Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Also, the pictures on my good friend Erin's blog of their beautiful albeit small Christmas tree inspired to me to try and convince my husband that we should get our first Christmas tree. It took some convincing, especially since he was pretty sleep deprived, but we found our own little tree at Rite Aid for $13.99. After we released it from it's twine-induced bondage and decorated, we were quite proud of it. Chris commented for several days afterward that we probably had the most perfect tree around (or something to that affect).
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
materials) is donating 100% of the profits to our adoption from any orders placed on her website during the months of November, December and January.
After you have placed your order, just click on "Contact your
consultant" and write "TeamReno Adoption Fundraiser" in the "Comments or Message" section.
Her website address is: www.mycmsite.com/lauraholtzclaw
You can also make some great Christmas gifts through the Creative Memories photo center such as: Christmas cards, calendars, mugs, totes, t-shirts, coasters, mouse pads, puzzles, and personal prints. The web address for the photo center is www.cmphotocenter.com.
When using the Creative Memories photo center site you will need to insert Laura's CM id #39747181 so the profits will go to the Reno Family.
Monday, November 26, 2007
During Thanksgiving morning breakfast (yes, we were gluttons for punishment - we had a fairly large, yummy breakfast) my dad handed us an envelope. Inside was a check for a very large amount for our adoption. Everyone in my family had contributed - my dad and stepmom, my mom and stepdad, my sister and her husband, my brother, even my 13-year-old sister. We are so thankful to be so supported by both our families. Our cup is very much overflowing.
Needless to say, this relieves a fairly large burden. Between our savings, the t-shirt fund raiser and the amazingly generous gifts we have received, we are almost there!
Paperwork-wise, we are waiting for our home study to be complete. This is should happen sometime this week and then we are on to the next step (see previous posts for details on the process as a whole).
Monday, November 19, 2007
materials) is donating 100% of the profits to our adoption from any orders placed on
her website between now and midnight on Sunday, Nov 25th.
After you have placed your order, just click on "Contact your
consultant" and write "TeamReno Adoption Fundraiser" in the "Comments
or Message" section.
Her website address is: www.mycmsite.com/carolinekirchner
Friday, November 16, 2007
I would like to invite you to my Holiday craft faire and bake sale taking place at the end of the month. I have been very busy assembling one-of-a-kind gifts and I am excited to share them with you.
I have many gifts for babies and children, vintage ornaments, one-of-a-kind stockings and stocking stuffers, beautiful jewelry, hair adornments, sachets, and much more. I will also be selling an assortment of yummy home-baked treats.
Best yet, my prices are very affordable, and some gifts and baked goods can be made to order and delivered to your door before your holiday gathering or Christmas Eve.
Please come say hello, drink some cider and shop. There will be face-painting for young ones and the young at heart.
Friday, November 30th & Sunday, December 2nd, 1pm to 6pm.
Pleasure Point Community Church
(On the corner of 26th & Portola, Look for the balloons.)
I look forward to seeing you!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We can also continue to pray for the families in our adoption agency who had court dates (this is when the agency rep represents the family in the Ethiopian courts and the child becomes legally the family's) last Wednesday. The court dates were postponed and they don't know yet when they will be rescheduled.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Here's how it works:
1. Go to www.onecause.com and register as a OneCause member.
2. You will asked to enter an organization name. Enter "National Adoption Foundation." Then finish entering your name, password, etc.
3. Scroll down to find the "Dues Crediting" field at the bottom of the online registration screen. You will see a field called "Purchases Benefit." Enter our registered email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Begin shopping at hundreds of OneCause merchants online, in stores, and through catalogs. You'll earn a merchant contribution on each purchase, a percentage of which will go toward our adoption credit.
4. Remember to begin all of your online shopping at OneCause so we earn credit!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I have 3 t-shirts ordered...our goal is 50...so 47 more before November 20th. If you don't mind, pass this on to whoever might be interested.
Monday, November 5, 2007
To whoever you are....thank you and God bless you!
Also, thank you to everyone to has gifted us financially and through prayer. We are so thankful for the support we are receiving!
Every once in awhile I start thinking we are crazy for even attempting this adoption on an educator's income, but as one of our friends said in an email, "God loves this sort of thing." He loves making the impossible happen.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
If there is enough interest, I can start another order. I need at least 25 t-shirts orders to place an order. We have 2 so far.
The family who is making the shirts for us has their court date on Wednesday. Be praying for them this week.
