God has blessed us with more than we could ever need. He has not blessed us so we can have the latest iPad, game console or a new car. We have been blessed to be a blessing.

Keep up with our adoption journey and get a peek into the Hollingsworth household.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One More Fundraiser

We expect to travel within the next 3 weeks. We checked on plane tickets and WOAH! They are double what they were at the beginning of the month. If our court date happens to be in January, I don't suppose they will decrease in price since Ethiopia's Christmas is in January.

We have enough for this trip thanks to our church family who have given so graciously to the adoption fund. However, we hope to leave some money in the account after we are finished in hopes it will encourage another family to adopt. Therefore I am launching another fundraiser.

I made these peg people for my son last summer. I had forgotten about them until today when he got them out to play. He absolutely loves them.

They come in a set of 8 (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white and black). You can specify if you want blonde (yellow), brown or black hair. You can  specify skin color. You can also specify boy or girl (girls will have a bow painted in the hair.) If you have no preference, I will mix and match randomly.

The cost is $16 for local peeps and $20 if you need them mailed.

If you need these by Christmas, I suggest placing your order by the end of this week. We hope to get travel approval next week!!

Peg People

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This is Where it Gets Hard

Our preliminary hearing was yesterday. I waited patiently for Lesley to call and let us know how it went. The day came and went. I called her this morning and she basically said that no news is good news. Unless there is a problem, we usually don't hear from Ethiopia at this point.

So now we wait for the MOWA letter. It could be a few weeks. No one really knows.

And that's the hard part. Just sitting here, waiting for a call that may not come for weeks. Going about your day, hearing the phone ring wondering if it's Lesley.

But what's worse is knowing that this doesn't even compare to how it will feel once we have been to Ethiopia, met Joseph, been declared legally his parents, came home without him, then once again waiting on a call that may take months.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I am assuming Joseph's mother has appeared in court by now. I am anxously waiting to hear how it went. My heart aches for her, but I would be lying if I said I won't be sad if she decided not to give him up. I tried to guard my heart until it was official. However, a week ago while I was sitting in church, one of the recent photos we recieved of him popped up in my mind. I smiled inside at how healthy he looked. He appears to be kind of stocky. I then pictured him as a football player. At that moment, I fell in love. It had nothing to do with football. I don't even like football. I never want my boys to play the dangerous sport. It was just imagining him developing his own personality and his own interests. No doubt that whatever activitiy my kids decide to pursue, I will be there watching even if it's something as boring as dangerous as football, as boring as baseball, or as ear piercing as a saxophone (my least favorite instrument). I have already seen that in our daughter. She is not creative like me. She is scientific and mathematical and I love that about her. Because it's her. And I will love things about Joseph even if they aren't my favorite things.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Playlist

I am old school. I don't have a smart phone and my phone, obviously is not an Apple. It does have an mp3 player, though. However, when I started the Couch to 5K running program, I discovered that it wouldn't play iTunes mp3s. Apple has made it so that you must have an Apple brand mp3 player in order to use their iTunes.

But there is a way....

You can burn a CD using iTunes. Then open the CD in Windows Media player. Rip the CD, then use that particular mp3 file in your non-Apple brand mp3 player. I know, it's a lot of steps. That's why any more mp3 purchases will be done via Amazon.

Now, on to my playlist that I will use to get me through the 20-30 hours of traveling.

How Can I Keep From Singing
From the Inside OUt
How Great Is Our God
Hear Us From Heaven
Revelation Song
I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)
Be Thou My Vision (one of my favorite hymns)
Before the Throne of God Above
I Have Always Loved You
Jesus Paid It All
Speak O Lord
You and Me (so far the only secular song)
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (my favorite Christmas song sung by David Phelps)
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
My Savior My God
The Wonderful Cross
While I'm Waiting (my theme song for this adoption)

I need more, so please leave a comment if you can think of one I should add.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Ethiopia is making some changes to the adoption process and we are excited about it!

The preliminary hearing for our case is set for December 3. This is the hearing in which the birth mother is interviewed. Then, we must wait until all paperwork has been submitted before we will have a date for our portion of court. If you know anything about Ethiopian adoptions, you know that no adoption is completely approved before the MOWA letter is received. In the past, it was common for a family to pass court "pending the MOWA letter." Under the currect changes, we won't even have a court date until they receive the MOWA letter.

