Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My new job!

Applying for grants is like having a part time job.  If only I could get paid for it!  We will not have our signed copy of our home study for a couple more weeks but I am preparing our grant application anyways.  We have to have a copy of our home study to complete the application.  My goal is to have everything together in an envelope so that when we get our home study I can send them out.

This morning I found a grant that allows me to apply before we finish our home study.  The grant amount is from $500-$2500.  Be praying with us!  The only problem with this new agency seems to be their fee schedule.  We have to pay so much of the money before even applying for the grants!  We are so thankful, however, that we can get our kids so much faster.  It would be great to get this grant which could help us out with the huge amount of money we need to pay now.

We are also discovering a whole list of interest free loans.  These are loans that you receive and pay off with your tax credit at the end of the year.  It is such a cool idea but Gavin and I just got out of debt and have no plans of entering back into it.  The borrower is slave to the lender.  This is not an enjoyable place to be.  It is nice to know that these loans are in place but they will be a very last resort for us.  God does not want us in debt and I am sure he has another way of providing the money.

My favorite website for information on grants is

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ethiopian Dining

I am falling in love with this culture!  This week Gavin and I enjoyed learning a little bit more about dining in Ethiopia.  We wanted to be prepared for whatever kind of food we might run into while in our children's country.  At first I was a little concerned that cats and ants would be our main course.  I was very pleased to discover that I was very wrong.

Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by the breaking of "injera" and sharing food from a common plate,  signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship.  The traditional way is to eat with your fingers!  I can not wait!  A large piece of injera, which is a flat bread made of a protein rich grain that is unique to Ethiopia is placed directly on the table.  We may have to bring our own table cleaning supplies!  The table will then receive a bowl of
"wot"  which is a spicy Ethiopian dipping sauce.  Ethiopians add heat to everything!  Multiple dishes made of meats, beans, fish, and vegetables are then placed directly on the injera.  We will then tear a peace of injera off and wrap one of the meat mixtures up in it and eat it!

I love this simple way of eating!  Even more interesting is that their is not a huge menu. There are about fifteen dishes that get places of our injera and that is all of the diversity we will see at the restaurants.  We have been told that the only way to get meat in Ethiopia is to go to a nice restaurant.  Meat is scarce and common people hardly ever eat it.  On the other hand all of the meat will be range fed and organic...yum!   When walking around town we will have so many fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from that are sold on street side carts. I think we are most exited about eating the freshly prepared foods that come straight from the people.  Can't wait!

We are getting more exited everyday to bring our kids home.  We can not wait to learn more about them and where they come from.  We are only weeks away from being able to look at the waiting children's list which means we could be only weeks away from getting a referral.  On the other hand, it could still be six months away as well.  God is so good and so powerful!  His plan will be perfect!

I want to update you guys on how we are doing financially every time I post.  Gavin and I have decided to do a television fast until we have the money we need for the next step.  We are looking forward to spending the hour we spend in front of the tv at night with God.  The reason I am letting you guys know this is because we would love for some of our brothers and sisters to join us.  Let us know if God puts this on your heart and we can all be praying together.  We have gotten much closer to our goal in the last few day.  Today we are $11,095 short.  Praise God!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Short on Cash

We have done the official math for how much  money we will need to come up with for this adoption.  We will need to get together $11,475  in the next 4-6 weeks!  This is a big chunk of money and we have all of our eggs in one basket at this point to we have to get it.  We are not the least bit scarred.  Time and time again God has supplied couples with a lot of money to adopt.  There is no reason for us to believe that he will not provide!

The good thing about this amount is that it is the biggest chunk of money we will have to pay.  When we get a referral of siblings, we will owe another $6,000.  If we get a referral for two unrelated children, we will need to add $3500 to that $6000.  There is a bit more paperwork when an unrelated child is involved which is the reason for the raised prices.  After these fees are paid we will have to shell out about $6000 more for travel but that's it!  Seems so simple right:)

The initial payment we have to make can not be paid with grants.  It needs to be paid right after the home study is finished which is when we will be able to apply for grants.  We are praying that will will get a grant for the next chunk of money due.

