Wednesday, November 23, 2011

T-Shirt Fundraiser & We Got a Court Date!!!!!

I got a very exciting call this morning from our caseworker...we have a court date!!!!  December 27th...which means we will arrive in Ethiopia on Christmas Day!  We will meet our precious one on the 26th and appear in court on the 27th!  We are ecstatic!  

Things have moved so fast, and we still have some funds to raise.  (A little more than we thought...if you thought flying to Africa was expensive, try flying to Africa at Christmas.)

We have teamed up with Adoption Bug and Show Hope for our latest fundraiser.  We are selling several different super cute designs to help raise some of the remaining funds.  Just go to our family's page at, and order a shirt.  We decided to include several Show Hope shirts in our fundraiser because they have become an important part of our adoption journey through a very generous grant.

Here are just some of the T-shirt designs.  Please click on over to our site at Adoption Bug, place an order, and help us bring get to Ethiopia this Christmas!

Click here to see the rest of the designs!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Love Coffee!

I know I have some friends out there that are coffee connoisseurs.  Now you can purchase some yummy coffee AND support our adoption at the same time!  Just click the link below and you will be taken to our Just Love Coffee store.  A portion of each sale benefits our adoption fund!


Well, it actually came a couple of weeks ago, but we were waiting to post because some family members were on vacation and we had to share with them first.
I know what you are thinking though...”I thought you still had like another year or more on the wait list?!”  I did we.  We got our referral on August 17th.  Exactly one year since we started the process.  We had been on the wait list for a little over 3 months, and the current average was over 15 months.  To say that we were surprised is the understatement of the century.  Because we were open to medical needs, we knew it was a possible to get a faster referral.  We just weren’t expecting it because everything else about this process has been so much slower than all of the estimates.  
We accepted the referral of a precious 14 month old, and because of the nature of the medical need, we really can’t share any more information at this time.  I wish we could post a picture, but we can’t do that either until the adoption is finalized.  I will just!  I cannot wait to have this precious one in my arms.  
As if we didn’t know already...God has shown that He is still ever in control of this process.  The referral a year ahead of schedule had us a little panicked because we thought we had another year or more to save up for the remainder of the cost.  We had applied back in April for a Show Hope grant and for whatever reason had still not heard back.  We got the letter in the mail yesterday...we got the grant!  I am continually amazed by what He has shown us throughout this process.  I can’t wait to see what else He has in store for our family!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2 Months Down, ?? to Go

Last week we passed the two month mark on the wait list.  Keeping track of the months has become somewhat futile though because the timeline is now so unpredictable.  For now though, we just wait and pray.

I know I have not been posting much.  It has been a rough several months for us, and I don't want to have a depressing blog.  My grandma passed away yesterday.  That's 3 parents/grandparents for us in 4 months.  I just feel kind of numb right now.  I just can't believe I won't be going to visit her again, and that I can't pick up the phone and hear the excitement in her voice when she realizes it's me on other end.  I won't hear my grandpa's stories anymore, or hear him volunteering my grandma to go pick up ice cream. :)  My kids won't get to know their grandpa either.  The oldest two will just have a few memories from the months he was sick.  I am just ready for this season to be over.  It has been too much at once. 

On a brighter note...yesterday was our anniversary.  We have been married 8 years!  We managed to get out for a date night thanks to some sweet friends that kept our kiddos for a few hours.  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

1 Month Down and Some Thoughts on the Wait

Earlier this week marked one month officially on the wait list for our adoption.  As things now seem even more uncertain in the process, I don’t necessarily know if that means we are one month closer, but the month did seem to go by pretty quickly.  (By the way, the pic below is 3 years old, but I couldn't resist posting Ethan's "thumbs up" as our number one.  Was he ever really that little?!?)

