Monday, May 27, 2013

News from the O haus

When Evan and I first went through premarital counseling, we were asked when we would want to start having kids. Evan and I both agreed that we would start thinking about it in 5 years. We  enjoyed it just being the two of us, and we have been able to go on some great adventures during the summer. Last summer, we celebrated 5 years of marriage and last year we began the process of adoption. I just realized this connection this week. God reminded me this week that His ways are unconventional but perfect.

Since Evan and I are in the midst of our 2-2.5 year wait time, we revisited the topic of having biological children during the wait, and well.....I'm pregnant. Since the wait is so long, having a biological child does not effect our adoption and we are still on track. The only change is our Ethiopia child(ren) will have a sibling to come home to. The due date is November 19th, and I'm enjoying the idea of "expecting" 2-3 kids (remind me of this when I feel like I'm going to lose my mind).

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ethics and adoption- a message from our agency

A recent blog post has gotten a lot of atttention about ethics and adoption. This is such an important topic, and one that any adoptive parent should be very aware of. I respect the way my agency approaches adoption and their response to inquiries about their ethics.

May 17, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! It was a beautiful Mother's Day, and it makes me look forward to holding our sweet one(s) in the future. We are in the midst of our 2-2 1/2 year wait time, and there are definitely days where that seems like a lifetime away. However today, I recognize you moms, for all that you do and the little ones you raise. I pray for you and your kiddos that God fills your home with love and grace. I also pray for our little one(s) that God prepares our hearts and home to be a family in the future.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Yard Sale!

Come one, come all to the Oster Family Adoption Fundraiser. It will be at our place in Oak Tree on Saturday, May 4th starting bright and early. Also, let me know if you have anything you'd be willing to dontate!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beautiful message from Unveiled faces

I was reading through the blogs I follow, and I came upon an entry from an amazing family. An amazing adoptive family. An amazing transracial family....with 7 kids. The blogger puts a refreshing perspective on trials and racism and reminds us what our God endured. See the post below.

And Yet So Far to Go: on Racism and Jesus

You are all sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized in Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Our family is filled with color
by irreversible choice. in love. through adoption.
There was a time in our country when a family like ours would not have been received with enthusiasm.

God, in His sovereignty, with the sacrifices of generations of bold saints who have gone before us, changed all that.

What He did not change is the inclination of human hearts to remain ignorant of the GRACE that HE poured out on the cross available
to every person
of every color
of every nation
who are image bearers of HIMSELF.

To be ignorant is to ignore the revealed TRUTH of JESUS.
God does not excuse ignorance.

In a world of highly evolved social conscience, we might be led to believe that racism is something that was put to rest.
I can testify that is NOT the case.

As the one who has absorbed all the trauma that my children have been through, this trauma is one that my love and perseverance can heal through His power, but cannot erase.
Even though it was absorbed by our LORD JESUS on the cross at Calvary, the sting of hatred and prejudice continues to rule in the hearts of the ignorant.
And it is NOT tolerated or ignored by Him.
It will not be tolerated or ignored by our family, either.
Because racism is not like any other sin against our Holy God.
As each soul He creates bears His image,
racism is HATING the very image of God.

"If we believe in the sovereign grace of God, the redemptive restoration of God-- then we are never afraid of the Truth.
And maybe our deafening silence is just this:
Truth necessitates confrontation-- and a whole lot of us are more chicken than Christian. We'd rather save our own skin, than the skin of the bruised and battered and beaten.
We're more in love with self-preservation than with Savior glorification.
We'd rather make pain invisible than say injustice is intolerable--
so the injustice continues." Ann Voscamp, A Holy Experience

It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison...1 Peter 3:17-19

So this message is to those in prison.
Either the prison of hatred
or the prison of cowardice.
While Jesus' body lay in the tomb, His Spirit was working.
Jesus was into confrontation.
No evil deed remains covered in the light of His LOVE.

He came to set the captives free in more ways than we- or the evil one can even imagine.

That same ugly spirit that God knew would cause Jesus to suffer and die,
is the same ugly spirit that causes hatred through racism to remain alive today.
Why did they hate Him so?
Why did they want Him out of the way?

Knowing the answer to this, I asked my son the same question.
Why did they hate HIM so?
Was it because He was different?
My son's answer---
"It was because He was better."

God isn't looking for players who "have the guts to fight back."
He is looking for players who "have the guts not to fight back."

Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

Because in the end......He wants none of us to perish-- But gives everyone an equal playing field to be part of His --
irreversible choice, in love, through adoption.

Not to choose, is to choose.
There is no middle lane on the narrow road.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ethics and adoption

We have been so blessed in working with our agency, America World. I know, though, when going through the adoption process it is easy to get impatient. I found this article by blogger, Addison Cooper, to be very helpful when thinking about adoption. There are also great resources out there for "interviewing" your future agency. I found great questions in a yahoo group file. The interview helped Evan and I decided on AWAA. Our now family coordinator patiently answered 2 hours worth of questions, and she is amazing about returning phone calls and emails promptly (a must in my book!) Here is Addidion's blog post:

Twelve Things You Can Do to Make Sure Your Adoption is Ethical

Watching Beasts of the Southern Wild started me thinking about ethics in adoption. I know I wrote some hard things yesterday. If you're on this site, you probably want to have an ethical, kid-centered, health-building adoption. I want to be a part of making that happen.

Here are some of my gleanings from the online adoption community, and from my own practice as an adoption social worker - twelve things that you can do to make sure your adoption is an ethical one.

