Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well . . . .

Well, I was hoping to be able to post sometime in this last month and tell you we had a match and knew who our daughter was going to be. Not yet. We are waiting on documents from the African government before our agency can make the referral. If you want to do something, pray! Pray that the documents are ready and that the orphanage director can email them to our agency. Pray that the internet works so that the documents come through! Just pray that it happens this week!! Meanwhile, another family has passed court! Congratulations to the Seays and their two new beautiful children! They will be traveling sometime in the next three weeks to bring them home!

In the meantime. . .
We had a great time at Thanksgiving with our family in Arlington and we are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas break with both families in Alabama and Arlington. Here is a picture of Carter with my bothers dog, Luke. The boys love him and he is the best dog!

Monday, November 17, 2008

She's home!!!

She's home!! Ella is home with her mom and dad and doing beautifully!! I had the wonderful opportunity on Saturday to welcome them home at the airport, along with many, many other family and friends! It was so wonderful to see them walk through the doors! Ella kept waving to everyone and smiling, like she knew all these people were here for her! She is absolutely beautiful and so happy! It was great fun also to meet other families who had adopted from the same orphanage or who were waiting as we are. Here are some pictures of the welcome party! mom, dad and Ella!
Minte and Ella were good friends in Africa at the orphanage
Sweet little girl, being very patient with all of us who wanted to love on her!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Today we had Dakots'a fifth birthday party! The boys dressed up as pirates and everything was pirates from the cake to the treasure hunt! I made a treasure map cake, they played pirates outside, went on a treasure hunt for their party favors, and busted the largest piniata ever created!!!(thanks to Mrs. Sarah Killian, Betsy's wonderful mother) Mrs. Killian lives inthe valley and was headed to Hamilton for the weekend. Betsy said my mom will bring your piniata ( I was having trouble finding a pirate one). Great! Friday after school Betsy walks over to me with the biggest piniata I had ever seen! It was big enough for Dakota to get inside it!! It was great and the boys went crazy when they saw it!! Don't believe me?
It was awesome!! I put a tone of candy in it and it barely filled it a quarter of the way up! Anyway, the party was a huge success and the boys played pirates until time to go home. Dakota has some wonderful friends and it was great to watch them run and play and laugh all afternoon. Here are some pictures from the day! Thank you Mrs. Killian, Betsy and all of the pirates who came over today, we love you very much!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Dakota!

Today Dakota turned five years old!!! I can't believe it! He already thinks he is a teenager! I can't imagine what this year will hold. He is an amzing kid. I've never known a five year old who was "cool" but Dakota is cool. I told one of his friend's mom the other day as he walked by in long baggy jean shorts, a bandana on his head, with is electric guitar, "He's such a dude!" He makes me laugh every day. It is official now that he's five, he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy football player when he grows up, seriously! It's been the same now for two years so I guess he's for real! Yea, good seats for mom!!
Here are a few other pictures to make you smile as you say a prayer for Dakota today on his birthday!

Happy Halloween!!

Too much Candy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Amazing and Wonderful!

Our friends have just spent the whole day with their new daughter in Africa!! Here is an excerpt from their blog:

"What an amazing morning . . . There, sitting in the floor among three other babies, was Eleanor Yanet. We spotted her from the hallway and our hearts instantly melted. She was wearing the dress we had sent for her birthday, her beautiful curly hair lovingly braided by one of her caregivers. Such an incredible sight…our daughter, sitting on a play mat looking up at us. We could see all the caregivers watching from the hall. They were all smiling and were very excited for Yanet. The caregivers obviously love her very, very much, and Yanet loves them, too.

The other children are so amazing and sweet. We hugged and loved on them all. Our friends who already have referrals are in for a treat…and our friends waiting for referral: we’re trying to figure out which one she is…but they are all amazing. One came up this afternoon and in his broken English said “Yanet…plane…you.” I said, “Yes, Yanet is going home with us.” He clasped his hands together and held them to his chest and smiled. I thought I might fall over…his sheer joy that Yanet has a family, now, while he doesn’t…how amazing. Seriously, several of you reading this now need to call Buckner and get an application packet. You thought I pushed it before…just wait till we get home."

