Matched

After hearing we were approved through the orphanage, there was no set time line for our referral. It could happen within the year. So,  I set off to get as many projects done while I had the time off work. Well, that all changed when I received a phone call Wednesday, June 17th at 4:50. Rhees wasn’t home and again our fabulous case worker waited at work until my husband hurried home before she told us our exciting news. It was definitely a whirlwind of a phone call. We were a little in shock! As the night progressed, all the details started to become so real!!

WE HAVE A REFERRAL!!!!

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~Together we journey to expand our family~


 

*What does this mean??

The orphanage that we were approved to adopt from has found a sibling group that is a great match for us. There is not a set date as to when we get to travel to meet them, but we are on our way to getting all the details worked out!

So, here is what most people want to know!!!

*the referral is for 2 girls

*they are 9 and 4 years old

*we have sent in the paperwork to accept the referral

*we have sent in our I800 to help us determine when we will travel to Colombia!

We continue to talk about how this adoption journey is an amazing story of how God provides. However, we also are beyond thankful for our family and friends who have partnered with us to bring home our girls who have an amazing future in front of them! Thank you from the bottom of our heart for your prayers and standing with us on this journey!

This is not the end of our journey together….it is only the beginning!

 

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Denial is just a river in Egypt

So, here is much needed update….

We were waiting for many weeks for an approval letter from the orphanage we wanted to adopt from.(accepting our family to adopt from their orphanage) It was taking much longer that we expected. And to be honest I knew that we were going to get bad news. I felt it deep in my heart and let it get the best of me. Then I realized that being focused on something I thought was going to happen wasn’t going to change anything. So, I just started to pray and embrace what might happen. Again I went back to the question, “why are we adopting?” It was the same answer we have had the whole time. To show God’s love to his children. To inspire, teach, comfort, encourage, build hope, heal, overcome obstacles, share dreams, and embrace that we all have fallen short but there is a future that is beyond our dreams. So, I started getting involved in things around the community that would allow me to show God’s love. This helped me focus on the big vision God has for me  instead of the typical worldly plan I have . I can still show God’s perfect love even if my plan isn’t going the way I want it. So, April 30th came with a very disappointing letter…….we were denied (meaning our adoption from Colombia would not happen)…..but we could appeal the decision.

This was very upsetting news….however, I really truly believe God let me know this was going to happen. You see if I hadn’t already had time to mourn this decision, I definitely couldn’t have charged ahead with confidence to appeal the decision. Because I had already had time to sulk and cry, I was able to pick up the phone immediately and make things happen. Don’t get me wrong….there were tears involved but that deep sadness that just makes you want to stay in bed….that was not there. With the help of my AMAZING (like so amazing that this appeal happened because of her) case worker we got the letters ready for the appeal and mailed them off. So, again we WAITED……

I felt such peace in this process. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in such a time of disappointment. My husband and I were not worried or anxious about the result we would hear from the orphanage. We knew that we had put our best effort forward and if the approval didn’t happen then that was a way God was showing us to move a different direction. However, we felt in our heart that there was too much evidence that God wanted us here. As I think back or go back through our blog there is time and time again that God provided a way. So here we are again waiting to see God work. I can’t express enough how amazing this abundant peace was we had when we were waiting on this decision. The waiting did not come with anxiety…we waited by moving on with our daily life, making sure we were still holding on  to our vision of showing God’s love to the ones already around us.

Then you guessed it……May 28th  came with an exciting letter!!!! We are approved through a private orphanage in Colombia!! We are able to adopt a sibling group of two  ages 9  and under.

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This is a story that I just can’t keep quiet….God is so good! His plan will never fail! There is always hope and sometimes a plan or path that you don’t see coming.

Take time for grants

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As we all know….adoption is expensive! I have seen a lot of negative comments and questions regarding this topic. I totally get it, however there is so much more that goes into adoption than most people realize. It is not a huge $40,000 fee that goes to the agency or orphanage. The grand total amount comes from fees from many different places.

*doctor visits *applications *passports *papers from the courthouse *travel *physiologist visit *in country documents *birth mother expenses *trainings/education *background checks *and I could go on and on and on and on

So just like your trips to the grocery store…the more you keep piling in your basket….the bigger your total cost is. Yes, I would agree that there may be a few hoops to jump through, however I am a huge advocate of making sure people are ready to adopt. Some of the things on the adoption checklist like doctor visits and background checks  are ways to  help ensure you are ready to take care of children who have been through trauma.