I have heard a lot of people talk (and read a lot of blogs) on the subject of waiting when it comes to adoption.  The general consensus seems to be that the entire process will go according to God’s timing and His plan, therefore I should not be praying that the process goes quickly.  
I think I am gonna have to disagree on that one.  
While I 100% believe that God is sovereign and can make this adoption happen at any moment, I do not believe that it is His will that orphans remain without families while there are holdups in the process for whatever reason.  When adoptions slow down in any country, fewer children are united with loving families.  They remain in institutions or without a home altogether.  They may not get the food or medical care they need, and ultimately some of these kids will not survive.  
I was talking to a friend last weekend who runs an orphanage in Africa.  Her orphanage is probably one of the best there is, but as she herself put it, no matter how good of a job they do, “it is still an institution.  It is not a family.” 
I believe that the delays are evidence of the fallen world that we live in.  In a perfect world, children would not have to wait on paperwork to be completed before they can be held by their mother.  (Of course, in a perfect world, there wouldn’t be a need for adoption either as there would be no death, disease, poverty, or any other situation that would lead to a child being without a family.)  The fact is, our world is not as it should it was created to be.  The consequences of sin are evident all around, and this process is no exception.  (By the way, I am in no way blaming any one earthly organization for the delays.  The very reason that added scrutiny is needed is because we live in a world where not everyone is looking out for the best interests of children.  Those involved are trying to determine a way to make sure these kids are kept safe.  Our battle is not against flesh and blood.)
God tells us in his Word that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)  This does not mean that everything that happens will be good, but it does mean that He can bring about good from really crumby situations.  He will use the holdups to bring the specific child He has planned to be in our family.  He will also use those delays to teach us and grow us in ways that we never would have imagined.  He will use the delays to show us more about who He is, but I do not believe that He is the creator of the delays.  After all, “God sets the lonely in families.”  (Psalm 68:6)  
I also do know that at many points in this process, God will steer the decisions of everyone involved, and He can intervene and bring our child home tomorrow.  He sees this entire process from beginning to end, and is watching out for our kids wherever they are...because they are His kids.  He loves them more that we ever will.  My God is sovereign, powerful, and He loves us.  He wants kids to have families.  He wants us to grow in Him.  And he wants to bless us...and I can’t think of a better blessing that the precious kiddos He will put in our lives through this process.
So, I will be praying that this process moves quickly...for us, for the other families that are waiting on their kids, and especially for the sweet children that wait in orphanages around the world for their mommies and daddies to come and get them.  I will be praying that the hindrances to children being placed in loving families are removed.  I will be praying for wisdom and guidance for those who make decisions in all stages of the process.  The lives of children hang in the balance.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Longest Pregnancy Ever!

I just realized that we have officially been in this adoption process for 9 months...meaning if I was pregnant, I would be having a baby right about now.  This may be the longest pregnancy ever.  The thought is making my back ache...and I may need a foot rub.

Friday, May 13, 2011


As of this week, we are officially on the wait list!!!!

I spent the earlier part of this week in Southern California for my grandfather's funeral.  We have had a rough couple of months between the passing of Jonathan's dad and my grandpa so close together, but God has given us little reminders of His goodness on the hardest days.  You may remember that our home study was finalized and we got our Gladney approval on the day Jonathan's dad passed away.  On Tuesday, I left my phone in the car during my grandpa's service.  It was a wonderful service with full military honors in recognition of his combined 41 years in the United States Air Force and California Air National Guard, but it was very hard to get through.  When I got back in the rental car to make the drive from Riverside National Cemetery back to my grandparents' house in Los Angeles, I saw the email from our caseworker letting us know that we were officially on the wait list.  The timing couldn't have been better.

So, everyone keeps asking us the same much longer does this take?  When will you have your child home?  The best answer I can give you is...I have no idea!!  A few months ago, the average wait time for a referral of a healthy infant was 8 or 9 months.  Our agency then had a 3 month hold on referrals, pushing the current wait time to about a year.  Now that they have begun issuing referrals again, the are estimating that the wait time will drop back down to what it was in a few months. There is however a bit of restructuring going on within the Ethiopia government regarding how they process adoption cases.  Depending on how that plays out, there is the potential for more delays.  The other factor that comes into play is that we are open to some special needs, which could shorten our wait depending on what the needs are of the children that come into Gladney's care and what the families ahead of us on the list are open to.  In other words, next month a child may come along that has a need that no one else ahead of us is open to, or Gladney could go 6 months or more without any special needs children coming into their care.  So, our guess is as good as yours when it comes to when we will get our referral.  Please pray for patience and sanity for me.  :)  Regardless of how long this takes though...we are one step closer!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Doubly Awesome Day!

Today marks 5 years since I became a mommy...which means IT'S ETHAN'S BIRTHDAY!!!!  I will have to post pictures of the occasion tomorrow since it is to early in the day.  (I still have presents to wrap and a cake to frost.)
Happy Birthday Ethan!!!!

