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.


  1. I feel privileged to be the first to comment on this sweet blog and think this is a fabulous idea to keep us all "in the know." I love the picture of the "6" and reading all this just makes me so excited for you guys and to meet your new little one, who is incredibly lucky to be coming to your family! We love you and can't wait to see you in 3 weeks! thanks again for sharing...

  2. Oh, sweet Francis family. You are in for an amazing experience and I am so excited to see it unfold. Little sis/my daughter-in-law is going to bring you such joy. Your blog is perfect and I will be on it often. We love you dearly and can't be happier for you.

  3. So excited to have a new blog to stalk! ;) Had so much fun with you guys over Thanksgiving and counting down the days until Christmas and until we get to meet our sweet new neice!!! Makenzie is going to be so so excited!!! :) We love you!

  4. We can't think of four better people to provide a new and loving home to one lucky little girl.
    we look forward to meeting her.

    Paul, Leslye and Lindsay

  5. enjoying reading your blog! excited to see where your story goes. -C

  6. Thank-you so much for the encouragement and the kind words on our blog... we LOVE connecting with other adoptive families too! The road is a bumpy one but the blessings received on the journey and beyond are literally priceless. Hoping for a referral this week ;) and one for you and yours soon as well!

  7. Congratulations! I am so excited for you guys. And that is one lucky little girl to be joining your amazing family!

    Melissa Nichols