Thursday, August 30, 2012

SHONA - Crafts from the Congo

Hey friends! Lindsay here, from the Give1Save1 Caribbean site. I asked Beth if I could write a guest post about an amazing organization of which I was recently made aware. She happily obliged.
My husband and I have been in process to adopt from Congo for over a year now.  Although we have yet to travel to DRC, we've fallen in  love the beautiful country and the people. It's really exciting when we hear of organizations in Congo that promote real change in the lives of the Congolese. That is exactly the mission of SHONA - Crafts from the Congo.

SHONA - Crafts from the Congo

SHONA is a small, grass-roots organization dedicated to empowering handicapped people in Congo, primarily women. We have no outside funding and no paid staff.

Mapendo, Riziki, Dawn, Solange, Argentine
SHONA was started by an American, Dawn (pictured above), who after living in Goma, Congo for 3 years was overwhelmed by the level of poverty there.
After listening to the strong desire for reliable and dignified work, she bought a sewing machine, and worked with a few neighbors to discover whether it would be possible to sew simple bags and sell them in the US. SHONA started with those few seeds, but quickly became a small group of talented young women, who live with physical disabilities but also with incredible joy and determination.

When you visit the SHONA online store you will see quality crafts made in Goma, Congo. Not only are the products beautiful, but 100% of estimated profits go directly to the disabled artisans who create them. How cool to know that the cute doll or skirt you purchase is providing opportunities for real change in the lives of those who created those products.
And if that's not enough to inspire you to check out SHONA, just take a look at a couple of very satisfied (and very cute) customers!
Adorable Andrew in his Dashiki
It's serious work being this cute

     Sweet  Tshala wearing her Dashiki on DRC Independence day this year

And just recently available for pre-order is this adorable Solange mini-doll. Part of the purchase will be used to help a Congolese woman, Solange care for the 5 young children who have recently come to live in her home.  Their father, a close and beloved relative of Solange, was just killed and they have no other means of support.
The Solange mini doll is now available for pre-order
                          Check out the SHONA online store to see all the amazing products.
Be sure to like SHONA Congo on Facebook as well.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jude's Room

Hey guys,

Just thought I'd share some pics of Jude's room. I am not a fan of theme in kids' rooms. But you would never know that seeing this room because I'm afraid I may have gone over the top with the whole African animal vibe! :)

The rocking chair was a resale store find, and the birds I picked up in Ethiopia, but here are the links for everything else.


And here's an update for you. There's no update. There was word that we might be submitted to Embassy today, but it doesn't look like that will be the case. Most of our group will be submitted next Wednesday. We might be sooner (we have a medical expedite), but maybe not. So we're sort of thinking next Wednesday. Boo. He's outgrowing his clothes before he even gets home. On the plus side, I'll probably get to buy him a whole new wardrobe when he gets here.

Another update regarding his health: his main diagnosis is brain atrophy. And he's a got a few other little things, like his muscles are sort of like wet noodles. This week we had a neurologist review his MRI and said that we should be prepared for lifelong debilitations, and that his brain damage was 'extensive and significant'. Not what a mom likes to hear. So be praying for my boy and for his brain. Because the God of the Universe is taking care of him and he can heal this. And pray for our strength and courage as we prepare for a special needs baby and all that is involved with that. And pray that we are submitted to Embassy soon because I'm not sure how much more I can take knowing he needs so much and that he's so far away!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Help Me Please!!!

Hey guys! So guess what?! Wednesday is the day that my agency submits to Embassy, and there's a really good chance we're in that pile. Hoping so! And here's what that means for me. I've lost my mind. We are preparing for the next trip. Preparing for the homecoming. Still painting and selling tshirts to pay back that beast of a loan. Getting back into the swing of the school year. I've lost my mind. I can't complete sentences and I surely can't complete simple tasks, and I'm having a hard time coming up with blog posts and the time to search for awesome stuff to share with you.

So here's what I'm begging for. I'd love to line up some guest posts from you guys! Anything related to adoption, Africa, attachment, parenting, fundraising, shopping that helps someone out, etc. You know what we do around here. So if you have something you'd like to write about, now is the time. Shoot me an email at b.cupitt@yahoo(dot)com. I'll also need a few pics to share as well as your blog. Help a girl out. We want to keep up the fundraising for our families of the week while I space out!