I can already see God answering our prayers. We have asked. We have seeked. And we have knocked. "Please God, let our adoption be totally transparent and ethical. We are proceeding in faith. You and only you can shut the door on this adoption!

So, now we just wait. We will wait on December 3rd to come. We may hear something the following day, we may not. We may travel in December, we may not. But I will gladly wait another month or two to meet Joseph if it means that the time between the two trips will be shortened. However, I do not know if these changes will affect the embassy side of things. We shall wait and see. It has been amazing to see how God is working in all of this. Rumor is going around that Ethiopia is trying to become a "one-trip" adoption process. Oh, that is our prayer for the families in the future!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Story Continued

We hung up the phone and headed straight to the health department. Our plan was to wait in line for the shots, get the ones they had, then have them order the rest. We concluded that was the only way would be able to talk to "the nurse."

We get to the health center at 4:00. "We stop taking patients at 3:30," a detail I somehow forgot. We told the lady at the clinic what we needed.

"Oh, yeah, we keep all those in stock. Come back on Thursday, but get here at 7:45 a.m. It's first-come-first-serve and if you get here much later, you'll have to wait a while.

I'll spare you all the details and leave you with this....

Seven hundred dollars (for both of us) and my left arm is killing me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting Ready

Now that we have accepted our referral we are waiting on a court date. There have been lots of people before us who find out their court date a week prior. We aren't ones to plan a trip across the globe with only one week notice, so we are getting ready now.

There are certain immunizations that are needed. We've been told it's best to get them done at the health department as they are less expensive than getting them at your doctor's office. A friend of mine said they had to make an appointment and have some of the immunizations shipped from Atlanta (where the CDC is). I called the health department only to find out that things had changed since my friend traveled to Ethiopia 3+ years ago. They do not make appointments. It's a first-come-first-served basis.

"O.K." I said to the [lady on the phone]. "I just need to make sure you will have the immunizations we need. We've heard you may have to order them from Atlanta."

"You'll have to ask the nurse that question and she is only here on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

"O.K. Thanks"

Tuesday (today) gets here and I call the health department as soon as I got home from taking Raine to school. I went through the same spill as before.

"You'll need to speak with the nurse and she is in clinic right now. I will transfer you to her voicemail."

By 3:30 I still had not recieved a call from "the nurse." So I called again. This time I said, "I need to speak with someone who can help me. We need to get immunizations for travel to Ethiopia and I understand you may need to order them from Atlanta."

"The only lady that can help you is in clinic right now."

"No one else can answer my question?"


"O.K. Thanks."

Jonathan said, "Let's just get them done at the doctor's office." By this time, we didn't care. Certain immunizations take 20 days to become affective. Mathematics says we better hurry. I called our doctor to make an appointment. The earliest he had was November 26. Sigh. I then read the immunizations we would need. The receptionist said, "We don't carry all of those. We will have to refer you to the health department.

to be continued

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Orphan Sunday

Sunday was "Orphan Sunday." I wanted to have a referral to share with our church that day. I knew the chances were slim. However, that night we got a phone call from our adoption coordinator. She said, "There's only one reason I call on a Sunday night."

He is a one-year old boy. His birthday was Tuesday. This whole thing is bittersweet. I want to jump for joy that we have been matched with a child. But I can't. It breaks my heart that his mother was unable to care for him. I want him in our family, but I pray that if there's any way for him to remain with his mother, then God makes it happen. I want the best for him.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Should I call this title "Birth Moms"?

God has taught me so much during our adoption process. When we began, we had it in our minds what the adoption would look like. The main issue in regards to this post is that we had no desire to have contact with the birth mother. I'm not saying we are now in a place where we would consider an open adoption, however, I have done a lot of thinking about birth mothers across the world who will face difficult decisions.

