Friday, April 27, 2012

Right at home

Little sis couldn't be happier.  Needless to say we are so grateful to have her home.  We feel so is good.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

So close

Our sweet baby girl!

She is our daughter. While in Ethiopia, the judge made it official and that leaves the last step of finalization by the U.S. Embassy. We want to be there with her. We want her here at home. The wait becomes more difficult all the time, but we hope for a quick embassy appointment so we can bring her home. Our time in Ethiopia could not have been more humbling and beautiful...the moments spent with her were so precious but leaving was harder than we imagined. She is such a happy, curious, energetic little girl!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought that on the day the courts re-opened, we would get a call from our caseworker telling us we had a court date!!! We are scheduled to meet our sweet baby girl on November 29! Court date is November 30.

We are shocked! Amazed! Excited! So Happy!

This comes after being able to see baby B "live" (video from sweet Kirstin!) last night and falling even more in love with her...we can't wait.

**What are the odds that the same week we are to be in Ethiopia (with my parents), my older sister (who is taking our boys) is moving and my younger sister is having her 2nd little boy?! We do love drama in the Reynolds family :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

These things can never be planned

It may sound a bit crazy, but we had a "plan" for when we received the call from our agency. It was all about we would connect, where we would meet, what the kids would do while we learned all the details about their baby sister. The waiting time allows for one to make all sorts of plans and imagine every sort of scenario, but in keeping with "the theme" thus far, when we think we have it figured out or even a loose plan in place, we are reminded that we are not in control.
On the first weekend of August we went to the family cabin in Idaho with all of the extended family. Days and nights were spent flyfishing, hiking, roasting marshmallows, relaxing, etc. It was nice to get away because we had gotten to the point of playing weird mind games with ourselves about when the referral call would be. We were on the low end of the average wait time so we knew it could be soon.
On Friday afternoon, a group of us had been floating the river and were walking back to the car. Kim had taken our oldest son back to the cabin, but I noticed her car coming up the dirt road. As she stopped, I began to open the door to load the car, but she struggled to say, "We missed a call". I quickly looked at her and couldn't see her eyes behind her big sunglasses, but her chin was quivering with emotion. This was it! We sent the boys back to the cabin with their cousins and promised we wouldn't be long. It was 3:30 MST, so 4:30 Central Time and we had to drive into town to get a reliable cell signal as well as a wi-fi signal. The thought of Gladney closing for the day and waiting through the weekend was not appealing in the least. We called Sara (our caseworker) and although we had a difficult time getting the words out, we let her know that we would quickly call back once we found a strong signal.
The Ashton, Idaho Public Library was the spot. It was great, we would be able to get a private study room, or maybe a conference room where we could set up the laptop and get on the call---no such luck. The best option turned out to be the floor of the lobby where there was no one to disturb. So there we were, sitting on the floor in the entrance of the library, in wet swimsuits, on speakerphone, with tears in our eyes. As we had heard, described by others, the moment was truly surreal--seeing pictures and learning about our daughter for the first time after the many, many months of waiting. Pure joy. She is a beautiful baby girl--full of smiles!
Taking advantage of cell service, Kim started a quick round of calls to family and friends to share the long anticipated news. We knew our boys were anxiously awaiting our return, so after a couple of photos to document the moment, we drove back to the cabin. It was so sweet to watch them look through the pictures and bombard us with questions. They have been quite patient throughout the process.
We both felt a peace and a feeling of contentment that has continued for the last few weeks since we received our referral. We also know that the time ahead will become more and more difficult as we long to have her home with us, but we know whom we are waiting for and it feels more real.
So back to the idea of planning? Oh how we would love to plan our court date, embassy date, and corresponding trips, but we know how these things work now...

Ashton Public Library

Our place on the floor!

The boys seeing their little sis

Friday, August 5, 2011

we got the call!

We received our referral today and were so, so excited to "meet" our little girl!
We are so happy to be one step closer!
Since we are away on vacation, details will be coming soon...

Friday, April 8, 2011

No news news

It has been nearly 11 months for us on the waitlist and it has been hard to wait, but we were forewarned of the "rollercoaster" that is international adoption! It becomes difficult to update when there is not much to say, although since we last posted, much has happened in life. We could talk about sports, school, work, etc., but our intention is to keep people posted on new developments related to baby girl. We wanted to give another "thank you" to our family for putting together these items for the care centers in Ethiopia. Instead of exchanging gifts last Christmas, everyone chose to give to the kids over there. Lots of diapers, formula, anti-bacterial, clothes, is amazing what one family can do! We look forward to taking these items to those that need them.

