore your Christmas card from last year!!!! WOW- totally cute and completely wonderful!!!! Have fun chasing papers ๐Ÿ™‚ It's all for your precious one ๐Ÿ™‚

Amy Cherise - September 12, 2009 - 5:03 pm

you are adorable! love you!

Renee - September 13, 2009 - 8:55 am

Just remember when you hit bumps in the road that it is all for a reason. God has the perfect child in mind for you and some times we have to hit snags to be ready at the same time that our child is.

Adam and Christie - September 13, 2009 - 7:48 pm

I know what you mean by being a home study freak. I was the exact same way! We finished our home study and dossier in 8 weeks, which I believe is pretty fast! I just couldnt stop working on it until everything was done! now we are 4 1/2 months into our adoption and already #3 if not #2 on the boys list!!! Good luck with all of your paperwork! It is so exciting!!!!

I LOVE the Christmas card!!! adorable!!!!!

Tribute to Birth Mothers

[Thoughts from an adopted mother-to-be early this morning]

How loved you are by God–so loved that He sent two mothers to care for you.
In a broken world, things are not as they should be–yet He does not leave things as they are–God looked down and as your Heavenly Father He provided.

He created you. Even in your mother’s womb, your days were numbered and He had a plan–by Him, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He created you with joy and love–and in the very beginning He entrusted you to her.

She made a decision to give you life dispite the circumstances. For this, she is brave, courageous and strong.
Each mother with a different story, yet the same…
Too young to raise a baby, she felt in her heart God had prepared a family who had been set apart just for you. She was unselish and brave. Bless her.
Too sick to work and knowing her time was short, she carried you miles to a place she had heard would care for you–her heart was broken but she loved you more than a broken heart. Bless her.
Too tired to walk further, she placed you carefully in the chapel and prayed desperately that someone would hear your cry. It was not easy, but she could go no further–and faithfully He answered her prayer. They said you were abandoned, but God was always there–you were never alone. He was faithful and sent someone quickly. How loved you are!
Closing her eyes in weakness she whispered to your father what to do if he also got too weak to continue work and care, and then she prayed God would give him strength and bravery to follow through with her wishes if times became too hard. She gave her fear of the unknown to the Lord and trusted. In a broken world, she was brave. Bless her.

Her loss is my gain. Life is broken, yet beautiful.
It is written: Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you furfill the law of my Son. Even in my joy, I grieve.
Life isn’t always how we dream or plan, and for her–this was true.
Yet God was faithful and heard her prayer. Even in pain, He blessed her.
My loss will forever be her gain. I will never replace her. She is your birth mother. She carried you in her womb. She rejoiced in your kicks while you were still in her belly. She gave you life. She nursed you and you brought her joy. She made the decision to be selfless and protect you when the day turned to night. She is your birth mother, and she is brave. I will always wonder what it was like to hold you as newborn; what it was like to have you sleep on my chest; but this was her joy–and it is as it should be. You were her joy. You are are also mine. All part of a beautiful story.

Life is broken, yet He makes it beautiful–and every birthday I will be the mother who will hold you; I will rejoice in the day of your birth and in God’s faithful protection; In the days of the unknown, He fed you; He NEVER left you! He loved you so much that He brought you safely to this world and in it’s brokenness, He whispered to our hearts we had another child waiting for us. The whisper of the Lord is strong–and although quiet it could never be misunderstood by one of His. You are our child. You ARE our child. You ARE OUR child. I will rejoice; And I will love you forever! How I love you! How I long for you!

I am humbled to know I am the one she prayed for. Help me Lord to be as brave as she was and to mother unselfishly and with courage. Bless her.
With the strength of Jechebed–Moses mother–she grieved in the world’s brokenness yet she took the most incredible leap of faith and prayed someone would rescue you. She intrusted part of herself to me through You. I do not know her, but together we embrace you and one another. Our hands are lifted high.
And like Pharoah’s daughter, I have seen the miracle in the river and I have fallen in love.
My heart leaps for joy!
You are mine! You are mine! You are mine!
My heart longs to be your mother. To see you do the rest of your firsts. To watch you play and live. You are my child! You ARE my child! You ARE MY child!!!

How the Lord must love you to make us long for you so!
All because of a faithful loving God.
And on the other side of the world, one mother’s longing.
And because of another mother’s bravery.

