Monday, December 28, 2009

Next Christmas...

...there will be 2 extra stockings to hang.

...there will be 2 extra sets of hands helping with the Christmas cookies.

...there will be 2 more little ones to share the love of Jesus with.

...we will get to make new family traditions.

...we can tuck our boys into their own beds here at home on Christmas eve.

...we will get have little ones around the tree.

...the boys will be home with us.


I should have told you that we have all of our referral acceptance paperwork in and now we are waiting for a court date. Not sure when we will get a court date. Hopefully some time in end of January or possible February. On a positive side, we already have our clearance from immigration (USCIS) here and are approved to bring the boys home. It is out of our hands now, we just need to wait and pray.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I sure missed having you here this Christmas. I look forward to sharing the tenderness of Christmas with you next year. As special as our Christmas was this year, I felt like part of my heart was missing.

Love, Mom

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In case you were wondering...we haven't fallen off the face of the earth

I am still here. I have had no computer access for days (can we withdraw????) I haven't even been able to stay up on every bodies lives on facebook or on your blogs. I miss all my blog buddies.

I hope to be back up and running again sometimes soon. I have taken the opportunity to enjoy spending time with my girls making Christmas gifts and homemade goodies. The house smells of yummy caramel corn and I plan on making cookies tomorrow.

It was so amazing to be able to send off our referral package and have that stage done. Now we are just waiting for the next call from the agency and we will get a rundown on what is next. We are still so grateful for all the support and help our friends and family have been able to give. We even had our old homeschool group in our last state collect some money that will help with our travel expenses. We are so blessed in so many ways and by so many friends. I am hopeful that we can travel for less than $10,000.

Just wanted to let you know we are still here and doing just fine.

Dear Sweet Peas,

I take your pictures with me everywhere and show them around. I feel like such a proud momma of such handsome boys. It is so fun to let everyone know of our new kids.

Love, Mom

Friday, December 11, 2009

He owns a cattle on a thousand of course He can provide $10,000

If that is His will.

Remember...about 10 days ago our prayer was that God would provide $10,000 in just 10 days? Sounds like an unrealistic goal to most people. How in the world would that happen? But with God, nothing is impossible.

We have been able to witness a miracle this week. God provided in the most amazing way. With such generous gifts from friends and family and even virtual strangers.
We are humbled.

God answered our prayers. The goal has been reached. That's how God works miracles. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. He is the giver of every gift. We are so thankful. We prayed that if this was His will, that He would keep the doors opened. And He did.

I feel like I am an emotional wreck. I have cried every day. We spent some time praying as a family last night listing all the ways God worked in our adoption story and thanking God for each step of the way. It was a joy to think back to so many influences that have gotten us here today. We want to say thank you. Though "thank you" doesn't even begin to express our gratitude. We feel so unworthy of the love and support. Thank you for being part of the story that we will someday tell the boys. How many people worked to bring them home to our family. Praying that God uses them in mighty ways to serve Him.

My dear Sweet Peas,

God has worked a miracle this week. We are praying that God uses you in big ways to serve Him and glorify Him in all you do. We are one step closer to coming to get you. We love you.

Love, Mom

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

learning a little more how God works

I have had the heart for adoption for a long time. Even as a young child, I was interested in it. I believe God planted that seed early on in my life. Thinking that was something I hoped would be in my future. And as the years began to fly by, God preserved that seed and nurtured it along the way. A few years ago I did an deep study on the book of Ephesians and began to understand more about God's heart for adoption. How He has opened His family and that I am grafted into the Family of God by way of His son.

We wanted to wait until we moved to our current state and settled into a home before we plunged ahead with finding an agency and make the decision to go with international adoption or domestic. The more we studied and investigated, our hearts were drawn toward Africa and the need there for permanent homes for children. But honestly, the cost is something that was holding us back.

We were fully aware that the cost of an international adoption would range between $25,000 and $40,000 (and up). We were recovering from selling our home in a very depressed market and trying to make up the cost of the move. Our adoption nest egg was small, but we really felt that God was calling us NOT to lean on our own understandings. That HE would provide as needed. And by doing so, it would allow us to be part of the blessings of the family of God. To fully understand how the body works. As a team, not as an individual.

