Monday, February 27, 2012

2 Strand Twist

I know many of you are already familiar with this style, but for those who are not, its a nice change from braids, easy do do, and great for girls and boys' hair.

Once I got the braiding down, my goddaughter wanted the twists.  Can't believe now I actually had to have someone show me what to do, because it really is so easy, but there are some tricks to make it look better and last longer.

Products.....there are a couple products that are cheap and work well....once is called Loc Gel and the other is Twist and Lock.  They don't benefit or hard the hair, as long as you don't keep the twists in for too long.  At about a month the hair can lock when using a locking gel.

The most AMAZING product for African American hair is a line by Miss Jessie.  There is good reading on why it is so good.  Used to be only available online but now you can buy it at Target. The purple Curly Pudding is the product to use for the 2 strand twist.  Very little product is needed and it is good for the hair and scalp, it just runs about $38 per jar.

Do people steal this stuff?!?!  Notice the anti-theft tag on the side!

My lovely model is Keyvee, a former 5th grader and currently we are discipleship pals :-)

After washing her hair, I keep it fairly wet....thus the towel around her shoulders.  I start by making a part along the hair at the neck.  Sections will be squared.  Each section with be separated into two pieces.  Product is worked through the hair and then the two strands are twisted all the way to the end.
Continue to part new rows until hair is fully twisted.  You can blow dry at the end and a hair lotion can be worked through to soften the twists.  If you go with Miss Jessie's, then use the Baby Butter Cream.  
Oh how I wish my hair could do this!  It's amazing to me every time I twist it!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Genie Locks - Hairstyle for Tweens & Teens

Last year I learned about Genie Locks...I had been braiding weave (synthetic hair) into girls' hair for years.  Lots of fun and LOTS of time! I saw a woman one day with a style that looked like she had grown perfect, girly dred locks overnight!  So I inquired and what I found was still time consuming, but simple to do and gives a hairstyle that last 1-2 months!

What you need:

  • A willing head!
  • Leave in conditioner
  • Red Heart Yarn (this yard does not shrink after being wet and with this style girls can go swimming, get hair wet in the shower, etc)
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Some kind of towel if you don't want to hurt your fingers

I take the yarn and wrap it around the legs of a coffee table or chair so that all strands are the same.  If you have a cat that you find out there is no myth to a cat loving yarn!  Watch out!  After wrapping the yarn you take it off of the chair and then cut it at one end.  

If you have braided single braids from the scalp into your daughter's hair, then you can do this too!  Working with the yarn is much easier than synthetic hair.  The key is the start the braid with hair and yarn as close the the scalp as possible.  Take the THREE strands of yarn and at the scalp, begin to braid with the hair.  
Once you get the hang of braiding the yarn in, you go for it, parting the hair until the whole head is done!  She wanted some color in her hair, so she picked out what she wanted.  I added one strand of color with two strands of black and I only added this to about a dozen braids or so, as not to make her look like Rainbow Bright! When you have braided to the desired length, simply take two of the strands and make a knot.  Later on you will cut the yarn beyond the knot off and then burn the ends.  

She is SLEEPY now and so am I, so we
will burn the ends off tomorrow
and take the finished product pics :-)

So after all braids are in, it is time to get a lighter.  I usually blow the flame out and work on the end with my fingers but I was wise to think of using a wet rag today!  Made it go so fast and didn't cause me pain!  So, I burn the end of each one up to the knot I tied at the end.  I blow out the flame and then press the rag around the end to seal it off.

Finally it is ready to put into a style.....pony tail?  Down?  Braid the braids?!?!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Can you help?

My "shrine" to Haiti as my mom calls it :-)

James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

We are called to look after the orphan and the widow.  Does that mean we all must adopt?  No!  But with the resources we each have, we can all help somehow!  

  • Can you pray for my little one in Haiti?  
  • Can you be a part of a work day that will care for a widow and raise money for an orphan?
  • Do you have connections with airlines or have miles you could give? (there will be a total of 4 1/2 trips from Minneapolis to Haiti needed).
  • Can you give a one time financial gift? ($1? $10? $20? 100?)
  • Would you like to give monthly for the 2012 year?
Once I get a picture of my kiddo I will send out snail mail...send me your address if you want to be added!

EVERY penny helps!