Are These Kids All Yours? - September 10, 2009 - 9:58 am

I am crying…..I love your post…..and the fact that we are so privileged and so often don't even notice it!

Beautiful Mess - September 10, 2009 - 10:03 am

That was ABSOLUTELY beautiful!

God bless you and all the birth mothers.

emilyvogeltanz - September 10, 2009 - 10:22 am

Hello! I found your blog via Kristi J's rave review of your blog and adoption adventure on her blog. ๐Ÿ™‚
My husband and I are #10 on the wait list for a baby girl from Ethiopia with AGCI. We live in Athens, GA so I was beyond excited to see that you live in Roswell!! (we also used AAA Partners and had an easy + fast home study with them! they were great to work with.)
I'm really enjoying your blog. You are a great writer, keep it up!

Excited to meet you in "blog world" and hope our paths cross in real life sometime!

Emily Vogeltanz
Our blog: vogeltanz family . com

3 Blessings - September 10, 2009 - 2:44 pm

Hello! I found you from Lucy Lane's blog. We are also a family of five and we are in the beginning stages of adopting from Ethiopia with AGCI. It is so wonderful to meet other families going through the same process. Such a blessing. I look forward to reading more from you in the future. God's blessings to you and your journey.

Julie - September 11, 2009 - 6:18 pm

Beautifully written….Just wanted to welcome you guys to the adoption journey!

Sarah - April 11, 2010 - 5:23 pm

Andrea- I finally found this post (the one you mentioned on the listserv… Thank you. This is so precious because it is what is in my heart. I don’t have the gift of words you have, but your gift has become mine- and now I have words.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassions and God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our affliction that we may be able to comfort those who are in every affliction through the comforting with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor. 1:3-4


Just got placed with our home study coordinator and our first home study is THIS Friday!!! I’m so glad we chose a company who is so fast! We’ll have 3 more interviews after today’s phone consultation—the 2nd being this Friday. Off to work on my “to do” list I posted earlier today. (And of course edit a gazillon sessions that are in waiting!) Wow…after this week we should have a lot of fun pictures to share…physicals, fingerprinting and our home study!

Anonymous - September 10, 2009 - 12:15 pm

Wow so awesome that you are adopting! You are using AGCI also! We adopted our son Samuel from China through them! They are so great!!!! I am now praying about Ethiopia with them! I have fallen in love with the two curly haired boys who are called the precious brothers! They are so neat! They are all so cute and need homes! I would take them all if I could! Well I keep waiting on God also! I have also watched the Lucy LAne video many times nad cried through it! It also has been used by God to put Ethiopia on my heart as well! So neat how God works!!!

God BLess, Heidi

Whew! Our paperwork officially begins this week!

The application to AGCI (adoption agency)and AAA Partners (home study agency) are in. Just got off the phone with AAA and our paperwork menu is before us. I eat paperwork for breakfast—the wait for our child is going to be what gets me! OK…so our homestudy paperwork is just the appetizer. Here’s what we’ll be doing this week (on top of ballet, soccer, preschool, editing portraits and of course working with Frank’s new skills of clapping and waving ‘bye-bye’…video of that to follow;):

1. Date with Roswell City to get fingerprints (too bad they just want mine and Richard’s b/c Laney and Parker would love to do this one…I think I’ll take them with us and let them join in the fun too…wonder if our home study agency will think that’s as cute as we do!)

2. Mail fingerprints to FBI and contact FBI for background checks.

3. Bake cookies for the people I’m asking to write reference letters for us;). Just kidding…but maybe I’m not;). I will beg these lucky four to mail those in asap:). Come on people–I’m going for a record breaking home study time completion here;)

4. Fill out retention letter, child safety agreement, more agreements, more agreements and more agreements.

5. Make doctor appointments for a family date to the doctor…PHYSICALS for EVERYONE! Richard will be so excited;)! Frank even has to have one!

6. Fill out financial statements and ask Richard’s boss for a raise. Just kidding. This momma will be quitting her photography business when #4 arrives:)

7. Complete 10 page parent personal profile. Everything from how the hubby and I handle disagreements, what our wedding was like, what were our favorite things to do as children, and of course the answer to my question I answered last post ‘why ethiopia’…I’m guessing they want more than ‘why not?’

OK…so that’s it for this week:). Off to make doc appointments and start this weeks paperwork! I’ll try to take a few pictures of our physical and fingerprinting fun!!!



loveisspokenhere - September 8, 2009 - 11:35 am

fun stuff!! make sure you take pictures! it is fun to document everything…and it will be so cool to look back and how much the kids have changed throughout the process!!

