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  • Adopting from Ethiopia!!

    Please join us on our journey as we welcome a son from Ethiopia into our family. This blog is intended to document our adoption process with updates, photos & probably a lot of randomness as we start the loooong wait of our journey. We are so blessed to have this experience & can't wait to hold our little boy in our arms for the first time!

    We appreciate your support & prayers!

    Lots of Love,

    Whitney, Jake & Cora

Adoption Update

I just realized it’s been almost a year since I posted anything on our blog!  What a year it has been!

January 28th, 2015, we received a referral for a beautiful, baby boy who we are naming Israel.  We have watched him grow from 5 months old to nearly 16 months old through pictures and videos.  To say we love this boy is an understatement.  The wait to get to him has felt like nothing else, but we know it will be absolutely worth it.

As many of you know, we had our preliminary court hearing with MOWA (Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in Ethiopia) scheduled for November 23rd.  We were SO excited because this meant as soon as they signed off, we would be given a court date within a couple weeks and finally be in Ethiopia meeting our son!  There was so much anticipation leading up to that date.  Unfortunately, we have heard nothing since then.  Everyday, our agency rep checks in with MOWA to get an update on our case and is given no information. It is assumed they are backed up and haven’t been able to process our case yet.  Of course, this is disappointing because we thought we’d have approval to travel by now, but we’re hopeful it’s coming soon.  I’ve connected with many other adoptive families recently and the waiting time with MOWA after the preliminary court hearing varies greatly.  Some people hear that day while others hear 4 weeks later.  I can’t thank all our family and friends who have been praying regularly for our case to be approved!  This means so much to us!

Many people have asked what the process looks like from here, so I’ll explain.  Once MOWA gives their approval, they will request a court date for us (the day we legally become Israel’s parents!).  Usually the court date is within a couple weeks of MOWA approval.  We will arrive in Ethiopia a few days before our court hearing to spend a few days at Israel’s orphanage getting to know him.  After court, we will either stay a couple more days or head home, depending on when it’s scheduled.  Unfortunately, they are requiring us to take two separate trips to Ethiopia.  The second trip will take place 4-6 weeks later after his Visa paperwork is in order.  On that trip, we will take custody of him and he will be with us FOREVER!

As soon as we have good news, we will be sure to share with you! Let’s pray that’s very, very soon!  Meeting him before Christmas would be a dream come true!

We are fighting for you, sweet Israel!

Carrie McKeehan - January 9, 2016 - 6:48 pm

We accepted referral of boy on April 21,2015. Had first federal court date (birth family court) on October 27th & we are still waiting for MOWCA letter :( Birth mom had her Embassy interview this past Tuesday, so we are hoping for PAIR approval in the next couple of weeks. I’d love to touch-base about what agency you’re with, when you will travel (we might be there together!), etc. feel free to email me and we can chat! Prayers for quick letter for you!
Carrie McKeehan
Knoxville, TN

IT’S A BOY!

IT’S A BOY!!!!!!!!!!

We are so excited to announce that on 1/28/15, we were matched with a baby boy from Ethiopia!

Words cannot describe how excited we are to welcome another little one into our family this year.  As many of you know, we’ve been in the adoption process for over 3 1/2 years, and it’s been a crazy roller coaster the entire time!  Who knew that it would take this long to be matched with a child, but we are thankful everything unfolded the way it did, which lead us to our beautiful miss Cora and now this handsome little man.

Because our little Ethiopian is technically not ours until we go to court overseas, we can’t show you his face online or give any specifics such as his name.  But let me tell you, he is cute as can be from the verrrrry tiny two photos we received of him.  Big eyes & lips that look identical to Cora’s (seriously, they look so much alike in the photos, it’s kind of crazy).  They were taken when he was really young, so I’m excited to get some updated photos of him.  He is approaching 6 months old, making him almost exactly 7 months younger than Cora.  Two kids the same age sounds a little scary, but Jake and I are both thrilled Cora will have a playmate.