If you would like to give financially to my adoption, I have an account set up with Lifesong for Orphans where your giving will be tax deducible.  Checks can be mailed to:

Lifesong for Orphans
Kraft Adoption #2438
PO Box 40
202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

(add Kraft Adoption #2438 in memo section of check)

If you feel led to give monthly during 2012, there is an option on the Lifesong page to do so electronically.

If you are interested in the work day to help an orphan and a widow, contact me: March we will meet and send letters out to get sponsors for the work day that is tentatively scheduled for early May on a Saturday.

Thank you for your prayers, time, financial gifts.  Hopefully very soon you will see a little face on this page!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This one is mostly for me....but in the future when I refer to something like can look here because this tells you what everything means.  Copied this from another site....

Pre-IBESR - We are preparing your dossier to go into Haitian Social Services. There are some legal documents that must be made after you accept your proposal and some of them must be legalized at the Ministry of Justice. If we have problems getting a document, this can delay this step.

IBESR - Haitian Social Services

Parquet - Pre-Courts, they interview the birth parents and give permission for the dossier to go through the Haitian court system.

Courts - The dossier is in the Haitian Courts having the actual adoption declared and legalized.

Attest or Attestation - After court papers are finished, the Act of Adoption must be sent to the National Archives and they declare that the signature on the Act of Adoption is legal.

Legal or Legalization - All court papers must be sent to the Ministry of Justice to be legalized. They declare that the signature on all of the paperwork actually is the signature of the Judge who signed it.

MAE - Ministry of Foreign Affairs must legalize the signature of the person in the Ministry of Justice who signed your paperwork in the step above.

MOI - All Adoption passports must go through the Ministry of the Interior for approval before Immigration will print the passport.

Printing - Your dossier is in Immigration waiting for the passport to be printed.

Visa - Your dossier is in your country's Embassy waiting for a visa to be issued

How long til my child comes home you ask?

We are on step 14!!!!  THE VISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you are reading this, then you have an interest in me and this adoption process.  So I ask first before you look over the lengthy details that you pray for me and this entire process!  I have grown discouraged over the past 70 some days as I was told I would get my child referral in 3-5 weeks or so....and well it's been much longer.  While I want the process to go as fast as possible, especially for the sake of the little one as have learned a child's development is delayed one month for every three months spent in an orphanage, no matter how fabulous the facility may be.  So, I ask you to pray!  Pray for the Lord's timing in moving things from one stage to the next.  Only He knows why I have waited so long for a referral, a time that to Him is not long at all!  So here is the "expected" time frame AFTER all documents have a arrived in Haiti.  The time it takes to complete a Home Study and compile a dossier varies but I am told I finished in record time!  :-)