We are very exited for this new process and can not wait to see how God works.  In the meantime we are doing everything we can to fundraise and get Gavin work.  We do need your help!  Take a look at our website on the right hand side of the blog page.  You can buy T-shirts designed by us, cookies, and coffee.  You can also donate money or item to our yard sale.  Our new goal on wepay is to just make $3000.  Lets make it happen!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

We are changing agencies!

Well this adoption process is crazy and we are feeling like nothing is ever a for sure thing.  We have decided to switch agencies once again.  We feel very thankful that God is showing us where he wants us to be while we are still in the paper chase.  Since we are in the paper chase, we can move agencies without losing very much money.

We learned today that because of the way things are moving with the orphanages they are working with in Ethiopia, we will not have a very good chance to adopt more than one child and the wait for one child is going to be longer than we anticipated.  This was very upsetting for us because we really felt that God wanted us to adopt more than one child.  So we went about researching how to adopt from more than one country at a time.  What we found was more than we ever expected.

We started talking to an agency that said they can have our children in our arms in under a year!  They have a very close relationship with the orphanages in Ethiopia and feel that we might only have to wait 6-7 months after we submit our dossier to get a referral.  We are so thrilled and feel that this is where God wants us!

Here is the really crazy part....we have to come up with $9000 in the next 4-6 weeks.  This agency is a lot cheaper than our former one but the pay schedule is different.  The biggest chunk of money we have to pay is in the very beginning.  The agency also let us know that although they can not disclose any specifics, they do have waiting children that fit our description.  This mean that their is a chance we will not even have to wait for a referral and will just jump right into adopting our kids after we are DTE!

I know this might be a shock but we feel like this is where God is leading us.  We are very thankful for America World's help through the process so far and are still going to use them as a home study agency.  A Love Beyond Borders will be our placement agency.  This change will not put us back anymore than maybe a week since we are sticking with our original home study agency.  We should have the home study complete in about 2-3 weeks and our dossier will be done when we have the money to submit it!

We could use a lot of prayer in the following weeks as we try to raise money very quickly.  God is testing our faith with this one and we look forward to trusting him every step of the way!  If you want to help us financially, we are going to have another yard sale in the next couple weeks.  We could use donation of things to sell. We are also selling T-shirt and cookies! Anything helps...five bucks goes a long way if multiple people pitch in!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blessing Blessings Blessing!

Today is a beautiful day!  Today I feel so very happy in the midst of my chaos.  I am so busy I have to schedule in time to eat.  I am cherishing every minute of it.  This might be the only time we adopt or it might just be the beginning but I am going to enjoy every minute of it because the whole process is a gift from God.

Yesterday we got a check in the mail from a family friend for $1000!  I still can't believe how generous people are and I can only imagine how they make God smile.  Later that night we visited some more family who gave us $100!  We are now only $3600 away from having enough to be DTE(waiting for referral).  I am in aw at how God is providing so perfectly for this whole thing.  I am amazed at how easy it seems simply because I am not worrying about it. Sure were are working hard but we never think about what would happen if we didn't get all the money or even where it will come from.  We have given it to God which makes the process seem so easy!

I just joined a talk group through our agency that allows couples who are adopting from Ethiopia so connect and talk about where they are in the process and how it is going.  I am so blessed by this group and their support.  It is exiting to talk with families who have their referrals...it reminds me that eventually WE will be there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wait time increased....:(

Yesterday, there was a conference call between my family coordinator and Ethiopia.  I had the chance to listen to the conference call, but sadly I got the time wrong and missed it.  My Family Coordinator is in the process of sending me a recording so that I can hear everything that was said.  One thing that I did learn is that they increased the wait time in Ethiopia from 10-15 months, to 24-28 months.

These numbers took my breath away when I first saw them.  This is a very long time!  This is the wait from the time that all of our paperwork is filed(about 4 months from now)  to the time we get referred a child.  It can take up to a year after the referral to actually bring our children home.