Have you ever sat and thought what it would feel like to be a young unmarried girl with no job and no hope for the baby growing inside you whom you didn't plan for? Let's say raising the baby yourself is not an option, for whatever reason. No matter which decision you chose, it would be a heart wrenching one. If it were me, no matter which road I took, I would need major counseling for the rest of my life. I could not imagine the guilt that would come from aborting a baby. Nor could I  imagine the amount of sleepless nights wondering how my child is doing with his family. I would always wonder if he were happy and healthy.

I think it's easy for us to point fingers and say how much we oppose something as cruel as abortion. But that does not get us anywhere. As The Church, we need to provide more help to mothers who feel they cannot raise their babies themselves. God showed us himself that laws do not save people. They only show what sin is. We needed the Gospel to save us. And we need to share that same Gospel to those we've been pointing fingers at.

Don't misunderstand me either. I'm not out there proclaiming Christ like I should be. I am speaking to myself as much as I am speaking to anyone else. I just pray that all these thoughts and feelings are the first signs that God is going to use me in this area.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Talking More Politics

I have decided to support the Libertarian Party. Even though some of them are pro-choice, there are some who are  not. As I stated before, electing a Republican President who is pro-life will not reverse Roe vs. Wade anyhow. So I will put up a fight where the issues actually matter. Besides, just getting a Libertarian as president once, will make a huge difference in the future. After that, I think there is sitll a chance for abortion laws to be changed. We are just going to have to take baby steps.

I have also enrolled in Hillsdale Colleges Constitution 101 course. It is free! Look into it. I think I will create a blog where I will provide summaries and notes on the course, as well as an insight into my journey of balancing faith and government. I'll let you know when it's up and running if you want to follow along.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Interrupt This Adoption Blog to Talk Politics

Before we get into politics, I will say that we are now number 10 on the wait list for a child! Woo Hoo!

Oh, man. Where do I start? There is so much going on in my head right now regarding the election. Maybe I'll just keep this post short and to the point. Let me just say that I really am sick tired of people acting as if Mitt Romney is going to save us from our current situation. Just because he is pro-life does not mean he is the savior of this country. Let's face it, thanks to the Supreme Court, abortion is legal. I don't like it. Abortion is evil. But it will take the power of God to reverse it. Electing a pro-life president has not and will not change it.

"But he's better than Obama."

I'm sick of hearing that too. What does it take to be better than Obama? Not much. We definitely need a higher standard.

And if you are a Christian, please don't use God as a reason to support Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a Mormon. He lives by a different gospel "not that there is another one" - Galatians 1:7. If you agree with him, that's one thing. But don't fool yourselves into thinking he is going to turn this nation back to God. He doesn't worship the same God we (Christians) do. His god is no better than Obama's.

I have come to the realization that I may never be able to vote for a true Christian. And that's o.k. God made it clear through His Word that government won't save us. Only Jesus can save us. One day, the government will be on HIS shoulder!

So what are we to do?

I can't tell YOU what to do. I can only tell you what I am going to do.

I am going to vote Libertarian. I do not agree with Gary Johnson on abortion. But right now, that's not something we need to waste our time debating. I do agree with Gary Johnson on FREEDOM. I believe people should be free to make their own decisions unless it harms someone else (murder, stealing, etc.). You cannot legislate morality. You cannot force someone's heart to be changed. But what is best for ALL of us is to get our freedoms back. We need to get back to being personally responsible for ourselves. We need to get back to helping others through churches and other private organizations. We are going to have to stop relying on the government to fix everything. Voting Republican will not do that. Mitt Romney said himself that there are things about Obama Care that he likes. He had his own health care plan in MA. A free market society is the best way to drive down costs and make it affordable.

I seriously I urge you to read about the Libertarian Party. Also, a friend of mine recommended a DVD series on economics by R.C. Sproul. I hope to check it out soon. R.C. Sproul is a reformed Christian Theologian. I'll try to find a link to those DVDs. This could be it... not sure.

Addition: I just found out that Ron Paul believes it is up to each state to decide on abortion. Gary Johnson does not. He is against any form of government making a law against abortion. Even though I didn't say so earlier in this post, I thought any libertarian would allow each state to decide on abortion, same sex marriage, etc. I do not think that is the case. I believe they are for legalizing it out-right.

