Saturday, December 19, 2009

Birth Certificate complete! But, still waiting for a travel date

We got Ashebir's birth certificate earlier this week, but due to the continued backlog at the Embassy we won't have the Passport and Visa for Ashebir until the final Medical Exam is done that the US Gov't Requires.  At this point it still looks like a February travel time...

The following is the response from our agency regarding the travel date details as of now -

Hi Pete,

There are a few more steps that have to be completed in Ethiopia before we could give you a tentative travel date. The Embassy medical exam is the final step. As soon as we have an update about Ashebir’s medical exam, I’ll let you know. Then we’ll be much closer to planning for specific dates.

The Embassy appointments are currently only twice a month and we have many families already scheduled for the January appointments. We work closely with the Embassy to try to get additional appointments when needed, but we can only appeal for those appointments once a child has passed through the medical exam process.

We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I talked with our case

I talked with our case worker yesterday and she said some delays @ Ethiopian Govt office- could delay Birth Cert.& travel date

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ashebir's big sisters are excited!

Ashebir's excited big sisters are having a hard time getting to bed tonight!

"small" miracles... and next steps

First, I'll put out the next steps to bring Ashebir home...and I'll share a bit about the "small miracles of today's approval - 

NOTE:  For those that plan to join me in this Ethiopian Adventure, we will not have a confirmed travel date for possibly 6-8 weeks - but it looks like a POSSIBLE February or March travel time.
Feel free to contact me with any additional questions

As you are aware, Ashebir's paperwork as of today, has been processed through court. 

This week, the court will draft a letter to the Ethiopian Minisistry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) -Since all Ethiopian Adoptions are managed by them after the legal proceedings are complete.  That letter communicates the court's approval to proceed with the Ashebir's adoption.

When MOWA recieves that letter from the Court, (in about a week or so) MOWA will review the information to verify it, and send a letter to CHSFS (our agency) to proceed with the adoption to OUR specific family. 

That letter (could take another 1-2 weeks) will provide CHSFS the authorization needed to apply for Ashebir's "Zipf Birth Certificate", and begin the process for the US Embassy to approve the Birth Cert to create Ashebir's passport and visa. Before the Birth Cert is issued however, a final medical exam is required by the US Embassy.  This is to ensure adopted children are healthy before they enter the US. 

Therefore, we will not get a travel date until after the Birth Cert is confirmed.  NOTE: Occiasionally the Medical Exam takes a little longer, and until the final Medical Exam is confirmed by the Embassy, we will not be able to enter the US.  It's not likely, but it's possible that last minit travel plans would need to be adjusted if the medical exam results aren't complete in time. 

At this point, we are still estimating a Feb or March travel time.  We are looking forward to how this Expedition could change many lives! 
For those of you not already aware, we are beginning to put together the remaining details to coordinate this adoption adventure with a "Vision Trip" - to meet up with a few mission and development organizations to investigate where we can invest long term to do our part to help end the causes and effects of poverty in Ethiopia. 

We'll be in Ethiopia for two weeks total.  The second week our time will primarily be finishing the remaining details to bring Ashebir home, but the first week our team will be spending with 3 organizations that share the heart we do for Ethiopia, and are making an increidible difference in hundreds of families there.  For part of a day, we'll visit the children at the care center and offices of AHOPE for Children in down town Addis.  We'll be bringing medical supplies with us that our church is collecting from now until the end of December.  Another partial day will be spend visiting the CURE International Hospital and learning about their work as well.

The majority of our first week will be traveling and spending time with Food For the Hungry to an area where our church may begin investing in, to work in cooperation with a local church there.  While there, we will learn about potential projects we may partner with FH and the church to assist in areas of need including, but not limited to: Leadership development, "brick and mortar" projects, micro-business, teaching Bible to children, agricultural development, health and wellness teaching, and other projects depending on the needs of that given community. 

To sum up, we're still about 6 weeks from a Birth certificate and travel date, but stay tuned...

