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Monday, December 28, 2009

Court Date!!!!

We received an email from our agency this morning letting us know that January 21, 2010 will be our first court date in Ethiopia!!! Of course we are thrilled. We realize that there's a 50/50 chance that we won't pass court the first time, but it's a step in the right direction. After all, if we're going to pass on court date #2 or #3, there's gotta first be a #1, right?

We had a wonderful Christmas together as a family, and spent some special time remembering our adoption process and our adoption in Christ. The boys each received an Ethiopia t-shirt and the girls each got an "Ethiopian" baby doll and a bracelet with all the colors of the Ethiopian flag.

Sometime early last week, our little guy received the care package we set and saw our pictures for the very first time! The family who so graciously delivered our care package returned from Ethiopia this past weekend and emailed us some new pictures last night!!! So exciting to see more of our little guy, to see him sucking the lollipop we sent, wearing the outfit we sent, holding the toys we sent, and looking at pictures of us! Of course, our hearts ache to see him, to bring him home, but we are thankful for the little glimpses that we get through these pictures. Lord willing, I will be getting another care package ready to be sent with another family who will be traveling in a couple of weeks.

I received three more vaccination shots today. So, my arm's a little sore again, and it's possible I'll get some flu-like symptoms from the yellow fever shot, but we'll see. Joe and I are purposely going a week apart for this shot so that if we start feeling lousy, at least it won't be at the same time!

Well, I'd like to think of a creative way to end this post, but my mind is pretty much fried right now. Hopefully I'll be able to get some Christmas pics downloaded from my camera and posted sometime this week. So that's it, I'm done :o)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another week . . .

This week has been a little less busy than last week. Granted, a lot of last week’s business was self-induced with all of the referral-receiving-adrenalin flowing through my veins! But, by God’s grace, that has begun to settle out and I am breathing and sleeping and taking a little bit more sane approach (I think) to the tasks that need to be accomplished.

I am still, although a bit more gradually now, gathering supplies for our trip to Ethiopia. Of course, we still don’t know when that will be, but I’ve started a little stock pile. There are some things we will need for ourselves, some for our little guy, and hopefully we will be taking many donations for our agency’s transition home as well as the orphanages. On Tuesday Joe and I received four of the eight shots/vaccinations that we will need before we travel . . . my arm’s still a little sore!

No news yet on when our first court date will be. I say “first” because there is a pretty good chance that we won’t pass our first court date – not because of any issues we know of, but because that just seems to be the case when dealing with courts and adoption cases in Ethiopia. We realize there is always the possibility that our case will never pass court and that this little guy was never to be ours, but so far our agency has never had it happen that a family didn't, at least eventually, pass court. They say the chances are about 60/40 (60% that you will pass), but from the last few months that I’ve seen, that seems a little optimistic. We are confident that God’s timing is perfect in all things, and we will see what He has for us. Of course, you may need to remind me of that if/when we don’t pass the first time!

Our agency is usually able to inform families of their court date within 2-4 weeks of accepting a referral. For us, it has been two weeks today. Of course, I was hoping we’d be more toward the two week range, but we’ll see! Our agency is just outside of DC, so they are actually closed today because of the snow there, and will have a few more closings the next two weeks due to the holidays. So I keep trying to remind myself that it may be even later than the estimated four weeks until we know our court date. I am so thankful, though, that God directed us to this agency where we are confident that these people are in it to serve their Savior by serving orphans, and that they have the children’s best interest in mind!

And so, another week has passed – in our lives and in this adoption process – and this morning I was wondering, how do our hearts grow to love someone so much that we have never even met? My mind immediately went to my relationship with Christ. How do I grow to love someone so much whom I have never met, whom I have never seen? God reminded me this morning that love is a choice. Throughout my walk with Christ, each time, by His grace and strength, I make a choice to act in a way that pleases Him, my love for Him grows. So, in a way, our love for this little guy in Ethiopia has been growing for over four years now as we began to pray about and seriously consider adoption. Until two weeks ago, there was no face or name to this love, but it was still growing nonetheless. Now there is a face, there is a name! And as our love continues to grow for this little guy, we are so thankful for our Savior’s love for him and for us!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Christ-filled New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Frantically Waiting . . .

So, it has been a pretty crazy week since we got our referral. Our agency received our referral acceptance papers on Monday and sent us more information on what to expect and prepare for in this next leg of our adoption journey. Wow! My head was spinning once again! If you're anything like me - usually a "type A" planner - then you can understand! I've spent quite a few nights with very little sleep as my mind runs 100 mph. I made a list of all we need/want to get done and supplies needed/wanted to be gathered before we travel, and that seemed to help me settle down a bit . . . also, the frequent, gracious reminders from the Lord that I don't have to get everything done this week ;o) I spent the early part of the week getting a photo album and small care package ready to be sent with another family from our agency who will be leaving at the end of this week to go pick up their child.

Sunday afternoon we drove up to Joe's parents for a few days. Joe was speaking at a banquet at his friend's church (the family that God used to get us started in this adoption), and we had a great time talking with other adoptive parents and getting their encouragement, insight, and advice.

We sent our little guy's profile to the doctor at the international adoption clinic at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis for her review. We should be hearing back from her in the next few days with any help or insights she may have. We also saw an international travel doctor on Friday to discuss what immunizations, etc. Joe and I will need for travel. Ethiopia does not require any immunizations, but knowing that we need to be parents to our little guy in Ethiopia and also to our four children here when we return, we felt we should go ahead and get the recommended immunizations . . . so we'll be getting quite a few shots over the next several weeks . . . the kids were really relieved that it was mom and dad getting the shots this time!

On Friday we did our annual Christmas shopping trip with the kids, but with a little difference. My grandparents usually give all of their great-grandkids some Christmas money. In the past we have purchased gifts for our kids with that money and then wrapped them to open on Christmas morning. This year, with hoping/praying/planning to put more of an emphasis on our adoption in Christ and giving rather than receiving, we talked with the kids about using part of their money to buy something for orphans in Ethiopia that we will take over when we travel. We left it up to them to decided how much they would spend and what they would purchase. They really had a great time planning and buying, and it was fun and interesting to see what each one of them chose!

