Thursday, December 18, 2008


In lieu of mailing Christmas letters this year in the spirit of "going green," we decided to try updating everyone with what has been going with us through our blog. For those of you who have been reading this blog, some of this will be duplicate information. Thanks for reading!

Most of you were probably expecting to see that our picture included a new baby this year. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We are still “waiting,” but things have all but come to a halt in China these days. At this point, we are expecting it to be at least 4 more years until we get her. We know that when the time is right, we will meet our little girl, but we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t tell you that this has been a very frustrating process.

One good thing to come from the wait is that at the beginning of 2008, we decided to pursue a concurrent adoption. This means that we are pursuing two adoptions at once. We received special approval from our adoption agency and have chosen Ethiopia as the other country. We had to re-do most of the paperwork that was done for China, but all of that was complete and sent in September. We have requested siblings (boy and girl) ages 0-4 years old. The wait time for Ethiopia is reported at 6-12 months; however, as with anything in the adoption world, this is just an estimate. They are a little slow on the sibling referrals, but we still hope to travel in 2009 to meet our children. There are approximately 13 families in front of us. There is a slight risk that we won’t be approved by the Ethiopian court system because we are adopting from China as well, but we are optimistic and have reason to believe that this won’t be a problem. Please pray that this process moves along quickly, and we meet our children next year.

Jill is still with Marriott. She facilitated two training classes for them this year in Phoenix and New Orleans, as well as traveled to Kingsport and Atlanta several times on business. She also enjoyed 4th of July week in Destin at the beach with her family! Jill picked up a new hobby this year – running! She did her first 5K race on January 1st, and she and Philip did their first half marathon (13.1 miles) in October. She also enjoyed being in the feed zone at Philip’s bicycle races again this year, dancing, and singing in the church choir.

The UT football season was dreadful this year, but we have enjoyed the Titans games! We have also done quite a few home improvements in 2008. We completely renovated the kitchen and closed in our carport, which created two new rooms – a bike room and a new study. In 2009, we plan to do some work on the exterior – paint and landscaping.

Philip’s 2008 included lots of bike racing, of course! One fun thing that he did this year was to travel to NC to do some wind tunnel testing with his bicycle. He and his Dad spent a few hours testing different bike positions, helmets, and ways to go faster. He once again served as Team Director for Scenic City Velo’s elite racing team, Team Krystal. He is actually “retiring” from that post in 2009 but will still do some bicycle races. He will concentrate more on multi-sport events. In 2008, he entered two duathlon (run-bike-run) events and won both! Philip also had a job change in early 2008 and is now working at Trace Bikes in Nashville.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Miss Mocha. She is 9 years old now and never ceases to amaze us! She gets smarter every year and is such a joy!

We are thankful for each and every one of you and are blessed with wonderful friends and family. We pray that your holiday season is a special one this year spent with loved ones. If you are ever in the Nashville area, please give us a call! Here’s to a great 2009 and GO TITANS!

Happy Holidays!

Philip, Jill, and Mocha Martindale
6512 Jocelyn Hollow Road
Nashville, TN 37205

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another sibling referral...


I wasn't expecting to update again so soon, but we received word on Friday that another set of Ethiopian siblings have been referred! These little ones were 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 years old. The set earlier this week were 4 year old twins. Yahoo! Let's pray they keep up this pace! Just wanted to let everyone know the great news. We hope all is well with all of you!

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adoption Update

Hello everyone! Happy Holidays!

I realize that it has been awhile since we have posted, but there have been no updates...until today! We just received word that another family received a referral today for a sibling group (twin girls 4 years old)! That moves us closer in line, and we are very excited! Our adoption agency has recently contracted with a new orphanage, and we are hoping that creates new referrals in the near future. We hope all is well with you. We won't be sending Christmas letters this year, but we will put another update online in the next week or so. Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More shots...

Happy Fall, Y'all!

We are happy to report that we received our 2nd round of shots a few weeks ago. Two rounds down...two to go!

We are also happy to report that we have a general idea of where we are on the "waiting list." The good news is that there are much fewer people on the list requesting siblings than the list requesting one child. The bad news is that the referrals are coming in very slowly for siblings. In fact, today was the first day we have seen a sibling referral since September 1st, but we are excited about that referral. Please pray for patience for us and for more sibling referrals to come through.

Thanks for reading and for keeping up with our journey!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shots (a good thing)!

