Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Powerful Christmas

Our first real tree
This Christmas was a lot of things...it was fun, loving, heart-changing, Christ focused, emotional, beautiful, POWERFUL.   To be honest, last week I was not sure how I felt about Christmas this year.  I felt like I just wanted to skip this Christmas.  If I was not going to have my babies home, I did not want to celebrate a holiday that usually brings family together.  I just wanted to pause my life and wait for those babies to come home.  It only took me about a second to feel bad about these feelings because Christmas is about Christ.  It is about a the God-man who came down to an evil world for me and for them...for all of us.

Me and Jess feeding the babes at my parents house.

I had the privilege of serving on the worship team for the Christmas services.  There were five services and I got to listen to the teaching of our pastors and elders five times.  O how I was blessed.  I learned something a little different every time and I got to spend hours in the presence of our God!  That right there was exactly the Christmas I needed and always wanted.
Christmas eve tubby with the cousins.

Playing toss the baby with little Jack.

We got to spend an entire day with both my family and Gavin's family.  We had such a blast with both families!  We feel blessed to live so close to both of them.  I am so thankful that I still have amazing grandparents who I get to spend Christmas with.  I am in awe of how good God is to all of us.  Irelyn had an absolutely wonderful time this Christmas.  She was old enough to get exited about opening gifts and really enjoy her presents.  To say that her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and great grandparents spoil her would be an understatement!

Christmas Morning

Our entire Christmas weekend was simply blessed by God.  He knew exactly what I needed to keep my head above water.  I would be lying if I said I went more than 15 minutes without thinking about my babies.  I prayed for them with a fiery passion that can only come from a mothers aching heart.  I cried because I miss these kids that I have never even met so much that sometimes I can't breath.  And I laughed because I am so exited that God is entrusting them to us. Christmas was HARD without them here but God made sure that I remembered HIM. I found so much joy in Him this holiday season.  I pray and hope that this is our last holiday season without our babies.
Christmas Breakfast

Irelyn's Christmas hair...

UPDATE:  I did get a call from our family coordinator.  She said that our dossier is in Ethiopia (DTE).  It has actually been there for about two weeks.  So this means we are officially referral ready.  She still told me that the wait could be anywhere from 0-6 months.  She told me a lot of families are getting their referral in about 4-8 weeks but to plan on 6 months and then be really happy if it comes before then.  She also said things tend to slow down between now and January 7th which is the Ethiopian Christmas.  Please pray for my attitude.  I so badly want to have an attitude that God would want me to have about the waiting.  I want to be patient and wait joyfully.  It breaks my heart daily when we do not get a referral call.  Supernatural peace, patients, and joy are the only things that will get me through.

Opening Presents with Papa!

My grandparents are taking us to Disney Land this year so she got minnie mouse everything!

Fun Presents!
The horse is from us...the boots from her grandparents.


Something to make me feel a little closer to Africa.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sixteen Months Old!

Well our little Irelyn is sixteen months old today!  I can not believe how fast time has gone!  Everyone warned me but o my goodness I am not ready for my baby to grow up.  These past sixteen months have been the most amazing months of our lives. Irelyn brings us more joy than we could ever have imagined.

Every day just gets better and better as she learns how to say more words and develops a stronger personality.  She has such a sweet gentle spirit mixed with a little bit fire once in a while.  We thank God for entrusting her to us for her life here on earth and we pray that she comes to know Him at a young age.  We are really enjoying training her up in the ways of the Lord.

Irelyn is now almost running all over the place.  She is FULL of energy and only takes one very short nap a day!  She says a handful of words and recently learned how to say please.  Her favorite word to say in thank you...she is very polite.  She loves her baby doll and throwing balls.  She is very sweet with her baby and already rocks, pats, and feeds her.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about our kids in Ethiopia on this blog, which makes sense since this blog was made for them.  Today I have a special prayer request.  Please pray with us for our daughters salvation.  Pray that God gives us wisdom to raise her to love Him.  She is so very special to us and today we are going to spend some time praying over her.

Here is some cuteness for today!

She really loves playing with daddies phone!

watering our first real tree.

Irelyn did not like it when it was snowing.


Fun hair day!

Naked baby playing in the dirt!

peekaboo...we let her have popcorn...thats why it is all over the floor.

I love getting her after a long nap....

Watching the ducks.

Cutest butt ever!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be Still

As you all know, I have had a difficult time through this process getting a hold of our adoption agency.  I have to admit that we started out with an agency that would call us regularly even if there was not update just to tell us that nothing has changed but they are still working on it....so I may be a little spoiled.  I have been feeling like all I do is think about when I will get the call that I was promised explaining where our dossier is and  I am exhausted.

So I was writing my prayer in my journal last night. Writing helps my brain to work better.  Sometimes things that I do not even know are in my head come through my pen and it helps me to understand how I am feeling.  So I started writing...and God spoke to me.