Detailed expenses of an international adoption from Ethiopia:
America World Application Fee $250
America World - Ethiopia Program Fee $4,100
USCIS Fee $685
Dossier Authentication $400
Home Study/Post Placement Fee $3,000
International Specialist Consultation Fee $250
Dossier Translation and Authentication Fee $600
Ethiopian Visas (two adults) $60
Consul Fee for Child's Visa $380
International Program Fees (includes
child medical exams, orphanage donation,
child transition fees) $3,450
Round-trip Airfare (two adults) $3,600
Airfare for Child (one-way) $700
In-Country Package (hotel, meals,
tour guides, translator, transportation) $1,775
TOTAL ESTIMATED EXPENSES $19,250
Also, being in education, one of my mantras for students is "Read carefully!" Of course, I didn't follow my own advice...I just learned something new about our adoption process. Forgive me if this is repetitive, but there is the next 3-7 months of our process:
(1) Wrap-up paperwork, send to Secretary of State for certification (next week).
(2) Send home study to USCIS. Wait for 171H.
(3) Send 171H to Secretary of State for certification.
(4) Send completed dossier (our paperwork) to our agency (American World Adoption - AWAA) in Virginia.
(5)AWAA sends it on to the U.S. Department of State and Ethiopia’s Embassy in Washington, D.C.
(6) The dossier than is sent to Ethiopia, where it is translated, processed and examined by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.
(7) Our agency works with Ethiopian government officials and orphanages to match us with a child. We requested an infant 0-8 months, boy or girl.
(8) #6 and #7 take about 3-7 months. During this time we are waiting, waiting, waiting for our "referral" which is a picture and medical records of the child we have been watched with.
(9) After we accept the referral, we wait for a court date to be scheduled in Ethiopia. An AWAA staff member represents us at this court appointment, where the child is declared legally ours. (!!) There will be a very excited post appearing on our blog when this happens. Those who live close by may hear shouts of joy coming from our home...
(10) We wait 4-6 weeks for travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to pick our baby.
(11) We stay in Addis Ababa for 1 week and return with a new Reno!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
We have everything completed for our Home Study, which is a HUGE blessing. I think we will probably receive the completed product from our Home Study agency sometime next week.
Still no denial letter from the USCIS, so as soon as I have our completed Home Study, I will send it to the USCIS. They will send us our 171H form, which is the last piece of the puzzle. Then everything goes to the Secretary of State to be certified and then off to our adoption agency in Virginia.
I have been working in the dorms on the weekends and tutoring after school. This schedule is perfect! I am bringing extra income to fund the adoption, I have time to get all of our adoption paperwork together, and I have the same days off as Chris. God has been so generous in answering our prayers...
Chris has been busy, busy, busy - working full time in the dorms, working on his Master's degree (including preparing for his thesis), and teaching at Cabrillo. It is a blessing that I am not as busy, because he is crazy busy. He could use your prayers...
Thank you all, again, for taking the time to keep up...
Friday, October 12, 2007
Almost as soon as we shared our news about starting this adoption journey, my mom and stepdad graciously contributed a large amount to our adoption...they are pretty excited about having grandchild #1...
My dad and stepmom (who are also excited about grandchild #1), after reading about how we would possibly have to refile with USCIS and pay the filing fee again, sent us a check to cover the refiling amount. This after we had just prayed and lifted the situation up to God to work as He pleased. (By the way, no denial letter from the USCIS yet - we are sending our marriage certificate and it will arrive Monday am...maybe we won't have to refile!)
This next blessing is financial, but also a huge help to Chris' career as a teacher. Last weekend Chris' boss was coaching a little kids' soccer team. The son of the Head of English Dept. at the local junior college plays on this team. So "randomly" the Dept. Head mentions to John (Chris' boss) that they are looking for someone to teach one of their English classes because the professor became ill or something. John says, oh by the way, I know a great English teacher (I am paraphrasing here). Phone numbers are exchanged and passed onto Chris. To make a long (but short, all of this happened in about 1 week) story short, Chris is now teaching an English class at Cabrillo College. For those of you who are familiar with teaching at the college level, these things don't happen like this. We are a bit stunned...it never crossed our minds that Chris would be teaching at the college level within the next couple of years, let alone within the next week.
There you have it...the Reno saga continues. Every life is a story that is being written by the Master Storyteller...more to come, I am sure...
A couple of days ago, when Chris and I read her email communicating this, we were faced with 2 choices. Either throw a fit and become depressed (which I admit, I did do for about 2 minutes) or choose to trust once again in God's perfect timing. Thankfully, God worked in our hearts and we chose the latter. So, no more excited trips to check the mail, at least until December. Maybe we would get a nice Christmas present.
So I was going to the mail today, thinking "why am I even checking the mail? Our certificate won't be here until December." Lo and behold, there were not one, but two amazing gifts in the mail. One - our marriage certificate! Ah! Crazy! Two - a gift of $100 from one of my good friends in Moscow, Idaho. Crazy! God is so, so good. I wonder if He enjoys giving huge surprises like this. I am sure He does.
