Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're moving up the waiting list!

Well, on the "unofficial" list of our agency's yahoo group, we are now 6th in line for an infant girl referral. This does not take into account families that we may not be aware of that are not a part of this group, and thus we can not really use it to estimate our referral date, but it is still exciting to move up the list!
It is very helpful and encouraging to read the posts of all the families who are different stages in their adoptions. I am seeing both the joys and the difficult trials that we may face in the days ahead and am asking the Lord for grace upon these families who are walking a few steps ahead of or behind us as well as upon our family during this process. It still amazes me that we have our entire adoption costs almost completely covered!
Speaking of adoption costs, there is a wonderful family that have adopted a baby girl from Ethiopia and are now starting their second adoption for an older child. They are the Gibsons and they are having a great t-shirt fundraiser as well as a Christmas Give Away that ends today. I think I might have to buy a t-shirt myself. I really like them, and it would be a great way to give towards another family's adoption. I would encourage you to check out their blog. They are trying to make it an inspiring and encouraging resource for those who are considering or already on an adoption journey of their own.

I will attach the link where you can buy an awesome adoption t-shirt and/or enter to win: Christmas GiveAway Adoption Blog

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We received a $3000 adoption grant today!

We have some exciting news! We received a letter in the mail today saying that Show Hope is awarding us a $3000 adoption grant! We are so thankful to the Lord for His provision through this ministry. We are now within $1200-4500 (depending on travel costs) of having our entire adoption provided for. It is so exciting to be able to echo and now speak as our own testimony what we have heard and clung to as we began this process--The Lord provides miraculously for adoptions! Thank you for your prayers. We are so encouraged as we wait upon Him to bring us the daughter he has picked out to be a part of our family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Help us Fund our Adoption by Joining Blastoff!

The blastoff network has officially launched! Here is the link to my homepage: my.blastoffnetwork.com/devontarr! The first day the invitation service was activated, so many people were trying to log on that their load balancer for their services exploded and everything was down for the better part of a day. I'm sorry if you were trying to join at this time and it wasn't working! Things seem to be up and running great now and we hope that people will be excited about joining even though it's brand new and people haven't heard of it. Pizza Hut is going to start marketing it soon on all their pizza boxes, so the word should begin spreading fast. For those of you who are reading my blog for the first time, the Blastoff Network is a new internet company offering a customizable homepage where you can do lots of fun things and save significant money when you shop online from over 400 major retailers. Also, when you share the network with your friends, you get a small percentage of anything they purchase through the site and of anything their friends purchase up to the 10th degree of separation. This means if people begin to understand how significant this could be and join through you or someone that can be traced to you, a large network can be built that might yield some significant extra income.

We are going to use anything we make from this to complete our adoption! It has been over a month since we sent in our dossier to Ethiopia, and we are 9th in line in our agency (that we know of) for a baby girl and 20th for a referral in general. We are still expecting to receive our referral sometime next summer. Our desire is that we would have everything taken care of before the courts close next year, but we trust the Lord's perfect timing to bring Brielle (the name we have chosen for her) into our family!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blastoff is Launching Oct. 22nd!

We just got word that Blastoff is launching in two days Oct. 22nd at 12 noon central time! This is exciting because it means that you will now be able to go to my blastoff homepage at my.blastoffnetwork.com/devontarr any time after 12 noon Oct. 22nd and sign up to get your own homepage so that you can start sending it to all your friends. If you are interested in knowing more information, please send me an email at devon720@yahoo.com Pizza hut has a contract with Blastoff to start marketing it on Oct. 27th, so there will 5 days before any one else is able to start marketing it to get the word out first.

As far as our adoption goes, we are now one month into the wait since our dossier made it to Ethiopia and are excited at how fast it seems to have gone. We have been brought much to do and accomplish during this wait which we trust will help the time seem faster than it really is. We are having fun being part of our adoption agency's yahoo group for families in process of adoption from Ethiopia. We are seeing what the needs are to pray over and rejoice in everyday. There is a real community fostered in this way that we are excited to be a part of!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Blastoff Update! (and the FCF camping trip)

We just got back from the first annual Forerunner Christian Fellowship campout. We had a great time at the Castle Ministries lodge and grounds about 45 min. outside Knoxville. The kids had such a fun time, they cried when we left. Thankfully the rain cleared up before we got there yesterday and we had a sweet time of fellowship, worship, talent shows, grilled burgers and hotdogs and smores around the fire. I'm so thankful my Mom who was in town from Reno, NV for Kendra's birthday got to come as well!

