Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Confessions of a Homestudy

Today is the homestudy. 

A woman will come to our home and evaluate if we are fit parents, and if our house is a home. 

I am going to bake some Pillsbury cookies from scratch to make the house smell nice. 

What could go wrong, really?   

Nothing to be alarmed about. 
That's just a plastic knife that my daughter is obsessed with. 

That's just her face. 

Our dog?  Don't worry about him. 
He's just a giant beast that roams our house
and wrestles with our kids. 

There are other pictures, too...

There's a Daddy who leaves for work at 4:30 in the morning so that he doesn't miss a minute of before-bed time in the evenings.

There's a Mommy who loves her girls so much that she sniffs them when they aren't looking, just like her Mommy used to do.  That thinks motherhood is the best job on the planet.

There are Sisters.

Best Friends.

There are Grandmas of all types.  Silly Grandmas.

Fun Grandmas.

Artsy Grandmas.

Grandpas who build.

Grandpas who teach.

Grandpas who care.

Six Grandparents who all said
when we asked to alter thier family tree.

We've got a church in our backyard that supports, encourages, and educates people in adoption and orphan care; and families within that church that are willing to come alongside of these parents and teach us how to do what we have been asked to do.

So the cookies won't matter.
We've got this.

Thank you, God, for this family.
Thank you for this home.
Thank you for my girls.
Thank you for giving me more than I need
and everything that I love.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Process

5/12/12 IMPORTANT EDIT:  I do NOT recommend using the agency listed in these pictures.   

Trust those bad reviews.  In this case, I lived out most of them.  I do not want this blog post to accidentally suggest to anyone that I recommend this agency.  My family does NOT.  This was a beautiful day, and God protected us on the rocky road that followed, but there is no reason for anyone else to have to walk the road we did.  


The Process:

The most popular question is...

"When will your child come home?"


But it's a process.

First, there's choosing an agency.  I started with a list of 20 agencies and a preliminary set of questions, and after making all the calls, only one agency was left on my list.  We applied.

Lilly decorated the envelope for me. 

I walked to the mailbox with a kid in each arm, and placed this manilla envelope in my mailbox.  I put up the little red flag.  Then we waited for the mailman to come.  I clapped when he did. 

What now?

Well, I somehow managed to accumulate all of the information necessary to work ahead of my agency and complete most of the dossier paperwork in about 5 days time.  This should normally take a few weeks.  I was excited.

The dossier is our life presented as certified, notarized, official copies of papers and forms.  It goes to Ethiopia, where it is translated.  Pictures, fingerprints, FBI checks, passport photos, birth certificates, marriage certificates, references, doctor well-check evaluations, you name it. 

Then there was this: 

The acceptance package from our agency. 
Lilly asked if her new brother or sister was in here.

The next day, our homestudy agency called
and booked us for the following week. 

Five days to prepare for the biggest job interview of my life. 

From here, it should be just a lot of waiting.  First we will wait for a referral, which is basically an "offer" of a matched child to our family.  We get a picture and a brief medical report, and a few days max to decide. 

After the referral acceptance, we wait for a court date.  We will travel to Ethiopia, where we will meet our child and become thier legal parents. 

Then we return home. 
Without our child.  
They go back to the Care Center and remain in Ethiopia.

We wait again, this time for about two months. 

During those two + months between court and pickup, I will have to commit that child fully into the care of God and the care center workers.  Lots of prayer.

Then we return to Africa for a final pickup and visa appointment,
and our new Roepnack comes home with us.  


That's the plan. 

Like I said, it's a process.

I am filled with so much joy.


Monday, August 29, 2011

The Questions...

I am sure that many of you have questions.
....I have questions, too.

WHAT IF our child never had this moment? 
Will they be able to connect to me?

WHAT IF our child is sick?

WHAT IF our paperwork delays the child's homecoming, and extra days are spent in an orphanage while this mother frets over a picture and fusses with an empty bedroom?

WHAT IF we don't raise the money?

WHAT IF the damage from the time spent in an orphanage takes a lifetime to repair?

WHAT IF this choice uses me all up, breaks my heart, and changes my life? (and it will!)

WHAT IF, after all of our efforts, we fail this child in some way?

What if?

Do I ask these questions?


Every morning in my quiet time, I ask God all of these questions, and He draws me near with silent comfort. 

I know that in asking these questions,
I am worried about MY resources,
MY strength, MY money, MY heart. 

I don't have to worry about that.  God has infinite strength, resources, love; and He IS the banker.

Providing a home for a child who was not born of our bodies is a demonstration of God's adoption of us,
of Joseph's adoption of Jesus,
of the nature of God.

So if the answer to any of the above questions is a dark one, or the one I don't want to recieve, it doesn't change the fact that I will sing His praises and live a more fulfilled life in the midst of this journey.

Now, there are OTHER questions. 
I know what they are.....

Why are you doing this NOW?

How do you know that this is God's calling for you?

Aren't there other ways to enact James 1:27 besides adoption?  (YES!)

Do you think all Christians are supposed to adopt?  (NO!)

If you have this type of question, I ask you to listen to The Tragic Beauty of Adoption by Sean Cordell, the father of 2 biological children and 2 Ethiopian children.  When you listen to this, please be aware that I sat in this very room during this recording, having just met his wife and children.

When we were called to adopt, we asked God all of the above questions.  Sean answered those questions in the best way that anyone can, and I cannot do a better job, so please give it a listen.


God bless you and keep you, my friends.

Please pray for us; it's a big week!
Our homestudy is 8/31, 1pm. 


Saturday, August 27, 2011


We are the parents of two biological daughters; Lilly and Daisy. 

My husband Paul and I have felt the call to adopt as directed in James 1:27 for quite a while, and it has taken us this long to confirm and obey. 

         If not us, then who?  If not now, then when? 

Adoption and orphan care has always been at the heart of the Christian faith.  We hope that our journey will encourage you that God is an oasis in the desert, that He always shows up, that He creates beauty from tragedy, and that He always provides. 

There are Biblical parallels between adoption and the Christian faith.  Adoption IS the demonstration of God's love for us.  God adopted us when we came to Him covered in the disease of sin. 

God does not ask us to live protectively, or safely, or to "live your best life". 
God does not call us to be comfortable. 
God calls us to lay down our lives to His will. 

What is His will?

It's simple.....
Repent and Believe.  Follow!
We make it too complicated.  And it's NOT.

A year ago, I was spiritually crippled by fear. 

Something changed. 

Jesus arrested me in my sin.
He showed me the way out.

He changed everything. 
He gave me eyes to see.
He made me BRAVE.
This world is not our home, so it does not have to be perfect for me or my kids.

My children can live with less.
And I can do more.
There is a famine going on RIGHT NOW. 

Somewhere in Africa, right at this moment, a mother is starving to death while she is pregnant.  Worse, a mother is watching her child starve to death.  Mothers, can you imagine this?  Pray!

Disease, AIDS, poverty, and tragedy are filling orphanages right at this minute.  The children of Africa can dare to hope that if they live through this famine, statistics show that they are more likely to be raped than learn to read, and the same diseases and violence that took their parents might return for them.   


All of those children are God's.
One Two of those children are ours.

Thank you for joining us in the beginning of our story. 

Support my family in prayer and by visiting this blog for updates as we venture to bring home our child from Ethiopia.