  1. DONE  11/28/11  Arrival – Dossier arrives in Haiti at the orphanage.  We review it to ensure all the required documents are present and legalized by the Haitian embassy in the originating country. (Time is approximately one week.)
  2. DONE 1/9/12  Legalization at the Minister of Foreign Affairs – We prepare the dossier for legalization at the Minister of Foreign Affairs office.  They legalize the signature of the Haitian Consular Officer who legalized the dossier at the foreign Haitian Embassy in the originating country. (Time is approximately two to four weeks.)
  3. DONE 10/28/11- 9/7/12 Waiting for a referral – Once the dossier is legalized, we hold it until a proposal is ready for the family.  (Time varies, based on requested age, gender, length of waiting list, etc.)
  4. DONE 9/7/12!!!– The referral is sent to the family, private adoption agency or government authority.  The family responds with questions or acceptance of the referral.  Upon acceptance, we prepare the dossier for IBESR and send it to the lawyer.  (Time is approximately one to two months)
  5. DONE !!!!  Sometime between 9/7/12 and today!!!!!Lawyer and social history – The social history (a combined social history of the child and the adoptive family) is prepared for the dossier as we are preparing the dossier for IBESR. The lawyer reviews the dossier to ensure it meets legal requirements.  (Time varies from one to three weeks.)
  6. DONE 12/21/12!!!!!!  IBESR (Institut du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches) – Haitian social services reviews the dossier and gives approval for the adoption.  (Time varies from three to six months, but could be longer if you need a Presidential dispense.)  If you have biological children, a dispensations from the Haitian President will be required.  This can take an additional 3-6 months or possibly longer. You need to be aware of this as you go into the adoption process.
  7. Done 1/22-1/25/13   Make 1st trip to Haiti – The adoptive family comes to Haiti to appear before the judge and sign in the Judge’s book and appear before the civil judge.  This is usually a 3-4 day trip. US families will also file the I-600 at this time. 
  8. DONE 3/11/13– After approval at IBESR, we prepare the dossier for Parquet (District Attorney).  (Time varies from one to six months)
  9. DONE 4/10/13!!!!! - Courts – Once the adoption is approved by Parquet, the court papers are prepared for the finalization of the Haitian legal component of the adoption process.  (Time is approximately one to two months.)
  10. DONE 5/13/13!!!!!Attestation signature (National Archives) – The National Archives of Haiti issue a paper to state that the signature on the act of adoption corresponds with the signature of the authorized party who signed it. (Essentially, this is a legalization of the signature.)  (Time is one to 2 weeks.)
  11. DONE 5/13/13!!!!!Legalization at the Minister of Justice – All of the Haitian legal papers must be legalized by the Minister of Justice. (Time is approximately two to four weeks.)
  12. DONE 7/31/13!!!!!Legalization at the Minister of Foreign Affairs– Legalizing the signature of the Minister of Justice. (Time is approximately two to four weeks.)
  13. DONE!!!  Passport with errors came back 8/13/13 and MIRACULOUSLY the corrected passport was done 8/22/13!!!! Passport – The passport process actually involves a two step study of the application by the Minister of Interior’s office, and then finalization and printing at the Immigration Department.  (Time is approximately three to four months.) 
  14. In this step now!!!!  Submitted to US Embassy 8/28/13 Final review and visa application – After the passport is issued, all of the paperwork is reviewed and any spelling errors are corrected before the dossier is given to the required authority for the child’s visa.  Minor errors do not cause a problem in the process of the adoption, but some countries will not issue a visa for even small spelling errors.  The visa process and timeframe varies widely by country, and for the United States and Canada, some paperwork is completed by GLA and/or the family prior to this point.  At this point, the remaining visa process takes approximately: 
    1. Canada:  one week
    2. USA: four weeks to four months
    3. France: four to six weeks
    4. The Netherlands: two to three weeks
    5. Luxembourg: three to six weeks
  15. Travel – After a visa is approved, the adoptive family works with GLA to make suitable travel arrangements, and they come to Haiti to pick up their child.

On average, adoptions are taking approximately 20 to 24 months from the time a proposal is accepted.  Every case is different, and adoption timelines are not necessarily directly comparable.  If you have questions, be sure to contact the Adoption Coordinator at

Where is Jesus?

So I just shared the link to my blog with my mom and she informs me that my nephew wonders where Jesus is on my blog, cause isn't Jesus helping with the adoption!?!?!?  First of all, wasn't sure where to use this picture, but now is the perfect time....this is from my birthday, the day I officially began this process....Avery probably won't approve of it, but maybe he can guess what's in his mouth?!?!  I have enjoyed sharing this journey with him as he has such great questions.  One day I remember he told me that he prays for his cousin and the other kids without mommies and daddies :-)  He became fond of a youtube video done at GLA with an Avalon song, "No orphans of God."

So to continue, he says I need a picture of Jesus on here because Jesus is helping me!  I ask if a cross or ichthus will be good?!?  He says, "He has brown hair, a purple shirt and perfect skin and a beard, if you want to know what he looks like!"  I am under the belief that coming from the area where Jesus was born he couldn't look European aka white, but will this do Avery?
Avery, I bet you didn't know that Jesus' blood line was a mix of European, African, Asian and Middle Eastern, so he represents a bit of everyone on earth, as well as being 100% God!!!!  Any ways, I hear that Avery wants a BLOG!  I would read his blog!  Go for it!  And now off to the other entry I was writing on Adoption Time Frame!  :-)


Well, before I began this adoption process I have NO idea what the word "dossier" was.  I remember my 4-year old nephew asking after hearing the word so often, "What's a dossier?!?!"  A dossier, pronounced "Dah-see-ay" is: A collection of papers giving detailed information about a particular person or subject.  To all who have adopted, it is a HUGE accomplishment to finish!  For those who have not been through creating/compiling a dossier, here are the specifics!

