Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ok, can I just say....I'M LOSING MY PATIENCE!! Ok, I feel a little bit better! I know that we are coming up for getting a court date. It looks like we are about #2 on the list for a court date so hopefully we will hear something tomorrow.....I hope....Anyway just wanted to complain for a minute...thanks for listening!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Court is Open!!

Court is finally open and working today!! Wahoo!! Our program director said that they are now working on getting court dates for all families that have received referrals. She is hopeful that w/in the next mo. or sooner (hopefully sooner) all families will have a court date. So, please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

September update

Well, we just received our monthly update for September from our agency. Our little guy is so gorgeous, I can't wait until we pass court so I can show all of you his cute little face! He looks like he is doing really well, which makes my heart not hurt as badly. I just can't wait until we are able to go and pick him up. Please, pray for Asher, for him to continue to be healthy, well nourished, well loved and cared for. Please also pray for this for all the children at the transition home that are waiting for their forever families to come and pick them up and for all the nannies and AWAA staff caring for our children and working towards bringing us all together.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Court opening delayed

We have been expecting the courts to open this week, however, today we recieved this email from our program director:

Dear Timothy & Shanon,
I know you are anxiously awaiting news on court after the long weeks of the closure. The court confirmed today that they will not be reopening until Oct. 12th. Once they begin work it will like take a week or more for them to issue new court dates.
I know this time of waiting can be so hard as you long to be united with your child. I am sorry that we will have to wait more time for any new news. I am hopeful that new court dates will be given for early November but we will not receive any confirmation from the court until they begin work again.
We will continue to pray for your family and will contact you as soon as we have any new information
God Bless,
Anna M. Graham
Director of Programs

This really stinks....in a huge way...we are so anxious to pick up Asher, we are missing so much. However, I know that God will unite us in His timing and it will all work out eventually, however, this is soo hard on my "mommy heart".... Please pray for us and all the families that had court dates scheduled for the time that the courts have extended their closure, as they have been waiting even longer to be united with their children and all will have to be rescheduled, so essentially, they are back to the same stage we are, waiting for a court date. Please also pray for Tim and I as we wait and wait....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Care Package #2

We are sending another care package to Asher tomorrow. The family taking it are the Hamilton's. The family will be heading to Ethiopia to pick up their child on 10/4. The family that took our 1st care package is back and we received some new pics of our little guy and news that he is doing well. He is getting so big, it was so great to get updated pics of him and to see how he is growing, it is also very hard as we are missing so much and can't hold or kiss him. Please pray that Asher will stay healthy, protected, and well nourished. Please also pray that we receive a court date asap, that we pass court the first time and are able to travel right away. On another note, My mom is having a baby shower for us this weekend and I am getting really excited!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Culture Camp

Yesterday, Tim and I went to an Ethiopia Culture Camp that the group we meet with in Mason arranged. It was great! We met a lot of great people at the camp. There is actually a small Ethiopian community here in Cincinnati. They meet for fellowship every week and keep their culture intact. They are all very nice and helpful and will be a great resource for us and our child. It is so awsome that we can continue to learn about the culture and to incorporate it into our everyday lives so that our child will not loose these roots and connections to Ethiopia. We also want to learn Amharic, and were shown some good resources to get us started with this. We are also hoping that someone from the Ethiopian community will help us learn, as well. We shall see how that works as Amharic is a bit intimidating. We attended a coffee ceremony at the camp and it was great. The coffee was really good, nothing like our puny coffee!! I want to get a coffee set while we are in Ethiopia and learn how to do the coffee ceremony. Once I learn I want to do the ceremony every week and invite friends and family to come. I am also thinking that I want to learn how to cook Ethiopian food to serve at least once a week, as well. We will see how that turns out!! We also had dinner with Ethiopian food and some music at the camp. It was really neat and everyone from the Ethiopian community dressed in traditional Ethiopian clothing, many of the children and parents also wore traditional Ethiopian clothing. We also met a woman and her daughter who are part of the Ethiopian community and live right down the street from us. We really enjoyed speaking with them and hope we become friends, so I can rope them into teaching us some things!! It was a great time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Care Package