Please don’t let money be the reason you say no to adoption. God really takes care of that part. I could write for days about that! One thing that I encourage anyone who is adopting to do is take a few days to write grants….yes I said a few days! There are so many out there and it is a big process. But if you organize it right and do it all at the same time…it is totally worth a try. These are out there to help you! We were so blessed and beyond excited to receive TWO grants! I know that sometimes you are overwhelmed with all of the paperwork with the adoption, but with some of the grants you can use paperwork you already have.

TIP #1: I did notice that many of the grants are geared toward the end of your process. Many of them wanted to know if you had the referral or see pictures. So, my recommendation would be to start later in your process. We did not have our referral when we received the grants but we were almost done with our dossier.

TIP#2: Also, almost all grants want you to be done with your home study. I think this shows how serious you are. I can imagine some people start this process and then find out it is not for them.

This is a big process because adopting is a big deal! It is also a big blessing!

Some of my friends know that adopting is not right for their family, however they know the need to help the orphans in the world, so they just bless their friends with money, prayers, clothes, toys, and the most important……encouragement! I am so thankful for the specific things God lays on our hearts. I love that we all have different dreams and we can unite to help each other reach them.

 

You should totally check out Show Hope ! We found many events, resources, ideas, and encouragement from their website!

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Simplify

We have been preparing for our adoption in many ways, however it is impossible to know exactly what it will be like when we meet our kids. There are so many unknown variables in our adoption equation. We are doing what we can to prepare and be aware of common things that we can do to help with the transition for our children. We will not know everything that they will need, so we are just preparing to make our life as simple as we can when they arrive. Please know that every adoption is different. We may transition at a normal rate( ha…who really is normal), slowly, or we may need to change some things in our regular routine. (like Bible studies ….I might be involved in too many! ) Bonding with our children is very important. We want them to feel safe and not overwhelmed with all of the changes they are going to encounter. The time and effort we put into the beginning stages will help set them up for success for their future. I just wanted to share this video from, Karen Purvis, that helps you see a glimpse into why simplifying your life is important.

We are excited to meet our kids, but we also have to remember that our kids are available for adoption because something traumatic happened to them. It is very different from bringing your newborn home from the hospital where every single person has taken amazing care of them. So, please keep praying for our children, please. Pray that:

-they are surrounded by people in their orphanage that care about them, talk to them, feed them, play with them, encourage them, and make them feel safe.

-their paperwork is completed quickly so they can come home to start their transition into our family.

-that we will understand their needs and will be able to make them feel safe.

-if they have any illnesses, they are healed!

-that they have started the healing process from past traumatic events.

Insight 2: Simplify Your Life from Tapestry on Vimeo.

unite

Today was a very special day. Mother’s Day is filled with so many emotions. It is a day to celebrate Mother’s but there are so many women who are grieving and this day is just a reminder of so many things they are healing from.

I am truly blessed to have such strong examples of Mom’s, a daughter that made me a mom, and time to watch my daughter blossom into a  mom. I have healed through some very negative feelings of jealousy and bitterness and I am so joyful to truly celebrate this day with so many inspirational people.

And you friends who are following our journey and praying for us are part of that inspirational group. So, since this blog is to keep up with our adoption and be a constant reminder of how God is providing and giving us strength, joy, and peace through this journey. So, I figured it was time for a little update on what we need from you.

Things were moving so nicely and we were expecting some amazing news that would lead us into the matching process. Then we were suddenly surprised to hear news that would slow us down and potentially stop our adoption. We took the news and of course…you guessed it….I cried. However, we decided that God had worked so hard to show up through this process. We were not done trusting in His plan and resting in His peace. There were many people who continued to show up in ways that I can never thank them enough for. I feel surrounded with people who have been praying and our family feels peace….in a time that we could be mad…devastated….brokenhearted…..we feel there is hope and peace. I can’t explain it except for… if God is living in you, you have the strength, hope, joy, and comfort of the Savior that died for you.

So, through these times I love little encouraging reminders that there is a plan and we should never just give up….so….today my beautiful daughter gets me this perfect necklace. Seriously Perfect!