We don't have any new news regarding our adoption status to share at this point, but hopefully we will be getting a court date in the next couple of weeks. Our care package should be getting to him at the beginning of next week, and hopefully a few days after Christmas we should be able to see some new pictures of our little guy! We also chose a name for him. Early on we had decided that we wouldn't even discuss names until we had a face in front of us. We thought and sought advice on whether to keep his Ethiopian name or change it to a more American name. In the end, we decided to give him an American first name and keep his Ethiopian name as his middle name. Still can't share what those are yet, but Lord willing that will be soon ;o)

So, as I said, crazy week! The Lord has been gracious to me, and my husband very patient with me ;o) as I continue to plan and prepare. Joe is also planning and preparing, of course, but he remains a whole lot more "level-headed" than I am! I've found that in some ways, it's easier to not be able to do anything, but sometimes it sure feels good to be able to "do" something!

Sorry this is kind-of a hodge-podge post of our week, but just wanted to post what's been going on in the "process" this week. We appreciate so much your continued support through your prayers. And we continue to be in amazement at how God has used many of you to continue to provide financially for this process. He is an awesome God, and there is no word in the English language big enough to express how grateful we are to be serving Him!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We Have NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



I waited to post this until we could contact all of those who needed to know before it "went public". Yesterday afternoon, December 4, 2009 - exactly three months after our dossier was sent to Ethiopia - we received a referral for a beautiful 2 1/2 - 3 year old little boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We can't share any more information than that at this point, but wanted to let you all know (all 3 of you who read this blog :o) ) our big news. My head is still spinning!

Today we FedExed all of our signed referral acceptance papers to arrive at our agency on Monday morning. At that point they will begin working on setting a court date. If and when, Lord willing, we pass court the first time (seems there's about a 50/50 chance of passing the first time), we will then schedule our trip to Ethiopia to pick up our little guy. Also, once we pass court, we will then be able to share pictures with all of you!

We appreciate so much your prayers and support throughout this time. It's just so crazy that all of the "maybes" and "what-ifs" are now replaced . . . with a beautiful face!

Some have asked about the kids. Joey and Gracie are just absolutely thrilled. Joey has been obsessed with names for a few months now, so he is really concerned with what his name is going to be. Madie actually cried when she first found out. She has been concerned since the beginning about us traveling to Ethiopia and being away from her for so long (about 7-10) days. But we've talked and reassured her of what is going on and she is excited now. Joshua just keeps asking when the "boy on daddy's competer" is coming! Of course it will be an adjustment for all of us, but right now we are just rejoicing in God's clear blessing and direction for our family!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Why Ethiopia?"

This is a question that we have been asked a few times throughout this adoption process. It's a good question, and I usually give a lengthy answer (I know, shocking!). One of our reasons was that as we (mostly Joe) did research early on, we saw what a great need there is in Ethiopia, especially when compared to that of other countries that are open for adoption. As I was doing a little Christmas shopping yesterday, checking out the fundraisers on the blogs of some other families within our agency who are also adopting from Ethiopia, I came across this entry on one of their blogs.

Why Adopt from Ethiopia?
• One in six children die before their fifth birthday
• 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
• 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
• The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years
• 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia.
• Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
• In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)• Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.
• Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.
• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
• In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.


The truth is, there are a number of reasons and influences that moved our hearts to Ethiopia, but the most important is the Holy Spirit's leading and working in Joe's and my hearts to being of one mind in this area. We continue to be overwhelmed with gratefulness that God has allowed us to follow Him on this journey!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IT IS WELL!!!

Just a little while ago now, my grandpop went home to be with the Lord. Many have been offering their prayers during this difficult time, which I sincerely appreciate. This time, however has not been the hard or sad part for me. My grandpop was diagnosed with Parkinson's just a little over 14 years ago. The hard and sad part has been seeing my energetic, passionate, bigger-than-life, fire 'n brimstone preachin' grandpop gradually lose the ability to preach, talk, walk, stand, and take care of any of his own physical needs. To see him truly trapped in his body was heartbreaking.

But today, today is a day of joy and celebration! Sure there are mixed emotions in knowing he is not with us on earth anymore . . . to know that I won't be able to give him a hug next time I see him. But he is done with all of this stuff - all of the pain and suffering of this world!

Anyone who knew my grandpop well knew that he was not a perfect man. And they also knew that he invested every part of his being into serving a great God who chose to use my grandpop in spite of his imperfections, and did so in a great way in the lives of many people throughout his years here on earth.

Anyone who knew my grandpop also knew that his favorite song was "It is Well", and he lead it like no other! I have not been able to sing this song for many years without getting choked up and will never sing or hear it without thinking of him. The line that always strikes me is "and Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight". Oh, what a day that will be!! And so today there are tears in my eyes, but they truly are not tears of sadness - they are tears of joy! Today, my grandpop's faith - his life's passion - was made sight! Today he is getting to kneel at his Savior's feet and hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!" Wish I could hear him singing . . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


As I am writing this, I am just completely overwhelmed by God's goodness! It is so amazing and humbling to see God work, and I know we only get a glimpse of His glory here on earth. There are times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed by the difficulties in our lives . . . but I feel completely overwhelmed by the goodness that God has shown us. His power, His grace, His goodness, His faithfulness . . . words truly do not seem adequate. It feels like almost more than my sinful self can handle!


This past weekend we had another huge yard sale. After the last one in June, we had so many items donated and so many left over, we had decided to do another yard sale. For several reasons, it kept getting put off, until this past weekend. More people donated items to sell, and we set up another large sale. To be honest, I don't even know where to begin in talking about all that God did.


I guess I'll begin by explaining what He taught me from the last sale. We had planned that for a few months prior and had invested time and energy into every detail for the sale to go well - organizing a neighborhood yard sale so it would attract more people, having signs printed up, posting the sale on Facebook and on Craigslist, pricing almost every item, etc. I prayed, I stressed, and I did a lot! (I am not speaking this on behalf of Joe, as he was very steady in his faith.) The sale went well and, in spite of myself, God still showed me/us His goodness and faithfulness and provided the full amount of money that we needed for our next piece of paperwork at that point. I ended the sale physically exhausted and emotionally drained.


Then this sale. As I said, it kept getting postponed. It didn't seem we had as many "big ticket" items, and many of the bigger items we did have had already been in our last sale and posted on Craigslist several times with no real leads. Joe put our yard sale sign up on Monday night, and I posted a general listing on Craigslist. No price tags, just told everyone to ignore any prices they saw (from the last sale) and make us an offer. I truly was not expecting this to come close to making what we made in the last sale. Thursday morning came, we set up and I truly did not have a chance to sit down until sometime in the afternoon, and even that was short-lived. It seemed we had people, usually several at a time, looking through our sale for the entire day from 8 a.m. until we packed up at 5 p.m.! And they were buying - I'd guess 95% of the people that stopped on Thursday bought something! We estimated we probably had 75-100 people through our sale in 2 days! I don't know if I can even remember everything to explain all of the "little" things that God did. We had opportunities to have meaningful, God-centered, conversations with many people, and the opportunity to meet more of our neighbors.


