Friday, January 23, 2009

The Dossier paperwork is complete! We mailed everything today to our agency. From the agency everything gets sent to Nepal for translation. We are thrilled! Now we wait.

Monday, January 12, 2009

So what's next

This week we finish up our dossier and a million signatures all needing to be notarized. We send the dossier which includes the home study to AGCI in Portland for their review. Nepal is a very picky program so everything will be 
carefully scrutinized to be certain all information matches up. Next AGCI will submit the entire packet to the Ministry of Nepal. Then we wait and wait and wait. We really do not have any idea how quickly this new Nepali process will go. The Ministry of Nepal process' the info and they seek out the child best suited for our family based upon our request. From there we will receive a referral. This will include a picture and whatever background and medical history they have on the child. Then we work with an international pediatrician to rule out any health issues. We will have two weeks to accept or deny the referral. From the acceptance of the referral we will have approximately four weeks before we must travel to pick her up. The in country stay will be 7-10 days while we complete immigration paperwork and obtain a Visa for her to exit Nepal and enter the USA. So that's the process from this point on all subject to change of course :)

Having doubts

What a weekend of adoption chatter. It was so great to again dig into the nitty gritty with Bob about why we are doing this. First of all we do not talk about this journey without admitting to one another that we are terrified of the unknown. Who isn't? After all life is filled with unknowns and it makes us all uncomfortable at times. Both Bob and myself have the moments of looking around in sheer panic as to how we are going to stay patient and capable with one more little person in our midst. We are already just a wee bit busy, active, tapped, tested, etc.  The best answer we can give ourselves and others is this. We are more terrified to not see this adoption process through. It may sound silly or strange but we know that we have been lead as a couple and a family to adopt. What started out as a need to have a girl in my world has morphed into so very much more. It is now a calling and a longing to do what God knows we should do. It is a longing to grow our family with a child that would have no love or opportunity if left behind. With great gifts comes tremendous responsibility and we feel very grateful that our hearts are open to the plight of the orphan. There will be bumps and doubts but we ready. Funny thing... it seems that the boys are ready too. Hayden so deeply wants to go to Nepal to see where his sister will be coming from. This weekend he asked Bob if the three passports on the table were mine, Bob's and his. Bob chuckled and Hayden grinned from ear to ear.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Big Day

This has been one of the best weeks I can recall in a long while.
The kids returned to school after an amazing Christmas break, I returned to a morning routine which generally scares me thanks to Owen, but found myself pleasantly surprised, Bob and I returned to trying to get kids to bed on time (yeah right) and both Bob and I decided to dive back into the adoption paperwork for a final push to get it completed. Do not misunderstand, we have no hesitation about adopting but two things have been going on for me. I have been on the list serv for AGCI receiving all the various emails from the many families enrolled in the Ethiopia program. Many of you may know that Ethiopia pulls hard at my heart strings and the choice between Ethiopia and Nepal was very difficult for us. In any event the Ethiopia program is thriving and moving along rapidly. Many families will leave this month to pick up their children. So I was bummed a bit. I felt a little lost and certainly frustrated that I still we still did not have what we needed to move forward in completing our Nepal paperwork. Secondly, I was overwhelmed every time I opened the giant binder of home study or dossier information. After all, we had decided to take a paperchase break in December, so trying to revisit the scene was challenging. So I explain all this only to get to the good part... My week changed as I continued to ask God for patience and guidance and of course peace about a process I certainly do not control. By Wednesday we had received the very important phone call from the agency outlining all the paperwork needed for Nepal's final dossier requirements. I spoke with the caseworker who manages Nepal and felt so much better about where we currently stand.  By yesterday I was finally able to spread everything back out on the floor and number it all so that I could make sense of the documents. I was even able to explain it all to Bob. Whew! Today Bob headed to downtown GR to obtain original birth certificates and I finally requested mine from the Toledo Hospital. Now we need a million passport photos, a few documents from our home study social worker and many items notarized and we are ready to roll. We can actually submit the paperwork to AGCI and they will submit it to the Ministry of Nepal. We are getting closer to knowing who will be joining our family.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Study Complete!

Our home study is complete! What a miracle. It feels like a major feat to have made it this far along in the process. Now the agency knows everything there is to know about all five of us. In many respects the process has been easy just tedious and long. With all we do as a busy family, if we can do it anyone can. The boys seem ready to get moving forward. I think the novelty of the idea has worn off and they are wondering what is taking so long. We are partway through the many documents required for the dossier and one of the required documents is the home study. So now we wait to hear from our agency regarding the final word on what the government of Nepal is expecting for the dossier. Then we make many copies, sign our names a zillion times, have everything notarized, ship it to All Gods Children in Portland and wait. The waiting should be short but at this point the Nepal program seems too new to tell.

Into Our Arms Forever!

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welcome home ava! from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Meeting Ava during our first trip to Ethiopia

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Meeting Ava Ethiopia Trip July 2010 from melanie Strobel on Vimeo.

Korah- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

During our recent visit to Ethiopia I felt very called to the village of Korah in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. There have been numerous rumblings lately about the tremendous need to help the children of Korah who are growing up in and around the local trash dump. The village was established 75 years ago as a place to send people with leprosy who were said to be cursed. Now there is a 3rd generation of people living in Korah with nearly 100,000 suffering from such things as leprosy, HIV, misc disease and of course malnutrition. There are many children of Korah who have been forced to live and work at the trash dump in hopes of finding food and possible items to sell in Korah's center of town. With the start of the Great Hope Church in Korah and the building of a shelter, along with the ministry of local Sammy Liben and Sumer Yates, there is now a feeding program and a sponsorship program in place to rescue the forgotten children of Korah and send them to boarding school where they can escape the horror of the conditions of living and working in a large trash dump. For more information please visit: or where you can learn more about how you or your organization can help the people and the children of Korah. Please send me a message or email Erin Allen at to request sponsorship information. I will soon be posting the photos of my day recently spent in Korah. I must tell you it was life changing and beyond anything I have ever done to stretch, change and rearrange myself. God helped me to help the people who I met. Much of what I could offer was nothing more than the snap of my camera or a warm touch or an inviting smile. The needs in Korah are beyond our wildest imagination yet God is over Korah and there is already amazing work being done. I invite you to view the following videos to learn more about the beauty and the needs of Korah's people.


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Hannah's Hope Orphanage- Ethiopia

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