Sunday, February 27, 2011

this i know for sure...

...adoption is not reserved only for those with fat bank accounts.

How do I know?

Because JD has said to me recently, "I'm (we're) as sure that we're supposed to adopt as I'm sure that God is God, He is alive, Jesus is His Son and He's my Savior"...

...and we don't have a fat bank account.

So why would God prick our hearts to adopt without the means to do so?

Because He is God and He shows Himself through situations like this.

And He is showing Himself through our adoption journey. Eventhough...

...somewhat to our surprise because, you see, we had this all planned out...

...we learned last week that we will not be receiving funding assistance from the Abba Fund.


We had this all planned out. We felt that God was going to use the Abba Fund to help us with our adoption. We just knew that this was the course for us. I have to laugh at all the times in life when we just 'knew' something was supposed to go a certain way and it went a different way. And then the way it worked out was better than our way would've been.

We make plans and God watches. Sometimes I think He might giggle like the Father He is because He knows that He's already set the course. Just like we, as parents, sometimes giggle at our children's all-knowing attitudes and strong positions on things. Sure, sometimes our course is the same as God's course for our lives, but sometimes it's not.

Not for one millisecond have JD and I questioned whether this news from Abba Fund is a sign saying that we're not supposed to adopt. That's so comforting to us. To the core of who we are, we know this is what God desires for our family. Do you know how very sweet that is for me? To be in God's will is an amazing feeling. It's amazing because I know well how it feels to not be in His will -- that's my default position in life.

So, 'What now?' you ask.

We're trusting that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Whatever that may look like. Perhaps we'll fundraise. It's certainly been done and is being done by many, many adoptive families.

God sure has been teaching me some things through this process. One of which is humility. I'm humbled by the need to ask for help. Humbled because we're having to trust God's ways. Humbled because I used to feel a certain way about adoption fundraising and now I'm in those very shoes. I used to feel that there are a lot of people with great means by which to give to causes like adoption and those very people's generosity might fund ours. Now, I've learned that many times the funds that help others adopt are greatly funded by adoptive parents themselves who are paying it forward in the small ways that they can because they know what it is to receive help. It's sowing seeds. And God multiplies them. This is a biblical truth. Think about how He fed 10,000 with just a bit of fish and bread. I'm getting it. I'm seeing that much of God's might is through the efforts of multitudes giving and serving in their small, individual ways that that very offering is multiplied into a powerful cause. It's not about a few giving large (although that does sometimes happen). It's about all of us just doing our small part and that is a sweet offering to the Lord.

The beautiful thing is that now, even in our place of need, God has revealed to us that we need to give in small ways to adoption funds we know of. It may not be much, but God will multiply it. How gracious He is to create in us a new heart. Like the widow, we're to give what we can and He honors that.

Now to practical matters...

I talked with our social worker at Wide Horizons last week. I'm sending her our medicals (the last thing she's waiting on) and the balance for our agency fees today. Once they receive those things, we'll be assigned a caseworker from the Ethiopia team and will then begin the dossier process.

By the way, I had no idea what in the world a dossier was when we first started this process and I'm still not entirely clear considering we haven't started it or done it yet, but here's the official definition:

dossier (noun): a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject.

Helpful, huh? :)

Suffice it to say that we will have to get legal, notarized documents of almost every form to verify who we are: marriage license, birth certificates, proof of mortgage, more fingerprints, and a bunch of immigration paperwork filled out with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

At this point, we'll be eligible to receive a referral and finally find out who in the world our 'two little ones out there' are! :)

So, that's it in a nutshell!

I'll be making another post very soon because (no coincidence!), I just got an email response from a company that I had reached out to many weeks ago regarding the ability to sell their t-shirts as an adoption fundraiser. Kinda cool. I liked the t-shirts I saw and was so struck to see that part of their mission is to assist prospective adoptive parents with raising funds for their adoptions. I had inquired about it and just found out we were accepted as a family who can receive a portion of the proceeds of t-shirts bought in our name. Kinda a neat concept. Won't even touch the total we'll need in a couple of months, but every little bit helps.

Thanks for reading! And caring to keep up! Your love and support means more than you can possibly know.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

sorry 'bout the crickets

I know it's been crickets over here, but I just haven't had anything new to report. We're kind of in holding pattern. Primarily because we're waiting to hear back from the Abba Fund to know if we'll be offered any grants or assistance with funding -- adoption is not only for those with fat bank accounts! :) I sent the application in a couple of weeks ago and was told it would take 4-6 weeks, so we should hear something very soon. Once we get over this hurdle, we can be passed on to the 'Ethiopia Team' at Wide Horizons and begin our dossier. We're very excited to start the next phase.

Assuming we have no major hang ups, the timeline will probably be something like:

1. Complete dossier in 2-3 months.

2. This spring (maybe May?), send dossier off to Ethiopia.

3. This summer, we should get to 'meet' our children (!) by receiving a referral.

4. God willing, we'll travel to Ethiopia in the fall! Whoo-hoo!

Just plotting that out makes me so excited! I know for most of us the summers go by so very quickly so maybe just maybe before we know it we'll be heading off to fetch our 'two little ones out there somewhere.'

Friday, February 11, 2011

pulse check

I thought I'd give you a pulse check as to where our hearts are right now. Sure, we're slowly (very slowly) climbing the paperwork mountain, but getting background checks completed and signing our names on the dotted line is becoming a rather insignificant part of this adoption for us, really.

The best news I can possibly give you is to say that we're excited again. We're hopeful again. Most importantly, we're trusting again.

I can look back at the angst I was experiencing a couple of weeks ago and say with great certainty that Satan was having his way with me. Jerk. I can think of some other words I'd like to exclaim about him, but I'll spare you. :)

I've been reading more about (and hearing more about) the reality of spiritual attacks on couples/individuals when Christians decide to adopt. If you think about it, it makes complete sense.