We are finally ready to start selling our t-shirts! Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in purchasing one. They are brown with tan writing...the design is shown above.
This is how it works...
(1) Decide on a size.
(2) We are asking for a $20.00 minimum donation. You can pay with a credit card via Paypal (click on the "Add to Cart" link below, email us the size you would like), hand it to us in person or send it in the mail (please contact us via phone or email if you need our mailing address).
(3) After we have at least 25 shirts ordered we will send off the order to the wonderful family who is actually making the t-shirts and is also adopting from Ethiopia. It will take 2-3 weeks from the time we send the order off.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you!!!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
But! Onto bigger and better things (sort of). We have entered fundraising mode! We are going to be selling t-shirts designed by a family also adopting from Ethiopia, who, by the way, just received their referral for a baby girl. Exciting! We are also planning a benefit concert, hopefully, when the Brownlees return. This is in the early, early planning stages - so early that we aren't quite sure if it will happen.
Much of this sudden spurt of creative activity and planning is due to a wonderful group of ladies from our church who I meet with every other week. I confessed my frustration with our various roadblocks, mostly financial, and they were so incredibly supportive and bursting with great ideas and tons of encouragement. I left that meeting feeling throughly rebuked (by our patient and gracious God) about doubting God's provision for this adoption. And I also didn't realize how eager our community is to help us and be a part of the process. Praise the Lord for excellent community!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
What Happens When You Stop
The apostle Paul exhorts us to do all things "without murmuring or disputing." The result, he says, will be that we will be blameless and harmless, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, "among whom ye shine as lights in the world."
How do obedient Christians stand out? This is one of one of the central duties assigned to us. We are described as the light of the world. How should we then seek to have that light shine brightly? Well, not to put too fine a point on it—stop whining. Stop complaining. Stop murmuring. Stop muttering under your breath.
What is the backdrop of this? If we are to shine like stars, then what is the blackness against which we shine? What is the crooked and perverse blackness? It is the spirit of discontent, that of murmuring about everything. Whatever non-believers complain about without thinking, that is an opportunity for contrast.
All right, then, what do people complain about? They complain about their pay, their lack of recognition at work, their health, the weather, their kids, their parents, their husband, their wife, their lawn, the snow, their in-laws, their aches, their pains, the thermostat at the office, the president, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the city council, the potholes, the highway department, the rates at the swimming pool, the referees for Monday Night Football, their savings account, their sex life, their unmarried state and no sex life, their marriage overall, that they have a husband, that they don’t have a husband, that they have a wife, that they don’t have a wife, too hot, too cold, too tall, too short, too close to the window, not close enough to the window . . . you get the point.
This mentality is the air we breathe. It is difficult even to notice it. The one thing that makes it noticeable—starkly noticeable—is when somebody stops doing it. And so here is the exhortation from the apostle Paul—stop doing it.Posted by Douglas Wilson - 9/9/2007 10:45:17 AM
"...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life..." Philippians 2:12-16
Friday, September 7, 2007
During our reading time together this morning, we read Psalm 31:
1 In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me...
19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
20You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD,
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.
22 As for me, I said in my alarm,
"I am cut off from before Your eyes";
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.
23 O love the LORD, all you His godly ones!
The LORD preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.
24 Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.
...like a breath of fresh air in a stale room...
Sunday, September 2, 2007
We have come across a couple of those during the past week. Our home study is not going as seamless as we would have liked. I don't want to go into too many details on the world wide web, except that prayer would be much appreciated.
One of those bumps (though not too serious) is our marriage certificate, which we are waiting for patiently (ha!). I am calling the Office of Vital Statistics tomorrow - oh wait - I just realized that tomorrow is Labor Day. I am calling on Tuesday!
We have to get MORE fingerprints done Wednesday for our state-level criminal background check. I am pretty sure there aren't going to be any surprises there.
Also, please continue to pray for finances!
Also, make sure and explore some of the adoptive family blogs...Chris and I have been SO encouraged reading about families who are steps ahead of us. Some have even brought their precious ones home! Most of you know that I am not super outwardly-emoting person, but reading through these blogs is making me one. Maybe it is part of becoming a mom...
So, this is month 4 of our paper pregnancy...let's see if we can finish in 9! (Pray for me to be patient!)
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
We returned from our 5 week long road trip in July and hit the ground running getting more paperwork finished and scheduling our Home Study appointment. We love our home study agency - The Family Network! A little clarification - our adoption agency is America World Adoption, but they do not have an office in California, so we had to find a separate home study agency. The Family Network is a family run organization. They are super knowledgeable: they have been in the business since the 70s and have adopted 3 (or 4) children.
