Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

The McFarland's (plus the Pipkens!)

Showing our love for baby Easton!!!!

The Fulmer's!!

Proud "Grandparents-to-be"
Merry Christmas!!! We had a wonderful Holiday with the people we love the most, our family!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

DTE- Dossier To Ethiopia!

We were so blessed to find our Immigration Approval in the mailbox on December 23rd!!! Merry Christmas to the Fulmer's!!! After stalking the mailman for 3 weeks we finally have the form that will allow us to complete our paperwork chase. The 23rd was exactly 5 months from when we made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia!!!
What this means:
1. All of our dossier (paperwork) will be reviewed by our agency.
2. The dossier will be taken to the Ethiopian Embassy in DC (the one Ryan and I visited this summer)
3. Certain documents will be translated into Amharic, the Ethiopian Language.
4. The dossier will be on it's way to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa!!

Then what??? Now we are considered a "Waiting Family" as we wait for our referral. Our family coordinator will notify us when we have been matched with a baby. This could happen anytime but the trend with our agency has been 4-6 months for a baby boy and 9-11 months for a baby girl. When we receive our referral we will be emailed a picture and medical history. Hopefully, the next 4 months fly by as we wait to see our baby's face.

Most families have shared that this is the hardest part of the adoption process. Now that we have completed the dossier there isn't anything left for us to work on...well, actually, I take that back, we are going to start preparing a NURSERY!! =)

Tears of happiness!!!!

Thank you for our love and support! We cannot wait to share our baby's picture with you!!!
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Love, Ryan and Ashlie

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas

This year we doing an electronic Christmas card on our blog.
It was as hard decision but we decided not to send out Christmas cards this year. After factoring the print and postage fees the obvious choice was for the funds to go toward our dossier expense. ($7,700.00)
We love all of the cards we have received and hope to return to our Christmas tradition next year, with a family of 3!!! =)

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year~
Love, Ryan and Ashlie

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Our t-shirt sales are going wonderful. Thank you so much to those of you who were able to purchase one and shared our story with others. We are overjoyed when a complete stranger orders a shirt, God is so good!!!

A friend of mine used our design to make a bottlecap necklace. We are very thankful for her and hope you will think they are as cute as we do. Her name is Kami Lake and she can put ANYTHING into a bottle cap. Feel free to contact her at 941*224*8227.
We are selling the necklaces for $10.00. Please email Ryanashlie@aol or use the Paypal link to order one.

We are still waiting for our Immigration Office approval, hopefully we will have it by January. The dossier is ready to go once we get the final piece of paper!! We'll be sure to post as soon as we have accomplished the last step of the "paperwork chasing".
With love,
Ryan and Ashlie

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adoption Fundraiser

*Update: We will be fingerprinted on December 1st at the USCIS building in Tampa. This is the last step for us before our paperwork is finalized and on it's way to Ethiopia!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Our adoption t-shirts are here! We are so excited to share them with friends and family. A huge "thanks" to our buddy Andy for making our one-of-a-kind design and Say What Screen Printing for processing our order. When we first started the adoption process Isaiah 43:5-6 was shared with us from our adoption agency. It says, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." This verse has brought us peace through the most difficult times of our adoption journey. Another part of the scripture that we love is, "I will bring your children from the East..." When we travel to Ethiopia we will be traveling to the East. We are excited to share that we will name our baby Easton!
We are asking for a $20.00 donation for the t-shirt. You can use the secure Paypal link on the right of our blog. Please make sure you send us an email ( with your t-shirt size and address. You can also mail us a check at: 3433 70th Glen E Palmetto, FL 34221.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support, Ashlie and Ryan

Teachers at Wakeland:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

3 Years!!!!

To celebrate our 3rd Anniversary we went to "Queen of Sheba" an Ethiopian restaurant in Tampa. Ryan's sister, Rachel, gave us a gift certificate and we were excited to sample the cuisine. We were happily surprised at how much we enjoyed our dinner. We had a beef and vegetarian sambussa for appetizer, which is a thin flat bread hand-wrapped and stuffed with a combination of lentils, garlic, onions and peppers. For dinner we ordered a meal platter, which was four meat and vegetarian entrees. Ethiopians traditionally eat from one platter, only using their right hand. No utensils are used, you pick up with entrees by using ingera, which is a large sourdough "pancake" made out of fermented teff flour. For dessert the owner of the restaurant brought out fried ingera drizzled with honey and coffee (Ryan's favorite part). We had a wonderful experience and feel prepared to eat in Ethiopia!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

like coffee??

