No disappointment…only God’s Hand

This adoption process is full of things to check off your list in order to get your beautiful kids home. You make your way through paperwork hoping it will go quickly. For me it hasn’t been emotional. I am just working towards a goal. When we got matched I was excited and a little part of me started realizing that this was really happening.

My past experiences with so many miscarriages have really messed with my ability to become excited before something happens. Sadly, I think I have a little doubt when I should just be leaning on my strong Savior who has me in his arms. However, I am not perfect so this is the area of my life I am working on. I wasn’t sure when it would kick in that this adoption was real, I was becoming a mom, and God had been preparing me for this.

Just a few weeks ago my husband and I needed one more document before we traveled to Colombia to pick up our girls. We needed to get our Visa to travel to Colombia and have two Colombian citizens in our custody. We tried to get this done early however, they were closed. The best option was a little risky but why not! Our plan was to get our Visa the day before we got on the airplane. I already had filled out the application online, we just needed to show up, pay, and pick up the Visa.

We woke up early and were the 2nd family in line at the Colombian Embassy. When it was our turn to pay we sadly found out that our application had expired. We had heard that this place was not very helpful because of how busy they are. So, immediately we called our case worker so she could forward some documents and get a new application filled out. However, while I was on the phone with her things changed. The wonderful women at the counter decided she was going to fill out our application and take our picture for us. Then, we tried to pay the fee with our money order and they had raised the price. This was a big deal because you can’t pay with cash….just a money order. However, again this precious women said she would take cash. This was truly God standing right there with us making sure this plan He had, was right on track!

When we left, I was overwhelmed with this feeling….it was finally that feeling…we were ready to get our girls! It reminded me of a doctor’s appointment but instead of leaving with devastating results we were overjoyed! Adoption is not like being pregnant. The emotions are different and the bonding starts at different times. Although some things are very different from a pregnancy…… we are becoming parents!

Advertisements

Chicken Pox

11846562_10207420096686421_4632816081326735755_n

Well, we are anxiously waiting to Skype with our girls. We keep doing paperwork after paperwork to get things moving but we have a little snag in the process.

You are required to Skype with the children. They need to meet us before we arrive to pick them up. I mean really think about it….kinda scary! So, it is important that we Skype with them, so they can meet us and start processing the fact that they have a family coming to get them! It is easy to say that this is so exciting….and don’t get me wrong…it is…but it is also very emotional. So we are praying that when they find out, they have time to process what is happening and have that feeling of peace.

So, the reason we have not Skyped yet, is because one of them has the chicken pox. They have to be really careful with her because she has been contagious and there are many children there that could get it from her. So, that being said, please pray that she is healed and we get to Skype next week with them. After that happens ….things will be moving quickly!

I know that God has perfect timing and He is our healing…so join in standing in agreement that she is healed and they come home soon.

Thank you friends!

I800 Approval

We have been waiting for the I800 approval and I got a little excited too early. There were two letters from Homeland Security in our mailbox….so I got a little carried away with myself and did a little celebration dance in my kitchen. Only later to find out that it was our receipt from them. Booooo!  And my apologies to my case worker for the miscommunication! I’m so thankful for workers who put up with all my questions and excitement! They really are the best!

So, we knew it would take around 8-10 days to get the approval so checking the mail the last few days has been a big event. Especially the toddler. She goes up to the mailbox and in the cutest voice says, ” No Mail.” I just love it. Well, today my hubby and I were not home when the mail came. However, my daughter and my mom were!!! I’m so thankful for Saturday mail!!!! So, we received a call from them that was very exciting!

It is getting real!

(And to answer the most popular question….NO…we do not know our travel date)

20150801_163606                                   These three colors on this cookie just make me happy!

Colombia here we come!

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.

th05IN1P8G

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

20140704_135219

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!

SH_Logo_White_wTag_RGB

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!

unite

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!

DSC_0710DSC_0707

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.

>

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.

20130615_145403-1

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!

 

 

International Farewell

So, I bought this 1963 International Scout about 10 years ago. For those of you who don’t know what that is, think old Bronco. I put a lot of work into it and had dreams of taking Rebekah for a ride, and someday, my kids. But between living on a teacher’s salary and getting married, I found less and less time to work on it, and honestly, I was losing the desire to finish it. My new passion: the Honda Ruckus! Yes, I now want to be a nerdy scooter guy with a scooter gang. Yes, I said scooter gang. So surely I can find someone with a Honda Ruckus who wants to trade for a 50 year old truck that doesn’t run with no title, right?

Well, after listing it a few times unsuccessfully, I got the title sorted out and I started to think that the trade wasn’t going to happen. This kind of bothered me because I had to have a trade if I wanted a Ruckus. I mean, with all the money we need I just couldn’t justify selling it and then buying what was really just a toy. If I sold it, the money had to go to the adoption. But I reeeeeeaaaaalllllly want a Ruckus. But I got to this place where I realized that, like so many other things in life, it’s not about what I want. It’s not about how I can spin the whole thing to make getting what I want feel okay. It’s really all about what will help accomplish the mission that God has entrusted to me. That mission is to give some kids a good home.

So I listed it again for trade or cash. I decided that whatever came to me was what God had for me.  I couple of days later, I got a call from a guy who wanted to buy it. I wasn’t holding my breath. It was, after all, a Craigslist deal, and those usually are no-shows. But this kid wasn’t. He and his brother came to look at it. They were serious about buying it and wanted to give it to their mother for Christmas. She had been talking for years about how she wanted one just like this and they wanted to surprise her. I was asking $2000 and they offered $1800. How could I say no. SOLD AMERICAN!

20141220_113938

The next day they showed up with cash and as I watched my friend of 10 years roll out of the drive on a tow truck, I was filled with lots of emotions. There was a little sadness, a feeling of humbleness that I was open to God’s will above my own desires. Overall I was grateful that God had brought such a great amount of money for the Scout (about $1000 more than I paid for it) and that, while I wouldn’t be able to give my kids a ride, the Scout helped bring them home. Hopefully, there is a lady in Mounds, Oklahoma who will derive a great amount of joy from taking that thing for a spin. Who knows? Maybe someday I can take the kids around the block on a scooter.

Rhees

Here you go……

So many of you have been asking where we are in the adoption process. The adoption process is different for everyone. Sometimes we have exciting news and sometimes we are just waiting. So, if you are wondering if we have been matched with a sibling set, the answer is no. However, we do have some updates for you.  The longer you are in this process the more peace you have with God’s perfect timing. We find joy in every step forward we take.

rheesrebekahLatest progress in the Lane adoption:

*We are approved through the immigration department.

*We prepared the Dossier and had it sent to Colombia to be translated into Spanish.

*We have mailed our fingerprints to the FBI and are waiting on  approval to complete the Dossier.

Next Steps are:

*After the FBI approval, we need to have it apostilled.

*Then we will be waiting on our Dossier to be approved by Colombia.

*At that point, we will be waiting to be matched with a sibling group.