IMG_8267We made it! We landed on African soil this morning at 7AM after a 12 hour flight. It was perfectly smooth and uneventful – unless you count the oversized jar of Nutella that security intercepted from our carry-on. Who knew a paste isn’t legal in carry-ons?! It was my primary plan for getting some weight on our boy, but Plan B is French fries which we hear are his favorite.

We hung around the guesthouse all day to rest and charge up for our big day tomorrow. THE day we have been waiting for. The day we will fly to his orphanage to set eyes on each other for the first time.

I calculated while we were on the flight and it is one week short of 9 months from the day we were given his referral on November 7 to the day he will be in our arms on August 1. It’s exactly how long I carried Charlotte and Brooks, this was just our paper pregnancy. I love little coincidences like this. They’re like love notes from God reminding us that He is in every detail. His timing is indeed perfect.

We got an exciting call from our social worker today and instead of being flown to Addis on Wednesday, #McAffryA will now be able to fly back with us on Sunday! Those four days would have felt like an eternity without him, so we are relieved and so grateful for yet another detail working in our favor.

He leaves the orphanage without even a shirt on his back, so I spent this afternoon packing his bag with two outfits, pajamas, two pairs of shoes and all kinds of universally loved toys. This picture shows what will be waiting for him when we return to Addis on Sunday. He has said he wants to be a pilot when he grows up, so his first plane ride tomorrow will be telling!


We are completely humbled by the number of people who are praying for us and our sweet boy. If you’d like some specific things to pray for, here they are:

  • that #McAffryA’s heart will be open to us
  • that the amount of love we have for him will shatter the langauge barrier
  • that we will know the right questions to ask and words to say when meeting his uncle
  • and most of all that #McAffryA will bond and attach to us as his parents and that he will see himself as hand-picked, chosen and loved

Can’t wait to share his sweet face and name TOMORROW!

  • Sarah, I’m praying for you and I’ve been keeping up with your story. I’m praying God’s presence and favor would go before you. God is so good. I’m happy that he cares for the orphan and widow the way he does. I’m glad you share his heart in that.

    Ashley Moore

  • Brittany Conner

    Sarah, today is the day and I will be thinking about you all day! I’m so thankful that God has been so present in your lives through this journey. Can’t wait to hear about Day 2 (today)!!! Love you! Brit

  • Janiece

    I am continuously lifting you all up in prayer! Thank you for the specific prayer requests! I love when people do that!

  • Elaine Wilson

    I am so excited for you and your precious family. What a blessed young man is McAffryA! Much love, Elaine

IMG_8159-1Today has been a roller coaster. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we leave for Ethiopia in just a few hours. HOURS! Adoption is such a waiting game. We started the process almost two years ago, yet when our time came, all I could think was BUT I’M NOT READY!

We’ve had a week and a half to raise $6000 to cover our flights, make arrangements for Charlotte and Brooks, have two birthday parties for Charlotte, change our cell phone plan, alert credit card companies, prepare for health insurance, consult doctors, and pack our bags for weeks away in a developing country – and that’s to say nothing about actually preparing our hearts for #McAffryA. God has been faithful through every step – providing for us, preparing us, surrounding us with an incredible support system.

It has been a whirlwind of activity, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are so thankful to have made it to court with just two days to spare before they close for rainy season. We know other families who have been waiting even longer than we have who were not as lucky. To imagine waiting several more months to get him in our arms is almost unbearable.

We are now within 72 hours of cupping his precious face in our hands! I sure hope we get some hugs and kisses too, but we know it might take some time before we get there.

In October of 2014, after we had seen #McAffryA’s face on the Waiting Child list, I went to the Making Things Happen Conference and Lara Casey asked us to close our eyes and visualize our future. This was weeks before we accepted #McAffryA’s referral, but God gave me a clear vision of what was to come for the McAffrys.

In the vision I’m standing in the kitchen working at the island and a tall, skinny teenager comes into the house nearly slamming the door. He is hot and sweaty after playing outside, and he comes up behind me and gives me a big, stinky, sweaty bear hug. I cringe a little and fake being frustrated about his boyness like he expects, but as he skips off to the other room without a word, I can barely continue dinner prep for being overwhelmed with gratefulness at the gift of being his Mama.

We have a lot of work to do to get there. We have eight years of bonding and attaching to catch up on. We have trust to build and language barriers to cross. We will grieve together the loss that he has already experienced and is about to walk through all over again.

We will seek out the small victories, the little glimpses of hope to hold onto through the hard stuff. And I will wait for that tall, skinny, sweaty boy in the kitchen.

  • Rachel Kimmel

    Prayers, lots of love, and so much excitement I could burst.

Savannah McKnight is a Class of 2016 Senior at Halls High School and she belongs in the pages of a Free People catalog! She is such a hard worker and is interested in pursuing cosmetology after high school. Her friends describe her as outgoing and bubbly, and I couldn’t agree more! Her session was inspired by Urban Outfitters and she got her wardrobe from Josie’s Boutique. She makes being beautiful look effortless! That’s the best kind of beauty in my book!


outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0411outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0412outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0413outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0414outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0415outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0416outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0417outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0418outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0419outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0420outdoor.senior.portraits.field.knoxville_0421Sarah McAffry specializes in family, senior, and commercial photography in the Knoxville, TN and surrounding East TN areas. Use the contact button above or email for booking inquiries.