Today I sent the care package for our little guy by UPS. They said that it should get to the family taking it for us by this Sat. and I think that they are leaving next Tues. I hope that it gets there w/no probs, especially as it is a holiday weekend. I can't wait for the time that we are picking up Asher and delivering some other family's care pkg for their child. I am constantly looking at Asher's beautiful, little face. Gosh, I can't wait! The Cornetts are the family that is taking the care package over to Asher for us. You can check out their blog at http://ourstoryforhisglory.blogspot.com. Please pray that they have a safe, healthy, and awsome trip to pick up their child.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Today, Tim and I sent in our acceptance letter of our referral. We also put together a little care package for another family to take to our baby when they go to pick up their child. We are sending a little blanket, 2 toys, an outfit and onsie, and a baby photo book w/pics of us. The family that takes the package for us will also be able to love on our son a little bit for us and take some pics and hopefully some video for us, as well. Since we can't be there to hold him and care for him, we are sending the next best thing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's A Boy!!

Yesterday Tim and I received a referral for the most gorgeous baby boy in the whole wide world!! Yeah! Yipee! Woohoo! Yessss!! Fantastic! Wow! Yeeeaaahhh!! And any other happy word you can think of! Unfortunately, at this time we are not at liberty to share any additional information about our child or referral until we pass court and he is officially our child. It is very hard because I just want to shout from the roof tops and show everyone his beautiful little face!! We might be being a little cautious about the information that we can post but we do not want to take any chances in jeapordizing our adoption, so in our minds better safe than sorry and rest assured that we will share more information as soon as we can. We received the call around 3:50pm yesterday. However, about 20 minutes prior to this, I almost told off a poor Time Warner Salesman! About 3:20pm I received a phone call and when I looked at the number it had a 760 area code and I knew that our adoption agency's area code began with a 7, so my heart stopped and I got all anxious and tentatively answered the phone and when he told me that he was from Time Warner and did we want cable television, I almost blew a gasket!! However, I did not and politely declined any further services and hung up the phone all dejected and sad. Then about 20 minutes later we got "THE call"!! Our family coordinator contacted Tim by phone first and then they called me at work on 3way. It was probably the most amazing moment of my life so far, next to my wedding day. Our coordinator told us that this is "THE Call" and told us about our little boy. My heart stopped and dropped right out of my body when I heard her voice, I could barely even come up with coherent responses during the call. Terra told us that she was emailing our son's medical information and pictures to us to view, etc. We then hung up and I called Tim right back. Tim was crying and got me started crying, as well. I think we were both still a little in shock at this point. Since I was due to get off of work, Tim and I decided to wait until I got home to look at the information and have our first look at our son together. As soon as we opened the email at home we both knew that this indeed was our child and we both started sobbing again! He is so absolutely beautiful. God definately knew what He was doing! Leslie, I think the wishbone definately helped move things along!! Anyway, Tim and I are still on a "baby high"!! I spoke w/a Dr. who specializes in international adoptions and she reviewed our son's health information. Tim and I also got some of the recommended immunizations for travel today. Tim definately wasn't thrilled about this part of the process, but I told him to suck it up!! He is still whining about it!! Little Asher, see how much your daddy already loves you, he voluntarily got 3 shots today, just so he can come and pick you up and bring you home. Oh yeah, we are planning on naming the baby Asher....We can say that as it is not his original name and it will not identify him in anyway. Also, Tim says that he did not cry. He is a man and is strong, GGGRRR!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Six Months DTE

We are now 6 months DTE. We are definately moving closer and closer, although some days it feels like a snails pace! We received our official "On Deck" email yesterday from AWAA. Basically, it says that we could receive our referral within 1-3 months. I don't think it will be 3 months until we receive our referral, but who knows, it is all in His timing and we know that it will happen when it is supposed to. We are trying very hard not to focus entirely on our referral or the phone ringing, sometimes it is very hard!! I feel like a kid at the dinner table banging his silverwear on the table, yelling "I want my dinner"! Except I am yelling "I want my baby!!" We received a calendar from AWAA at the beginning of the year and there are bible verses on it for each month. It has been very helpful during our adoption process and the verse for August is so very fitting, I look at it several times a day. It is from Ecclesiastes 3:11 "God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done." I keep saying this to myself and it helps me through the day...maybe it will help you through yours, too..