Finally, for those of you that pray, here are a few things to consider in your time alone with God in the days and weeks ahead...

1.  We've recently learned that some of the delay these last few weeks was partly attributed to locating Ashebir's Uncle, then confirming his ID, and getting an official statement from him.  So, he was in court today and his testimony and documents were a major part of the court's approval.  The details that came together for this part of the process was miraculous.

2.  We are so incredibly thankful for all the staff at CHSFS and their tireless efforts to protect and provide for some of the most helpless children of the world - they have done and are doing a great job, especially considering that so much is beyond their control when they are depending on other governments processes.

3.  There are several families waiting - just like us -due to the backlog at the US Embassy created by the necessary Gov't organizations involved and paperwork they are processing

4.  This week (12/1-12/8) Staff from the US Office of CHSFS are traveling to Ethiopia to meet with the  Embassy officials to ask alloting more appointments to process additional children per month - this will open up the "backlog" for us, and many other waiting children heading to loving families!  We expect these meetings to take place Wed, Thur or Friday.

5.  We're putting together the plans now to coordinate this trip - there are still many variables - but we are excited about who has already committed to going, and look forward to the rest of "the team" that God is assembling.

The adventure continues.

still relentless...

officially a Zipf

Ashebir's paperwork was officially approved earlier today (Dec. 1) in Addis Ababa Court.  Ashebir's Uncle was recently located and was asked to appear to confirm the details of the Adoption.  I will post more information as I am able, but today's Court hearing was a "small" miracle.  Stay tuned for more pictures and details...



meet Ashebir Zipf! his court hearing went through just hours ago - more details soon!

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Just testing a new feature i found out about - TK & i having breakfast & reading The Word together this morning. Hope he doesn't spill his cereal again :-)

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Giving Thanks

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family – We trust you did too.

Ashebir’s court date is scheduled for Tuesday…



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Steps in the process...

After the court date, these are the next steps...

1. When the decision is granted, the written court order is drafted and is usually issued within a week

2. Once the court order is issued, a letter of support is requested and received from the MOWA office

3. Once the MOWA letter is received, the birth certificate is issued-this usually takes about two weeks

4. When the birth certificate is issued, CHSFS will receive a scanned copy of it and will verify that the information is correct.

5. CHSFS will advise Ethiopia staff that the birth certificate information is correct and they will proceed to obtain the child’s Ethiopian passport, Embassy medical exam and will prepare the final paperwork to submit to the Embassy.

6. Once CHSFS receives verification that the child has completed the visa medical exam and that the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has all of the documentation that they need for your case, we will advise your family of a travel date – you will receive approximately 4-6 weeks advance notice before you must arrive in country.

preparation...for something big.

To bring you up-to-speed – you may know by now that the Court Hearing for Ashebir’s adoption did not take place as expected on Friday Nov. 20. So, the Ethiopian Court has rescheduled the hearing again. This time to Dec. 1st.

Ashebir’s aunt still was not able to show up for the hearing, and at this time we don’t know why. Amy and I had a good talk with our Adoption coordinator on Friday after we learned of the rescheduled date. Our agency has been great in this process, and trying their best to get more information from the Ethiopian Government – but they are also at the mercy of their process and decisions.

The questions below are what we’ve asked our Adoption Coordinator to answer for us, hopefully within the next few days.

1. How long would CSHFS allow the postponements before concluding the timeline is indefinite and adoption is not likely to be completed?

2. Is there anything that can be done, especially for Ashebir?

3. What is the longest we’ve seen a case like this go on? What is the longest a family has waited from referral to placement?

4. What type of previous court process occurred to make Ashebir eligible for adoption and why are these things holding up the process now?