Adam and Christie - September 10, 2009 - 7:21 am

what an exciting time with so much to do! ๐Ÿ™‚ we are also adoption through agci and are #4 on the boys list right now. i am excited to find your blog and follow along on your journey!

Why Ethiopia? Why Now?

This “Why Ethiopia”question is one we have already gotten a lot of–and one we fully expect and anticipate answering many times during our lives. My answer is really a question right back: Why not? The simplicity of it all is that we love children, our biological children desire this as much as we do, and we feel it is our responsibility as Christians to love these children deeply as they were our own…so much so, even bringing one (or two eventually) to live with us forever.

In just a month’s time, I have gotten much encouragement in our step of faith to follow God in our choosing to adopt. How thankful I am for those who stand with us and behind us! I have also already gotten some resistance–and surprisingly some comments from other believers who I look up to…but even for these I am thankful. I am reminded that I must keep my eyes on the cross–on what God is calling us to–and to not look to man or worry about what man thinks.

Our love to orphans should show no boundaries. I feel we should love them whole heartedly as we love our own. We should not only give our money and time–but also our hearts. To love them as Jesus calls us to requires sacrifice–maybe some of us will feel led to sacrifice to the point of lifestyle change by giving sacrificially so they may live until they are grafted in a forever family; some may be called to family change through adoption or others may change to the point of moving across the world to serve the orphan ( But one thing we must remember, is that when we follow Jesus wholeheartedly we will no longer be living as the world lives and our lives will look different–and thus, not everyone will agree with us…even some who call themselves Christians.

I overheard a recent opinion about our adoption that truthfully caught me off guard but how thankful I was to hear it so early in the process. It was said that we should take care of our own children first before we adopt. This was puzzling to hear from a believer–but I have to say that we truly already believe the children in Ethiopia that God has set apart for us are OURS…and we are actually trying to take care of our “own” children first by persuing them now whole-heartedly…to rescue them from the dying and to graft them forevermore into THEIR/OUR family! We also feel we are taking care of our biological children by persuing this with them and not allowing ourselves to get too comfortable in our world. They are getting to see firsthand the gospel of Christ–a tranformation from orphan to son/daughter forever. How thankful I am that God didn’t take care of His own flesh “first” or wait until life seemed perfect and peaceful to persue us. How thankful I am that He made sacrifices and chose to rescue the dying…even at the very expense of his own flesh, His Son. How thankful I am that I am no longer an orphan because He was willing to fight for me at any cost. These children are our OWN. We love them already, and we are willing to fight for them because they are OURS.

The UN now estimates 6 million orphans in Ethiopia alone and approxiamately 132 million worldwide. So while we can’t rescue them all–we can rescue one. And now is as good of a time as any. We are not promised tomorrow, so today is really the best time for us to begin. Mother Theresa said it well–if you can’t feed 100, then feed 1. And it is our prayer that God will use this one to one day make a difference in the lives of many. When looking at those numbers the question to ask is not “why” but more obviously “why not”. And to that question we were left with no answers…and joyfully the paperwork has begun. Help us all Lord to love beyond borders, to show no boundaries and to love orphans as they are our own. Call us Lord deeply into your heart…and help us to love sacrificially as you do.

Beautiful Mess - September 6, 2009 - 12:20 pm

Wow-I saw that video yesterday–so crazy.

Go and LOVE BIG! No regrets!

Thank you for being an encourgement to me!

Kristi J - September 6, 2009 - 1:55 pm

What an amazing post!! You are a gifted writer and the Lord will use that to inspire others and to bring more of His children home…because His children are OUR children!! Praise God! You will move mountains with your adoption and children will find homes that never dreamed of having their own families JUST because you said YES to God's calling!! So happy for you guys, kristi

The Young Family - September 7, 2009 - 6:11 am

Thank you Krisit! How thankful we will always be for the inspiration and encouragement we have gotten from you, your family and Lucy Lane!!! Thank you for following Him and sharing your love of Lucy Lane with with the world! I can't wait to meet our little one…ahhh—it feels like we have so far to go!

Amy - September 7, 2009 - 9:15 pm

Nice to "meet" you! Nice to meet yet another AGCI family in the early stages of adoption! We are about 2 months into the process and working on our home study and dossier right now.