Hello friends!

You may be intrigued by the title of our post..."Shots (a good thing)!" Usually, shots have a negative connotation to them, but not this time! I am happy to report that last week we began our series of shots in order to travel to Ethiopia! We will receive a series of shots over the next 4-6 months...Hepatitis A&B plus tetanus, flu, and others to be determined. The CDC recommends some really out of the ordinary things, and our doctors are doing some research to see what they recommend. Since the series of Hepatitis shots take 4-6 months, we decided to go ahead and get started with those. Shots are never any fun, but we know that the end result will be totally worth it! :)

We also received word today that the Ethiopian courts opened a few days early! Ethiopian courts typically close for several weeks in the Fall. We weren't expecting them to re-open until October 9th, so it was a nice surprise to hear that they re-opened early. During the time in which they are closed, families are able to receive referrals, but no court appearances or adoptions can take place during that time. Essentially, adoptions are put "on hold" for a few weeks. Typically when they re-open, there is a slight backlog, but unlike China, Ethiopia can take care of that pretty quickly. It has been 18 days since our dossier was "in cue," not that we are counting! In terms of the wait, we have heard that there are approximately 100 families also waiting. However, we do not know how many of those families are requesting siblings 0-4. We could be #10 on the list for those children, or #80. We just don't know.

We hope all is well with all of you. Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Friday!

Hello, friends!

We are happy to let you all know that we are officially "waiting" for our referral for our children in Ethiopia! We received word today that our paperwork is complete and is "in cue" for a referral. The current wait time is 6-12 months. We have requested two, and we aren't sure how many other families there are in front of us that have requested two.

Once children have been identified for us, we will receive "THE CALL" from our adoption agency. We will then receive pictures and paperwork about the children and accept the referral. Once this happens, the dossier will be translated and authenticated, and presented to the Ministry of Womens Affairs (MOWA), which is the first entity in Ethiopia to approve us to adopt the child. (This is where we could be turned down, so please pray that the judge will approve us.) If/when we receive the approval, we will travel approximately 2 months later.

We are rejoicing to be past the "first step" and to be an official "waiting family" (now in two countries). Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers.

On another note, we attended a meeting at the adoption agency on Tuesday night to learn more about the office in Brentwood closing. Due to a decrease in international adoptions (mainly due to the China slow-down, the economy, etc.), Children's Hope International is having to close the Brentwood/Nashville office. The HQ in St. Louis will remain open, and we will be able to complete our Ethiopian adoption through them. We are blessed to have gotten to work with some amazing people at CHI Brentwood and will miss them.

We hope you all have a great weekend and Go Vols!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Adoption Update

Hello, everyone!

We hope you all had a great weekend. We had the exciting opportunity to attend a reception on Saturday at our adoption agency office. The agency representative from Ethiopia was in Nashville, and we were invited to come and meet him. There were lots of families there who have recently returned from Ethiopia. We had the chance to speak with them about their experiences and meet the children. The children are adorable and well-adjusted, and the families had great things to say about their trip and adjustment period. We also had the opportunity to speak with the representative about our particular situation. He did not seem to think that it would be a problem with the judge that we are adopting from Ethiopia and China at the same time, so that made us feel better. We will continue to pray that the judge approves us, but we do have more of a sense of peace about it now. We also received word that unfortunately, the adoption agency will be closing the Brentwood office. The HQ in St. Louis will remain open, but we will find out on Tuesday evening how this will affect us.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008



I am happy to report that our final paperwork will be sent to the adoption agency headquarters in St. Louis tomorrow!!!!! Yay!

We did have some last-minute drama, but what else did we expect with this round of crazy paperwork! We just found out that we have to complete another "Self Assessment." I ordered it yesterday, so hopefully we will get it soon. It is supposed to be completed prior to us sending in our paperwork, but they are supposed to waive that for us as long as we get it completed in the next few weeks. Oh my...