On Friday, being the second day of our sale, I wasn't expecting much of a crowd or much in the way of sales, but God showed me once again who is in control! We had one guy stop by and out of the blue ask for an item that we didn't have in the sale, but that we had talked about selling. Another lady was talking to me about a few of the bigger ticket items (one of which I truly did not think would sell, since I'd been trying to sell it for over a year now), but she didn't seem actually interested . . . then just sat down and wrote us a check for the full amount we were asking for all three!


Probably the most exciting moment of the sale was around lunch time on Friday when a guy stopped by and started looking through our several tubs of books, all for 50 cents each. He found a set of tapes and manuals for a study through the Bible and was so excited. He asked if I was a pastor, and when I told him my husband was, he ended up sitting in the middle of our driveway and talking to Joe about all that has been going on in his life and his desire to get his life right with God!! Then he and Joe talked in Joe's office for probably another hour!


All in all, EVERY one of our "big ticket" items sold! We ended up with relatively few items to pack up and donate. And at the end of the day, our sale totaled $1300!!!! I know that God is good regardless of the $$ amount (we have been so blessed and encouraged by many "sized" gifts throughout this process), but the number shows me that no matter how much I invested, planned and worked, as at our first sale, it is God who is in control! Yes, I still walked away from this sale physically exhausted, but I wasn't emotionally drained - my heart was filled to overflowing with the goodness of my Savior!! I can't even think about it as I type without my eyes filling up with tears. I don't want to get repetitive, but I am humbled, I am amazed, I am overwhelmed by the goodness and faithfulness of my Heavenly Father!!


**Sorry for the profuse usage of exclamation points :o)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Show Hope

We just received a letter in the mail this afternoon letting us know that Show Hope is giving us a $5000 adoption grant!!! So thankful to those at Show Hope that have a heart for this ministry of adoption and praising the Lord for His wonderful works!!!

"Now to HIM who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to HIM be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Eph. 3:20-21

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God also continues to work through people to give toward "the PUZZLE" for our adoption expenses. To see an update, click on the link in the right-hand side of this page and then click on the photo update tab.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Are We Adopting?? (part 2)

by Sarah

This is a question that, I’m sure, some people take for granted. And others of you have probably wondered why we are choosing to adopt. I mean, seriously, we’ve got four kids already, right? And if we don’t have the “extra” money, why are we doing it?

Well, the obvious answer is that we have prayed and truly feel as though God is leading us in this direction. On a practical level, if you sat down with Joe and me you would probably get different answers from both of us, and yet still the same – mine would be a lot more wordy than his, of course!

As I’ve heard this question asked, Joe’s response is usually something like “well, why not?” We know that this is a good thing. God has commands us to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). In the book of Mark we are reminded of God’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is pretty hard to do by itself, but then in John 15:12, He takes this love to a much higher level. "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

My answer is usually to go back to the fact that ever since I was a teenager, my heart has always been touched by adoption. But I thought that was something you did if you couldn’t have biological children. I have deeply desired to be a mommy ever since I can remember, and there was no doubt in my mind that if I couldn’t have had biological children that I would’ve wanted to adopt.

However, in more recent years, through God’s grace, it has become a reality in my mind that adoption is not just a substitute for procreation. It is a wonderful plan for bringing the “fatherless” into a loving family. A family where they can not only belong physically, but also where they can learn how to be adopted into our Heavenly Father’s family! I mean, what greater example of this do we have than that of God’s love for us? In Romans 5:8 it clearly states that while we were still in our sin, Christ died for us. Now that is a loaded topic in and of itself! In a nutshell, God is holy, pure, perfect. God loves us, but He cannot have anything impure or sinful near Him. So there is the dilemma – God desires to have a relationship with us, and without Him we are hopeless. Each of us has a debt from our sin that we cannot pay apart from our own eternal death. In our sin, everything about is us in complete opposition to God and who He is. The verse could read that when we were the enemies of God, Christ died for us. Unbelievable! Not only did God love us as His enemies, but He chose to solve the problem by putting our sin onto His Son who took the excruciating punishment in our place! And now, because of this sacrifice, God looks at us and sees Christ’s blood – Christ’s perfect holiness – and He adopts us into His family – not as servants, or even good friends, but as sons! I have heard this “story” since I was born, but never have I been able to see it so clearly and so deeply as in this past year as God has been leading us through this process to adoption.

We have every confidence that as God leads, He will provide. We have already seen that so clearly evidenced over these last several months through many friends and family who have chosen to step out in faith and join us in this ministry of adoption. He will provide financially, physically and emotionally for us, the children we have now and any children He adds to our home. God has not promised that we will ever be able to adopt any children, but we are willing to follow as long as He leads us, however far down this path He chooses for us to go. Our prayer is that we will be willing to go and content to stand still, or even stop . . . that we will not become so enamored with the gift that we forget the Giver!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Trust and obey, for there's no other way . . ."

As some of you may know, we have been talking, thinking and praying for several months now about the possibility of adopting two siblings or a single child. Our hearts' desire from the beginning of this process was to adopt two children, whether siblings or unrelated. We chose an age range (0-3 yrs.) for the children based on our children's ages, advice from experienced and knowledgeable friends, and Ethiopia's standards/requirements. A few months into the process, we were informed that our agency does not allow adoptions of two unrelated children within that age range, and that siblings within that age range are very rare. We were advised to leave the option open of accepting a referral for a single child.

And so we began to think, talk and pray. Had God put that desire in our hearts to adopt two, or was that sincerely just our own desire? Our homestudy approved us for two children and we have absolutely no doubt that God is faithful and will supply all of the wisdom, strength and resources needed for us to raise two more children . . . if that is what He wants for us.

So there is the struggle (probably more for me than Joe). We truly believe with all of our hearts that God is sovereign and can provide a sibling referral if and when He wants. We truly believe that God has lead us into this journey and will continue to lead and provide as we "Trust and Obey". Our hearts still desire to adopt two siblings and would be thrilled to do so . . . but we can't even begin to think that we can care for the four children God has given us already, let alone two more, if we are working outside of God's desires. It scares me to even think about that!