This morning, the girls and I were reading about Gideon going into attack with an army that had been cut down (God's choice) from 32,000 to 300 men. In Judges 7:2-3, it mentions that God doesn't want Israel to think that it was their own strength and power that saved them. And if you don't know the story...God's side wins. =)

Think about that...He pruned them down to allow His strength and power to shine. Boy, can I relate to that this morning. God pruned us back (financially) so He could show HIS strength and might. It is God who has supplied the money we have needed this week to press ahead with the referral of the boys. To HIM be the glory.

By the way...we are over the $8000 mark. God is so good. His plan is perfect and His ways are above and beyond ours. Thank you for being part of the miracle of how He works.

Sweet Peas,

By being part of the adoption journey, we have been able to see God work in so many ways. I pray that you see how God worked the details out for you to come home to our family.

We love you,

Love, Mom

Monday, December 7, 2009

More ways of how God provides

We are proceeding ahead with the referral this week, continuing to trust God for His leading and will for our family. Like I have share many times already, we are amazed at the funds that have been provided that we need. God is good all the time.

I also just found out that we have another neat provision. When we come back from travel to get the boys, we will have to re-adopt them here in the states so we can get official birth certificates and such. Which is, as you can imagine, another cost that is involved. We had some local friends just finalize their re-adoption last week (yay Rogers family). parents have a friend here that is an adoption attorney who is willing to help us out when it is time. All we will need to pay is the court cost and he is willing to donate his time. cool. A significant savings for us and a blessing for sure.

God keeps swinging the door wide open and bidding us to trust Him for each step of the way.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We spent some time today making a plan for when you transition into our family. It gives us lots to think about and pray for. Do you know we pray every day for you, knowing we can't be there to meet your needs now. But we can pray that God protects and cares for you. We are praying that when you come home, your bodies, minds and spirits are healthy.

Love, Mom

Sunday, December 6, 2009

kid's fundraiser (and our updates)

A few weeks back, a friend of the girls was working hard at coming up with ideas of how to have a fundraiser for our adoption. How sweet of her to have a passion for orphans and want to help us out. So...because of her idea, the girls got signed up for a community kids yard sale. They rented a table and gathered some toys, books and puzzles, made some homemade treats and set out.

The timing was perfect for this fundraiser, since the need for the money is now. Love how God knows all those details already. =) Here they are ready to greet their customers. Something they will all have in common - they will all big big sisters to Ethiopian siblings. Hope's family brought their little girl home in June.
We arrived early Saturday morning (and was cold). We really didn't know what to expect. Would any one shop at this??? Would they sell anything??? We were hoping that these girls would not be disappointed with how things turned out. It turns out they had a great time.

There wasn't much room to display their things. And we had recently had yard sales and had gotten rid of a lot of toys already. So to make up for the lack of things to sell, we made some brownies, a friend made some cookies to sell. Hope made doggie treats and reign deer food. Even her younger brother made soap to sell.

My friend Robin came and made balloon flowers and swords to give out to the kids. She wanted to help in any way she could to be a support. We were so thankful and appreciative to these families.Here is the gym full of kids selling their stuff. The girls worked all morning and raised about $100. They had a great time and it was important for them to feel like they were able to help and contribute.

We are so thankful for all the support and donations this week. God has been working and laying our needs on people's hearts. We are amazed and honored and humbled all at the same time. To have so many of you be so generous and giving is such a blessing. Thank you so much for all the help.

Our total as of right now is about $7400. We are going to work on the paperwork that we need to send in. We will have our packet ready to mail on Friday. Trusting God for all we need. Thanks so much for praying for our family. We will continue to keep you posted.

Sweet Peas,

It was so fun to show your picture around to our local friends this week. Every one comments on how beautiful you two are. We have been bursting with joy. It is hard to contain our love for you since God placed you in our hearts.

Love, Mom

Friday, December 4, 2009

Amazed at how God works

Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!! Thank YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has been amazing to watch God provide our needed funds this week. One of the most amazing things is to have others advocating for us. Friends (some of whom we have never met face to face) are sharing our needs with their friends and church members. Some of you have shared our need with your yahoo groups or even posted it on your own blogs. Thank you so much.

Thank you for praying and lifting up our burdens. We are so grateful to be blessed by so many different people and in such different ways. You have given what you can and we are so appreciative. Chuck's high school basketball coach (who he has reconnected with on fb) went to his church and shared our need and they are sending a check. Our church in California that we miss so terribly, is helping us out. We have gotten money from other families that are fundraising themselves for their own adoption. We have been blessed by families and friends near and far.