Each document and form that we completed for our dossier had to be notarized. So, along the way, we have had notaries sign and notarize our paperwork. After everything was notarized and checked by the adoption agency, we then had to have the notaries confirmed by the county in which the notary is from. Then, the state had to confirm that the County Court Clerk is who he/she says he/she is. So, Philip did that today for us. He took the paperwork to the Davidson County Court Clerk to have all of the notaries confirmed from Davidson County. He also had to do this for a notary in Williamson County (That took 2 trips in itself b/c the notary accidentally wrote her incorrect expiration date on the form, so it had to be re-done.). I called yesterday to let them know that I had 5 to confirm, and she told me that would be fine. I also had everything paper clipped together with post-it notes saying what to do with what. (For those of you who know me, you can imagine.) When he got there, the lady complained the whole time he was there that he had so many, even though someone told me yesterday it would be no problem. Then, she couldn't find one of the notaries. After waiting there for over 35 minutes, she found what she needed, finished the project, took his $, and sent him on his way. He then went to the Tennessee Secretary of State to confirm the County Court Clerks. This required each document that was notarized, then confirmed by the county, to be put in a blue sleeve with the state seal and authenticated with a letter. This took approximately 40 minutes, but there was no drama there; thank goodness.

Tonight, we compiled everything in order and will mail tomorrow. After the CHI HQ receives the paperwork, someone on their team will look over everything again to make sure that we didn't leave anything out. They will then send to the Missouri Secretary of State to be authenticated by them. The paperwork will then go to the US Secretary of State (Condoleeza Rice)'s office to add her seal. After that is complete, the papers go to the Ethiopian Embassy in DC to be confirmed as well. After they are confirmed there, the paperwork goes back to St. Louis and then on to Ethiopia to be translated into Amharic (their language). Only after this point will we actually be "logged in" to the system and the "wait" officially begins. Let's just pray that the paperwork is all complete and does not get lost!!! The current wait time is 6-12 months from when the paperwork is logged in to referral.

We are so relieved to have this part over with and just pray that everything is in order and that nothing has to be re-done. This set of paperwork has been highly scrutinized and more difficult than the paperwork for China. For anyone who is not persistent and organized, completing the adoption paperwork has got to be unbelievably difficult. It is difficult for us, and we are pretty organized people!

We are blessed with a wonderful opportunity coming up in a few weeks. The director of the program in Ethiopia for our adoption agency is coming to Nashville/Brentwood!! He will be the one to take our paperwork to court and represent us when they decide if we will get these children. We will have the opportunity to meet him in person and explain our situation; therefore, hopefully helping to answer any questions that the judge may have about why we want children from Ethiopia and China. Remember...this is a huge risk we are taking here, and anything we can do to help the situation, we will. Please say a prayer for our meeting.

I will close for now and want to thank everyone who has helped get our paperwork finished. From everyone who wrote letters of recommendation, to those of you who prayed and sent words of encouragement, we appreciate you and are blessed to call you our friends and family. We look forward to introducing you to our children.

2008 Olympics - Beijing

Hello everyone!

I meant to blog about this after the Opening Ceremonies, but I am just now finding time to sit and type some thoughts.

I'm sure many of you watched the Opening Ceremonies and were in awe of the magnificent show that the Chinese performed. I watched with mixed emotions. Part of me was mesmorized by the artistic creativity, colors, lights, and sounds that were shown. Part of me was angry - angry at the Chinese government for spending all of that money on the Opening Ceremonies when I know how many thousands of children there are without homes, how inadequate their government-run orphanages are, and how many of us want to give the children a loving home while the government stands in our way. Part of me was sad - sad because we should have our little girl by now...sad because we probably won't meet her for at least 4 more years.

I enjoyed the Olympics as a whole. I was intrigued by how the Chinese competed in almost every event and earned more gold medals than any other country. I watched the Chinese athletes (especially the female ones) and thought....will our daughter look like you one day? I watched the Ethiopian athletes and wondered if our children will look like them. I was angry again while watching the gymnastics and hearing about the grueling Chinese government-run program that they put the girls in when they are very small. Angry to think that many of them may not have been the minimum age to compete and how much pressure those young girls must have felt during the competition.

I am proud of the US and our athletes.

I am sad that the Olympics are over. Needless to say, I experienced many emotions during those two weeks. We can only hope that the Chinese government will speed things up on the adoption front now that the Olympics are over. But, we won't get our hopes up. It is almost September 1, and they have only made it through one month of referrals. At this rate, it will be well-beyond 4 more years before we meet our baby girl.

New Born Class

Hello everyone! We attended a New Born Care Class at a local hospital a couple of weeks ago. This was mandatory for us to attend before we could send in our paperwork. It was a 2 hour class, and 2 hours of our lives that we will never get back!