I love you all!!!

PS. Update on the shirts. I'm almost out of mediums. Totally didn't expect to sell out of pre-orders! The shirts come in on Friday and I'm shipping out on Saturday, so look for them next week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

New Week, New Family

Good morning, guys! It's our first day back to school and it's utter chaos this morning! How about you? Did you guys go back today or have you already been back?

Let's unwind with a new family of the week, shall we? This week we are supporting Debbie Shingle, who found herself ready to start over when her adult children left the nest. Since then, she has adopted two little boys and now is in the final stages of bringing home two more little girls. Her daughter, Kathy, has been so sweet to get her mom nominated for Give1 and keep me updated on the process. Here's a little note she wrote you guys:

Our family can't thank the Give1Save1 family enough for choosing us as a feature family.  We covet your prayers, and value and appreciate every donation that is made to our family this week!  We are excited to share that the adoption has advanced since the video was made.  The wait now is just for Embassy dates for travel! In addition, we were blessed with updated photos of the girls (taken just this week!) and just had to share with you as you become a part of our journey!!!

While we are amazed and overwhelmed with how beautiful the girls are, we are also struggling with the reality of the life they are living.  The picture below (not for the squeemish) is of our sweet B's feet. Both girls are affected by jiggers with severe infections for both of them.  Would you join us in praying for a speedy homecoming so the girls feet issues can be addressed.  In the meantime, we also appreciate your prayers for their comfort and for no impairment to their ability to walk.

So, guys, you know the drill. Let's really bless this mama and her family. And let's remember to specifically pray for healing in B's feet. 

***So far Debbie has received $0 towards the girls' adoption***

Friday, August 24, 2012

Freezer Food for Sanity Saving

Good morning, y'all! So my little guy is going to be here soon. Like, it's about to get really real. In a few weeks three littles will be here. And Will is starting school on Monday. And when Jude gets here, he's likely to have physical therapy multiple times a week. What's all this come down to? Getting it together NOW! All moms should do this from time to time. Ladies, I'm talking freezer meals.

Lately I've been trying to revamp our family's eating habits. Researching and trying to be sneaky. Let me tell ya, they are not to be fooled. Organic, whole wheat mac and cheese - not happening. Whole wheat bagels - um, no. The three year old spit it out. Low fat? Nope. Even Rachel Ray is too gourmet. What's up with that?! Anyway, in the end I just caved and bought the Taste of Home freezer mini cookbook at the checkout line yesterday. I don't know if Taste of Home is strictly southern, so let me share if you're not familiar. Taste of Home recipes can be counted on to be eaten by all because they are delicious fat bombs with zero sophistication. Think ground beef plus cheese plus onions. It's good stuff. And I'm thinking that the family has made major concessions lately with the traveling and changes. The least I can do is feed them food they'll eat. At least for a while. The best part is that I can do this all ahead of time. I've bought a boat load of meat on sale yesterday and made my list of cheeses and disposable casserole pans and I'll be cooking next week. I'll have about a week or two with one kid while Will's in school and Jude's not here. This is my plan to prepare and stay busy. But with school starting it's a great idea for anyone. Sports and music and all that jazz are starting too.

So do you have any great make-ahead meals for us? I'm gonna need a pinboard for this...

PS. Our family of the week, the Dinsmores, have brought in $3,417 so far!!! You guys are amazing! If you donated, don't forget to throw your name into the comment section of this post to win one of new awesome tshirts! You still have all weekend too. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

AWAA's New Kenya Program

Hey hey everybody! Today is sort of two part. Part One is me bragging about my agency. Part two is about a new program they just opened up, just in case you're interested.