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Five months waiting

Yesterday was our 5th month waiting for our baby since DTE. There has been a lot going on this past month. We had our walk-a-thon and raised over $1,000 from it. Thank you to all who participated and donated, we could not do it without you and we love you very much. We also had our 1st yard sale of the year last Friday and made over $300. We are planning on holding another yard sale next weekend if you have anything you would like to donate or if you want to stop by. We are also trying to plan a spaghetti dinner for September. If you have any ideas of where to hold it at, please let us know or if you have any other fundraising ideas that would be great, too. We had our waiting families conference call today with our adoption agency. They have reduced the wait times for boys to 5-8 mo's, so we are right w/in that range now and think we are somewhere in the top 5 waiting for a boy. The wait for a girl is the same at 9-11 mo's and we are somewhere in the top 20 for a girl. Needless to say, we think we are going to have a baby, Asher!! For some reason Tim seems to think we are going to get our referral on August 7th. So, we will just have to see, maybe we should start a poll?!! We also found out that it is very likely that the courts will only close for about 6 weeks this year instead of the usual 3 mo's. We think that the dates the courts will be closed will be starting on 8/22-9/30. This is good news, although not as good as if they didn't close at all!! But we are very thankful and won't push our luck and we'll take what we can get! Also, please pray for our friend, Ronnie Wallace. He got hurt pretty badly at work and is currently in the hospital. They are hopefull that he will get to go home on Friday and start the long recuperating process. Also, please pray for his entire family as they all struggle through this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Legacy Of An Adopted Child

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember; the other you call mother.

Two different lives, shaped to make your one.
One became your guiding star; the other became your sun.
The first gave you life; the second taught you how to live in it.

The first gave you a need for love; the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent; the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions; the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile; the other dried your tears.

One gave you up-it was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child, and God let her straight to you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eternal Family Program

On another note, we have been accepted into the Eternal Family Program through AWAA our adoption agency. So, now if anyone contributes towards our adoption, their dontation can be tax deductable. If you are interested in making a tax deductable donation to our adoption, please email us at brakefieldadoption@yahoo.com so that I can email you the form that you will need to complete with your donation.

Four Months and Counting

Well, we have now been on the waiting list for 4 months. We are unofficially around 26th on the waiting list to receive a referral for a child. We are hoping that we will receive a referral sometime in the fall, however, we know that it is all in His timing and we are trying very hard to have no expectations. We have been very busy working on the baby's room, getting the house ready, etc. We are gearing up getting ready for our walk a thon and also working on gathering things for our yard sale. So, if any of you have anything that you would like to get rid of and would like to donate for our yard sale, please let us know. Last year we were able to raise all the money that we needed for our homestudy from our 3 yard sales. Baby Brakefield we are one month closer to holding you in our arms and can't wait to meet you, hug you, and kiss you!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Life Is Not My Own

As I was stalking blogs from some families adopting children from Ethiopia, I came across this post from Heidi Weimer at http://blessingsfromethiopia.blogspot.com. It really touched me and hit home and I wanted to share it with you. Heidi and her husband currently have 6 children, 3 biological, 3 adopted and they will be traveling soon to pick up 3 more adopted children from Ethiopia for a whopping total of 9. They have definately embraced the fact that their lives are not their own and have put aside many of their wants to follow the lord, but have received many blessings, too, namely 9 beautiful children.

"I wish I could tell you...
that the sacrificial life of following after Jesus and being His actual hands and feet on this Planet Earth would bring rewards on this planet. But I can't. Because it probably won't.

I wish I could tell you that if you take in an orphan and love that child as your own flesh and blood, that you will be blessed in this life in more ways than just spiritual. But I can't. Because you might not be.

I wish I could tell you that it's easy to adopt. That it's effortless and glamorous and always beautiful. But I can't. Because it isn't.

I wish I could tell you that it's easy after you adopt. But I can't. Because it's tougher than tough some days.

I wish I could tell you that this life of sacrifice is painless and prosperous. But I can't. Because it's often painful and rarely prosperous in the earthly.

I wish I could tell you all of those warm and comforting platitudes, but I can't. Because they're not true.

What I CAN tell you, though, is that this life is not your own. So none of the above matter anyway.

