Here we go again!

We are crazy people with a crazy life. It is hard to keep up with the constant, major life changes that seem to come our way. However, we are embracing this newest change! We are overjoyed and thrilled to announce that we received another referral!!!

What? You guys are trying this again? Yes, yes we are. The desire to grow our family through adoption has never faded, despite numerous obstacles. We have been discouraged – for sure, heartbroken – most definitely, but hopeful all the while.

When our agency called with a file for us to review. We took a deep breath, prayed for God to be honored no matter what, and answered the call.

Meet our precious GIRL!

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We could not be happier. We love her already. Her name means ‘Beloved’. We are so thankful that God has known her and loved her before she was born, that she has been loved so well at her orphanage by the director and nannies, and that we will get the opportunity to love her forever.

What’s next?

We are waiting on a few more pieces of paperwork to fall into place including her visa papers, Travel Approval from her country, and official travel dates. We estimate we will travel in 6-8 weeks. We know that time will fly by with the holidays and everything we need to do to get ready to travel and welcome home our girl!

What do we need?

We are in need of girl items. We never, ever imagined we would have a girl!! All along we have saved boy items, but did not save any girl items.

We need: size 2t-3t clothes, pajamas, swimsuit, winter coat, underwear, socks, etc. and size 6 toddler shoes, bibs, baby carrier/sling (Ergo?), sippy cups, snack cups, small toys/books to take with us, toddler backpack, etc.

If you have any of those items that you would be willing to give or lend to us, that would be amazing! We love hand-me-downs :)

We have also created a Target Registry of items we need before we travel. We will keep it updated as we find/borrow/buy the things we need.

We also need prayer.

It is easy to feel fearful after all that we have been through. My mind quickly goes to worst case scenario. Would you pray that God protects our hearts and provides his peace as we wait, prepare, and hope for the future? Would you pray for our children? They have been through a lot these past years, too. Their excitement of welcoming a new sibling is also dampened by fear. Please pray for our girl. We are about to rock her world. Pray that she is not too scared of us when we first meet! Pray that she would bond to us as a family over time and believe and trust she is loved.

Our girl’s given middle name means GRACE. When I called a dear friend to share the news she said, “It reminds me of that song, His Grace Finds Me! His grace has found you!” That song just happens to have been my theme song for this past year. His grace has found me, time and time again. No matter the circumstances, no matter the past, no matter our future; His grace has found me. In sorrow and joy, in sickness and health, in riches and poverty, his grace has and always will be…enough. Enough for this whole wide world.

 

 

Thank you for loving us so well on this crazy journey! Encouraging us when we most needed it. Praying for us even when you had no idea what was going on! Your support has been a deep blessing and we hope you can share in our JOY now of preparing to bring home our girl! 

 

 

Girl, Adopted

Last week I watched a documentary called Girl, Adopted. It was a good reminder of the heartache and sorrow connected with adoption, as well the joys and triumphs. Building a family through adoption is no easy task. An adopted child experiences many losses before joining a family and that pain is not quickly healed or forgotten.

“I didn’t want to be adopted, but I had no one to take care of me. We think America is like heaven, it is not. My world was turned upside down and I hated it….To find a family, it was something important. Someone to love me for who I am and be there for me. I didn’t find all of that until I got here. I didn’t like them at first, but I do love them now. ” – Weynsht, adopted from Ethiopia

 

Girl, Adopted

 

Watch it now here. I believe it is only available for free through the month of October.

God is so good

Yesterday was the annual For the Kids Carnival. An event that we started with some friends to help raise funds and awareness for orphan care. This year we had two families that we were hoping to support. Our dear friends adopting from Ethiopia (ps – you should buy one of their amazing t-shirts!!) and another family that will travel soon to bring home their son from Liberia.

We put a lot of time and energy into planning and prepping for this event. The event is held mostly out-doors at a local family farm (they provide foster care for teenagers in the area -amazing people!!). Yesterday morning we woke up to rain and a forecast for rain the whole day. I was anxious and wanted to switch the location to somewhere indoors so that we could still have it. But, the group prayed about it and really felt like God wanted us to have it at the farm.

They started hauling out all of our supplies and setting up in the rain. About an hour before the start time the rain cleared. By start time, the sun was out!! The weather was perfect the full 4 hours of the event. Just as the event ended, God put a rainbow in the sky. We started packing up and it started to drizzle again.

