Monday, December 31, 2012

Referral Day 1

How the referral process works.  Each month Ch*na releases a new list of orphaned children for adoption agency case workers to review and attempt to match these children to waiting families.  In order to be matched with a child from this list you need to have what is referred to as a "Log In Date" (LID).  This date is issued by Ch*na after they receive your dossier.  We received our LID notice on Friday, November 23, but the actual LID was issued on November 21st.  There was a delay in getting the information because of the holiday.  So that Friday became the day we knew we could be matched with a child at any time.  Our caseworker shared with us that of the current list of about 2,000 children there was not a child that matched our parameters.  There was to be a new list released on Monday and she would review it to see if any of the newly released children were a match for us.  She warned us to guard our hearts because she didn't know how many children would be on the list and that a match can take 1-3 months, that just because a new list was coming out didn't mean we would get a call that we were matched.

Scott and I spent much of the weekend praying.  We had no idea what to expect for Monday and we didn't want to get our hopes up only to be disappointed.  We assumed the likelihood of us being matched was very small because we were only just logged in a few days before.  We prayed that if the child the Lord has chosen for us was on the list though, that our caseworkers eyes would be drawn to their picture and she would know that was the child for the Millers.  We also prayed that we would ONLY receive our child's file.  We did not want to be put into a position to turn a child away.  I know many families who have had to walk through that and it is extremely hard for them.  I just knew in my heart I could not handle that and hoped and prayed the Lord would not ask us to walk through that process.

So Monday came.  It was a fairly typical day.  Michaela returned to school after being off the week before for Thanksgiving.  The boys were still home that Monday for their last day of Thanksgiving break.  We went to the Movie Tavern with a friend to see Rise of the Guardians.  We kept busy, although my mind would wonder to the possibilities of a match that evening.  Monday night came, the boys were tucked into bed and Scott, Michaela and I sat down to watch a special episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.  The family being highlighted that evening was a family who adopted a little boy from Ethiopia through our adoption agency, All God's Children International.  So we were excited to see something on television that was going to put a positive spotlight on adoption.

We popped popcorn, got drinks, nestled under blankets and turned the TV on.  About 20 minutes into the show the phone rang and the caller ID said "All God's Children."  I totally freaked knowing there would be only one reason to get a call late that night.  I answered it and it was our case worker, Tiffany.  She said she had a file of a 20 month old little girl and her special need was Albinism.  She said when she opened the list and saw her she immediately thought "the Millers."  She was emailing us her file and our 72 hour process would begin.  We quickly ran to the computer and opened up her email.  Michaela was with us and when we opened up her picture Michaela "awwed" over it.  Scott looked at me and said "well she could certainly be the one."  I tended to be more in a state of shock that this was really happening.  We printed out her information, read over it and didn't see anything that would make us want to say no.  So we took the next step in the process, which was to send her file to the CHOP International Adoption department to have a pediatrician review her records.  We then sent a text message out to a few people who we had lined up to pray for us if and when a referral came through. 

And that was pretty much how the night ended.  We put Michaela to bed.  We read over the file a few more times, studied it trying to learn everything we could about her.  We starred at and studied her picture wondering if we were getting a glimpse of her personality through them, taken in by her beautiful face and glowing white hair.  That's right, our little Asian princess cracked the mold for dark hair and dark eyes.  Albinism is a condition where you don't produce pigment, and no pigment means no color.  So this sweet little beauty has gorgeous snow white hair, pale white skin and little squinty blue eyes.  We then spent a long time praying for direction and wisdom and help and around 2am knew we needed to get some sleep to face what day two would hold.  I wasn't sure I would sleep that night, but I did.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

One month of waiting.

Today marks one month since we saw our daughters face for the first time.  We have been told by many that this part of the wait is the hardest part.  During week one and two it really didn't seem so bad.  We found joy in sharing our match with everyone, we found joy in showing off her picture and we were busy pushing some more paperwork.  Week three came and there were less people to tell, most had seen her picture and that longing to hold her was kicking in pretty strong.  This past week, week four, it got hard.  A picture just isn't cutting it anymore.  We're ready to hold her, ready to smother her cheeks with kisses, ready to lavish this abundance of love that we all hold in our heart for her.  We requested new pictures three weeks ago, and everyday hope and pray something will show up in our inbox.  I obsessively check email hoping this will be the time, only to find more junk mail

We can't believe it's been a month.  One month down, four or more to go.  The month went by quickly, so we try to find encouragement in that.  Not that we want to rush life by, but we are ready for this little one to come home.  We are ready for this new season of change that we have been anticipating about, daydreaming about for so long now.

It was hard to celebrate a big holiday without her.  We tried to tell ourselves to enjoy it for what it was, our last Christmas as a family of five.  But the reality is we already see ourselves as a family of six.  As a matter of fact, a few times now I have subconsciously pulled six plates out to set the table for dinner.  We did everything we could to "include" Mercy in our Christmas this year, even without her physical presence with us.

She was in our Christmas card.


We have an ornament on the tree with her picture.


We hung a new stocking with her name embroidered on it.


We bought her a few Christmas gifts for after she comes home. (notice lots of sunglasses)


  Each of our kids received a gift from her under the tree. 



We pray for her often, even the kids melt our hearts with the prayers they pour out for their little sister.  We sent her a Christmas Care Package complete with a stuffed animal, clothing, candy and a photo album with pictures of us and words like daddy, mommy, sister and brother in Chinese.

Yesterday Mason said "Mommy, I can't wait until 2013."  I asked "Why is that?"  He replied, "Because that is when Mercy comes home."  Even our 7 year old is waiting in anticipation and ready for his sister to be here.  Everyone was right, this is when the wait gets hard.

God is faithful, especially in the wait.  I receive a random email here and there and the topic usually has to do with waiting on the Lord, surely not a coincidence.  I stumble on a verse that encourages me in the wait.  I hear a song that makes me think of Mercy because many songs include her name.  Friends send me songs that make them think of her.  When they share them with me, I find that very encouraging.  And a friend sent me this quote, it's one I had to print out to remind myself everyday.  It's that perfect reminder because she's worth the wait.

"Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we're waiting for." - Charles Stanley

Inspired by Isaiah 64:4 "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him."

Our prayer requests are that we receive updated pictures, that we receive our Letter of Acceptance from China quickly, and for her continued health and protection while we are 11,000+ miles apart.  If you think of it pray for us during this season of wait.  It was one kind of struggle when we were waiting on paperwork, but it's a whole new kind of struggle this waiting for our child, the face we can see everyday but not touch. It's hard.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Orphange Address Mystery Solved

We have had a few hiccups in trying to locate an address and contact information for our daughter's orphanage.  It turns out she is located in an institute that seldom puts their orphans up for international adoption.  She is also living in a province that does very few adoptions.  So it is a pure mircale that she made it to the shared list. 

Our agency has been using every connection they have to try and get contact information for us.  I was getting pretty discouraged this morning as I received an email from our caseworker stating that there was little information because no one does adoptions from this orphange, city, or province.  She assured us we should not be alarmed that it is probably in a rural/remote area of Ch*na and could just be a small orphanage.  After reading her email I felt lead to ask for prayer.  It seemed like such a silly thing to ask people to pray that we would get the address to her orphanage, surely there are greater "needs" that people could be saying prayers for.  But we really did need this information for two reasons, one to complete our immigration approval and two so we could send her a care package.