Sometime in the near future we should be receiving an "on deck" email from our adoption agency. At that point, we will have three choices, (1) take whatever referral is there when we are up for referral (siblings or single child), (2) wait for a sibling referral for whatever time we specify, or (3) wait indefinitely for a sibling referral. In talking, Joe and I both feel that option #2 is out for us - either God has laid it on our hearts to adopt or not, and either He wants us to wait for siblings or not. We don't think He is into playing games with our heads! :o)

So, do we feel strongly that God only wants us to adopt siblings and that that is His clear direction? And, as much as I hated to admit it, the answer really is "no". As I've said, it is still our hearts' desire, but we don't know whether that is from His heart or our heads. We are choosing to trust in God's sovereignty, and we are confidant that He will bring the child or children that He has for our family, the same way He did with our biological children. This is not to say that God does not clearly lead some families to wait indefinitely for siblings. I just know for myself at this point, whenever I begin to think that we should wait, it is truly about what I want and how I can control the outcome . . . sounds like it might work, until I remember Who it is I am actually trying to control!

The bottom line is, we don't know God's mind - we can't even discern our own minds accurately (Jer. 17:9) - but we can trust His leading. And so, when we receive our on deck email, unless God radically changes our hearts between now and then, we will let them know that we will take a referral for siblings or a single child. We are truly overwhelmed and thrilled by all that we have learned and seen through God's hand throughout this process, and we are at complete peace knowing that we and our children are in those same hands! God has never disappointed us (despite the many times we disappoint Him), and we know we will be completely full to overflowing with whoever God adds to our family!!

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

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For an update on "the PUZZLE", click on the link on the right-hand side of this page.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Some have asked where we are in the process. Well, to put it simply, just waiting! We have nothing to do for the adoption right now, other than our own saving, reading, educating, and preparing. Depending on the length of our wait, there's a possibility that we may need to update some of our paperwork, such as our homestudy, but for right now, we wait!

Meanwhile, God has been so faithful in continuing to provide the needed funds for the next step. We are so encouraged and praising our Heavenly Father for all of the friends and family who have chosen to step out in faith and join us in this ministry of adoption!

What is the next step? At some point, our agency usually sends out an "on deck" email letting you know you are close to referral. Then we wait for a referral (a picture and information on a specific child or children available for adoption). Our next set of fees will be due when we accept a referral.

To see what God has been doing through "the PUZZLE", click on the link in the right-hand column, then on the tab marked "Photo Update".

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why Are We Adopting??

by Joe

What is adoption? Wow, so much to write so little room! Since I have recently been introduced to this important subject I have come to find out how much it has to do with my Christian faith. Adoption is a physical demonstration of a spiritual reality. By deliberately choosing to rescue children who are fatherless, hopeless, and helpless; we reflect our God who chose to rescue us from our hopelessness and helplessness. By sacrificially, denying our comfort and contentment for the good of other children reflects our God who sacrificially gave up His Son because of His love and kindness to us. By recognizing and embracing that non-biological children can be part of a family as true sons and daughters reflects our God who adopted us into His family as "sons and daughters". Simply put, as Russell Moore puts it in his book Adopted for Life, "Adoption is the gospel."

So, why are we adopting? Good question, once in awhile I'll ask myself that same question! It usually sounds like this, "you've got to be crazy; not enough going on in your life right now? Four children isn't enough mouths to feed?" But it doesn't take long before it leads to heartfelt thanksgiving to our Father for this awesome opportunity to have our faith tested and multiplied as we take this step of faith in saving children, both physically, and hopefully spiritually. With responding in obedience, to God's leading in adoption, we have already been given numerous opportunities to give an "answer of the hope that lies within us". Through adoption we have had the opportunity to teach our children that loving others is not only more pleasing to God, but eventually more satisfying than pleasing self. Through adoption we have had the opportunity to "lay up treasures in heaven and not on earth" and to teach and demonstrate this investment principle to our children as well.

So adoption gives us an opportunity to please God, portray the Gospel, and to promote our growth in Him. Please pray with us that God would be glorified as we respond biblically to his leading in our lives in this particular area of adoption.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Puzzle Update

For an update on "the PUZZLE", click on link in the right-hand column. Then click on the tab at the top of the page that says "Photo Update".

Joshua's 3rd Birthday!

Yay! Blew out all 3 candles!

Loves his new bug-catcher's belt!

VERY excited to get "guys" like Joey and Gracie play with!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"the PUZZLE" Update ~ 304!!!

So, we arrived home to a mountain of laundry and mail . . . and are in complete awe of how God is continually working! 304 pieces of "the PUZZLE" sponsored so far!! Who knows, maybe we'll be working on puzzle #2 soon!!

With every piece of the puzzle that we put together, I look forward to the day when I can sit with our child(ren) and read them the names and tell them about our amazing God who loves them and knew them before they were born, and who works everything together . . . for our good and HIS glory!!

"I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever." ~ ~ Psalm 86:12

Our Trip

We just got back from a trip out east to visit family - a week in PA with the Jordan side, and a week in NH with the McDaniel side for Joe's parents' 40th wedding anniversary. It was really a great, fun, and, yes, exhausting time. We are glad to be home and in a regular routine, but miss all of our family!














Monday, September 14, 2009

Katelyn's Fund

A while back I had mentioned in a post that we had a phone interview with Katelyn's Fund for an adoption grant. We received a call Friday night that they are giving us a $3,000 grant toward our adoption expenses!! We are so excited and praising the Lord for His faithfulness and continued providence!

We spent last week in PA visiting w/ family and we are now in NH. God is continuing to provide for us in many ways, including "the PUZZLE". Lord willing, I will be able to get that updated and post new pictures early next week.

"I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!"
Psalm 34:1-3

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Made It!!

I've been tracking our dossier's travel to Ethiopia all week via FedEx, and today it is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!!! Praise the Lord for seeing it safely there to it's next leg of the journey!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We are DTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

. . . which means "Dossier To Ethiopia"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We spent most of yesterday in the car traveling out to PA. I checked my email several times throughout the day, but went to bed last night wondering and praying that nothing went wrong with the paperwork. Well, I never thought to check my spam box, but apparently our email had gone there. So, as of yesterday, our dossier is on it's way to Ethiopia and we are officially 9/4/09 DTE!!!!!!!!! Lot's of exclaimation points because now we are officially waiting for a referral for a child or children!!!!!!!!!!!! The DTE date is basically our place in "line" for a referral. We praise the Lord for what He is doing, not only physically through allowing us to complete the paperchase stage and supplying the needed finances to get to this point, but for how graciously and mercifully He is working in our lives to strengthen and encourage our walk with Him. My heart is FULL!!

