Saturday, July 04, 2015

138 days - A Fundraising GIVEAWAY!!!!

First family picture with our little guy back in February.
It's been 138 days since we first saw his face (which is hidden under the heart until we officially adopt him).

138 Days - As of today, it has been 138 days since we saw our future son's face for the first time. Lord willing, there won't be too many more days that will pass before we meet him face to face.

Today I woke up to Facebook posts from families who are leaving for Ethiopia today having been given TWO DAYS NOTICE. Yes, they were called Thursday and are leaving for Ethiopia today. Some of these families are only two weeks ahead of us in the process. It's getting real, folks. Getting THE CALL to travel to go meet our soon-to-be son and officially adopt him could be very close.

We still have about $5000 to raise to be fully funded to travel to adopt him, bring him home, and complete our final adoption expenses. The grants we were hoping to receive to finish off our adoption expenses did not pan out. We are so thankful that we have received some generous donations in the past few weeks, but we are not finished yet!

In honor of our 138 days of knowing our little one's name and face, we are holding a fundraising giveaway!!! 
We are giving away a $138 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!!!

You can enter our giveaway twice. Here's how to enter:
1. Click here to give a donation of ANY AMOUNT, large or small, to our adoption fund with Lifesong for Orphans. Any donation will enter you into our giveaway. Want to give $1 just to be entered? Great!!! We would love for you to be a part of our little guy's story.
If you would like to donate via check rather than paypal, let me know. I can send you the address of where to send a check.

2. Share this blog post/giveaway via Facebook or another social media outlet. Other adoption-minded individuals might be excited enter our giveaway to help us bring our little guy home. We would love your help to SPREAD THE WORD. If you share our giveaway, you can comment on this blog post or comment/message me personally on Facebook, and I will put your name in for a second entry.

Here's something fun to think about: Would you consider giving $138 in honor of our little man and our wait for him to this point? If that is too much or if you want to give more, that is totally fine. Just think - if 37 people gave $138, our needs would be met. Cool, right? OR - What if 138 people gave (even small amounts)? That would be awesome, too. I'll try to post a thermometer on our blog to track the status of the giveaway. This will be SO MUCH FUN to see how the Lord provides.

Giveaway ends on Monday, July 13. I will put all names in a bowl and have our kids draw for a winner on July 16 to celebrate five months since first seeing his face. My prayer is that when we draw for the giveaway that we will also be scrambling making travel plans. Only the Lord knows!!!

If you are a first time visitor to our blog and would like more details about our adoption journey and our financial provision/stewardship throughout the last three years, you are welcome to browse through our blog to learn more of our story. Here are a few specific links:
The Beginnings of our Adoption Process
138 Days Ago - Our Referral Call
June 2015 Update on the State of the Friederichsen Adoption Funds

Thanks for considering our family's needs. Above all, please pray that the time remaining to see him face to face will be short and that the Lord will prepare all of us to be together as a family forever.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Be Brave, Little One

Early in 2015, I decided that I wanted two words to define my year: Courage and Discipline. Throughout the year, I have waned in and out of faithfulness to those words and how God wanted to grow me in those areas.

Lately, however, I have been thinking a lot about courage and how brave Donny and I, our current kids, and our little boy waiting for us in Ethiopia will need to be to see this adoption process to completion and to begin life as a family of six.

His life has already held so much pain - too much that any one and a half year old should have to experience. His first pain came so early. He will need to be brave.

We are entering a phase of parenthood that is totally unknown. God has entrusted us to help be part of the process to heal his heart. We will need to be brave.

There will be much we won't understand. There will be much we won't know. We will all need to be brave.

We know our courage is not perfect, and our bravery will wane. I am thankful, however, that the One who we put our courage, faith, and trust in does not waver and does not wane. My bravery will fail. My God will not.

Psalm 121:1-5
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. 

Be brave, little one. Someone is waiting for you. We are waiting to love you in the flesh. Until then, our Lord will watch over you. He is the truest Father you need. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

The State of the Friederichsen Adoption Funds

Now that we have accepted our referral and await our little guy's homecoming, we have been putting energy into funding the final part of our adoption which will cover the enormous expense of traveling to bring him home. 

