Monday, December 29, 2008

More Updates

Becky Burk, who was recently in Ethiopia, wrote these updates updates about R. Scout.

Blackwells – your girl is a hoot. She also is very animated and on the go so it's hard to get a picture of her with her in constant motion. Her smile is killer and I just adore her. She played with the families the entire time. She actually was awake when we got there and I walked into the toddler room, she immediately put her arms out to be picked up. She would crawl into people's laps and set up shop J

My fam all laugh at this comment because if you know our kids, you know that they are VERY busy and always energetic. She will fit right in!!! Here is another entry:

Blackwells - R. is such a treat. She's so smiley and want to play with the big kids but gets her feelings hurt easily when they want to take her toys or they won't share. She's a cuddle bug.

Thank you, Becky!!! Your attention to detail and the time you spent getting to know and love on our children is deeply appreciated!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Court Date

We got one!!! We received an email yesterday saying that we have a court date on January 21, 2009. If we pass and adopt R. Scout on that date, then we will travel 2.5 to 4 weeks after the 21st. They also told us that if we don't pass court that date (30% of all families don't pass the 1st time), a new date will be scheduled 1 to 2 months after our original court date. To me, that just says how crucial it is that we pass the first time. Please pray for this!!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We Got Our First Update!!!

I was so thrilled this morning to receive an email from Terra with our first update. Here is what it said:

R. Scout is just about the cutest little thing you've ever seen walking
around. She is SO happy, playful, and fun. She loves to tease, laugh,
and cuddle.

I also received a message from Karen Wistrom:

Your daughter was the most social, smiley, happy little girl. She has got such a great personality and loved to be held and cuddled. Your daughter and Whittier's daughter were vying for the center position on my daughters' laps! She was such a happy, sweet natured little girl. You will be so blessed.

This was the BEST early Christmas EVER!!! This will definitely get me through another 4 weeks!

Just in case you noticed, I had to take the "Through The Green Doors" title off my blog as our agency has moved the transition home to a bigger facility. This is great as the new facility will be able to hold more children so referrals will happen more frequently!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Almost Four Weeks

It's hard to believe, but it has almost been four weeks since we got our referral. Our coordinator told us that we would be contacted within two weeks, but that has not happened. In the meantime, we have been praying for R. Scout like crazy. Since she is a toddler, we have to brace ourselves for some transitional and attachment issues. PLEASE pray with us that God would be preparing our hearts and R. Scout's heart to one another. We also have been enjoying new pictures taken by families picking up their children. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them. This week the Hutchinsons sent us pictures of R. Scout receiving her care package that we sent with them. When she was looking at the photo album (of us) I wish I could tell you that she had the same reaction that we had when we saw her. Quite the contrary actually. If I could give her words, she might be saying something like "Is this who I'm going to be living with?". HA! I am hoping that really she was interrupted in something that she would rather be doing. Reguardless, it is fun to see her many expressions as there is quite a range (quite like a typical toddler).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I've got it bad my friends!! I have so much to be thankful for... a great husband, THREE wonderful children, and FANTASTIC FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!!

We have been struggling with a name for our 16 month old. She has a beautiful name that was given to her by her bio family. As of right now, we are going to keep that as her first name and use Scout as her middle name. We cannot share her name (or photo) on this blog until she is legally adopted in Ethiopia. Speaking of this, we have not heard any info from our agency. Hopefully we'll hear something next week letting us know when our tentative travel date is scheduled. We are praying and hoping that our court process in Ethiopia will be expedited and only have to go to court ONCE (some families have gone over 6 times)!!!!

This wait for me is definitely harder than waiting for the referral. I stare at R. Scout's picture at least a dozen times a day. I just want to hop onto a plane and go get our girl!!! I have a lot of respect for the families who received their referrals in the summer and had to wait until October or November (some are still waiting) to pick up their kids... that is painful to think about!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Little More Details!!!