Thank you Amy and David for loving on all the children there, one of whom is our little girl!! I am with David, there are many of you who need to contact Buckner and start the process of bringing one of these children home! I am also very thankful for the wonderful caregivers who are loving and caring for our little girl. God is amazing to put all these people in just the right place!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Next Step!

Well, our dossier made it through the Department of State and the African Embassy! It is in Dallas in the hands of our case manager at Buckner! She said everything looked good and that she would mail it to Africa on Monday! I think it takes about a week to arrive there and then it gets translated and submitted and we wait for a court date! I have no idea how long all that will take but we are working on patience so here we go! Our friends are actually in Africa right now sleeping (maybe) and in the morning, they will meet their daughter for the very first time!!!!!!!! The crazy thing is that they will probably meet our daughter while they are there and we just don't know which little girl she will be! They have strict instructions to love on all the little girls they meet!! Pray for them that all of the transitions go well and that they have a safe trip back in a few weeks with their daughter. Pray too that soon we will be called for a match meeting to find out which little girl is ours!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


We finished our dossier!! That means we put together a huge document filled with everything from letters of reference to bank statements to police background checks and more! I think there were about 27 documents in all. We drove to Austin yesterday, went to the Secretary of State's office and had all of the documents authenticated (she checks to make certain all of the notaries are legal and then attaches a form to the top of each document). Smooth sailing until Homeland Security has changed some requirements, if you are in this process, the copies of y our passports must have the statement, "I certify that this is a true and accurate copy of MY passport", not the original passport, but my passport!! Crazy! Anyway, after a trip to the UPS store, new copies and new statements notarized by Josh, we were back at the Secretary of State and finished everything! We then headed to FedEx, made copies of all her certifications and then we mailed it to D.C.! Already this morning our wonderful courier has picked up the documents and is taking them to the Department of State and then to the African embassy. Once everything passes there and is certified again, the courier will overnight it to our case manager at Buckner and she will send it off to Africa!! And then we wait for a court date. It is so great to be finished with our part of the process, at least to this point. Who knows, maybe in the next few weeks we will have a match meeting and find out about this little girl for whom we are waiting! I'll let you know!

Thank you!

Thank you to all who contributed to our adoption raffle!! We couldn't do this adoption with out the help of our friends and family. It was a great success and we really can't tell you enough how much we appreciate your involvement in bringing this little girl home!

The recipient of the ipod nano is Jacob Jones!! Thanks Jacob!

Thanks again to everyone! (If anyone would still like to contribute please feel free to contact us either through email or just give us a call!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We received our 171 form in the mail Wednesday!! This is the form from Homeland security/immigration that approves us to adopt an orphan from another country. The amazing thing is that all the paperwork says not to expect t his for at least two months because t hey have to process the form, we have to get fingerprints done, etc. On the website it says they are processing forms five months out, sooooo I just knew we had months to wait on this form. It was processed in one month and we received it in a little more than a month! What does this mean? It means we have to get moving!! We have just a few more items for our dossier and then we will head to Austin to get everything authenticated (signed by the Texas Secretary of State), then we mail it to D.C. to go to our U.S. Secretary of State and the African Embassy. Once it comes back with everything done (possibly a couple of weeks) we send it to Africa where it will be translated and submitted into their system and then we wait for a court date! (No idea how long this part will take.) Needless to say things are moving along!! Once we get our dossier finished we may get a referral which is when they match us with a little girl!! Then we will know who she is!! I can't wait! Please just keep praying, we all need it!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Congratulations to our friends on becoming parents!! Last night they passed court in Africa at 3:07 a.m. our time which means they officially became the parents of a beautiful little girl named Ella! You can see pictures of her and tell them congrats on their blog! They are already the very best parents to her from so far away and when they meet . . . I can't even imagine!! We can't wait to meet her and give her a huge hug!!Hopefully, she will have a friend here soon! Congrats my dear friends, your lives will be full of amazing and wonderful joys!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Soccer season is here again! Both boys are doing great and have really improved since last year! Their teams are doing well and they are having a blast! Carter, still not real competitive, just having fun and loves playing. Dakota, well, last week he looked across the line at another four year old and said, "You're going down!!!" Never a dull moment with this one!!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Carter's class is doing a unit on quilting so we asked his Great Grandmother to come to his class and show the kids how she does quilting by hand! It was great! The kids loved it and all wanted to try quilting. They were very excited and all talked about going home and getting their parents to help them quilt something! It was really fun to watch and see my grandmother teach the kids and show them all the hard work that she puts into her work. She has made so many beautiful quilts for all of her family and she also makes them for people in need through a group at church. She is a fabulous grandma and human being!! Carter loved having her in his class and showing her off!! It was really fun!
By the way, she's 90!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who is She?!?!