You wanna know what I heard loud and clear?  BE STILL.  I am waiting on God's timing but I would not call what I am doing being still.  My mind is always going a million miles a minute.  Every night I go to sleep frustrated that our family coordinator has not called when she said she would.  This is not what I call being still.

Maybe God does not want me to know.  Maybe something is going on that I should not know about that is for my good and His glory.  Maybe if I would just wait patiently I could grasp what God wants me to learn through all of this.

Then God led me to this verse
Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

My plans are many!  I have become too connected to my plans.  I have no idea what is going to happen with the adoption!  None of it is in my hands so why do I need to know every detail as it happens?  I don't.  The outcome will be the same regardless of how "in control" of the situation I think I am.

So my conclusion is....I will still call my family coordinator from time to time.  I do need to know some of whats going on.  But I will not call her every five seconds needing every detail of every step of this process.  Chances are our dossier is in Ethiopia and chances are we are waiting for a referral right now.  I think it might be better that I do not know and God can surprise me!  I figure if there is news, good or bad, I would get a call.

A little fun in the snow!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Update...sort of....

Well I have a little bit of an update.  I have no concrete news but at least it is something.  It has quieted my waiting heart.  As most of you know I have been checking my bank account on a daily basis waiting for a charge from FedEx.  FedEx will charge my account to send our dossier to Ethiopia.  When our dossier is in Ethiopia, we are officially waiting for a referral.  Well it has been four weeks and one day since our dossier was sent to get translated.

I called our family case worker on Friday and she told me that sometimes the charge does not show up for weeks after its been sent.  So she put in a request with the organization that has our dossier to see what is going on with our paperwork.  I am hoping to hear that our dossier is already in Ethiopia.  So I now feel like although I am waiting around with no concrete information,  our dossier could already be in Ethiopia which mean we could already be referral ready.

I have been feeling optimistic today.  I have been keeping myself busy with a sick little family and trying not to focus too much on the wait.  I have been reading lots of adoption blogs which help keep me calm while I wait.  Most of the people who are adopting from Ethiopia have crazy long wait times.  The average wait time for our old agency is 25-30 months at the moment and is increasing.  Even with all of the things that have gone wrong and all the waiting we have done, I feel very blessed that God led us to our agency and that we will have our children in our arms very soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

T-shirt Blowout sale

We are having a heck of a time selling our T-shirts.  We invested quite a bit of money into them when we first started this process.  We watched other adopting families sell their shirts and make a pretty good profit so we figured it would work out just as well for us.  One important thing we have learned through this process is that everyone has different levels of  success with different fundraisers.

So we are having a blow-out sale!  We would really love to break even with these T-shirts.  We are selling them for $10 a piece.  This includes shipping if you necessary or we can bring it to you if you are close by.  We have both men's and women's shirts.  You can buy and pay for your shirt online by using the button on the right hand side of my blog.  If  you prefer not to use the internet to pay for things just e-mail me and we will work something else out.

Thank you all for your support so far and please let everyone know about the T-shirts.  We want to get these things moving!

My brothers modeling the shirts at our yard sale.  We also have a women's cut.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Helping Others(Sponsoring)

God has been changing our hearts so much through this whole adoption process.  He has really changed my heart when it comes to money.  I used to be all about control.  I had to make sure we had enough money in our bank account to keep us "safe" in any situation that might come about.  I never wanted to spend money on ANYTHING because I wanted a ridiculously huge buffer "just in case."

Well we have put EVERYTHING we have into this adoption and you know what....God has never blessed us more financially.  I finally realized that it is not my money!  Even if I have a million dollars sitting in my savings account, God can take it away whenever he wants.  It is His money and He wants us to be good stewards of it.  Being a good Stewart does not just mean being frugal.  It mean sharing the money with the least of these.

Before we began this adoption process, my excuse for not sponsoring a child in another country was that too many of the organizations that we would donate through are corrupt.  Now this is a true statement and there are many that are corrupt and in some cases the money does not get used for what it was intended for.  But that was still just an excuse because after I did a little research I found plenty of organizations that will help us sponsor people that I trust completely.

Then we started adopting and I knew that I wanted to help others but I figured that we need to spend our money on our children.  Otherwise there may not be enough!  Talk about thinking horizontally instead of vertically!  God kept tugging at my heart.  My husband kept telling me over and over again that even if we spent our money on something foolish, God will not leave our children as orphans.  He would also tell me that God would never punish us for being too generous.

Our church partners with a small church on a small island in Haiti.  The pastor and his wife have started an organization that built a school and now teaches the children in the village.  In Haiti, only the wealthy can go to school and have a chance to get out of poverty.  Not only are these children taught, they are fed.  For some, this is the only meal they get all day.  A few months ago, we started sponsoring a young man in Haiti.  He is 16 years old and we love him to pieces   We have one small picture of him and can get updates when we want but he has blessed our lives and we LOVE supporting him.