I went ahead and sent an email to our care group, pastors and a few close friends.  About one hour later I received an email from our caseworker who said "Wow, that was fast."  Here she had received an email from a government official in Ch*na, who just hours before told her he could not help her.  In the email was the address, phone number and even a link to the orphanage's website.  Believe it or not they have a website!  You can't find them anywhere online if you google them, but they have a website.  The website actually has a few pictures posted so we got to see images of where she is living and a few faces of other children, and possibly some caretakers who reside there. 

I know without a doubt the Lord moved on this man's heart to dig further.  I know the prayers of our friends were helping us fight a battle that we couldn't face alone.  It's not that the Lord "needed" people to pray, He has always known exactly where our daughter is.  I think it's more like I "needed" to ask for prayer, one to remember the Lord is leading this journey, and two to remember we are not in this alone.  We have a great community of friends and a church family that will lift us up every single time we need it, even with small things like this, all we have to do is ask.

 Now we have what we need and can't wait to send our little girlie a Christmas package and continue on with paperwork to get us closer to bringing her home.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Match Made In Heaven

Today is the last day of National Adoption Month which has become a very special month in our hearts.  We could not find a better way to end it then to announce to you that we have been matched and have just become parents to a beautiful 20 month old little girl!!!

There is so much more to share, but it's going to take many posts to cover all that we have walked through in the past 72 hours.  For now our focus is on more paperwork, so please stay tuned.

We know this post is vague.  We long to share details about her and pictures of her with you, but are restricted from doing so until we have our "letter of acceptance" from Ch*na, which could be 2-3 months from now.  We respect this policy knowing it is in the best interest of and to protect our child.  However, if you see us around by all means stop us and ask to see her picture because we carry her picture with us everywhere we go and long for the day we can carry her everywhere we go.

Keep praying for us because our journey to her is far from over.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Silence. Surrender. Stubborn.

After praying hard that we would be logged in and matched in October, the 31st came and went without a log in date (LID).  Nothing but silence.  This is one of those moments when you pray for your desire and then when you look back you can clearly see that God knows what's best.  Scott and I took a very unexpected, last minute, week long trip to California the third week of October, we returned on a Friday and then Scott turned around and headed back to CA that Sunday for another week.  If we had been LID and matched in October it probably would have pushed us over the edge.  The paperwork and decisions we would have had to make combined with everything else going on would have been overwhelming.  Scott wouldn't have even been here to sign paperwork the week we could have been matched.  So in hind sight it was a good thing we did not get LID in October.  November came and every week we prayed hard again that we would receive our "log in date".  Each week came and went, and nothing but more silence.  Most people receive their log in date 1-3 weeks after DTC, we are on week seven.  I happened to be awake at 4am this morning thanks to a little Black Friday shopping trip with my daughter and niece.   I decided to check email before snuggling into bed for a little sleep.  An email from Proverbs 31 Ministries caught my attention, by why wouldn't it with a title like "Tired of Waiting?".  It was a perfectly timed message.  You can check it out here:  Tired of Waiting Devotion.   So there I was at 4am reading it, knowing God was speaking to my heart.  You see the next shared list is coming out on Monday, November 26th.  We need our LID date to be matched with a child on that list.  No LID, no match.  As I read the article I prayed, Lord please don't let this take 20 years (like Isaac and Rebekah), but I will wait, with your help I will wait on you.  It's a heart of surrender, but a stubborn heart like mine takes a looonnngggg time to get to that point.

At 12:32pm today we received an email from our case worker.  The subject line was "Received Log In Date".  We got the long awaited LID, 11/21/2012.  That's just in time for Mondays list to come out.  Now my heart wants to say that means we are going to be matched and know our childs face by late Monday night.  The reality is, it will happen...In.  God's.  Perfect.  Timing.

Please pray for us, if we do get a file match on Monday we have some huge decisions to make and we have some major paperwork to process and all within 72 hours.  It could be the most exciting, yet anxiety producing week, yet one we welcome with open hearts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Promotional Hope Donation

Back in June I posted about a very generous company called Promotional Hope.  They sell various kinds of promotional products for your business, fundraiser event, church or school event.  The owners of this business have a huge heart for adoption so they highlight an adopting family on the front page of their website for a period of time.   During that time Promotional Hope donates a portion of their sales to your adoption.  We were blessed to be one of these highlighted familes.  It is with great thanksgiving that I am excited to share we were the recipients of a $525.00 check from Promotional Hope that went straight to our agency and added to our adoption fund.

Here's the scoop, although our time is up, they will always highlight a family that is adopting.  So if you ever need any promotional products then please consider Promotional Hope for your purchase.  As a matter of fact the family being highlighted right now is someone we know, who like us, are adopting from Ch*na.  You can check out their blog here:  Jason and Jessica Benner - Our Journey to MacKenna.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

National Adoption Day

Today is National Adoption Day.  I wanted to share this video on our blog for anyone who has ever even had the slightest pull on their heart for adoption.  You know, you've thought about it, but allowed certain fears or life circumstances to talk you out of it, you have convinced yourself now is not the time, or maybe you think you can't afford it.  I can say that, because I am was that person.  So this video is a message to you.  You just may be..."



Monday, November 5, 2012

To Jesus Everyday is Orphan Sunday

Today there are more than 143 million orphans in the world.  Every two seconds another child becomes an orphan. That makes 43,200 new orphans every day.  Approxiamtely 400,000 orphans die every year due to malnutrition; 60 million orphans go to bed hungry.  That means that sixty million orphans cry themselves to sleep every night with pain in their growling, empty tummies, left alone, scared, and hungry.

This past Sunday, thousands of churches both in the US and abroad spent time recognizing Orphan Sunday, some more than others.  It's a day set apart to give people an eye and an ear to God's heart for the millions of orphans around the world.

Our church recognized and spent time praying for those in our congregration who are in the process of adopting. There are five.  We can find ourselves both encouraged and discouraged by that number. Discouraged because only five families against 143 million orphans, that is not a good ratio.  However, encouraged because five less orphans, five children that will no longer be alone and hungry, unloved, untouched or without a family.

There is a child, rejected and fatherless waiting for us to bring them home.  They probably don't even know that is what they are longing for as they find other ways to comfort themselves.  They long to have a mom or dad hug them close, but without it compensate for the loss by possilby pulling their hair out or banging their head on the side of a crib.  Desparately seeking ways to fill those desires of the heart for love. 

Our child happens to be in a foreign land, waiting for us to come to them.  They have no way of finding us, but someday, hopefully soon, we are going to find them.  When we do we will bring them home, call them our son or daughter, give them our name and make them part of our family.  It's the most amazing journey to be on and it is an everyday reminder of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to us.  We are not a Savior for this child, please don't misunderstand, but we will point them to the one who is.  It's what He did for us that moves our hearts to go find our child and bring them home.  Jesus came to a foreign land.  He made a way to bring us home to our Heavenly Father through adoption.  I am beginning to believe that adoption is the closest model to the Gospel we have on earth.  There is nothing we can do to get to Jesus on our own, but He came to us right where we are.  And, when He meets us, He makes us His own.  He defends the weak, fathers the fatherless, touches the untouchable, heals the sick and shamed, accepts the rejected.  He is our Creator God yet our Abba Father.  He is our Savior.

