Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pregnant with a 1 year old!!!

It's been about a month, but we did in fact receive, and accept, a referral for a 1 year old boy from Ethiopia!!! You may remember we originally set our age parameters for 2-4 years old. After sitting at the #1 spot on the boy list for nearly 3 months (which is RARE to wait that long for a boy, much less a toddler) we were becoming a little frustrated. I just kept thinking "what is taking so long...what is the deal?" Then one day in church we sang "Unending Love" and there is a line in the song that says "I am humbled by Your majesty" and it hit me like a ton of bricks......I am so ignorant! I should be greatful that He is, and has, hand-picked the child that will fit our family perfectly and that we can connect with and bond with. Then, 3 days later, our agency contacted us about a 1 year old boy that had arrived at the orphanage a month previous. My immediate response was that we really preferred a toddler and then remembered that this is NOT about us and what we want, but what the Lord has for us. So, I explained to our director that we didn't want to accept a referral just b/c we are anxious, but on the other hand didn't want to be close-minded and make a snap decision based on our original parameters and told her we would pray about it, really pray about it and I would let her know. After a LOT of prayer, talking to our social worker, pediatrician and to a few close friends (and I made a pros and cons list, I'm a visual person :) we decided to accept his referral!!! Then we realized we don't even know what he looks like, lol. You have to request photos of children, our agency doesn't just email them out. We can't post pictures of him publically, as he is not ours legally....YET :) But I can assure you he is absolutely beautiful! Sweet BIG brown eyes and his ears stick out a little (like Caleb's do, lol). Our agency, Celebrate Children International, is fantastic about sending pictures and DVDs, as our director goes to Ethiopia 4-5 times per year! So, you guessed it, in the mean time we wait yet again for our court date. On this trip we will meet him and get to spend LOTS of time with him, appear in court and once we pass court he is legally our son :) Then, the tough part, perhaps the TOUGHEST part of this entire process.....we have to leave him there :( Come back to the US and wait some more for our embassy appointment and for the US to issue his visa that will allow us to bring him home. We have also connected with a family in our agency that lives only 20-30 minutes from us and they are adopting a baby girl, around 9 months old and can't wait to meet up with them and hang out!!! There's more to say, but my thoughts are still all running together, ha! Here is the song I was talking about earlier, please listen...it's fantastic!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Orphan Care Isn't Sexy

I saw this on a blog and stole it for a post....

Again-- the following is from Kristen at wearethatfamily.com.

"Orphan Care isn't Sexy"

We live in a high gloss world.
We want beauty. We crave attractive things.
We have cute handbags, pretty paper, and desire gorgeous houses. Our society is consumed with superficial loveliness.
Sex appeal is a hot commodity.
The ugly truth in our pretty world: *attractive people earn more
money and are generally viewed as more successful.
And while God created true beauty, it isn’t found in home decor or luxury cars. It’s not really about perfect figures or chiseled
True beauty is found in the least of these.
But orphan care doesn’t sell. It’s not attractive or appealing.
There’s nothing desirous about poverty so devastating it chokes the very breath out of you. The stench of living without simple resources
makes you want to run. I’ve touched the heads of sick children, living in the streets of Africa’s slum. I shuddered as death rattled with every breath. I only offered them silent tears that fell to the rot beneath my feet.

Poverty isn’t pretty.
It’s forgotten in our world. We pretend there aren’t thousands and thousands and thousands of children dying everyday,
while we shop for an upgraded life. We ignore the forgotten because it makes us uncomfortable.
We forget the orphan because they make us feel ugly.
Not our carefully manicured facade, but the inner self that is deteriorating with selfishness and apathy.
I met orphans- Susan and Vincent and a host of others in the poorest part of the world. I have touched the faces of orphans in our foster care system. Their beauty shined a light on my ugliness. I will
never be the same. Jesus used their plight to change me.
It’s still difficult to stare down the enormous beast of poverty. I question if we can really make a difference, really change the world? But how can we not at least try?
We are excited to join the voices and wrestle out these challenging questions at The Idea Camp focusing on the global orphan crisis
and the church.
Orphan care (foster care, adoption) aren’t sexy, but they are beautiful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our Matching Grant!!!!