Part One - America World is Stinkin' Awesome
So when I started the whole adoption 'research' phase, I had no idea where to start. I googled like a responsible citizen. But I never really trust stuff I see on the internet. For me, it's gotta be personal. I need to know someone and trust someone who used a particular fill-in-the-blank and liked it. So that meant, for me, some good old blog hoppin'. Real people and their real stories. But I still had no idea what was what. So I kid you not... this is what I did... I followed some blogs for a while and started to see who was going where. The person that took time to talk to me and tell me about their agency was Jenn from Pure and Lasting. She was using AWAA and told me why, and she sold me. That's how I made my super-official, life-changing decision. Blog stalking. But here's why I can now recommend them to you if you are in the agency shopping phase:

  • They are known for their position on ethical adoptions. Welcome to the adoption community! Everyone's nice here! That's sort of what I thought at first. Not the case. If you spend any amount of time online researching adoptions and getting into the world of orphans, you'll end up having your horrifying rude awakening moment. Because people are being taken advantage of. Children are 'put up for adoption' when there's no way they could ever be adopted. Parents are lied to and told that their children will be returned to them. Desperate parents are discouraged and told that there is no way they could raise their kids and that they are better off somewhere else. People are bribed. It's disturbing stuff, but when large amounts of money are changing hands, there are some bad people that come into play. And sometimes they pretend to be good. And sometimes they don't know. It's a very vulnerable and delicate system. But America World is known for preceding with caution. Here's the catch: you may wait longer for your referral than some smaller agencies do, or some unethical agencies do. That's because AW makes sure that when you get your referral, no birth mom is coming back. No child will disappear. They make sure that this is a true orphan and you can rest with a clear conscience knowing that you're providing a home for a child that really needs one, not a child that never should have been an orphan. 
  • They are known for being professional. Let me tell you, they are seriously so professional it's annoying. I tried to wrestle little glimmers of hope and timelines and this and that out of our family coordinator (hey Lauren!), but she's uncrackable! At the time it's very annoying because your waiting to hear some little shred of something you can cling on to (like you're next in line, or referrals are coming faster than usual, or 'man, there sure is an overabundance of adorable 3 year old girls at the transition home') but no you will not hear that. BUT I can appreciate that they protect us from our own unrealistic hopes and keep us from being mislead. And in one sentence she would say something darling like "I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but I'll be praying for you." 
  • Oh, yeah, they are also a Christian agency.
  • Their transition home is amazing. The children are attached to their nannies. The facility is nice. The children are so well taken care of. The doctor would not rest until they found out what was going on with Jude. She was fantastic. The children are clearly well loved and celebrated. Jude has made so many strides since coming to them that the doctor said she had no explanation for his improvement. That his cells must have been touched by God. But it's clear that they have been working with him extensively, getting him therapy, individual attention, and putting some weight on.
So anyway, that's just my experience with my own agency. I love them. And I never intended for my blog to be a platform for an agency, but I've rethought that. Because it was someone else's referral that made me pick them. I was going to a totally shady agency (that eventually was shut down) with nothing but the best of intentions, when Jenn gave me such a positive review, so maybe I can do the same for you if you're in the early stages. Full support, people! So if you feel like you might be leaning in that direction, let me point you to a new Africa program...

Part Two -  How 'Bout Kenya?
So, there are so many Africa options that are open now! We've seen Ethiopia and DRC, but now I'm seeing alot of Zambia and Uganda, and even an upcoming family adopting from Madagascar! Well, AWAA has just opened up their Kenya program. The basics start out the same. Paper chase, then wait for the referral (maybe 2 months, probably 3-6 months). Then about 2 months after referral you head to Kenya, where you stay for 6-12 months.

Once you have accepted your referral, you wait for various approvals associated with the Hague adoption process involving the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Then AW begins preparing you for travel, the third and final phase of your adoption process. Families normally leave for Kenya approximately 2-6 months after they receive a referral and stay in Kenya for 6-12 months. While in Kenya, the first 3 months is a mandated bonding period where a social worker will visit the family who has temporary guardianship over their adopted child. The social worker submits reports to the court and the family works with the Adoption Society and an adoption lawyer to receive the various court appointments and approvals to finalize the adoption. During a family’s stay in Kenya, they will have the chance to be connected with local Kenyans, American missionaries, and experience the rich culture of Kenya during the course of their stay.