When I stepped off of the cliff in full recognition of that reality, I have had no control over my life since. Yes, I have choices. I realize that I chose this road. I said yes to this calling. I agreed to take in 6 kids that I did not have to call my own. But once I said yes the first time, I could never say no after. Once I took Jesus seriously, Jesus took me seriously. I was wrecked for Him and for this life and could never tell Him no. Never again. If I say no to a child who needs me, I'm saying no to the Child Jesus. If I say no to an abandoned baby who needs me, I'm saying no to Baby Jesus. If I say no to a sibling group who needs a family, I'm saying no to Jesus and his brothers and sisters. Think I'm exaggerating?

Matthew 25:44-46 (The Message)
44"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

45"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'

46"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

I mean, it doesn't get more blatant than that. But alas there it is for us so-called Jesus followers.

And, here's a little warning: Once you utter that initial walking-off-the-cliff YES to Him, it doesn't get any easier. In fact, it gets more painful and far more difficult. Saying YES the first time was the easy part for us, even though that certainly was not easy. Because--the fact is--every single day I see the reality of my choice to say YES to Jesus in need. I see the white picket fences, the new cars, the private schools, the suburban "dream," the picture perfect families. I see that. I know what I'm saying no to. I am fully aware that I had a choice to embrace "that" life, but that I chose to embrace His instead.

It's often painful. Usually not easy. Typically lonely. Generally overwhelming. But I know that this life is not my own. The reward for me is most likely not on this planet. In fact, it most certainly isn't. Most probably I will never live in a fat house (by American standards) and drive a fancy car and have any spare cash to sit on. I realize that. I know that. And I also know that I could have sought those things for myself and could have had them. I absolutely know that that life is within my reach. Every time I encounter someone who has embraced fulfillment in the temporary, I am reminded like a big banner (or a slap in the face) that I chose this road instead. And every time I am reminded, I hear God asking me (practically audibly sometimes), "So, you still want to follow the narrow road?" [YES, Lord. Here am I. Send me.]

Loving the fatherless. Loving the abandoned. Loving the seemingly hopeless. The narrow road requires sacrifice.The narrow road. It's lonely. It's long. It's difficult. It's full of suffering and struggle and sacrifice. But isn't that what following our Jesus is all about? If you're following a Jesus that doesn't demand sacrifice of all earthly endeavors, than I don't know what Jesus you're following. Didn't Jesus, after all, sacrifice all earthly endeavors for us? What did He sacrifice so that He could love YOU? How much more, then, should we sacrifice in order to love Him? And if loving HIM means loving the unlovely and the unloved, then what does it mean if we live in comfort while the unloved go on unloved? While the orphaned stay orphaned? While the street kids still roam the streets?

I don't know how we can really claim to love Jesus if we don't love Jesus the Street Child. If we don't love Jesus the Orphan. Jesus the Prostitute. Jesus the Abandoned.

But what does it mean to LOVE Jesus the Orphan? What does it mean to love Jesus the Abandoned? It means that you do for Jesus the Orphan what you would want done to your own child.

Matthew 7:12 (New International Version)
12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

In a world that seems so complicated and chaotic, it really is as simple as that. It's what led me to see my own children in the faces of Ethiopia's orphans in the first place. It's what led me to say yes to children who simply needed a family. Who needed me. Who needed someone to see Jesus the Orphan in them.

Matthew 16:23-25 (The Message)
23But Jesus didn't swerve. "Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works."

24-26Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Matthew 16:23-25 (New International Version)

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Where is your cross? What is your suffering? Go seek out Jesus the Orphan. You'll find your cross and suffering there. And there you will finally find Jesus. The One you did not see before and the One you did not know to love.

And then and only then, Great Will Be Your Reward. I can't count on much, but I can count on that.

Luke 6:34-36 (New International Version)
34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:34-36 (The Message)
31-34"Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

35-36"I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

I know my family is not the so-called American Dream. I know that having 9 kids is certainly not the goal for most sane and ordinary people. I know that having a multi-racial family can really mar some people's plans for a supposedly picture-perfect family. But so what? This life is not your own. Don't live a lie believing that it is. Whose plans are those, anyway, for the picture-perfect home? the picture-perfect family? the American dream? I don't remember Jesus standing on the mountainside preaching in favor of any of those, so whatever you do, make sure your plans aren't just that...YOUR plans.