18524 Juniper St., Gardner, KS 66030

www.handinhandadopt.org  913-248-5015

June 23, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Jason Sorrell

8083 Stonebrook Pkwy #511

Frisco, TX 75034

Dear Jason & Heather:

We have reviewed your application for a matching grant and are pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a dollar for dollar matching grant up to $7,000. The specific amount received will depend on the amount of funds donated by family and friends on your behalf. The grant amount includes both the funds raised and the funds matched by HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc. If you raise $3,500 from family and friends, HANDinHAND will match those funds for a total grant of $7,000.

All monies will be disbursed directly to your adoption agency, adoption lawyer or other adoption expenses after HANDinHAND has received an approved invoice from one of these sources. Monies already paid will not be reimbursed. Only outstanding balances will be paid by your awarded grant. Monies will be disbursed up to the amount of the final awarded grant. Funds received over the grant amount will go toward your adoption expenses not to exceed the outstanding adoption costs. Funds received over outstanding adoption expenses will help other children find "forever" families through the general fund of HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc.

All donated monies must be in our HANDinHAND office or postmarked by August 12, 2011 to be considered in the dollar for dollar match for your specific grant. Funds received after this time will go toward the general fund of HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc. to continue to help children find "forever" families.

In the case of a disrupted adoption, monies will be held for your use for up to 1 year from the disruption then after that time will be used to help other children and their families through Hand in Hand’s general fund.

We are so excited to be able in a small way to help a child find a "forever" family. Thank you for being obedient to God’s call in your life to help a child. We appreciate your heart and look forward to working with you in accomplishing this goal.


Trudy A. George


HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc.

I'm having trouble uploading the actual letter and then posting it on here so I have just copied and pasted it (if you want a copy of it leave a message here with your email address)...it seems to have something to do with the type of file, idk, I'm not that computer savvy.  Anyhow, WE GOT A GRANT!  HANDinHAND is a christian organization that helps families with the cost of adoption.  We have been awarded a $7000 matching grant!  As we don't have everyone's physical address or email address I thought this would be a great way to tell everyone and ask you to consider supporting us!  Just 2 main things to point out:
       1) all money MUST be postmarked or received by HANDinHAND by August 12
       2) put our name (Jason and Heather Sorrell) on the envelope ONLY
                                 HANDinHAND Christian Adoption, Inc.
                                 Jason and Heather Sorrell
                                 18524 Juniper Street
                                 Gardner, KS 66030-9147

Friday, May 6, 2011

Waiting tastes like vinegar

As I posted earlier all of our paperwork has been completed and received by the appropriate people. I got an email from our agency monday morning saying they got everything. However, our program director is in Ethiopia right now so I have not received that elusive email stating what number we are :( I feel like we are probably #2, possibly 3 or 4 if someone else that wants a toddler boy got their papers in before us, but I just NEED a number! When you are pregnant you have a number, 9 months, and you'll get to see that sweet face and hold them and kiss them and hug them. In 9 months, you can start teaching them and letting them know that they matter. Is a number going to help the waiting be less difficult......perhaps briefly. But, then there will be more waiting. Waiting for our referral, waiting to be submitted to court, waiting to receive our court date, waiting to travel for court, then perhaps the worst waiting.....waiting for our second and final trip to bring him home. When you go for your first trip (court date that makes him legally ours) you have to leave them behind! I don't even want to think about that right now. Moving on. So, in the midst of all of this waiting we are finishing our adoption homework, which involves a lot of reading.....obviously. And learning tips on how to care for his beautiful skin and hair, which has been really fun and interesting! I was reminded at bible study the other day of Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God". That is what has gotten me through this week of waiting.....that tastes much like vinegar :)

and this....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Completed, authenticated, photocopied, and FedEx-ed!!!