They gave us the FedEx tracking number, so rest assured I will be checking that more often than I should over the next several days . . . right now, from our agency in VA, our dossier is now in Newark, NJ :o)

"Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!"
Psalm 6:1-2

The PUZZLE

Just a quick update. Praise the Lord, we have continued to receive sponsorships for "the PUZZLE". We are so thankful for how God is working and for the willingness of family and friends to sacrificially step out in faith and join us in this ministry of adoption!

And speaking of family, I am actually posting this from my mom's computer in PA. We had been planning with Joe's sisters for a few years now to get together this year for his parents' 40th anniversary in NH, so we are stopping for a visit w/ my family for a few days before heading up to NH to see the other half of our family. All this to say that I won't be able to update "the PUZZLE" with the new sponsorships until we get back, and if you've mailed sponsorships they may be being held with our mail while we are gone. We look forward to updating you when we are back in Indiana.

Friday, August 28, 2009

the PUZZLE Update



These are pictures of what we have sponsored so far. For more information, click on "the PUZZLE" link in the right-hand column.

Dossier Update

Well, our dossier arrived safely into the hands of our family coordinator at our adoption agency yesterday afternoon. I was tracking it all day via FedEx! Now it will be reviewed by them and then taken to the U.S. Department of State, and Ethiopia’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. for authentication and certification. They said it should be ready to be shipped to Ethiopia one week from today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

OUT OF OUR HANDS!!!!!!

YAY!!! We received our USCIS approval in the mail today (earlier than expected) which set off the chain of events (crazy!) for our afternoon, ending in FedEx-ing our dossier to our agency! Now they will check it over and then it's off to Ethiopia!!!!! It is just surreal to me right now that we're finally done with the paperwork stage! Unless there's a problem with our dossier, it should be sent over with in a couple of weeks. It was a little scary, and yet such a blessing to be finally mailing everything in!

Also, we had a phone interview with Katelyn's Fund last night - an organization that offers adoption grants. We think the interview went well and they ended it by each of the 5 of them going around and praying for our family. It was hard to hear some because of it being a conference call, but I heard most of it, and it was such a blessing! Here were these 5 people who we've never met, but because we have all been adopted into God's family, we share that common bond. It was such an encouragement to hear them pour out their hearts to God on our behalf - their hearts that truly have a burden for and "get" this ministry of adoption! They will let us know in 3-4 weeks if they will be able to fund any part of our adoption expenses.

And, one of the "little" things - I'll try to condense this - one of the things we had to do this afternoon to tie up the last few loose ends was take this one form to be notarized b/4 we took it to the Sec. of State's office to be certified. So, we stopped at our bank on our way downtown - quick in and out, no problem, right? Turns out (found this out at the Secretary of State's office) that her notary or whatever you call it had been renewed but she put her old date . . . might have been able to work around that, but she also put the wrong county (where she worked instead of where she lived). Had to think on my feet and do several things then - when back to our bank (just happens to be a branch in the same building, right down the hall from the SOS office), then a few blocks down to the Indiana State Public Library to print out a new form, had to get a library card (which was free, thankfully), and then found out that print-outs would cost $0.25 and I literally had 2 pennies in my purse. Called Joe to see if he had $ and fortunately he had a dollar in his wallet. Then went onto my yahoo mail account and couldn't find the email w/ the document attached that I needed. So, I called our family coordinator at our agency, who I had tried to call 2 other times today and got voice mail, and SHE WAS THERE and was able to email me the form right on the spot!! Then we (yes, all 6 of us) walked 2 blocks back to the bank to notarize that form, then back to the SOS office and then as I was walking out, Praise the Lord, I saw that the SOS office actually did their part wrong! They easily fixed it, thankfully. So, in all that, she was there! I even tried calling her back again this afternoon and got her voice mail - but when we needed her, God allowed her to be there, at her desk, ready to take my call!!

Okay, and a puzzle update. We are so thankful that people have begun to sponsor some pieces of our puzzle. We hope to be able to get the sponsored pieces put together in the next few days so we can post a picture of the progress. If you're interested in reading more about this, just click on "The PUZZLE" in the right-hand column.

"Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 100

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Puzzles and Unexpected Blessings

First of all, you will notice a picture/link to the right-hand side of this page for "the PUZZLE". This is a well, a . . . hmmm, how do I put this gently . . . okay, I'll just say it, it's a fundraiser! :o) We have prayed and talked and thought and prayed and talked and . . . you get the picture . . . over the idea of fundraisers. We are not comfortable with bombarding anyone and everyone we know and asking them to buy junk that they probably don't even need and would probably be buying purely out of guilt anyway! So, when this idea came across our plate, we found it very interesting.

The PUZZLE is named, I know very creatively ;o), because it is centered around a puzzle. We have purchased a puzzle that we will be putting together for our Ethiopian child(ren). We will put the pieces of the puzzle together only as each piece is sponsored. Those who choose to participate may sponsor one piece, a few, or many. We will then write the name of the sponsor on the back of each piece - what a beautiful memory and testiment to God's love and faithfulness, for us and our child(ren)! If you are interested in finding out more about this opportunity to join is in adoption, just click on the "the PUZZLE" picture.

The sponsorships are not tax deductible. If you are interested in participating with us financially in this adoption but are concerned about tax deduction, we have also qualified for The Eternal Family Fund through our adoption agency. If you choose to donate through this fund, your donation would be tax deductible. However, in order to comply with the law, they say they will try to honor the donor's wishes, but they cannot guarantee that all funds donated in our name will actually go to us. There is also a set amount that we qualify for through this fund. If donations in our name exceeded the specified amount, those funds would belong to the Eternal Family Fund to fund other adoptions. If you are interested in hearing more about this option, please email me and I will gladly send you the information (jsjgmcdaniel@sbcglobal.net).

We visited USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) today to have our fingerprints taken. Our appointment wasn't for another 10 days, but they allowed us to be seen early!!! They now have all of the information that they need in order to process our immigration form - the final piece of paper needed for our dossier!! It could still be another 6 weeks until we receive that from them, but we're hoping it won't take that long . . . we'll see! Then I went to Kinko's and spent $30 making copies of all of the paperwork - that's a lot of copies!!

Thank you so much for your time in keeping updated on what is happening in our adoption process. And we could never express to you how much we appreciate your continued prayers during this process!!

"Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!"
Psalm 115:1

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Answer Days!!

We received our appointments for our fingerprinting for our immigration papers in the mail today. Once USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has this info., they can process our application and give us the final piece of paperwork that we need to send our dossier to Ethiopia!!!