We are excited to start our first fundraising campaign! Just Love Coffee is a Fair Trade Certified company, that was highly recommended to us by our adoption agency. $5.00 for each pound of coffee will be donated to our adoption expenses. In addition to donating to our cause, a portion of the proceeds go to building schools for children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The owner of the company has two beautiful adopted daughters from Ethiopia.

Here is a blurb from the companies website:
Love kids? Love coffee? We do too. There are an estimated 143,000,000 orphans in the world and this number is expected to grow. Rob Webb, founder of Just Love Coffee Roasters, knows personally how expensive the adoption process is. The thought of having to raise tens of thousands of dollars to adopt a child is staggering to many. It can be the obstacle that stands in the way of a family’s commitment to adopt, and many times slows down the process of bringing an adoptive family’s child(ren) home. Many people don’t know where to start. Just Love Coffee Roasters wants to be that starting point for raising money to help unite families with their children.

Please use this link, to ensure your purchase credits our account:

Our goal is to raise $2,000, one flight to Ethiopia. Which means we need to sell 400 lbs of coffee!!! We would love for you to share our link with your friends, family, and co-workers.
Thanks for your love and support,
Ryan and Ashlie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tear Jerker!!

I know I already posted this week but this video is worthy.
This is an AWAA (our adoption agency) family, who recently brought home their baby boy Nile from Ethiopia. The video says everything, no explanation needed =)

<3, Ashlie

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall for the Fulmer's

We had an amazing time with Ryan's parents this weekend in northern Georgia. It was such a blessing to spend time with them. We went horseback riding, played card games and visited the Apple Festival. When we returned home we were delighted to find our finalized Home Study in our mailbox!! This is a huge step toward the adoption process. Now that we have these documents, we will send our I-600A to US Immigration Services. They will reply with the MOST important document the I- 171H. We will take this document with us to Ethiopia and it will officially allow our child to come back as an American Citizen!! (It's exciting to type :)
Below is a picture of our I-600A application~ Ryan thought it was too funny that I made it "pretty". Honestly, we are praying hard that this process doesn't take the estimated 12 weeks. We'll be sure to let you know when this step is completed. If you get a moment, please say a little prayer for our I-600A! Thanks for your love and support through this journey! Love, Ash

Monday, September 28, 2009

From Ashes to Africa

We hope you are having a wonderful beginning to the fall season. We don't have too much to report but we are happy to announce that we finished our home study last weekend. We will be approving the final report this week! We feel blessed to be moving through the process efficiently and pray that we continue on this path. We added a timeline of paperwork on the right hand side of our blog, along with a ticker, to show how long we have been in the process. As of today it's officially, 3 months and 5 days!

We recently purchased this book and thought we would share it with you. It is the story of a couple's journey, which is very similar to our own.
It's very informative about the Ethiopian adoption process but most importantly it's a beautiful story!
The authors of the book, Amy and Josh have a very inspirational blog that we love to follow. We admire them so much, although we've never met them! We're sure you will feel the same way:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Photographs for Ethiopia!

God has created an abundance of opportunities for me to use photography to raise funds for our adoption. Last week one of my friends, Kelly Dunnington, shared with me that the Manatee High School Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheerleaders wanted to support our cause by having me take their annual photographs! I am so thankful that the girls have such caring hearts!
Basically, God said, "Pursue the adoption and I will provide for you".

I am charging $70.00 for a photo session, which includes 400 (or more) pictures, editing, and a CD of all of your prints. All of the proceeds will go toward our adoption and orphans in Ethiopia!
If you are interested or know someone who might be, please email me at
Thank you for your love and support,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Home Study this week!

Hi Everyone!!
Ryan and I are so excited about our progression in the adoption process! We are having our first Home-Study this Saturday with our social worker, Vickie! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
Below is a design that our buddy Andy made for us. We are in the process of making t-shirt to sell to raise money for the orphans in Ethiopia. More information to come!!

Love, Ashlie and Ryan

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chipping Away!

WOW, we have been so busy with all of the paperwork! We thought we would give you an idea of how much is involved for just the homestudy! We are hoping to have everything ready to be shipped out on the 20th of August, just a week away!