So I may change my vote to a Ron Paul write-in.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ethics Update

We got a call from our adoption coordinator. It went WAY better than I expected. There is a good chance we will continue with our Ethiopian adoption and here's why:

Ethiopia is now requiring a lot more paperwork on each child that is put up for adoption. They are now requiring death certificates and sometimes DNA tests. If there is any conflicting information (especially in abadonment cases), yet another investigation will be conducted.

Our adoption coordinator also told us that the orphanage they work with has way more children there than the number of adoptions that are complete. There are children there who ARE NEVER put up for adoption because they know the parents want them back. Also, if the Ethiopian facilitator is not happy with a child's paperwork, he will not allow the child to be referred.

Keep us in your prayers as we take a few more days to allow our brains and hearts to process all of this information.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Adoption 180

Maybe I should call it Adoption 540 or even Adoption 1620, because I feel like I have been spun around quite a few times and I am now going in the opposite direction. 

Just prior to our decision to adopt from Ethiopia, the country began slowing down adoptions to allegations of agencies coercing mothers into giving up their babies. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA), is an Ethiopian Government Agency that  reviews each adoption case and decides whether or not the child is truly adoptable. MOWA went from reviewing 90 cases a day to only reviewing 10. I suppose each case was reviewed more carefully and extensively. I am not really sure.

In addition to MOWA attempting to crack down on fraudulent adoptions, the U.S. Embassy started conducting investigations on each child being adopted. If a child had been relinquished, the birth mother would be interviewed to make sure she had not been coerced.

Everything seemed to be on the up and up. We trusted our agency and we signed up.

Fast forward to August 7 (just the other day) when someone commented on this post. Even though I could tell she is a blog stalker whose motives are not pure, I decided to research her allegations.

I found out about cases where corruption and unethical practices had come from the Ethiopian side, not just the agency side. I had the privilege of actually speaking with one woman on the phone. 


There are many more stories of corrupt Ethiopian adoptions. There are a few found here. As I stated before, some of the corruption is happening on the Ethiopian side. So just because we think we have a great agency that can be trusted and has no record of corruption, does not mean our adoption will be fraud free. Know that international adoption is a business. Like it or not. The people involved make money, as they should for their services. But anytime money is involved, corruption can creep in. 

Orphanages survive on money. Money is generated through adoptions. We have created a demand for healthy infants (I know I'm not speaking to all). When no one wants to adopt an older child and there are no healthy infants, often the orphanages want to fill the demand. And they will. I am not saying all orphanages do this. But I have no way of knowing which orphanages can be trusted and which ones cannot. And I cannot live the rest of my life not knowing if the child I adopted truly needed a home and a family. These babies that were taken wrongfully had a home and a family. It may not have been the greatest home based on U.S. standards. But it was THEIR home and THEIR family.

So what is next for us? We haven’t totally closed the door on Ethiopia. I will be speaking with our agency’s Ethiopian coordinator next week. However, I doubt there is anything she can say that will give me 100% peace to continue with our Ethiopian adoption.We are seriously considering and praying about adopting domestically. That's why I called this post "Adoption 180." When we began this journey back in 2010, we were dead set against any type of domestic adoption. There are too many "what-ifs." But we have learned (and are still dealing with the fact) that if we are truly going to do what God is calling us to do, we will have to lay down our lives (selfishness) and trust Him. 

I know that if we seek first His kingdom, abide with Him, delight ourselves in Him, he will guide us in the right direction. He will change our desires to align with His will. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Just Another Update

I know it's been a long time since my latest post. We've simply gone through a couple of months of getting our new wait list number. Our official end-of-July number is 15! Our unofficial number-after-3-new-referrals-already-in-August is 12! As you can see, things are picking up. But they could always slow down again. In my last post I wrote about how less referrals all over Ethiopia is good because it meant there were less orphans. Well, I was wrong. The slow-down is was not caused by less children needing homes. It was caused by the more diligent paperwork it takes at getting the kids "referral ready."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Inching Up

We are slowly inching up the wait list. Last month we were number 22. This month we are number 21. This is the first month I felt disheartened by the lack of movement. At the same time, I can rejoice that adoptions all over Ethiopia have slowed down. No, this is not because the Embassy is not doing their job and the orphanages and transition homes can't move children through faster. It's because there are less babies being abandoned, less babies being left without parents, less babies whose relatives can't care for them. AND IN THAT I WILL REJOICE. YES, AND I WILL REJOICE! (PHILIPPIANS 1:(part of verse 18)).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Paper Bead Necklaces