I follow a family who recently moved to Ethiopia to be missionaries.  They are a young couple and Gavin and I really relate to them and love being able to see their hearts for the Lord.  There names are Ian and Brittany Bentley. They recently posted a picture of a beautiful pregnant women and all it said was that she came from rough times and is having a baby.  What a brave person I thought.  I do not know what she came from but I have studied Ethiopia and I can only imagine that she is scared and struggling.  This sparked a fire in my heart.  So I contacted Brittany to ask about sponsoring a child.  I though it would be really special to sponsor someone who we could meet when we travel to Ethiopia.  Well she told me about the women I saw in the picture.   We love all three of them already and can't wait to be a part of their lives in this small way.

There is ALWAYS enough money to help others.  If you want more info about either of these organizations, you can email me.  You can also check out www.IMofH.org if you are interested in sponsoring a child from Haiti.   If you are interested in sponsoring someone from Ethiopia, visit www.steadfastlove.org.  Both of these organization are run by God fearing families.

UPDATE:  Still nothing:)  Chase.com is not working right now so I can not check our bank account to see if our dossier has sent.  It has actually been a welcomed relief...it was starting to make me crazy.  I gave in and e-mailed our coordinator on Wednesday instead of Thursday.  She was not gotten back to me yet but I plan on calling tomorrow if I do not hear from her tonight.  Keep praying that everything is going smoothly with our dossier.  It is taking longer than we thought to get to Ethiopia and we can not get a hold of anyone to confirm that everything is fine.

Monday, December 10, 2012

God's timing...for real this time!

One of our elders spoke at church this lasts Sunday.  He spoke on John 11.  There were two portions of his teaching that really stuck out to me.

I have been trusting in God throughout this whole process.  How can I not?  I have waited on his timing(I have not really had a choice).  I have had the opportunity to see how big God really is.  I have been able to witness his provision over and over again and I have watched him orchestrate events in His perfect timing.

I started thinking to myself this weekend if I am really joyfully anticipating God's timing or if I am just waiting for it because that my only option.  I have gotten to the point where when something goes wrong I do not get super upset,  I just think o that sucks...Ill just keep waiting on God's timing.  Well I am making a decision to joyfully wait.  I want to come to a hiccup in the road and say "God is moving!"

I find myself praying for a referral before a certain time or praying that we hear about our dossier soon.  Its almost like I am giving God suggestions!  How silly of me!  God's plan is so much better than mine.  I have no idea what I REALLY want or what I REALLY need.  Only God knows whats best for me and who am I to try and suggest what I think is the best.

The other part that stuck out to me is how Jesus wept when his brother in Christ died.  He loves Mary and Martha so much that their pain makes him weep.  He knows the pain that adoptive parents go through as they wait. He has felt the same pain as he waits for us to call Him our Father.  It hurts him more than it hurts  me to have His children be fatherless in Ethiopia.  We are waiting with Him....because that is His mighty plan.

I will not be asking God to give us our referral a moment early.  I want those kids in His timing...not in mine.  I have this beautiful life that I will be joyful in while I wait.  I will still have days when I will feel like the waiting is unbearable.  But there is a plan.  Time and time again I read the blogs of mothers who are past the waiting stage and on to parenting their children.  They will all agree that it was silly to every want a different plan than the one God made for them...because God's plan is perfect.

UPDATE:  There isn't really any news yet.  We are in our fourth week of waiting to hear that the dossier has been sent to Ethiopia.  We were told it would take about 3 weeks but sometimes takes 4.  I will be contacting our family coordinator at the end of this week to make sure everything is still going smoothly.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Prepare Yourselves"

We heard the phrase "prepare yourselves" over and over again through this process.  We heard it from other adopting families as well as our adoption agency.  Our agency had us take classes to help us prepare for the negative attitudes of others when it comes to adoption.  They helped us think through what we would do when someone is negative towards us or our children.  I took these words seriously but I could not comprehend how anyone could hate adoption or children.  I knew there had to be some people out there who would not agree with what were doing but I thought they would be so few and far between, we would never come in contact with them.

Someone wrote a comment on our blog a few days ago that made the words "prepare yourselves"  come alive for us.  Someone wrote something that was just dripping with hate.  I can not even imagine that anyone could actually feel so much hate towards adoption, Christ, and children in general.

My initial reaction was not a kind one and not a Christ-like one.  So I prayed for them.  I did not feel like it...I was angry...but I did.  When I was done praying all I felt for this person was sadness.  They must be so miserable to say something so awful.  Who isn't miserable without the Lord?  And just like that another battle won in the name of the Lord!  No matter what people say or do, my family will use it to grow closer to God.

Because of this incident I have changed the settings on the comment box.  Anyone can comment(before only members could) but every comment made will come straight to me for me to OK before being posted.