That sounds so cool to me! I know not everyone can do this, but some can. And it's just another option for you. Saving up and taking a leave of absence or working from abroad are options. I just love the idea. Families also stay together in an apartment with other adoptive families, so there's a snuggly little community going on. Plus you have the added (amazing) benefit of bonding with your child in their own cultural environment, which I have heard makes transitioning home so much easier. If you have any more questions head on over to the Kenya home page, and click contact us at the top. See ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Need a Reason to Shop?

I love a good reason to shop, don't you? Here's a few reasons.

See these gorgeous necklaces? Don't you love them. You can have a word stamped onto a vintage key as a keepsake or reminder. I just adore them. And the money supports the adoption of two little guys in Africa. If you want to know more about that, head over to this lovely blog. It's one of those gems.

Speaking of gems, this next mama is certainly a bright, shiny one. I could squeeze Jenny Marrs. And she just opened her Etsy shop full of cuteness. Another awesome blog there, too.

And if you're a Noonday fan (ME!), good news. No, it's not the new lookbook coming out soon. That's a different post for a different day (can't wait). Stephanie Nunes, one of our past give1 mamas, is having a sample sale. 20-30% off some of her pieces. That's going down Sunday evening on her blog. I'll be stalking. 

Have fun shopping and supporting other adoptions. Speaking of supporting adoptions, we broke our first thousand of the week for the Dinsmores yesterday. We're kicking off the day with $1,044! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Updates Galore!!!

How about some updates for ya?! Yes, let's see what's going on in the world of some of our past families...

Last weeks' family, the Camerons closed out the week with a total of $1,705. Nice work, y'all! This week's family, the Dinsmores are up to $1044!

The Hapners are on their way to pick up Moses!

The Krohns (left, below) brought Nahome home, and became Isaiah's parents. The Vermes (below right) passed court with Maya and are waiting for Embassy clearance.

And the Tenges, too. 

And the Braniffs brought home Noah! Check out this slideshow if you feel like happy crying this morning. 

So that, my friends, is what your dollar bills are up to. That feels good, doesn't it?! Look at all those smiles. You're a part of something big and awesome. If you'd like to give to this weeks' family, then here ya go...

See ya tomorrow!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Week, New Family

Hey guys, happy Monday!!! Ready to do our Monday thing?! Let's do it.

This week we'll be blessing the Dinsmore family. Mom, Lara, has a little adoption blog you may have heard of... The Farmers Wife Tells All. If you're not already following that one (I'm sure you are), head over to follow the whole story as it unfolds. Lara's even been sweet enough to do a wonderful guest post early this year for us (check it out if you missed it). Last year the Dinsmores adopted Ambrose from Uganda, and now they are headed back to adopt a sweet 8 year old girl named Mary. Here's that story:

And here's a word from Mom: 
We are a family of five; a mom and dad, five year old "twin" boys and
a two year old girl. Our younger 5 year old, Ambrose, came to us
through African adoption last year and has been such a joy to our
family ever since. We are so grateful to call him our son. Through his
adoption we have come to know the redemption God offers in such a very
real way.

After completing our first adoption, we knew our family was not done
expanding. Our children were eager for us to adopt again and even
asked for an older sibling. Each night they would include this special
request in their prayers; that God would let us bring home a "big
brother or sister." Just a couple of months ago, we learned about an 8
year old little girl waiting for her family in our son's country. What
struck us first about her was her name, Mary. You see, we had always
hoped to name one of our daughters Mary. The more we learned about her
story, we knew she would be our daughter! We are now prayerfully
anticipating her arrival.

Let's see what we can do to help out this week! Donate your dollar (or more, whatever you feel led to do) by clicking that orange DONATE button up there. All donations are tax deductible through that link to Mary's Project Hopeful account. 

***So far you guys have blessed the Dinsmores with $418!***

And how about a GIVEAWAY?! Leave me a comment after you donate and you'll be entered to win one of our new Tshirts! If you already paid you'll get a refund or an additional tee! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

OK, OK, I hear ya!!!