We also received a sizable check this week toward our adoption expenses. It is so exciting, obviously, to get closer to being able to pay required fees. But equally, if not more, exciting is the encouragement of seeing others sacrificially step out in faith and join us in this adoption journey! Our God is so good, and we are privileged to be serving Him!!

Psalm 145:1-3
"I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Amazing Story

There has been a lot of controversy about this new movie and it's negative portrayal of orphans and adoption, but that is not why I am posting this article(click here to read article). I read it this morning on American World Adoption (our adoption agency)'s blog and was in tears. It is an amazing story, and makes me so anxious to meet and hold our Ethiopian child(ren) (Lord willing!!).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shout for JOY!


It seems there are many days in life, and especially on this adoption journey, that are spent trusting, praying and, yes, . . . waiting. The waiting days are hard, but necessary. Praise the LORD for the answer days!

We received word last Monday (9/13) that our final home study had been mailed to us! We received that the next day, making it just one day shy of 11 weeks total from start to completion for our home study. But it's done!!

Also that same Monday we received an unexpected escrow refund check in the mail from our mortgage company for a little over $400!

The day we received our home study in the mail, I was able to put it with our USCIS application in the mail. I also emailed another family in Indiana who has adopted from Ethiopia, and they had a much shorter wait for their form to be processed than the estimated 6-12 weeks. No guarantees, of course, but after how long our home study took, it was just encouraging that there's at least a possibility that we'll get that form back sooner rather than later!

And I called last week to find out the cost of having our dossier authenticated by the Secretary of State's office. The lady I talked to informed me that there is NO CHARGE for this service, so the money we had budgeted toward that cost can now go toward our next set of fees!

I spent every moment I could find last week filling out grant applications and gathering the needed information. I had no idea there was so much information and paperwork involved with applying for grants! I have a few loose ends to tie up, and then we should be able to get the applications in the mail early next week. Obviously there are no guarantees that we will receive any grants, but now that we have our home study completed, we at least qualify to apply for some. We are trusting the Lord to continue to provide as He leads, whether that's through grants or other means.

Joe took the teens to The Woodlands Camp this week, so the kids and I spent Monday through Thursday with Joe's parents at their house. It was a lot of fun for the kids, less worry for Joe knowing we were there, and definitely made the kids' "daddy-less" week go a little faster. So that's why it's taken me until now to update our blog with these wonderful answers to prayer!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time Line??

Probably the one question we get most often in regard to adoption is what the time line is and where we are on it. So, I am going to try to explain that, along with an update of where we are currently in the process.

Our adoption process officially started with application to our adoption agency. The estimate for total time is 14-24 months from the time you apply until you are home with your child(ren). Of course that can vary greatly along the way for a number of different reasons. Once we were accepted into their Ethiopia program, we began what is called the "Paper-chase" part of the process, also called "paper pregnancy". The estimate for completing this phase is 4-6 months. There are a number of different documents that need to be collected during that time, including the home study. Once we have collected all of the needed documentation, together it is called our dossier, we send that to our adoption agency to review and send to Ethiopia for translation and their consideration. At that point, we are waiting for our referral, usually for several months. The referral is information, usually very limited, on a specific child or children that are a potential match for our family. If we choose to accept the referral, a court date will be set in Ethiopia, usually a few months after that. Once we pass court, we will plan our trip to go get our child(ren). There are some things to be completed while in Ethiopia, but I don't know the specifics on that. Once we are home with our child(ren), they are officially and legally ours, but there will be some things still to follow-up on such as post-placement visits and re-adoption (having to do w/ name change, etc.).

So, that's the general time line. Where we are is in the paper-chase. We have all of our paperwork that is possible for us to have completed at this point - in fact, we have for several weeks now. We are still waiting on our final home study. We applied for our home study at the end of March, but they didn't schedule our first appointment (official start) until the end of April. At that point their estimate was 7 weeks to complete the home study . . . it has now been 10 1/2. Once we have our home study, we can immediately proceed to the next step which is an immigration form that has to be applied for through USCIS. The estimate is that it will take 6-12 weeks to receive our approval. Once we have that form, we can take our paperwork to the Secretary of State for authentication and it is ready to go to our adoption agency for transmission to Ethiopia.

Of course, there are fees and costs all along the way in this process. The Lord has been so good to us and, so far, we have not had to delay any of the steps due to finances. We have the money order already for the USCIS form and enough in the bank to pay for State authentication. We will then need $7,200 in order to get our paperwork sent to Ethiopia. We do not have that amount yet, but have a small fraction of it saved. If we get to the point where our paperwork is completed but we still do not have the total $7,200, we will have to wait until we have it in order for our paperwork to go to Ethiopia. After that, I believe there will be no fees until the referral stage when a bigger portion of the fees and travel costs will come up. We sincerely desire to follow God's leading in all of this, and we know He is faithful to guide us, and provide if He continues to lead us down this path.

For those of you who are praying for us, we are always in need of prayer for our faith and wisdom. We also request your prayer in regard to whether we are able to adopt 2 siblings or a single child. We desire to adopt to siblings, but that is rare within the age group that we are adopting. So, when the time of referral comes, if there are not siblings available, we need wisdom to know whether to go ahead and adopt a single child, or wait for siblings. My personal prayer is that God will either grant our desire for the siblings, or change my desires to match His.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

HOPE and a FUTURE!!


I am encouraged and amazed by this thought today - just as we do not know the plans He has for us, there are children, literally on the other side of the world, who are waiting (who probably do not even know there is something better out there for them) that do not know that God has already set in motion a plan for them - HIS plan - to give them hope and a future - in this life and the next!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speedbumps & Roadblocks

Wow, as I'm typing this it seems hard to believe that June is already almost done! I say that with amazement that it's only actually been 3 months since we officially started the adoption process. And I say it, honestly, with a bit of sadness and disappointment today as we're in somewhat of an unexpected delay and standstill in the process right now. I know these seeming road blocks are "par for the course" and something that inevitably comes in every stage of life, not just adoption, but I don't think that makes it any less painful. I don't know whether it's because of his "maleness" or because he is older and more mature than I am (Joe assures me it's the second reason ;o) ) but he is able to take all of this a bit more objectively than I am! And I'm thankful for his steadiness, or I'd be a basket case!

In Proverbs 13:12 it says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Obviously I couldn't describe it any better than God does here - things like this just make your heart sick. I have full faith and confidence in my Heavenly Father's soverienty, grace, and love for us and our children . . . but that doesn't mean there's not momentary disappointment when our desires don't match up to His plans - even if it's just the "when" and not the "what" of His plans.

