Why Adopt an International Child?

30. June, 2016UncategorizedNo comments

Is your family is yearning to add a child through adoption? There are so many images of parenthood that will tug at your hearts. Perhaps you have the idea of a soft new baby in your arms to nourish and love. The vision of adding an infant to your family feels like a dream come true.
There are many children in this world who also dream about having a mother and father who truly love them. With an estimated 143 – 210 million orphaned children, it may be time to consider adopting a child who is the most needy and vulnerable. Perhaps the original plan that you envisioned for your family could be expanded upon. With International Adoption you will provide an orphan with love, care, safety, and an education they may never have the opportunity to experience. In other words, you would give a child life’s greatest blessing of stability, predictability, and a real family.
There are so many courageous families across the United States who opened up their homes and hearts to international adoption. Americans are very generous when it comes to the welfare of children. Christian communities, in large numbers, have rallied behind the cry for help for innocent orphans who are in need of a home. The United States and Christian communities within the U.S. provide a safe haven for these precious children.
Depending on the child’s original country of origin, the adoption time frames and guidelines change, but one thing stays constant: they receive enriched lives and greater blessings than they could have ever imagined. The process of adopting a child from overseas may present challenges however, the reward is far greater than the difficulties. What would it be like to know that you have literally saved a child from an institution and given them all your love? How would it feel experiencing the ways your new child succeeds and grows into a happy, productive adult? How would your family deepen from knowing that their gift of love will be returned many times over for generations to come?

Please reach out by calling us directly at 1-435-256-8929 or send us an email at programs@westsands.net

A Family’s Loving Testimonial of their Wonderful Adoption Journey

29. June, 2016UncategorizedNo comments

Happy Firemen!

Adoption has been on our hearts for a long time.

It started over 15 years ago when I worked in the orphanages in Mexico. When I would return home, the faces of the beautiful children at the orphanage were ingrained in my mind and in my heart. God began working on my heart back then and has only grown the passion for the orphan and the fatherless in me over the years.

Living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I had the privilege of living in a community overflowing with Ethiopian people, culture, food, and heritage. Through living in this community, attending an Ethiopian church in St Paul, and having several friends who had adopted children from Ethiopia, I fell in love with the Ethiopian people.

Evyn and I were married in 2007 and have been married now for 9 years. After four years of marriage and much prayer and consideration, God made it clear to us that it was time to add to our family through adoption. Not because we had to, in order to grow our family (we have two beautiful biological daughters) but because we have a passion for children and a desire that no child be without a family. Though the options were many for adoption paths we could take, we had a certainty and a peace that Ethiopia was the right choice for us. In 2014 we brought home a beautiful 2 year old boy from Ethiopia. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and we wouldn’t change that decision for the world. He is a giggler and a runner and mischievous. He is incredibly funny and energetic and his temperament is that of a spirited and joyful soul. He struggles with following the rules at times 😉 but his smile lights up the room!

We are now in the process of our second adoption from Ethiopia! While at our son’s orphanage, we met and fell in love with an older child and are currently in the process of adopting her into our family as well. While we know there will be challenges adopting an older child, we are ready to pour into her all the love she deserves.

Ethiopia has certainly become a big part of our lives and of our family. We have come to love the country of Ethiopia and desire that our adopted children know and love their country as well. We make it a priority in our family to take part in Ethiopian traditions, festivities, music, and culture. We continue to attend the Ethiopian church in St Paul as much as possible and surround ourselves with other Ethiopian adoptees.

God has done big things in our hearts over the last couple of years. We have been encouraged and motivated to stop settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christ is actually about abandoning ourselves. Our faith is supposed to be radical, not comfortable. We can choose to enjoy life based on the standards defined by the culture around us, or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what it would look like if we really believed Him and really obeyed Him. We desire to be the hands and feet of God, no matter how much it costs us on this side of heaven. Yes, adoption is hard and has many challenges, but God is bigger than our fears. They are His children and when He says go, we go.

-Jenna ThompsonIMG_1924



USCIS Proposed Fee Increase – Take Action!

28. June, 2016UncategorizedNo comments


Dear Adoption Community:

USCIS has announced, via the Federal Register, proposed fee increases for some of their services, including those that impact adoptive families. You can learn more about the proposed fee increases and how to provide your comments here.

You can ask your Members of Congress to sign this letter regarding USCIS’s proposed adoption fee increases. The deadline to sign this letter is noon on Thursday, JuLY 7thWe’ll have to ask fast!


We encourage you to take 15 minutes to call the DC office of both of your Senators and your Representative. (Find them here.)

Here are some basic suggestions for that call:

  1. Ask to speak to the person who handles international adoption issues
  2. Ask them to ask their boss to sign the letter increasing USCIS fees for adoptive families
  3. Tell them to contact the offices of Senator Blunt, Senator Klobuchar or Representative Franks by noon on Thursday, June 30th to sign the letter.
  4. Ask for the staffer’s email to forward them a copy of the letter and explain how to sign on. (Check out the sample email below!)
  5. Don’t forget to send that follow-up email! Polite persistence helps get the job done!


You can send something like the below email to finalize your request:




Thanks for taking my call today! I hope Representative/Senator XYZ will support this letter to prevent burdensome USCIS fee cost increases from impacting adoptive families.


Join Senators Blunt and Klobuchar, Representative Franks and others in this important effort to support adoptive families.


Please contact Lauren_McCormack@blunt.senate.govShannon_Dorsey@Klobuchar.Senate.gov, or Chelsea.patterson@mail.house.gov by noon on thisThursday, June 30th to sign on to this important letter.

Department of State Notice- Ethiopia June 16, 2016

27. June, 2016UncategorizedNo comments


Notice from the Department of State


In recent months, a number of changes within the Ethiopian government have resulted in processing delays for intercountry adoptions. The State Department engages with Ethiopian officials at every possible opportunity to advocate for the timely and transparent processing of all intercountry adoption cases. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa continues to prioritize adoption cases, to communicate regularly with the Ethiopian government on these issues, and to process adoption cases as efficiently as possible. The Office of Children’s Issues will travel to Addis Ababa to meet with Ethiopian officials to discuss adoption policy and processing.

Interviews with Government Officials

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa reports recent increased difficulty securing interviews with Ethiopian government officials, primarily police officers, which are necessary in some cases to complete the I-604 Orphan Determination. Ethiopian officials now require that the Embassy request such interviews officially through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).  The Embassy is complying with this new requirement, but notes that it may add time to the overall adoption process. Although the Embassy advocates for processing of intercountry adoption cases as efficiently as possible, the Embassy has limited influence over how quickly the MFA responds to official requests for interviews.

Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWCA) Internal Changes

In February, MOWCA, Ethiopia’s adoption authority, underwent extensive personnel turnover that significantly diminished its capacity to process adoption cases. As a result, processing delays have occurred in many cases.  Despite continuing attempts by the State Department to obtain information on the current status of adoption processing in general and on specific cases, it is unclear when MOWCA will be able to resume regular adoption processing. The Embassy remains in regular contact with MOWCA about these internal changes and their impact on adoption processing.

Court Delays

Ethiopia’s First Instance Court Adoptions Bench will adjourn for its annual summer recess beginning August 5 and will come back into session beginning September 30. No adoption cases will be adjudicated by the court during this time period, which may result in delays in case processing.

If you have any questions about your pending case, please write toConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov. The Office of Children’s Issues supports the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa on intercountry adoption processing and policy. You may copy Adoption@state.gov on your email to the Embassy if you wish.