Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My blogger friend Kari is highlighting an organization each week that helps in Africa. Her family is also adopting from Rwanda and is right there with us on our time line. This week she chose Axis of Hope (www.axisofhope.org). The program is based out of the School of Education at Boston University and their own description is as follows: Axis of Hope teaches our world's youth and educators international conflict analysis, management and prevention skills. By teaching them to develop trust, compassion, and empathy for one another Axis of Hope seeks to change the landscape of conflict, and create the prospect of future peace, beginning today. A workshop was conducted in Rwanda in 2007 and the attached video is from that trip. The video also features pictures of the students with orphans at Home of Hope orphanage, the orphanage where our child will probably be coming from if we are approved.

This video is really amazing. You can see the poverty, beauty and hope of Kigali. At minute 2:09, I began seeing little faces and instantly my mind said "which one of those is mine?" It was heart breaking to see all those children waiting... then they showed the baby room...so many cribs, so many babies. But everyone, the children, volunteers, orphanage workers looked happy. They had joy in their faces. This is reassuring to know that the children there (mine and others) are being taken care of by HIM. Take a few minutes and watch this.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

God is Strong

Today I had the opportunity to listen to Francis Chan (I really like Francis. See this post for another challenging sermon in the form of a book, Crazy love) .  Our church participated in One Prayer 2009 and Francis gave the message that hundreds of churches all over the world listened too. This series challenges us, as Christians, to come together to explore who God is. We need to make a lasting difference in our world. We need to join forces to share, serve and give as one.  

I imagine that, like me, when people hear a sermon they apply it to where they are in their life. Today's sermon again reassured me that God is in complete control of everything, EVERYTHING. One point that really made me think was "Because God does it, it is fair."  So as I post about how there has been no approval, that some processes are taking longer than expected, that children are waiting, it is all fair. It is all fair because He is in control. It is all fair because this is God's plan.  He is the creator of the Universe. No one else will ever be what He is.

God tells us to be strong and courageous in Him.  We have His power behind us. We have His love backing us.  Several of the verses that Francis sites now mean something different to me. I needed to hear His words and see where I can go to get confirmation and encouragement during the adoption process as well as my daily life.  Here are a few of the verses:

Joshua 1:9 - This is My command - be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

Psalm 115:3 - Our God is in the heavens, and He does as He wishes.

Isaiah 45:22-23 - Let all the world look to Me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.  I have sworn by My own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on My word: Every knee will bend to Me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me.

God is strong. God is powerful. God is sovereign. God is all knowing. God is GOD.  I am thankful that I serve a God who is this. I am thankful that I love a God who loves me so much.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Friday came and went and no approval call.  So, we wait still.  Maybe next week?  I am not holding my breath though. 

It seems that Rwanda is implementing some new rules as we go...there is now another step for the referral.   Once the family is matched with a child, the referral goes back to the Ministry for yet another approval.  Before, this didn't happen.  This step seems to be adding a couple of weeks to the wait (based on my estimations).

The AWAA average wait time for approval (my estimation when looking at other blogs) was about 2.5 months.  It seems to now be taking longer as several families (us included) have now waited over 3 months.  There is also a family that waited 5 months for their approval.   So, if we go by the old information from AWAA (2-5 months) then our approval should come sometime by August 26.   I really hoped that we would be home with our child before the next school year started but now I am not sure this will happen.

Here is a verse that Kaylee learned from camp this week and it is also one of Ryan's favorite verses.  I think that it is appropriate for me at this point as well.

Don't worry about anything but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking Him with a thankful heart.  Phillipians 4:6

I am still optimistic about this process and now that God has His own plan in the works.  I am so thankful to have this opportunity and am so excited to see who our child is.  I am just learning lots about patience :).

P.S. One another side note, I was curious if the Ethiopian Government shut down from early August to late September would have an affect on our adoption process.  Our family coordinator said "no."  We go to Addis Abba, Ethiopia for our visa paperwork once we have picked up our child from Rwanda.  The US Consulate handles this part of our process so the shut down will not affect us. Yeah!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hoping for Tomorrow

No news yet this week. There were rumors that this week would be the week for some approvals. However, so far that has not been the case.  Maybe Friday will be the day!  Keep your fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wishing and Hoping

Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying and planning and dreaming.....we are doing all of the above. Thinking this is a great week for an approval!  Let's see what He brings.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

International Day of the African Child

Today, June 16th is International Day of the African Child.  On the anniversary of the 1976 Soweto protests, when thousands of black schoolchildren took to the streets under the South African apartheid regime, the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) dedicated a day to the honour of these brave actions. It is also a day to fight for the cause of children in trouble: the AIDS orphans, child soldiers and empoverished youth who will inherit the continent.

The Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion in Rwanda honored the day with the following activities, as copied here from the Ministry's website:

-To support the visited orphanage (Noel Nyundo) and the school by offering them a water tank;
-To sensitize people at the grassroots level on the community work day (Umuganda), Saturday, May 27, 2009. Included in the dialogue on the welfare of the child, it is recommended to discuss on the nourishment of the child, family planning, sanitary etc.
-Broadcasts on radio and television which have started on June 10, 2009. In these radio and television broadcasts, topics like vaccination of children, HIV/AIDS testing of children, and the use of clean water will be discussed. At the district level, district and partners are recommended to provide activities that aim at supporting families in need and helping them.

Thank you africainourhearts.blogspot.com for the information above.  It is good to see Rwanda moving in a positive direction!

On a different note, my hubby turned 33 yesterday!  Here he is after dinner and before the scavenger hunt for some fun gifts :). Cannon says he is smiling, we will  have to work on that.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Our updated documents have been delivered and signed for by our adoption agency representative.  Praise God!   The waiting continues for the Rwandan government approval from the Minister!

In Kigali once again...

As of 11:40am Kigali time, our documents have arrived at the FedEx facility in Kigali. Woo hoo! Hopefully today or tomorrow they will be taken to the Minister's office.  What a great day! 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fabulous Friday

Friday was a great day for 2 fabulous reasons:

1) We saw Kaylee at kamp! We attended her closing ceremonies at K-Kountry. It was so good to see her face and squeeze her neck!  We went back this morning and got her for good.  We drove home this afternoon and the kids are already in the pool. 

2) On our way to see Kay on Friday, we received an email from our family coordinator. Our documents were approved at the Embassy and are on their way to Kigali to meet up with the rest of our dossier. I tracked the package and right now our documents are in Memphis and should arrive in Kigali on Tuesday.   I am so excited about this. Hopefully our approval/referral will come in the next few weeks!  This week will make 12 weeks that our dossier has been in Kigali.

So a fabulous Friday was had by the Smith family!  

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
Psalm 130:5

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


It seems as though two of our Rwandan blog families have gotten their dossier approval or extra documents approval from the embassy today or yesterday.  The Furry Rainbow and Our Road to Adoption both had their documents/dossier to the embassy just a few days before ours. So maybe by the end of this week we will have our embassy approval.  Optimistic thinking once again...

Not the update I wanted, but it is an update

So I received an email from our family coordinator today.  It said this:  "The Embassy of Rwanda called today and let me know that your documents are still not ready. The man who processes all of the paperwork has been very busy they let me know and they said they would call when they were done. The Rwandan Embassy is not typically very fast with approving documents so this does not surprise us that your documents are not approved yet. Please trust that I will contact you as soon as they have approved them."

This is frustrating I must say.  Our extra documents have been approved by the US State Department and they just sit waiting to be approved by the embassy.  Who knows if they have even been looked at.  They have been there over a week and originally our coordinator said this should only take a couple of days since it was only a few documents. All of our other documents are approved and sitting at the Minister's office in Kigali.  There has got to be a better way to do this. I understand that people are "very busy," BUT children are waiting, starving, dying.  You'd think that they would make this process quicker , especially since our entire dossier was already approved

After I told Ryan the news, this was his response:
I know this is frustrating, but God has a plan for this. We're just along for the ride.

I know that God has a plan and that He is in control.  I know that I must be patient.  I just want to have our child home, love them, hold them, feed them, play with them. I want them to know their siblings.  I want them to know what a parent's love feels like.   

Ok, I think I am done...thanks for the chance to vent :)

Friday, June 5, 2009


Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

10 weeks

Our dossier has been in Kigali for 10 weeks.  Still waiting on approval from the Embassy, maybe tomorrow we will hear something.  This picture made me giggle...poor goat.