We walked into the room, and it was full of "dolls," pink bed pans, towels, blankets, baby shampoo, lotion, etc. at each seat. We were the only non-pregnant people in the class out of 10 couples. For those of you who have never experienced that feeling, it was a tad bit uncomfortable to say the least. The class covered what to do when you bring your new born home from the hospital...not that any international adoption couple would actually bring home a new born, but never mind. It covered the baby's first bath (We actually had to give our dolls a bath with real water and baby shampoo.), how to change a diaper (We actually had to do this, too.), beginning care for baby boys and baby girls, not to mention breast feeding. ??? I have no idea why they require this class for international adoption folks...I can understand why it would be required if you might actually get a new born, but not for those of us who will be getting children more than likely at least 6 months old. Perhaps a different class would be more appropriate, but this was the only thing offered in the area that was close to the requirement.

We survived, got our certificate, and marked that off the list. :) Now onward to finishing the paperwork!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Police Department Success and DVD Training

Good news, everyone (keep your fingers crossed)!

We successfully completed our Background Checks and had them notarized today! Yay! So, barring any unusual comments from the adoption agency, we can close that chapter of our adoption story at this point and hopefully never have to return to the Metro Nashville Police Department. It took us a record 40 minutes today and no real drama. The only drama was a lady that fell off a desk while we were waiting. Philip helped her pick up the desk and the papers that went everywhere. Oh my... What we ended up having to do was to hire a notary to go with us to the police department. She witnessed the guy sign that we do not have records and that our background checks were clear. We also had the traveling notary go to Philip's doctor's office to witness his signature on a letter that states that Philip is healthy enough to be a father. We are very close to getting everything finished now! The only things left are for us to finish our DVD training and attend an Infant Care Class at a local hospital.

Speaking of the DVD Training, we have a set of 4 DVD's that we have to watch, take notes on, and then take tests on. In the end, if we score over 80% individually, we will receive a certificate and can then send in our paperwork. These DVD's are interesting, but very long and taxing on the brain. The 1st DVD was about Brain Development and Sensory Experiences. I'm not sure what the 2nd DVD is about, but we will soon find out. We each scored 100% on the first test!! :) The next Infant Care Class that I can find is on August 14th, so our goal is to have our paperwork mailed on August 15th. We'll keep you posted!

Thanks for your interest and for reading. Have a great week!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

171H is back!

Happy 4th of July!

We hope you all had a great holiday weekend.

A couple of new developments since our last post.

We received word that we were turned down by Shoahannah's Hope for a grant for our adoption. So, we will receive no financial assistance from them. We hope that this means that they are helping lots of other families who need more financial assistance than us to adopt orphans throughout the world.

Hallelujah! We received our I-171H approval last week. YAY! Now, all we have to do is finish 10 hours of DVD training (something new they are requiring), an infant care class (also something new), and go back to the Sheriff's Department (ugh...yes, I know), and we will be ready to send our paperwork to Ethiopia. Unfortunately, we weren't able to work out anything as far as the notary at the Sheriff's Department, so we will hire a traveling notary to go with us some time this week. She also has to go to Philip's doctor's office to have a letter notarized (They don't have a notary in their office.) saying that Philip is healthy enough to be a father. Once we get all of those tasks completed, we will send our paperwork to the adoption agency to make sure that we haven't forgotten anything, and we should be all set. So, hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we can say that the paperwork is finished.

Thanks for all of your love and support. Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Adoption Class

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

We attended our Pre-Adoption III Class on Saturday. The only other couple there was adopting from China. They turned in their paperwork 7 months before we did, so they are well ahead of us in the wait department. At our class, we discussed being a multi-cultural family and what that entails, the adoption tax credit, stupid things people will say to you in public in front of your kids ("How much did she cost?" is one example.), among other things that have slipped my mind at this exact moment. There were also 2 guest speakers that were adult adoptees. It was an interesting class, especially hearing from the folks who were adopted as children and how they view adoption today. One had a very open family, who talked with her about adoption all her life. Her adoption "story" was one that they built on through time and gave her age-appropriate information as she went along. She has adopted 2 children as well. The other lady's family did not discuss adoption that much with her when she was younger, and she grew up feeling that her birth family did not love her and that is why they "gave her away." She also recently found out that she wasn't her adoptive parents "first choice." (very sad) We like the idea of the "adoption story" and building upon it as they get older. I guess we need to get busy with our "story." There will be no doubt that our children are adopted, but we want them to know that they were loved by their birth parents and are loved by us as well. We plan to do life books for them with their "story" included.