My life is not my own. And if you claim to follow Jesus, your life is not yours, either.

Galatians 2:20 (New International Version)
20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Go. Leave behind the life you planned. SEEK OUT the orphan. Don't ask God one more time if He wants you to adopt. Because...HE'S been asking YOU, who WILL?"

Monday, June 15, 2009


Yesterday, I wrote up this great post and lost it at the end. I got so mad, I had to go to bed, so today, I am attempting to rewrite it. Interestingly enough, it was about perserverance! Anyway, last week I was driving to a clients home and saw a sign outside a church. It said that "Faith is not a one time event". For some reason this really stuck in my head and I felt the truth of that simple statement. Then I went to church on Sunday and what do you think our pastor was talking about? Our scripture was James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance. Perservarance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything". And what do you know one of the first things Pastor Tim said was "Faith is not a one time event"! He spoke about how God uses trials in our lives because He loves us so much that He wants to bring us to where we need to be in our faith. He wants us to have a faith of character, authenticity, and integrity and everytime we face a trial in our lives we grow and mature and develop a closer relationship with God. God is always with us along these trials and these trials allow perserverance to do its job. I know that I am probably not sayint all this correctly, however, I think you probably get the point. Anyway, I was thinking about all of this and especially about our adoption journey and what a journey of faith it is. Tim and I have grown as individuals, as a couple, and in our faith and relationship with God. One of the things that we are learning to do better is to rely on God for everything and give it all up to Him. We trust that God has it all under control and has a plan to bring our child home in His timing. We have been able to (at least most of the time!) give all our worries to Him and allow Him to take care of them. The biggest area of worry is about being able to pay for the adoption, as it is so expensive. However, everytime we start to think about this and worry, we have been able to step back and give it to God and He has brought us peace. So, much so that my mom worries about this more than I do! We know that God is great and He can do anything and He will help us to complete this adoption journey. Tim is leaving at 4am this morning to take a group of Sr. High kids to a conference in Orange Beach, Al. Please pray for them to have a safe journey and to grow in their relationship with our Lord. Also, on another note, this marks the one year anniversary of the begining of our adoption journey. When Tim came home from the same conference last year, God placed adoption on his heart and here we are!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Red Thread Walk-A-Thon

Everyone get out those walking shoes. Tim and I are having a Red Thread Walk-A-Thon.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.
- Chinese proverb

The red thread is a tradition that all the people of consequence in your life have an invisible red thread that connects them to you. It is a clear symbolic image for relationships that cannot be denied ... husbands and wives, friends and soulmates, and of course, parents to children. Even though we are adopting from Africa this proverb has real meaning to us as even now we are connected to a child that we have never seen but love nonetheless. Please help us raise the needed funds to bring our child home.

We are having a walk-a-thon on July 11, 2009 starting at 10 am at the bike trail at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon and are walking 3 miles. The address for the Y is 1699 Deerfield Rd, Lebanon, OH 45036. You can help us by volunteering to walk and raising money from your circle of friends, family, and co-workers. All moneys raised from the walk-a-thon are strictly used towards our adoption related expenses. If you are not able or do not want to walk you can still help us raise funds. Walking is great exercise and this is for a wonderful cause, so please help. Email us for more information at brakefieldadoption@yahoo.com.

We are also planning a birthday extravaganza after the walk for my 30th b-day. Be there or be square!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pics from the skate party

Here are some pics from our skating party last Sat. We had a great time. Thanks to all who came and fell along with us!! Or at least fell along with me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To all families in the adoption process

One of the families that adopted a child through our agency is creating a coffee fundraiser to help families with the expense of adoption. If you are in the process of adopting, consider signing up with this fundraiser. Here is a copy of an email he sent regarding this:

My name is Rob Webb. My wife and I adopted two girls 10 & 4 about a
month ago (The April 25-May 2 travel group). While I realize that many
of you in this group are pretty far along in your adoption process I
wanted to let you know about a company that I am starting. It is called
One Love Coffee Roasters and its primary focus is fund raising for
adopting families and helping the AWAA transition home in Addis Ababa
through the sale of Fair Trade coffees. While I will not be open until
September 2009 (facility is being constructed, website is being
designed, coffees are being cupped, etc.) I wanted to let you guys know
what I was doing. You can go to the temporary website while the actual
website is being built at http://www.onelovecoffees.com to find out more
about what I am trying to do. It is a turnkey fundraiser program. Each
family will have their own dedicated page in the store (i.e.
www.onelovecoffees. com/jonesfamily) to sell their coffees. There is NO
product to be purchased by the adopting family. All that is required of
the family is to sign up and get the word out about their coffee. We
handle the product, inventory, order processing, shipping, etc and at
the end of the month we send you your proceeds ($5 per bag). That's all
there is to it. I've tried to make it as easy and risk free for the
families as possible. If you or a family that you know of can make use
of this please visit the site and fill out the pre-application so that I
can get you started as soon as we're up and running. Thanks so much and
I will continue to keep all of you and your children in my prayers.

Rob Webb

So, please take a look at the website and sign up. This is a great opportunity for some fundraising help.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New info from the Dept. of State

Adoption Alert

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues

May 26, 2009

Adoptions of Abandoned Children Halted by Ethiopian Court

On May 4, 2009 the Ethiopian First Instance Court temporarily stopped accepting cases involving abandoned children referred by orphanages in Addis Ababa, citing a substantial increase in the number of children being brought for adoption. The number of abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa has grown dramatically in recent months and Ethiopian authorities have become aware of possible cases of unethical practices associated with some of them.

Neither the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) nor the First Instance Court had been accepting abandonment cases from any orphanage in Addis Ababa pending an inquiry. However, on May 23 the Court confirmed that while the investigation into cases of abandoned children continues, it has begun accepting cases of abandoned children referred from Addis Ababa government orphanages. These include the following orphanages:

Kebebe Tsehay Orphanage
Ketchene Orphanage
Kolfe Youth Center

This is good news. Hopefully, the investigation will be completed soon and they will open up adoptions for abandoned children again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Skating Party

Just a quick reminder that our skating party is this Saturday, 5/30 from 4:30 - 6:30 at the Orbit Fun Center in Lebanon.

3 Months

Well, we have now been DTE for 3 months. I am feeling kind of down today and really having some trouble with not having my baby home with me. I seem to be continuously stopping myself from crying today:( which as many of you who know me, doesn't happen very often. (I am not really the crying kind of girl!) So, needless to say, I am having a hard one and am trying to work and do everything else that needs done. I have a calandar that our agency sent us with pictures of families and children who have adopted hanging on my desk. It also has different scripture verses on it. I looked over at it a little while ago and it made me feel a little better. The scripture is Isaiah 54:10 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you." It helps to know that God has it all under control, that he has a plan, and that when the timing is right, under his guidance we will be united with our child. I am trying really hard to have patience and grace, however, some days it is very, very difficult. It is also very hard to describe some of the feelings that go along with this process. All I know is that God has it and I must continue to pray faithfully and give it all up to Him.

On another note, one of the family's who is over in Ethiopia now, picking up their child, wrote this comment about the head of our adoption agency making a trip to Ethiopia to try to straighten out and help Ethiopia w/the investigation, etc. that is currently occurring. "I spoke with Brian Luwis (head of our adoption agency)today here in Ethiopia about the situation. He obviously could not give me details, but what I am very pleased with is his desire to get it straightened out quickly. He spent time at the embassy today in meetings with officials and presented a plan to them to create a more stable process for Ethiopian adoptions. He and Duni came to the Guest House and they both were very kind to each of the families and took genuine interest in each of our adoption stories.
This may not be helpful to those waiting, but know that AWAA is working hard on the situation here in Addis. He is leaving here tomorrow to go to several other African countries to develop the adoption process there as well." I also wanted to invite you to participate in a day of fasting and prayer with our yahoo group on Friday. Let's lift up the US & Ethiopian AWAA staff, the MOWA/ET court system/staff, the orphanage directors/workers, and of course our precious ET kiddos & waiting families. Please join us in prayer and help us bring our children home.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Sorry that it's been so long since my last post...so busy!! I want to give a late shout out to all the mothers and mothers-to-be! Happy late mother's day! I didn't forget, I just didn't have time to post!! Tim was so sweet. He got me a very nice mothers day card, telling me what a great mom I am going to make and that he is so thankful for me. I almost cried reading it, then he gave me a necklace that I have been wanting for forever!! It is a pendent of Africa with a heart cut out where Ethiopia is. There is a really neat lady who sells them and donates part of the profit to families who are adopting(more on this later). You can find them at www.etsy.com. Anyway, Tim put it in a sock and gave it to our dog, Kettle to give to me. It was soo cute. The only problem was, Kettle didn't want to give up the sock!! It so totally made my day. I couldn't beleive that Tim remembered the necklace, as I mentioned it several months ago when I ran across them. I think he's a keeper!!