Prayer Request:  Pray for the person who wrote this comment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Last Thanksgiving

As I prepared for Thanksgiving at my parents house, I was feeling a little less exited than I usually am.  I was not feeling down or sad, just not the same exuberance as I usually do around this time of year.  We had tons of fun and ate lots of wonderful food.  We spend many hours making beautiful memories with family and friends.  And we acknowledged how incredibly blessed we are to be saved by Jesus Christ.  It was a beautiful day and we were encouraged and emotionally strengthened by it.

Something was missing.  Two little pieces of our family were missing.  No wonder I felt a little off!  We are connected to our children in Ethiopia and not having them here to celebrate God's awesome provision just did not feel right.  In our hearts we are a family of five....but there were only three of us at Thanksgiving dinner.

O how I prayed for those kids throughout the day.  I always pray for there safety and salvation.  I pray that their hearts are being prepared for all that God has in store for them.  I pray that they will know that we are their mommy and daddy.  I had a very specific prayer request on Thanksgiving day.  I simply prayed that their little bellies are full.

I know the circumstances that bring children to the orphanages.  I know that my kids will live some of their lives hungry and it breaks my heart.  I have peace that today that their father in heaven is feeding them.  He loves them so much and he will take care of them.

Praise God that this is our last Thanksgiving as a family of three.  This is the last year that we will only have one baby to feed mashed potatoes and turkey too.  Next  year we will be telling three children to play nice with their cousins and trying to get three kids to go down for naps.  Next year we will have our kids that we have been praying and longing for.  We will know that they are warm, fed, and safe in our arms.  They will be loved and adored....like every child should be.  We will have two more things to be thankful for and we can't wait!

On a lighter note, here are some pictures from our Thanksgiving celebration!
Three for now !

I love her...

The ladies in the kitchen 

Gavin is so much fun with the kiddos!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I am reading through Ruth right now.  I was sitting outside on this BEAUTIFUL morning listening to Irelyn swing back and forth while I read.  After I read a chapter, I open my MacArthur bible commentary to get a little deeper into the passages.  Throughout Ruth chapter 2, Ruth talks about going out to the grain fields to glean.  I was thinking that this word must mean pick up or collect.  When I looked it up in my commentary I found that it was not just a verb, it was a way of life.

To glean is something that not only the poor and needy did.  The rich were expected to leave the ears of grain from the last harvest for the orphans, strangers, and widows.  It was part of the culture to leave some behind for those who desperately needed it.  Not only did Boaz leave what was left from the last harvest, he told his men to leave some ears of grain from the current harvest for Ruth.

This got me thinking about how the world would be different if we all took care of each other.  How awesome would it be if the body of Christ took care of one another.  If it was normal for us to give of our "blessings" for others to "glean."  This is what God had in mind when he put this story on Samuel's heart to write down in the bible.  If we would just take care of the orphan, widow, and stranger maybe there would not be so many hurting.  If we would just give a little, the ears of grain left over from the last harvest, we could really make a difference in the lives of the least of these.

Ruth and Naomi were desperate.  They were both widows with no one to take care of them.  The care that Boaz showed them not only fulfilled their physical needs, it showed them who God is.  They saw the love of Christ in Boaz's actions.

What a beautiful reminder of how adoption is not just the process of bringing more children into a family.  It is following the call that God has given each adopting family.  It is giving of yourselves to help the least of these.  It is showing the love of Christ to a fallen and sinful world.  It is God using the storms of the process to sculpt his saints into people who look more and more like Him everyday.

It is frustrating, beautiful, heart-wrenching, life-changing, and joyful all at the same time.  I love the place that God has us in and I am so thankful that he cares enough about us to stretch us in the ways that he is.  I found myself praying today that as we draw closer to our referral he would take us out of our comfort zone once again.  We can not wait to see the children that God has hand picked just for us!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A little more info

I talked to our family coordinator who was able to give me a little bit more information today.  She told me that our dossier is getting translated right now which takes about two weeks.  It will then get sent to Ethiopia which takes about a week.  When it is in Ethiopia, we will officially be referral ready.

Although she is still saying it will be anywhere from 0-6 months to receive a referral, she did tell us that most families are getting there referrals in about a month.  So it looks like we are about two months away from a referral!

We are beyond exited and can't wait for these little one to change our lives!  The next step of this process is called waiting....and waiting....and waiting.  I will try to blog at least once a week with some fun stuff about our family.  Some of the blog posts may be unrelated to adoption.  If you have any questions about adoption, please ask and I will do a post about that question.  I am not really sure what to write about while I wait for news.  Thinking of things to write about will help me with the wait.

Friday, November 16, 2012

When will we get our referral?

Our dossier has made it safely to our adoption agency.  We are FINALLY moving forward in this process! I got an update from our case manager today that our dossier is currently in translation and will be sent to adoption avenues later on today.  This means that we will be ready for a referral next week!

