Tuesday, July 30, 2013

learning and trusting, as we go...

So, I kinda took a hiatus from writing. No rhyme or reason why just got tied up with other things.  I'm trying to think of where is the best place to pick up from...

The last I wrote our dossier had landed in Ethiopia-May 21st. Quickly after that, in June, we got our number. We were 124 on the list of families waiting to bring their children home.  Initially, our agency told us that it would be about a 12-18 month wait, before we would receive our referral, however; these were wait times for families that had joined the "waiting family list" a year ago. The number of families that are now waiting, since a year ago, has doubled. Which in return means our wait time would be much longer than we initially had thought.  We are looking more at 36 months, or more. Which, in all honesty, I am okay with.
There are ethical practices and procedures that need to be followed, there are investigations that must be done to determine a baby/child "orphaned." I want all exhaustible resources done to keep any orphan with their family.  I want adoption to be the last and yet, best resort.  And, I will wait, however long, to make sure that this is done.
In the meantime, I will pray and look for ways to support poverty stricken countries and the families that live there.

We started the international adoption process in September, of last year. I have learned more than I ever anticipated about international adoption, and I'm continuing to learn.


I feel like I had such a skewed perception of international adoption, when we first started.  For example, I look back on the t-shirts I designed, and I wish I would not of put the "5 million" statistics on there.  Because in actuality, not 5 million orphans are adoptable, nor should they be, because they have families trying to find ways to care for their children.
I was reading blogs, of others I know whom have adopted, internationally, and I came across a definition of "orphan" that I wanted to share.
According to UNICEF.org, an orphan is defined as "a child losing one or both parents." Read a piece of the article below, from UNICEF.org.

By this definition there were over 132 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005. This large figure represents not only children who have lost both parents, but also those who have lost a father but have a surviving mother or have lost their mother but have a surviving father. 

Of the more than 132 million children classified as orphans, only 13 million have lost both parents. Evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of orphans are living with a surviving parent grandparent, or other family member.  95 per cent of all orphans are over the age of five.

I know from visiting Haiti that these moms and dads want to take care of their babies. In fact, many of them take them to orphanages, with a plan of coming back to get them. Yes, I'm not saying that in some situations, this isn't the case, but I would argue it's more the case than not.
You know...you go into it thinking I'm going to "rescue" this baby, but what I've learned, more than anything, is that I'm asking myself...what can I do to help give these families the recourses they need to stay with their children.  When we get the call, I want to be certain that adoption is the best decision for our baby.

In July, we received our updated number, and we moved 8 spots! Which is so awesome because that means that 8 sweet babies/children will soon be united with their forever families. That's a blessing! And, it's not so bad that in one month we moved 8 spots. In August, we will get our new updated number. Hoping for movement, but if there isn't any, I'm good.

We continue to pray for the sweet baby that the Lord will place in our lives. We may wait a long time before we see that sweet face, we may have some challenging days ahead, but I know there are great things that God has planned.
Jeremiah 29:11 ' "For I know the plans I have you", declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." '

On another note...Shaun and I have been talking about when we would start the process for our 2nd baby. We know we want to have more than one, but when and from where we didn't really know. As God would have it, He began to open doors, and He was opening them fast.

It all started with a conversation with my home-town preacher...
  which led to a phone call, the next day, with a domestic agency...
    which led to some great friends coming together to write references...
      which led to a couple dropping out of an orientation...
          which led to us attending the orientation...
              which led to more paperwork...
                  and more paperwork....
                     to more home-studies...
                        to more waiting...

for a birth-mother, to unselfishly, pick Shaun and I to be a mom and dad to her baby.

So, as we wait for our Ethiopian baby...we are also wait for the call that we are given a life, through the sacrifice of our birth-mother.

Lots of waiting, lot of excitement, lots of anticipation, lots of prayers, lots of support, and lots of love to come into the Mitchell house. Soon.

Here's to waiting for two! Cheers!