I was just catching up on reading posts from our Yahoo Group and I ran across some really disheartening information. Here is a post from the state department's website. May 13, 2009

Adoptions of Abandoned Children Halted by Ethiopian Court:
The Ethiopian First Instance Court has temporarily stopped accepting cases involving abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa, citing concern over a recent increase in the number of abandoned children being brought for adoption. The number of abandoned children from orphanages in Addis Ababa has grown dramatically in recent months and Ethiopian authorities have become aware of possible cases of unethical practices associated with some of them.

Currently neither MOWA nor the First Instance Court are accepting any abandonment case from any orphanages in Addis Ababa pending an inquiry.

On one hand I am really heartsick and sad about this, but on the other, I am really glad that Ethiopia is so commited to ensuring that the children that are placed for adoption are orphans and that the program is free from corruption. Please pray that they are able to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. It is my understanding that none of the orphanages that our agency, AWAA, works with have had this issue and are not under investigation. I feel very confident that our agency works very hard to ensure that the children adopted through them are true orphans and that they work with honesty and integrity and do everything in their power to prevent any kind of corruption in any of their programs. When I learn more information,I will be sure to pass it on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two Months Since DTE

Well, have now been on the waiting list for two months. So, that means we have an estimated 7-9 months more to go before we will get a referral for our baby. Tim and I are trying to be patient, but at times it is very difficult! We have been pretty busy around here with work, gathering baby items, getting the baby's room ready, planning wedding showers, yard work, family time, etc. It helps to pass the time constructively:)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

I should have posted something at the beginning of the month, but better late than never!!

Ten Ways to Help Prevent Child Abuse

Be a nurturing parent.
Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams.

Help a friend, neighbor or relative.
Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children,
so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.

Help yourself.
When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point
you feel overwhelmed and out of control - take time out.
Don’t take it out on your kid.

If your baby cries…It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry. Learn what to do if your baby
won’t stop crying.
Never shake a baby - shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.

Get involved.
Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services
to meet the needs of healthy children and families.

Help to develop parenting resources at your local library.

Promote programs in school.
Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.

Monitor your child’s television and video viewing.
Watching violent films and TV programs can harm young children.

Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program.

Report suspected abuse or neglect.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting Ready!

Yesterday, Tim and I went to a few yard sales to try to find some things for the baby. We thought we would take advantage of yard sale season to help get some of the things we need at bargain prices. At the first yard sale we went to we met a great family. We were telling them that we were adopting. They told us that they also adopted and shared a little about it w/us. They were very excited for us and it turns out that they are friends with one of the family's from our Ethiopia group that we meet with once a month! What a small world! They were so nice and even gave us two adoption books to read to our child and a book to help our child sleep through the night. It really is amazing how God connects us with one another. We have met so many amazing people and families through this awsome journey. It is so neat! Well, yesterday I was a "baby shopping momma" as my mother called me!! We found a lot of great stuff and are almost ready for the baby. We found a swing, floor gym, bouncy seat, crib/mattress, a travel system w/two bases, some toys, books and a bunch of clothes. I spent the rest of yesterday washing baby clothes, putting the crib together, and cleaning the stroller, etc!! Baby Brakefield we are ready to bring you home and cannot WAIT to meet you and hold you in our arms. I am feeling a little sad today as I look at all the baby stuff and have no baby to put to sleep in the crib, soothe in the swing, or cuddle and love on. But I know the day is coming that I will be holding our baby in my arms. I am praying for patience to help me get to that day and I am trying to have no expectations about when it might be. God will give us our referral and bring us together at the perfect moment. Tim dreamed the other night that we were going to have a baby girl. I wonder.......