We want to be totally transparent with how we, by God's grace and provision, have funded this adoption up to this point. Below you will find a summary of how the Lord has provided beyond measure for our every need to bring our little guy home.

Our adoption expenses over the past three years have come in three waves. When we began the adoption process in 2012, we used personal savings to cover our initial agency and home study expenses. During 2013, we received a matching grant, held an adoption auction and yard sale, and received charitable donations which covered our second major set of expenses - our international fees that we paid upon accepting the referral of our little man. Now we face the final and MOST EXCITING set of expenses - the ones to travel to GO GET OUR BOY!!!!

We are seeking donations, grants, and other ways to fund the remaining costs associated with our adoption.

To continue with our transparency, here's where we are financially:

As of today, we have personal savings ($4038.50) and some remaining grant money ($1410.41) which together total $5448.91.
Our agency estimates approximately $11,300 in travel related expenses. This will include two trips to Ethiopia, travel, lodging and food while in country, and funds needed to bring our little guy home.

We are currently praying for and seeking the remaining $5851.09 needed to completely fund our estimated travel costs.

We have applied for two more grants, been rejected for one of them already, and we are not sure when we will hear from the other grant agency. 

In the meantime, we wanted to remind you that we have an adoption fundraising account with Lifesong for Orphans in which individuals and families can partner with us to bring our little boy home by donating any amount of money to our adoption. You may donate by clicking 
click the "Donate Now" button on the top right corner of this page, or CLICK HERE . 

One of our greatest desires right now is to be rid of the financial concerns associated with completing our adoption so that we can give all of our energy to preparing to bring our soon-to-be-son home. Will you consider giving little or big to make that happen? Any amount will make a difference. If you have friends who are adoption-minded and might be interested in helping us bring our little guy home, feel free to share this post and need with them.

One more note of transparency: We are considering taking Hunter and Millie with us on our first trip to Ethiopia. Any funds given to Lifesong for Orphans on our behalf will only be used for necessary adoption expenses. We will make decisions about the financial feasibility of taking our kids with us once we see how the rest of our necessary funding comes in. I wanted to be upfront that your donations are only covering what is necessary and outlined by our adoption agency. We will figure out the kids' expenses as we go along if we decide to take them.

Many of you reading this have given to our adoption in the past, and we are so thankful. It was incredible to have grant money and past donations to 100% cover our HUGE referral fee. You helped us to be able to say "yes" to our little guy without having to worry about finances, and that was a HUGE gift to our family.

Now we seek the ability to freely say "yes" to booking those plane tickets when we get the phone call. Will you help send us? We are ready, and we will trust the Lord to provide for our every need. He has been so faithful through this long process, and we trust his faithfulness to bring us to the end when we will finally have our boy in our arms, forever a Friederichsen.

Feel free to contact me at kim (dot) friederichsen (at) if you have any questions about our process. Again, you can donate RIGHT NOW by clicking the "Donate Now" button on the top right-hand corner of this blog post.

We hope with all of our hearts that one of our next blog posts is to tell you that we have gotten the call to go MEET OUR BOY!!! Until then, please continue to pray for our family and our little guy across the world. We long for the day we will be together - a family forever.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

After the "Yes" - What Now?

Thanks for following along in our adoption story. Most of you have been following since the beginning. Did you realize that we are coming up on three years of being in the adoption process? Donny and I had our first serious conversation about adopting on June 5, 2012, and we sent our application in to our agency on July 11, 2012. It's been a long journey, and it is not over yet - not by a long shot.

A lot has happened since accepting our referral at the end of February. There has been an investigation by the US Embassy and Immigration services to verify our little guy's orphan status. That went well. We had more fingerprints taken (no, they haven't changed since the last time we had our fingerprints taken - when will the madness end???!!). We received, authenticated and sent to Ethiopia the final letter from the US government needed for our dossier of paperwork that is three years in the making. Our dossier of paperwork was submitted to the Ethiopian court system, and our case was reviewed in a preliminary hearing in Ethiopia earlier this week. Needless to say, lots has happened in the past 3 months.

