Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We Are Coming!!!

In my last post, I mentioned that we could be leaving for Ethiopia as early as Saturday. Well, I was wrong. We are leaving Friday afternoon!!! That's right, we will board a plane in less than 3 days.

We are going to meet up with 3 other families along the way and arrive on Saturday night. I can't believe this is actually happening!!

We will be traveling most of the way with my friend Sarah and her husband. Our little girl's are friends and I am praising God that they get to come home on the same day.

Baby girls, your mommies and daddies are coming for you!!! We love you both so much!!

The boys can't wait to have their sister home. Jax has been sleeping with Mia's baby doll every night for the last couple of weeks. I found him like this the night before we found out our case was cleared with the embassy.

God is giving us the desire of our hearts and we could not be happier!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

We Are Cleared!!!!!

I woke up this morning and found the best e-mail ever in my inbox! Of course, it took us almost an hour to get into the attachment, because the state department forgot to send us the password. When we finally opened it we saw that our case cleared!!!!!

Our daughter is coming home!!! Praise the Lord!!! He is so good!!! I have been praying over and over that we would have her by her 3rd Birthday, which is March 13. I cried every time I thought about us not being with her on that day. We do not have dates yet, but it seems like we will travel next week. If not next, then I am almost certain it would be the week after that. We could be leaving as early as this Saturday!!! I can not believe this actually happening!!!

Also, my friend Sarah cleared today and I am praising God for that. Our daughters have been together for 2 years and now they are both coming home.

Thank you for all who have helped pray our daughter home!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Letter to Our Friends and Family

Dear Friends and Family,

As you all know Mia Grace will be coming home soon (we still don't have exact date, but trust it will be soon). Of course, we are very excited and can't wait to have her home, but we know this will be a scary time for her. Her whole life is about to drastically change and she will lose everything that is familiar and comfortable for her. Because we know you care for our family, we want to share some information that we hope will best equip everyone around Mia to assist us in laying the strongest and healthiest foundation-physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

One of the main things we will be focusing on when Mia comes home is attachment. Attachment is the process of Mia learning to trust Justin and I, to trust that we will always care for her and love her. Attachment with our other two children happened naturally when we brought them home from the hospital. When they cried, we responded and as this repeated often they learned that Mommy and Daddy would always care for them. Our daughter has been living in an orphanage with different care givers for the past three years. She will have to learn what a Mommy and Daddy are and learn that she can trust us. Children who come home through adoption have experienced trauma to their little hearts due to many interruptions in the typical attachment process.

So now our job is to help Mia's heart heal. We know that only the Lord can truly heal her and we are so blessed to already see His hand working in her young life. We pray that He will lead and guide us on how to practically help her. She needs to trust that we will always love her, never hurt her, never leave her, and that we will always meet her needs.

When she comes home she will likely be very overwhelmed. Everything around her will be new and she will need to learn not only about her new environment, but also about love and a family. She has not experienced God's design for a family in an orphanage setting. The best way for us to form a parent/child bond with Mia is for us to be the ones who hold, snuggle, soothe, instruct, and care for her. We are, essentially, recreating the newborn/parent connection. So, in the beginning we will keep her world very small, only her immediate family. This means for the first few months that she is home we will stick pretty close to our house. We will limit contact with other people, so that we can focus on our daughter and she can focus on us. As we see that she is establishing a healthy bond with us, we will branch out and help her develop other healthy relationships.

Initially Mia will have a lot of structure, boundaries, and will always be in close proximity to us. So, you may be wondering why we are telling you all of this. Well, you play a vital role in helping our family to adjust and in helping Mia settle in to her new world. We have experienced so much love and care as we have prepared to bring our daughter home. We know she is loved by many already and we want you to know the best ways to help our family.