I have heard your cry for T-shirts! It's happening! I've placed the order for a bunch of these cute shirts. I have a shirt like this and I love it. Let me tell you a little about it. This one is charcoal gray. It's very feminine, but not super snug. It's kind of drapey, flowy. Perfect for wearing with jeans, a thin tank underneath, and some fall boots. That's how I'll be wearing mine anyway. I'm featuring the give1 logo and that's it. I was going for simplicity on this one.

They are pretty true to size, but like I said, drapey, so it sort of depends how you want to wear it. I adore mine, but I will say that they are a tad low cut when you bend over and stuff like that, so I wear mine in layers with a tank underneath. To help you figure sizes, I'm broadcasting myself in all my glory. I'm a size 8 and a medium usually, and I own the medium in this one. I am going for a large this time though, because I like really loose tees with my skinny jeans during the fall and I'm pretending like it's about to be fall.

I am selling them for $25 shipped through this Storenvy site. Just for transparency, I'll let you know that all the money goes straight to our bank account. Believe me, I'm super tired of fundraising, but the awesome new website (hint: click on 'back to the map' over there at the top of your sidebar. there's a starbucks giveaway on the asia blog today) is insanely awesome and I paid for all of the sites and logos and splash page and all that myself. We don't advertise and we don't get paid in any way, and I've recently dropped some serious dough on our adoption and all the new sites and I'm in the red. So the t-shirts are just a way to recoup some of that. Not high pressure at all though. I promise to not blow up Facebook with sales pitches 5x a day everyday! They are in production right now and I'm guessing they'll be headed your way in about 2 weeks. I'm super looking forward to it!!!

And on a somewhat different topic, check out the pics Wynne took while we were in Ethiopia!

Could you just eat him up?! One week and two days in the worst wait yet, and I can almost smell him. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vain Girls Guide to Ethiopia

I got the amazing privledge of meeting Beth (creator of this lovely
site!) this week in Ethiopia and she told me we needed to write a
“vain girls guide to ethiopia” and she’s right! I have been nervous to
post but after 5+ weeks of being in Ethiopia (waiting for embassy!)
and visiting with and photographing numerous adoptive families - I
thought this was a subject I could tackle.

So the time has come!  You have waited, completed paperwork, home
studies, fingerprints, fundraised, waited some more - and now it’s
finally time to head to Ethiopia to meet your child(ren)!  It’s such
an exciting time and I know there is much on your mind - so let me
share a few little tips for your African travel.

There are a few things that I never leave home without.  Wipes (not
just for the babies!), gum and coffee.  Granted Ethiopia has pretty
amazing coffee, still - VIA packs from Starbucks are high on the list.
I blogged (here) all about my must have travel list.  But I thought
I’d do a special edition for all of your adoptive mommas out there.  I
wish I could say I had it all together when we left for our court trip
but I had 33 hours to prepare, so there were a few things I left at
home I wish I hadn’t.  Now, we all know the plane ride is terribly
long - so you’ll want to be comfortable.  A good neck pillow is a
must, along with good eye cover thingy (you know!) - for sleeping, and
don’t forget your ear phones.  I always pack an extra pair of clothes
in my carry on just in case our bags are lost.  And I carry a zip lock
with mini facewash (or face wipes), toothpaste & toothbrush, deodorant
and a little bit of makeup.  That way when I “go to sleep” I do my
night time routine & same when I wake up.  It makes me feel like a
normal human being.  As far as what to pack for your time in country -
bring things that you know you look good in & are comfortable in (hey!
there will be pictures!).  You don’t have to be all missionary-ish.
Right now in Ethiopia it’s chilly & rains every day - so jeans, close
toe shoes!, and a cardigan and light rain jacket are perfect.  I do
always have to accesorize (noonday anyone?) and attempt to fix my
hair.  Make sure you bring converters for your hair dryer & styling
tool of choice.  I wish I had my tan steve madden boots to wear here if you have some cute tall boots that you want to rock in
Ethiopia & you have room...bring em!  Now, court!  I really don’t
think they could care less what you wear, but most adoptive families
like to wear their Sunday best to court.  I wore leggings & a dress
and my husband wore khaki pants and a polo.  So go in your man’s
closest and pick out your favorite shirt & pack it for him :)