As far as Blastoff is concerned, they are needing to delay the launch date, hopefully for the last time. They are needing a few more days in working with all the major email companies to prepare them for the volume of invitations coming and are making sure Blastoff invitations are fully SPAM compliant. As soon as I hear an exact date, I will post it here. For now, keep telling your friends and family it is coming and feel free to email if you have any questions at

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blastoff Date Changes!

The date that you can sign up for Blastoff is now Oct. 12th. You will still have two weeks to tell all your friends before it goes public on Oct. 26th. We're sorry if you tried to join and it didn't work earlier. We had our first conference call with the other families who are adopting from Ethiopia from America World and are "waiting." It made everything even more "real" and we are so thankful for the Wonderful experience we have had with our agency and everyone we've been working with. We could not be more thankful for the way we are being cared for during this process. We are still expecting a 9-11 month wait for a referral, which would put us in June-August of 2010. It will be fun to see what the Lord has, and in the mean while He is bringing us plenty to keep us busy during the wait. Our daughter Kendra is turning six this week and we are so thankful for her life. She prays every day for her "sissy" to have enough food and be protected in Africa. She is so excited that each "step" of this process brings us one step closer to her.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Help us Fund our Adoption by Joining Blastoff!

We have much praise on our lips to our AWESOME God! He is continuing to pour out funding and resources for our adoption, and we are so thankful! We have now surpassed the amount that was needed for us to send in our paperwork. Also, our dossier was officially shipped to Ethiopia last week so we are officially "waiting" and trusting the Lord to bring a referral for our daughter in His time.

One of the ways we believe the Lord is going to fund our adoption and perhaps more ministry ventures is through an opportunity that has been presented to us by a partnership between an established top 100 company, Prepaid Legal and a brand new company called Blastoff communications. Blastoff is a huge internet marketing company that is going to offer people a free homepage where they can keep their social networking sites like facebook open and customize music, videos, and designs on their homepage. There will also be a link to a "mall" and other needed services such as airline, internet, tv, phone, etc. where people can earn cashback and will be able to see any promotionals that different vendors are offering. There are over 300 big name companies that are already participating such as Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Bestbuy, Travelocity, etc. You will also get a small percentage of whatever anybody you share this with buys up to the tenth degree of separation. This means you can be earning commission off of potentially thousands of people. The vendors have agreed to pay a small percentage of money from each sale to each person who is in that 10 degree line of referral. To get a better idea of what it is you can go to blastoffnetwork.com and you can check out my homepage at ppl.blastoffnetwork.com/devontarr Prepaid Legal, of which I am now an associate, has the exclusive rights to market this free website for two weeks before it goes public on Oct. 12th. This means that on Sept. 26th at midnight (12am Sept. 27th),
you can access my homepage and sign up to get your own. You can then send invitations to all your friends to join and then they can send it to their friends.

There is absolutely no-risk to this, because it's free, and even minimal amounts from people shopping online can add up. If you are interested or have any questions you can email me at devon720@yahoo.com Once this goes public, due to the viral nature of how quickly it can spread there will not be the same opportunity to grow a large network. My heart is that any money that comes from this would be used to see the gospel spread and families provided for.
There are several legitimate news articles regarding this opportunity. I will try to post a link if you are interested.

Remember, if you want to, go to ppl.blastoffnetwork.com/devontarr on Sept. 27th, sign up and start spreading the word. I hope it blesses you too!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our dossier is on it's way!

The Lord Jesus has truly made a way for us to send in all our paperwork today! We received around $3000 unexpectedly from extended family and a loan for the rest. We are so thankful and excited that we can now wait and rest in God's perfect timing to bring us to our daughter, even as we have been "working" unto that end for over four months now. Please pray that our documents make it safely through their last round of certification at the US Embassy and as they travel overseas to Ethiopia and are translated. I'll post when they have officially been shipped overseas.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We received our USCIS Approval today!