We will let you know as soon as we know more. Until then, we would appreciate your prayer especially for Ashebir’s aunt because we don’t know her condition, and why she was not able to attend the hearing on Friday. We would also appreciate your prayer for us through this process as well – patience, grace, understanding, and TRUST that God has Ashebir and this situation completely in His care. We would also appreciate your prayer specifically for Ashebir as he’s been waiting now since early July. He has received some gifts from us including a small picture album and some small toys – so he’s beginning to “know” us. I don’t know exactly what’s going through his young mind and heart, but we are trusting that God is preparing him to be an integral part of our family. Who knows, maybe this is some extra time God is using to assemble the team He wants to bring to Ethiopia to be a part of something big.

If you have any other questions, we’ll be happy to answer them as best we can, but we’ll provide additional updates as we get them!



1Thes. 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

join the rescue mission

Thursdays are my day off. I get to hang out with Tariku, do some housework, read, and try to relax a bit.

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning listening to Crazy Love by Francis Chan writing some email on my laptop while Tariku was playing in the dish water. After a few minutes TK came over to sit on my lap and wanted to watch me... but that always means pressing buttons - so I successfully redirected his attention to a small fold-able book lamp. So as he sat with me, all of his concentration was on that little movable light and I continued typing. After a few minutes, he laid his head on my arm still sorta playing with the light... and then fell asleep. I let him sleep there for a while. I didn't want to bring him to his bed - too cool of a moment.
... but I did eventually get up and lay him in his crib.

It got me wondering about Ashebir though. Currently Ethiopia is 8hours ahead of us here in the EST zone. So he's hopefully sleeping soundly now too, but I wonder what goes on in his little mind these days. I wonder how aware he is of his situation. The detailed social report we got a couple days ago reveals a lot about how he's developing and interacting with the wonderful care providers, and his young friends. The report says that he's a strong willed and very healthy kid - but I wonder how he'll adjust to our family and life here. I wonder how he'll connect with his new sisters and with TK.

I'm just thinking about my son on the other side of the world - wondering how much he knows he's loved. I would do anything for him. Just like I would do anything for my three kids that are here now. That leads me to this thought... regardless of how much HE knows he's loved, and how much HE knows he needs to be embedded into a loving family... it doesn't change the truth - He is loved, and he needs to be an intimate part of a loving family.

Regardless if he KNOWS he's "desperate" at some level- it doesn't change the fact that he is- and that I would give my own life to overcome any obstacle on his behalf.... (Don't misunderstand me here, Ashebir is in excellent care... but he wasn't created to live in an orphanage. He needs a rescue, and I wonder if he grasps that.)

I'm a sucker for rescue stories... I'm always at the edge of my seat watching a rescue - whether it's a movie or on the news.
I think it's because there's always sacrifice of something big in a rescue mission...

One of my favorite stories of a rescue mission is in Donald Miller's book Blue Like Jazz... I think it's on pg. 33-34... Miller writes:

A long time ago I went to a concert with my friend Rebecca. Rebecca can sing better than anybody I’ve ever heard sing. I heard this folksinger was coming to town, and I thought she might like to see him because she was a singer too. The tickets were twenty bucks, which is a lot to pay if you’re not on a date. Between songs, though, he told a story that helped me resolve some things about God. The story was about his friend who is a Navy SEAL. He told it like it was true, so I guess it was true, although it could have been a lie.
The folksinger said his friend was performing a covert operation, freeing hostages from a building in some dark part of the world. His friend’s team flew in by helicopter, made their way to the compound and stormed into the room where the hostages had been imprisoned for months. The room, the folksinger said, was filthy and dark. The hostages were curled up in a corner, terrified. When the SEALs entered the room they heard the gasps of the hostages. They stood at the door and called to the prisoners, telling them they were Americans. The SEALs asked the hostages to follow them, but the hostages wouldn’t. They sat there on the floor and hid their eyes in fear. They were not of healthy mind and didn’t believe their rescuers were really Americans.
The SEALs stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn’t possibly carry everybody out. One of the SEALs, the folksinger’s friend, got an idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them. None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there for a little while until some of the hostages started to look at him, finally meeting his eyes. The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us? he said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go. The story ends with all the hostages safe on an American aircraft carrier.

We all need to be rescued... regardless if we think we do or not.