The great thing is the second part of the verse, "but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." We know further in Psalm 37:4 that if we "Delight yourself in the LORD,and he will give you the desires of your heart." Not meaning that God will give us whatever we desire - but by His grace, as we lay our desires and burdens at His feet, He mercifully molds and shapes our desires to be what He wants for us! What a tremendous hope and comfort that is!

So, as I mentioned in the last update or two, we're still waiting on our home study to be completed. It took longer to even get started than it seemed it should and has already taken longer than they estimated it would (even with us having our completed paperwork to them almost 2 months ago now), with it now looking like another few weeks until we'll have our completed home study in hand and be able to move ahead.

We're praying, obviously, that God will move things ahead quickly, but also that I won't be so anxious to move out of this hard spot that I try to manage things on my own - that's a nice way of saying that I pray I won't be manipulative ;o) I pray, as God tells us in the book of James, that He will give me the strength to "consider it all joy" in every circumstance and choose to endure - to remain under - this weight to learn what He has for me . . . I know there will likely be many more of these times ahead in the adoption process, and inevitably in life in general!

On a somewhat lighter note, I just finished, and Joe is finishing up, reading an EXCELLENT book called "Adopted for Life" by Russell Moore - I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone, whether you are considering adoption or not. This is not a book with the purpose to convince anyone to adopt, nor a "how to" book on adoption. It is a Biblical look at God's plan of adoption.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strength in Weakness, Peace Beyond Comprehension!

We finished up our school year on May 22, but it feels like we're just now starting summer break - it has been crazy busy! The last few weeks have been spent with getting ready for a huge yard sale, in addition to the regular business of our house.

Our yard sale was this past Friday and Saturday, and it was HUGE!! Several people donated items for our sale, and we are so thankful. There was so much stuff that it took us over 3 hours to set up Friday a.m., and there were still items we forgot to put out. Our sale went well Friday, and we were exhausted . . . then after dinner Friday night Madie's ear started hurting so we got to spend some time in immediate care that night. Turned out she had a double ear infection - poor girl!! Saturday, to our surprise, was an extremely slow day. By the end of the day I was feeling pretty worn out and discouraged and not wanting to talk about possible plans of doing it all again this weekend ;o) Early on as we planned this sale, I knew we had enough funds in the bank to pay our next "step", which is the last 1/2 of the home study cost. Then following that is the immigration form that I mentioned in the previous post. I thought it would be good if we made enough to cover that cost. So, as I was sitting on the couch Sat. evening feeling exhausted and a bit dejected and Joe was counting up what we had made off our sales, I was amazed when Joe told me how much we had made - it was just around $10 more than we need to pay for our immigration form! God is so good to us!!

So we were planning to do the yard sale again this week, starting a little earlier on Thurs. instead of Friday. Even though our sales were good, we still had at least 3/4 of our "inventory" left to sell. We decided we'd list a bunch of stuff on Craigslist and whatever was left we'd try to sell at the yard sale. We ended up getting a great response on some of the items we posted, so we decided not to go ahead with the second weekend of the sale. The plan is to continue to try to sell stuff on Craigslist and then possibly have another yard sale in the fall . . . don't really want to think about that right now ;o)

We also had our last meeting for our home study yesterday. I was so excited to finally have this last meeting. She told us at our first meeting (which took them a month to even schedule to begin with) that she estimated the home study to take about 7 weeks, which is already on the long side as far as home studies go, she said depending on how quickly we get our paperwork done. Well, I thought that was a good sign because by the time we had our first meeting, we had already given her all of our paperwork, even the recommendations from our references, and the only other paperwork she gave us, two weeks later on a Friday, we had completed and returned to her by the following Monday. But by the time we finally were able to schedule this last meeting, it's already been six weeks since we started, and she said it will be about 2-3 weeks until we have our completed homestudy. The amazing thing to me was that after the last few weeks of insane business, I was worn out, and the frustration and disappointment in hearing this news would normally have put me close to tears, if not over the waterfall! But God gave me a true peace in my heart that in no way came from me - I may be self-deceived in many ways, but I think I know myself at least well enough to know that peace is not my typical reaction to these type of situations! I know people were praying for us, and what a true blessing to know the peace of God that passes all comprehension, and to truly feel God's strength through my weakness!!

Okay, sorry for the long update ;o) We were also able over these last several days to get a handful of forms completed, notarized and approved for our dossier. As far as timeline, we're waiting now on the home study to be done (I'm still praying she'll get done more quickly than she estimated ;o) ). As I said in the last update, once we have that in hand, that will set a lot of other gears in motion.

One more thing - probably more than a month ago I requested prayer regarding how we should word our application letter in regard to requesting 2 siblings - should we only request siblings and then possibly wait longer, or should we request a single child if siblings aren't available? Again, we know that God is sovereign in all of this, but we had to put something on paper! We decided to just request siblings. And this is the thought that God used to bring peace to my heart on Tuesday - assuming He brings us through this whole process to completion of adoption, He has the children for us and will have them ready for us and us for them, all in His time! What a blessing to be able to rest and hope in confidence in our Father!

My mind is still a little fried from the last few weeks, so I'm sorry for the long post and that there's probably parts that won't make sense ;o) If you've gotten to this point, thanks for taking the time to read and be updated on what's going on in our adoption process!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"While I'm Waiting"


Isaiah 40:28-31
Have you not known? Have you not heard?The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Last Two Weeks . . .

Like my creative post title??? Yup, took me days to think of that one . . . feel free to borrow it for your blog :o)

Okay, so it's been two weeks since my last update. In that time, we received Joe's passport and some other needed documents - some reference letters and Joe's employment letter - for our dossier. I was also able to get things - hopefully - cleared up and corrected on our medical forms . . . just waiting on our Family Coordinator - Terra - at the adoption agency to approve them. Long and crazy road to getting medical forms filled out completely and correctly!! I also found out that a friend of ours is a notary, so that will make it a lot easier (and cheaper) to get all of our needed forms notarized.

We were also able to finally set our last meeting for our home study to be completed. That is on the 9th, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to have our completed home study "in hand" within the next few weeks. Assuming we're approved, once we have that, we can send our I-600a application in (for immigration, visa's, etc. for the child(ren)) and begin the 6-12 week waiting process for our approved form. Also, with the completed home study, we are then eligible to apply for several grants as well as our agency's Eternal Family Fund (more about that in a future post!). So, all in all, pretty excited to get the home study completed!