Before I list these things, the first 6 items needs to be notarized, state authenticated, translated and legalized.  Notarized means I take each item to the bank and a notary notarizes them.  State Authenticated mean that I take all notarized documents to the Secretary of State at the State Capital and he/she authenticates that the notaries are legal!  Translation, once I had all items complete, I sent them off to a wonderful woman in Colorado who translated the entire thing into French for me. Finally, once translated, I sent everything off to the Haitian Consulate in Chicago and there they legalize it so it ready to send to Haiti.  Amazingly, of all the steps so far, this one took the least amount of time!  I sent my dossier out on a Monday in November and it was on my door step just 6 days later, on Saturday!  Once I received that I made 5 copies of the entire collection of documents, wrote a big check and mailed a box to the amazing woman at God's Children Adoption Agency.  She checks over everything, prays, and send the box on it's way to Haiti.

So here is what is needed in a dossier....again, the first 6 items need all of the above done, the next four items need to be translated only, and the final items need to be included but nothing more done to them.
  • Letter to the Director of the IBESR requesting approval for the adoption of a child
  • Approved Home Study
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • Power of Attorney
  • Two letters of reference
  • Letter of good health from medical physician
  • Bank letter
  • Employer letter
  • Police Clearance
  • Certified Birth Certificate
  • Notice of favorable determination from USCIS
  • Progress report agreement
  • Lab tests showing results for HIV, VDRL/RPR, CPC
  • Eight passport pictures
  • Copy of most recent Federal Tax return
  • Copy of most recent bank statement
  • Photocopies of 2 forms of I.D.
  • Three photos of house and yard and three photos of family
  • Copy of Home Study Agency's License
So there you have it!  Lots of paper work.  Lots of steps.  Lots of $$$!   Lots of time.....and now it's sitting somewhere in Haiti and I wait for my child to be referred to me before all of those documents begin to make their way through a long dance in Haiti.  For those who ask me, how long til your child comes home?  I will post the steps of the dance which I hear takes up to 2 years.  In the beginning I figured the 2 years started when I started, back in August 2011!  But no, the timeframe begins once I accept referral of a child and the orphanage send my dossier and the child's dossier off on their dance.

Home Study

I thought I'd write some posts about what August through November entailed as I completed the US side of things.  I learned so much.  I use terms now that I never knew before and I'm sure if you overhear someone talking about adoption you will wonder what in the world they are talking about.  I have a prayer team of three other mothers also adopting from Haiti.  We are all at different spots.  And I belong to a group on FB with all adoptive parents from at least there we all know what we're talking about!

In August 2011 I was assigned a social worker to complete my home study.  Before the first meeting I was asked to get fingerprinted!  I received an email on Friday afternoon and my first meeting was Monday evening.  The government center does fingerprints from 9-11 am on Mondays but I was already back to school.  There must be another way!  I googled it and found out you can go to the county jail 24/7 for fingerprints.  This was an experience.  I drove downtown Sunday night and went in.  I actually went into the room where people are fingerprinted and booked and where bail was received. I went into a room with no lock on the door (anyone could walk in!) and I picked up the phone as instructed but no one came to help me.  I went in an out of this room and up and down the elevator several times before security got someone to help me.  And then the fingerprints were ready.

The visits with the social worker include about 7 hours of time in the home or other location (at least once in the home) where I am asked questions about EVERYTHING!  In the end it was a great experience.  Throughout this time, I also had to compile these things in order to finish:

  • Copy of my birth certificate
  • Medical Physical forms
  • Statement of faith
  • Physicians Statement of Health
  • Physical description of my home
  • Picture of my family
  • Authorization forms
  • Completed fingerprints
  • Pastor's contact info
  • Verification of Income (taxes for past 3 years with w-2s)
  • Verification of Investment assets (all account statements, value of real estate, retirement accounts)
  • Verification of Liabilities (Mortgages, car payments, credit card balances)
  • Verification of Insurance (medical, life, auto, homeowners)
  • Verification that adopted children will be covered by medical insurance)
  • Current vaccination records for all animals
  • Completed Training form
  • And a whole bunch of forms that the agency needed me to fill out
  • All fees to be paid by completion of Home study.

This part of the home study (this checklist) took a long time, as I had to make millions (well maybe not) of phone calls to all parties in question to get hard copy statement of all of these items, along with taking my cats to the vet to get all vaccinations up to date!

