Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Couldn’t Resist! October 30, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,India,Kids,Photos — Lori @ 5:19 pm

I finally got my long awaited email with new photos of Levi!  The gal from Journeys of the Heart was in India – she got back last week and had promised photos this week.

Here is what she had to say about her visit with him:

I am finally back in the office.  My trip to India was successful and as usual I enjoyed my visits with the children.  I really enjoyed my time with Sangeet.  He is a delightful child.  He is still very busy and curious about everything.   He loved looking at Poonam’s photo album. Poonam is a little girl who will be going home soon to her family.  You will see her in a few of the pictures with Sangeet. I am sure he will be thrilled when he gets his own photo album of his family.  He just woke up from his nap when I went to see him and he was still a little sleepy.      

He seems to have grown and looks older than our last photo and video of him which would have been from last spring.  His hair is cut shorter.  It makes me want them to hurry up before he grows up too much!

I have been promised a video as well.  We also have friends who are in India right now on a mission trip and she happens to work for Journeys of the Heart and will be visiting the orphanage.  She has promised to take photos for me when she sees him. 

Enjoy his beautiful smile:

Levi Sangeet Daniel


Our Dossier is on its way! October 28, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Family — Lori @ 10:17 am

I was notified that our dossier left for India yesterday, Tuesday, October 27.  This is a very exciting step for our adoption and we would really appreciate your prayers!

Please continue praying for Levi’s heart to be prepared for a family.  When I got the child study with our official referral I found out that he was relinquished at about a month old – reason listed was poverty.  I asked the gal from the agency that works with the orphanages and visits India often to please see what she could find out about his history.  They purposefully put very little information in the files.

She was just in India and I was promised some new photos this week!  I am trying very hard to be patient waiting to see his happy face again.

Please also pray for the path of our paperwork.  God is in control of every hand that touches it and we rest in that knowledge.  Pray for speed and accuracy for all involved.

Pray also for our family to be prepared.  We are clearing out his room to get it ready for him and need to purchase some things for his bed – well, a bed would be good! – but, also bedding, etc.  That process is making it all the more real for all of us.

The other night at dinner, Kalindi was wondering aloud where Levi would sit when he came home.  Kevin made a comment that maybe Kira should move to the other side of the table with Kelsey so that Levi could sit by me.  Kira got very quiet – she is mama’s girl.  Kalindi – who always notices everything – quickly suggested that she move to sit by Kelsey so that Levi could sit where she does (on my other side at the end).  Kira began breathing again and added her vote that that sounded like a good idea to her! 🙂  I think that Kira may be the one who will have the most trouble with this.  She is the baby and I think she rather likes it! 

However, Kira was talking to me the other day and telling me that she would be a big sister when Levi came and that she could help him and take care of him and play with him.  So, I think she is starting to consider that being a big sister is not such a bad thing after all!

The other night during our prayer time, Kalindi prayed, “Please help us not get cabin fever – no! – I don’t mean cabin fever.  That cold that everyone is getting!”  It was so funny.  I about couldn’t contain myself.  I don’t know where that came from because we haven’t watched Muppet Treasure Island in a while.  If you haven’t seen it, the cabin fever song is a highlight!

The girls and I shopped for some winter clothes yesterday afternoon/evening.  I must say that it would have been great to have a shopping assistant!  They really love the whole shopping process – picking things out, trying them on.  Things were flying everywhere and I was trying to keep everyone’s piles straight.  We made our first stop Goodwill, which we did find a few good buys, but not to the extent I was hoping to find.  It is hit or miss with sizes there.  I think we got everything that they need for the season so that felt good.  I had been putting this off for a while since I got sick and hadn’t felt like doing it.  I even found some pretty Christmas dresses and shoes for church.

Thanks for reading!  Lori


Take Up Your Cross October 26, 2009

Filed under: Bible Study,Faith — Lori @ 11:51 pm

I was thinking about this verse recently and what it really means.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.   Matthew 16:24

……let him deny himself.  Not a real popular sentiment in America.  What does it really mean to deny myself?  That nothing in my life should mean more to me than Jesus does.  Nothing should be put ahead of Him.  That I relinquish my will to Him.