We were so surprised and excited when we received our approval notice from the USCIS today. This is what we have been waiting on to be able to send in our dossier! The Lord's timing is so amazing and we are very hopeful that we will be able to send our dossier to our agency by the end of next week---which means we will officially be on the waiting list! We are still needing a large amount of money to be able to send it in but are trusting the our God to provide.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

East Tennessee Ethiopian Connection

We were excited this weekend when the Knoxville New Sentinel ran an article on the Hamilton family and their recent adoption of three children from Ethiopia. We then learned of an East Tennessee Ethiopian Adoption Yahoo Group that connects families from the area that have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. We joined the group and are already starting to connect with some of the families! This is such a blessing, as many of the families have used the same agency, AWAA, as we are and can give us a detailed and accurate picture of the road ahead of us. I hope to begin adding their blogs to my blog roll.

We are still waiting on approval from the USCIS so that we can send in our dossier. We just sent in a document they requested for clarification on some information, so at least we know they are looking at our application. We are trusting the Lord's timing and that he will continue to provide the $7000 dollars we need to send in with our dossier sometime in the next month or so. Our Heavenly Father has provided $1500 of it in the last week and we trust the rest is coming soon.

Nathan's sister Ashley is getting married next weekend and all of us except Bryan are in the wedding. Nathan is officiating. I am a bridesmaid. Kendra is the flower girl, and Carson is the ring bearer! We are all busy preparing for this exciting time and will post pictures after the great event.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

We have been fingerprinted

Nathan and I just got back this afternoon from a wonderful anniversary getaway where we were able to enjoy great time together at the Whitestone Inn outside of Knoxville. We were able to get a good start on some writing projects we've felt called to as well. Yesterday was our fingerprinting appointment in Nashville, the last step before the U.S. can grant us approval to adopt. We were blessed to be able to have dinner with Nathan's sister Ashley, who now lives in Nashville, and stay the night with a wonderful Christian family.
We are very excited and hopeful that as soon as we receive the USCIS approval document we can get our dossier certified and sent to Ethiopia. At that point we will be put on the waiting list for a referral. It is still a 9-11 months for an infant girl, but that is always subject to change. When we turn in our dossier, probably in October, unless the USCIS surprises us, we are going to need a little over $7000 to turn in along with it. So far, we have received $5600 which has covered all of our expenses so far almost exactly. I added up the total of what we have spent so far and it was $5619. We are trusting the Lord to provide this amount sometime in the next few months in a miraculous way! He is so faithful!
I have begun to apply for some grants. One application is in the mail and several more will be finished within the next few weeks. Please pray for favor from those who make the decisions regarding the applications. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We have received our fingerprinting appointment

We have received our fingerprint appointment for August 4th!  This is the last step necessary for the USCIS to process our application and give us our approval form which is the last document we need for our dossier.  I have finished the online class and Nathan is almost done.  We are getting very close to having all of the "work" done and the "wait" to begin.  Right now it is 9-11 months to wait for a referral for a baby girl, but this is always subject to change.  We are thankful for the Lord's grace to get each step of this process done, and we trust his timing--through the working of all the many factors that are out of our control.  We are getting all settled back into our home and life in Knoxville and are enjoying time with family and friends.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Our Home study has been finalized!

Hi everyone!  The kids and I have been spending a lot of quality time with family here in Reno.  We are so thankful for the special days with loved ones.  We are also grateful that Nathan is back here with us and are getting ready to head back home to Knoxville on Tuesday.  We are excited to see everyone there soon!  We have had our home study finalized and approved by everyone, and our I6OOa application has been mailed to the TN USCIS office.  This was a huge accomplishment and our social worker Debbie once again went and above and beyond her duty to help us get it mailed out before I return home!  We are so thankful and this process has had such favor thus far.  The cost for the application including FBI fingerprints was $830, and the Lord had provided for that amount right as we left for our trip.  He is so faithfully providing step by step!  
    We have been working on our online class and reading assignments while in Reno.  We are now able to start applying for some grants as we have our completed home study.  We do not know how long it will take to get approval from the US government--possibly several months.  As soon as we receive that approval form we will be able to certify our dossier at each level--county, state, and nationally.  It will then be ready to send to Ethiopia which is when we are officially on the "waiting list" for a referral for a baby girl 0-18 months.  Currently the wait at that point is 9-11 months for a referral but it is always subject to change.  We trust the Lord's timing and know he has our daughter already handpicked for our family.  Thank you for your prayers and gifts.  There is so much I am learning I will look forward to sharing on this blog once we get settled back home.  