Are available! Order yours now! See link above.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Moving on Up

We are now number 24 on the wait list for a child. Things are going slower than expected, but we are fine with that. God has given us so much grace in this time of waiting. We have not been anxious about getting a referral. We also have to remember that we are filling a need for a child. The child is not filling a need for us.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Usborne Books & More

I am now an Usborne Books Consultant. You can earn free books for your child by hosting an Usborne Book Party. Email me at for details. Browse my site at


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Raine Says

A little background information: Our dryer vent cover came loose last winter and a couple of mice decided to visit us.

Now onto the reason for this post:

I am almost finished with my read-aloud of "Stuart Little." Today on the way home from the library where we checked out the movie, Raine asks, "Why doesn't Snowbell like Stuart?"

"Cats don't like mice," I informed her.

"People like mice. But NOT the Hollingsworths!"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

America's Super Nanny

Have you seen it yet?

Tonight's episode featured a mom who dresses her 7 and 8 year old while they are lying in bed. She also takes their breakfast to them in their beds. The nanny asked, "Why don't they eat at the table?" Mom replies, "They won't sit at the table."


Whose the boss here?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Literal Daughter

I don't see Raine as an artist or writer. She has a teeny tiny imagination. We gave her a doll for Christmas and she asked, "How do I play with it?" Don't assume she doesn't have any other dolls, she does. They rarely get any play, though. Only after watching "Toy Story 3" did Raine see all the fun a child can have with her toys.

A few days ago Raine informed her dad and me that kisses don't really make her boo-boos feel better. Come on girl, throw me a bone here!


"Why don't days ever stop?" was her latest inquiry.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One More Step

We received permission from our government to adopt! This is the I-600 thing you may see referenced in our timeline. Each country is different. Ethiopia allows our dossier to be in country prior to receiving this notice. But it will now be sent to Ethiopia to join our "pile of papers."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Raine Says

While watching "Toy Story 3" for the millionth time, Raine says, "They turned Buzz back to English. That means regular talk."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Number 30

We received an email last week letting us know we are number 30 on the waiting list to adopt. That actually includes ALL families, not just families requesting a child under 2. It doesn't really mean anything different. It is still looking like a 6 month wait until we know who the child is (aka referral). But I have been having bittersweet feelings about the whole thing.

I know God has orchestrated this adoption before time began, though it is still sad to think that a child has to be orphaned or abandoned, that a mother has to decide to give up her child or die in order for us to bring him/her into our family. When I first read the number "30" in the email, it put a more realistic view of our wait. But then I can't rejoice 100% as we move up to 29, 28, 27.... because that means that THAT many more children are left without their birth families.

Now, I know God is sovereign and this is a part of His plan for our lives, for the child's life and everyone involved. It just would have been better if adoption wasn't needed and all children remained with their healthy, loving and capable parents. My only consolation is knowing he allows things like this to happen to draw us closer to him and do demonstrate his glory. And I am so excited to see how he will use our experience in Ethiopia and as adoptive parents to mold us into what he wants us to be.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Dossier

Our dossier is in Ethiopia!!! In 5-6 months hopefully we'll have a referral.

Our Fingerprinting for Immigration

Last Wednesday Jonathan and I had our fingerprints done for our immigration application. We were told by others who had gone before us that it is very serious. We were told that only those being fingerprinted could go inside. We were told that we would wait in a room until we were called to another room individually to be fingerprinted. No cameras are allowed, only us and our ID.

We made arrangements with the grandparents to keep our kids. When we arrived, I left my purse in my car, took only my wallet. We walked in and it looked a lot like the DMV. We signed in, were given a number and sat in the chairs and waited our turns. Room? There was no other room. We watched as each person was fingerprinted. I heard the fingerprinter lady talking to the people being fingerprinted.

"Are you Joe Blow?
"Is everything on the screen correct?"

Oh and there was even a couple there with a child. Only the wife was being fingerprinted. I should've taken my camera inside.