In other incredibly exciting news...WE GOT OUR CIS APPROVAL TODAY!!!!!!  I have been eagerly checking the mail for the past five weeks waiting for it and wondering if it would even come.  The machine that took my fingerprints didn't like them, so I wasn't sure if I would have to go back to get re-fingerprinted, but apparently I don't have reject fingers!  
So, we have to go get the cover-page for the CIS approval notarized and tomorrow Jonathan is going to take it downtown himself to get it authenticated.  This will complete our dossier, and barring any unforeseen catastrophe, we should be on the waitlist by next week!!!!  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

We had a great Easter yesterday.  Ethan came to "big church" with us and did really well.  We then went home where their Easter baskets awaited.  (We decided to wait until after church to do the bunny stuff.)  Then, after nap time we colored eggs and watched some Veggie Tales DVDs that the bunny brought the kiddos.  It was a great Easter because Ethan is starting to grasp what Easter is all about.  

They sure were cute in all of their Easter outfits too.  I am not looking forward to the day when the boys don't want to be dressed alike anymore.

A little sibling love. :)

Maybe by next year that Easter photo will be a little more crowded.  :)  We are still waiting (im)patiently on our immigration approval, and then we will officially be on the waitlist.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adoption Fundraiser - Buy a Cross, Support our Adoption

In case you are unaware, my mom is super talented when it comes to all things crafty.  (Apparently not a single crafty gene was passed on to me.)  My mom has recently taken up woodworking and is making some amazing stuff!  She has decided to design something specifically to be a fundraiser for our adoption!  (I think she is a little excited about getting another grandbaby.)
She is selling these crosses here on her Etsy site.  They are $10 each, and 100% of the money from these crosses goes directly to our adoption fund!!!  If you see something else you like, be sure to mention "Adoption" and 100% will still go to the adoption fund.  There is some other cool stuff on her site, including the tree she made me for my birthday.
Also, if you live near either my mom or me, you can buy a cross directly from either of us.  She gave me a stash of them to have on hand.  :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011


At least that is what the fingerprint machine kept saying to the lady trying to take my fingerprints today for our USCIS approval.  :(

3 of my 10 fingers are apparently too smooth.  I blame it on the endless diaper changes which result in endless hand-washing.  She kept trying to get a "passing" fingerprint on those fingers but couldn't, so now they send them to the FBI anyway and see if they are good enough to clear.  If not, they will send me a new appointment, and I will have to go back and try again.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Last week was birthday week in the Crispin house.  Caden's and my birthdays are 2 days apart, so we get a few days straight of celebrating.  :)
Caden turned 3, which has got to be the most fun birthday with kids because it is really the first year that they really get that it is their birthday!  Caden was hilarious all day long (as usual!)

Can you tell the kid loves Buzz Lightyear?  He got to pick out the birthday decor.

Ethan is always excited for birthdays too, regardless of whose it is, because it means he gets cake.

And would someone please tell me how it is that my one year old already knows how to do a cheesy fake smile?

This boy really only wanted the icing.

Everyone wanted in on unwrapping the presents.

All in all a good birthday for Caden.  

Caden's birthday was on Thursday.  On Friday, we headed up to my mom's to drop off the kids so we could have a night out for my birthday.  We stayed in a hotel and actually got to sleep in (for the first time in almost 5 years!)  We also ordered room service for breakfast.  I have decided that breakfast in bed in a hotel is the way to go.  That way someone else gets to clean the crumbs out of the sheets.  :)  We then headed back to my mom's where the boys and Grandma had made me this:
Can you tell who colored which letters?  

My mom also made me this for my birthday:
It is an African tree made out of African mahogany.  My mom is getting really good at woodworking.  She just got her second saw and has been making all sorts of cool stuff.  She made Caden three animal puzzles for his birthday.  You should check out her Etsy site here:

We have our USCIS fingerprint appointments on Thursday!  I can't wait.  It is our last step before the waitlist!  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Family Fun...And we got our USCIS fingerprinting appointments!!!

So, I figured it is about time for an update with some pictures.  We are loving the warmer weather and the longer daylight.  We went out for ice cream the other night, and the kids were so funny that I had to get a few pictures.

Caden wanted to push Abbie's stroller.

This is actually a more typical picture of them.  It is hard to get a picture of Caden where he is not a blur.