We hope for "the news" soon...

Friday, November 19, 2010

6 months & counting...


We are celebrating our 6 month anniversary on the waiting list to bring home our baby girl. It has been almost a year since we began this process and what an adventure it has already been. For the adoption community, the following is all too familiar, but for the rest of you, let us explain some of what we have gone through.

The first step was to make the decision. We had gone back and forth for years on whether or not we were going to adopt, and then there were moments in which one of us was feeling ready but the other was not. In December '09, it was decision time... to decide once and for all and to move forward. Our youngest, Ben, was turning 6 and we did not want any more time to pass. We revisited the discussion and the conclusion came quickly, rather easily, almost as though we had known all along. We consulted with some close friends and took the plunge... there has not been a moment of doubt since. How did we not do this sooner?!

From there the talk moved to agencies, programs, countries, timelines, and so on. We knew we wanted to adopt internationally, so we started looking at all of the different programs. Some of our best friends had adopted an adorable little boy from Ethiopia and were in the process of adopting their second son from there as well. This, along with some other factors, made it very clear that our daughter was in Ethiopia. It was also at this time that the choice was made to use the Gladney Center for Adoption. Because our friends had done exhaustive research and had very positive experiences with Gladney, we made the call! It was set in motion!

While it took us a while to decide to adopt, our boys had known and had been asking for years when they were going to get another sibling. There was no doubt that they would be so excited! We sat down for a family meeting to tell them the news and they were ecstatic. Much enjoyment and fun came from having a family "secret" for a time. We would often exchange little glances when people talked about babies. The questions came daily from the boys as to when they could tell their friends, classmates, and teachers. This was the beginning of discussion after discussion at the dinner table about how life would change "when sister comes".

We sent our families the following letter in the mail to make our big announcement:

Once upon a time in a land far, far away there was a beautiful, little African princess without a home. The little princess would lie in her crib and dream of a day when she would meet a family. Although her caretakers were very kind and loving, she longed for a family of her own. She would spend her days imagining what life would be like with a mom, a dad and two brothers.

On the other side of the world, there was a family that felt like they wouldn’t be complete without a little princess. They thought, dreamed and imagined for years and finally decided that the time was right to start their search for their own princess. After learning about many different countries and cultures, they realized that the little princess in Africa was the perfect fit for their family.

The mom and the dad traveled to the far away land and met the baby princess. They couldn’t wait to bring her home to her two brothers that were anxiously awaiting her arrival!

When they returned home, there were plenty of adjustments (Wow! The mom and dad had been out of the baby stage for a while!) From snakes, bugs and dirt to dolls, dresses and pink, it didn’t take long before the family could not imagine life without her. Their family was complete and they lived happily ever after.

Sometimes dreams take a long time to turn into reality. It looks like 2011 will be the year that the Francis family will get their little princess. Kim and Steve will travel to Ethiopia to spend some time in the orphanage, learn about the culture and bring her home.

We are so excited! There are many hills to climb and adventures that lie ahead before our baby will be home. We are very happy to have YOU along for the ride.

We are so thankful for your love and support.

Being on the sidelines with our friends' adoptions, we naively thought we "understood" the process and, at least in a general sense, knew what to expect. Oh we had much to learn! Right before Christmas we completed an application and got the ball rolling. January thru May was filled with stacks of paperwork... we still look back in amazement to think that we actually completed all of it! We had home studies, fingerprints, autobiographies (30 pages each), letters of recommendations, physicals, blood work, expenses, department of homeland security clearances, background checks, the list goes on and on.

On May 17, 2010 we were officially put on the WAITING LIST!!! This means that all has been approved and we are now waiting to be matched with our child. The current average is between 8-9 months wait time for a referral. A referral is the phone call, followed by an email, introducing us to our little lady. After this, we will wait an additional 2-3 months to be assigned our court date (the court date is typically 4-8 weeks from the time it is announced) to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet her and finalize in court. We imagine that the most difficult wait time will be when we have to leave after spending a week with her and return home to wait on our US Embassy appointment (3-8 weeks after 1st trip) at which time we return to Ethiopia and bring her home.

Our excitement is difficult to contain and although it is early, we feel a tie and a connection to Ethiopia. We know this will continue to grow and develop as we look forward to our travel to meet and bring our daughter into our family.

This blog will, hopefully, be our way to keep everyone in the loop regarding updates and what is happening with our adoption during this waiting period, while in Africa, and as we bring "sister" home.