I know that God is in control.  I know that his timing is perfect.  It makes the news less heart breaking to know that God is doing this for our good and His glory.  I was in tears as I realized just how long it will take to get them home.  Even though we have not seen their faces, we still feel a connection to our children in Ethiopia.  We feel like one or  more of our kids are over there without a family to love them and it breaks our hearts.

We are taking a class about adoption where we are learning about orphans who are institutionalized and how they develop because of lack of interaction and love they receive.  Children should not be left alone in a crib to entertain themselves.  I can not stand the thought of our children being lonely even though they have a family right here ready to love them.

This time increase is due to a new level of clearance that children need to go through to be adoptable.  This clearance can take anywhere from one month to one year.  Our agency is going to monitor the situation for a few months and then get back to us on the wait time. They said it could either get a lot longer or shorter.  We will be praying daily that Ethiopia is able to quickly process these kids cases and place them in loving homes.  We also pray that God will being us the rest of the money we need to file our paperwork so that this wait will not increase for us. Meanwhile we will find peace in the fact that God is collecting our tears in his bottle.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A day of distress turned into a blessing

Today was a little bit of a crazy day.  I learned that out finger prints got lost.  No one has any idea where they are.  So we have to get them done again.  This process takes about six to eight weeks and we have to have them to complete our home study.  Our home study was supposed to be finished in three weeks from now.  This will delay our moving forward in the process for a couple months.  So I am bummed about that.

I have also been dealing with the company that we are trying to get insurance through and having a hard time.  I think the problem is mostly a lack of communication and it can be cleared up but it is still very frustrating.  We need this insurance as soon as possible for the home study.  I do not want any more delays!

So my day was very full and very hectic.  Irelyn however was a complete angel today and I enjoyed her so very much.  She was in such a good mood all day long!  She just went to sleep in my arms(she usually cries for about a half hour)  and she loved cuddling today(she is not a cuddlier).  Then Gavin got home with a generous donation from some friends that got us just that much closer to our goal to get on the list.  We are now only 4700 short!  Praise God!

P.S.  Someone mention that one of my blogs led them to believe we were paying for personal bills with the money from the yard sale.  I just want to make it clear that we have a separate account for adoption money.  We do not touch it unless it is for adoption expenses.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home visit complete....whew!

Irelyn and I were hard at work yesterday making sure everything was ridiculously clean for our case worker.  She arrived at our house at eight this morning to perform a home inspection and help us get started on the home study paperwork.  She was so kind and made us feel very comfortable when she started the meeting with a prayer.  What a blessing to have such a Christ centered adoption agency.

Irelyn laughs at us as she realizes that we went a little overboard on the cleaning.  When we showed our case worker around the house, we were surprised at how little she did want to look at.  "You mean you don't want to check every square inch of my fridge for food particles?"  Too bad I spent a lot of time making sure it was immaculate.  O well...now we can enjoy our model home for about a day!

This is Gavin making sure there is nothing dangerous in the drawers that the kids can reach.  We did this to every drawer and cabinet in the house removing breakable or sharp objects.  The case worker did not even check the drawers:)  

We talked extensively with people who adopted domestically about the home study process.  I think that domestic certification is just very different than foreign.  Well we are happy to have this step out of the way and have our next meeting scheduled at the end of this month.  So far it is looking like we will be able to complete our home study in a month!  Praise God!  This is starting to feel very real!

P.S.  We are still $5000 short of what we need to get on the list.  We are still selling cookies, coffee, and T-shirts on our website with can be found on the left side of my blog.  We are also having another yard sale in a couple of months so let me know if you have any stuff you need to get rid of!

Friday, March 9, 2012

We are selling T-Shirts!

My wonderful Aunt Hetty is a graphic designer and she designed this wonderful logo for us.  The shirts say Heart for Adoption, Protect Life.  We are selling them for $20 a piece to raise money for the adoption.  We have men's and women's
Extra Large

Let me know if you want one!  You can e-mail me your order at heartforadoption@hotmail.com.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

God tests our faith...