It was such a testament to who God is and how he provides, no matter what the forecasters say (and no matter my doubt). Praise him! It was such an amazing experience to witness. God is good.

‘He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.’ Deuteronomy 10:21

 

The event itself was fantastic. Families with kids of all ages and different faith backgrounds came together to have a good time for a good cause. Our kids had a BLAST! MissE said she wished she could live the whole day over again. It was a wild ride, but I’m so glad God let us experience it!

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Super big thanks to these two for watching Junior while I worked the food stand!

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And – several children were sponsored through World Vision!!! I am excited to see how God weaves the stories of these children with the families that stepped forward to suppor them.

Thankful Thursday: fingerprints, Check!

We are in the process of renewing our USCIS approval. A part of that is being fingerprinted by homeland security. Last time we went it was a huge problem. The officer told me that I don’t have fingerprints, because for whatever reason the scan has trouble reading my prints. Needless to say, I dreaded this trip.

We brought along friends for moral support. After a brief lecture for not coming at our appointed time, we were in and out with no issues. Woohoo!

We celebrated at a Honduran eatery with horchatas. This process is much more fun with friends!

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Thank you, God, for fellow adoptive families and friends to walk alongside on this journey!

Thankful Thursday: Homestudy Update Complete

Our Homestudy update is complete and officially mailed off to USCIS (to renew our immigration approval). Yay!!

We had our social worker out to our new house in early December. The visit went well (Minus the mention of lice) and we fully expected to have our completed homestudy in hand by February 1st. However, as always happens with adoption paperwork, there were glitches. First, our background checks took much longer than expected to process. Next, our homestudy was mailed to the wrong address. When it finally came I was eager to get it all mailed away, only to realize we could not locate one other document that needed to go along with our renewal application.

What was the one document we couldn’t locate?

Our original homestudy.

Who loses their homestudy!?!

It was embarrassing. We searched the house top to bottom. We looked in every folder,  binder, box, and computer file. Our adoption paperwork is well organized and the one spot where our homestudy should have been was empty, completely empty.

I knew our agency had a copy of it, but I really didn’t want to call and admit that we lost the one document that approves us to adopt in the first place. After a few tears, some prayer, encouragement from friends (and one adoptive mom who said, ‘That’s why you pay the agency’), and a deep breath; I made the call.

Our sweet case worker emailed me the copy while we were on the phone. Easy peasy and done.

So, just days before our immigration approval expires our renewal application is in the mail. Phew!

Thank you, God, for providing each document when and as we needed it and for continuing to remind us that this is all under you control (not ours).

Thankful Thursday

In efforts to focus on gratitude and to consistently post on the blog, I’m starting a Thankful Thursday series. I’d love to hear what you are thankful for as well! If you post a Thankful Thursday post on your blog, be sure to leave a comment and link it up. :)

This post is love overdue, but I am so incredibly thankful for the vision, heart for adoption, and love for Jesus of His Kids Orphan Ministry. We had applied for a grant through them last May. In October we were contacted and asked to come visit their supporting church on a Sunday morning for an official interview. It was a little bit of a drive (we left our house at 5:00am!), but it was well worth it.

When we arrived we had the ‘interview’ in which the committee asked us to share our faith experience, our call to adoption, and where we were at in the process. The committee members each took time to share what God has was doing in their lives. Many of them were adoptive parents and it was inspiring to hear their stories.

One mom (who had just completed an adoption from Haiti, a country that’s process is very long) told me that several people had asked her why she didn’t switch to a faster country or an easier program. She said she just knew that her children were in Haiti. They weren’t in a different country or an easier program (if there is such a thing). It was so reassuring to hear. We believe our child is in Honduras and even though the process is long and hard, we will not give up on our child.

The woman who had the original vision to start an orphan ministry mentioned that her family had received the very first adoption grant from a small church years ago and now it was her privilege to do the same for other families. We were so honored to learn that we were their very first family to receive a grant!

We are so thankful for His Kids Orphan Ministry. Not only did we receive a grant, which we believe completes our funding, but they boosted our moral. They prayed for us, encouraged us with their stories, and inspired us with their heart to care for orphans.

Thank you, His Kids!

If you have a heart for helping adoptive families and caring for orphans, please consider supporting this great ministry. 

 

New Number!

We are now officially…

This might seem small, but considering we haven’t moved since September, we are EXCITED!