Our home study appointment was 4 hours. I know this sounds long, but many agencies spread this out into 3 interviews (1 together, 1 with the husband and 1 with the wife). We were so thankful to get it all done at one time. Georgia Leonard was our interviewer - she was very kind, straightforward, knowledgeable, understanding...I could go on and on. Needless to say, we learned a lot, especially about attachment disorders, about which I am doing more research. It was very sobering listening to Georgia talk about the possible effects of attachment disorders (see http://www.aboutourkids.org/aboutour/articles/about_attachment.html for more info). One of the heaviest things she shared was the importance of only having Chris and I hold the baby for the first 6 months. This would be very difficult as we have a very loving and affectionate family and community. I need to do more research, but Georgia said that children who are separated from their mothers/primary care givers have a high chance of struggling to make a healthy attachment to care giver, resulting in serious effects down the road, such as serious emotional issues, depression, violence, lying, stealing and so forth. Chris and I do not want to be fearful, but we do want to be wise. Please pray for us as we prayerfully look into this issue. If you happen to know anything or come across anything regarding a healthy Scriptural perspective on attachment disorders, please, please pass it on.
We are still waiting on our marriage certificate to arrive. We did receive confirmation that the Office of Vital Statistics is processing our request. They said it will take an average of 3 months from the beginning of June, so hopefully anytime now.
Another HUGE prayer request we have concerns our prayerful decisions about what kind of mental/physical issues we would accept. We had to fill out a "Child Placement Worksheet" which lists different mental/physical issues and asking if we would accept a child with any of these issues or a child with parents who had any of these issues. They also ask if we would accept a child where nothing is known about the background (such as rape/prostitution). All I can say is...ahhhh!!!! Chris and I both wanted to say yes to everything. We know that with pregnancy, it's God Who gives the increase, the specific "crop," which could mean anything from mental retardation to unformed limbs. Although God will give us the increase in this adoption situation, the parallel with biological birth is not the same: Georgia pointed out that if we say yes to something, there a very high "chance" that we would receive a child with that "issue." Thus, it's a little bit more sobering being open to the complications in this context. We couldn't answer the specific questions on the worksheet on the spot, so we asked for more time to reflect. We prayed, anguished, discussed, yelled at each other (just kidding), and finally finished the darned thing. Please be praying that God would be preparing us for this child that He is bringing into our lives whatever "issues" he/she may have.
Please also be praying for finances. This is an expensive venture! I think we will be applying for some grants. We will see how that goes. God will provide.
God bless you!
One source of concern, if you would like to pray to specifically for us - three years ago, when we were married, Santa Cruz County neglected to send the state the paperwork necessary for us to receive our marriage certificate. Ethiopia requires an actual copy of this marriage certificate and the waiting time (now that we have sent the proper paperwork to the state) is 3-7 months, which could hold up the adoption process significantly. Thankfully, our social worker knows someone in the Vital Statistics office. Pray that they would somehow expedite the process and send us our marriage certificate quickly. Sorry if that is too much info...but this situation is our most significant source on concern. We are reminding ourselves that God's timing is perfect.
Here is an update that we receive weekly from our adoption agency. I thought it might of interest to you:
"Ethiopia - A Visiting Orphans mission team is currently in Ethiopia visiting some of the orphanages America World either already works with or hopes to work with for the Ethiopia adoption program. The team will return to the States at the end of next week, and another team will leave in August.The Ethiopia program continues to grow. There are currently 66 families in the program. It is a good idea for families whom are new to the Ethiopia program to refer to the Weekly Updates from weeks past, as many of the updates contain pertinent information to the adoption process."
Thanks again for reading our novel!
Love you all,
Anna & Chris
P.S. We are on a month long road trip, so we may be slower than usual in getting back to you. Also, we had a detour in Grants Pass, OR because my grandfather unexpectedly passed away. Please keep my grandmother in your prayers...
I am quite positive that I haven't been able to share the news with all of you...so here it is! Chris and I are in the midst of the process of adopting a baby from Ethiopia. We both have had a desire to adopt for some time and have been praying about it. We made our final decision during this last Spring Break. Needless to say, we are very excited!
We are working with America World Adoption (www.awaa.org), based out of Virginia. We attended one of their information sessions with some good friends who are also adopting from Ethiopia and were drawn to their solid theological basis for the blessedness of adoption. They helped us solidify our perspective that when a child is placed with a family, this was God's plan from the beginning of the world.
We have our first home study appointment tomorrow afternoon. Please pray that everything would go smoothly and that we find favor with the home study social worker. We would very much appreciate all of our prayers as we begin this part of our adoption. Also, we have various paperwork send out to various government agencies. Please pray that these agencies would move quickly and fairly with our case.
Thank you for being a part of our lives, past and present. We love you all very much.
In Him Who is Able,
Chris & Anna Reno
P.S. If you would not like to receive updates from us, please let me know. I won't be offended - I promise!