…take up his cross.  Why does he mention a cross?  Jesus has just told them that he is going to suffer and die. (From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Matt. 16:21-23) 

Then he tells them to take up their cross and follow Him.  He had just told them he was going to be killed.  What must they have been thinking?

 How about you?  What do you think of when you think of Jesus and the cross?  When I think of the cross I am remembering His sacrifice – Jesus taking God’s wrath for MY sin in my place.  I think of His submission to the Father.  Jesus prayed in the garden, “Not my will but thine.” 

Read this explanation of Matt. 16:24-28 from Matthew Henry’s commentary:

Christ reveals his mind to his people gradually. From that time, when the apostles had made the full confession of Christ, that he was the Son of God, he began to show them of his sufferings. He spake this to set right the mistakes of his disciples about the outward pomp and power of his kingdom. Those that follow Christ, must not expect great or high things in this world. Peter would have Christ to dread suffering as much as he did; but we mistake, if we measure Christ’s love and patience by our own. We do not read of any thing said or done by any of his disciples, at any time, that Christ resented so much as this. Whoever takes us from that which is good, and would make us fear to do too much for God, speaks Satan’s language. Whatever appears to be a temptation to sin, must be resisted with abhorrence, and not be parleyed with. Those that decline suffering for Christ, savour more of the things of man than of the things of God.

Take up your cross and follow me.  Only if it doesn’t hurt too much, or cost too much, or take too much away from me.  Right?  Am I willing to take up my cross and follow Jesus – deny my wants, my possessions, the people I love – and do whatever is being asked of me without thought to the cost?  Yes!  That is my prayer and it will continue to be my prayer until the day I die because it is not a natural action for me. 

Only the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and the truth of the gospel can give us the grace we need to obey that charge – to take up our cross and follow Jesus.  I am relieved by the testimony of Peter.  He stated that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God – something he couldn’t know in his own wisdom – it was revealed to Him by the Holy Spirit.  Then he turns around and counsels Jesus to avoid suffering and death.  He later fails the Lord again by denying Him, but in the end Peter was obedient.  He took up his cross and he followed Jesus.  That isn’t because Peter was great.  That is because our Lord is great.  He preserves us to the end.  In His power we will accomplish what He asks us to do.


Just Love Coffee!

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 9:33 am

Family PortraitI don’t know if you have heard of Just Love Coffee, but it is a wonderful organization that helps you raise money for your adoption. 

If you click on the link to purchase coffee, you will be buying it from our store.  With every purchase of a bag of coffee beans, you will be contributing $5.00 to our adoption!

You won’t just be helping us when you purchase the coffee.  Read a bit about the company:

Rob Webb knows coffee.  When Rob was two years old, his father started Webb’s Coffee Service, which blossomed into a full-blown refreshment service supplying businesses in Nashville, TN and the surrounding areas, and is now run by Rob.

Rob Webb knows the adoption process.  In the summer of 2008, Rob and his wife Emily were called to adopt from Ethiopia. After much prayer and discussion with their first two children they started their adoption journey in August 2008. During the flurry of paperwork and preparation, Rob & Emily read books not only on adoption in general, but specifically on Ethiopia. Learning that Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee caught Rob’s attention, and after reading about the living conditions and wages of the average coffee farmer, he was compelled to take action. What developed through his reading and his trip to Ethiopia to unite with his daughters was a realization that he could combine his expertise and longstanding desire to roast his own coffees with his desire to help others.  Just Love Coffee Roasters was born!  Roasting Fair Trade Specialty coffees, Just Love uses proceeds to help an Ethiopian orphanage and families adopting not just from Ethiopia, but from anywhere in the world.

So, you are actually helping out not only our family, but an orphanage in Ethiopia, and the coffee growers in the countries of Ethiopia, Rawanda, and Guatemala.  There are quite a few different kinds of coffees to choose from. 

Not only is today the first day of our online store – it is the first day for Just Love Coffee – they just launched!  They ask that you be patient – there may be glitches.

It is an easy way to be involved and help us fund our adoption.  We appreciate your participation.