Yesterday was one day in a year that churches all over take a moment, a fleeting moment, to highlight the needs of orphans. But, Jesus, His heart, it beats for every single orphan, EVERY.  SINGLE. DAY.   That's Jesus, that's our savior.  We didn't always see or know this.  We didn't know Him and we didn't know our need for Him.  Our child doesn't know us, or their need for us.  We didn't know the orphan crisis was so severe, but our eyes are open now.  They are open to Him, and by His grace they are open to adoption.  It's a journey we still question how we ever got on.  Ask God to break your heart for what breaks His, and see what happens. 



Jesus Friend Of Sinners by Casting Crowns


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Inflated Heart

We are on week four of waiting for one last document to come back from Washington DC.  This document would be the last piece to our Dossier and without we cannot send our Dossier to Ch*na.  Over the weekend I was reading in John 11.  This story of Lazarus death and resurrection, as strange as it sounds, really gave me the encouragement I needed to continue waiting on this last piece of paper.  I prefer control and am a take charge person.  When you adopt there are very few things you can control, and I certainly can't control Washington.  (yes, I did just say that in the midst of a heated presidential election)  I like things fast, organized and like to get the job done.  I also lack patience because I want things done 5 minutes ago or in this case four weeks ago.  So the waiting with this adoption can seem like torture to someone like me.  I know it's a good lesson and I'm trying to embrace it.   However, moving into week four for this one piece of paper that we need to move forward with the next big step in our adoption, well, I am tired of waiting.  I want it done and done NOW.

So as I read John 11 verse 41 really stood out to me.   "So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me."  Now if you put this verse in context, Lazarus had died.  He was buried in that tomb for the past four days, long enough to begin decomposing.  What struck me was that Jesus thanked God knowing with confidence that God had heard him.  What struck me even more was this was BEFORE Lazarus' resurrected life had been revealed.  So Jesus was thanking God in advance for a work He knew God was doing.  As I reflected on that I decided it was time to be thankful for what God is doing with this adoption paperwork.  I know God hears my pleas for this last piece of paper to come, He hears my cries knowing we can't move ahead without it and I'm ready to hold my child.  And if nothing else just thanking Him for the many blessings already in my life might actually make this wait a little less torterous.  So that's what I did. I started praying prayer of thanks over the weekend.  This morning as I woke up I prayed "Lord I have pestered you like the persistent widow (read Luke 18) for this document to arrive and I will thank you in advance because I know I can trust that in your time it will."

Later on this morning I was pretty discouraged for reasons completely unrelated to our adoption.  I prayed that God would send some encouragement my way, whether through a verse, through a phone call from a friend, or a visitor.  Lord, some how, some way encourage my heavy heart.  Well that was around 9:30am and at 11:12am I received an email.  The subject line said "Dossier to Ch*na."  It was from our caseworker.  Our document had returned from Washington DC, our dossier is complete and officially on it's way to Ch*na.  I have said it before and I will keep saying it over and over and over again, God once again does exceedingly, abudantly more than we could ask or imagine.  I would have been content with a verse, phone call or visitor, but this encouragement, this email, well it inflated my heart, it was an encouragement of a different kind.

Here's the thing:  I wouldn't see God's hand in this on my own.  If that last document had gone to DC and come back in a week, like it should have, and our dossier was sent three weeks ago, then the timeline would have been mine...not His!  I had to wait, and waiting for someone with an impatient heart like mine, causes me to pray, alot.  Those prayers help remind me that God is in this.  I truly was thankful this morning, maybe even content to wait another week.  But I'm VERY THANKFUL now.  Jesus knew that his Heavenly Father would get the glory when he called Lazarus out of that tomb.  I want God to get all the glory that today we are officially Dossier to Ch*na.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

In preparing for our Ladies Night event I woke up early (5am) on Sunday, Sept 30th with a strong notion to make another batch of meatballs.  I had already made a bunch the day before.  I knew of 21 women coming to our house for Ladies Night, and I had plenty of meatballs for each one of them.  Yet, I had this strong urge to make more.  I was beginning to think I might be caught up in my natural tendency to overdo things and started feeling pretty anxious.  My thoughts were random and cloudy on what to do.  Should I make more meatballs?  I don't want to be wasteful.  Do I even have the ingredients to make another batch?  How much more should I make?  Why am I up worrying about meatballs at 5am, should I just go back to bed?  In the end I stopped and prayed.  As my racing, cloudy thoughts lifted I knew with complete clarity that I was to make some more meatballs and I did.  Now looking back I know God was preparing me for what was about to take place later that evening. 

I am overwhelmed to share that not 21, but 57 women came to our Ladies Night.  I only had 21 confirmations, but our house was filled with women talking, laughing, eating and shopping in every room of my house.  We had jewelry, and hairstyling with fancy clips going on in the living room, food choppers, pots, pans and cooking gadgets galore in the kitchen, and some beautiful luggage, totes and home organizing items in the family room.  Oh, and let's not forget some yummy treats, including Asian sweet and sour meatballs, to enjoy in the dining room.  It was a great night and I am so thankful for all of those who came out to support us.  I am also thankful for those who couldn't make it but placed an online order, or prayed for the evening.  God was faithful.

In the end we raised another $950.00 toward our adoption.  I want to say the exact same thing I keep saying because I don't know what else to say. And that is that God continues to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. 

Oh yeah, one more thing, at the end of the night when were cleaning up there were seven meatballs left in my crockpot! 



Monday, October 1, 2012

Very Little "Fun" About "Fun"draising

So the past few posts have been a lot about fundraising.  Between the Spaghetti Dinner back in May, to Promotional Hope sponsoring us this summer, to our yard sale and most recently our Ladies Night Event.  It's been fundraising, fundraising, fundraising.  The truth is I find very little "fun" about "fun"draising.  Not that the events themselves weren't fun and being with our friends and family wasn't fun, but the reason was always, well, awkward.  I would much rather be posting things about our adoption that are directly related to our child or the process it is taking to bring them home.  And if I had to guess, you would rather be reading about our child more than reading about fundraising. 

So if you don't mind I would like to share my heart on fundraising, where my heart was and where it is today.  We knew at the very beginning of this adoption that the financial commitment was not one we would be able to meet. Before we even contracted Scott shared with a few men he respects and trusts that we were feeling lead to adopt but didn't have the finacial resources for it.  He sought wisdom and shared his thoughts on not wanting to go into debt to adopt but believing God was saying now is the time and not to wait.  They prayed for him, for us, and they gave their input and wisdom and when it was all said and done everyone agreed we should move forward and not wait. 