Friday, March 27, 2009

One Month down 8-10 left

Well, we are one month DTE today. This month has just flown by. Hopefully, the rest will go just as fast because we just can't wait to hold our baby in our arms. I had a really hard night yesterday, missing my child and not being able to hold him/her. I felt almost lost, like a piece of my heart was missing. I check our yahoo group everyday checking to see if any new referrals for other waiting family's have come in. Every referral brings us one step closer to our child. I think that AWAA has met it's goal for the month. I beleive that they have had over 10 referrals, so please pray that the referrals will keep coming and pray that Tim and I remain patient and faithful as we wait for God's perfect timing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

We are on the waiting list!

Hi everyone. Sorry it has been awhile, things have been pretty busy around here. Our Dossier was processed and sent to Ethiopia on 2/27/09. That is the official date that we were placed on the waiting list, it is also called DTE which means date to Ethiopia. Our Dossier was delivered in Ethiopia on 3/4/09. So, We are officially "paper pregnant"!! Yeah!! We are so excited to finally be on the wait list. There are roughly around 60 families ahead of us on the list. Our agency estimates 9-11 mo's before we receive a referral, however, we know that it is all in God's perfect timing and could be longer or shorter. We are trying not to have any expectations as we are well aware that anything can happen. We met w/our local Ethiopia group this past Saturday, and had a great time talking w/all the families and seeing the children. One family that just got back from picking their child up about a month ago was very helpful and advised us to start getting items needed for our packing list as something to do while we are waiting. I started looking at some of the people's packing lists who have gone before us and I am grateful for this advice, as the lists are huge!! There are so many things that you need to take w/you, tons of outfits, blankets, supplies for the baby, meds for the baby and us, yada yada!! So, I am going to slowly gather stuff on a monthly basis that way when we receive our referral, I won't have to do it all at once. Well, I hope everything is going well for all of you and hopefully it won't be so long until our next post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Hello everyone. Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. We have been pretty busy around here. The first Sat. of February we were finally able to meet w/the local group who have either adopted from Ethiopia or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. It was really nice to meet w/everyone and see their kiddos running around having fun. I was able to hold a 5mo old baby girl that just came home to her forever family in December. She was so gorgeous, I didn't want to let her go!! It was really great to be w/the children from Ethiopia but it also pulled at my heartstrings a little too, as I wasn't able to have or hold my child. It was really great being able to ask the families that have gone before us questions, etc. We were also invited to an Ethiopian restaurant w/one of the family's. This was our first experience w/Ethiopian food. We had a great time w/the family, their beautiful child, Rose, and the whole Ethiopian food experience. We will definately be doing it again. We also have some very exciting news on the adoption front. Tim and I were able to send our completed dossier to our case worker at AWAA yesterday! It should be to her by Friday and then they will process it, make sure everything is there, etc. and send it to Ethiopia. Once it is sent to Ethiopia, also called DTE or date to Ethiopia, we will officially be on the waiting list for a child. It was such a releif to have all of that completed and sent, although, Tim and I were so tired after that we came home and took a nap!! It was so strange to finally send it in after we have been working on it for so long. We had the lady at Fedex take a pic of us holding the package. She thought we were very weird, but I was like, hey this is basically the past 4 mo's of our lives and is going to help us bring home our child, so Yes, we are taking a pic of it!! Any way we are very excited about this. Please pray that everything that is needed was included and completed correctly. Please pray that it is processed quickly and w/o any problems and makes it to Ethiopia w/o any issues, etc. Please also pray for the wait for our child to go quickly and for Tim and I to have the patience to wait for God's perfect timing and the ability to take any unexpected hurdles that may come our way with grace, patience, and thankfulness. Thank you for all your suport and prayers as we have jumped over another hurdle/landmark in our adoption journey.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Well, we got a bunch of snow and ice yest. and today. It made the roads a mess but was very pretty. we just hunkered down today and had a snow day! It's been awhile since we have had one, it was nice. Hope all of you are snuggled at home safe and sound.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Hi everyone. We received our 171H form in the mail yesterday. Which means we are almost ready to send in our dossier. Hopefully, we will have everything in a week or so. I also wanted to post some of my favorite pics from the year.
Tim and I in Hilton Head, SC

Tim w/his baby cousin-won't he make a great dad!

Who is this?!

Pictures taken is Savanah, GA

Hilton Head, SC

My mom and dad.

Kettle after his stomach surgery