Aidan Birhanu Miller Robinson

Monday, February 10, 2014


I guess I forgot to update my blog about Kapend. Here was my post from Facebook that about it:

Hello friends. I wanted to share with you the latest on our adoption. A couple of days ago we received some disappointing- for our family- news. Kapend is no longer available for adoption. He has had a relative come forward to claim him. This is why I wanted to clarify that the news is only disappointing for us, because this is AMAZING news for him. Honestly, the disappointment for us lasted... about 2.2 seconds until we realized what great news this is for Kapend. He is no longer an orphan. He has been wrapped in the embrace of family. Someone, and given the close-knit relationships of families in Ethiopia, more than likely someone he knows very well, has claimed him as their own. Praise God! What better resolution could there be- aside from that of him being with his parents? As much as I love my sweet Aidan and couldn’t imagine life without him, and as much as I would fight anyone who dared try to take him now, if this had been an option for Aidan 2-3 years ago, I would have wanted this for him also. Adoption is hard. We often talk about the struggle it is for the adoptive parents and the birth parents, but truth be told it’s a hundred times harder for the child. Even more so with international adoption, because not only is the child losing his/her first connection to the world- his birth family- but he’s also losing his culture, traditions, language- everything that comes with being torn apart from one’s original community. If I could have protected Aidan from that, I would have, in a heartbeat. Anyone that truly cares for orphans will tell you that family reunification- when it is an option and IF it is in the best interest of the child- should always be the first priority. But for Aidan, there was no other option and all of the things that I mentioned before do not come close to the love and support of family. Kapend has all of that now. My heart is overjoyed. He is not our son, but that doesn’t diminish the extreme importance he has played in our lives- and the lives of our small community. Who would have thought that a little boy halfway across the world would have made a lasting impact on so many of us? Because of Kapend, we committed to beginning the joyous and chaotic roller-coaster ride of adoption for a second time. Because of Kapend, you came out and supported our efforts to bring him home. Because of Kapend, you gave of your time and money. And hopefully because of Kapend, you left with a bit more awareness of the plight of orphans around the world and the dire conditions for those living in sub-Sahara Africa. Maybe this was God’s purpose all along.

So, where do we go from here? Forward.

We’re still adopting, we just need to step back and decide our next move and this will only come after first consulting with God. He has already chosen our child and with an estimated 163 million orphans worldwide, the need for families is critical. We have the opportunity to move forward with an adoption from the DRC, or we can change course and move forward with an adoption from Ethiopia (or elsewhere). For countless reasons, this is what we are leaning towards at the moment. As always, though, we want to make sure that this is where God is calling us. If we proceed with an Ethiopian adoption, then the process will be very similar to the process with Aidan’s adoption. After we have an approved homestudy and our dossier has been received by the Ethiopian government, then we will be put on a waitlist. When we are close to the top, we’ll be matched with a child and then receive an email with pictures and that child’s medical and personal history. What an exciting day! Please continue to pray for our family and for Kapend. I told Liam that there was no way that I could have left him to be raised in an institution; that I would have always been haunted by what became of this little boy with the sad eyes. God knew my heart and answered my prayer. I know now. He’s with his family and I believe that that look of sadness that galvanized our family and so many others into action, has been replaced by supreme happiness. *One last thing, we received this news on the celebration of our FAMILY day- the day we were finally united with Aidan two years ago. How very fitting! God used what He knew would be disappointing news to remind us, yet again, how important family is and to steel our resolve for His purpose- adoption.

My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.  Psalms 145:21

Long Overdue Update

I have been really remiss in keeping up with this blog. So, here's a quick update on where we are in the process to adopt our second child. Whew! A lot has happened, but then again very little has happened. As I previously wrote about, we were notified that the child we were considering for adoption had family come forward who wanted to raise him. Praise God! This was amazing news for him- actually it proved to be good news for both of us as there are currently several complications arising with adoptions from the DRC. So, after much diliberation and prayer we decided to switch adoption agencies. We are now back with Holt International whom we used for Aidan's adoption. We are also really excited to be in the Ethiopian program- Aidan's brother or sister will be Ethiopian too! Our homestudy was approved in September. We paid all of our initial agency fees and have mailed in the I600A Immigration form (request for permission to bring an orphan from another country into the United States). Next, we await news of our appointment to get fingerprinted. From there, we await approval (171H) and then we can mail our dossier to Holt. From there Holt will proofread it and then forward it to Ethiopia for approval. After that, we wait for a referral. At this time, we've been told that more than likely that won't happen for another year. We will still travel to Ethiopia twice (once for court and then for the Embassy appointment and to bring our child home). So all in all, the process will probably take between a year and a half and two years. Oh, we also found out that we're number 41 on the wait list for a referral. This may change a bit once we have our dossier in. Well, basically that brings us up to date on where we're at. On the fundraising front, we haven't really done much since the zumbathon in June. I've been busy with school, work, and also with filling out grant paperwork for the adoption. There will be more fundraising events (and merchandise to sell) within the next few months though. :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our First Home Visit and the Simply Love Fun Walk/5k