Ethan made himself very comfortable while eating his ice cream cone.

We also made it out for a fun trip to the park earlier this week.  I completely forgot that it was spring break for all of the big kids in town when I told the kiddos we would head to the park, so we went to a smaller playground next to a splash park (which was still closed) and we had had the place to ourselves!

The boys figuring out how to fly like Buzz Lightyear. :)

Couldn't get Ethan to look up for a picture for anything!

After taking this picture of Caden, I decided he was looking a little too much like a toddler version of a current preteen rockstar, so he got a haircut. He sure is cute though isn't he?

Abbie loves to swing.  

Caden was not happy when it was time to go home. 

And last but not least...look what came in the mail today!!!!
Our appointments are next Thursday!!!  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gladney Approved, One Step Closer??

We received our Gladney approval on Friday, March 4.

I would have posted about this sooner, but it has been a crazy couple of weeks.  When I received the email on my phone, we were sitting at the hospital bedside of my father-in-law, who would walk into the arms of Jesus a few hours later after a battle with cancer.  I am pretty sure that at that point he could still hear what was going on in the room, so I am glad that we got the email when we did.  He asked often how the process was going, so I am glad he got to hear that we were one step closer to bringing home another grandchild to add to his current dozen.  :)

Aside from everything else that happened over the last week, our approval has not brought quite the excitement I was hoping for.  We really don't know if we are any closer to bringing home our kiddo.  With all the unknowns in Ethiopia right now, we just aren't sure what will happen.  We are praying that whatever is going on is just a temporary staffing issue that somewhere along the way something was misconstrued to be more than it is.  I don't know what the outcome will be, but I do know someone who does.  We know that God has led us every step of the way in this process, and we know that he is not going to leave us now to figure out the rest on our own.

Now, we are basically just waiting on our USCIS (immigration) approval, then our dossier will be complete, and we will be on the waitlist.  (We got a very official looking receipt from USCIS and they cashed our check, but we don't have our fingerprint appointments yet.)

The next few weeks should be super busy.  We are going to have another two garage sales (one at our house and one at my mom's)  at the beginning of April to add to our adoption fund.  Next week we will also celebrate Caden's and my birthdays.  That's right, they are 2 days apart.  I brought him home on my birthday. :)  Definitely the best birthday present I have ever gotten.

Please keep praying for us and all the other families that are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.  As stressful as this is for us, I cannot even imagine the emotions of the families that have already seen their child's face or should have been receiving referrals any day.  Please pray that the government agencies in the Ethiopia that are meeting will come up with a system that is best for the orphans of Ethiopia and will give as many of them as possible a chance of growing up in a loving family.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

6 Months Into the Process

Today marks 6 months since we requested our info packet from Gladney and began the adoption process.  Today is also the day we finally got our first draft of our home study back!!!  Because of all the crazy weather, the Gladney offices have been closed on and off, so it took a little longer than usual.  We also finally got BOTH certified copies of our birth certificates in the mail today!  It is funny how we have just been waiting on paperwork to roll in for the last month with nothing happening and now we get 3 things in one day.  Once our home study is finalized, it will be sent off for our immigration approval and we should be done (for a little while at least) with paperwork!

The estimated time on the wait list has increased too, so while I was hoping we would get our referral by Christmas, it really will probably be early next year.  :(  We also upped our age range to 0-18 months because of this.  We originally could only request 0-12 months because of Abbie's age (our agency requires a one year age gap), but since the process is taking a little longer, Abbie may be a little older by the time we get our referral.

We are glad to have the first 6 months of this process behind us.  It really has gone by pretty quickly, and we know that God has control of the entire timeline.  He knows who is supposed to be in our family and when they will be ready and waiting for us, so every delay has a reason (although it is HARD to see that right now!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

FBI Clearances - Take 2!

We got our FBI clearances back again today...complete with appropriate seals and signatures!  Hooray!  I was really surprised that they came back so quickly.  It only took 9 days including sending them there and back.  Now we are just waiting for our homestudy to be finalized so that we can send off for our CIS (immigration) approval.  We are getting closer to the waitlist!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Apparently my excitement over our FBI clearances was premature.  I have to send the forms back to get the raised seal stamped on them. :(  Hopefully that won't take too long.

FBI Clearances!