Our agency, as well as others, encouraged us to find ways to fundraise for our adoption.  I'll be brutually honest, my pride and everything in me wanted to find another way.  I even prayed that the Lord would just move on someones heart to drop the money in our lap so we would not have to ask people to help.  Asking people to give you money, yet alone money for a child you don't even have a picture of, is really really hard.  But I suppose that's the point.  We didn't sign up for this thinking it would be easy, the process is hard, the wait is hard, the financial burden, well it's hard.  When I start to feel down about it I remember it might be hard but it's not impossible, because with God all things are possible. 

With fundraising I struggled at every bend.  If you only got emails, or saw Facebook events, but I never talked with you about it, I'm sorry.  If you felt you weren't included because I didn't personally invite you, again I'm sorry.  I found it much easier to do everything via the internet and then pray that people would see it and respond.  After each event got posted, I would fret obssessivly over it.  I would hang my head low in church, at school, or bumping into people we know in public feeling bad that we were once again asking people to give.  I struggled to trust God with each fundraiser not knowing how it would go, or how much money it would raise.  Every insecurity I had rose to the surface. 

The very first post written on this blog is titled "A Journey of Faith With Limited Sight."  This is a step in faith and back then we couldn't "see" how this would go.  There are still many things we can't see, but when I look back on the last six months I see that the Lord has provided every cent we have needed so far.  We never had it ahead of time, but we always had it when we needed it.  There are still many payments to go and I am believing in faith, without seeing it in a bank account, that God will continue to provide every cent until our child is home.  Now I won't lie, it's much easier to type that than it is to truly believe it, but it's at least the dialogue I play in my head everyday. 

When we signed our contract back in March we pretty much needed $25,000 of the $30,000 it will take to complete this adoption.  We are at the halfway point, so there is still along way to go.  We just hosted what we are praying and hoping might be our last fundraiser.  Not because we have all the money we need, because we don't, but because you all have already given so much we can't fathom asking again. 

Someone asked me today if I had to do it all over again would I?  I hesitated, but the truth is as I really thought about it I believe I would.  I would do it for our child because I have no other way of bringing them home.  I would do it because through each fundraiser we saw God's mighty hand move and work and lead.  We felt His love for us and this orphaned child through His people, through you.  We felt His love through His provision and through His guidance.   We can testify to the truth that God will and does do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.  We pray that our child will someday hear these stories and know and understand how deeply they are loved, not just by us, but all of you, before any of us even knew them.  Even more importantly that they are loved by their Heavenly Father who has been their provider from the beginning.  We look forward to sharing with them how everyone worked together to help bring them home.

If you have been one of the brave souls to read this long-winded blog post and got to the bottom then we would also ask that you pray. We have applied for a grant and we need prayer that as this organization reviews our application we find favor. We are hoping this grant will help in answering our prayers to not have to do any future fundraisers

Thank you so much for taking this journey with us in fundraising.  Thanks for showing up at our events and supporting, encouraging, helping and giving.  Please know that you are giving so much more than your time and money, you are completing a family.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Limitations

I had knee surgery last Wed.  I thought my recovery would be a week or less.  That has not, nor is not going to be the case.  Actually my surgeon has assured me it will likely be 3-6 weeks.  I have struggled badly with this recovery, more mentally than physically.  My biggest problem is, I don't like being limited, and this is reminding just how limited I am.  I like being independent and I'm finding myself being completely dependent on my friends and family for many things.  I don't like to sit still, I prefer being busy and on the go, but here I sit, at home, all day long.

Here's the thing, and it's what drives me to post.  Because I thought this surgery would be less than a week recovery I made plans, lots of them, it was supposed to be a busy week.  I couldn't attend a field trip, go out for lunch with a friend, go shopping with my daughter on her day off from school, and I'm struggling to get ready for this Ladies Night Out event I'm hosting here on Sunday.  If I'm on my feet for too long my knee swells to the point of looking like I don't have knee.  If I'm up too long the pain, burning and throbbing kick in.  If I'm up too long I can barely walk.

How do you prepare your home for guests when  you are limited?  How do you clean, put things away on the first floor that belong on the seond floor or in the basement when you can't do steps?  How do you stand in the kitchen preparing food and cooking?  Well I wanted to share with you how.  You suck up your pride, admit your limitations and pray.  Here is what might happen if you do:

You will get three different emails from three different friends asking if they can bring something to eat for your party. 

You will get a phone call from another friend asking if she can make and bring something for the party and if she can stay and help you clean up.

You will get a text message from a friend asking if she can come help clean your house on Saturday.

You will get a phone call from a friend asking if she can make something to eat and then want to know if she can come help you clean on Friday night.  When you tell her you have a date night planned with your husband (because darling husband is trying to get you out of your misery) she will say, well I'll come clean your upstairs while your gone.  I'll vacuum, clean your bathroom and dust and  you enjoy your date.

You will get a call from one friend who is heading to Costco and wants to know if you need anything.  Then from another friend who is heading to Costco and Produce Junction and also wants to know if you need anything.

While chatting with a friend and sharing an idea for a gift basket give-a-way, this friend will offer to go out and buy everything you need to put it together and then show up at your house the next morning and actually make it for you.

You will get a call from a friend who offers to bring by some fall flowers and freshen up your front porch so when your guests arrive it's inviting.

All these friends, they are part of a body, it's called the body of Christ.  God is not limited by my limitations.  He loves and cares for me, and this is one of the many testimonies I could give as to how.  These women are doing this out of love for us, not just us but our future child too.  They support this adoption and care deeply for this little one already.  They are also doing it out of a love for their Savior.  They are precious in His sight, and precious in mine.

So if you attend Sunday night, please know I did nothing but sit around while some of the most amazing people I know did all the work for me. 

I do not want to embrace the limitation that my knee has caused, but I do want to embrace the limitless God who is greater than my limitation.

Silpada Jewelry

Two weeks ago at our yard sale a woman who saw our add on CraigsList stopped by.  She noticed in our add that our yard sale was to help support an adoption.  Being an adoptive mother herself, she has a heart for adoption and wanted to offer a fundraising opportunity to us.  She is a Silpada Jewelry consultant and wondered if I would be interested in hosting a Silpada in-home demonstration.  She would do the show as a fundraiser and wants to give us her commission check towards our adoption.  How could you say no to a generous offer like that?  I shared with her how I am having a Ladies Night on September 30th and the whole evening was geared towards other in-home product consultants coming together to do the same thing.  Unfortunately the date did not work for her.  We exchanged numbers and in the end she decided to set-up a display of her jewelry at the Ladies Night event for people to see the jewelry and place orders anyway.  She is also displaying a bunch of cash and carry items too.  So our three-show event has now become a four-show event.

This gracioius woman has also offered that if anyone wanted to book a party from tomorrow night's open house, she would be willing to do their show as a fundraiser for us too.  You still get the benefits of receiving free jewelry for the sales of your show and she will still pass on her commission money from that show towards our adoption.  And if that isn't a kind enough offer, she has also given me three gift certificates to give out to the first three women who book a party.  The gift certificate is to receive an additional $25.00 of jewelry from  your show!!! 