I was tucking Tissy in last night and noticed a verse she has on her closet door.

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory. Philippians 1:8

What wonderful truth. I am grateful that the girls can learn first hand that God is the one who supplies our needs.

Our new total of what God has provided.....


Praise God !!! May He get the glory !!!!!

Sweet Peas,

This morning I wish I could hug you. Just like I hug the girls when they come down the stairs each morning ready for breakfast. I can't wait until I can help you start your day with a hug from mommy.

Love, Mom

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Watching a miracle take place

I am amazed. I am watching a miracle take place. God is providing in such amazing ways. We are halfway to the goal. Did you get what I just said???? God has provided about $5000 in less than 3 days. Let me shout the praises that we serve a living God. He is all powerful. In control. Sovereign. Merciful. Gracious. Works in ways we can't even comprehend. He continues to provide. Praise be His name. We have been blessed by family, friends, other adoptive families that are also fundraising, churches, people that we have never met. I am in awe of how others are advocating for us and for these precious boys.

Thank you doesn't even cover how grateful we are. May God bless each giver and each one who is praying with us. We are blown away by your generous spirit and loving support. I am still praying that God receives the glory for this mighty miracle.

Dear Sweet Peas,

We are praying for good health for each of you and God's hand of mercy to continue to be upon you. What a great story He is writing for you to learn about who He is and how graciously He loves us.

Love, Mom

falling into place

We have our international adoption pediatric phone consult today. This is a new requirement for our agency to have an international pediatrician review the referral package. This will help us get a handle on what we are looking at as far as the health needs of the boys (imagine no medical records but only one doctor visit report to work from). This also lets us know what things are typical of Ethiopian orphans (malnutrition, skin issues....that kind of thing). We requested as healthy as possible, with minor correctable medical health needs. Remember...there is no guarantee with any kids that they will be health (either adopted or natural birth).

We are also PRAISING GOD for His provision so far. We are still praying that God provides $10,000 in 10 days (by Friday the 11th). So far God has provided $2887 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are in awe of your generosity and support. We are so very thankful for the gifts and we can hardly express our gratitude enough. Thank you so much for joining with us to care for these orphans. Thank you !!!!! I am praying that God blesses you for all of your support.

I love how when God provides, it is for His glory and not ours. This is His story, and I pray that in all we do we glorify Him.

My dear Sweet Peas,

I was up in the night praying for you. Trusting that you are adjusting well and eating enough and feeling lots of love from the workers there at HH. God is moving mountains to make all of the details fall into place. He is a powerful God and I can't wait until I can teach you about Him.

Love, Mom

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

God is not surprised - He is in control

God is not surprised by how quickly this adoption and referral has come together. Though we thought it would take 6 months or so to get to this stage. God knew it would take only a few weeks. I am leaning on the truths of God's Word as we face the mountain that needs to be moved.

Since we are adopting siblings, the costs are obviously more than for one child. It is less than if you did 2 adoptions at 2 different times. But the truth is, it is expensive.

Chuck is working hard at getting our cars sold so we can get some cash in hand. Plus...we don't have room in our car for 2 extra sweet kiddos. So mini we come.

Our prayer is that God provides $10,000 in 10 days. That is when we need it by to send in our acceptance of the referral.

We have already been blessed by support from our friends and family. We are humbled and blessed beyond our expectation. Thank you for the love and support. And we are so grateful for your prayers.

At the bank this morning, I was able to share with the workers there our pictures and provide a testimony of God and His plan for our family. I can't wait to share how God works out all the details.

I want to share a prayer that we read today in our Advent devotion time with the kids.

O, Lord, help me to see your future possibilities in spite of the limitations of the present moment. Amen.

Sweet Peas,

We lift you up in prayer all day long. We are thankful that you have a bed to sleep in tonight at the orphanage. We are thankful that you have food to eat and special mothers to take care of you until we can come and take you home.

We love you !!!

Love, Mom

THE CALL !!!!!

Before I forget the details, I want to share how we got our referral call. It is such a tender and special moment and I don't want to forget any details. that it is several months later, I want to keep a record of it.