We had some additional paperwork notarized yesterday (Thanks, Eleanor!), so we are well on our way to being finished. I faxed that notarized paperwork to the agency to be reviewed to make sure that everything is in line. I just received an e-mail saying that everything looked great, except for one thing...guess which documents those were...yes, the documents from the police department! UGH...please read below post to hear that story. The notary expires in September, and our agency says that they need more time than that. I have a call into her now to explain the fiasco and to see if she has any idea of how to combat that problem. I may have to hire a traveling notary to go with us to the police station and do it all over again. What drama...

I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day this past weekend. Have a great week!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Background Checks

Hello all ~

While we are waiting on the I-171H to come back, we still have a few things to complete.  Most of them just require getting someone to notarize our signatures, but one fun thing that we had to do again was go to the police department to get background checks on both of us.  (Please note that I am being sarcastic when I say, "fun.")  We cannot figure out why we have to have background checks done when we had to be fingerprinted as well.  ???  Interesting that the Department of Homeland Security and local authorities cannot get on the same page.

This was the 3rd time (twice now in Nashville and once in Chattanooga) that we have had to do this.  I will say that Chattanooga/Hamilton County gets the award for the most efficient office in this particular matter. The last time we went (in Nashville), the notary public was not there, so we learned our lesson to call before we go to make sure that he/she is there.  So...I called this morning and waited on hold for 45 minutes.  I am not exaggerating here.  The most frustrating thing about it was that I could not get a person on the phone.  Anytime I pushed any buttons, it was still automated.  So, I stubbornly waited until someone picked up.  You might ask why I didn't hang up and call back later, but my work schedule was very tight today with meetings and conference calls.  I had a very tight window in which to operate.  Plus, I worked downtown today, where the police department is.  So, today was the day.  When I finally got someone on the phone, she had to see if the notary was working today, and she was.  However, she was at lunch at that time.  I asked how long they get for lunch, and she told me that they got 30 minutes.  So, by the time we got down there, she should be back.  So, Philip picked me up at work, and off we went.  When we got to the police department, we were very fortunate (We thought.) in the fact that there was only one person in line ahead of us.  So, we filled out the appropriate paperwork and waited in line.  After we waited about 10 minutes, we got up to the window, and I told the person what we were there for and that we needed the documents notarized.  After another 20 minutes of waiting, the person came back with the documents...not notarized.  So, I reminded them that they needed to be notarized.  So, off they go again.  After 40 minutes of waiting again, they FINALLY came back notarized.  So, after a total of 1 hour of waiting at the police station, we had what we needed.  There had to have been 15-20 people who came and went while we waited. I STILL cannot believe that it took that long to get 2 pieces of paper.  This is just one more example of why the adoption paperwork process is so frustrating.  And, once again, I can understand why more people don't do it.  If you aren't organized, there is no way that you would ever get all of this done.

On Saturday, we are attending a pre-adoption class put on by our adoption agency.  We will learn about talking to our child about adoption, how to incorporate a lifebook into our child's life, life as a multi-cultural family, the adoption tax credit (yay!), and birthparents/adult adoptees.  We have attended one other pre-adoption class thus far.  In addition to these 2 classes, we still have to watch a series of DVD's and take a test, plus attend a community infant care class at a local hospital.  These things have to be done before our paperwork can go to Ethiopia.  We'll update you on the class this weekend.

We hope you all have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Good afternoon ~

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I wanted to update you on our paperwork saga. I heard back from the adoption agency this morning, and it looks like it will be another 4-6 weeks on the paperwork we have already been waiting 8 weeks for. CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) out of Memphis contacted CHI (Children's Hope International) this morning to say that they are now requiring different wording on all Home Studies. Ours just happened to be the first that they have "kicked back" due to improper wording. (great luck, huh?!?) The social worker voiced concern that we were just approved for our addendum for the Chinese adoption, and CIS responded that they had just been through additional training and that all Home Studies will now have to have a new sentence in them. The social worker prepared another addendum today with the new wording and shipped it off to CIS. So, the waiting continues.