Angel :)

Which ever shoes fits first! :)

   Thanks to Bend the Light Photography for such a great pics! :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013


May 21st was our DTE Day. DTE stands for Dossier to Ethiopia! We were thrilled to get word that after 6 months of paper-work and waiting on the government...it is finally on it's way to Ethiopia.  Once it lands there, West Sands, our adoption agency, in Ethiopia, will hold on to it until we get our referral.  So, from this point on, we can relax knowing that the paper-work is completed.  The first of June we will be getting "our number" on the waiting list and every month we will get an updated number, until we get the call for our daughter, Mila.
To celebrate, we went over to the Lewis' and enjoyed our first experience of Ethiopian food! Which I might add was delicious! If you like spicy foods, you would love Ethiopian food.  I believe I helped myself to two plates.  Kathryn also gave me some Ethiopian spices, so now it's our turn to try make a dish, or should I say Shaun's turn. ;)   Not only did we get good food from our visit, but we had good time making posters for our fundraiser and just enjoyed our time with each of them.  It's a blessing having them in our lives.

We are still planning on our trip to Aster's, in Austin, with the family, to celebrate our DTE Day!  We are hoping that July we can get everyone together. 

We've been very busy lately, and sweet blessings have came our way that I'd like to share...

I turned 30, on May 14th. I went home for the weekend, to celebrate with my mom, dad, Shaun and some dear friends of ours.
That in of itself was a blessing to be surrounded by them. Over that weekend, my friends had the most sweetest gifts to share with us...
My college friend, Amanda Foster, has vowed to save all her change for Mila, she also challenged her co-workers to do the same. Already they raised $400.00! I love Amanda's heart for wanting to help, and wanting to get others involved. Nothing goes unnoticed. Thank you.

Desiree and Robert, gave me a bracelet and on it is engraved, "A Journey of Faith", and inside the bracelet is engraved, "Ethiopian Love."  I wear it daily.
Last, is my necklace. My necklace of Africa, with Mila's name engraved in a heart. Another piece that rarely leaves me.

I don't write these things to boast about what I got, but really to just to show my deep appreciation and thankfulness is for those I love. And, to show how God is always providing what we need.  I'm sincerely thankful for the relationships and friendships that Shaun and I have in our lives.
Below are just some silly pictures from our weekend home. All we did was "patio time", which consist of good music, conversation, and some dancing! :)  And, to tell you the truth, I couldn't of asked for more.

Love this picture, captured a moment! 

 My mom cooked us filets, and homemade mac and cheese! 

Dear friends, Amanda and Des. I can't wait till they meet Mila. 

Getting some help on candles, with Eva and Mason.

Greatest mom and dad. 

My mom and dad are in Seattle right now, celebrating 26 years of marriage.  I love that for lunch they  enjoyed there first experience of African food.  The bread you see in that picture is called Injera. Most Ethiopian dishes are served with this bread. It really helps to balance the spices. SOOOO good.

Hopefully with summer coming up, I'll have more time to write. Thanks for those of you who are following our journey to Ethiopia and to growing our family.

Much love,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dossier is in the mail!!!!

Hello family and friends!

Well, as usual, I'm way past due for an update, so here it goes...
The past few weeks have been a bit crazy, partly because there is a little test called, STAAR, that has me busy.  Weeks of STAAR, as I am learning in the role of a counselor, are exhausting. Beyond work, there has just been a lot going on between the paperwork, for Mila, to planning wedding showers, for our friends Leigh Anne and Barington, family visits, and the the list goes on.
So, back to the point of this blog--our journey to a family.

Here's the round-about summary as to where we are and where we have been:
On February 7th, we were able to apply with USCIS/Homeland Security. (We had been waiting for our final home-study approval, which came to us on February 5th)
On March 12th, we were FBI fingerprinted (part of the application process for applying with Homeland Security), then we waited for our approval from Homeland Security, we could not move forward without their approval.
On April 4th, we were APPROVED!! That was such a great day, to know that we could finally move forward in the process. 
So, the night of the February 5th, were were going through the zillion documents, to make sure everything was PERFECT, and I noticed that my dad's reference letter and Abel Alvarez's, my preacher from McAllen, reference letter didn't have "State of" and "County of" within the notary statement. (This probably wasn't necessary to have, but I wanted everything to be PERFECT...so, I sent Shaun to McAllen, early Monday morning, to pick of the letters from my dad and Abel. Needless to say, it was a long day for Shaun, but he did it, without a complaint. (He did get a good meal and a piece of mom's Italian Cream Cake out of it, AND he got to see my mom and dad who are by far worth any day trip) So, I don't feel too bad.  ;)
Once we had those documents, On April 8th, we submitted our dossier to our agency. You have no idea how it felt to finally put all those documents in a package and get them off of my dinning room table, where they have been sitting for months!  I love seeing my dinning room table clear, but really it's more symbolic for me, because now when I look at the dinning room table and there aren't any piles of paper, I know we are ONE step closer.