We're going to be very busy this week getting ready for our "Adoption Liquidation Sale" on June 5-6. Basically a huge yard sale, but we are calling this an "Adoption Liquidation Sale" because we are not just selling our unused, unwanteds, and cast-offs. We are trying to liquidate anything and everything we can in order to raise money for our adoption expenses. So there are many nice items available as well as many donated items from friends. I plan to post this on Craigslist soon. Our sale is also coinciding w/ our neighborhood yard sale. If you're in the area, you're welcome to stop by and see if there's anything you need. If not, we'd appreciate so much your prayers for nice weather and good sales!

As we've been looking over our budget the last several months, and recently as we've been talking and planning for this yard sale, I've been reminded so many times that all of our things - no matter how sentimental they may seem - are just stuff. They are temporary! I've been so rebuked at how consumed I can be with making my life more comfortable. As Joe likes to say as of late "it's all gonna' burn up!" We laugh, but it's so true! But what time, energy and finances God allows us to invest in the lives of people will last for eternity!

Thank you so much for taking the time to be updated on what God is doing in and through our lives and for your prayers on our behalf!

"Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light."
Psalm 36:5-9

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Picture Pages"


Okay, so one of the documents that we have to put together for our dossier are some picture pages. Since I was born in the late 70's, every time I read or hear someone say "picture pages", the theme song to Bill Cosby's Picture Pages runs through my head. And everytime I say it myself, I have this uncontrollable urge to sing it . . . unfortunately, I don't think Joe ever saw that fun little show, so he just looks at my like I'm insane!

Anyway, some of these pictures I've posted before, but in case you're curious, here are the photos we've included on our picture pages (and YES, I'm singing the theme song in my head right now!!). The requirements are 2 posed pictures of the entire family, 4 family life photos, 1 of the outside of the house and 1 of one room inside the house.







Probably the biggest accomplishment in our adoption process this week was that we were able to complete the rest of the paperwork for our homestudy in time for Joe's meeting w/ our social worker on Friday. We now have a couple's questionnaire to fill out (very long, detailed questionnaire) and submit to our homestudy agency. When our social worker has some of the paperwork through on her part, we will then be able to set our final meeting.

We were able to get our financial statement for our dossier completed (pending notarization), but are still waiting on Joe's passport and a few other documents. We were able to get our medical forms from the doctor early in the week, but . . . I scan and email all dossier documents to our family coordinator at our adoption agency for her to review and "okay" for our dossier. Apparently there were quite a few errors made by the doctors office on the forms, which were notarized (and we had to pay an extra fee for the notary) - not the least of which was that the date of the dr.'s signature did not match the date of the notary . . . to clarify, the entire purpose of getting it notarized is that the notary is witness to the doctor's signature and that is what is notarized. One of the more interesting mistakes is that the doctor dated my form in the year 2008! Most were just a failure to actually completely fill out the form. So, this was all late Friday afternoon and a bit discouraging - especially since there's nothing I can do to clear this up until Monday. But God has not lost control! And, even though I don't like waiting, I am thankful that He's given me a few days "off" to pray and contemplate and, hopefully, react on Monday in a way that is honoring to Him.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary."
Isaiah 40:28-31

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Change of Scenery

I am trying to put an update on here at least every week, so we'll see how it goes. Some weeks are more eventful than others, although all are mostly going to be about paperwork for a while. I know, exciting stuff!

This week we received our certificates of completion for the 8 hours of online adoption training that we finished a few weeks ago. We're still waiting on Joe's passport. We also talked with our doctor's office this week and we should be able to pick up all of our medical paperwork sometime next week.

Thursday I received a call from a local marketing research firm. I've been on their call list for probably about 5 years now and I always take their calls and surveys, but have only qualified to participate in one of their focus groups one time - and ended up I couldn't do that one because of scheduling conflicts. Anyway, on Thursday the girl told me that I qualified for this group, but that the slots for my age group were full, so she'd have to talk w/ her manager to see if they would fit me in and then call me back the next day. She said if she didn't call, then they didn't need me. And, she explained the process. This group actually has 3 meetings, for a total of about 5 hours, and a total payment of $285. She didn't call yesterday, so I figured it was a "no go", but she called me this morning and said they'd like me to participate! Yay! I know it is just a "drop in the bucket" in the grand scheme of adoption expenses, but what an amazing God we serve! For so long I've been on their list and taken their surveys, but never qualified when I could do it . . . until now! And most jobs pay $75-100, and this one could pay a lot more! I will have my first meeting this week for which they will pay me $100. Then if they want me to continue w/ the remaining two meetings, they will pay me the remainder of the total.

We've got some paperwork to finish up this week before our second homestudy meeting on Friday. Then we will be given more paperwork to complete. We are also still working on needed documents for our dossier. And, only two more weeks left of school!

So to conclude this week's update, the post title is simply because I changed the look of the blog. I really liked the previous background but I think it was causing difficulty in being able to pull up the blog. So, hopefully this background will make things a little easier.

This verse has been a tremendous encouragement to me this week:
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him."
Psalm 62:5

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Homestudy beginnings








So, since our last update we've done a few more things. Joe and I both had our physicals last week - SO fun! And had some blood work done to go along with that. We received our state clearance letters and fingerprints, which was a surprise because that was much sooner than they said. We're still waiting on Joe's passport.

Last weekend our family friends, Mike and Babs Hull, had the kids over to do some "yard work" (picking up sticks) to earn some money to put toward adoption expenses. Of course the kids had a great time, and it was such a great opportunity to talk with the kids again about why we are doing this and for them to invest and be involved in the process. We love Mike and Babs and are so thankful that they thought of doing this for the kids!

We had our first meeting (of 3) for our homestudy today. I was a little nervous as I didn't know what kind of questions she'd be asking, but also so very excited to get this part of the process going! She just did a quick walk-through of our home (yes, our house is cleaner than it's been in a long time!) to basically check for space requirements and any safety concerns. She sat down with the kids to ask them a few questions and then for a longer period of time to interview me. That part was a little more difficult than I expected - I usually don't have any trouble dominating a conversation ;o) Joe will go to their offices in the near future to be interviewed. In the mean time, we have a little more paperwork to complete for the home study. After Joe's interview, there will be more paperwork, followed by a third visit at our home. Then she will write up the info. and send it to us and our adoption agency for review before the final draft. This process should take about 6 weeks . . . we'll see!

I know I keep saying it, but thank you to all of you who are getting involved with us in this process by praying for us!

"And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you." Psalm 39:7