Please pray that CIS will quickly review the addendum and process the paperwork more quickly than 4-6 weeks. I hope you all have a great week, and I'll let you know if anything changes. Thanks for your continued love and support through the wait.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Happy Friday, everyone! To top off an already stressful week at work, we received a letter in the mail yesterday from CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services). Not the I-171H that we were hoping for, but a letter stating that our home study "did not indidcate whether the living accommodations met applicable State standards" and for us to submit an addendum addressing this deficiency. WHAT?!? First of all, this is the 2nd home study that we have sent them (China and then this one for Ethiopia), and they say the exact same thing...VERBATIM. They approved the 1st one, so what's the deal?

So, I called the agency today and told them what we received. They pulled the file and can't believe that we received the letter either. A social worker at the office e-mailed the CIS folks to see if they just missed that part of the home study, or what. She also went ahead and prepared an addendum, just in case. This could potentially delay things 4-6 MORE weeks; therefore, we wouldn't receive our I-171H back until early-mid July. With the courts being closed from August until October in Ethiopia, this would mean that we would more than likely not have the kiddos home by the end of the year. We are pushing it anyway at this stage in the game, but if it is postponed 4-6 more weeks, we are almost guaranteed a delay.

This is just one example of how frustrating and tedious the paperwork can be and how difficult they make it to adopt a child. No wonder more people don't do it...

Have a great weekend. It is going to be a crazy one in Music City with the CMA Music Festival in town!

Monday, June 2, 2008

June Update

Good afternoon ~

Happy June! I can't believe that we are almost half-way through 2008 already. As I get older, time seems to go faster. Unbelieveable.

Unfortunately, the time is not going faster on the adoption front, especially with China. In fact, throughout the entire year, China has only made it to January 12, 2006, with referrals. Our log-in date is November of 2006, so we have a ways to go (potentially 3-5 more years). The current wait time is 29 months.

Speaking of China, the earthquake devastation is so sad. Many orphanages were affected, and our agency is providing aid to the ones that were damaged. Fortunately, the last I heard, all of the children are safe and accounted for. Many folks have asked me if I think this will speed anything up with the adoption. Unfortunately, I don't think so. In fact, it could slow things down even more while they try and sort through everything.

As far as the Ethiopian adoption is concerned, we still have not received our I-171H back, yet. As soon as we get that back, we can move forward with completing our dossier and get that sent off.
On another sad note, as many of you know, there was a tragedy in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. Steven Curtis Chapman, well-known Christian musician, lost his adopted 5 year-old daughter from China in a tragic accident at their home outside of Nashville. He and his family have adopted 3 girls from China, and Maria was the youngest. He and his family have a heart for adoption and started a grant organization called Shaohannah's Hope where they assist families financially to adopt. We applied with them back in April and are waiting to hear if we were approved for assistance. We received an e-mail last week that said that the approvals were running behind since the tragedy (totally understandable). Steven and his family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be given to Shaohannah's Hope, so in the midst of this tragedy, they are still trying to help children and families through adoption...very inspring. He has made several trips to China to volunteer in orphanages, and it is one of his passions. The adoption world and Nashville community mourn with Steven and his family.

I'm sorry that I'm not better at blogging. I guess that I don't have a lot to talk about since all we are doing is waiting at this point. For those of you out there who are also waiting, good luck and hang in there!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there!  I will be honest and tell you that for the past couple of years, this holiday has made me a little sad.  Sad that I don't have kiddos to celebrate with.

I apologize that I haven't been the best about blogging, but there really hasn't been too much to talk about.  Philip is in the middle of bicycle racing season; we are renovating our kitchen right now; but, other than that, we have been busy with work.      

An update on the adoption...yes, we are still waiting for our I-171H to come back.  It was sent on April 4, and we were told that it takes approximately 10 weeks to come back.  So, that means that we should hopefully see it around mid-June.  We will be finishing up our dossier in the next few weeks and hopefully have it ready when our I-171H comes back.  That way, it can go directly to the HQ of CHI in St. Louis and then on to Ethiopia as quickly as possible.  Currently, the longest that a family has had to wait has been 6 months from the time they sent their paperwork in to when they received their referral.  The shortest amount of time has been 1-2 months.  It is still feasible that we could have our children home by the end of the year, but what we have learned throughout this process is not to get our hopes up.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The China Wait

Many of you are probably asking, "Why is it going to be 3-4 more years?" is our estimation and reasoning behind it.  