Today we got some bad news that we owe quite a bit of money on our taxes.  You can imagine how bummed we are since we are trying to put everything we possibly can into this adoption.  We do of course have to pay it because there is no way around taxes.  They really know how to bring down the small business with these taxes!

As I sulked around the house thinking about how this is money that we could be paying our agency to bring us closer to adopting children, I remembered something I learned in my small group last week.  We are learning about faith and doubt.  God is always testing our faith.  He tested our faith with this calling to adopt.  At first I had no idea how we would do it!  Then I stopped thinking about it and had faith that God would handle it and we are moving forward at an awesome pace!  

So God has given me the victory over doubt when it comes to this adoption.  Then we get another financial blow and I know God is testing our faith.  So I will choose not to doubt his perfect plan.  I will trust him completely once again to bring us the remaining $5000 we need in time to make it on the list.  What an awesome feeling to lay this at the feet of Jesus!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Grand total for the yard sale!

The yard sale went better than we ever thought it could!  We had so many wonderful people helping out and so many wonderful people shopping!  It was A LOT of work and we are all pooped.  Little Irelyn went to sleep at 2 in the afternoon today and is still sleeping at nine pm.  I will not be surprised if she sleep through the night!

Gavin worked so hard!  I am so proud to be married to such a strong and capable man.  He was organized and got the job done.  He was so good with the people that came to buy and was great at making deals.  I am a little shy and will pretty much back down right away if someone does not want to pay the price:)  I want to send out a special thanks to the Pehl Family.  They worked sun up to sun down to help us put this thing on.  We could not have done it without them!

I know you are all wondering how much we made.  Well God truly blessed our labor and provided us with $2800!  We now only $5100 short of being able to submit our Dossier and officially be on the waiting list for our children.  God is providing every step of the way!

We will be having a yard sale every couple months since is was such a good fundraiser for us.  We are starting to collect stuff now for our next one so let us know if you have anything you need to get rid of!

Baby Jack representin!

Gavin and his mom Marie

Lots of stuff on wonderful tables that the Heights church let us borrow!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Yard Sale Day One!

I just got back from our yard sale location. I am exhausted and very sun burnt.  Irelyn did so great, although as soon as we got home she went right to sleep.  She is very tired!  The yard sale went great today!  We started setting up at 5:30....yes it was freezing.  We did not get finished until about nine and we still didn't have everything priced.  We now know how to do it next time:)  In the end, it all worked out great.  We have some amazing church friends who came and helped a lot.  Thank God for them or nothing would be priced!  The Pehl family all helped so much.  The women made cookies and coffee and cider, all of the men set up.  We so appreciate their support!  We could not have done it without them!  My sister also stopped by for a few hours to share in this sweet experience.

It was a huge success because God blessed it....we knew he would but it is so awesome seeing him work.  He made the weather beautiful and the people generous.  We even met a man who has an antique store who loved the stuff at our yard sale.  He spent almost $500 on yard sale items!  What a blessing!  We only sold about half of what we had to begin with so come by tomorrow to support us!

We have not counted up how much we have made yet but I know it will be just enough to get through the next step of our adoption.  If you did not have a chance to get rid of the unwanted stuff in your garage, we are going to have another sale this summer.  You can donate items anytime and we will store them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

God is providing

We have been assigned a family coordinator and a social worker.  We are so exited to get moving.  With the yard sale coming up this weekend, we are so very busy!  On top of that we just got hit with a huge pile of paperwork for the home study and Dossier.  We count it all as joy as we get closer to bringing home our kids!
We are absolutely thrilled as we watch God provide the money we need for this mission.  We are not worried or questioning if we will get it.  Instead we are exited to watch how God will bring it.  We are so blessed to have such a deep understanding that God is all-personal and all-powerful!

I have been typing up facts and statistics about Ethiopia for our poster at the yard sale.  I came across this really moving video and wanted to share.