We met a couple of weeks ago for a brief get-together with Judy Young to discuss paperwork requirements for our homestudy. Judy works for Holt International and was our social worker for Aidan's adoption. When we chose to work with the agency A Love Beyond Borders we knew that they would not be able to provide our homestudy because they only have the one office in Colorado.  We have to have a homestudy done by an approved adoption agency in the state of Missouri.  Holt's main headquarters are in Oregon, but they have a branch in Kansas City, MO.  So, for Aidan's adoption, we were able to just work with Holt.  For this adoption our primary agency will be ALBB, but our homestudy agency is Holt.  So, after a bit of finessing and communication between the two, we now have a contract with both Holt and ALBB.  Our first home visit was this past Friday, May 17th.  Since, Judy already knows us and has been to our house on numerous occasions, we were able to just have a quick Q & A and go over some of the paperwork that we had already completed.  She said that she thinks she can have our homestudy completed and approved within 3-4 weeks.  This is excellent news because as soon as we have a completed homestudy, we can apply for grants.  We can also inquire and ask for more information about Kapend.  So, this is where we're at right now in the adoption process.

In fundraising news, we held the first annual Simply Love Fun Walk/5k, Bake Sale and Craft Fair on May 11th.  I included some pictures below.  My great friend, Bobi, came out to raise both awareness about malaria and money to buy mosquito nets for the southern region (Kembata tribe) of Ethiopia.  This is where Aidan and two of her three girls, Ella and Faith, were born.  I also had another good friend, Hiwot, there.  She is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and made injera (complete with lentils and shirro) and coffee for people to sample.  All and all, it was a great day and we raised around $3,500!  Together with our salsa sales and donations page, we've raised just under $6,000!!!  Praise God!  Next up is our Simply Love Zumbathon on June 28th. 

My handsome hubby

Me and my little man

Check out the picture of Kapend on my hip

Just a few of my awesome co-workers and some of the volunteers at the event

Friday, April 5, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...

I think I might have already written a post with this same title, but I've found something new to add to the list.

As a transracially adopted family there is something that we have a great deal of- books. Seems plausible too since we're both teachers. Books for us about adoption, books for Aidan about adoption, books for us about raising a child that is not of our own race, books for Aidan about being proud of his ethnicity, TONS of books about Ethiopia. You get the picture.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a post on another blog about this book and it got my attention:

I had to have it for our collection, because- with the exception of one or two details- it tells the story of our family. Most adoption books are written about domestic adoption, the ones that are written about international adoption typically feature an Asian child with American parents since adoption to China and South Korea has been the norm for years. So, to all of my friends with little African babies and children, this is a MUST. Aidan loves looking at the pictures and points to the baby and says, "That's Aidan in Africa." Since Aidan's our only child and the book features a family that have two biological children when they adopt their son, we call these children his cousins, Jake and Ella. :)


Simply Love Fun Walk and 5k

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
 ― John Lennon

I was a bit embarrassed to tell anyone that Liam and I were contemplating another adoption. I tend to be a person that dwells in the hopes and faith realm and for many, Liam included, life it about living with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Something about this little boy moved me, though. I knew that if I didn't fight for the opportunity to be his, then he would probably be lost to us. So, I told one person- just one...and then another...and then another. That person told a friend, who told another friends and pretty soon something amazing happened. Our dream of bringing Kapend home became their dream too. Once you have that kind of momentum, it's impossible to stop.

We're hard at work now on planning a Fun Walk, 5k, Bake Sale and Craft Show. We're going to have information booths set up about the adoption process and life in Africa (namely Ethiopia and DRC). Once we started with one idea, it just kind of snowballed. We called the local police chief, who happens to be a good friend of ours, and they are providing a police car. The fire department has promised a fire truck. We have a school bus too. There will be inflatables and face painting too. I think Liam said it best when he wanted to make a shirt that read, "Clever- little town- big heart."