I'll leave you with this... When we're rescued, what should our response be?
To leave with a handshake into a "life as ordinary/average?"...or something else?
... c'mon, are YOU compelled by ordinary and average?

Were you rescued? Do you live like it?

For those of us that have been rescued, we must position our life in such a way to do whatever it takes - to help rescue others.

Monday, November 2, 2009 a child with a strong personality

Go figure...would you have guessed that Ashebir would have any other type of personality.

That info, came in a detailed report of Ashebir. He's doing awesome. I can't share a lot of detail here now, but I will share more when he's through court. As of now, his court date has been moved back to Nov. 20th. We don't know the status of the lady who is connected to him - she is the one that needs to attend court on his behalf - but please continue to keep her in prayer. We don't know what her health condition is right now, but she had - or still has malaria. We are disappointed that it is delayed more now, but we know that his loving and nurtureing care providers are lovingly caring for him, and ultimately, we know Who's hands he's in.

I fly home tomorrow morning from Brussels... I'll arrive back home around 9p EST. more soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nov 2

Ashebir's court date has been rescheduled for Nov. 2nd. We won't likely know anything further until then. We're praying for Ashebir's aunt... we don't know her condition now, but hope she returns to full health for her own family too.

As far as the Ethiopian partnerships are concerned, I heard back from Compassion the other day. They were very encouraging and look forward to investigating further opportunities in the future, but they are working with the first 30 Churches so far. This information helps tremendously as it further refines our vision. I will be placing more time and emphasis in initial work with Food For the Hungry, Ethiopia. They've got a great history, and an awesome strategy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What we do in life, echoes in eternity

To bring you up to speed…

On Monday morning this week we got a call from our Agency that a court date had been scheduled for Ashebir in Ethiopia on Wednesday this week (that would be attended by our CHSFS Rep and another woman with a connection to Ashebir)

We didn’t broadcast this because we knew it might get changed at the last minute…It did.

We got word on Tuesday that the woman connected to Ashebir was ill (malaria actually) and would not be able to attend. So his court date was scheduled for Nov. 2nd.

We are in close communication with our Agency, but we don’t expect to hear anything until much closer to the court date.

For those of you still seriously considering joining me on this adventure, get your things in order. Do not delay. We’ve got “a hill” to conquer.

Get your passport secured (must have at least 6 months before expiration date, when you arrive in Ethiopia), your immunizations taken care of and get ready to launch. I am beginning to secure accommodations – so your plans need to take some shape.

I have set up tentative plans to meet with Food for The Hungry and CURE International. I am still waiting to finalize details to connect with the C2C Program that is a partnership program with Compassion International and Willow Creek Association. These meetings and travel plans will incur some additional costs (ie. Travling with a Food for the Hungry Rep into the Ethiopian “outback” to visit on-site ministry opportunities) I will have details of those costs in the next week or so.

I will be in contact as I have more information.

Until that time, get ready. Pray, Plan, Prepare, and Pray some more.

What we do in life, echoes in eternity,


Below, is a list of consecutive steps that need to be completed before we are able to travel. Based on the information we have, we still estimate a Dec/Jan travel time – but now MORE LIKELY it will be in January.

We receive a family’s child acceptance. – Done Mon. 8/10/09

We notify our staff in Ethiopia to proceed forward. – week of 8/10/09

The staff in Ethiopia prepares a family’s documents for submission to the registrar. – Aug/Sep 09

The family’s documents are submitted to the Registrar – Aug/Sep 09

The Registrar logs the documents in and awaits assignments of court dates by judges – Aug/Sep 09

A date for a hearing is given (we are here- now scheduled for Nov. 2, 2009) – Oct. 21, 09

At the hearing, the judge reviews the case and either advises his/her decision or requests additional information

Decision is made or new court date is scheduled

When the decision is granted, the written court order is drafted and is usually issued within a week

Once the court order is issued, a letter of support is requested and received from the MOWA office

Once the MOWA letter is received, the birth certificate is issued-this usually takes about two weeks

When the birth certificate is issued, CHSFS will receive a scanned copy of it and will verify that the information is correct.