I was able to get a rough estimate for what our timeline should look like from here.  Of course, with any adoption, unexpected circumstances can appear out of nowhere, so when I say rough, I mean…rough.  I could give you all the details of each step, but unless you’ve adopted internationally, most of you won’t understand a word I say!  So to keep things short & simple, here is our timeline:

- We send in some forms to our agency & Ethiopia sends them the Contract of Adoption

- Paperwork is sent to USCIS

- Ethiopian Embassy starts investigation on our little one

- Embassy issues PAIR letter

- Wait for court date in Ethiopia (usually given 2 weeks notice)

- Travel to Ethiopia to meet our son & legally adopt him in Ethiopia

- Come home:(:(:(:(:(

- Travel back to Ethiopia to pick up our baby 6-8 weeks later (on average)

It sounds like it will take 3-5 months between now until we make our first trip.  This is miracle talk though.  We know other families who have had referrals for an extremely long time and still haven’t met their kids.  We are praying for a thorough and timely investigation of our little guy so we can get him home as soon as possible.  To have him home by his first birthday would be the best thing ever!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along this journey of adoption!  We truly couldn’t have done it without you guys!  We’re grateful to have so many other people praying for our little guy, as well as the other kids who need to be connected with their forever families.  Thank you, thank you!

 

Tiffany - June 24, 2015 - 7:34 pm

Thank you for sharing your adoption story! My husband and I also adopted from Ethiopia 5 years ago and we have a beautiful little girl named Eva. The process is a roller coaster ride, but worth every step you take! Congratulations on your little guy and can’t wait to see the amazing photographs that will be coming!

Tiffany

Welcoming baby Cora & an adoption update!

Well, as most of you know, our baby Cora has finally arrived!

Cora Fae Summers

1.9.14 @ 7:51pm

7 lbs. 10 oz   19.5 inches

We are beyond in love with this new addition to our family.  She is truly the most amazing gift & we’ve been enjoying the last 3 months with her so much.

 

I wanted to give you an update on our adoption process!

We are still very much adopting!  And yes, from Ethiopia!

I was able to chat with our agency’s director today to get some updates.  We are currently #6 on the waiting list.  I was told #3 last time I spoke to them…obviously some miscommunication, but that’s ok.  We were going to wait a few more months to get off our “on hold” status, but today we decided to get back on the list since it looks like we still have a long wait.  She said we will be waiting at least 6 more months, if not much longer to receive a match to a child.   The best part – having Cora has not affected our adoption in any way.  Cora truly couldn’t have come at a better time.  :)  We are currently 3 years into our adoption process.

We are so excited to welcome another child into our family.  Cora is getting so much fun & I can already imagine her playing with her brother or sister someday.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us all this time!

 

November Update

I can’t believe I’ve not updated our blog in so long!  Time sure is flying by…it’s hard to believe it’s already November.  I (Whitney) finally feel like I have an update to give you on our adoption, as I spoke with the adoption agency yesterday for the first time in several months.  Because the birth of our baby is quickly approaching, we are officially going “on hold” with the adoption until after the baby is born.  As sad as this sounds, I really don’t believe this pregnancy has slowed our adoption down one bit.  As of right now, we still wouldn’t have received a referral, so I feel like this pregnancy couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.  I’m so excited as we get closer to meeting both our biological baby & our adopted baby!  Dreams are coming true!

It was really exciting speaking with the agency yesterday.  I found out we are #3 on the waiting list, so when we return to being an active waiting family after the baby is born, we won’t have to wait toooo long before getting matched with our child.  Once we get matched with our child, we will get to bring him/her home in 8+ months (taking 2 separate trips to Ethiopia).  After getting advice from the agency, they feel it’s in the children’s best interest (and we agree) that adopting one child at this time, rather than adopting two, is most likely the best decision for now.  Our child from Ethiopia will need extra time for bonding once they arrive home, so it’s important we have the time available to make that happen.

I am currently 30 weeks pregnant!  I can’t believe I’ve made it this far & am so close to meeting our baby!  And as most of you know, we are expecting a little GIRL.  We are so thrilled!  Here are some photos documenting my growth over the last 7 months:

14 weeks (my sister is also pregnant, due 10 days after me!!!):

15 weeks (the day we found out it was a girl):

20 weeks (on our “baby moon” in Vail, CO):

26 weeks (Jake took this picture, it was used on my baby shower invites):

30 weeks (taken after my baby shower):

And now for some pictures of our baby Cora, taken at 28 weeks!!!!!!

 

We are so fortunate to have wonderful friends & family who came out for my baby shower last weekend.  It was so amazing to see all the people who already love baby Cora so much!  And we are so grateful for all the generous gifts we received.  Jake even got to come for the very end of gift-opening, which was nice:

Thanks again to everyone who has prayed for us this entire journey, both adoption & pregnancy.  It means the world to us!

Looking forward to providing more updates in the coming months.