We have been told that we have 0-6 months ahead of us of waiting.  That is pretty broad if you ask me. So basically it could be in a couple weeks, or a few months.  What a way to drive a mama crazy!  My tired little heart is hoping for a referral before Christmas   To say that I am ready to have my children home is an understatement.  Some days I doubt whether I can last one more day without seeing their little faces.  Then I remind myself that this is all in God PERFECT timing.   We don't have then yet because God does not want us to have them yet.


Monday, November 12, 2012

No more yard sales for now:)

We have been collecting stuff for almost a year now.  Our garage has been full and we have been very blessed by it.  We have also been a little overwhelmed with the clutter that has taken over our garage since we started this adoption process.

Winter is coming and we live on a dirt road that gets pretty nasty when it rains or snows.  We want to be able to park our vehicle inside the garage so that we don't have to trudge through the mud to get to and from our house.  So we have decided to stop collecting yard sale stuff for now.  We are going to see where we are in the adoption process in the spring at which point we might start collecting to have another sale. We will just see how it goes.

In the mean time, we will still collect items to sell on craiglist.  So anything that you want to get rid of that you think would sell well on craiglist like furniture,  electronics, and collectibles we will be more than happy to take off your hands:)

These yard sales have sure been a labor or love for us and we are so thankful to all of you who have helped us get enough stuff collected to make them worth while.  We are of course praying that our process goes so fast that we will have our kids before it gets warm enough to do another yard sale.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dossier Submitted! Take 2

It has been over a month since we first sent our dossier to our adoption agency.  Today at 1:04pm, I sent our dossier to our adoption agency once again.  Our coordinator will receive it on Friday.  We are praying that everything is correct and we will have no further hang ups in the dossier department.

When our dossier coordinator gets it, she will get everything in order to send over to Adoption Avenues(the organization that finds our referral).  She told me back when we first sent our dossier in to her that this would take a few weeks.  She has promised me that she will speed things along for us this time around:)

Hopefully in a week or two I will be blogging with the wonderful news that we are referral ready!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Whats in our Lifesong account?!?!?!

First of all I want to sincerely thank every person who has donated so far.  We are so blessed by all of you and it brings us so much joy to know that we are not in this alone.  We have wonderful family and friends who are supporting us through every step of this adoption.  The total amount that we have raised(including the matching money of $4,000) is $11,352!  Can you believe it!  This is so much more than we could have ever imagined.

So many people contributed to this fund.  It was amazing to watch God work through lifesong and through His people.  One of the ways that he especially amazed us was when someone donated $3,000, completely  matching our original "matching amount".  Here is how it happened.   Friends of ours came into possession of a bunch of stuff that belonged to their father(he passed away).  They had a car and were praying about what to do with it.  When they asked the elders in our church if anyone was in need of a car, they discovered that there was someone who had $3,000 to spend on a car and would love to buy within the church.  They knew how much our matching grant was for and thought of us.  So our dear friends made a deal that if this family that was buying a car would write a $3,000 check to Lifesong, then they would give them the car!

How amazing is God!  I can not say that we were surprised because we know who God is and we know that he will provide.  We are just overwhelmed by the way these people and all of the others that donated are being God's hands and feet.  This is what God calls us to do.  He does not say "you have to adopt" or "donate $3000".  He simply wants us to wait on His direction and act.  Every single one of you that are helping us bring our children home could have spent the money on something else.  It is not easy to be generous...but when we are, God blesses us beyond our wildest imagination.

So where are we at now?  Well we are a lot closer to being fully funded!  We are $11,000 short from having enough money to bring our children home!  That means that we have raised, and made(Gavin has been so blessed with work) $30,000 in the last ten months.  Only God can make that possible.

We are only $1,000 short for the referral fees.  We will then need to  make two trips that will cost about $5,000 each.  You can still donate to the Lifesong fund if you feel led to!  It will remain open until we bring our children home.  We are also going to be having another yard sale.  I am not sure when, we will just wait and see how fast the process goes.  If you need to get rid of any junk, just let me know!

Prayer Request
We have a special prayer request today.  We have friends who have been fostering a little girl since she was two days old.  She is now about 16 months old and they have still not been able to adopt her.  Their court date keeps getting moved further and further down the road.  These people ARE her parents and the thought of her getting taken away is really wearing on them. They need prayer for spiritual and emotional strength.  They also need prayer that this little girl will become adoptable soon and they will have her in their arms forever!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lifesong Before Christmas

We are quickly coming up to our November 5th Lifesong deadline  at which point I will reveal to all of you how much is in our account.  This is an unofficial deadline and funds can still be collected after November 5th.  We can continue to collect funds all the way up until our adoption is complete!  What a great way to give a tax deductible donation.  This grant has been such a blessing!

I just got an e-mail reminding me to tell all of our family and friends that if you want your donation to show up  on your taxes for 2012, you need to make sure that your check is post marked by December 31st.  If it isn't, it will still end up in our account.  It just won't be recorded on your taxes until 2013.  We are so exited to share with all of you the amount that is in our account! Just a few more days!