CHSFS will advise Ethiopia staff that the birth certificate information is correct and they will proceed to obtain the child’s Ethiopian passport, Embassy medical exam and will prepare the final paperwork to submit to the Embassy.

Once CHSFS receives verification that the child has completed the visa medical exam and that the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has all of the documentation that they need for your case, we will advise your family of a travel date – you will receive approximately 4-6 weeks advance notice before you must arrive in country.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

court date... almost.

I got a call yesterday from our Agency Rep and she said that Ashebir's court date was scheduled for Wednesday - this week!

Yeah... that's what I thought. You've gotta be kidding!

I know that these dates often shift - even with a "sure thing" like this - so as our agent and I talked some more, she agreed that it was possible for the date to shift, but at that point to plan on Ashebir's process to be expedited.

Now.... today Tuesday 10/20
We received communication today, that the lady who brought Ashebir to the care center is ill.
She is the one who would be required to be in court to finalize the separation papers and because she is ill, she cannot attend this week.
Please pray with us for her health - and for the details to be worked out.

At this point, we still anticipate a December or January travel time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ashebir Update

We just got a new pic of Ashebir today! He's doing awesome! We'll post them as soon as he gets through court...
He's progressing really well - he's now about 25lbs and 31" - Funny, that's the identical dimentions of TK right now. It'll be cool to see how he develops when he comes home. TK grew like crazy when he came home.

more to come...

Monday, September 21, 2009

belgium will help us get to Addis

I'm in Belgium this week doing some P/T work with a friend from church. It is a blessing to do this contract work that will help us financially toward bringing home Ashebir.
We should hear something from Ethiopia by the Middle of October about a Court Date.


Friday, September 18, 2009

two calls away...

We're two calls away from a travel date now gang.
The courts are closed till Oct 1.

The next call we'll get will be for a Court Date that will put through Ashebir's paperwork.
Often, because it's the government... those dates change sometimes.

My guess is that the Ethiopian Courts will be backlogged when they reopen the first of October so I think we should get some kind of info by the second week of October. No one from our agency has made any commitments either way - they don't make guesses which is good I guess - so we might get a call earlier, or later depending on "the system."

The second call we'll get will be "Ok, he's through court, come get him." or something like that.

We THINK we'll be traveling Dec or Jan, but it could be before or after that.

So... we wait...

I must admit, I'm more anxious to go get Ashebir to get him home than I was with TK. The last trip, we were all going together, and I guess I didn't know exactly what to expect so I wasn't as anxious... This time, man... I'm ready to go get our little boy today!

Not because he's NOT being loved and extremely well cared for. He is. The nannies and nurses at the care center are TREMENDOUS! We couldn't be more thankful for their care, but I know now what an incredible joy it will be to bring our little boy home.

I'm also psyched because of what this trip could mean long term...
Not just for our family - that's a given - but for other families too.
This time, Amy and the girls aren't going with me.

I've specifically asked a few other close friends to join me on this trip.
The goal is to go for about two weeks total. The second week will be dedicated to the final paperwork, embassy visit to bring home Ashebir. However, the first week will be dedicated to traveling around Addis, and other parts of Ethiopia investigating opportunities where we could invest long term. I don't know exactly what that will look like yet, but I'm in the process now of looking into different non-profits and NGO's to visit and to meet with to see how we as Hope Church, or just individual families could begin to invest in for years to come.

If there is any reader here that has a connection to an organization in Ethiopia that we could talk about. Post your info here, or email me.

Anticipating "The Call" ;)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer ends big.

If you didn't know already we moved. ... yes Again.
The first week of September we returned from Vacation, the girls started school and we finished moving our stuff from our 2nd Fl apt to our new place, we've settled in since then and we love it.

A few months ago, Amy learned about a home near us in Middletown that would become available to rent either Aug or Sept. When Amy told me about it initially, I was very skeptical...why? Because it was across the street. How rediculous would it be to move ACROSS THE STREET?!