Well, another family in our agency was matched with their little girl!! She sounds absolutley adorable! She is seven months old and waiting for her new family! This family has pictures of their daughter and the other children in the baby home . . . is our daughter in those pictures?!?!?!? I can't stand it! I would love to look and see if I see her even though I have no idea who she is!! Sounds crazy! I am so anxious to find out who she is and know everything about her. How old is she? Is she really tiny or big and chunky? Does she have really tight curly hair or wavey curls? Patience has never been one of my gifts! I guess now I just have to keep working on our dossier and praying for this little girl I haven't even seen, but can't wait to meet.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I love this place!

This weekend has been a perfect example of why I love this place! We have had 54 hurricane evacuees at our church since Thursday. They are all from the Houston area. I have watched as our entire community has come together to take care of these kind people who are displaced for who knows how long. We have more food at church than anyone could imagine. We have had people around the clock staying at church to clean, feed, and just care for the visitors. People have come by the church with homemade food, towels, blankets, games and books, toilet paper, you name it. Several of the evacuees stayed in Hamilton three years ago during hurricane Rita. They came back. They headed straight for Hamilton because in their words, "Here we are treated like real people." This community is the body of Christ and I love being a part of this body! The people are good and kind and loving, they are sacrificial and accepting of all, they are family. I am proud and honored to be a part of this community.

Friday, September 12, 2008


We'll we're working on what's called our dossier! Basically, it is mounds of paperwork! Everything from a letter from the Sherriff to our birth certificates, to reference letters, bank letters, doctor's letters, it's a ton! All of these things then have to be notarized and once all of it is together then we have to drive it to Austin and get it authenticated by the Secretary of State! We also have to be fingerprinted! Once all of that is done then we send it to Washington to the Secretary of State and to the Country's Embassy from which we are adopting. I am now officially going to be organized!! Following a great tip from another family adopting, I am buying a big fat binder to keep everything inside and organized! It is really coming together!

I read two wonderful blogs last night, one about another family from our agency who is in Africa meeting their new nine year old son! He will be coming home with them on the 18th! Another from a family (also with our agency) who had their match meeting this week and got to see their new son and daughter! It is so wonderful to see these children finally be connected with their new families! It is amazing!! I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Keith's adoption story . . .

In the spring of 1999 I was asked if I would be interested in going to a certain African country to be a part of a Sports Ministry Team. I was hesitant at first because I had never been out of the country! After much time in prayer, I felt as though God was encouraging me to be a part of this missions experience. Our team primarily worked with kids by administering basketball camps throughout the country. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the people and especially the children. I learned that 1 out of 10 of the children in this country is orphaned due to poverty or illness. I saw children living on the streets, rummaging through garbage dumps for food, and working as though they were adults. Everyday, I looked into the eyes of children begging for coins. My heart became attached to these children at a level that’s hard to describe. Towards the end of my time there, I realized God had something larger in store for me than the mission trip alone. God was calling me to help further.