UPDATE: Less than 12 hours after we posted this, we got a call that we received a positive opinion from MOWCYA and will be booking flights by the END OF THIS WEEK! We are thrilled because this means we will get a court date before they close on August 6th. This was nothing short of an act of God! We should have #McAffryA in our arms in two weeks!!

mcaffry.adoption.ethiopia_0422We are getting SO close to bringing #McAffryA home! We are hoping to get a court date before they close for two months during rainy season. So that means we have three plane tickets to buy!

Once we get a court date, Andrew and I will travel to Ethiopia together to meet A for the first time. We will travel to his orphanage, meet with some of his birth family, and spend lots of time getting to know the Ethiopian people and culture.

I will stay in country for about two weeks and then will come back home to be with Charlotte and Brooks. Andrew and #McAffryA will hang out together in a guesthouse for a total of about 4-6 weeks. That also brings with it a major expense for lodging, food, A’s VISA, etc.

We have been saving money everywhere we can, driving 10 year old cars, living in a house with unfurnished rooms, and God has blessed us with two adoption grants from our adoption agency. We were hopeful to find favor with other grants, but because we are adopting out of birth order, we have been denied.

We are so thankful for those of you who have supported us already and for the sizable checks that have arrived in our mailbox completely unexpected. When we started, I thought, there’s no way this actually costs $30,000. Well, it looks like we’ll be at about $35,000 before it’s all said and done. And let me tell you, once you see where it all goes, you understand.

There are so many people working on our behalf and #McAffryA’s behalf gathering documentation, going before the courts, translating documents. It takes a village of people across the world to make international adoption happen.

And that’s why we need you! Be a part of our village!

mcaffry.adoption.ethiopia_0425mcaffry.adoption.ethiopia_0424Our goal with the HOME Tees is to raise enough funds to purchase our three plane tickets which we expect to be about $6000.

These tees are hand stamped by good friend Leah Teague of Eliza Dean (@shopelizadean on Instagram!).

They are the best quality – light weight and super soft – and of course we LOVE that they’re baseball tees. The kids shirts have ORANGE sleeves and the adults have GRAY sleeves.

Wear them to UT games (and Powell games if you’re a fan!) and most importantly, wear them to the airport when we welcome #McAffryA HOME!! Maybe he’ll be singing Rocky Top with us by the end of football season! :)



1. Decide how many to order.

2. Enter the appropriate amount ($30 adults, $25 kids) after you click ‘Donate.’ (Add $5 if you want it shipped!)

3. Let us know which sizes (Adults S-XL and Kids XS-XL) you want in the notes of your order on the final page.

After you purchase your shirts, please SHARE this link on Facebook and Repost it on Instagram. Every little bit helps!Email if you have any questions or if you have trouble ordering! Shirts will be ready for pickup at the studio in mid-August. If you need it shipped, just add that to the cart and we’ll drop it in the mail!

  • Carrie McKeehan

    Hey:) our adult sizes are 2 mediums and 1 XL. I’ll write in the other kids sizes with their order. XO

  • Got it! Thank you friend for outfitting your family of SEVEN!!

  • Tammy

    Making sure I’m doing this right…to purchase a shirt I just click donate and place the amount in the amount box? This will show how many shirts I’m ordering? Thanks!

  • Kim

    Just want to make sure I’m doing this right. So I’ll put in the amount $35 if I want it shipped right? How do shirts run size wise? Thanks!

  • Yes, Tammy! There’s a notes section that you can write in which sizes you want! Thank you so much!!

  • Andrea

    Where is the studio where we would pick them up if we didn’t have them shipped??

  • Jen

    Hi! I ordered a shirt for my daughter but did not see a notes section (maybe because I was on my phone?) Hiw would you like me to get you the shirt size and address for shipping? Thanks!

  • Katie shular

    Couldn’t find the comments section. Adult medium please.

  • Got it Katie!

  • Just email us at Jen! Thank you!!

    Andrea, my studio is about 10 minutes north of downtown Knoxville. :)

    Kim, yes that’s right! Shirts are a little loose. I’m wearing a medium in the picture…

  • Tracey

    What sizes are the kids wearing that are pictured and how old are they? Could a youth XL be worn by adult?

  • Charlotte is 4 almost five wearing an XS and Brooks is 2.5 wearing an XS. Yes, a small adult could probably wear a youth XL. :)

  • Tracey

    great thank you very much. The adult wears a female 6 (small or medium) in tops but is 5’9. If you recommend adult size being better that is what I will order. Needing 3 total shirts, if I pick them up where do I go and when?

  • Lisa DeBord

    Hey Sarah I ordered 3 shirts but didn’t put sizes down sorry. I need 2 adult XL and 1 kids small. Thank you

  • We’ll let you know when they’re ready Tracey and pick up will be at the studio! I’d recommend a medium for her. :)

    Thank you, Lisa! We’ll add the sizes in!

  • Tracey

    thank you very much. I sent you an email with sizes of 3 shirts to go with donation.

    We are very excited! Wish we could do more.
    (2-adult medium, 1-adult XL please!)

  • Just sent it in! I need a youth medium, thanks! Praying for you all!

  • Heather Auxier

    Congrats! I am so happy to help with such a great cause! I would like an adult M. Thank you and I can’t wait to see pictures of your happy family!

Chandler Horne is a Class of 2016 senior and she swims every day. And at 5AM everyday! That’s worth mentioning. She is so dedicated, and swimming is such a huge part of her life that she wanted to do her senior pictures near the water. We went to The Wye in Townsend and couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to be in the Smokies!

senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0402senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0403senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0404senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0405senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0407senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0408senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0410senior.portraits.smoky.mountains_0409Sarah McAffry specializes in family, senior, and commercial photography in the Knoxville, TN and surrounding East TN areas. Use the contact button above or email for booking inquiries.