2 years and counting…

Oh how time flies and yet how slowly it moves. It has been 19 months since my last adoption update on this forsaken blog and I could pretty much post the exact same thing. We are waiting, waiting, waiting for a match to be proposed. It has been 2 years this week since our dossier was submitted for matching in Haiti and 34 months since we started the process.  Most days I have learned to live life in the moment. I’m definitely have enough crazy to keep me busy 🙂 but the two-year mark hit me sort of hard the other day. Apparently I’m still learning the lesson to be ok with the waiting on things I can’t control. Here are a few of the things that I don’t know yet.

  1. When we will receive a referral (proposed match)
  2. Who our children are
  3. How old they are
  4. How we will work out all the travel
  5. How long it will take for them to join us after our referral

However, there are a few things that I do know.

  1. God is faithful
  2. It will be worth it
  3. Adoption journeys, like life, are a lot more complex than it seems on the surface
  4. We will figure it out
  5. God is preparing us

A year and a half ago we were looking at buying or building a bigger house in Kalona. We had two great options that seemed perfect and it seemed crazy that they both fell through.  One day, as I was driving to work, I saw a house for sale in Iowa City. I grabbed the flyer, took it home and thus started our total change of plans. We sold our house and found the perfect house before it was even on the market. It felt like a big leap for us to move to a new city and especially a new school but as many of our big decisions have been it also felt very right. The transition has not been totally easy. There has been anxiety and sadness. We miss our Kalona friends and are very glad to still be this close. It has also been so, so good.  We are so thankful for our new school with students from all over the world, wonderful new neighbors and friends, living <1.5 miles from both of our jobs and so much more.

I look forward to the day when I can update with exciting news and believe me I will share it loud! Until then I am thankful for all of you who check in on us! As I wait, I will look to the faithfulness that God shows me daily and know that He is at work in our waiting.

  But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.  Psalm 77:11





A tiny little update

I wish I had more to report but I appreciate everyone who has asked what is happening these days. This week is 5 months since our dossier submission to IBESR and we are “hunkered down” waiting for our referral.  Things have not been moving fast in Haiti lately and so even though it is possible that we could get our referral any day, we will likely be waiting for quite a while longer. So, we wait, we pray, we wonder if anything is happening, we enjoy life in the moment and we remember God’s faithfulness. We would love for you to pray with us for the workers at IBESR, that they would have a passion to see children placed in families and that even more importantly they would know the love of our God!

“Lord! You are good to us,
and your love never fails.
Ps  106:1

In other news our matching fund from Lifesong is half way matched!  That is such a blessing and we are so thankful for the support!

No one can praise you enough for
all the mighty things you have done.” 
Ps  106:2

Haiti Cherie

It has been three weeks since we got back from our trip to Haiti and I’m finally getting around to this post that has been simmering since then. It is hard to put our trip into words. We went to celebrate Troy and Vilna’s wedding and it was so special to finally visit the country that I have loved from afar for so long!

The Travel

Grael was a wonderful traveler and it was great fun to travel with family. Thankfully I love airplanes and we were blessed with good flights and no problems.

IMG_0614IMG_0098 - CopyOnce we got there transportation was an adventure. We did a lot of riding in the back of pick up trucks. Somehow it felt fine to do there even though I here I am a little crazy about car seat safety. I told myself that I would leave my “American eyes” at home and try to see things the Haiti way. I just love the reminder that the world is so much bigger than my normal. We rode to market, the beach and a sight seeing trip to the mountains this way.

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The Activities

We arrived in Haiti on Monday afternoon and while everyone else in our group headed right out to Water For Life headquarters in Cayes our family got to stay in Port Au Prince and visit a few places! We got to go to our agency’s guesthouse and meet our family coordinator. Somehow we forgot to take any pictures but it was awesome to meet the person that helped us put our dossier together. It’s amazing what email can do but it is so much better to be able to meet in person!