The first thing we need you to do is to help us set up boundaries for our daughter. It will help if you limit physical contact with her in the beginning. This will include normal things like hugging, kissing, and holding. Waving, high fives (she loves to give high fives), and blowing kisses are completely appropriate and welcomed! Please know that we want nothing more than for our sweet Mia to be loved, cherished, and cuddled by all of you (she is totally huggable and adorable). But until she has a firm understanding of what a family is, we would truly appreciate you directing her to us when she is seeking out affection, comfort, or food. Over time, as Mia learns that we are her parents, it will be perfectly ok to treat her like you do Sawyer and Jaxon.

While we are in our little "cocoon" we will still need our friends and family. We want to stay connected with all of you and we know this may be a little harder when we first bring our daughter home. We will limit where we go at first. Our daughter has only been in her orphanage, so I am sure you can imagine how overwhelming places like Wal-Mart can be. Things like running small errands or help with meals would be a huge help to us. Another way you can help our family is by reaching out to our boys. I am sure they will be going a little stir-crazy with spending so much time at home. We want to try to keep their lives as normal. Also, Meredith is going to be spending a lot of time at home and will need her friends to give her a supply of life. Phone calls, e-mails, and visits when possible will be very important and appreciated.

We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and family!!! You are part of the reason we even wanted to adopt in the first place. We didn't want to keep the love we have from all of you to ourselves. We honestly could not have completed this adoption without your love, support, and prayers. We love you all!


Justin and Meredith

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update and Prayer

We found out this morning that our file made it to Nairobi. We found out exactly a week ago that we were sent, so we were happy to receive this news this morning. The state department has 30 days to review our file, but hopefully it won't take this long. There are currently 3 families with our agency who are waiting for their cases to be cleared in Nairobi (our family and 2 others). There is one family (the family we traveled with) who are still waiting on the embassy to either clear their case or send it to Nairobi. This is a hard place to be and I hope and pray everyday that we will all be cleared soon so our kids can come home.

Some of the families with our agency are planning to have a prayer time tonight for the four families I mentioned. I love the other AGCI families so much. We really are a family that encourages each other, prays for one another, and really just loves each other. We are planning to pray at 8:00 central time tonite. Please join us in praying for the Lord to move mountains and allow our children to come home.

They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God. Zechariah 13:9

Sunday, February 19, 2012


A little over six months ago we saw a picture of our daughter. We didn't know she was our daughter, but we knew she was a precious child who needed a home. She stole our hearts and soon we were in the process of becoming her parents.

Two months ago we appeared in front of a judge in Ethiopia and were told that our daughter was all ours. We became a family of five and our daughter became a Bufkin. It was a happy day! At the time, I thought we would be back in a month, maybe six weeks. Well, here we are, still waiting half a world away from our little girl.
The past couple of weeks have been really hard for me emotionally. I have shed many tears and prayed many prayers. I know God has a plan for us. I know our daughter will come home, but the wait and the many unknowns are hard.
God has taught me so much through this adoption. Many of the lessons I have learned have come in the hard moments. But, in the last couple of weeks all I have felt is frustration and pain. I knew this was an opportunity for the Lord to teach me; to grow me and to mold me to be more like His son. I just wasn't seeing the lesson. I wanted God to teach me something, to reveal Himself to me, so I asked Him to do just this.

The last couple of days I have felt the Lord speak to my heart. I hear Him saying, "Surrender."

This is not the first time the Lord has called me to surrender my life and my family over to Him. I really thought I already had. We followed the Lord in obedience to adopt our child. It feels like that should be enough, but God is showing me that He wants more from me. I still struggle with wanting things to happen my way and in my time. I thought I knew the perfect date for our daughter to come home. She didn't, so now I have another "perfect time" in my head.

I think I am beginning to realize that I have to surrender my own plans. I have to tell my Heavenly Father that no matter what happens, He is enough. I can't put my daughter, or any of my children for that matter, above Him. He needs to be first in my life and I have not been putting Him there.

This is something I am still learning. I don't have it all figured out by any means. I know that some days I feel completely at peace in the wait and other days I am not.