Marg Ford is a faith-filled woman who is beyond generous.  Her heart for adoption and for her Savior is beautiful and inspiring and I'm so glad the Lord led her to our yard sale.  If you would like to take a sneak peak at Silpada Jewelry before tomorrow night, or you can't come but would like to order something online, you can do so by clicking here:  Silpada Jewelry, Marg Ford.  Click on Jane Miller as the hostess and the proceeds from you order will help with our adoption.

Monday, September 17, 2012

One "Sweet" Day

Today a dear friend drove me out to Harrisburg so that I could get our I797 (immigration approval) state sealed.  It's about 2 hours away, but she sacrificed her time so that I would not have to drive with my sprained ankle, and she was great company too.  Our daugthers had off from school today for Rosh Hashanah, so it was a girls day out.  We stopped on the way to the capital and picked up Scott's Aunt to guide our way and add to the great company.  It was a long drive for a 5 minute wait to get one document sealed. 

Michaela and Reilly

Then we headed straight to the FedEx office so I could overnight it to our agency.  It's funny that I have to send this document to Oregon so they can turn around and send it to Washington, DC, but that's how the process goes.  I had quite the ordeal making the photocopies I needed while at FedEx.  You would think I had never used a photocopier before.  From making copies in the wrong direction, to almost making 43 copies when I only need 3, it was quite funny to watch me figure out the copy machine.  When it was all said and done the shipping clerk, Nestor, says "Ma'am, you handed me this envelope and there's nothing in it, were you meaning to ship nothing?."  Would you belive I left the photocopies on the counter and filled out the shipment form, but never put anything in the envelope.  Thankfully this guy checked before sealing the package.  Too funny.

After we left FedEx, Scott's aunt took us to a place called The Sandwich Man for lunch.  This place had tons of character, the guy at the counter was a hoot to talk with, and the food was delicious.  No one could finish what they ordered because the portions were huge. 

After lunch we took Marilyn home and decided to make a quick stop at Hershey's Chocolate World.  You can't have a day off from school, be so close to chocolate and not stop, right?  We did the free tour ride and while walking out we were stopped by an employee who asked us a few questions about our age and the girls ages, whether or not we had food allergies and then offered us to take a survey that required trying chocolate samples.  HELLO, you don't have to ask twice.  Free chocolate, where do I sign.  So they took us into a room where we each sat in individual cubicles.  We were given a pack of crackers and a cup of water to cleanse our pallets.  Then we were each give an unidentified, packaged piece of chocolate with a number on it.  On the desktop in our cubby was an Ipad.  The Ipad had a series of questions to answer as you sampled the piece of candy.  When you were done, you were asked to eat more cracker, drink more water, and that's right sample more chocolate.  I think the girls said it best "That was AWESOME!"  Needless to say it made a long drive on their day off from school much more worth the trip and it made for quite the memory too.  It was a "sweet" day!


 
 
 
 

If you think of it our biggest prayer request now is to be DTC.  That stands for Dossier to Ch*na.  Now that everything on the US side for this adoption has been complete it's time to get the ball rolling in Ch*na. 

PS - I just want to note that while I was off having a sweet time in Hershey another great friend picked my boys up from school, took care of them and fed them dinner until I returned.  I'm so blessed!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yard Sale With A Twist

A twisted ankle that is...

I will apologize first because I want to account for every detail of the last 24 hours so that I don't forget.  Which means I will bore you readers with the details, for which I am sorry.  But as you read I think you will understand.

Yesterday afternoon we were busy getting ready for our big yard sale.  I was full of energy and really excited to see how we would do.  As time was flying by I knew I needed to pick up the pace because we had a Youth/Parent meeting at 7:00pm.  I needed to finish up what I was doing and get dinner ready.  I was upstairs sorting through clothes and ran downstairs to fetch something.  Just as I was 3/4 of the way down my foot twisted, I missed the step and went tumbling to the bottom.  As I landed, my daughter came running to see what happened and if I was OK (in her words she heard a "yelp" and a "thud").  I immediately started praying.  All I could think about was that my ankle could not be broken because I needed to have this yard sale.  Our son ran and got Scott, who was cutting the grass, and when he came to help me up I had started getting really lightheaded, I was sweating and felt really nauseous.  Scott got me up and into a chair and we put ice on it and propped it on the ottoman.  I sat for about 30 minutes and the pain seemed to be settling down.  I got up to walk around and the pain was back, but worse.  Scott thought it best that we go to the ER and get it x-rayed.  I was to concerned about our yard sale and said I would not go to the hospital until he finished cutting the grass.  I knew if we went it would be dark before we got back and I wasn't going to have high grass for a yard sale.  (yeah, I'm stubborn like that).  So he made me promise I would not get back up and walk around, to which I begrudgingly agreed, and he went and finished the grass.  I made a few phone calls to begin lining up childcare, a ride for our daughter to get to Youth Group, and remained seated just as promised. 

I want to insert here that I have some of the greatest friends and church family on earth.  I had childcare lined up for my boys, a ride for our daughter and dinner for all three (not made by me) in less than 30 minutes. 

Scott finished the grass, he loaded the kids up, I hobbled to the van and off we went to deliver our kids and then to the ER.  We got to the ER and it was crowded.  Thankfully they put me through the fast track.  A nurse called my name to head for x-rays.  She said she would be right back with a wheelchair, to which I replied "That's OK I can walk."  About half way down the hall, as I struggled to keep up with her she graciously offered again,  me:  "No thanks I'm hobbling just fine."  Somehow in my warped thinking I found it to be more embarassing to be wheeled around then to hobble on what could potentionally be a broken foot.  (I know, I don't really get it either...now)  As we entered X-ray, she pointed out to the technician that she offered me a wheelchair, but I "insisted" on walking.  (yes, again I can be stubborn like that).  One and half ours later I was being ace bandaged, offered crutches, and praising the Lord because it was just a sprain.

We got home around 10:00 pm.  I attempted to do a few more things for the yard sale, but was in too much pain so I went to bed.  As the night went on, the pain increased and I kept getting repeated leg cramps.  Try walking off a leg cramp with a sprained ankle, ouch!  Needless to say I got very little sleep.  The alarm went off at 5:00am, time to set up.  At 6:30am one friend showed up to help knowing what had occurred the day before.  Then again at 7:00 am another friend drops into help.  Did I mention I have the best friends ever!!! 

As things were getting set-up the dreaded early-birds began arriving.  I made $37.00 before our yard sale even officially began.  We had a steady crowd of friends and strangers stop by all day. The weather was absolutely beautiful and in the quiet of my heart I could not stop praising God all day.  As my girlfriend put it, get behind me Satan, you cannot have this day or this yard sale or this adoption.  So with a sprained ankle the yard sale continued as planned.  The Lord blessed our day abundantly.  I was praying continually that we would raise $500.00 and we raised $614.71!!!  In our weakness He is strong.  He gets all the glory.  That stubborn pride that was so evident in the past 24 hours, well I'm humbled (for now).

I know I need to reflect on this a ton more, but right now my brain is fried, I'm exhausted and my foot is throbbing.  But I knew I needed to write, because when I look back I don't want to forget one last detail.  So thanks for letting me bore you.