So, now, at at this point in the journey we are getting ready to start a whole new type of waiting, and really a whole new journey.  Not that we haven't already been waiting, but this is where we will soon be getting our "number."  This number tells us where we are at on the waiting list, and every month we will receive our new number. Some months we will move several spots, others maybe none. This new "phase" will bring about a whole new set of challenges, and joys, with it.
We will wait, trusting in God, till the day we receive our phone call, with the story of our daughter, Mila.

I'll be real honest with you, there are days where I'm not sure if I can go on, if I can actually get through this, because my yearning to be a mom, my eargness to want to give so much love, my desires to be a family, are still in me--through the paperwork, the waiting, those feelings don't go away. In fact, they deepen, and there are moments when I don't know how I"m going to get through this, yet every time I feel this way, I am some how, some way, lifted up again. It's through conversations with dear friends, with Shaun, my mom and dad, my sisters, and always through God, that I am lifted. And, for that, I am beyond thankful for.

Love to you all! :)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

playing catch up

Warning:  This post is going to be a bit random, because I feel the need to catch up! :)

I haven't posted anything in a while, because not much has changed. We submitted to the USCIS and we are now currently waiting to hear back from them. Once we hear back from the government, we will submit everything to Ethiopia! Yippee! :-)
From what our adoption consultant is telling us, it's taking about 40 days to get final approval from the USCIS.  If that's the case, it's looking like the end of March we can submit our dossier to Ethiopia, but I'm thinking more like April, because I've learned to overestimate on dates given to us. We shall see. Once we submit everything to Ethiopia, and we are on the "waiting" list, Shaun and I want to have a celebration!  We're thinking of going to Aster's with our closets friends and family! Asters is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant in Austin, that we've heard about from some friends of ours who have also adopted from Ethiopia.  I'm SO looking forward to that day!!!!  I can't wait to eat and have an excuse to eat with my hands and try Doro Wott! I love spicy foods and from what I've read and heard, Ethiopian food is fool of spices!
Here's their website: http://www.astersethiopian.com

I'm getting excited about an upcoming trip I'm going on, in March (told you this was going to be random). I will be attending a retreat, in Atlanta, called Created for the Care. Check out the website: http://createdforcare.org
It's created for "moms who have the heart for adoption."  I'm excited but really nervous, because I literally do not know one person going. I'm stepping out in faith and praying that God will bless my time and help me to build relationships with others who share the same love for adoption.  I have heard nothing but amazing things about this retreat! Super-duper excited!!!!!!

One thing that is really important to me is being an advocate for adoption. Every since Shaun and I made the decision to adopt, I have engulfed myself by spending as much as time as I can, educating myself on many areas of adoption. I particularly enjoy reading about multi-cultural adoption, but really just anything dealing with adoption.  Here's a pic. of the books I'm spending some of my evenings reading :)

I particularly like "Brown Babies Pink Parents." It's very practical. It discusses things from the best type of lotion to use to deciding how to handle challenging questions that will arise. "Adoption Parenting" is very informative, particularly with bonding.  "I'm Chocolate,  You're Vanilla" is another very informative book, one that I'm sure I will go back to many times over.  "In on It" has not been one that I have really liked, although I haven't spent too much time reading it. What I have read hasn't been something that I've wanted to go back, like the others.
I'm SO looking forward to the summer, so I can continue to read, read, read! :-)
I have LOTS of time between now and the time we bring our sweet one home, mid-as-well read. :-)
In many ways it makes me feel closer to our baby, it helps me "feel" like a mom. If that makes sense.

In parting, I'd like to say that I appreciate everyone who, from time to time, reads our blog, and those who have supported us on this journey.

Blessings to you each!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good news, good friends, good weekend

I had a good weekend, largely do to receiving the good news that our report was done, and good friends and some other reasons, I'll share. ;)  That's right, folks! The report, we've been so patiently waiting for, is DONE! Getting news of that on Friday definitely helped start the weekend off!  If all goes well, we will be applying, the end of this week, with USCIS.  I know I've said this several times before, but I'll say it again...I can't wait to finally be done with paperwork, and finally be on the waiting list! Paperwork is no fun, yet I know it is necessary to bring our baby home, therefore it SO worth it!
Also, on Friday, we received our first piece of furniture for our baby!! (thanks mom and dad)  I love receiving anything for our baby, it feels so good, not just because it's a gift, (I mean who doesn't love a gift), but it makes everything more real to me.
I love it! It rocks back and forth, AND turns side-to-side! haha! The little things always get me.  :)
How I can't wait to sit in that chair and rock back and forth, back and forth, how I can't wait to be so tired and sleep deprived. The things I long for...