But then she gave me the details..
Roughly the same amount of space, but FIRST floor (we're now on the second fl), Closet space and storage space (our previous apt had almost none). Also has a yard for the kids and a deck (neither of which we have now) to top it off it's less rent per month as well. So it was a no-brainer.

So, we confirmed the apartment with the new landlords, and gave notice to our current landlords and finalized the Sept 1st transition.
Only one problem...

We had booked our family vacation to Camp Spofford, NH 6 months ago - for the 3rd Week in August. Just in case that flew by you, it takes a while to pack up all your stuff and move. Trust me... this is the 7th move since we've been married (and I think it was 11 moves our family had in the first 18 years of my life and honestly that's why I wasn't really excited about moving again - that is before I knew of the new amenities.)

It worked out pretty well though because the new landlords allowed us to begin moving in our stuff the second week in August.

We arrived home from Family Vacation on Saturday 8/28 and attended a back to school bash for the girls elementary school. (which, by the way was an awesome event put on by a couple churches in our area. partnered with another local church and they did a fantastic job!)

That said, we had a busy afternoon and evening.

Oh... did I mention that Amy just started Nursing School? Yeah... she did.
Since we scheduled our vacation 8mos ago, we didn't know then that as a result of her registering for classes we learned that she would have her first week of classes... DURING our vacation.
Good thing we spent our vacation only a couple hours from home, so Amy was gone only about a day and a half of our vacation week as she began her pre-req courses the last week of August : Statistics, Chemistry and Lab, and Anatomy and Physiology and Lab.

She's doing ok.. she's taken a few quizzes so far and is pretty happy with them.
The program is actually an accellerated one that will give her a BSN degree from CT Southern Univ. If all goes as planned, she'll be accepted into that program and be able to finish the complete program in two years.

Therefore, I've taken a hiatus from my Master's program at Bethel Seminary so she can complete her nursing degree. We'll see what happens after that.

more on the adventure soon...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

whatever it takes to get fingerprinted!

So, the only hurdle left to jump for our i600 paperwork (US Immigration) was our fingerprints. Yep. We had to get our fingerprints done again. Correct me if I'm wrong folks but I believe the reason why we get our kids finger printed when they're young, is if in case God forbid something ever happens to them and the police need to ID them... they use their fingerprints. No matter what age they are. So, help me understand why they can't just load up our fingerprints that are already on every thinkable database in the US Gov't right now from all the background security checks we had to do when we were in the middle of bringing TK home. Not to mention all the paperwork I had to do for military clearances when I was in the Army National Guard. Good grief. Anyhow, we're at their mercy... so we do as they ask.

The appointments that we were sent were scheduled originally during our family vacation. So when Amy attempted to reschedule there's only one little checkbox at the bottom of the schedule form to confirm your appointment, or to request another date and time. So we did that. When we got the second letter back for a fingerprint appointment ... the US Gov't efficiency shows up again! They scheduled it for the following day! ARGHH!!! So, I decided to just drive up to Hartford to see if they'd let me in to plead my case.

So last Tuesday I arrived as soon as they opened the door, talked to the officer in charge and they gave us an appointment at 11am that day.

I went back to get Amy - our wonderful neighbors watched Cutie and TK for us - and we got our fingerprints done. woot! Seems like all we're waiting for now is a court date.

you'll know when we do...

Monday, August 17, 2009

another adventure!

Recent timeline...
Monday July 27 0630 - Amy and I learned that there were some children that had just recently arrived at the CHSFS care center in Ethiopia, so Amy contacted our agency to learn more information about the children - specifically about the little boys that had recently arrived there.
Same Day... 0930 - Our agency responded and let us know that there may be a family that the little boys were connected with already...but would confirm later.
Through that week: Amy and I chatted about the possibility of the adoption happening sooner than expected, but I was quite skeptical because I thought the boys that were there were probably matched already, and that we shouldn't expect a referral until at least winter this year...besides I was pretty consumed with getting things taken care of for our trip to SoulFest 09 ( since we were leaving that next morning.
We returned from SoulFest on Sunday evening 8/2 about 1800
That night (Sun 8/2 @ 2100)- Amy inquired (via email)about the little boys we'd asked about earlier that week. We knew that these little boys had some medical issues, but as we talked a lot about it, and prayed through it, we felt like God would lead us where He wanted us to go. So we waited to hear back...

