Aidan Birhanu Miller Robinson

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.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aidan's Adoption Video

This is Aidan's adoption video. It covers our journey to bring him home and the first year of his life with us. Hope you enjoy. It's hard to believe that we're coming up on the 2 year anniversary of our homecoming. My little boy is growing up so fast. :):(


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why Congo?

During the early stages of Aidan's adoption, I posted about the harsh conditions throughout Ethiopia and the reasons why we felt lead to adopt from there. I feel as though I need to do the same with the Democratic Republic of Congo- more for myself, as some days I get so discouraged thinking about the money aspect of this adoption and worrying about how we will possibly raise the funds, that I forget why God has placed it on our hearts to go there in the first place.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the poorest African nation.  From what I have seen and read about the DRC, you can compare it somewhat to Ethiopia  in terms of poverty and disease.  However, then add a civil war that has lasted on and off again since the 1990s and that is responsible for more than 5 million deaths- the vast majority from disease and starvation.  Even though a peace treaty was signed in 2003, bitter conflict has continued to rage in eastern DRC between the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Congolese government troops.  While I won't go into a history lesson here, one of the main causes of this war is, ironically, because DRC is a very mineral and diamond rich country with nearly 1 billion dollars in gold exportation alone every year.  That money does nothing, however, for the Congolese people as rebel troops continue to exploit the DRC and its citizens for its natural resources.  What have the outcomes of the conflict been?  As I mentioned before, more than 5 million deaths, an estimated 2-3 million rapes committed against women and children, and boys as young as 5 or 6-years-old forced to become soldiers- for some their initiation is killing their own family members or watching as their family is murdered in front of them.  Imagine that for a moment.  Because of the continued conflict, nearly 2.5 million Congolese are homeless and an additional 500,000 have become refugees in neighboring countries.  And one of the most heartbreaking outcomes is that the DRC is now home to over 5 million orphans (the entire population of Scotland).  In fact, the autracities in the DRC are so great that numerous humanitarian groups have listed it as the worst place to live if you're a woman or a child.
  • More than half of Congolese people live below the extreme poverty level (living on less than $1 a day), with the vast majority of those living in rural areas.
  • The infant mortality rate is nearly 1 in 10
  • 1 in every 5 children die before the age of 5
  • 15% of children under the age of 18 are orphans
  • 700,000 of these children have been orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic
  • Many children in the DRC who are orphaned by AIDS face further problems as they are often accused of witchcraft or sorcery in a nation where superstitions are often seen as reality.  In fact, nearly all of the children accused of witchcraft are either orphans, disabled or albinos.  The vast majority of these are boys (75%).

I'm reminded of the movie Blood Diamond.  There's a scene where Danny (Leo DiCaprio) is talking to Maddy (Jennifer Connelly) about the autracities occuring in Africa, namely Sierra Leone.  He remarks that "God left this place (Africa) a long time ago."  I remember that statement so clearly because it really struck me. 

Of course, we know that's not true.  God is everywhere.  God can be seen in the hands of the humanitarian workers that work diligently to bring aid to war-torn villages.  God is in the heart of people like Haregewoin Teferra who fought for the lives of orphans living on the streets in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  God is in the feet of men like Muis Mumbara, once abandoned himself, who- refusing to give up on children accused of witchcraft- walk for miles every day along the streets of Kinshasa, DRC, caring for these homeless and cast out youth.  And God is in the face of a child, who the world calls "unwanted", but whom God will never abandon, when he finally finds his "forever family".


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Two posts in two days- WOW!

You might have noticed that I've updated my blog- and honestly, if you're still checking in from time to time, you are a more patient person than I am.  I wanted to include a picture of my cute little man.  He's getting so big.  I look at pictures from when we first brought him home and I'm filled with both pride that he's such an amazing child and continues to marvel his father and me and sadness, because he's getting so big.  I just want to stop him now, but then I'm also more than curious to see what type of man he will be and all the plans that God has instore for him. 

I also changed the title and background.  I was going to keep the same title as before, but "hope" to me means a deep desire- a longing.  Faith is the trust that God will answer the hope that lies within us.  I still don't know if Kapend is meant to be our son, yet I know that if God wants him to be a part of our family, He will provide the means to make that happen.  That's faith.  And boy, do we need a great deal of it with this adoption, because unlike Aidan's adoption, we're starting from scratch.  We have no savings set aside for this adoption, but I look at that sweet, sad face and I know in the deepest part of my heart that he's ours.  God has called us to be his family.  So, here we go, hold our breath and take a HUGE LEAP OF FAITH!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Exciting News

Well, so much for my great plans of keeping up with my blog.  Aidan will be three in July and I think I've updated this blog twice since he's been home.  I will tell you all about Aidan in my next post as I can spend long hours talking about my sweet baby boy, who's *sniffle* not really a baby anymore.  However, this post I want to devote to some exciting news...

We're adopting our second child!

Now, before I put the cart before the horse, let me clarify.  We're hoping to adopt our second child.  His name is Kapend and he's waiting for us in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  We have a long ways to go before we have the money to proceed with this adoption, which is where you can come in.  If you click on the link to the left, you'll go to our donation page to raise funds for Kapend's adoption.  You can read our story and make a contribution to our fund.  Please consider giving.  Without your help, we can't bring Kapend home and this little boy desperately needs to be part of a loving family.  Whether you can give $5 or $100, your gift will be greatly appreciated and go a long way to putting a smile on this sad, little face.  Thank you and God bless.

Kapend, age 2