While almost every other AWAA family waiting for a court date got one this week... we did not.

Instead we heard that there are missing documents that have prevented us from being submitted to court.  We won't receive a court date until all of these documents are obtained.

The missing papers are not on our side and therefore the problem is completely out of our hands.  All we can do is wait, which you would think we would be good at by now.  

We are not.

We are sad.  We are ready to go get her right now.

But its crummy times like these that make me realize what amazing friends we have.  I've gotten so many emails, phone calls and text messages I can't keep up with them all.  I'm pretty sure I exceeded my monthly texting limit in one day.  I don't know what we'd do without these new friends we've made along the way and the old friends who've stuck it out with us.  Thank you for keeping us sane.  I know it's a pretty big job.

We just found out that we are waiting for her birth mothers name to be added to all of the documents.  Some of those documents have to come from individuals who are a long way from Addis Ababa.  Please pray that those documents come in quickly and the individuals responsible are quick to get the job done.  We won't be submitted to court until those documents are completed and even then we will have to wait days to a week for a court date.  Please pray that this is resolved quickly and that we are able to travel in early April.  

Also, we heard today that she has conjunctivitis. 
Did you know that there are photo databases of children in the United States who are waiting for families?  

Adopt US Kids has a nationwide listing of over 200 children and sibling groups who are available for adoption today.  
Siblings 17, 9 and 6 Alabama

Each individual state also has one or more photo databases.
Emily 10 years old Indiana
Some of the children even have videos.  Lamont, from Ohio, is 12 years old and looking for a family.
I will be submitting a Mary Kay order soon, so please let me know if you'd like to order.

You can shop online at: www.marykay.com/brandydwade

If you are an adoptive family interested in having a Mary Kay fundraiser for your adoption, please contact me!
In October, my sister Amanda mentioned that she was thinking about taking a job in North Captiva, Florida (where our family goes on vacation every year) to work for six months.  I was supportive and excited.  Now I wish I hadn't been so supportive, because she is really doing it and she left this morning.
Even though I am sad (and really jealous), I am so proud of her for taking this chance and trying something new.  We've gone to North Captiva as a family four summers in a row and we all love it there.  We all joke about moving there... and Amanda is really doing it.  I'm really proud.  (And did I mention jealous?)

North Captiva is NOT Captiva or Sanibel.  It's a teeny tiny island with no bridge and no roads.  Amanda will take a boat to the island and will walk or drive a golf cart to get around.  She'll work at the pool bar (a family friendly open-air shell with about 10 barstools) and Mango's the grocery store/restaurant which is about the size of an average living room.

There is no big resort, just rental houses and a few guests.  It's quiet with lots of big empty beaches.  She is going to have a very unique experience.  I hope she has a wonderful time... I just hope she comes home in August!
Rooftop view of the houses across the island.
Amanda is keeping a travel blog while she is gone.  
You can read about her adventure at: 
Two years ago on February 19th we were officially accepted into the America World Adoption Ethiopia program.  Silly fools we were, we thought we'd be waiting 7 or 8 months for a referral.  

Two years later... we're really hoping to hear about our court date this week.  We have our fingers crossed for the week of March 12th or March 19th.  
Baby's hand in the Valentine's Day onesie we sent over!
From July 2009 - February 2010 our house was full of adoption agency information packets.  I know there are many families in America looking at those same packets today.  We would scan the list of countries and along the right hand side were the "average adoption costs."  $25,000, $35,000, $60,000- it was completely overwhelming.  Where would that money come from?  

We had no idea.  We hesitated and we waited and we wondered.  And then I remember reading this...

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."  
- German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
We began.  And sure enough, almost immediately, things began to fall into place.  Our own income and savings went much farther than we'd imagined and donations came from people and places we would have never guessed.

We remember every single donation we've received.  Whether it was $2 at a yard sale, $10 from a waitress, $100 out of the blue or a $600 check in the mail, each and every one made our hearts feel the same way.  More than the money... the feeling of being supported is the biggest blessing of all.

After our dossier was sent off, I made grant applications into a part-time job.  We received rejection letters from most of them.  

But Hand in Hand, gave us a $5,000 matching grant and suddenly there was our referral acceptance fee- covered.

We signed up for a Both Hands project and raised almost another $2,000 - one travel package covered.

So, where ever you are at in the process, whether you are considering adoption, getting ready to send off your dossier, or waiting on a referral.  I want to encourage you to apply for grants.  Yes, they take a lot of time, and yes you will probably be rejected by most of them.  But it is so worth the shot.  

And look into a Both Hands project, it is a lot of work, but if you're going to have to ask for donations, I've seen no better way.  

Links to the two grants we received: 
Hand in Hand
Both Hands

Links to a few other grants we did not receive: 
Show Hope
Gift of Adoption
God's Grace - We're still waiting to hear about this one.

If you would like to know more about the grants we've applied for and our experiences we would love to talk to you!  Just leave a comment, I read them before I publish them.
My friend Tonia just sent me this video about an organization called Dining for Women.  It is such a great idea, I had to share it.  There are no groups in Indiana yet, but maybe there is one in your area?

Wednesday March 7, 2012
Linton First Christian Church 
Hwy 54 Linton, Indiana 
7:00 pm 
The purpose of their tour is to bring the awareness to the millions of children around the world in need of care.

Two of these children (we don't know which two) and a chaperone will be staying in our home from the 6th to 9th.  We are so excited and hopeful to share our home with children from Ethiopia at a time that will probably be days before we travel to Ethiopia ourselves!

If you live in the Linton area and would like to help on the night of the concert we are in great need of volunteers!  We need help preparing a meal we will serve at 4:30 on the 7th for the choir, the host families, the chaperones and staff.  We need volunteers for both cooking and serving.  We also need folks to spread the word about the concert and help us fill the seats!  
Happy four month birthday baby girl!  
We didn't get a court date today, so that means we won't be able to find out when our court date is until the courts re-open on February 21st.  Our friends the Wages got their court date earlier this week and it was for March 8th (you can read that very exciting story here).  So we know that we won't be traveling before March 8th.  We are hoping to hear about our date shortly after the 21st of February and hoping that it will be as close to March 8th as possible, because we are ready to go right now, today!
Two wonderful, traveling mothers sent us new picture this week.  It is so exciting to get new pictures!  I am so thankful that they have taken time away from their own children to spend a few minutes with ours.  I can't wait until we can return the favor.  
It's February and a lot of us are thinking ahead to Valentine's Day and the sparkly little somethings that we all hope to receive from our beaus.  
DelicateFortress.com is allowing 30% of all purchases made from February 1st to the 7th to go toward Because Every Mother Matters upcoming trip to Ethiopia.  Through this trip they will work alongside women in Ethiopia to bring livelihood and health to their community.  Including our mother, Ayalenesh!  
So SHOP!  And know that Delicate Fortress is a Shop with Purpose store where you can fight human trafficking, modern day slavery, poverty and child exploitation with every purchase.  They support over 25 different non-profits and small businesses who are reaching out to help those effected by these crises with opportunities for education, rehabilitation and vocational training.  
Shop at DelicateFortress.com and use code Team BEMM when you check out and give that Valentine's Day gift some meaning!