Whew! Our dossier is completed, authenticated (more about that below), photocopied, and now FedExed. The original dossier has been sent to a courier service in D.C. owned by adoptive parents who will personally take it to the U.S. State Dept to be further authenticated and then will hand deliver it to the Ethiopian Embassy in D.C. Basically all of this authentication is how the U.S. guarantees the Ethiopian government everything we have said is true! 2 sets of photocopies went to our agency so we can go on the official list waiting for a referral (which by the way, I was told that there is only 1 other family waiting for a toddler boy). Soooooo, that means if nothing has changed we could be #2 on the list! (butterflies!!!) Which means we could see his sweet face and learn tons about him in the very near future!!! (grin)

Now, about the authentication done here in Texas:
I had to drive to Austin (state capital) to get the Great Seal of the Great State of Texas. We could have mailed it in, but it would have taken 2 weeks to process and receive. It took 10 minutes in the office. Along the way I had an "Amazing Race" experience of my own. Caleb (almost 5) went with me and was PHENOMINAL the entire trip!!! Bless his heart he thought we were going to pick brother up :)
First, GPS says it was a 3 hour 49 minute trip....I made it in 3 hours and 13 minutes b/c I left super late and was freaking out that I wasn't going to make it on time. I left town at 1:15. I left our apartment at 12:15. Had to stop at Walgreens to pick up 4 photos we had to include our dossier. Then, I had to stop at the bank and get the notary there to add her sworn statement to the document the bank provided for us. Then, I had to go to Kinko's to make 4 sets of photocopies. Which BTW, took FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who would have guessed the Kinko's has the slowest copy machines on the planet???! I make photocopies for Caroline's teacher every week and the school's copier blows Kinko's out of the water! Anyhow, finally got on the road at 1:15. I'm already freaking out b/c of the time table GPS is telling me. Set the cruise on 78ish and roll out! Great trip there, no problems. But, I'm coming into Austin at 4:00. The office closes at 4:30. It is located in downtown Austin, near UT, but thankfully is not far from I35. Anybody who has driven in Austin knows why I am freaking. So, starting around 4:10 I notice traffic at the exits is not looking good. I'm only 8 miles, but it seems forever! Caleb was watching a movie, we both had to pee and I just started repeating OVER AND OVER (literally!!) until I got there "Lord, please make a smooth, straight path so I can get there in time". OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER....until I get there at 4:27, park in the only open space DIRECTLY in front of the building where the State Dept is located. Sign in, run to the office (we still have not peed!) and walk in at 4:28!!!!!! I was so excited I almost let Caleb pee in the hallway (not really, but he asked :). So  he and I danced and hopped around so he wouldn't have an accident (or me) and we left the office at 4:36, AUTHENTICATED! And then we went potty :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Our homestudy is finalized, approved, and in hand!!!  We are approved for a boy 2-6 years old.  We originally were thinking 2-4 years old, but it is advised that you get approved for a wider age range just in case.  Our initial plan was for a toddler, but I have been reminded lately (through a bible sutdy at church about Jonah) that our plan is not always His plan.  We are not on the official list yet, but it should be soon and very soon.  We faxed our dossier to our agency for approval before sending it off to be authenticated.  All of our papers in our dossier had to be notarized individually, and authenticating is when we send it to the capital of Texas to notarize (authenticate) that those notaries are actually notaries.  This is one reason why people call the dossier the "paper chase".  After it is authenticated we will send it to D.C. to be translated and something else, I just can't remember right now.

In the mean time, we will be sending off our i600a application to USCIS.  This is to get permission from the U.S. government to adopt a child from another country and bring them here.  Shortly after sending in the i600a we will go get FBI fingerprints and then a few weeks later receive our approval in the form of an i-171h.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's been a while, and a lot has happened!