We had heard before Christmas that we had probably moved up a few numbers, but officially heard today. The committee also met on December 14th, so it is possible that we will hear sometime in January of more movement. (Although we also learned of another strike happening right now, so we’ll see).

All in God’s timing….

Thanks for praying for us!

Home Study Update

There is just nothing like have an almost stranger visit your home to evaluate your cleanliness, safety, and fit as parents. We have a really great social worker and it still sent me into a bit of a panic mode.

I had let her know that considering we had just moved, our house was somewhat in chaos. She had said not to worry about it, but I still did my best to get the house clean and ready (besides the boxes and half-painted walls). By the time she knocked on the door I was feeling really good about our overall ‘appearance’.

Ha, I should have known.

MissE was the first to the door and proudly delivered to our beloved social worker a hand written note.

Photo: How to impress your social worker while updating your adoption home study: step 1 - Clean, clean, clean. Step 2 - Have your daughter greet her at the door with this note. Step 3 - embarrassingly insist that you indeed do NOT have lice, while watching said social worker visibly start scratching her head.

 

In case you have difficulty deciphering her last word, she also loudly declared it, “My mom has LICE!”

“Uhm, no. No, I don’t.”

“Yes, mom! I heard you say you have lice!”

Insert image of our social worker starting to scratch her head.

Turns out MissE had overheard me say that there was an out break of lice in her school which made me scratch my head, as if I had lice. She took it to mean that I did, indeed, have lice.

Oh well, we all got a good laugh. And, MissE redeemed herself by writing this note.

Photo: Step 4. Thank your daughter for following up with this sweet note.

Other than that, the visit went well and we can cross it off our list. We are praying mightily that God will do a miracle in the Honduras program and that we won’t have to update our homestudy for a third time.

We are also praying about adjusting our age request to 0-3 year old and specifically listing what special needs we would be open to considering. Pray that God would give us wisdom and discernment. We are ready and available and really desire that 2013 will be the year our family grows.

And PS our home is lice free. I promise!

Oh, the blog

There has been lots going on and somehow the blog goes on without any updates. Here is a brief peek into of our lives.

1. Adoption. We continue to wait, sitting pretty at number 35. We are prepared to not see any movement until the new year. While this is hard to accept and brings a tear (or many) to my eyes, we are trusting God for his timing.

2. We may or may not be buying a house. This is what happens when you buy a home from the government (they should not be in real estate. Just say’n). Our bid has been accepted and we are now under contract. The inspection is complete and only the water pipes failed. We just might be hiring a plumber on day one. We now just wait (something we are getting good at) to hear when we can close.

The house is in a good shape, just in need of some TLC decorating to take care of things like this

and this

“Mom!? Why I can’t I open these lockers?”

uhm, because they are PAPER glued to the wall.

 

3. School has been going fantastic for MissE. Her Spanish is improving and she has mastered phrases like, “Keep your mouth shut, stand in a line, raise your hand, sit down, etc.” I am guessing those are the phrases most spoken in Kindergarten.

 

4. I spent a weekend away with some wonderful women from our church and neighboring churches. Nothing says fun like a weekend away with the girls.

My aunt and cousin had dinner with the King and Queen of Sweden over the weekend, so in honor of my Swedish ancestry I had to have my picture taken with the giant Dala horse.

5. I’m still only wearing 7 items of clothing all month. This has meant less quantity of laundry, just more frequency. Getting dressed in the morning is a breeze. The one and only major downfall of my wardrobe selection was my choice in footwear. I selected to wear my Los Thomas’s all month. They are cute and comfortable and so not appropriate for colder weather. My toes FREEZE! My best plan B is to simply just wear socks. I am in solidarity with those that do not have shoes. I will be buying all of our sponsor children shoes for Christmas.

 6. Nothing comes between us and family fun nights. It is a tradition I hope will live on for a long time.

 7. I’m following some of my favorite bloggers in Haiti this week. Check them out:

“There is hope here. I can’t explain it, but it’s here, I can feel it, I can even see it. It’s literally everywhere. It’s a mopping dirt kind of hope – frustrating, decisive, complicated, dogged, wearisome, inspiring.”  Jen Hatmaker

There is no poverty so great as a child without a family.” Kristen Howerton

“There are 20,000 people, most of them children, sleeping in tents on a golf course 2 hours off the coast of Florida.”  Jennie Allen

we can love these right-now kids, right from our right-now homesSarah Bessey