One last thing, I have to drive to Harrisburg on Monday to get some adoption paperwork sealed at the Capitol.  Tonight a friend graciously offered to drive me there and back because of spraining my right foot.  Have I mentioned that I have the best friends ever!!!





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our Immigration Approval Is In My Hand

September 13, 2012

It's finally here! 

In today's mail came a very important document called our I-797, Immigration approval.  An I800A is an application for determination of suitability to adopt a child from a convention country, which is what we filed to get this.  It comes from the department of homeland security. 

As stated on the letter, it says:

"You have been approved to adopt one child from the following Convention country: China."  It says a lot more than that, but that's the important part.

I had Scott read it twice then with tear-filled eyes grabbed it and read it for myself.  I got the joy of sharing it with a group of ladies later and put my hand over my stomach and said "I'm officially pregnant."  Now don't be offended by that, I know it's different, but then again it's not.  I carry this child around every hour of every day, only I carry them in my heart.  To get that goverment approval that is needed without any hang-ups was a weight off our shoulders and a huge answer to prayer.  It's kinda like getting over morning sickness, again I know it's different, yet the same. 

So what's next?  Scott and I will take this document and get it notarized, then I will drive to Harrisburg to have it state certified.  After that it will go to Washington, DC for a process called "authentication."  Authentication is a process which foreign governments require to verify that a document is "authentic".  The State Department in DC will examine the state letter and seal and then add their own letter and seal verifying that everything is correct and authentic.  The letter then goes to the foreign Embassy to verify that the U.S. Department of Authentications handled the document. At this time the foreign government will add their own seal and stamp of approval to this letter. At this point the letter is considered totally "authenticated" and can then be presented to the foreign government.  When all of that happens we will then send our dossier to China, and a whole new process of being accepted will begin in our journey.  One country down, one country to go.

Part of this process was petitioning our government for their approval to move forward so our child could become ours.  Ultimately though that approval does not compare to the approval we receive from God when He makes us His through Jesus.

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ladies Night With A Cause

Ladies Night Out Fundraiser
Sunday, September 30th 5:00 - 8:00pm
Where:  Our House


I'm so excited to announce a new fundraising event.
Elizabeth Saunders, Heather Hoover, Jen Fretz and Marg Ford are  very gracious women who are coming together to create a Ladie's Night Out filled with shopping, eating and fun.  All three are home-based consultants who have joined together to offer you three great products. 
Early Christmas shopping, teacher gifts, your mom or mother-in-law...there's something for everyone.

Please share this invitation with your family and friends.
  Live out of state?  Can't attend?  Don't worry you can shop online, just click on the links below. 

All proceeds from this event will be donated to our adoption! 

Here's what you can look forward to:
 
These are very fun, stylish and practical products to help you organize your life and look good while you're doing it! 

To view and order products online you can go to: Thirty-One, Elizabeth Saunders
To View the October Specials, click here:  Thirty-One Specials

 


 Having a bad hair day? Need a quick up-do because you're running late? Have a little girl who likes fancy hair? Then check out this excting company for all your hair-do needs.

  To view and order products online click: LillaRose, Heather Hoover
 
 
 
Cooking made easy.
To view and order products click: Pampered Chef, Jen Fretz
Remember to put Jane Miller as the host name.

 
  Please spread the word.  Invite all your friends to come to the Open House or to shop online!
 The more who know the better the show.

 


Silpada Jewelry
 
 
To view and order products click:  Silpada Jewelry, Marg Ford
Remember to put Jane Miller as the host name.
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

USCIS Fingerprints Complete

We headed to Philadelphia with a few extra kids in tow (our beautiful nieces), and got our USCIS Fingerprints taken.  They were excited to "help" with the adoption of their new little cousin.  Courtney, the 5 year old blond pictured above, thought we would be coming home with our child.  So when we left with only a piece of paper she was a bit confused and wanted to know where her new cousin was.  Too funny! 

Last week while on vacation we also had our referral orientation phone call.  We spent time on the phone with Emily from our adoption agency who shared things we can expect as we enter the referral phase of the adoption.  We gained a little more insight on bonding and attachment issues that will rise up.  Notice I said WILL and not MIGHT.   It was all very thought provoking stuff and has spurred us on to pray even more for our little one. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Our home study is finalized and approved!

Last Thursday the kids and I drove to Living Hope and picked up our approved and notarized Home Study.  Whoot-whoot!  I had been filling out our I800A form periodically throughout the week knowing this day was quickly approaching.  Scott helped me complete the I800A form on Thursday night, wrote the check and Friday morning he and the boys took it to the UPS store and mailed it off to the US Citizenship and Immagration Services department (USCIS).  Another copy of our home study is on it's way to Harrisburg to be state sealed. 
What does all this mean and why?  The I800A is the first form to be completed to start the international adoption process in order to adopt a child who lives within a Hague Convention Country, in our case China.  We need immigration to determine whether or not we are elibible to adopt internationally.  Simply stated, it's more of proving we are who we say we are and we meet the requirements to adopt internationally from our proposed country.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Timeline

Here is the timeline of our adoption process to date.


September 7, 2010 - Contacted Bethany Christian Services for an information packet

September 21, 2010 - Attended Bethany's Information Meeting.  Walked away from the meeting knowing we were being lead to International adoption.  Still unclear what country, and also still unsure Bethany was the agency we would use.

February 15, 2011 - Contacted All God's Children International and requested their information packet.

Spent many months praying.

August 31, 2011 - Filled out a pre-application with All God's Children International.  Were advised that Bulgaria, China, and Ethiopia's programs would be a good match for us.

Prayed some more.

December 9, 2012 - Submitted formal application with AGCI to adopt through their China Special Needs program. ($300.00)

December 27, 2012 - Submitted personal statements to AGCI's social services department.

January 2, 2012 - Received call from AGCI that we have been approved to adopt from China.

January 9, 2012 - Orientation call with AGCI. This is also the day we started our adoption jar.

January 21, 2012 - Registered for our Hague adoption training ($179.00).  

January 27, 2012 - Completed AGCI's formal application for their China Special Needs Program and made our first big payment of $3,890.00.

February 27, 2012 -Completed application with Living Hope Adoption Agency for our Home Study. ($200.00)

March 8, 2012 - Officially contracted with AGCI.

 March 20, 2012 - Contracted with Living Hope for our Home Study ($1,500.00)

April 9, 2012 - Completed our 13 hours of Hague Accredited Training.


April 27, 2012 - Home Study #1, interviewed together.


May 4, 2012 - Home Study #2, interviewed together and individually.

May 4, 2012 - Held our Spaghetti Benefit Dinner with 240 people in attendance.  Raised a total of $7,350.71!


May 9, 2012 - Completed our Psychological Evaluations ($600.00)

May 14, 2012 - Final Home Study #3 in our home with the kids.

May 15, 2012 - Registered with the CHOPADOPT program.

June 22, 2012 - Our first draft of our home study was sent by Living Hope to AGCI.

June 25, 2012 - Day trip to Harrisburg to get our dossier state certified.  ($150.00)

July 2, 2012 - AGCI received our dossier (minus the home study) and mailed it off to Washington, DC. ($5,400.00)

July 10, 2012 - Home Study Revisions submitted to Living Hope as requested by AGCI.