Tuesday morning we got to visit The Apparent Project. It is an awesome artisan community that uses discarded items to upcycle them into beautiful things. I had been saving cereal boxes for them. Grael even got to watch the cardboard beads being made and bring one home.


Grael’s special bead made while she watched.


Just a small portion of the beautiful jewelry they make


We had a wonderful trip to the beach. Along the way we got to stop at the school that was started by Water For Life and it was fun for Grael to see kids her age and what school was like for them!IMG_0241 - Copy


We had to let Lorelei and Reist know how much we missed them!


A lot of our time was spent doing projects and playing as well.  Grael was so glad to have another little girl to play with and they quickly became partners in everything. It was also special to meet and play with her new cousin, Kurtis!IMG_0881IMG_0778IMG_0742IMG_0144

The Sights

Talk about beauty! Haiti has amazing views and gorgeous nature!


One morning I woke up early and the sunrise was worship


The blues were so blue and the greens so green!


IMG_0867 The ocean always makes me stand in awe of our big God!

The Food

Oh my, the food was delicious! We enjoyed rice and beans and delicious sauces, fresh grapefruit, bananas, pineapple and avocados, mashed plantains and pikliz and plantain chips. I want to learn to cook a few of the amazing dishes we had while we were there!

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The Wedding

Saturday started off with rain but turned into a wonderful day to celebrate Troy and Vilna. We were honored to be a part of their day and are so glad to welcome Vilna and Kurtis into our family!


IMG_7845 edit The happy family!

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Kurtis enjoyed his front row view


The Miller family! (Just missing Blake, Lorelei and Reist)


We had such an amazing time and I already can’t wait to go back!

2014 in Review

I know is sounds cliché but I can hardly believe another year is gone and we are moving on to 2015. I generally live very much in the moment so it is neat for me to take a moment to look back at what happened for our family in 2014! Warning: it’s a long one!

January was the month we were officially accepted into the Haiti Program at AWAA and started our adoption journey that was 7+ years in the making! Reist also turned 2 in January. He started talking and singing more and more and grew into his role of family clown this year.IMG_6442In February we had our first home study meeting and continued to gather all the paper work and do the education needed for that. The paper work felt overwhelming at first but it became manageable as I broke it down into little bits. Our house was exceptionally clean that month as our Social Worker made her home visits. 🙂

March was more chasing papers, finishing home study visits and living life.

April was the month that Grael turned 6! She loved going to school and reading. She continued to blossom in school and made friends everywhere she went. IMG_6617Our home study was completed in April and I thought we were almost done with out dossier paper work!

In May I turned a year older and didn’t even mind. 🙂  I also headed to Des Moines to certify all our dossier paper work at the Secretary of State’s office and move on the last step of applying for our UISCS immigration pre-approval (I-800a). That was when I discovered a problem with the notarization of our home study stamp not matching the current commission number. That meant about a 2-3 week delay as it was renotarized. I reminded myself that I never expected this to be too easy and I shouldn’t let a small delay get me too discouraged.

June brought the end of Grael’s year of kindergarten, bible school and a staycation. We got our new copy of the home study and I sent off our 1-800a application and got our fingerprinting appointment for that.

In July we made the trip to Des Moines again to get fingerprinted for USCIS.We kept busy while we were waiting for approval. We got our USCIS approval and faxed the last two papers to have them certified by the Secretary of State. We had another hiccup here when we discovered that the new home study notary also had a stamp without their current commission number. This had never happened to our social worker before and now it happened twice with our paper work. Oh boy, that was discouraging! I am thankful that God kept reminding me that He will be at work for us. He challenged me to rest and trust. That was hard as the time was stretching longer than I ever “planned” but really there wasn’t anything else to do. I have an inkling that some day I will see that God had those delays for a purpose – either to teach me some lessons or to work something else that needed His timing.

