Sooooo... we are about to begin our 6th month on the official waiting list for our adoption. We have actually moved up the list much faster than anticipated! We are now tied for number 5 on the toddler list (10-24 months) and tied for 2nd for a girl 18-24 months! By "tied" I mean that there is another family who had their dossier (information packet) arrive in Ethiopia on the same day. Technically we don't know which of us got logged into the system first, so we'll see who gets the referral first) :) And our "referral day" is the day we get to see our daughter's picture for the first time via email! It is the day we are "matched" with her and see her pictures, medical information, etc.
We are very excited (ok so I am excited, Pete is sort of in denial that it's happening this fast) :D but we now realize that we need to start really pursuing the financial side of things.
Pete and I will need to travel to Ethiopia two times. The first trip will be for our initial court date, and we should be there about 7-10 days. Once we pass court we will then be given an embassy date, at which time we will travel back to Ethiopia and actually get to bring our little one home with us! The two trip rule went into effect Jan of 2010 and has made things a bit more complicated (and expensive) BUT it was for the protection of the orphans in Ethiopia. Sadly, there is a lot of deception and child trafficking going on in their country. We are blessed to have found an agency that researches each child's history in depth and ensures full legitimacy in every area. This may take more time than we'd like, but we know we are getting a child legally and ethically.
So here's the nitty gritty... the cost for our two trips to Ethiopia is going to be about $15,000 (just in travel fees, this does not include adoption fees). Could be more, could be less (we hope!). Airline tickets are the bulk of this expense. We will not get much of a heads up as to when we will be called to travel, so we will have to purchase tickets without the luxury of advance purchase discounts, etc. Also, at this point it looks like we will be traveling during the summer, which is apparently the most expensive time to fly, specifically late summer.
In addition to travel fees, we have at least an additional $6000 to pay towards the adoption itself, which goes towards the staffing and supply for the transitional homes (where our child stays once referred to us), the medical care she will receive there, the consultation we get with an international adoption specialist (ours is in Houston), and other administrative needs of the agency itself. America World Adoption Agency is very transparent about all of the fees and where the monies are used. If you are interested in more details about the cost of our adoption you can visit the website at http://www.awaa.org/programs/ethiopia/cost.aspx
SO HOW CAN YOU HELP???????
Pete and I have been blessed to have paid every cent of this adoption ourselves thus far. We have had the support and prayers of family and friends every step of the way which is priceless. Though financial donations are always welcomed and appreciated, we are actually seeking help in a variety of different ways....
1. FREQUENT FLYER MILES!!!! We are hoping to find several people who are willing to donate frequent flyer miles which we can apply towards our tickets to Ethiopia. These miles will need to be the type which can be used on any airline (you would have to check to make sure) because we will not know which airline we'll be taking until the very last minute, and we most likely will fly on several. So if you or anyone else you know, perhaps a business traveler, etc, would be willing to donate some or all of their miles it would be such a blessing!!! UPDATE: We just had a family recommend that we use United or Delta miles...they were able to use their miles with only a 48 hour advance warning! If you are interested in helping us with miles contact me directly for more information!
2. PRAYER!!!! Some people don't think of this as a "tangible" way to give but I beg to differ! Prayers are much needed on this journey of ours. Here are several specific areas in which you can pray for us:
• Pray for our adopted child, that she be safe and nurtured until we can get to her and get her home!
• Pray for the remainder of our waiting, that the right child will be referred to us and that everything just falls into place.
• Pray that during this wait time we prepare ourselves emotionally and spiritually for the transition that is about to occur, including reading, researching, and praying!!!
• Pray for safe travels, that we would not fall ill (many do) and that Pete can survive having his long legs crammed into the little seats! (he really does dread that part!)
• Pray for our family, specifically Hannah, as we prepare to adjust to being a family of four instead of three.
• Pray that as we arrive home with our newest addition that she is able to adjust and that "attachment" goes well. Many orphans have difficulty with the bonding/attaching process.
There are many other prayer needs but those are some basics...your prayers are needed and will be FELT as we find our way through the remainder of this adoption journey.
3. Financial donations are accepted and appreciated. I have been told that all monetary donations are tax deductable but make sure to write on your check the purpose of your donation. You may also want to check with your CPA to see if you need any additional documentation. If you feel led to assist us in this way, you can either write a check to us or send it directly to our agency. Our agency has a new program called the "Eternal Family Program" in which individuals can donate funds towards our adoption with or without their identity being known. The online link to that is below. ALL donations in their entirety will be used directly towards adoption expenses.
4. Last but definitely not least, you can SPREAD THE WORD!!! Share our story with others you know. Pete and I believe that we were all born orphans into this world but that God has adopted us into His eternal family. This is beyond our ability to fathom, but through this process we are beginning to see what an amazing picture of True, Pure Love adoption really is. We want to share the story of adoption to all who are willing to listen.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and consider how you might help us grow our family by bringing home our little girl from Africa!!! We are so appreciative for the love and support of family and friends across the country. God has led us down here to Brownsville, TX, and we have met many amazing people along the way, but our journey is far from finished. We are excited to see what He has in store for our ever growing family!
If you have any questions regarding our adoption, or if you just want to touch base with us feel free to email anytime! Also, if you have friends who are considering adoption either domestically or internationally I would love to share our story with them! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you SO much for joining us on this journey!!! Can't wait to share the news of our referral!!!
Pete and Marcy Cummings
2867 Sweet Street
Brownsville, TX 78521
Donations can also be sent to:
America World Adoption Agency
Attn: Accounting Dept.
6723 Whittier Ave Suite 202
McLean, VA 22101
Checks can be made payable to: American World Adoption Agency or AWAA
Make sure to put in comment line "Pete and Marcy Cummings adoption"
To donate online visit the following link and under "Select A Fee" scroll down to "Eternal Family Program" www.awaa.org/forms/payment.aspx. Write our name in the comment section.