Pheww!! What a past couple of days the Blackwells have had!!! I did not realize how much my world would change in such a short time. Last Friday started off a little rocky as my son was not feeling very well, and I was finally wearing down and starting to feel like we might not ever receive a referral. Through most of this journey, I have really tried to keep an upbeat attitude, but it came to an end last Friday. During my lunch break, I gave in and had myself a little pity party, shed a few tears, and complained to my steadfast husband, who was at home taking care of our sick child. By 2:30, I had shuffled the last of my students out the door, and I was beginning to think of all the things I had to do over the weekend. I noticed one of my dear friends, Kristen, down the hall preparing for our daughters' Girl Scout meeting and decided I would help her set up. She was setting up in a room that is only used for meetings and such. I noticed the phone was ringing, but decided not to answer it as I thought someone dialed the wrong phone number. Moments later our school secretary speaks through the room's intercom system and said that I had a very important phone call. My heart skips a little, but I decide that this is probably a parent or one of my bosses needing something. I answer the phone, "This is Kelly Blackwell". I hear a pause, and I know it's our referral call. I hear a voice, "This is Terra Bailey. I have Kevin on the line and this is your referral call". I cover my mouth and instantaneously I start to sob uncontrollably. Kristen rushes to me and asks if I am okay. Terra begins to inform us that she is looking at the most beautiful two and half year old baby girl and her birth date was in '07 (Jamie Jo later helps me realize that she indeed is only one and half years old). I am still sobbing profusely but manage to mouth to Kristen that we have a baby girl. Terra continues to give us more information of what to expect in the future, and I can only get out "thank you and I'll see you at home, Kevin". I hang up and can only think of how fast I can get home. I rush into Hally's classroom and motion for her to get her things and go. She, fortunately, was packed up, and only had to swing her backpack over her shoulder and zip off. When we get into the hallway, I squeal out that we got our baby girl. She starts to giggle with extreme delight and cannot stop. I have only heard and seen her laugh like this one other time, and it was when she first saw her baby brother, Brady. All the way out to the car, we are being applauded with congratulations and hugs from friends at work, and Hally is still giggling until she finally succumbs to tears of joy. The ride home seemed like the longest trip we have ever made to get home. We got behind every slow car out in Branson, and we had to back track and take another route to get home due to a car accident. When we finally get home, Hally and I rush to the basement, where Kevin and Brady are waiting, and we all have our eyes glued on the email with the subject stating "today is the day". Oh, indeed it was. Click. We saw the most incredible set of brown eyes and radiant smile on a little one year old. Picture after picture, she is literally beaming off our computer screen. There was no doubt in our minds that this was our child. I know that it sounds weird but she actually looks like us. She has an expression, almost facetious, that our son gives a lot and that is when I knew that this was a Blackwell!!

What now? The process of finalizing paperwork and arranging travel plans is a definite, but the time line in which this will be done is not being disclosed to us at the present. We are praying for Godspeed, and we are asking that you would do the same!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008


At 2:35 we got the most amazing phone call to let us know that we have a 16 month old daughter, Scout. She is absolutely RADIANT with the most beautiful smile (with a mouth full of teeth). We are sooooo excited and can't wait to share pictures with you all!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

9 Months!!!

Last Saturday, we have been waiting 9 months. Just like a full term pregnancy, I am ready for the baby!!! I am very hopeful that we will get a referral this month, and I talked to our adoption coordinator and she feels the same way!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today is 8 Months Waiting....

....and one more day closer to meeting our daughter!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Adoption an Emotion?