As far as what you should bring for your child(ren) it totally depends
on the age.  My babies are 5 & 6 months old so I brought a few cute
outfits (I changed them into them for family photos!), blankets to
leave with them in their crib (that I had slept with - so they smelt
like me), a book to read with them, and two little lovies.  When my
husband comes back for embassy he’ll bring our baby carriers, outfits
for plane home, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper bag, little toys, etc
- but this trip we really didn’t bring that much.  Because everything
you give them now will be most likely stay with the transition
home/orphanage - so I didn’t want to bring anything too special that I
knew wasn’t going to be going home with them.  Something else you
might want to bring (that I didn’t get to do!) is pictures to leave
with them.  I’ve seen people do the really cute soft picture albums
(from target baby section) that they leave - or pictures to tape above
their beds.  A friend this week brought a ink stamp & card stock to
stamp their babies hands and feet - so sweet!  For older kids,
bringing little things to do together is good - bubbles, soccer ball,
stickers, any sort of little toy/ball that they can play with (I saw
someone had a cute blow up globe ball they got at Hobby Lobby).  And
like most kids you know, they too know how to swipe your iphone/ipod -
so having pictures of family or video to show them is really fun also.
I have seen a few friends (with toddler and older kids) bring a
special necklace they bought just for them & they presented it to
them.  Such a sweet moment between parents & child. You might also
want to check with your agency about the foster home/orphanages needs
- and if you have room or can pack an extra bag, they would be really
blessed from donations you bring that they specifically need.

A few other things not to forget to pack: snacks to keep in your purse
(for long days at transition home), kleenex, chapstick, hand
sanitizer, sleeping aid, any medication you have, dry shampoo (in case
the water goes out) and your camera.

You are going to be great.  Be confident, excited and at peace.  The
moment you meet your child, you will forget about all the craziness in
packing to go to a foreign country.  You will fall in love!  While you
are in Ethiopia, be sure to go for coffee at Kaldis, shop for
traditional outfits, bring home some Tamoca coffee, have a fun night
out at the traditional resturant,  and fall in love with the people of

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zambian Adoption Q&A

One of our long time readers, Laura, sent in a super informative Q&A about Zambian adoption. I love that there are so many options out there, and that each bit of Africa offers something different. Thank you, Laura! If you want to follow her blog as it progresses, check it out here.

Currently, it is very difficult to adopt a younger child (less than three years of age). However, if you are open to an older child or special needs than it may be OK, but still with its challenges. The adoption system is currently being revamped with a recent change in government, as of September 2012.

Basic Requirements:

You may be married or single to adopt. Single women may adopt either gender. Single men may only adopt boys.

You must be at least 25 years of age. If married, one of the spouses must be over 25 years of age.

You must be at least 21 years of age older than the child you intend to adopt. If married, one of the spouses must be at least 21 years older than the child intended to be adopted.

There is a "mandatory" 3 month fostering period. However, this may be waived by the High Court Magistrate for certain cases (special needs, etc.). 

Currently, there are no US agencies working with the Zambian government so everything is independently done. The Zambian government is currently piloting adoption programs with Canada and Sweden. 

Approximate cost of adoption from Zambia:

Airfare - $2000 round trip for 1 adult, and $1200 for one way child

Government fees - $10 for committal order fee, may be asked to provide cell phone time or transportation for social workers

Lawyer (recommended, not required) - $1500

Lodging, Accomodation, and Transportation for 3 months - $4500

Approximate Total: $9200 

1) Application to Zambian government through the Ministry of Social Welfare to apply for the identification of a orphaned child

- This is done at the National Social Welfare office. An American homestudy and USCIC immigration pre-approval is very helpful (and I would recommend) but isn't necessarily required.

(This process took approximately 1 month of time for us and wasn't difficult. We were easily approved based on our American homestudy and letters we provided to SW. Other Americans I have known to adopt have also been easily approved.)

2) Zambian Social Welfare identifies a child that is available for adoption

- This is done at the District Social Welfare Office by the Social Welfare Officer (Lusaka is very busy and I know that families seem to be having an easier time outside of Lusaka)

- Babies are not usually available. If a young child is desired, the age range is usually 0-3 years.