So what now??? Now is the most exciting and most nerve-wracking wait thus far. We are waiting for our phone to ring with a call from our case worker saying that we have been assigned a court date to travel to Ethiopia to meet our soon-to-be son. When will this happen? I have no clue. It could be weeks or as much as two months. I hope it's not more than two months, because the courts in Ethiopia close in mid-August for the "rainy season." This is a much-dreaded season where all cases waiting for court dates are put on hold for six weeks until it stops raining. There are quite a few families in our agency that are in a similar spot as we are, and we are ALL praying for court dates BEFORE the August rainy season closure.

Would you join us in praying for a court date in mid-July? That would be very fast according to the pace that current assignments are coming, but nothing is impossible for God. We will continue to trust his timing as we move forward in this process, but a mid-July court date would likely mean he would be home before the school year begins which would be incredible.

Thanks again for following our story. It's not over yet, and we ask for your prayers. Our hearts long to have him home. We are heading to IKEA tonight to get things for his room. I am an expectant mom in full nesting mode. The Lord continues to prepare our hearts for the arrival of our new son, we are preparing our home for him, and we pray we are united as soon as possible.

One of the last major steps in the process of bringing him home is raising the final funds necessary to complete our adoption process. Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Ugly Cry at Shop Rite (Referral Part Three)

We waited. And waited.

And what did I do while we waited? Paperwork. And more paperwork. 

Our dossier and homestudy were due for an update. We knew these updates would be needed soon, but we did not know our referral was coming so fast. The day after our referral, the kids and I went on a mad dash to get a host of paperwork produced  and notarized. We traveled to four different towns to get medical forms, proof of employment letters, police clearance forms, and more. I was not about to let anything slow down our ability to say "yes" to this sweet child once we received news of his revised medical measurements. 

Later that week, we met with our home study provider for our home study update. We met with her on a Friday and went straight from that meeting to get an updated set of fingerprints taken for our home study update. Fingerprints. I can't count how many times we have had our fingerprints taken. 

On our way home from fingerprints, we stopped by Shop Rite to get a movie at the Netflix kiosk. As is a common Friday night tradition in the Friederichsen home, we had promised the kids a pizza and movie night. We were all together, so I dashed out of the van to pick up the video. I was out of the car for less than 2 minutes. When I returned to the car, before I even opened the door, Donny was holding his phone up to the window.

An email. The email. His measurements were clear. We could say "yes." He was to be ours. 

And I started crying right there in the Shop Rite parking lot, looking through the window at Donny's phone, and I hadn't even opened the van door yet. The kids were watching me and asked why I was crying. I was wearing sunglasses, so I asked them how they knew I was crying. They said my face got all scrunched up, and they could just tell.

Basically, I was crying the ugly cry in the Shop Rite parking lot.

We still had not told the kids we had received a referral. Donny and I dashed home, pulled out the pictures, sat them on the sofa, and introduced them to their soon to be brother. It was so much fun. We took lots of pictures, and they were so excited.

But we weren't done yet. There were more papers to be signed. Now that we could accept his referral based on his new measurements, we had about 15 documents to sign and notarize to make it official. We headed to our local bank and spent the next hour (at closing) with a sweet bank representative who notarized every signature in our referral packet.

And we were done...for the moment. Ready to send off our papers saying that we intend to be his Mommy and Daddy, and we intend for him to be ours. We had received and were accepting the referral of this sweet little one. By God's grace, he would no longer be an orphan, and we would no longer be Friederichsen, family of 5.

So we celebrated. Pizza, popcorn, ice cream and a movie. And lots of tears and smiles.

The next morning I took our referral papers to the post office to be overnighted to our agency. Letting that packet of papers go was one of the most nerve-wracking things I have had to do in this process. And off the papers went. Done. And the hope of adoption was closer than ever. There is more waiting ahead, but we will do what it takes to bring our sweet little "soon-to-be Friederichsen" home. 

Pizza and Popcorn to celebrate!!!

Followed by ice cream!!!

Ready to send off all the papers required to say "yes" to our darling little boy.

Check it out, baby!!! We are coming for you!!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

I Haven't Even Seen Him... (Referral Part Two)

We got off the phone with our case worker still stunned that "the call" with our referral just happened. We had not requested his picture and referral packet yet, because we needed to digest what in the world was happening. Through tears, I said these words to my darling husband:

I haven’t even seen him, and I think I already love him.