The event will be held May 11th at the Clever EleMiddle School from 8am-12pm. The Fun Walk and 5k will begin at 9:00 am. You can register at any of the Clever Schools or online at: If you live around the area, we'd love to have you stop by. If you don't but would like to support us in our efforts, you can purchase a t-shirt (or 5 or 10 *lol ) on the website or make a donation at Thank you.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fundraising 101

I just need to put this out there. I have some pretty amazing friends and an AWESOME God that is willing to move mountains to get this little boy home to us. Eleshia, my co-worker and friend, approached me last week with the idea that she and her husband could make homemade salsa and sell it as a fundraiser for our adoption. She said that she normally makes about $60 when she sells it at our school and thought she might be able to sell slightly more than that. Of course, I took her up on her kind offer, because quite frankly we need all of the help that we can get. Our donations page has brought in $1,400 in about 2 weeks. This is completely unexpected and we feel so blessed. Well, we sold 50 some salsas by the end of the first day (last Thursday). As of right now, we've sold around 250 salsas!!!!!!!! Even with taking out about $200 or so for supplies, we've made between $700 and $800 just in salsa sales. That's amazing.

The next step is our homestudy. Now that we're within a comfortable amount from the fee for the homestudy, I am going to contact the social worker that helped us with Aidan's adoption. She works for a different agency, but since A Love Beyond Borders is located in Colorado, we need to have a Missouri agency complete our homestudy.  We only need about $300 more before we will have the fees for the homestudy, so I am hopeful that we will be able to begin the process soon.  It usually takes about two months to complete a homestudy as the social worker will need to come to our house twice and interview us.

Our next huge financial hurdle will be the agency/contract fees.  These are about $11,000 and we will need to pay them before we will be considered for K.  If you had asked me two weeks ago if I thought it was possible for us to have that money within the next 6 months to a year, I would have said "NO!!!!".  However, God is proving yet again that He is faithful to those that trust in Him.  We're planning a huge fundraiser now that I hope will be very successful.  This again is just amazing to me.  Can I use the word "amazing" too often?  I feel like, and this is going to sound corny, like we released a prayer into the universe- Lord we want to welcome this boy into our family- and God has put some pretty incredible people in place to help us.  Pretty amazing.  This next fundraiser will take place the first part of May.  The money that we bring in from that, as well as money for grants that we will be applying for, will hopefully give us the necessary fees.  If not, then we'll have another fundraiser.  This adoption is already so different from Aidan's in the fact that we had nearly all of the money for Aidan's adoption when we applied with our agency and we had no idea who God would match us with.  With this adoption, we have a little boy that we desperately want to join our family, but no money to make that happen.  Go figure. :)

So, here's what we need.  First and foremost, please continue to pray for us.  Please pray that our social worker will be thorough, but efficient, so that our family doesn't have unneccessarily long delays.  I keep saying that once we know that this little boy is ours, that I'll be able to relax, but I'm afraid that I'm just fooling myself.  Please pray for K, and for all orphans, that the protective hand of God will be placed on them while they wait for their forever families.  Please pray for us and Aidan.  We're very careful not to show Aidan pictures yet, since we don't want to get his hopes up, but we have begun talking to him in generics, "do you want a brother or a sister", "what should we name him/her", "should he/she be from Ethiopia, Congo, Uganda, etc."  Aidan is very adament (when he's not saying he wants to be an only child *lol*) that he wants a brother from the Congo.  When asked what we should name him, he says, "Camden".  The other night we were looking at a picture of K when Aidan came running up to me, looked at the picture and said, "That's Camden.  That's my brother."  Wreck my heart.  I see God's signs in EVERYTHING, so I'm trying not to read too much into this gesture, but... :)

Oh, one other sweet Aidan moment (Don't get me started, as I could list a ton more).  Liam and I were talking about the donations that I am collecting from my school to send to Ethiopia and he said, "Mel you have a good heart."  Aidan overheard and said, "Mommy, you have a good heart.  I love you."  Love that boy beyond words.  Oh, how you have blessed our lives my sweet little A.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Application is in the Mail!

Our journey has officially began! We mailed our application into A Love Beyond Borders Adoption Agency yesterday. Please pray for us as we begin this exciting new adventure.