Right along with being happy, sad, or melancholy, sometimes I wonder if adoption is a state of being that takes on a whole new way of feeling that can't be described. I know that what I just proposed is not to be taken literally, but I just have to wonder sometimes. What I have learned through all of the ups and downs of adoption is to LOVE today. God has designed this day, September 24, 2008, to be the day that He has waited for thousands of years to make. And even though it is 10pm and almost over, I need to appreciate the value of today and what He is doing now. Sometimes we can get caught up with trying to hurry up to get to the next faze, goal, or whatever benchmark we're trying to get to, that we forget that THIS day might be what He has been trying to get us to. Even though it may seem insignificant and uneventful, I don't want to miss IT!! I really want to see what He is doing and understand the journey He has me on. In reflecting on the experience we had last week, I am able to see how God has used it for good. When we were considering this young man, we also settled it in our hearts that we would adopt an infant girl as well. When we learned we wouldn't be able to adopt the older child, we couldn't let go of the idea of adopting a baby girl. So, I am thankful for this day; for on this day the things I am learning and the things that are happening are having an effect on my tomorrow ;)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Answered Prayer

This has been quite the emotional week for Kevin and I. We had been praying and opening up our hearts to the possibility of having the young man that we asked everyone to pray for. We really felt led to pursue him. Somehow, the young man was referred to another family. We were absolutely shocked, and I personally was devastated. BUT, I know God allowed this to happen, and we are trusting in Him to take care of it all; especially this young man in Ethiopia. He is definitely in our hearts and prayers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Please Pray!!!

To make a long story short, we are considering adopting a boy who is 5 (ish) who is also hearing impaired. We would also be adopting an infant as well, so we really need God to guide us. PLEASE PRAY!!! We know that this would have a huge impact on our family, so your prayers would be much appreciated!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Three Little Birds!!!

I have been reading the new testament in sequential order, and last Friday I read 2John and 3John, and then came across JUDE (Jude will be the name we use if our child is a boy). It was like the words were jumping off the page for me. It said, "Relax, everything's going to be all right; rest, everything's coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!" (the Message). I'm crying with a big smile on my face while humming that Bob Marley tune in my head!! Later that day, several families get referrals, and guess who jumps into the top five for a baby? Relax, it is all coming together I tell myself. I don't have a single thing planned yet. No baby room. No shopping done. Everything is going to be all right I tell myself. I wonder if it will be a boy or a girl? Open your heart, love is on the way, I remind myself!!! I cannot tell you how thankful I am that God gave me that special verse, and no kidding, I feel like I am walking around with that "don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be all right" in the background!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We're Getting Closer!!

My fun YG friends have created a list of where adoptive families are in the waiting process and the Blackwell's have made it to the top 10!!! That is so exciting!!! We could get a referral next month or maybe even tomorrow!!! I can't believe that I will finally get to see a picture of our baby, and to call our baby by name! Just to fill in those of you who aren't aware of what we have ahead of us, we will not be able to get our child until sometime in December (maybe a little earlier or later). The courts are closed until Oct 7, and we have to legally adopt our child before we travel. So even though we will be placed with a child sometime soon, we still have quite a bit of waiting to do.

T shirt update... Jamie ordered some new colors and I love them!! The gray shirt is a fitted shirt, but the rest are unisex and run true to size. THANK YOU so much to all of you that ordered them... it has been fun to see you wear them!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Night Out!!

It was so incredible to get together with some amazing individuals, who just happen to be adopting (have adopted) from Ethiopia too. It was so wonderful to meet Kassie and the Semlows, and to see the Gillmans, Gibsons, and Martins. I could have stayed there and talked all night!! You all are wonderful people!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Update is Due!!