Monday 8/3 1830 - We received word from our agency that some families are still considering the little boys in question...(honestly I was kinda breathing a little bit of a sigh of relief, because I had NO idea how we would come up with the 9000.00 to accept the referral if we got one this early)... but what do I know. ;) Our agency said they would contact us when there was more info....

Details are a little fuzzy the next couple days... (you'll understand why in a minute)... I think it was Wed (8/5) in the afternoon sometime that Amy called and said that we have the opportunity to review two little boys that would fit our family. Both have some medical issues, but nothing we thought was worth denying based on what we we were given verbal information about two little boys and asked if we would like to review their information and if so... which one would we like to learn about first.

... what a gut wrenching dilemma... so many things running through my heart and mind. Could we take proper care of them with what we have to offer? information is hard to process like that without all the details first... Hard to make a decision like that without knowing and seeing more... I was trying to process what was written on paper, and if it was as potentially difficult as it sounded or not? Could we say "no" to the referral after we saw the story of the little boy we would choose - and then review the next one? Sure, but what were we willing to say "yes" to? What were we going to say "no" to? ... We did a lot of talking and praying then... There were a ton of unknowns to process - but "the river doesn't part until you put you foot in the water first"...

We talked and prayed about that off and on the better part of that day and the following day (Thurs Aug 6) When I arrived home Thursday night we talked more and by 2300 or so decided to- as best as we were able - to “remove from the decision” the stuff we couldn’t control, and make our decision based on both boys being completely healthy. So, we contacted agency to request to review the file of the three year old little boy.
Friday morning 8/7 0900 – We received the pdf file and Amy said she wouldn’t be able to go the whole day without reading it, and I didn’t know if I would be able to review it in detail because of a conference I’d was attending that day…so she wanted me to open the file first. I read his story, saw his picture and began to weep
That morning we were able to schedule an appointment with our Doctor to review his blood work that was included in his referral information. Off and on that day Amy and I discussed the concerns we had about some of the medical issues, but we felt confident based on the Doctor’s review that we could make a wise decision.
Saturday 1000 – We met with our Doctor and gave us some difficult news…. There was nothing in the medical details that would give him any reason to deny confirming his referral, but there was always the unknown stuff that could possibly have long term ramifications.. but no one would be able to tell that for sure. At that point, we were still in a bit of a quandary but felt even stronger that this was our little boy… but we … at least I … didn’t feel quite prepared to handle this now.
Funny thing about how God works… often times I am impatient that God didn’t move quick enough, or when I wanted Him to… this time, I’m wrestling because apparently he’s answering faster than expected. I guess I still have to remember who’s really in control.
So, we talked about him all day Saturday and honestly by Saturday night all we could do was kinda veg out on the “food channel” …
We had a little more peace about it on Sunday morning and were getting more excited about the possibilities and we shared our story/dilemma with a few friends.
I was having a hard time trying to figure out how we’d swing this financially, especially now that our home is empty again and the mortgage company still needs a monthly check… hmmm…
We decided to accept his referral verbally and start working hard to arrange some way to creatively come up with the funds to start the next formal stage of the process… so we looked around the house for stuff to sell… there wasn’t much of anything we aren’t willing to sell these days….
- Sidebar: if your child was sick, or needed something and all you had was your stuff… what would you be willing to sell to get your kid healthy? Yep… we thought of everything.
We’ve got some stuff up on ebay right now too ;)
So… in the last week, some substantial miracles have taken place and God has provided what we need so far.
We received the formal acceptance information and mailed it with our check and a few other checks from friends, family and some children of kids who wanted to help and heard about the need… to rescue our little boy.
From the deepest part of us… we do not have adequate words to describe our appreciation for all of you that stepped up in HUGE ways to help us in this process… we’ve still got some details to work out.. (US Immigration paperwork, and the courts are not in session in Sept in Ethiopia so the soonest that the paperwork could go through the Ethiopian courts would be Mid to late October… then when to travel.. and expenses surrounding that etc…
So we’d appreciate your prayer for the remaining details…
PS… When I read his record for the first time I learned his name means… “to stir up”. When I read that I thought - this is no accident.

