Officially Waiting

We received word today that Alemu (the agency staff person in Ethiopia) received our documents this morning safe and sound. That means, we're ready to be connected with a child! In the next few months we hope to receive a picture, name & medical history of our new son!

People who have gone before us say this is a tough wait. I'm glad the holidays are approaching and we'll be busy with lots of festive activities.

Lots of you have asked what's next and what our time frame is. We don't know anything for sure, but here's an educated guess. We're currently family #5 waiting for a referral for our gender/age range. We're thinking it could be 3-5 months before the referral. Then a court date is scheduled (usually 1-2 months after the referral). Once we "pass" court (sometimes it takes a few tries) we travel a few weeks later. So, we could be traveling as early as this spring or later like summer or fall. Things have moved quicker than expected thus far, but that doesn't mean that trend will continue.

We'll post again when we have new news! Until then, we'll be waiting patiently!


Here we go!!

We were told today that our dossier has made it's way through Washington DC, was mailed back to AAI in Jenison, and today was mailed over to Ethiopia. Now comes the waiting for our referral (the picture, name, medical history of our little guy!) We were told we're approximately #4 in line of families waiting for our specific gender/age range (male age 2 - 3 1/2).

It's strange that we have no more to do. No more notaries to get, no more documents to seal, no more decisions to make ... we just need to wait. And pray. And pray. There's so much to pray about! There's a good chance our son is in the process of transition. That he's already at the orphanage or going through the process of being orphaned. Hard to imagine. Hard to know what to pray for! So, we're asking God to give him his daily needs. We're asking God to somehow prepare his heart for the huge transition he's going to be making soon. We're asking God to surround him with people who love him, care for him, protect him. We're praying we'll be ready as well. We know God is faithful, that He loves #3, and has a fantatic plan that we get to be apart of. There are so many unknowns, but God is good and we're trusting in Him!

Hoping to update soon! :)


A Few Halloween Pics...

We had a happy Halloween at the Hoekstras. We live in the best neighborhood ever, and Halloween is always a good reminder of that. Our neighbors had hot dogs on the driveway before trick or treating began, so we had a little neighborhood potluck with kids in costume to start out the festivities. Next the kids went trick or treating down and around our street; and came home with bags full of yummy treats. Noah and Paul REALLY wanted to head to the HC Football game, so they took off and Ella and I passed out candy to some more ghosts and goblins. What a fun night ... and to top it all off ... Holland Chr. won the game! :)


And They're Off...

All our documents have just been placed in the hands of the FedEx man. I have to admit my heart skipped a few beats ... all that work, all the running, all the stress ... and now it's all at the mercy of a stranger. Can't say I really like this feeling. I hope he takes good care of them. I'm not going to let myself think about what if he doesn't.


The Golden Ticket has Arrived!!

We are so excited!! The Golden Ticket has arrived!! I went to the mailbox yesterday, as I do most days, kind of hoping but not allowing my heart to really "go there"; and right on top of the stack was a letter from the Department of Homeland Security. I ripped it open, expecting to find a certificate with fancy font, bright letters, flashing lights, etc. but instead it was this strange little letter stating "Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition". Huh?!? Is this IT?? So I called our agency, and YES! this is what we've been waiting for! We thought it would take about 3 months; but it only ended up taking 2. So cool! SO, now we have all we need to move forward.

On Monday I'll take all of our notarized documents to the Department of the Great Seal (yeah, that's really a government office .. who knew??) to have all our documents sealed. Then we'll bundle them all up, and overnight them to The Assistant Stork (I'm not making this up) in Washington DC who will hand deliver them to the Ethiopian Embassy & the Department of State to be translated & authenticated. After that, our documents are sent back to our agency, to be sent to Ethiopia. Surprisingly, this whole process takes only about 1 week.

So, the bottom line is this, in about 2 weeks time we'll be officially waiting for our referral (the picture, medical history, etc of our child). The next step will be finding out WHO he is! Our part of the work is almost complete, and we'll be waiting for THE moment everyone talks about. The picture!

It's all becoming very real. It's all a little scary. But it's exciting too. We're moving forward and praying with each step.

We'll keep you posted!