You can use the links in this post, but there will also be a link in the right sidebar.

Have a great day!  Lori


Timeline October 22, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,India,Travel — Lori @ 12:26 pm

I just found some interesting information on the website for CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) which lists the procedure for adoption from India.  (I am only including two steps in the process.)  These are the timelines they offer for their approval of a dossier and the time that a court should take to clear the case.

Step V) Issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) by CARA

  • RIPA shall make application for CARA NOC in case of foreign/PIO parents only after ACA Clearance Certificate is obtained.
  • CARA will issue the ‘NOC’ within 15 days from the date of receipt of the adoption dossier if complete in all respect.
  • If any query or clarification is sought by CARA, it will be replied to by the RIPA within 10 days.
  • No Indian Placement Agency can file an application in the competent court for inter-country adoption without a “No Objection Certificate” from CARA.

 Step VI) Filing of Petition in the Court

  • On receipt of the NOC from CARA, the RIPA shall file a petition for adoption/guardianship in the competent court within 15 days.
  • The competent court may issue an appropriate order for the placement of the child with FPAP.
  • As per the Hon’ble Supreme Court directions, the concerned Court may dispose the case within 2 months

Well, isn’t that interesting?  CARA says that it will give approval in fifteen days.  Of course, I personally know people who have waited more than a month for their approval from CARA and I don’t think they were being asked to supply additional information.  Once you have NOC, the papers should be filed in court in fifteen days.

Then, they say the court “may” (not a very strong word) dispose (definition – to arrange or decide matters) the case in two months.  If this actually came about in this time frame, we would be looking to travel to India by February.  Once guardianship has been granted, then the orphanage can apply for a passport for the child.  They want to make sure that passport is in their hand before you arrive in India.

I am not familiar with other country procedures for adoption, but for India, we are already legal guardians of the child before we even travel to India.  The legal work is complete and the only thing you are doing while in India is applying for a U.S. visa.  The child has a medical appointment at that time for the visa.  It makes for a fairly uncomplicated time in the country.  You get to spend several days visiting your child, go to the U.S. Embassy to apply for a visa, go back to the Embassy in a few days and pick up your visa.  Each orphanage has their own procedure for getting acquainted with your child.  We were in Delhi for about a week last time.

With the girls, we spent several days going to the orphanage to visit and did not take them with us to our hotel until the day before we traveled back.  I think it would be better to have a couple of nights (or more) on our own at the hotel and to spend time alone and outside of the environment of the orphanage.  We will find out when we get closer to making travel plans the way that this orphanage will handle this.

We did learn from Levi’s paperwork that he was born in Chandigarh – or at least that was the place of his first orphanage.  He was moved to Delhi when he was two.  This may have been so that he would be closer to better medical care.  Chandigarh has an interesting history, if you are interested, click on the name of the town for a link to some information.

When we traveled to India to bring home Kalindi and Kira, we spent a day traveling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatepur Sikri.  We spent the night and drove back the next day.  We really enjoyed the trip, but it did take away two days we could spend with the girls because they wouldn’t let us take them with us.

We aren’t sure if we will take any side trips this time.  It would be interesting to see Chandigarh, but there is a lot to see in Jaipur as well.  However, it might be best to spend as much time as possible with Levi in Delhi. 

We hope to bring the kids back to India when they are older so that they can experience their country and remain attached to their roots.  What we have learned about the girls is that they have little knowledge of India.  We want them to be proud of their heritage, we want to provide them with history, culture, customs, and eventually with the ability to experience it firsthand. 

We appreciate your continued prayers for Levi’s adoption process!


Multi-Racial Families October 21, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Race — Lori @ 3:03 pm

With all the thinking that I have been doing about race and adoption and how sadly our world in general gets along with and treats others that are different from themselves – it made me wonder something.  Don’t you think that transracial adoption could be a great step in breaking down racial barriers?

I mean, how better can we understand other cultural or racial groups than to bring a child of another race into our home and community.  For every adoptive family I know, maintaining or even in some cases increasing the child’s knowledge of and connection with their racial heritage is a high priority.  And, in that process you learn things about a country and its people who you never would have known.  I feel a connection and a burden for India that I never would have had.  Your circle of friends is widened and your view of the world is forever changed.