It was Thanksgiving weekend. I had my whole family visiting for the holiday and we were having a good time. Rejoicing in the blessing that our dossier had been sent in (a prayer of mine from the beginning - to have our dossier in by Thanksgiving). There was much to be thankful for.

We had a busy and very loud house. I was trying to catch a few seconds to check my email and I noticed an email in my junk mail from AGCI. I clicked on it to open it and it was listed as "waiting children". I had a pretty good idea of who was on the waiting children list and none of them fit our parameters. Curious of who these new waiting children were.

My heart began to race as I scanned the email and noticed the ages of the waiting children were just what we were looking for. 2 brothers, ages 4 and almost 2. I hadn't even looked at the picture attached to the email, but my heart was already committed. My gut just said...these are our boys. But I couldn't figure out why were not contacted.

I quickly called Chuck and told him to read the email and I then emailed Julie, our case worker. And also called her to leave a message and mentioned that I saw the email for the waiting children and was wondering why we were not considered a match for them.

I then read the email again and noticed they would not be contacting anyone for another day or 2 about these children. I was praying for wisdom and wanted to be cautious of not manipulating the situation. I wanted to make sure that if it was God's will for these boys to be ours, that He would do the work for me and allow me to trust in Him.

By then, I saw the picture of the boys and my heart just melted. I fell in love, even though I was trying to guard my heart for protection, I just had a peace. All along I believed we would get 2 boys, ages 4 and 2. And here they were.

These boys were the talk of our listserve and everyone ohhed and ahhed and thought they were just adorable and wanted to take them home. I was still trying to figure out why we were NOT called about them in the first place. The email stated they didn't have any family approved for them. ********You see, we had originally stated in our homestudy that we were looking for siblings ages 0-3. And the day we were finalizing our homestudy we changed the ages to 0-5. That is where our peace was. Our case manager still had it in her file that we were only 0-3 and not 0-5. ********

Realistic that we had only been on the waiting list for 2 weeks, I knew were would have to wait longer for a referral. We were told we would have to wait 6-8 months for siblings. Well...the phone rang and I noticed it was AGCI area code. It was our case worker and first off, she said she needed to ask for forgiveness, it was her mistake that the letter went out to the waiting families. She had it in her file that we were only up to age 3 and now that she remembered that we were approved to ages 5 and this is our referral if we would like it.

Oh my goodness !!!!!! A referral !!!! We have only been on the waiting list for 2 weeks. Are you sure???? She said any other family that was before us, either had younger age range or they wanted at least one girl and we were willing to do either gender. She said she would email me the referral package and to look at it and this would be considered the "pre-referral call". She shared what she knew about the boys and I was trying to pay attention, but I was in la-la land. Couldn't really hear what she was saying. Too excited !!!!

Chuck rushed home, the family all gathered around ( and I mean the WHOLE family - my parents, my sister and her family and our girls). We gushed over these sweet pictures and were praising God for His timing and plan. We were able to spend the evening praying as a family, all 11 of us praying over these boys. It was such a special time. It was so special to have my sister there (we only see them a few times every 3 or 4 years). And we had our friends drop by to see the pictures and share in our excitement.

Then we prayed...we prayed for the money we needed to accept the referral. We prayed for the boys. We prayed for our family. We rejoiced in this fantastic news of our boys.

Dear Sweet Peas,

Now we know...God has chosen 2 boys for our family. And we couldn't be happier. Such peace about this whole situation is amazing. Can't wait !!!!

Love, Mom

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We got a referral !!!

2 Precious boys ages 4 and almost 2. And when I say precious...I mean....PRECIOUS. They are just about the cutest things ever. We are SOOOOOO excited we can hardly stand it.

We are on the fast track on this adoption. We only submitted our application 3 months ago today. First things first - have the international pediatric office review the file and give us a report.

We have about 10 days to get all the paperwork done and get our money turned in. And it will be a miracle from God to organize all of this. I can see how His hand has been all over this already. He needed this to go quickly so we could be ready to accept this referral. Thought we had about 6 months to raise the rest of the money...but God will provide.

I hardly slept at all last night. Riding the excitement wave. =)

Dear Sweet Peas -

How wonderful to see your precious faces. I am so excited to see how God is working to bring you into our family. We all spent lots of time talking, crying and praying as we got to see your pictures last night for the first time.

We love you so much and can't wait to hold you in our arms.

Love, Mom