Irelyn and I had lunch outside today. She sat in the swing and had her peanut butter and honey sandwich and was just so sweet.  I am keeping busy and having a surprisingly easy time not thinking about when the recommendation letter will come back from the Secretary of State.  God is blessing my day with my little girl today.  I snapped a few cute shots!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

One Step Forward....Two Steps Back

This whole process is enough to make a mamma crazy!  We got our dossier back from the Secretary of State this morning.  One of the documents was not notarized correctly.  It was a simple mistake and easy to fix but it means that we have to send it back to the Secretary again to get authenticated.  This means we have another week before we can send the completed dossier over to our adoption agency.

This may not seem like much time in the normal world but in the adoption world it is a bit heart breaking.  Think about how slowly the last week of pregnancy goes by and you will have an idea of how it feels to wait for a referral.  The difference is we don't have a due date. There is no gaurentee that our kids will get here in a certain time frame.  We have about another week waiting for the dossier, then a five day wait for it to get to our adoption agency, then a week wait to get it sent over to adoption avenues(the people who find us a referral.)  Then we really don't know how long it will take to get the referral.

It still seems like a long way to go.  We still have a huge amount of faith that this is all in God's perfect timing.  Knowing that truth....and living out that we know that truth are two very different things.  We want to praise God in this storm and find joy and these little hiccups.  Anyways....pray a quick return of that one document and for my attitude over the next few weeks.  I am.....frustrated.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lifesong Update

I am still waiting to tell you guys the balance in the Lifesong account.  I will announce it at the beginning of November.  I can tell you that we are on a roll and are loving all the support we are getting.  We also still need a lot of money to complete this adoption so if God is putting it on your hearts to help us and you have not received a letter, please let me know and I will get one to you.

We have heard news that our church is going to match $1,000 more than they originally planned.  We have already paid the international fee for the second child so they decided to match more to help with the second child fees.  This means that they are matching a total of $4,000! Praise God!

On a very positive note, we send the dossier documents that needed to be re-done over to the Secretary of State today.  We are hoping to send it to our agency next week but I will let you know when it happens.  Please be praying that everything is correct with our documents and we can move forward.  We are feeling at peace with the hiccups that we have experienced and are exited to see what God has in store.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


We have received so much encouragement in the last couple of days. We have had people call and text to make sure we were doing okay and see if we need anything.  We have had people donate to our Lifesong account.  We have had people leaving encouraging comments on Facebook   We are so blessed to have all of these friends and family supporting us through this process.

I was reading through the study that Gavin and I are doing in our small group and came across this PERFECT passage.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

What an encouraging word from our Father in Heaven.  All we needed was some some supernatural encouragement and we feel refreshed and renewed.  Having to do this dossier over again is not a waste of time.  Its a time of growth and learning.  This gives us the opportunity to get to know the dossier document even better so that we can more effectively help other couples who will go through this process in the future. It gives us more time to prepare for the homecoming of our kids.  We may not think we need more time but God knows better than we do.  It gives us more time to enjoy our family of three...things are about to get very beautiful but also very hectic.

When I read blogs of people who have been waiting for a referral for over two years, I feel so blessed to be in the position we are in.  God took care of us when he lead us to A Love Beyond Borders.  He made it possible for us to get our kids much faster than we could if we would have stuck with our old agency.  He is taking care of us right now too.  We can not see what he is doing like we could when we were switching agencies but we know His promises are true.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bad News....

I got a call today from our dossier coordinator.  She started the call with "I have some bad new and I am not sure how to tell you."  As you can imagine, my heart droped.  It felt like an eternity waiting for her to tell me the news.  My mind went wild imagining what it might be.  I even contemplated the idea that they were not going to let us adopt and all that work was for nothing.

It was not the worst news ever but it sure did break my heart.  A large portion of our dossier is going to need to be sent back to us for us to do over again.  Our notaries stamp expires in April of 2013.  Our agency needs the stamp to be good for at least 14 months.

This should have been caught when I e-mailed the dossier to our coordinator to check it over before sending it to the secretary of state.  But it wasn't.  The problem was not caught until now.  Now that we spent the money to have everything authenticated.  Now that we thought we were officially on the waiting list.  Now that we had breathed a breath of relief at having the dossier sent off.

I am feeling pretty overwhelmed today.  How am I going to wait another month or two to send in our dossier?  How am I then going to wait for our referral?  Then how will I wait to see their faces and hold them for the first time?  Then how will I wait to bring them home.  This whole process is so full of heartbreak, yet I know that is will be so beautiful in the end and I will hardly even be able to remember this part.

I feel like I am at the end of my rope although I know that God does not give me more than I can handle so I must have more.  I have had all day to process the information that I pretty much have to do our dossier over again and I still don't know how I feel.  I am not angry because that would just be sinful.  I am not even sad because what is the point.  I will just sit down at my computer and start over again.  I will re-type and print everything that I need to and get it notarized.  Then send it off to the secretary of state with a check that is far too large.  Then when we get it back we will make more copies and make a new disc for translation.