….I’ll try to keep this current
To be continued!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Zipf Kids bringin in the Summer09

what a ride!

A few weeks ago, I got one of the greatest compliments I've ever heard, one of the teens we work with told Amy, "I think Tariku's starting to look like Pete!"

I'm not sure how that works, but Tariku’s definitely one of us...we cannot think of life with out him. Our family has become so much more with him – He’s added another dimension to our lives. I can’t fully explain it, but it seems we understand God’s compassion, grace and desire for our lives a little more clearly now because of Tariku and his story. His life has affected ours in more ways that we ever knew possible.

It’s kind of ironic too… his name actually means “his story” … Because of that we felt like it was too important not to keep his given name. His story has affected us forever. We’ve tried to come up with an appropriate nickname, but nothing’s confirmed yet. I've started calling him TK once in a while, but we'll see if that sticks or not. Amy's not convinced yet. ;)

It’s been about 15 months since we returned from Ethiopia and about eight or nine months ago Amy and I began to talk about adopting another little boy. It’s never made a ton of sense “on paper”, but after a lot of thinking, praying and investigating, we began the process to bring home a little boy between 3-5 years old. To make a long story short… it's been a crazy process for us this time –last time was crazy too, just different. Seems par for the course though… So, as of about a month ago, we finished our paperwork and we're now officially waiting for a referral for our new little boy. We don't know his name yet, but God does. We would appreciate praying with us for him. We'll keep you posted on this new adventure.

Amongst the new adoption process…
It's been a wild year in general. Last September we moved to Middletown about 20 minutes from where we were living and we love it here. We’ve got great people living near us in our diverse and loving neighborhood. Our girls both love their new schools and their teachers and they have fit perfectly in their classes.

Shortly after we moved, I began taking two seminary classes and in June I finished my third term at Bethel Seminary of the East. It has been such an enriching time for me, but over the last year Amy and I have talked about her going to school to pursue her nursing degree. This has been something we've been kicking around for probably more than 3 years. So, we’ve concluded over the last couple weeks that it would be a better use of time and resources at this point in our lives, that she pursues this degree now. Afterall, she’ll be able to complete it in two years. We're both excited about the kind of opportunities this could open up for us in the months and years to come.

It's been a cool thing too- living in a more urban area now- we’ve been able to connect with our community in some different ways as well. This summer, we're able to serve at one of the homeless shelters with some others from church, and help out the summer program for the kids in our community held at Kenni's school. .

Church life...
It's been about 6 months since we began our worship services for Hope Church in one of the local High Schools, and God has done some tremendous work in the lives of many among us. The stories that God is shaping in the lives of students is even more thrilling for our Alien Youth Ministry Team. We just returned from our summer mission trip, The Hartford Project. You can learn a little more about it here-

The local TV news came out to cover an event that was part of the week's serving time:

The Love Wins event described on that news segment was only one piece of our week together. Over 190 teens and youth workers worshiped, prayed, and worked hard with over 20 different non profit organizations all over Hartford that week. Powerful stuff…can't wait till next year!

As for this summer, we're looking forward to see how God will use our time in connecting with students, serving together and making deeper footprints. We've got some aggressive goals, but we are even more convinced of intentional living… act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. We know that there are a ton of things attached to that 'call'- but we've got some amped people around us who are preparing for greatness.

Looking forward to how God will continue to refine and focus us, as we hang on for the ride!