August was a month full of joy.We welcomed a darling nephew and cousin into the world. kidsandtate1We got our new home study, it was certified without problems and on August 23rd we sent our dossier off to AWAA!!!!  It was terrifying to put all those papers in an envelope and send them off into the unknown. It got there without problems and went through translation and authentication.IMG_7061-3IMG_7063The girls also started school. Grael is in first grade and Lorelei in preschool.

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September was exciting when our dossier got sent to Haiti. It was finally there! A few month after I planned but once again I was reminded that God is the one in charge of the planning. The first step in Haiti was to be legalized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

October ended on a wonderful note when we found out our dossier had been submitted to IBESR, the government organization that will review it and propose our match. Yipee!

November brought fun with family and a chance to be grateful and thankful for all that God has done this year. Life is certainly not perfect. We have hard days and grumpy days and days that need a reset button. Through it all we have been surrounded by God’s faithfulness and assurance that He will give us chance and chance again and He will never leave our side.

December was full as usual of holiday fun and busyness. We also said goodbye to Ryan’s grandpa Willis. It was meaningful and challenging to see how his life impacted so many people through Water for Life in Haiti. He was the beginning of our love for Haiti and we are so grateful for his legacy! We enjoyed Christmas festivities with our families. Lorelei celebrated her 5th birthday. She is an artist and a dreamer. She told me that when she grows up she wants to be a ballerina, a fire fighter and a mommy. unnamed If you made it through that long post I commend you! 🙂  Thank you for caring about our family and following our journey! I pray for each person reading this that your next year will be blessed beyond measure – not in the things of this world but in the things that are eternal. Happy New Year!

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

I love coffee

Yes, I do!

I love coffee

How ’bout you?

Yes, I just did a cheer for coffee. It is just that awesome. Now it is helping us raise money for our adoption.  We are partnering with Just Love Coffee to give you a chance to buy delicious fair trade coffee and support us at the same time. Just be sure to start your visit through our store front https://justlovecoffee.com/5becomes7 and click on the green “shop and support” button on the left of the screen to see all the awesome varieties they offer. Thanks for shopping!



Out of the “first trimester”

When I got the call in January that we had officially been accepted into AWAA’s Haiti Adoption program I couldn’t stop smiling. I texted Ryan that we had been accepted and said that I felt like I did each time I found out I was pregnant. Side note for a funny story about that. That day his phone split the text and and he saw the “I’m pregnant” part first. he may have had a slight freak out moment before he saw the first text that said “I feel like…” That provided a great laugh later. It was true however that I spent the day smiling and floating around imagining how this paper pregnancy would go.

The first trimester paper chase took much longer than I anticipated. However, a few weeks ago I felt like we finally left the first trimester. Our dossier was submitted to IBESR at the end of October! 🙂 What does that mean? It means that all those documents we collected like sheriff’s letters, background checks, psychologist exams, bank letters, references, birth certificates, medical exams and doctors letters, and home study are in the hands of the Haitian adoption authority. This mean that the next step that we will find out about is referral. It is so exciting to know that we have entered the next waiting stage. Even if the wait is long we will wait expectantly and hopefully with patience as God works behind the scenes.


“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
― Elizabeth Stone

I have read this quote before and thought about how true it was. However, it speaks to me on a whole different level now. I have two children somewhere that I have never seen. I don’t know anything about them and yet they are my heart. When someone asks me about my children I want to include them but sometimes it is to complicated to explain it at the time. As I wait I often sit and wonder, like I did when my bio children were growing in my womb. What will they look like? What will their personalities be? How will their laugh sound and what will they love? But now I also wonder if they are safe, if they are hungry, if they are feeling loved and how our journeys will join. It is an excitement tempered with the sadness of loss that will always be a part of our story together. So, I have learned to let that wondering lead to praying to the Father who can see them even now. I pray for our children, their first families and for their caretakers. I rest in knowing that God loves them even more than I do and that He is working even when I can’t see it.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
 God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:4-6a