Be Brave And Keep Going

necklaceSo, this is where you come in …..Unity is important when you are believing in something HUGE! We want to join together and Unite our prayers in agreement that tomorrow morning……

*God’s plan will prevail

*God’s words will be spoken

*God’s words will be heard

*The truth will be recognized

*Clarity will be revealed in our letters

*Hearts will be changed

*Timing will be perfect

*Blessings will come to those working so hard for our kids

Thank you for joining together in agreement through prayer! This is a life-changing journey and we can’t say thank you enough for taking the steps with us!

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Miscarriage…..reminders from God

This post is just pure honesty. I’m not sure what you will think or even if you will understand. However, I am inspired by a friend to share my emotions and story with you. My friend had several miscarriages and was open with people about how she was really feeling. This was huge for me! I saw her story help comfort other people. It helped others know they weren’t alone and she could grieve with them. When I have had miscarriages, I was very closed off because:

*  it was so painful

*  it just kept happening over  and over

*  I felt like it was private

*  it created awkwardness in conversations

*  people would say things that hurt (you’ll get pregnant again)

*  and it just hurt to talk about it.

I felt like in the beginning of my journey I was alone with God. It was important for me to stay positive in these stages of loss.  So, I prayed continuously and read scripture. But I was missing that connection with people to connect about what I was experiencing. It started to form bitterness and jealousy. And then….it happened!!! A precious women at church had the same idea and created a very needed group that has been such an encouragement for me. The name of the small group is Hopeful Hearts. It is not a place to be overwhelmed by negative stories but a place for restoration, encouragement, and scripture to hold onto. These women understood my deep emotional scars and were able to connect because of our similar journeys. No ones journey is the same but they all have some connecting paths.

This was my healing ground along with tears, daily prayer, scripture, and a husband that was there for me every time I cried in his arms.

I had people that I was sharing my story with in this group but I definitely wasn’t posting my miscarriages and feelings on Facebook. Again, I just felt very private about it. So, I’m stretching out of my comfort zone because if this could comfort one person, it is worth it. The healing that you can experience from sharing with each other is important in the process of healing. It is such a blessing to have encouragement from women who have experienced the same thing.

Last year this precious leader of our Hopeful Hearts group gave each of us a gift. It was  a plant that was very special. She wanted us to have a plant that would come back each year. We had all experienced so much loss that even a dying plant was depressing. So a plant that would give life and color each year sounded like an amazing gift. Except that I actually can’t keep plants alive. So, I was a little worried about this gift that was suppose to give life each year.

Until……

This week was the 3rd week we had been waiting on an approval answer from the orphanage. We are so close to getting our kids home….it is kind of like when you are finding out if you are pregnant or not. That is exciting for most but for me that brings extreme stress because the last 13 times we have been pregnant, we have experienced the loss of a child. So, without even knowing it, my emotions have been reminded of my babies that had strong heartbeats but I never got to meet. To be truthful….I’m just missing my babies. And then I came home to this beautiful blooming flower in my backyard…..yep….it lived…it came back!

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What a beautiful reminder from God that He has my babies with Him in a place more beautiful than I could imagine. This beautiful flower is also a reminder that God has a path for us. A plan that is greater than we could ever comprehend. His children are important and need love. He has chosen us to raise a set of siblings in Colombia. It is so unbelievable to see what God has already done to make this adoption happen. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for the rest of our lives. When the Lord your God sets a plan out for you ….run towards it!

God is with us reminding us everyday that there is hope for the future….just look around and see it.

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Live with purpose

In the waiting, you have to live your life-like it matters.

At times I have lived differently because  I was waiting on something. Then when it didn’t happen I would be devastated. For example, when we were waiting on a phone call from the foster care system, we definitely put our life on hold. We knew the shelters were full and we would be getting a call any day to place a child in our home. So, we waited at home for the call and canceled any big decisions we might have wanted to make because we were getting ready to have a child come live with us. This was huge and we needed to be prepared for it. Well, when the placement never came……we had wasted all that time waiting…trying to be prepared. We could have instead invested in our family, friends, projects, or activities. These are the important things in our life and we shouldn’t put them aside because we want something to happen now.

I think this quote from Lysa Terkeurst is so appropriate for this blog today……

“The one who obeys God’s instruction for today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow”

Through the miscarriages and adoption process, I have really learned to embrace the right now. I do forget this at times and in fact this week has been especially hard for me. However, my support system is amazing! My friends and hubby are always there reminding me to not give up hope and enjoy the blessings I have in my life right now.