July 20, 2012 - Our Home Study is officially approved and a letter of approval mailed to Living Hope!

July 24, 2012 - Our Dossier returned back to AGCI authenticated.

July 26, 2012 - Drove to Living Hope to pick up approved/notarized copies of Home Study.

July 27, 2012 - Scott and the boys mailed our Home Study and I800A form off to TX. ($800)

August 14, 2012 - USCIS Fingerprint appointment completed

August 20, 2012 - Referal phone call with Emily House

September 13, 2012 - Received Immigration approval letter in the maile (dated 9/7/12)

September 14, 2012 - Got I797 letter notarized

September 17, 2012 - I797 State Sealed and sent to AGCI

October 17, 2012 - DTC

November 21, 2012 - LID

November 26, 2012 - received REFERRAL!!! 

November 29, 2012 - Sent LOI (Letter of Intent)!!!

December 5, 2012 - PA (Pre-approval from Ch*na)

February 26, 2013 - LSC (Letter Seeking Confirmation)  (83 long days of waiting!)

March 1, 2013 - Fedex'd our signed LSC, I800, DS230 and Visa application 

March 14, 2013 - I800 Approved

March 18, 2013 - received I800 Approval letter and Visa's in the mail

March 26, 2013 - Received PDF of NVC Approval Letter (we were cabled on 3/21)



















Monday, July 9, 2012

Move Over Vera Bradley

I have the most wonderful friends.  Today I get to boast about one (actually two).  My friend Becky has had a home-based business through Etsy selling handmade tote bags and journals.  Her work is top quality and absolutely beautiful.  Move over Vera Bradley!  I joke with her repeatedly that I am her #1 customer and fan. 

If you remember Becky made a matching tote bag and journal set for our Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  Well, see for yourself...



Today Becky told me that she posted on her blog that if anyone orders one of these tote bag & journal sets she is donating 100% of the proceeds to our adoption.  Yes, I did say 100%!!!  You can custom order the bag in any fabric/color, it is the size and style that would be the same.  So please pop on over to Becky's blog Seasoned With Salt and take a look for yourself.  She has more pictures and the details to place your order there. 

If you are interested in checking out more of Becky's items, please head on over to her Etsy shop (Etsy, Seasoned With Salt) and see more of her beautiful creations.

On a side note, the tote bag that was auctioned at our dinner, well my friend Carolyn won it.  A few weeks later she gave it to me as a gift.  So if you see me sporting this bag at church or out in public it's because like I said at the beginning I HAVE THE MOST WONDERFUL FRIENDS!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Harrisburg

The kids and I took a day trip to Harrisburg on Monday, June 25th.  We stopped by Aunt Marilyn's house and took her with us.  She was willing to tag along and show us the way, which I really appreciated.

I took all our adoption documents that needed state certification to the US Department of State.  This is standard procedure for an international adoption.  The reason being documents issued in one country which need to be used in another country must be "authenticated" or "legalized" before they can be recognized as valid in the foreign country. This is a process in which various seals are placed on the document. Such documents range from financial records, medical exam forms, birth and marriages records, employment verification letters, home studies and other legal papers.  The whole process took about 15 minutes.  Thankfully we have family in Harrisburg and we could make a day trip of it.

Now we are putting all these legal documents together, along with completing our "With Eyes Wide Open" workbook (more training stuff).  Hopefully by Friday it will all be in a package and on it's way to our adoption agency. 

On the way back we stopped at the nursing home to visit my grandmother.  As I'm telling her where we were and what we had been doing she lights up thinking this means our child is finally coming home.  I think she worries she won't be around to meet her newest great-grandbaby.  She is very excited about this adoption and that makes me smile because for those who don't know my grandmother was adopted.  She has a softness and sympathy for this child already and she hasn't even met them.

We are still waiting for AGCI to approve our home study.  They received the rough draft last week and so far we haven't heard of any needed changes.  I'm hoping that means "no news is good news".  There were some discrepancies between our adoption agency and home study agency over who would autenticate our home study document and reference letters.  The reference letters are confidential so Scott and I would not be able to take those to Harrisburg for the state seal.  Scott was on the phone and passing emails back and forth for the last two days.  Thankfully today everything got resolved, but not without adding another $150.00 to our expenses.  So glad the adoption jar wasn't empty for this, God had provided even before we knew we needed it.

As I reflect on Monday's trip I also meditated on this verse:

"And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."  (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ESV)

You see, we had to get seals on our personal documents to prove to China that we are who we say we are.  But there is a greater seal we have been given, which guarentees us something much more important, who we really are as children of God, and that seal is His Spirit in our hearts.  The Spirit guarantees our salvation.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

URGENT Prayer Request (Updated 6/27)

7/9/12 - Just in case you want to continue following the Moghadams adoption journey, here is a link to their blog:  Moghadams Adoption Journey.  They are still awaiting the final adoption of their 4 children in Ghana and bringing them home.  They could still use much prayer.


Here is the most recent update on the Moghadams:  Moghadams Update #3

They have now been reunited and given the approval for their adopted children.  However, they remain in Ghana waiting for visas for their 4 adoptees.  Keep praying them home!



Here is an update to the Moghadams:  Moghadams Update #2

As you can see they have been released from jail and reunited with their two biological sons.  However, they still need prayer as they have not been reunited with their adopted children.  Please pray the government reviews their adoption paperwork and finds no fault and these orphan children can be reunited and join the Moghadam family permanently, and that they can ALL return to the US.



Please pray for a family, Sol and Christine Moghadams, currenlty in Ghana.  They are there to adopt a sibling group of four.  They have been arrested for child trafficking and are currently being held in jail.  They had their two biological sons with them (ages 4 and 6), plus the four children they were adopting.  All six children have been taken to a government orphanage.  This family needs intercession.  They had all of their legal paperwork to adopt these children with them and these charges are false accusations. 

Please if you are reading this lift this family up in prayer.  The US Embassy and all necessary goverment officials and authorities are involved, but the latest update is still that this couple is being detained, and still separated from their children.

You can check out their adoption video here:  Sol and Christine Moghadams

There blog does not have any info on it, but you can get updates on Facebook here:  Orphan Justice Center





Friday, June 22, 2012

Home Study Progress

To All Our Prayer Warrior Friends,

We just wanted to say thank you because Scott's criminal clearance arrived at Living Hope today!   The turn around time was exactly one week to the day  from Scott mailing the application, to the report being processed and it's arrival at Living Hope.  That was the last thing we needed for our home study and the first rough draft was sent to All God's Children today.  YAY!!! 

This journey is a hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, we have just gone from "wait" to "hurry up".  The adrenalin is pumping.  Our dossier is almost complete and Lord willing the kids and I will be heading to Harrisburg next week to get everything state sealed and mailed off. 