After all of this was completed then my social worker wrote what turned out to be about a ten page biography of me.  That was submitted for review and my October 11, 2011 I had the official Home Study in my hands and could nearly complete my dossier as well.  (there's another post on the dossier.)

Timeline of My Adoption

  • 1970s-80s - My introduction to Haiti through missions trip to the Baptist Haiti Mission.
  • 1986 - I can't get enough of watching orphanage footage on 20/20 in Romania.
  • 1999 - My Romania chapter is complete as I visit Romania and visit an orphanage.
  • 1999-2000 I begin teaching 5th grade in the inner-city and I am introduced to the first of many children living in our foster care system.  The child I met would never leave the foster care system except through adoption. The Lord used him and other children to cultivate my heart, preparing me to love, care for, and feel connection with kids in a way that only He could orchestrate.
  • Pre Jan 2010 - I had decided I would adopt from Haiti.  I had contact with an adoption agency.  I was not yet old enough so I felt like things were on hold.
  • January 2010 - Oh NO!!!!  The world watches, I watch.  I am devastated!  I cannot believe what is happening in Haiti.  I can't stop watching CNN.  My students at school become engrossed in what's happening as well and raise over $1,000 for Feed My Starving Children to send food to Haiti (
  • The rest of 2010 - I put adoption on the back burner.  I heard the news, "No more adoptions from Haiti."  That's what I heard.  I had so many other things going on in my life that I attempted to put the idea out of my mind.  God kept bringing it to the front.  I had to listen.  Since I was a teenager I adopted Isaiah 6:8 as my own.  I told him to SEND ME, and that I WOULD GO!  
  • Winter/Spring 2011 - As I feel the calling stronger and stronger to adopt from Haiti, I get creative and figure out my own way to make this work.  I find Haitian kids on a waiting children's list already in the United States.  Sounds perfect, right!  Easier, faster, less expensive!  I went to my first and last meeting through my county to pursue this option.  This was not what God was calling me to do.
  • Summer 2011 - Much of the summer, I don't even think about adoption.  Then my birthday comes and I turn 35.  What's stopping me now?!?!  Nothing!  I email God's Littlest Angels in Haiti.  My mom friends someone on Facebook who is adopting from Haiti and we plan to get together the next week.
  • August 2011 - After meeting with Stephanie and getting some numbers, I call an agency in Minnesota, and officially this part of the journey has begun.  I believe this journey started when I was first introduced to Haiti.  I have an agency, God's Children Adoption Agency  I have an orphanage, God's Littlest Angels I have A LOT of paper work to begin!
  • Later in August 2011 - Began Home Study Process and began compiling my Dossier.
  • September 2011 - financial gifts/support begin to come in from friends and family from Adoption support letter I mailed out.  I travel to Nashville Tennessee to attend "Empowered to Connect" Adoption Conference put on by Show Hope
  • October 2011 - Home Study Complete and I begin applying for adoption grants from Show Hope and Lifesong For Orphans Lifesong for Orphans
  • November 2011 - Dossier Complete
  • November 28 - Dossier Arrives in Haiti
  • December 2011 - The wait begins for a referral, which I anticipate getting EVERY day! :-)  I am accepted to raise funds and do a Both Hands Project through Lifesong!
  • January 9, 2012 - Word that my dossier had just returned from being legalized (pre-IBESR)
  • January 18, 2012 - Awarded a grant from Show Hope!!!!
  • February 14, 2012 - I am how with stomach flu so I figure I should start this blog that I have wanted to start!  I have stalled in starting cause I have not known how to make it look "cool" like others I have seen.  Oh well!  I am hopeful that when the director of GLA returns next week that perhaps I will get a referral.  The wait for this first step in Haiti is much longer than I expected but I know it's all in the Lord's time!  Happy Valentine's Day <3
  • Between February and August, there are some things that happened.  I just cannot share that part of the story here, yet.
  • September 7, 2012 - Referral of M who turned 2 one month earlier.
  • September 14, 2012 - Entered IBESR.
  • December 21, 2012 - Exited IBESR.
  • January 22-25, 2013  Trip to Haiti to meet M and go to US Embassy interview and Haitian Court.
  • January 28, 2013 - Entered Parquet.
  • March 12, 2013- Exited Parquet and Entered Courts.
  • April 10, 2013  - Exited Courts, Mackenley is a KRAFT!!!