I met missionaries there who had adopted twins and I couldn’t get enough of those two. However, it wasn’t until I was about to board the plane to go home that I realized what God was trying to tell me. As I sat in the terminal, across the way was a couple who were holding a tiny baby. I went over to get a better look and it was like God was giving me a vision of a future for my family. The couple was from the U.S. and they were adopting from this African country. I talked to them momentarily and just felt that would be Sharon and me someday.

After arriving home, I told Sharon about my epiphany (so to speak). She laughed. I did a little as well because I knew that we were not ready to do such a thing. I simply prayed that God would speak to her like He spoke to me… at some point, some day, down the line. Well, almost eight years and two children later, that some point, that someday, down the line came about and God conveyed to Sharon the same thing He told me. I’m thankful for God’s timing. Words fail in describing my excitement that God’s call to help a little one in need and grow our family is in the process of being fulfilled. We covet your prayers and support in this journey we are on. God bless you, and our family – especially our daughter half way across the world. - Keith


It is very overwhelming and humbling to think that our little girl might already be at the baby home in Africa! I can't help but wonder how she got there. Were her parents under unbelievable stress? Were they even alive? Does she have siblings? I just pray that whatever the circumstances her birth parents know that she is safe and will be well taken care of at the home. I pray that she is safe and healthy, that she is receiving love and care from the workers in the home, that she is playing happily with other children there. There are so many things I pray about and think about now. I just can't wait to meet her! We received all our paper work! The most important form an I-600 that takes five months to get approved!! That stinks! I know it will go by quickly. In the meantime we have our dossier to complete. It covers everything you can imagine! All of a sudden I have a lot to get done!! It's fun though knowing that each day will bring us closer to traveling to Africa and meeting out daughter!

Raffle! Raffle! Raffle!

We have been approved by our agency!! This means that now we can move forward and fill out more paperwork and that we are even closer to being matched with a little one!!!! It also means we can begin the process of raising money for the adoption and applying for grants.
We have created an ipod raffle online in order to raise money for all of the expenses. (We swiped this idea from some of our friends!! )
A contribution of $25.00 will purchase a raffle ticket, or contribute more for more chances to enter the raffle!! Just click on the chipin button above to contribute. The ipod is the red ipod nano, which gives to the Global fund for AIDS for Africa. http://www.apple.com/ipod/red/
We greatly appreciate any contributions made toward helping bring a little girl home to a forever family!

First Day of School (actually Aug. 25)

Today Carter headed off to his first day of second grade! I can't believe it! He was so grown up! He walked right to his locker, put his stuff away, and walked in like he had been there forever! I am so glad that he loves school! He is very excited about this year because his teacher has a blow up pirate ship in her room as their reading center!! She also has a six foot blow up pirate named Pirate Pete!!(Pete mysteriously disappears occasionally and winds up in the strangest places, yesterday it was the girls restroom!) Their first unit is pirates and needless to say, Carter is sold! He has an amazing teacher, who is creative and fun and excellent so we are very happy!! Dakota, however, does not start until next Wednesday and is not happy that he can't go now! I know it won't last forever, but right now, both my kids LOVE school!!!! YEA!!! Still no word on the home study approval. Maybe later this week

Adoption Update . . .

We have completed our home study! The social worker has finished her report and now we wait. The committe/panel of people at Buckner have to meet and review our home study and our application. If everything is satsifactory, then they will approve us and we can move forward with grant applications, fundraising, and the dossier (government application, etc.). I have no idea how long the review process will take but hopefully, just a few weeks. One family has already returned with their little girl and another family leaves the first of September to get their nine year old little boy! A third family has a court date in Africa in October and two other families are waiting for referrals (when they are matched with a child). The process is working and children are being brought into wonderful families! Please pray that the process will work and will go smoothly for all of the families and children.