Saturday night we had dinner with the Lewis family, who are a great inspiration and support for Shaun and I, being that they too have adopted from Ethiopia.  It's so refreshing talking with those who understand your frustrations, fears, excitement, moments of joy, and heart for adoption...not to mention they were ever so kind to buy us a baby book for our precious one. I love it, because it is tailored for families who adopt, another way to help us share our story.
I have few pics of it below.   :)

Lastly, on Sunday evening, we had dinner with Des and Robert, dear friends of Shaun and I. Dinner with them is always great, largely because we have such good conversations and Robert is a pretty a good cook. While they were in New Hampshire, visiting Des' family, they bought our little one a onezie, and I must say that I LOVE what is says!
Over dinner, Des and I were talking and she said something that really resonated within me.
We were talking about just how difficult it is to wait for something that your heart, your soul, your body yearns for. She, too, had her struggles becoming a mom.  In the midst of our conversation, she said, "Angel, I would of waited ten years, twenty years for Mason...he is worth the wait and so much more." 
I love that.
I love how there are moments when someone will say something to you, and it hits you, it just does something within you. 

In closing, I just want to say that God is good. He always provides, in His own way and in His own timing, He provides exactly what we need. He works through others, through us, to teach us, and to show us His way. God is good. 


Sunday, January 13, 2013


Hello Family and Friends,

An update...
We are still waiting for our social worker to send us our report, we are going on 7 weeks of waiting for this report.  We were told it would be done within 3-4 weeks. My patience is wearing thin, but there isn't much I can do.  We did hear from her on Friday, and she said we would have it by the afternoon, however, we have yet to of received it.  I'm really hoping we receive it any day now. We can not move forward without it.
I had a couple of "hard" days over the past 7 weeks, because to me every day that I'm waiting is a day longer of me being a mama and a day longer of being separated from our precious one.  On one of "those" days, Shaun so simply reminded me of one thing: God's timing.  He just said, "you know I think that every one of these set backs is a blessing." I've thought about what he said and realized that I really need to work on changing my perspective, at times. I have such a "type A" personality and it can be very difficult for me to leave things to other people, but I what I need to realize is that faith in God means faith in His timing. If I can focus my trust and faith in Him then I will find rest in this process.
Not to say that I can't send friendly e-mail reminders and phone calls! :)
Once we receive the report, Shaun and I will read through it to make sure everything is factually correct, and then we will get it notarized, and send it with our USCIS application. After that, we will wait for an estimated two months to hear back from the government. Once we have heard back from the government we will send all our dossier paperwork to Ethiopia and officially begin the waiting process of our journey.
I'll just be thrilled to be on the waiting list. I'm about sick of paperwork and getting things notarized!
In leaving, I'll leave a pic of Shaun and I wearing our shirts! :-)  They turned our great! If you ordered one, it's on its way!!!!!
As always, we thank each of you for your support!


Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughtful Gifts

The past week I was with my family, celebrating the holidays. I LOVED every moment of it.  There is something about being home and just being together; nothing planned, just hanging out, eating good food, good wine, music, conversation...priceless.  
Of course Shaun and I are focused on our adoption, and others who share similar experiences, so my sister, Christie, bought shirts from another family, who like Shaun and I, are trying to raise money for their adoption. I have a picture of the shirt below, but it's kind of hard to read the scripture that's written on the shirt. So below I have a picture of the sweet letter my sister wrote, and the scripture is written in the letter.

I think I like my sister's letter more than anything. 

I also got another thoughtful gift from my great friend, Desi Meza.  It's a scarf, but the neat thing about it is that she did some research and found an organization called, FashionABLE (www.fashionable.com)
The scarf is made from women in Africa, Ethiopia included, and it helps to sustain women with job opportunities. If you have a chance, check out their website. Great idea for meaningful gifts.  Here's a pic with me wearing the scarf, before we headed out! :-) They come in all different colors!

Hope each of you had a Merry Christmas! 
As always, we thank everyone for their support and love.