Our FBI Clearance arrived this morning!  I really like seeing the FedEx truck lately.  We sent off our fingerprint cards on November 23rd, so it took about 8 weeks to get them back.  I was figuring they should come soon because the charge hit my bank account a month ago.  One step closer!!  We almost have everything ready for our dossier!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No Spam Filter can stop us!

After our home study last week, I emailed the dossier assistant that our agency recommends.  I figured I might not hear back from her right away because of New Year's and the long weekend and all, but by this Thursday I still hadn't heard from her.  I called to make sure she had gotten my earlier email and she called back within minutes saying she had emailed me a packet of info last week!  Apparently my spam filter on my email thinks that it is imperative that I know about 50+ singles in my area and cheap Canadian drugs, but something this important surely must be trash!  Ugh!  So, now she is added to my address book and I should now receive all of this important correspondence.  We got our entire packet of info filled in and sent off the first FedEx pack to her the next morning.  Progress!  We are getting closer!

**Update:  It is Monday morning, and I just got my tracking email from FedEx saying that my packet was delivered this morning!  It wasn't supposed to get there until Wednesday afternoon.  Hooray!  This makes up a little bit for the info being lost in my spam folder for a week. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Abbie's First Birthday

I can't believe my baby girl is already a year old!!!  We love our Abbie Lynn!!!

I am thinking that she looks sooo much older all of a sudden.  I was looking today at the boys' pictures from their first birthdays and they just looked younger still.
We had her party at home with just the 5 of us.  It has been such a hectic month that it was nice to celebrate with just us.

Getting ready to eat some hot dogs.  This is our birthday tradition because everybody likes hot dogs!  This means we don't have to worry about anyone not eating and then not being able to have dessert.  Who wants to miss out on cake?

Opening presents.  I think it looks like she is shaking it to see what it is.  

Smash Cake!  She wasn't really sure what to do with it at first, but she figured it out.  

Starting to dig in.  

She really did like the cake.  She may take after her mommy.  ;-)

Right about here is where I was really hoping that it would wash off easily. :)

It really does not feel like a year has already gone by.  It seems like she was just born a few weeks ago.  Maybe it is just because is has been such a busy year.  It does however make me feel like maybe this next year of waiting for our next kiddo to come home may not drag on forever.  

Home Study!

On Thursday after Christmas we had our home study!  I really had myself completely overly worried about it.  I had spent the previous weeks unpacking the last few boxes that were in the house since our move (I know I am super slow at unpacking!)  We had Christmas on Saturday, left town that evening, and then came home on Tuesday afternoon to the mess that we left on Christmas!  We stayed up until 1am cleaning and getting ready.  Apparently there was no reason to do that because she really didn't care too much about the house itself.  I was just really wanting to make sure that I had done everything I could do to get ready.
The caseworker came and spent almost 5 hours with us.  She basically just asked us a lot of open ended questions about our lives, families, parenting style, what we like to do in our free time, etc.  She also discussed some of the issues related to international adoption.
All 3 kids were there the whole time, and I was really hoping that they would play nicely and occupy themselves.  Ha!  I don't know why I thought that would happen.  I had also hoped that she would be able to come during the afternoon so that the kids would be napping for most of it.  Instead the appointment was at 9am.  About an hour into the interview, Caden came into the living room with Legos sticking out of his ears.  I am sure we looked like very attentive parents right about then.  :-P  I think she thought the kids were cute though and never thought that they were being obnoxious.  I guess she is used to this.  :)
Anyway, everything seemed to go really well, and she didn't seem to have any big concerns.  It should take a few more weeks to get our finalized home study back.  Then we just have to finish our dossier!

Christmas Morning

I know I am a little late posting this, but the last week and a half has been super busy.  Here are some pics from Christmas morning.

Ethan was super excited to go see what Santa left for him.  He woke us up early.

Caden is not a morning person, and Santa's coming did not change that.

Abbie had no clue what was going on, but she is pretty much always happy.

Ethan got the Toy Story garbage truck he has been wanting.  He loves everything Toy Story or Lightening McQueen related.

Abbie had fun opening presents, but she would not put her Monkey down the entire time.  She would open a present and then return to playing with Monkey.

Caden got a guitar!  This kid is our musician in making.  Everything he picks up turns into a drum or a guitar.  He basically has not put down his guitar since.

This pretty much sums up Caden's pose for the remainder of the day on Christmas.

Even once he was too tired to keep playing, he laid down with his guitar.