Friday, June 5, 2009

Our First Paperwork Hiccup

Well, after thinking everything we needed to complete the home study was finished, we got an email from our social worker yesterday that the USCIS has just instituted a new rule that you have to get a central registry check for child abuse/neglect from every state you have resided in the past ten years.  For us that meant sending off application forms to Nevada, Illinois, Tennessee, and Missouri!  Debbie has been so gracious to help us get all this done before we leave.  We thought it might not happen by Monday, but we received our last form for Illinois today and will put it in the mail tomorrow.  Praise the Lord!  All to say, no clothes are in the suitcases yet, but I think the paperwork for the home study is now really done.  We also started the online training that is required and will complete that during this next month.   This has been one intense but wonderful week!  Carson turned three on Monday and is very excited to be a "big" boy now.  We had a super fun "tractor" party for him with all the families with kids from church.  We are praying for grace to get all packed for our big trip out West and excited to have one more Sunday service and potluck with our church family before we head out of town.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our Homestudy is Completed!

Within 2 and a half weeks of our first home study interview, it is completed!  Now our social worker who is an amazing Christian woman named Debbie Taylor will write the report and we should receive all of the notarized copies in a few weeks.  As soon as we do this, we will be able to send in our I-600A application to the USCIS which will be the last thing we need to wait on approval for before we can send our Dossier to Ethiopia.  The I-600A is the petition to the US government to be approved to adopt an orphan.   The Lord has been giving us favor and grace to work hard and fast as Debbie said we have the record on document collection :)  She has been so gracious to meet with such an accelerated pace.  (An average home study takes 3 months to complete.)
We also have received $3600 dollars so far for the adoption costs which is close to the amount we have needed for this first portion of the process!  We are so thankful for the provision of the Lord through His Body!  We love having this testimony!   I will post a schedule of the fees and what we have already paid as soon as possible.  The next large portion of money will be due when we send in our dossier.  The total we will to send at that point is $7050.  Later this month we will need to send in $830 with our I-600A. To look at the Ethiopia program information and fees on our agencies website, you can go to www.awaa.org  and click on the Ethiopia under programs.  
Our whole family is going out to Southern California on June 8th to spend a week with family and friends, going to Sea World and Disneyland, and culminating in Nathan's graduation from The King's College and Seminary in Van Nuys with his MDiv.  Then Nathan will return home for a few weeks and I will travel to Reno with my parents and our kids to spend three weeks with family there.  Nathan will return for the 4th of July and my birthday (July 5th) and we'll be back in Knoxville on July 7th.  While we are gone, we will be working on our education requirements for the adoption.  We need to take an online Hague accredited course on adoption and read six books each on adoption and parenting.  The cost for the class is $175.  We are thankful we both love to read as this will make this requirement enjoyable as well as informative.  
While we have been working on our home study we have also been collecting our documents required for the dossier which are quite extensive, but we are close to completing that as well.  By the time we receive our U.S. approval (1-3 months) we will be ready to begin the certification process for our dossier.
For anyone interested in learning about Ethiopia and the situation there in regards to orphans, there is an excellent and heart wrenching book called There's No Me Without You.  I have not been able to make it through a chapter without crying.  There are almost 5 million orphans in Ethiopia at this time due to the Aids epidemic and poverty combined.  This book puts names and faces (it has pictures) to those incomprehensible statistics, and has only confirmed in my heart that we must do something to show God's heart for these people.  It is amazing to realize that my heart will forever care and pray daily for the people of Ethiopia and her children.  He is already putting a love in our hearts for our daughter and her people that is overwhelming!  We appreciate everyone's prayers and gifts very much--may the Lord continue to go before us as we take each step forward in this journey.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beginning the Journey of Adoption

We have officially begun the process of adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia!  I will be writing of how the Lord led us to this country in future posts.  We received our acceptance from America World Adoption Association, the agency we will be using as they are a Christian agency who give a 25% discount on their program fees to full time pastors.  We turned in our agreement and the first $1,125 of those fees due on Friday May 1st.  We should be receiving a call within the week from our family coordinator (who will help us compile our dossier) as well as the social worker who will be doing our home study.  We are going to try to get as much done as possible before we leave for California and Reno on June 9th!  We are very excited and appreciate everyone's prayers and gifts greatly.  The time frame from now until we bring her home is estimated at 12-24 months.  We are hoping it is closer to a year than two.  I think the average time frame right now is about 18 months.  We trust the Lord's perfect timing to bring us to the daughter he has destined to become a part of our family since the beginning of time. She will be so worth the wait!