I will confess that this impatient momma prefers "hurry up" over "wait"! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paperchasing Hold Up

It has been a long time since I updated so today seems like a really good day to catch you up.  Honestly I woke up this morning feeling very discouraged on the adoption front.  You see tomorrow marks one month since our home study has been complete, and one week (June 8th) since our deadline to have everything to our adoption agency.  The part of our home study that ended on May 15th was our part, the compiling of personal documents and having interviews with our agent.  It then became our home study agents job to write the home study.  We were told this would take 2-3 weeks, and it has now been four.  SIGH.  This is something more or less our of our control.  Part of the hold up is our agency and the other is the realization we are missing a document.  Scott needs to have a criminal record check done in the state of NY because he lived there while in college.  If you think of it please pray that his application would move quickly and we would get the report with a miraculous turn around time. 

I am beyond ready to put this paperchasing part of the adoption to rest.  It feels like it has been going on forever.  It can be really discouraging because some people seem to fly through this process and others, like us, move at a turtles pace.  The homestudy process normally takes 3 months to complete, we are now at four months.  I wanted to be the person who got it done in two.  HA! 

So if you have been wondering what our status is we are pretty much at the same place we were a month ago.  While ending the home study on May 15th seemed like a really exciting thing and I thought things would be moving forward we are at a stand still for the moment.

Promotional Hope Opportunity

As most of you know adoption is very expensive.  We trust whole heartedly that God will provide for this adoption and to date we testify that He has been faithful.  Each step we have taken and had to make a payment for, God has provided the money needed.

We have been given a new opportunity to help raise funds for our adoption.  Nate and Jen LeSuer, a local family, have started a new website based business.  It is called Promotional  Hope.  They sell promotional products for businesses, churches, schools, personal items, or whatever else you may need.  You can visit the website by clicking here:  Promotional Hope.  The products vary from the following:

Apparel, Caps, and Hats
Automotive Accessories
Awards and Recognition
Backpacks, Bags, and Totes
Badges, Buttons, Magnets, and Stickers
Business, Desktop, and Office
Calendars
Clocks and Watches
Computer Accessories
Diaries, Journals, and Notepads
Drinkware
Electronics
Fitness, Health, and Safety
Food and Edibles
Games and Novelties
Home and Housewares
Jewelry
Luggage and Travel
Outdoors, Sports, and Leisure
Pocket and Purse Accessories
Tools
Writing Instruments


The best part about Promotional Hope is this family advocates adoption.  They have a little girl, Hayley, who they adopted in 2011.  Their mission for this company is to support other families who are adopting.  The best part is, in June, July or August, if you make a purchase from Promotional Hope a portion of the proceeds will go towards our adoption!!!  So whether you own a small business, work at a school, need something for your church or church function, even something for perosonal use, please consider purchasing from Promotional Hope.   You will not only be helping this family get their new business going you will also be helping with our adoption. 

You can check out the website by clicking here:  Promotional Hope

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Final Home Study Complete

Monday afternoon we had our last home study.  Our home study agent came to our house to meet our kids and ask them some questions.  I was definetly more nervous for this study then any of the others we had.  Scott took the day off from work and we spent the whole day straightening up the house, installed a couple smoke detectors and just spent the day getting ready.  We literally were down to the wire.  She was due here around 3:15 and I was jumping in the shower at 2:50. 

She certainly got a taste of "normal" life here.  The boys raced each other up the basement steps to meet her, one grabbing the others leg and attempting to pull him back down the steps so they could make it up first.  Then as they showed her their room our youngest decided to jump from the ladder off the top bunk, just after she said "I hope you don't jump down from up there."  While she was taking a look at our room they came storming in, leaping on our bed, one on top of the other, wrestling around, pillows and a blanket flying in the air.  Oh yeah, she certainly got a sight of "normal" here. 

They were still polite and answered all her questions and then they went off to play, and quietly I might add.  Then Scott and I answered a few more questions for her and she left.  That was that.  Now we wait for her to write her home study report and once we get that we can move on to the next step.

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate."  Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, May 7, 2012

Grace and Healing - A Must Read!

When we were planning for our spaghetti dinner we always set out to have it be more than just spaghetti and fellowship.  We committed this evening to the Lord early on and continually asked that He would take this event and do wonderous works for His glory.  I'll admit that I (Jane) always assumed God would use it to lead someone else to adoption.  BUT just like His word says:   
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways  and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV) "
While I have yet to hear of anyone considering adoption after attending Friday night, there is a testimony I did hear.  This is one filled with grace and healing that only the Lord could do.  It is not something I could have ever "thought" of myself, and it causes my heart to rejoice and be thankful that "His ways are higher"!!! 
Yesterady, a dear sister shared with me something that took place on Friday night at our Spaghetti Dinner.  I asked her if she would be willing to write a testimony of it to post on our blog.  She willingly agreed, both of us hoping that maybe God would use it to bring healing to any mother who has walked the road of giving up their child for adoption.  This is her testimony...but before you read any further I will warn you to have tissues ready!  She writes: 
"Nine years ago my daughter was going through health and financial issues.  She was in a dilemma, as the father of her child was incarcerated, and she already had 2 other children.  She sought the advice of her social worker, who gave her the phone number of Catholic Social Services.  She became very close to a social worker there who did not judge her, but directed her to an open adoption program.  Through this program she learned about different families who were waiting for a child.  She became quite familiar with her family that she picked for her baby.  When her baby was born, she held her and cared for her for 2 days in the hospital.  Her doctor and nurses told my daughter that she was brave and loving to do this for her newborn daughter.  On the third day, my daughter, the social worker and I went to the office; met the parents, and handed over the child to the excited parents.  There were tears of joy and sorrow in that room.
My daughter received pictures and letters from the adoptive parents; however, my daughter still had doubts that she did the right thing, and suffered depression.  We have seen this child and have talked with her.  We have relayed these feelings to our daughter that her child is happy, loved and cared for.
Last Friday night, my daughter came to the dinner; however, when the video started she darted for the door.  Something pushed her back.  She watched the video. When she saw the happiness on that child, and entire family, a great healing occurred.  She thanked me for taking her and said that now she knows that she did the right thing.  The Lord was in that room."
If you have adopted a child I want to encourage you to pray for your child's biological mom.  Maybe you already do, but if you don't, please consider it.  As your child's parents, you can lift their biological mommy up in prayer.  Why?  Because maybe giving up her child was the most difficult decision of her life.  Maybe it was circumstances like the woman above, or maybe it was a teen pregnancy, or maybe her country wouldn't allow her to keep her child.  Whatever the circumstances may be, there is a good chance she needs healing, whether from guilt, shame, depression, a drug/alchohol addiction, a grieving aching heart that wanted to keep her child, but couldn't, or maybe it was something else.  Consider these things and let God's compassion move you to pray, for her, or any mom who has walked the road of giving a child up.  Realize that this woman loved her child enough to give them life, and now that life has become your gift.  You can choose to give a gift back to her...PRAY!  Thank God for her and pray she is comforted by His love and grace somehow, someway.  Pray for her salvation and for healing; however God leads you, just pray. 
If you attended our dinner and you enjoyed a fortune cookie then you will remember we had this verse inside of them:
 "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."  (Matthew 25:40b ESV)
Lastly, if you are wondering what video she watched, you can click Adoption Video  You can also find it in our blog archives under "Adoption Video" posted on May 6, 2012.