Those words have stuck with me throughout the last few months. God, in his good will and timing, chose to bring this little one into our lives and us into his life. Love for him did not come because of how he looks or what his circumstances are. Love for him came because God ordained our and his circumstances so that we would be family. And so I loved him before I ever saw him.

Later that afternoon, we texted our case worker and asked her to go ahead and email us his documents. I could not wait through the night. We decided to wait until our big kids were in bed to sit down to look through his paperwork. We had not breathed a word of this to them. They had no idea we had received this life changing call. They were just enjoying the extra Xbox and movie time.

Donny and I sat down, took some pictures using my camera's timer holding Donny's iPad which held the long-awaited documents, prayed, and then went to open the email...

Nothing. The document would not open. "Anti-climactic" would be a huge understatement to describe that moment. We texted our case worker again, and she needed a few minutes to take care of her own family before she could try re-sending it. We waited, did some dishes, played some Candy Crush, and then it arrived.

And there he was. This sweet little face with a bit of a furrowed brow was staring at us, and all I could think is that I wanted him in my arms where I could stroke his face, relax his brow, stare in his eyes, soothe his cares, soothe his pain, and help him begin to heal from some of the intensity and brokenness of his very young life.

We read through his papers and medical reports. There were no major concerns except for one - his basic measurements seemed a little off, a little out of proportion. None of the other paperwork led us to believe that he had any major health problems, but the measurements did not make sense. We felt confident that this was likely a mistake or a typographical error, but we needed to have him checked out. We were ready to say "yes" to this little boy, but we were not approved for every type of special need. We needed to make sure that we were the right family for him and any needs he might have, so we requested that his measurements be retaken. Our agency was incredible and went through extra effort to fulfill this request, but we would have to wait to receive the results. 

And so we waited...

Donny and I getting ready to open the email that would show our soon-to-be son's face.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

There Is a Little Boy (Referral Part One)

So there's this boy on the other side of the world. He's not ours yet, but his picture is on our fridge. His name is frequently spoken. Our family is preparing for him. He is our soon-to-be son, and we could not be more excited.

Now, here's how it happened. Buckle up. This could be a long post (or series of posts).

One Monday in February I received a phone call from our agency case worker in Birmingham. I was expecting to hear from her, because I had emailed her asking some questions about our home study update. After a little small talk, Cyndi asked me if Donny was available to talk as well. She said she had tried to call him first but was unable to reach him and asked if I could get him.

My response to her: "OOOOOOOOOOOHH. You want to have THAT conversation. OOOOOOHH."

I told her that I would get in touch with Donny and we would get back with her.

This was it. A referral. Could it be? It can't be. But I think it is.

I called Donny. And I called him again. And again. And again. He was in a lunch meeting. Thankfully, his meeting was wrapping up, but I was definitely interrupting it, and I definitely didn't care. He told me he would be home in about 20 minutes. It definitely took longer than 20 minutes, but he finally got home. We sent the kids to either watch a movie or play XBox (I can't remember), and we went up to our bedroom. Cyndi (our case worker) called us, and we talked with her on speaker phone sitting in the floor of our bedroom.

Cyndi's words: "I want to talk to you about a little boy."

Done. It's a boy. IT'S A BOY!!!! A boy. A little boy. I remember just staring off while Cyndi filled us in on a little of his story. From that point on, I was spaced out and in shock. We had waited for this day for over two and a half years. Now that the day had come, I had no idea how to respond. No idea. Cyndi asked if we wanted to receive a picture of him and more information in a packet via email. Donny asked Cyndi if we could hold off on receiving the packet in order to have time and space to process what is happening before we saw pictures and received more detailed information. He said we would call her for the packet tomorrow. I quickly interjected: "Or maybe later this evening after our kids are in bed. Would that be ok?"

And so it happened. The call. "There is a little boy." Five words that forever changed our family, because that little boy, by God's grace and sovereign good will, will become ours - a Friederichsen.

Mid-phone call selfie with Donny's iPad to document "the call."
Notice my red eyes. Many tears were shed that day when we first heard of our soon-to-be son.

Here's a little real life look into our referral call.
Can't believe it!!! We're thrilled (and in shock). 
Our case worker had no idea we were taking these pics while she was talking.

More to come...