- Being open to an older child (greater than 5 years) and/or one with Special Needs makes you MUCH MORE likely to have a child identified

(One child was identified for us but the relatives chose to care for the child. No other children were identified over the period of 9 months. We self-identified our son as being available for adoption through our time volunteering at the orphanage. The Zambian Government has piloted adoption programs with Sweden and Canada and I don't know of any children that have been identified for American families by the Zam Gov't in the last 9 months.)

3) An assessment report is done by the Zambian Social Welfare Officer to assess capability of parents and housing situation

4) Committal order is done through the court which gives the child into your custody

(Because our son had special needs, our committal order was done 10 days after he was identified as available for adoption - extremely fast for Zambia!)

5) "Officially" Apply for Adoption through Social Welfare office which gives you the  "Effective Date of Notice" letter which starts the "mandatory" 3 month fostering period. This is a letter from the National Social Welfare Office which states the date upon which the fostering-to-adopt period officially starts.

- Requires another assesment by the Zambian Social Worker

(Done for us about 1 month after our committal order - should be done as soon as possible after the committal order)

6) Apply for Court

- Typically done after the "mandatory" 3 month fostering period - may be waived for special needs 

- Lawyer is recommended but not required

- Case will be presented before a magistrate at the High Court

7) USCIS approval 

8) Apply for Zambian birth certificate, adoption decree, and passport

9) Come home! :)

Additional Resources:

Facebook group: "Adopting from Zambia"

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Week, New Family

Hey guys,

I think I'm back in the swing of things! I'm ready to get a new family live!!!

This is the Cameron family. They are stinkin' adorable and have a really cute video. :)

Here's a word from Mama:

 On July 4th we accepted a referral for a beautiful 21 month old boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Our dossier has been sent to the Congo and we are awaiting a court date for Kai.  We are very very excited to bring him home.  He has four older brothers ages 6, 4, and 2 years old who are just as eager to have their brother home and they are already planning on teaching him how to ride a bike, skateboard, and surf.  We were able to fund Kai's full adoption expenses through our savings, fundraisers, and a loan.  What we do need now is to fundraise for our travel and airfare expenses so we can bring Kai home.  We are currently planning on traveling in December to meet our precious son.

You ready to bless this family and this little guy, Kai? Me too. Donate here and tell your friends. 

***So far the Camerons have raised $1605 towards their travel expenses!!!! That's almost a plane ticket, y'all! ***

Friday, August 10, 2012

We're Home. Round One.

While I'm anxiously awaiting the post entitled 'We're home. Round Two', today is not that post. But we're almost there. So we've had a baby this week. Would you like to meet him? You've waited long enough!

This is Judah Tegegn Cupitt. We call him Jude.

Obviously he has the most amazing eyelashes I've ever seen. Those are real. And his mouth is adorable. He's just too cute for words. I'm thinking his hair has some serious 'fro potential, which I'm stoked about. (Chrissy, I actually took Babycakes to an orphanage. Yes, I did. I am that person. And you were right, the mint is the best. I'm totally going to have to order again!)

The trip was amazing. There is so much about adoption that is just so different, but it was so neat. We made lifelong buddies with our suite mates. We are so antisocial I thought having suite mates would be torture, but guess what? They are too! So we totally hit it off.

I got to meet so many people that I only knew online. Wynne came out and took our pics. We were hanging with the Vermes and the Krohns and even bumped into Jenna. Worlds collide.

Ok, ready for my favorite things about Africa?