We could find out this week or next that our case has been cleared and we get to go get our daughter. We could be waiting for another couple of months. We may have to fight harder before she comes home. Whatever it is, I pray that I can say, "It is well with my soul." I will serve the Lord no matter what happens. I choose to praise Him in the good times and the bad.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Yesterday, I kept Jaxon home from school because he had a horrible cough. Neither of us felt well, so we just laid around the house all day, stayed in our pjs (well, Jax did change into his Mario costume around noon), and took a nap together. It's no fun being sick, but I did enjoy our day together and he was feeling much better today.

This morning I got a call that Mia is sick. She has an upper respiratory tract infection. It seems that it is going around HH. I am honestly surprised we made it this long without a medical update call. I really wish I could be with her especially now that she is sick. It makes me so sad to know she isn't feeling well.

I know she is being well take care of and I pray she feels better very soon.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Valentines Day

Monday evening I wrote about how I wanted to hear something from the embassy. Well, yesterday I got not one, but two e-mails from the embassy.

The first e-mail informed us that our case was being sent to Nairobi for further review. This isn't exactly the e-mail we were hoping for, but we weren't surprised by it. We are thankful to be sent now rather than later. It will take at least a week for our file to get to Nairobi and then at least a week or so before we hear anything regarding our case.
The second e-mail was from the vice consul of the embassy telling me why our case was sent for further review. I really appreciated this e-mail, but it was also difficult to read some of what he had to say. I just keep reminding myself that none of this is a surprise to God. We are trusting Him to make a way for our daughter to be home soon.

So, my Valentine's Day was filled with not so good news, but it was also filled with blessings.

My Valentine surprised me at work with chocolate covered strawberries (yum!) and beautiful pink tulips. I also enjoyed giving my little valentines the treats we got for them. Jax said, "Why did you get me this mom? Is it so you could show me that you care for me?" I just love that kid!

Justin and I made breakfast for dinner last night, the boys favorite. They really enjoyed the scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes with strawberries, and hot chocolate with heart shaped marshmallows.

I also had a special surprise from a friend yesterday. She brought a brand new jogging stroller for our sweet Mia. Yay! I can't wait to take walks around the block with my little girl.

This morning when I checked my e-mail my inbox was filled with more precious pictures of my sweet girl. here is a portion of the e-mail my friend sent that made me smile.

Here are some pictures of your precious daughter! I have video too! Just need to find time and energy when I get home to send it! :) I got to hold your daughter and love on her and pray for her!!!!! :) She's a sweetie! She smiled more than the pictures show... my camera is not quick enough to catch it but she was a happy girl!!! She's so adorable and loving!!!! HAve a great day!

And here's another one:

Oh your girl is so precious!
We had a nice time at HH! I prayed for God to let her come home to you and told her how much you love and miss her! She never stopped smiling for long!!!! So cute!!!!!

And one more:

She is well taken care of so you can have peace in that.. so hard waiting though... Your daughter was suppose to be taking a nap but they woke her up for me so I could get pictures for you! THen she held out her arms to me and wanted to come out and walk around! So cute! Then she took a nap after! :) What a precious one!!!!!

It makes my heart happy to know she is being well taken care of and receiving lots of love until we can be reunited with her. God is hearing our prayers, friends!! He is near to our daughter and loves her more than we could ever imagine!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Checking E-Mail in My Sleep

Ethiopia is nine hours ahead of us. So, as I am going to bed each night, most people in Ethiopia are just beginning their day including my sweet girl and the people who work at the embassy. Before I go to bed I pray for Mia and the people who are working on her case.

Every morning the first thing I do after I get out of bed is check my e-mail to see if the embassy has tried to contact us. Usually my inbox is empty and I start the day feeling a little let down. I usually continue to check on and off until about 8:30. Sometimes I even check it at random times like during the middle of the night in Ethiopia or on the weekends. You know, just in case someone couldn't sleep and decided to clear our case in the middle of the night. ;)

I usually wake up at least a few times during the night and wonder what's going on at the embassy. I have even dreamt more than once that I got up and checked my e-mail. Last night I dreamed I got an e-mail from the embassy saying they were sending a letter to someone who they needed to talk to about our case. Yes, I am going crazy!!