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Through the different events in our lives that required waiting, we have started to live differently. For example, I was getting discouraged about how long the adoption process was taking for us and I asked myself why I wanted to adopt. When I looked at the answers, I realized that some of the things I listed could be done with children at school or church. I was being greedy and wanting to do those things with MY children, but when it is all said and done…..it doesn’t matter whose children they are ….. They are all God’s children. So, I had to pick up my pouty lip and go love on other people’s children so I could be accomplishing things that I had always wanted to do. This has been the most rewarding decision of my life.

Living with purpose is such a blessing!

 

 

Dossier Completed

Just a little update and prayer request:

We are excited to say that our paperwork (Dossier) is in Colombia!!!!! This is so exciting. The paperwork has been translated into Spanish and is ready to go. We had a great discussion with our case worker about the next steps. We are so blessed to work with such compassionate and knowledgeable people. They are definitely in this business for the right reasons!  After our conversation regarding our options we are excited to say that next week our file will be going to an orphanage. So, here is where you can help pray specifically!

*That we will be approved through the orphanage and they will start looking to match us with the children God has prepared us for.

*Also, financially …..that the rest of the expenses would be covered!

Thank you so much for joining us in this path that God is leading us down. We feel and see the blessings all around. It is so encouraging to have support from you! This process can be very long and discouraging but we know that this is right where we are supposed to be.

THANK YOU!

One Step Closer

Facts about adoption:

1. Your lunch times turn into trips to the Post Office. These Postal workers become your friends. They are way more helpful than the kiosk in the lobby!

2. You pay for tracking, 2-day shipping, insurance, and other services you would otherwise probably never use. (but this paperwork that you send off is like gold…so you do anything to make sure it gets to it’s destination)

3. The copy machine is your friend. (make copies of EVERYTHING)

10959293_10205983166804072_5888990508825653809_nThe question asked by most of the people we know……so when will you meet your kids?

Our answer…..when God is ready to reveal who they are.

So, for now I am just going to keep updating you on where we are in this process until the day comes to tell you about our kids. We are so excited that we are checking things off our list and are at peace with the timing of this process.

On the last update, we told you that we were waiting on our FBI fingerprints to arrive.

Well, we got them!!!! It was one of those days that we prayed in the morning to claim that we would receive the prints that day and when we got home they were in the mailbox. Praise the Lord!

So the next step is getting those FBI results to Colombia. When they arrive in Colombia, they will be put with our Dossier and be ready for approval and matching!

I really can’t believe we are talking about these final steps.

Pray for us to continue to LISTEN to God and not set up our own plans. He has seen us all the way through this process and we are excited to watch the rest unfold.

 

Attachment in Adoption

When you are going into any new situation or journey, you always need to prepare. I have learned that you can’t know everything that is going to happen but you need to be equipped. In the adoption journey it is so difficult to prepare for behaviors that could possibly happen or never happen. So, instead of being overwhelmed with the “what if’s” it is much more comforting to have read some resources and know that you might have to go back to them when certain behaviors appear. When you continue to read these adoption books, you get a good idea where to start. As we all know…..parenting takes a village of people. So, surround yourselves with books, pod casts, adoptive families, doctors, teachers, pastors, counselors, and people who are just encouraging no matter what happens~!

Hope you enjoy this book!

Attachment in Adoption

attatching in adoptionHere is just a glimpse of what is in this book:

~why is attaching important

~challenges

~grief

~Trauma

~Cultural changes

~complications for attaching

~emotional development

~what does progress look like

~anxiety and control

~fairness

~team support

~professional help

*This is definitely a book you read more than once. The teacher in me always wants a method of remembering these great ideas. I usually start something and then change my mind….but here are two ideas you might try.

STICKY NOTES

-in the book leave sticky notes

*Stick it on with a tab hanging out of the book. On the tab write the behavior that is addressed. This is nice because you can quickly pick up the book and see what behaviors are addressed in the book.

NOTEBOOK

*In a notebook designate a few pages for each behavior you come across during your journey. This allows you to write notes from many different resources about one behavior. This makes it easy to look back and quickly see advice, doctors, symptoms, or even blogs with advice.