:)

Nadine - August 13, 2014 - 9:33 pm

Not yet. Still have a couple peeics of paperwork to get done. Working on selling everything that isn’t nailed down to finance the first trip. On Ebay, search for grandmother and bid!

Angela - March 1, 2015 - 8:31 pm

No more s***. All posts of this qultiay from now on

Just when you think…

Just when you think..

you know exactly

what God wants for your life.

He throws you a curveball.

Yep! We’re pregnant!!

:)

10 weeks tomorrow to be exact.  It’s been so hard not sharing the news publicly, but of course wanted to make sure everything was ok with the little babe before telling the whole world.  I’ve had 3 ultrasounds so far, today being one of them (see pic above…low resolution, horrible machine, but hey, there’s a baby in there with legs & arms…crazy!).  So far, everything looks great!  I even bought myself a home doppler so I can listen to my baby’s heartbeat as much as I want.

Jake and I were a little beyond SHOCKED when we saw the pregnancy test showing positive (ok make that 15 tests just to be sure).  As many of you know, we’ve had years of heartbreak with trying to start our family.  Months and months of not being pregnant, definitely the hardest 4 years of my life thus far.  Our decision to adopt was not only based on the fact that we couldn’t have biological children, but our desire to love a child who doesn’t have the opportunity to be cared for by his/her birth parents.  Our hearts are very much invested in this adoption, and I have to admit, as much as we feel beyond blessed with this pregnancy, it was somewhat a bittersweet moment knowing it might jeopardize the timeline of our adoption.  Many of you might be wondering if we’re still going through with the adoption now that we’re pregnant, and the answer is YES!  YES YES YES!  We already love our little Ethiopian baby/babies, who may not even be developing in their mother’s womb.  But could this pregnancy add a little extra time onto our adoption?  Yes.  And that’s the sad part.  But I am reminded daily that this little miracle growing inside me is a GIFT from GOD himself.  He wouldn’t have given me this blessing if it wasn’t meant to be, I have faith in that.  Therefore, I also believe that God has a plan for who our adopted child will be.

We found out we were pregnant just a few days after announcing we are adopting two babies from Ethiopia.  As of right now, we are not making a final decision on whether or not we are going to adopt one or two.  Part of me thinks “triplets” would be fun, but the more logical side of me thinks that might not be fair to our children who will need A LOT of time bonding once home from Ethiopia.  We don’t want any of our children to feel like they’re not getting the attention that deserve.  So we will see.  We have a lot to pray about!

From here, this is the plan:

~our adoption agency wants us to contact them again in a couple months to discuss going on “hold” at a certain point in the pregnancy

~after the baby is born, our agency won’t refer us a child until our bio child is at least 6 months old (so I will be calling them on our baby’s 6 month bday:))

~when we come off “hold,” we will pick up right where we left off on the waiting list

~Once we get our referral, we will take 2 trips to Ethiopia.  It takes about 8 months from the time of referral to the time they come home.  Our babies will probably be very close in age.

So there you have it, quite the update!  Of course, we are not out of the woods completely.  Miscarriage can still happen at any point, so if you can say a quick prayer for us, we would be so grateful!  If all goes well, we should be delivering a baby on or around January 11th, 2014.

Thanks again for all your love & support.  We are feeling beyond blessed to see our family growing in multiple ways!!!

 

 

Brianna - June 14, 2013 - 1:49 am

I about cried with excitement for you two! God works in mysterious ways. I am so happy for you and your growing family! Prayers from the Holzer family as you carry this precious gift.

Traci Kuzma - June 14, 2013 - 2:20 am

Love u whit, and i can’t wait to see it all unfold! However it does, it will be perfect…You and your family are in my prayers often. Xoxo, t

lindsay - June 14, 2013 - 6:37 am

whit, this is amazing and well deserved. You have a fantastic family and so much love and support. We are always cheering you on and have always known things will happen the way God intended. Enjoy this time and remember that you are in our thoughts.

Suzanne Phebus - June 14, 2013 - 2:03 pm

Whitney & Jake,
This is so beautifully written and a blessing indeed! God always has a plan and what a wonderful plan he has for you both and these babies that will be so fortunate to be in your lives.
Sending love to you all,
Suzanne

Joyce - June 18, 2013 - 6:22 pm

So happy for you! That is awesome news. I’ve only met you once, but have followed your adoption story and photography. And here I am with tears of joy for you. God bless you and the new life inside you.

D o n a t e