New pics, Elsa’s birthday, and an update!

September 28, 2013 by The Rippke's

It’s hard to believe it’s already been seven weeks since we saw Solomon’s face for the first time! The three pictures we have from the initial paperwork were taken at the end of July, so when I received three new ones from the orphanage today my heart skipped a beat! New pictures are THE best thing during the wait. Especially smiley ones! Clearly I’m biased, but our boy is seriously SO cute. I can’t wait to be able to get rid of the hearts! I know it sounds weird, but he has the cutest teeth. And look at his hair growing out!! I love it! We are praying hard that we get to start our dossier this week. Our home study was reviewed yesterday, so we are hopeful the edits will be taken care of tomorrow and envelope of papers will be on it’s way to our house this week! We NEED those papers. And we NEED to get them done quickly. Like lightning speed. All of the official contracts between orphanage, agency, and us solidifying everything can’t take place until the dossier papers are in country. So, like I said, we NEED those papers. They’re also what are submitted to the court so that we can get a court date and go see our precious boy and legally become his parents. And once we get clearance on our home study we’ll be submitting everything to immigration as well. Hopefully they’re all caught up and it doesn’t take forever for us to get a fingerprint date and favorable letter from them as well. Anyways, prayers for a smooth and quick paperwork process from here on our are appreciated. We need to squeeze our sweet boy!

We’ve been busy with doctor’s appointments, fingerprintings (yes, we do multiple fingerprintings during all of this), and the contract/home study round of paperwork. But all of that is complete now, and we’re ready for the next step! The dossier! Thank you to everyone who sent in reference letters on our behalf. You guys were quick!! And we really appreciate it! It’s been so fun, having Elsa Banke involved in the process this time. She already loves her brother, and has asked us several times to get on the airplane to Ethiopia and go get him. Somedays she says “I just wish I could find Solomon. Go get him now?” I’m praying for all of us that this wait is on the shorter end of the spectrum. She definitely understands that he’s coming home. And she definitely understands where he’s at now. She spends a lot of time in his room, and has been filling his dresser with clothes she picks out for him and the books and toys she’s planning on sharing with him. I did get a second ergo though ($50 thanks to zulilly! woo!), so she doesn’t have to share that. Not that she would have. Ha!

We’re continuing to fundraise. And THANK YOU to everyone who has donated or supported us through one of our fundraisers. We are inching ever so close to HALF WAY to the $17,000 needed before we can go to court in Ethiopia. I can’t even begin to tell you how blown away we are by this. There are days, just like there were with Elsa’s process, that we stand in our kitchen with the mail and look at each other and say “How is this going to happen?” And then it does. God provides in crazy ways through all of you. CRAZY ways. Nate and I finished our contract paperwork a week earlier than expected. If we learned anything from Elsa’s process it’s that you don’t sit on paperwork. One day of sitting on this end could mean months of sitting on the back end. And these kids can’t afford that. You finish paperwork, you send it in. Period. This time that meant sending it in without the full $5500 that we had mentioned needing being funded. Fortunately, and this is going to sound nuts to all you who know what a Dave Ramsey fan I am, our agency lets us put payments on a credit card if we need to…which, sometimes you do when things move at this pace and the amounts are so awfully high. So we sent it. Knowing that with work and what you all had donated we could pay it off before the next round of fees are due (in a month-ish). It’s not a great feeling, so I don’t share this for any reason other than to show God’s provision and how when He promises something he MEANS it, but minutes before they processed the payment the REST of the funding came in. And made you guys made me cry in public. Again. God provides. And He loves these kids. And it breaks his heart more than it could ever break mine that they are growing up in orphanage, or in foster care, or on the streets. So I really can’t thank you enough. Really.

We are still adding names to Solomon’s suitcase! I have a couple more to add today, so this isn’t exactly current, but thank you to everyone who has donated towards helping us bring Solomon “N” home!! We are already filling his suitcase up with donations for the orphanage he’s at, and of course for AHOPE (where Elsa lived). I’ve talked to the director and she said one of their most pressing needs is clothing for older kids. And from we know from being in country before, medicines, multi-vitamins, creams (benadryl, anti-fungal, etc.), school supplies, and gloves are always needed as well. If you have any you’d like to send along with us let me know and we’ll coordinate how to get them!

Of course the end of September meant Elsa Banke’s first birthday home!! Last year it was so hard to be between trips, waiting for her to be home and knowing she was spending yet another birthday without her mommy and abapa there. But this year…this year was awesome!! Such a fun weekend filled with friends and food and of course GG and Grandma came to town! : ) We had a ninja turtle party and all of her little friends came over to play, and eat pizza. Like any good turtle would do. Seriously, I’m pretty sure she thinks if she eats enough pizza she will in fact become Michelangelo. She has the sweetest little group of friends. And we are really lucky…because all of their parents are equally as sweet and fun to hang out with ha!  Thank you again to everyone who came over and celebrated with us!

And finally, thank you to everyone again who purchased items through our Noonday show!! And thank you to Alli, my mama, and my grandma for hosting the show! Again, we are completely blown away by the turnout and support. Unbelievable. We had such a good time hanging out trying on all the jewelry and scarves and bags. Oh man, the bags. I seriously underestimated how much I would love the Noonday stuff. So stinking awesome. Let’s just say I’m anxious for Christmas…

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  • Our Story

    The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, "Because I drew him out of the water." - Exodus 2:10

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  • Our Timeline

    • Application: 10-30-10
    • Began Home Study: 01-25-11
    • Completed Classes: 02-08-11
    • Home Study Approved: 03-08-11
    • Sent i600: 03-18-11
    • Sent Revised i600: 03-30-11
    • Sent Dossier: 05-26-11
    • Dossier Approved: 06-03-11
    • Girl: 103 | Boy: 81: 06-03-11
    • FDL: 06-06-11
    • Girl: 102 | Boy: 78: 06-10-11
    • Girl: 95 | Boy: 72: 07-15-11
    • Girl: 91 | Boy: 68: 08-19-11
    • Girl: 85 | Boy: 65: 09-16-11
    • Girl: 80 | Boy: 62: 10-24-11
    • Girl: 80 | Boy: 63: 11-22-11
    • Girl: 77 | Boy: 60: 12-22-11
    • Girl: 74 | Boy: 60: 01-31-12
    • Girl: 70 | Boy: 55: 02-29-12
    • Girl: 64 | Boy: 51: 03-30-12
    • Girl: 63 | Boy: 49: 04-30-12
    • IT'S A GIRL! REFERRAL! (switched agencies, got the paperwork a few days later) 05-04-12
    • Sent in dossier 05-21-12
    • Dossier approval 05-29-12
    • Requested I-600 re-fingerprinting date 06-11-12
    • Mailed referral paperwork 06-19-12
    • Dossier sent to Ethiopia 06-19-12
    • Got re-fingerprinting date 06-22-12
    • USCIS refingerprinting 07-10-12
    • WE GOT A COURT DATE!!! 08-08-12
    • Left for Ethiopia 08-13-12
    • Arrived in Ethiopia, met Elsa!! 08-15-12
    • Court Date - PASSED COURT! 08-17-12
    • Left Ethiopia for the US 08-20-12
    • Submitted to US embassy 11-07-12
    • BF to US embassy 11-26-12
    • CLEARED! Nate to US embassy 11-28-12
    • Nate and Elsa Banke home 11-30-12
    • Saw his profile 08-11-13
    • Sent AAI our inquiry 08-12-13
    • Said YES and sent formal application! 08-20-13
    • Formal contract submitted 09-16-13
    • Finished home study visits 09-16-13
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