Here are twelve ways to make sure your adoption is an ethical one: / Tsahi Levent-Levi
Ask Questions

1. Ask your adoption agency how they find children who need to be adopted.
2. Ask what sort of counseling that they provide to the child’s first family. Is their counseling a balanced representation of all options geared at helping the person make the choice that’s best for them, or is it a one-sided “sales pitch”?
3. Ask whether they still extend full services to women who, after contact the agency, choose to parent their child – or, do they only provide services if the woman says she’ll relinquish, but only provide referrals if she decides to parent?
4. Ask how actively they pursue the involvement of the birth father. Do they seek his input and participation, or do they just do the legal minimum standard of notification and assure you that he “probably won’t show up.”?
5. Ask how thoroughly they train and assess adoptive parents.
6. Ask how they feel about openness. Do they speak of it as a wonderful commitment, or as something that adoptive parents can agree to, but then quickly change their minds on, once an adoption is finalized?

Do Your Research
7. Research the adoption practices in the country you’re considering adopting from.
8. Research your agency – if they’re “for profit” their motivation might more easily be on the side of pleasing the adopting parent (and although that sounds good, it increases the risk of unethical treatment of the birth parents.)
9. Speaking of that term, "birth parent" – does the agency use the post-adoption term “birth parents” for women who are still pregnant? That might communicate an expectation which makes it difficult for pregnant women and expectant fathers to feel like they have the freedom to make whichever choice they see as best.
10. If your agency is non-profit, check out their profile on and see where they get their funds from and what they do with them. If they’re for-profit, try to figure out how they avoid being driven by profits rather than by people’s real needs. Friends of mine who were considering adoption once told me of a for-profit agency that would have charged them around $25,000 up front, and which expressed a commitment to encouraging pregnant women to choose adoption once they’d expressed an interest in it. My friends ended up adopting through a different agency. They expressed that it “felt like the agency was more on the birth mother’s side than ours,” but that they were comfortable with that balance. It seemed healthier that way.
11. Visit your agency’s website, and read the pages for adopting parents and for expectant parents. See if the message is consistent, or if they seem to say different things to different people.
12. Check out the Internet adoption community. There's lots of insight from all sides of the adoption community. Some excellent articles have been Shannon LC Cate's “Ten Red Flags That Your Adoption Agency Might Be Coercive," Creating a Family's "Red Flags for Unethical Adoption Agencies" and's post, "Is Your Adoption Agency Ethical?"

These are some hard questions - but if you work through them now, you'll be able to proudly share your adoption story with your child. Adoptive parents, birth parents, social workers, adoptees --- I'd love your input. Which questions belong on this list? Which don't really matter? Which should be added?

Find this site helpful? Check out Adoption at the Movies on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Dossier Journey

Several weeks ago we sent our Dossier (a huge amount of paperwork) to our agency. They checked over it twice, sent it to Washington D.C. to the Secretary of State, and then it began its journey to Ethiopia. Evan and I watched the journey through the tracking number that our agency gave us. On Monday, March 4th our Dossier arrived in Ethiopia.

All of the months of compiling, collecting, and fingerprinting have now led to the country where our child (children) will be born, if they aren't already. Believe it or not, our wait as now just officially begun, ha. The currently projection is that we will recieve a referral in 24-30 months from now.

Please pray that God is blessing this journey, and please pray for our child.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A day long awaited...

Evan called me today and said, "Guess what arrived?" I knew. The I-171H. Thank you so much to my prayer warriors for your faithful prayers that the letter would come this week. It has arrived at last!

The letter is so formal. It comes from the Department of Homeland Security, and it grants us permission to adopt an orphan and bring he/she into the United States. Even in its formality, I was still moved to tears, "It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan(s)..."

Since I got home from work, we have been feverishly working to check and double check our Dossier documents so that we can head to Fed Ex for it to head to our agency, America World, first thing tomorrow. Thank you to my amazing friend, Stacie, who has notarized countless documents for us and put up with me blubbering as she notarized the last document today.

Our child is one step closer. In just 3 weeks all of the work of 6.5 months will arrive in Ethiopia and will lead us to our child (or children). Please join us in prayer for the paper work to be processed smoothly, for the Dossier to arrive in Ethiopia and be processed efficiently, and most importantly for our child (children) that this stack of paper will lead us to.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Still waiting.....

I know it's been a while! Here is a quick update in our adoption process- we are still waiting. We have already had our federal fingerprint appointment which was about 3 weeks ago. Currently, we are still waiting for the "golden ticket," the I-171H. This form grants permission to bring our child into the country, and it is the very last thing that we need in order to submit our Dossier. Please pray it's on its way to us right now!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Les Miserables and adoption

I, like many, rushed to the theater after Christmas to see Les Miserables. I wasn't disappointed. I knwo a lot of people have opinions about their choices in depicting the music the way they did, but I loved it all. See, I have very fond memories of Les Miserables. On my 16th birthday, my parents surprised me and brought me and my two brothers to see the play on broadway. I own the sound track, and have all the songs memorized. I love the story of love and redemption. I read a blog today that put another spin on the movie. Karen at "Finding Rest" puts it beautifully.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

We have our fingerprinting appointment!!!

Happy New Year!

The holidays have been wonderful, and it has been great having a nearly 2 week break from teaching. However, it feels good to be in a routine again starting a new year. We got wonderful news last week- we got our federal fingerprinting appointment!!! We'll be heading to West Virginia on Wednesday to get our fingerprints taken. We are praying that our I-171H will come within 2-4 weeks. Please joining us in praying for this. It is possible it will take longer. The wait time for the Ethiopia program is looking like 24-30 months from Dossier submission, so the sooner we get the Dossier submitted the sooner we can  hurry up and wait. I look forward to posting about receiving the "golden ticket" soon!