My sister in law (miss you already, DeeDee) reminded me this weekend that my blog has not been updated since April, so I thought it might be a good idea to give a tiny update. Referrals are coming right along at America World. A family who had their paperwork turned in a couple weeks ahead of us just received a referral (YEA, Caldwells), so we are hoping for a referral in the next couple of months. Kim and Alisa have also informed me that we are within the top 10 to 15 of families waiting. Courts will close next week for a couple of months, so if we get a referral soon, we still would not travel for another two or three months. Really I am clueless as I do not know what kind of effect the court's closing have on the whole process. We are content on waiting for whatever comes our way. I have to admit that when I found out the Caldwells got their referral, I have started to increasingly get more and more jittery. Like at any minute I could get the phone call. I told Kevin that I feel like I have done a pretty good job of being patient and keeping my emotions under control. This is really not in my nature. I was the kid who unwrapped all of her Christmas presents and wrapped them all back up before the big day. I think that knowing myself that if I don't keep myself under control, that I will not be able to real myself back in. What a mess that would be!! BUT, when we do get that phone call, Lord have mercy on the poor soul that is nearest me, as I have a feeling I will cause serious hearing damage from all my screaming!!! God has really done some awesome things in our adoption process. About the time we finished with our dossier, we were tempted to switch agencies as other agencies were apparently giving out referrals at a much quicker rate. Kevin and I prayed about it, and felt very strongly to stay with AW. At the time we couldn't understand it because we wouldn't have been "out" very much money. We assumed we would have gotten a referral (with the new agency they were telling families it would be a 2-3 month wait for referrals) in the Spring and traveled in the summer. It seemed perfect for two teachers. If we stayed with AW, then we were sure we wouldn't get a referral until the Fall or after; hence, I would have to take a lot of unpaid maternity leave by staying with AW. Since we did not feel at peace with switching, we have stayed with AW. Recently we have heard that the other agency we were thinking of using has been under investigation for child trafficking, so we thank God for not letting us have peace!!! Also, my dear friend, Jamie Jo, took my hand drawn sketch of a t shirt design and took care of all the details in getting them printed. JJ is a director of a camp in Colorado, and has been selling the shirts there. Evidently they have been selling like MAD!!! Every time they get a new order, they sell out within a couple of days. Isn't that crazy? Even more crazy is that one of their campers is Jordin Sparks, and she liked the shirt and wanted to help out AnNi so much that she is going to wear it to the Nickolodeon Teen Choice Awards tonight. She is nominated for three awards, so our shirt is going to be on TV. The show will air on Monday on Fox. Isn't that completely RIDICULOUS?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Occupying Our Time

People are always asking what our status is in the adoption. I wish I had more to say, but I don't. This kind of waiting is very untangible for me. With Hally and Brady, I had doctor appointments, weeks to count, and many other milestones to encourage me that the their beginings were going to occur. This kind of pregnancy is almost like walking in a dark tunnel and trying to find the exit. You know there is an exit and a time when you'll get out of the tunnel, but you just don't know when it will be. Mentally, I keep telling myself that it is going to be a long walk and to just get used to walkin'. In doing that, I'm trying to find the joy of being in the tunnel, and so far I feel like I've been pretty succesful. I meet with an adoption group once a month that I just LOVE!! We all get along like old friends, and I look forward to knowing them more. Being around Jamie Jo, Gabby, and family has helped see what coming out of the tunnel looks like, and helps me to realize God's way or plan is so much better than mine. I have also been planning/designing a fund raiser t shirt and necklace that I will be displaying on my blog shortly. Jamie has also designed a shirt that I have displayed it to the right. Isn't it AWESOME?!!! It will be sold at AnNi Designs by June. Proceeds from the shirt will be going to help fund our adoption. My future plans will be to complete our fund raisers and read books on adoption. Pray for us that we continue this whole journey with strength and a great attitude. We covet these dearly!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I've been TAGGED by Alisa!!

Here are the rules: If you get tagged, you will need to write 10 fact s about yourself and then tag 5 other blogs to do the same. Here goes my 10...

1. I have moved 9 different times in my lifetime... My dad was in the Air Force.

2. The first time I saw Kevin, I knew I would marry him. I even told my parents, and they thought I was absolutely CRAZY!!! That was in 1992, and I was 18 years old; he was 21.

3. I am a Jesus FREAK!! He is the most amazing person I have ever met.

4. I absolutely adore my children.

5. I started off in college as an art student.

6. I love flea markets, purses, photography, i tunes, coffee in the morning, German Shepherds, chocolate, fixing up old things, going on dates with my husband, and t shirts.

7. I'm a Jane Austin junky.

8. I used to want to be in a rock band...

9. I love my church, James River. I love their passion for Christ and for the lost.

10. I love seeing a child do something they didn't think they were capable of doing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

You Know You Should Adopt If...