We will be praying for strength in this time and ask that you pray with us.  This time of waiting is hard enough without having to do papers that I spent the last eight months gathering over again.   I know that the news could have been a lot worse.  I know that we are still so very blessed to even be in this situation.  It is incredibly obvious to me that this IS God's timing.  He had our coordinator miss a very obvious mistake.  Through this whole process we have watched God hold us back from submitting our dossier.  We have watched him cause glitch after glitch to make sure we do not submit our dossier too soon.  We are completely trusting in his plan.  He IS working here!  It is not the way we saw him working in our little human minds but He is working.  He loves us and He loves our kids.  He WILL come through for us!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We have officially started the WAITING GAME.

I received a call from our new case manager this morning.  She was searching for some missing documents that were no big deal to get to her as well as letting us know that we have officially started this new season called waiting.  Haven't we already been waiting?  Well yes but this is different.  We are "paper ready" to receive our referral.  She gave us the timeline of 0-6 months.    My heart tells me it will not take six months to see their beautiful little faces.

She also informed me that she will be getting in contact with me at least once every two weeks. Praise God! This contact just to ensure us that she is still working on our case brings me peace.  We will also be able to get an idea of which families in the program have received their referrals and how many are still waiting in front of us.  She let me know that as of right now, there are three or four families waiting ahead of us.  I am not sure how quickly those families will get referrals but that is why it is so great that I will be in contact with our case manager.

As far as travel times go, our case worker told me that it is about 3-5 months from the time of referral to the time that we travel.  Then about 2-3 months after that, we pick up our kids.  Pray with us that especially these travel time lines will be shorter for our family.  I can't imagine knowing our kids and then waiting this long to have them home.  I can rest in the fact that it will all be in God's perfect timing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dossier Has Arrived!

In Washington that is.  I got confirmation that our dossier arrived at A Love Beyond Borders on Tuesday morning, exactly when FedEx said it would.  Our dossier coordinator is currently looking over it to make sure there are not problems(she assures me she wont find any).  Then she will send it off to be authenticated once again!  I guess now they are authenticating the Secretary of States signature.  This is one official document!  Then is will be translated into Amharic for Ethiopia.

I got word today that we are getting a new case manager.  It was a little bit of a surprise but I am really exited about it.  Our last case manager was really hard to get a hold of which does not fair well for my personality   It is hard enough waiting when we can communicate openly with the person who trying to find us kids.  It is really really hard waiting when we can not get a hold of that person.  Pray that this case manager is easier to get a hold of.

I put in an e-mail today about the travel timeline for going to Ethiopia.  My grandparents are planning to take the whole family to Disney Land in February and we really want to see when our case manager thinks we will be traveling to Ethiopia so we can prepare ourselves for either not going or going to Disney Land. So in a few days, I should have a pretty good idea of when we will be traveling!  I can not believe we are at the point in this process where we actually need to consider our Ethiopia travel timeline when making plans!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Surprise! Dossier sent!

I went to check the mail yesterday already in a great mood because I was on my way to run a very special errand and there was an envelope from The Secretary of State!  I opened it up and there was our document that we have been waiting for over a month!  I was so exited, I called Gavin right away hoping that he would be home in time to take pictures with it and bring it to FedEx.  I could have brought it in the morning but I wanted Gavin to be there.  He would be home in time:)  I ran my errand and got home to make sure everything was in order.  I had to go make a few copies of the new document at Office Max and make a disk of all of the documents for translation.  I then made sure that all of the checks were in order. We wrote checks that equaled $11,940!  All the money we needed was there!  Praise God! We took pictures of it and with it, we prayed over it an then headed over to FedEx.
Irelyn making sure we included all of the necessary documents.

Eight months of blood sweat and tears went into this dossier.  When we started the process they told us we would have it finished in 1-4 months....yeah right!

It was a happy time getting to finally send this thing off.  Gavin does not normally get exited about things until they happen and he was smiling and talking to Irelyn about her brother and sister.  Such a sweet time!  I made sure to stop a moment, thank God and just take in all of the emotions.  I want to remember the feeling and excitement of being able to send off our dossier.  This may be the only time in our life that we get to experience this.  I honestly don't know how people do this more than once. It is so hard!  I am sure that as soon as we get them home, I will forget how difficult it was and want to start over.:)
Lovin Irelyn's "cheese smile"
Praying over the dossier. 

So it is in the mail on its way to our dossier coordinator in Washington State.  It will get to her on Tuesday at which point she will check to make sure everything is in order(please pray that it is).  She told me this will take about 48 hours.  She will then send it to be translated which takes another 48 hours.  Then it will be on its way to Ethiopia and we will be ready for our referral!  I can't wait to see God's timing for this adoption.  We just never know what will happen next and it is so fun!
We love you babies!