It will be so nice when I can actually sleep peacefully again without worrying about what is going on at the embassy while I am sleeping.

I did not receive an e-mail from the embassy in real life today. It has now been 3 weeks since I have heard anything. I did get an e-mail from a sweet friend who is in Ethiopia picking up her 2 boys. She actually got to meet our Mia the day she arrived to Hannah's Hope in November. My friend took some pics of us for Mia to see. She said she was smiling and loved looking at them. She also said she was adorable and happy :) It made my heart happy to receive this e-mail. I also got a few new pics of our sweet girl from another friend last week. I am so thankful that I at least have these happy e-mails for now. Maybe, just maybe, we will hear from the embassy soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Things That Made Me Smile This Week

I know my last post was a downer. Thanks to all of you who prayed for us this week. Thursday and Friday my mood and attitude was much better. It was another week filled with silence regarding our case. At this point, no news is not good news. However, the week was also filled with sweet blessings and things that made me happy. I want to share just a few of the things that made me smile this week.

1. Monday I was able to visit my dear friend Mia. We have been close friends ever since we met at LA Tech's freshman orientation. We actually met while washing our hands before lunch. Mia is one of the greatest blessings in my life and she is one of the reasons we loved the name Mia for our daughter. We talk on the phone often, but had not seen each other in a while, so it was great to be able to chat and catch up on each other's lives. I also got to visit with her two precious daughters. The only pic I got from our visit was this one of her oldest daughter. Isn't she cute?
2. Another thing that made me smile were these sweet monogrammed jumpers Mia got for our Mia Grace. I can't wait to dress her up in all her cute new clothes. Her closet is filled with lots of fun, girly things.
3. Jax has been making Valentine's for his sister for the past few weeks. Actually, anytime he colors a picture or makes anything at school or church, he says it is for Mia. I found a stash of things he put in his sister's room for her to have when she comes home. He even made a little goody bag filled with granola bars and small toys. I love his heart for his little sis!
4. Thursday I got to have lunch with two of my loves. Sawyer's class has been learning about Louisiana, so they went on a field trip to a local seafood restaurant. Justin and I were able to join him for some yummy seafood. Sawyer's favorite was the catfish and fried shrimp.
5. Sawyer was chosen to be king of his class Mardi Gras parade. We went to watch the parade yesterday. He had a blast!
This little pose made me laugh. He was really hamming it up during the parade.
6. I have to say that I am so thankful for great friends. I was able to have many conversations this week with old and new friends that encouraged me and lifted my spirits.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today I am missing my daughter so much it hurts.

Today I have cried my fair share of tears.

Today I feel weary.

Today I am thankful for friends who encourage, support, and love me.

Today I am glad my God is a God of compassion and love, a God who is near to the broken hearted.

My little girl turns three years old next month. We should be planning a party and picking out a cake. She should be asking her mommy and daddy for toys. Instead she is in an orphanage with no idea that she is about to have a birthday.

My heart is hurting and longing to hold my sweet girl again.

I pray, and pray, and pray some more. I have no doubt the Lord hears me. I have no doubt that He will answer, but I do grow weary sometimes. Somedays, like today, I feel that I just can't even pray one more prayer.

This verse has been such a comfort to me on days like today.

"In the same way the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us in groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26

I am out of words, but it's ok, because the Spirit Himself will intercede for me. He will intercede for our sweet daughter. The Lord will bring her home and He will receive all the glory and all the praise.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


As I am sure you know I am so ready to have my daughter home. I must confess, though, there is something I have been worried about. It probably sounds really silly, but I am so nervous about learning to take care of Mia's hair.

I don't know anything about doing hair. I don't even own a bottle of hairspray. I just wash my hair, dry it, and brush it.