Well, it has certainly been a while since I have been at this computer...but a lot has happened!  First, and foremost, there has been A LOT of drama going on in the world of Ethiopian adoptions. I'll do my best to explain it: last year Ethiopia began requiring that families make 2 trips, instead of 1; requiring that the family be present for the court date. Towards the end of 2010, families (not all, but most) began failing court. MOWA, which is basically the Ethiopian equivalent to social services, must submit a letter of acceptance/approval of you as adoptive parents...without the letter, you fail court and must be resubmitted until the letter is present and you pass. MOWA, in the past, has been submitting 50-60 letters per day. Recently they had fallen WAY behind on writing the letters and had fallen under scrutiny saying they don't pay enough attention to each adoption case (as one agency has had its license pulled for bribing) and made a decision to only submit 5 letters per day! FIVE, really???!!!! Thankfully, the Lord used a few organizations to bring light to this would be disaster! With 4.7 million orphans, I cannot imagine what would happen to the children in Ethiopia. Some orphanages had even slowed down in accepting new children for fear they would not have room or food for them. The announcement of the reduction of letters being processed has been overturned! MOWA officials and higher up employees have been changed. My understanding is there is NO cap on how many letters they will write per day and they have assigned MOWA with lots of help to get this done. They even gave them until yesterday to submit ALL missing letters, which some estimate to be 300-500. I know of families that have been submitted to court 3 times since January and have yet to pass. In this recent drama (as it could be a precursor to a country being closed) our agency has started a new "pilot" program in another country in Africa.  (they aren't saying yet where, but I'm thinking DR Congo). This whole time we have had an unexplainable peace about sticking with Ethiopia. We have no desire to change countries and would only do so IF the Ethiopia program was closed before we were able to bring our son home. This topic has been the buzz on our agency group page and this is what I posted:
           Sun Stand Still. This is a book I am about to read. It's about the story of
Joshua and his battle against the 5 Amorite kings and their armies. After being
asked to help, Joshua and his army marched all night to surprise them. After an
all day battle Joshua and his army were winning. With nightfall coming on Joshua
feared the enemy would be able to retreat, regroup, and restrengthen. So, he
asked God to make the sun stand still. Joshua 10:13 "So the sun stood still, and
the moon stopped....The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going
down about a full day." The book is about not only asking God to do things
(supernatural things), but really actually believing He can do them. We aren't
even on the list yet. We are just now finishing our HS, hope to have the report
Monday.  But we just have a peace about staying with ET. I have hesitated to
 say that before in fear of sounding foolish, or worse making God look foolish.
 So, surely, if my God can make the sun stand still; if He can feed 5000 with only
 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish; if He can raise from the dead 3 days after
 death.....He can overcome 5 letters per day.

I wanted to share, not to glorify myself like I never worry and am perfect, but to brag on my God! He can, and did, overcome 5 letters per day. He loves orphans and is not going to allow missing letters to interfere with His plans! Could He have done it before now, when things were looking so bleek? Of course. But He also could have come to this world as a powerful, mighty king, but instead came as a newborn baby. Could he have rode into town on a beautiful horse, but instead chose a mere donkey. His ways are always higher and better than ours...I think so all can know and have no doubt it has come from Him.  I read this excerpt about a week before the MOWA letter fiasco was settled: 1 Kings 18:32-39 
it was summed up in the margin like this "He soaks the wood with water before setting it afire so all will know it came from Him".

Second big happening: Jason and I almost committed to a super cute 6 year old little boy on our agency's WCL (waiting child list). We had seen him on there for a few months and found ourselves going back often to "check" on him. At church we are doing a bible study on Jonah and learning that our plans certainly are not always His plans, so we began praying about committing to this little boy. We spoke to our social worker and got some great advise from her and decided to pray about it while we were on vacation with the kids and would contact our agency when we got back. While I was at the airport getting ready to come home I emailed our director and asked for more info on him and what her thoughts were about us considering him. She then told me a family had just committed to him 2 days before! How exciting!!!  Not only for him, but to experience answer to prayer! All week my prayer was the same "Lord, keep him on our hearts and let it be a match or let him be gone to another family". I wasn't trying to tell God what to do, but we had been so torn about this decision, we needed a definite "sign" (even though I don't like that word I can't think of another) about what His will was for us.

Please continue to pray for us! We will being applying for grants soon and doing more fundraising, as the bulk of the cost is around the corner.  We've paid for everything up until now, and made our first payment to our agency, but will still owe them around $4000. And, when you accept your referral you have to pay the first half of the country fee, which will be around $4500 for half. We hope to be on "the list" by the end of next week and are told the wait should not be long for a toddler boy. Can't wait to have a name and face to go with what's in our head and hearts!!!