O you know...just dropping our dossier off at FedEx!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lifesong Grant

God is moving in some pretty awesome ways with this Lifesong grant. What we are choosing to do is wait until November to tell you how much is in the account.  We are checking weekly because we will need to use some of the money before November but you guys have to wait!  It will be more fun that way!

All I can say is that we are touched and blessed by how God is using people to help us.

We can also say that our church elders are discussing matching more than three thousand dollars.  The way the grant works is that Lifesong recommends a grant and our church supplies the money if they choose to follow through with the recommendation. For us, Lifesong a recommended $3000 matching grant and made a note that said "more if we get two kids."  Well we have actually paid the international fee for the second child so we are sure that we will get two kids.  This means that our church may reconsider the amount that they will match.

Please be praying for the elders as they make this decisions.  We already feel so blessed to have the $3000 and definitely do not expect more. We know that God will bring the money somehow.  It is such a blessing to have our church family behind supporting us every step of they way.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Doing Irelyn's hair while I wait on God's timing.

This week has been a little rough for me.  After FedEx lost our last document for the dossier, I nearly fell apart.  I am just so ready to be on to the next step to get our kids.  I cried....and then I cried some more.  I did not cry because of the lost document.  I cried because I have not really cried good and hard since we started this process.  There is not a way for adoptive parents to prepare themselves for what it feels like to have children living thousands of miles away from you.  To feel so close yet so far and to try to get closer only to hit a paperwork road block.  It is tough and it is life changing.

Every time this specific document would come back to saying it needed to be changed, I would change it and stress out about getting it back to the mail.  I completely overreacted almost every time we had to send it back to the Secretary of State.  I would call Gavin away from work to get it notarized, put all of my plans on the back burner, and get really short with my family.  I was expecting to get the document back Monday or Tuesday.  When it did not arrive today, I called the Secretary of State who told me that it will be mailed tomorrow.  She also told me that the last one that we think we lost was sent back to them.  They then forwarded it USPS!  After all of my freaking out, how much do you wanna bet that both of those documents will come back on Friday!

Last night I gave this issue to God once again.  I decided that I did not care when they came back because it is all part of God's plan and I have no clue what he has in store for us next.  He wanted me to wait until this Friday to send in our dossier.  Even though things did not go how I thought I wanted them to go, I am so amazed by how he orchestrated all of these events centered around this one document to make sure we could not submit our dossier.  Is our God almighty or what!

So I learned my lesson and I am really at peace.  He has something better in mind for us than I could ever think up in my head.  Irelyn's hair has been my concentration while I wait.  I have been trying different styles although for the most part, her hair is too fine and short to work with.  I did accomplish cornrow style french braids.  I would have tried corn rows but a fidgety one year old is probably not the best to learn on.  I am going to try cornrows next as I heard that they will stay better.  The braids slipped out of her hair in about ten minutes!  It was cute while it lasted!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yard Sale #3

Our yard sale went wonderfully! We had some wonderful people who generously donated their time to help us set up and tear down.  We ended up doing the yard sale at a lot that the water company that Gavin works for owns.  We got out there at about 4AM!  Gavin graded the lot a little and then I set up the tables.  At about 5:30, our help arrived and helped us move stuff from our garage to the yard sale site.  The yard sale was huge as usual and we were not done setting up until about 9.  Talk about hard work!  It was totally worth it!  We came out with about $1300.  What a blessing!  It was less than we made at our last yard sale but still a lot of money!

The guys! 

We have decided that we are going to send most of the leftover stuff over to goodwill or stepping stones.  Most of the stuff left is stuff that we have had for the last three yard sales and it just isn't selling.  We are going to get rid of it and start collecting new donations.  We are not sure if we will have time for another yard sale.  We will just have to see how many donations we get donated to us.  Honestly we are sort of hoping that this process goes so fast, we don't have time to have another one.  They are exhausting and take a lot of work to put on.  We also know that God calls us to be diligent and work hard while we wait for him to make this happen.  The next one will also have to take place in the winter and setting up a yard sale at 4 in the morning in December just does not sound fun.  We will just keep praying about it and keep see what donations come in.
The ladies!

We are also considering doing a car wash....maybe pretty soon while its still warm outside.  Does anyone have much experience with car washes?  How much you made?  How you made it successful 

It was huge!

We are also applying for more grants so please be praying for those.  At this point we are really working our fingers to the bone and are pretty tired.  We would love to get more grants and have to fundraiser less...but I guess so would every adopting family!  God never said this would be easy!

Irelyn's favorite toy....a huge bird cage.
All in all we are feeling very blessed this weekend.  We are blessed by the money made in the yard sale.  Blessed by the help of our friends and family this weekend, and blessed by the time we got to spend just the three of us raising money to bring our kids home.
Going to get lunch.  Don't worry i did not actually take her on the road.