The boys' hair regimen consists of me spraying it with water and combing it down. I occasionally use a little gel on the front of Sawyer's hair.

I must be the most clueless person on the planet when it comes to hair care, especially African hair care.

I have been asking everyone I know for advice and Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care is my new favorite blog.

So I am clueless, but I am learning. I had no idea before that there were different types of hair, but now I know. I am pretty sure Mia has 4c hair and apparently it can change as she grows. There is so much for me to learn!

I have purchased a couple of products and plan to buy a few more before she comes. Her hair and skin care products will definitely cost more than the rest of the members of our household combined. =) Oh, the joys of a little girl!!

So, if you have advice now is the time to share it. I would love to know what types of hair products you like for chocolate hair and any special tips you have for this clueless mom.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February 2012

We are still waiting to hear from the embassy. Monday will be:
7 weeks since we passed court in Ethiopia
4 weeks since our file was submitted to the embassy
2 weeks since we have heard anything at all from the embassy
Every weekday morning I check my e-mail as soon as I wake up, sometimes in the middle of the night, to see if the embassy has tried to contact us. Usually my inbox leaves me disappointed. I have no idea what this week or the next few weeks will hold, but I am continuing to pray that we will be cleared soon.

So far, February has been a special month in our adoption journey. It is also the month, 11 years ago, that Justin and I started dating.

February 2010 is when we really got serious about pursuing adoption. We had been talking about adoption for a while, but we didn't know where to adopt from or what agency to use. We went to an Adopted for Life conference praying the Lord would give us direction and answers. It was at this conference, we knew our child was in Africa, most likely Ethiopia. We also first heard of our wonderful agency, AGCI. It is hard to know when our adoption journey officially began, but to me this is when it really started.

A year later, Feb 2011, we were on AGCI's wait list. I started the month feeling very discouraged and wondering how long it would be before we finally saw our daughter's face. I went to the Created for Care retreat and the Lord truly renewed my weary soul. He also showed me that His plans for our life and our adoption may be different than what we had planned. I really feel this was when he started to prepare my heart for our sweet Mia.

So, now here we are in Feb. 2012. We know our daughter and we love her dearly, but she is still not home. I have no idea what will happen in Feb. 2012, but I am praying hard that this is the month our adoption of Mia Grace becomes full and final!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Do You Know?

The Muffin Man, The Muffin Man?
Do you know the Muffin Man who lives on Drury Lane?
My little Jaxon was the muffin man in the nursery rhyme parade yesterday.
He looked so cute walking and smiling in the parade. I am glad we were all able to go watch him.
His friend Nicholas also dressed like the muffin man. They looked so cute!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our Own Little Created for Care Retreat

Last February I went to a retreat for adoptive moms called Created for Care. It was a wonderful weekend and time to connect with other adoptive moms. I have been so blessed to meet so many wonderful women who are also on this adoption journey. I really don't know what I would do without these precious women the Lord has put in my life.

This year I signed up right away for Created for Care 2012. I couldn't wait to go again. Well, things changed and we thought we may be traveling to Ethiopia at the end of January, so I sold my ticket. Things changed again and I thought I may be able to go, but in the end it didn't work out. I was disappointed at first, but then I made plans to meet my friend Sarah for lunch on Saturday. We met in the middle of our two towns and had a mini created for care retreat.

Sarah and I have sent numerous e-mails, texts, and talked on the phone many times, but we had never met in person until last Saturday. Our daughter's have lived together for the last 2 years. They were in the same orphanage as babies and now they share a nursery at Hannah's Hope. Sarah was one of the first people I talked to when we found out about our daughter. She was praying for her before we even knew she was our daughter. We have a special connection because of our precious daughters and I am so thankful for her friendship.

We are both waiting on the embassy to clear our cases, so that we can bring our sweet girls home where they belong. This wait has been so hard, but I am thankful to have a friend who understands and doesn't mind when I cry to her on the phone or in the middle of the Children's Place.

I am looking forward to the days when we can meet up for play dates with Mia and Eve.