Here is our checklist of documents:
1. 4 page Autobiography for each parent
2. Commitment to read 3 mandatory adoption books
3. Commitment to read 2 adoption books of our choice
4. Signed Guardianship Statement
5. International Adoption Statement
6. Post Placement Agreement (3 visits by the social worker after we return)
7. Clearance Questionnaire
8. Background Screening from Manatee County Sheriff's Office
9. FDLE Clearance
10. Central Abuse Hotline Record Screening
11. General Physical Exam, included blood work, see picture below!!
12. Financial Statements, including Monthly Expenses
13. Affidavits of Good Moral Character
14. Birth Certificates (original copies)
15. Marriage Certificates (original copies)
16. Letters from Employers, verifying employment
17. Letters of Reference from friends and family
18. 8 hour online training with Hague International Adoption Convention

Oh and EVERYTHING has to be notarized!!
Well, I guess it doesn't look that's just time consuming! Here is a picture of Ryan and I giving blood at 7:00 in the morning! Of course the phlebotomist got a kick out of my picture taking!
Thanks for your prayers and support!! Have a great weekend,

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Ash and I just wanted to take a minute to thank all of our family and friends for their support so far. I can honestly say that everyone we shared our plans with were extremely supportive and excited for us. It was awesome that we were able to tell most of my extended family in person on our recent vacation to Pennsylvania. This has been an exciting process so far and we can't wait to share it! Thanks again. -Ryan & Ashlie

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our DC Visit!

Ryan and I had a great time touring DC, seeing the monuments, visiting the Smithsonian Museum and of course making a stop at the Ethiopia Embassy. One of the highlights was our cab driver on the way back from the embassy. He asked us what we were doing on International Drive and we shared that we were visiting the embassy. He then told us he was from Ethiopia and had been here for 20 years! He shared all about the culture and even told us that he was traveling to Ethiopia with his wife in December to adopt a baby! He offered us an interesting perspective and was very supportive of us. We are so thankful to have these experiences and can't wait to move forward in the process!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The beginning of our journey

Ryan and I are thrilled to announce that we have begun the process of adopting a baby from Ethiopia!

Getting to this point has seemed like a long journey of it’s own, many trials, many prayers. We’re officially on the road to adoption and are looking forward with eager expectation of what God is going to do through it. We’re so thankful for God’s leading us to this decision and opportunity.

Luckily, choosing a country was easy, after finding American World Adoption, through the 88.1 the Joy FM. Out of all of the international adoption program, Ethiopia was our best match, no questions asked!! Mainly due to the health and age of the baby, care of the orphanage, efficiency of the process, travel time, and cost. We have absolutely no doubt that we can love a child of any race. Although some may have concerns about having a multicultural family, we are confident that we can overcome these challenges. A huge factor that sold us on this country was that it’s one of the only countries that has a need of adopting infants. We’d be able to get a child anywhere from 3 months to 15 years old. We would LOVE to have an infant. Ethiopia is also one of the most affordable of all international adoptions. ($25-30K)

You can follow us every step along the way through this blog, if you’d like to! After being accepted by the agency (step completed!!!), we begin our homestudy. This can take up to 3 months, that consist of 3 intense interview by a social worker. They will talk to us about our motives for adoption, ability to parent a child, check out our home for cleanliness and safety, and write up an official report. While the homestudy is being written up, we can also be working on our dossier, which is a collection of about 20 documents that will be sent to Ethiopia to be approved by their government. Once our dossier is sent, the wait time for a referral from Ethiopia is currently 5-7 months. Upon receiving a referral, which will include a picture of the child and known medical/family history, we’ll need to accept or decline. Once accepted, we’ll buy plane tickets and make plans to travel to Ethiopia. The travel time in Ethiopia is about 7 days. Our agency will arrange everything from hotels to translators to food. We will be able to meet our child right away and spend time with them in their country while we wait for their government to finalize it all. We’ll travel to Addis Ababa, which is the capitol, and then take a day trip to see the orphanage in which our baby was cared for.

That is the basic information, I’m sure we’ll learn much more about the process as we move forward. Affording an International Adoption will be very challenging, however, we are trusting that the Lord will provide. We are working on a few fundraising efforts, in which we hope that you will participate. So we will pray and "wait upon the Lord."

Please follow along this journey with us! Feel free to write comments and ask questions as we look for encouragement and support through this process. We know that God has placed this on our hearts and we are eager to see his mighty hands work in our lives.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west...Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-Isaiah 43:5-6

Love, Ryan and Ashlie