I am certainly not advocating adoption just as a cultural learning tool, but it is a wonderful benefit.  I hope that transracial adopted families are slowly changing the perception and understanding of those around us to look for opportunities to expand their boundaries to include other cultural groups.  And not only that, but to look at people from different cultures with eyes to learn and understand their background and life stories and to embrace them for who they are.  We can learn so much from each other and it enriches all our lives to be exposed to it.

Adoption update:  My dossier is in the hands of our agency.  They will be checking it and sending it off to India soon!  I can’t wait to hear that it has arrived and entered that process.  We are in the process of clearing out the room that will become Levi’s.  My house just needs a bit of readjustment and organization so that I can find a place for everything that has been in that spare room.  We are making a good dent in the project!  I am also preparing our photo album that we will soon be sending off to him to introduce him to our family.  That is always a fun project and the girls will enjoy helping me choose photos for that.  We will also be able to send a small gift.  Please continue praying for God’s hand to guide our paperwork and to be on Levi as he waits.  He is still unaware that a family is working to get him home.



Transracial Adoption October 20, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Race — Lori @ 12:15 am

trimmed girls

I am almost embarrassed to say that I didn’t read anything specifically having to do with parenting a child of another race.  Call me naive, but I didn’t see that there would be a problem.  Love covers everything, right?

I know that everyone has prejudices.  If you are walking down the street and see a guy walking towards you,  and he is scruffy or whatever, you tense up a bit.  We all make judgments about people based on how they look – not just what color their skin is. 

I have written previously about my girls and the fact that they were looked down upon in India for their dark skin.  I seriously find it fascinating that all around the world, light skin is prized.  Why is that?  Aren’t there really more brown or tan skinned people in the world than white?

I have been reading a book that we were required to read for adoption education.  It is called “Inside Transracial Adoption” by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall.  I am not finished with it, but I am starting to process some of what I am learning. 

According to the book the world is ruled by whites.  They have the power and everyone knows it.  I guess I didn’t really know this because I am a “white” and as part of that group I am privileged and looked upon in a positive way.  Is that really how it is?  I only have my very narrow experience and perspective and it is very white.

I honestly thought that I could raise the girls to be proud of their heritage, culture, and skin color and everything would be fine.  The trouble is it isn’t that easy.  Because of racial prejudice the girls will be looked at differently than I am.  It isn’t good enough for us to help them feel good about themselves – although we will and should do that.  According to the book we need to prepare them for the fact that they will face people looking down on them, making false assumptions about them, and possibly even disapproving of our adopting them.

I just don’t want to even believe the human race is that horrid.  I know there are skinheads and white supremacists and Hitler, but I really thought that was aberrant.  I have a lot to learn about racism and how I can lovingly prepare my daughters to possibly face it.

I haven’t felt at all that we have faced negativity for adopting the girls.  The only comment I got that I wasn’t sure how to respond to (since it was in front of the girls although their English wasn’t that great at the time) was, “Do they realize how lucky they are?”  My first response was to think that he was complimenting me as a good mom for them or something – I really try to think the best of people.  But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if  it wasn’t really rude.  Like he was supposing the girls wouldn’t be grateful – as he assumed they should be.  Think about it.  They are kids.  They lived for 10 and 6 years of their lives in a way that we could never imagine.  They have been taken away from their culture, they have no connection with their family, and everything that was familiar to them is gone.  Yes, their lives will have a better outcome than if we had not adopted them, but if they could choose don’t you think they would like to be back in India with their family? 

I don’t want to start imagining racism around every corner.  I want to assume the best of people – that their comments are just thoughtless and not hateful.  I know racism exists.  I want to learn more about it so that I can prepare the girls to face it but, mostly I want to concentrate on teaching the girls to see themselves as God’s children – precious and beautiful – exactly the way He made them.  I don’t want “real life” to come along and ruin that for them. 

I would love to hear your experiences or thoughts on this subject.  I feel like I am just scratching the surface and have MUCH to learn.



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