Why in the world would the enemy sit back and allow an abandoned and suffering orphan (or two!) to be plucked from despair and placed in an environment where love and joy surround? Moreover, why wouldn't he try to prevent these orphans from entering an environment where they're actually going to learn about Jesus and possibly (hopefully!) give their lives to Him? Well, the simple answer is, Satan ain't down with that. His mission is to prevent joy. Kill hope. And wreck havoc on anyone and anything he can possibly effect.

The very nature of adoption is the gospel of Jesus Christ lived out on earth. We too were orphans. We too were separated from God and left to scrap through this life alone. Until Jesus came. Once JD and I made the decision to follow Jesus, we were adopted into God's family. John 14:18 says 'I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.' Jesus said these words. I am convinced that God's adopting us through Jesus is exactly what Satan exhausts himself trying to prevent. Therefore, he also wants to prevent the earthly form of adoption because it's just too dang powerful. It's too rescuing. There's too much good in it for a being that is organically evil. The enemy (Satan) is evil. God is good. These two things do not and cannot mix. If adoption is good, the enemy's against it.

This is why JD and I are in such a good place right now. Can I promise I won't fall for his schemes again? No. But I can assure you that my eyes are open now and if I stumble and fall for his deception, Jesus will lift me to my feet again and give me the sweet clarity I have today. We have today.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for caring about our family. Now, switching gears slightly...

I feel like I can't make this post without touching on something else monumental that happened in our family recently. At least it was monumental for me. Our Payton, our first born, turned nine. How is that possible? I think nine is striking me especially so because I feel like Payton's childhood is composed of 18 years, so turning nine means she's half-way done. Half-way to leaving our home. Half-way to being a woman. As much as I feel like these first nine years were swift, I think the next nine are going to be swifter. I look at it like the hill of a roller coaster (why is everything in my life defined by roller coasters these days?!)...slowly chugging and clicking up the hill...slow, but steady...but all of the sudden, after a brief pause, we're flying full-speed through the pre-teen and teen years.

For goodness sake, she pulled her first all-nighter during her birthday sleepover with three friends. The needle on the sass-meter is firmly in the orange and headed to the red. Anytime I ask her do something (anything), she does it with a huff and a puff. New memory verse for her:

Philippians 2:14
Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God...


Here are a couple of photos to mark the occasion.

A treasured cuddle with my Sweet P.

Payton requested a red velvet cake. My dear aunt made her one from scratch last year. Not this mama. I went with a box. :)

We tried a new Japanese steak house. Yum.

Just finished singing 'Happy Birthday!' The colorful stuff in most of the kids' hands is 'flarp' (aka noise putty). Omigoodness. Quite a theme developed for the party.

Opening her gifts surrounded by some of the best third-graders around!

Happy Birthday, Payton! We love you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homestudy. Officially. D.O.N.E.

Got a call from our social worker today and after much review and editing, our home study is officially done.


And notarized.

And sitting at her office for me to pick up tomorrow.

What a glorious day.

Now we can finally submit our Abba Fund application after more than a month's delay. I surely didn't think it would take until almost mid-February to have our home study complete. But alas, it did. So is adoption. Not my timeframe, that's for sure. But isn't this a great lesson for me? It always is. (You may remember that my goal was to have it done by Christmas. That just makes me chuckle now).

We will now be working more with our placement agency (Wide Horizons) to complete our dossier (a file containing every bit of our life's history and many, many legal and notarized documents and much work in regard to immigration issues). This will probably take a couple of months (back to work we go!) and then it will be sent off to Ethiopia. On through their government and court system. Then on to identifying our children. Perhaps we'll receive a referral (children referred to us to be adopted) in the late spring or early summer?

Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


God is so very good.

God is so very faithful.

He heard our prayers.

He heard your prayers.

We are at peace.

Praise You, Lord.

After a tough time of searching. After much discussion, confusion and prayer. God has answered the very cry of our hearts. He's provided clarity and removed the confusion. As only He can do. We asked that doors would be closed and others would be opened so it would be that clear to us. And now it is.

As recent as Monday, we were still tossing around what direction would be best for our family. The one thing I can assure you of is that we weren't sure. We were still so unclear. Domestic? International? Shall we talk to our agency in Massachusetts and tell them we're switching gears? Would we lose money by leaving them? We reviewed our contract with them and confirmed that was a possibility. We were willing to pull the plug on the international pursuit and not even begin the dossier process with Ethiopia, if God wanted us to focus locally.

But, just yesterday, I got an email from Bethany Christian Services saying that they will not accept a home study completed by another agency. If we chose to switch to domestic adoption thereby switching to Bethany Christian Services we would lose every bit of progress we've made and all the monies we've invested. It just doesn't feel like that's what the Lord wants us to do.

There it is.

The closed door.


We also received some of the most thoughtful comments and emails with much wisdom from friends who've been where we are and know all too well the emotional struggle of trying desperately to figure out what's best for their families. And the truth of the matter is, despite our greatest efforts, it's impossible for us to know fully. We can't see around the next corner. We can't predict the future. But God's the ultimate fortune teller. He knows what He's doing and so, once again, we choose to trust Him. We have peace again in our trustworthy Heavenly Father. Why (me of little faith) do I doubt sometimes!? Gosh, I worry and fret so much sometimes. When in Matthew it says so plainly, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. It really says that! Isn't the Bible so applicable even today!?

In addition to wonderful encouragement and wisdom from friends, we came across two very, very encouraging videos around responding to the orphan crisis in Ethiopia specifically and adoption, in general. We are motivated. We are ready.

Grab your box of tissues.

Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.

The Reality of the Blessing Promo Video from PCPC Video on Vimeo.


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