Monday, September 8, 2008


This summer we have had some interesting hair experiences! Carter has decided he loves having a mohawk! It is not cut in a mohawk, just styled that way! His daddy loves to fix it up with lots of gel (Keith is living vicariously through his son's full head of hair!!). Dakota, and his friend Tyner decided one day to cut their own hair! They were so proud! We left it for about a day until he decided he wanted his head shaved so the lovely triangle shows up really well once we buzzed his hair! They are crazy!! I wouldn't trade them for anything though!!

Growing Up!

This week he has summer music camp at church and it is great. It is his first year to be able to attend and after the first day he loves it! Dakota is not happy about having to sit this out. He thinks he is just as old as Carter. Several months ago, as they were going to bed, Dakota looks at me and says, "Carter is 7, I am 4." Yes, I said. Then he comes out with, "I'm, seven in my mind." All I could do was agree! He really believes that he is just as old as Carter and it just kills him not to get to do the same things. It is a challenge to "keep him four"! He is growing up so fast.

Why Africa?

Many people have asked, "Why Africa?" (Due to the sensitivity of the country where we are adopting, we can't talk about a specific place. Call me and I can give you more details!) In 1999, Keith went on a mission trip to this particular country and fell in love with the people. He was also disturbed by the number of street kids. He came home wanting to adopt. I was not ready to even discuss it! Fast forward nine years and two boys later! Some friends of ours are adopting from Africa and David is, as his wife Amy put it, relentless! He sent me email after email, picture after picture until I finally actually sat down and listened to God (not David!). One in ten children in this country are orphaned through either poverty or illness. We are not having any more children biologically because we would have twin boys and I would have to be put away! I have always been interested in teaching about and working for racial reconcilliation. I have also always had a place in my heart for Africa, don't really know why. Dakota (our youngest) has been asking when are we going to get a baby sister for over a year (all of his fiends have sisters and he doesn't understand why he can't have one!). He has been told over and over, we are not going to have one, our family has boys, etc. Well, needless to say, all of this came together for me and really opened up the idea of adoption. I always thought if I did adopt it would be domestic because there are so many kids here who need families and I never thought I could give a child from overseas things they needed such as their heritage/culture or trips back, etc. A friend of mine told me last summer (very sarcastically) when we were talking in general about adoption, "Those things are so much more important than having a family!" I wanted to punch him! He was right. When I mentioned to Dakota that we could get a little sister but she might look really different than he and Carter he wasn't so sure. When I told him that he could be a big brother to someone that didn't have any family , he was very excited and came home and told his brother and dad that we were going to be a family for a little girl who didn't have one! I thought if the four year old could get it then so could I! So after much prayer, lengthy conversations, and gathering information we began our journey to adopt! We are very excited and can't wait to bring home our little girl!

So Much to Tell!

The Felton family has had a great year so far and is anticipating more excitment. We have started the journey of adopting a little girl from a country in Africa! We are very early in the process and have much to learn, and from what we understand, a mountain of paperwork to complete! The basics are: we have requested an infant girl, the process should take between six months to a year, she will be somewhere between three months old and eighteen months. We are all excited, especially the boys. Dakota can't wait to be a big brother and Carter is excited about being a big brother two times! We will explain more and catch everyone up on how we arrived at this decision in the days to come but for now, know that we ask for your prayers for our future little girl and for all those waiting for adoptions to go through.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dakota's First Day of School!

Dakota started his first day in the four year old class at St. John's Luthern Preschool on Sept. 3! This is his, "Hurry up and take my picture, I have things to do" look! He goes to school Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 - 11:30. He loves it! He attended the three year old class last year and so he is a pro this year! He loves school and all of his friends are in his class so he has a blast! However, I'm not sure the teachers will make it, out of 21 students only 5 are girls!! It is a great big crazy group of boys!! I hope they make it!! He and Carter also started soccer this week. They love soccer and they are both pretty good (if I do say so myself)! Hopefully we will have our first game this Sat. but with the hurricane moving in, we may get washed out.