I stole this from Jana's blog... LOVE it!!

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.
Author Unknown

Friday, February 22, 2008

Green Doors

For those of you who don't know, the picture above is of the doors that lead to the transition home for children being adopted through AW. Kevin and I will will someday be walking through these doors to meet our child. What an exciting thought!! Thank you, Penelope, for letting me use your wonderful picture. I love reading their blog (Carpenter Family), and learn from their experiences. It gives me a glimpse of what is yet to come.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mission Accomplished

We have been tracking our dossier, and it is in Ethiopia!! In the mail yesterday we received a letter from AW with copies of the federal authentication. It was so cool to see Condaleeza Rice's signature on the copies; although my husband's only comment was that her handwriting is too messy. We are now in the big wait of receiving our referral. The AW website says we will wait 3-6 months for this. My friend Kristin says that my feet look swollen and that I need to buy more "pregnancy" outfits... I like the way she thinks!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Godspeed, Sweet Dossier!!

I got an email yesterday from Duni saying that our dossier was shipped off to Ethiopia!! From reading posts from the YG, I think it will take about a week for it to arrive in Addis. I'm starting to feel more official now that the paperwork is now working for me instead of me working on it. I also am getting those funky baby dreams I got while pregnant with Hally and Brady. Last week I dreamt that we received our baby ( in my dream it was a girl) in the mail!!! Oh, if only it were that easy!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bittersweet Goodbye!!

Monday afternoon I took my first trip to the Secretary of State branch office in Springfield to get my 20 some documents authenticated. I got there at 2ish and by 4:30 they were complete. The good news was that all but one came back authenticated. The bad news, of course, was that one had an error on the notary section. The notary who notarized our I-171H put the current year as 2009, so I had to get it re-notarized with the correct year of 2008. I did this on Tuesday and then went back to Springfield to get it authenticated by the SOS. In the scheme of things that was a very minor hiccup. It could have been a lot worse!!!!!

Yesterday at around 4pm I said goodbye to our dossier at the FedEx store in Springfield. What a variety of emotions that I was feeling. I didn't want to let it go, but I certainly did not want to keep it either. It just seemed so weird to hand off almost 5 months of paperwork (not to mention the thousands of doallars that was required to compile them) to a complete stranger. Right now I am so glad to know they are almost in Virginia, and I am excited about what the future holds due to the perseverance and work that went into our dossier will produce. We are getting a CHILD!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Best is Yet to Come!!

We were absolutely stunned last Friday to check the mail box and see that our I-171H had arrived. We are in total gratitude to God for having grace with us in that He is speeding our journey along. The last post I left, I titled "Godspeed", and I meant it as whatever God chooses as far as timing goes. From the title you would think I meant lightening speed, but I think God works a little slowly at times too. Godspeed is all I want. His perfect timing. As far as our I-171H goes, we certainly got the speedy timing!! This form was not supposed to come until March, and I was mentally preparing myself to turn in our dossier in at the end of March. Now it looks like we should be able to turn it in at the end of the week.... WOOO HOO!

Monday, January 21, 2008


We're getting a little closer every day. On December 27th we went to KC to the USCIS office to turn in our I-600A application and get fingerprinted. This is just about one of the last things we have to do (on our part) as far as paper work is concerned. We should hear back from the USCIS anywhere from 3-9 more weeks. We then will take all our documents to an office in Springfield where they will be authenticated. After we do that, off our dossier will go to McLean, VA where it will be authenticated by the federal government. That my friends (as far as I know) will complete our dossier. It will be shipped to Ethiopia, and we will begin the real wait for the referral of our child. Since the last time I wrote, Kevin and I decided not to request specifically for a female. We thought if God truely wanted us to have another daughter, then that's what we would get. Just in case God chooses for us a son, we have come up with the name Jude Baruk. Baruk is an Ethiopian name that Leoul was going to use for his own son, but never did. It means "blessing".