At the time we started our adoption journey in 2006, the wait from LID (Log-In Date) to Referral (when you get her picture) was 6-12 months.  Since then, we have seen the wait grow to 27 months, where it is currently.  The 27 month timeframe is the CURRENT wait time, but I think it is an unfair representation of how long we will have to wait.  The folks who are receiving referrals NOW have waited 27 months.  Our agency fully expects the wait to grow to over 4 years at some point.  The last batch of referrals that our agency received was for the January 6, 2006 LID.  The reason why we say it will be 3-4 more years is for several reasons, and I hope I don't overwhelm you with numbers here.  (My job deals with analyzing data, and sometimes I over do it.)  :)
1.  In 2007, China only referred approximately 6 months worth of LID's.  If they were on pace for that production in 2008, it would be 2 years before we got our referral b/c our LID was November of 2006.  That is the best case scenario in my opinion.
2.  We highly doubt that they will get through 6 months in 2008 b/c we have only seen a couple of batches of referrals so far in 2008, and is was only a couple of days worth at a time...not like a full month at a time like they used to do.  We are in April now, and current pace tells me that it would be almost 3 years before we get ours.
3.  The Olympics are in Beijing this summer.  This supposedly won't affect anything, but I think it will slow things down even more.

The slow-down really began mid-year 2007.  I had high hopes that it was only for a couple of months and that it would get better, but unfortunately, it has gotten much worse than we expected.  There are many rumors out in the adoption community as to why the slow-down is happening:  China is promoting domestic adoption; they have more families wanting children than they have children, the Summer Olympics in Beijing, bad press, etc.  No one really knows the answer, except for China.  There are approximately 30,000 families waiting for children right now as I type and more and more sign up every day.  We just have to keep the faith that one day God will unite us with the little girl that has been chosen for us.  

During the winter, there was a huge ice storm and heavy wintry weather in southern China.  Some of the orphanages were without heat, and donations were collected to help the children eat and stay warm.  The most frustrating thing for us was to know that there are children who are waiting for homes and loving families who are waiting to adopt them.  And, we can do nothing about it....but wait.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Our Adoption Journey


Welcome to our new blog. Here you can follow the Martindale Family adoption journey. As most of you know, we are currently waiting for a baby girl from China. We began the Chinese adoption process in 2006, and based on new numbers and projections from the adoption world, it will be 3-4 more years before we meet her. (That is a whole other subject that I will blog about later.)

Due to this staggering and disappointing news, we feel God leading us in a new direction. After much prayer and consideration, the Martindales have decided to pursue a concurrent adoption (two adoptions at once). We had to receive special permission from our adoption agency and go through additional screening and interviews to do this, and we were approved!! :)

In 2007, Children's Hope International (our adoption agency) was accredited to start an adoption program in Ethiopia, and we feel that this is where God is leading us. Here are some facts about Ethiopia for you to ponder: over 5 million orphans; if children stay in the orphanage, they only live to an average age of 18; adults live to the average age of 40 in the entire country; average income is 100USD per year. As you can see, there is a very large need in this country. Adoptions typically happen very fast once the paperwork is finished - between 3-9 months. However, we are the first family from our agency to attempt a concurrent adoption with Ethiopia and China. We are cautiously optimistic at this point but can't let our hopes get too high. There is a huge risk that we will pay all of our money, finish our paperwork, get our referral, and then the Ethiopian judge turn us down. We are even writing a letter to the Ethiopian government stating why we would want to adopt from two different countries. There is thought amongst the directors at Children's Hope that culturally, the Ethiopians will not understand why we would want to adopt from two different countries. This will be included in our paperwork and will hopefully be sufficient for him/her to understand our stance and why we want to help the wonderful children of Ethiopia.

We have begun the paperchase again, and we are happy to report that we are almost finished! We are waiting for a document from the US government to return to finish our dossier. Our goal is have everything sent to Ethiopia in May. If everything goes smoothly and we are approved, we could have them home by the end of the year. Some of you may say, "Them?" Yes. We have decided that the need is so great that we have requested siblings (a boy and a girl) ages 0-4 years old. They will not separate siblings, so if they are going to be adopted, they have to go to the same family.

We are very excited about this potential new phase of our lives! We covet your prayers and will keep you posted along the way. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. It means a lot to have such great friends and family on our side.

Enjoy your weekend!