  • man snuggling: it's so funny and it just never got old for me. The guys there hold hands, put their arms around each other when they're walking around, and there was even some gentle caressing. I was dying. You can tell me it's cultural, you can tell me to grow up, but I can't do it. It's just so funny! If my husband tried that on his best friend in Texas...
  • donkeys! What's my damage with donkeys? I have no idea! But the traffic in Addis is insane!!! And who gets the right of way? Whoever was there first? Um... no. Pedestrians? Yeah, right. Good luck. Nope, donkeys can maneuver and tear up the roads. Again, never got old. And I never got a decent picture! There was this painting that I wanted so bad with this donkey and all these blue VW vans in the background. (Hint hint, honey. For next time. You read me?
  • doro wot: this is confusing. They write in Amharic, which you can't read, right? Then they spell it out in English. But it's written Doro Wot. But if you say 'doro wot' they act like you're an alien. So, instead, say 'doro wet' and it'll all be ok. Why don't they just write 'wet' if they want you to say it like that? I don't know. 
  • I really loved the weather. Right now it's their rainy season and it's like Texas winter. I totally didn't get how cold it would be. A cardigan is not enough. But boots are a good thing. All the ladies there are wearing skinny jeans, fashion boots, tshirts, and scarves. Did you see that post Kelly did yesterday on the FashionABLE scarves? Yeah, you'll need one of those. 
Worst thing about Ethiopia: public humiliation by way of dancing and (I seriously kid you not) piggyback ride in front of like 300 people. I almost broke a skinny man. Chubby white girls worst nightmare! It really doesn't get worse than that. Can you seriously think of anything worse than wearing a cape and a hijab and riding on the back of a tiny Ethiopian man through a crowd of hundreds? I dare you to think of something. So though I may have enjoyed Ethiopia, I'm thoroughly convinced that Ethiopia hates me. (PS. If you are one of the many people with video footage of this tragic event, please oh please, never let me see it. Or my good friend, Destiny. I'll never hear the end of it as it is.

So that's the recap. I can't wait to bring this little man home. It's still quite surreal that he's ours. Anyhoo, have a good weekend. Don't forget to donate to the Phillips before their week runs out. I'm off to do it. I love you guys. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scarves ARE fashionable!

I tend to wear a lot of scarves. There isn't another accessory that allows me to dress us the same white t-shirt (or grey...I'm versatile, you know) day after day while having a different look. This is especially true when I'm in Ethiopia and the good news is, scarves are easily accessible to buy in Ethiopia. The bad news is that my scarf addition can't be fueled, then, when I'm here in the States. I'm always surprised at how much scarves seem to cost and of course I would prefer to support fair trade companies, but I'm trying to save for an adoption, too. That typically leaves me in a dilemma.

Until I came across fashionABLE. I don't remember how I stumbled on them, but they sell scarves made by Ethiopia artisans that are so beautiful and versatile. As with many fair trade companies, they have a great business model that they call a Transformative Cycle. You should hop over and see for yourself what I mean.

I have my eye on these gems right now.

Which do you like? Are you a scarf-wearer like me?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ideas for Caring for the Orphan

Good morning Give1 family! I was thinking this morning about all of you who read this blog. Chances are you have a heart for the orphan and disadvantaged, taking James 1:27 to heart, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” but I am assuming not all of you can adopt in your current life stage. I thought I would share a few different ways you can get involved in helping the very people James was talking about.

Sponsor a child – child sponsorship works out to a little over a dollar a day and can drastically change a child’s life (and that of their family as well), you get the benefit of receiving letters from them throughout the  year and often the possibility of visiting them if you want. Plus, there are some Christian organizations that are committed to sharing the Gospel with the children in their programs (side note: just because an organization says they’re a Christian organization doesn’t mean they’re spreading the Gospel). Some great organizations are: Compassion/Compassion Canada, Children’s Hope Chest, and Gospel for Asia.

Foster a child – every state/province that I’ve ever heard fostering stats from has always had a great need for foster parents, and you usually get to choose your range of acceptance as well as if you want to provide emergency, short-term or long-term care.

Volunteer at church – many churches (especially those in inner-cities) have programs for the children in the area. Some of the children may be orphaned, fostered, or possibly just from troubled homes and would love some positive, stable adults in their life.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters – another good way to volunteer with children who need a mentor in their life (you can usually just Google Big Brothers and your city name and you’ll be directed to the website for your area).

There are so many other ideas . . . help out or organize a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in your area, volunteer at a local shelter, check out to see if local schools need help with before and after school programs, volunteer to baby-sit for a family who has just adopted, the possibilities are endless.

Do you have any ideas for caring for the orphan and disadvantaged? I would love to hear them!