Saturday, September 13, 2008

Documents nearly complete...NOW WAITING ON USCIS  

Well...after much work and more waiting, all of our documents are just about ready to send to Eastern Europe.  We are having our fingerprint appointment at immigration office next week.  Then we hope to get our US approval quickly following that.  We are planning to go ahead and send the documents on to be translated so that as soon as we get the US approval form, our paperwork can be submitted quicker.  We are still hoping to travel in January.  Our fundraising is going well.  We are getting ever so close to having enough.  We still lack what I would consider a large amount, but God has provided so much so far that we have no doubt He will be helping us with the rest.  He is so amazing!! We also have high hopes of getting.

Home Study Submitted to USCIS  

We are so happy to report that we got our home study in the mail on Friday afternoon.  We got it notarized and sent off to USCIS on Saturday morning by priority mail so they should have it Monday.  Our next step with them will be to get our fingerprints made and then wait again until all that paperwork is accepted and approved.  Then, it's off to Ukraine for translation and submission for approval to the Ukrainian government. It's hard to imagine that this is actually happening!  We had thought that we were not going to be able to have any more children (and isn't five enough?? Ha...we didn't think so).  So for God to be doing this, is such an amazing blessing for us!  We pray that it will also be a great blessing to Jonathan and Matthew (Jon & Matty). We still have lots to do to be ready and a good bit of money to earn and raise before we're really ready to bring them home, but it's kind of like having a child... can you ever really be ready? The stress of the process and the anticipation and waiting is starting to become apparent, but we are TRUSTING GOD!  He's completely able to put all the pieces much better than we are.  I suppose it's kind of like us being pregnant with twins that we know have congenital defects and other health problems.  Only we have such a wide window of when they could come.  We long for the day we will hold them and they will be ours.

Home Study Nearly Complete!  

We received word today that our home study is nearly complete!  We hope to have it back next week.  Then we'll send it to USCIS to complete our application process with the U.S. government.  Then, after we receive our paperwork from them, we'll send it all off to Ukraine for approval and the scheduling of our appointment.  It's so hard to believe that this is really happening! Everyday, it's harder and harder to wait.  It seems like Jonathon and Matthew are already part of our family and they are just waiting for us to go get them and bring them home.  Our friends and family are excited too!  (Even if they think we are a little weird!  And who knows...maybe we are!) :-) 

We are getting closer and closer to the money we need.  We still need about $8,000 but trust the Lord that what He has begun, He will complete. We're still working hard to earn the money and there are others who have said they want to help us financially. We are trusting God for each step of the journey. Sometimes it's hard to wait and be patient and not run ahead of God, but we know that His will is best and that His timing is PERFECT!! 

We're very thankful for everyone that has had a apart in this journey.  We're thankful for Reece's Rainbow.  This ministry has been so helpful and they have made it so much easier so far.  God is good.  God is faithful.  We love Him and just want to follow Him.

God is in charge!  

God has amazed us over the past five weeks.  He has brought miraculous events into our lives to remind us that HE is in charge of the adoption.  He has reminded us that all He has asked us to do is OBEY Him and follow step by step...not do it on our own. 

He has brought people alongside of us to help us financially in ways we have never dreamed.  He has impressed people to give money and we don’t even know who they has just appeared on my desk at church.  Every time I start to wonder if He’ll really be able to provide the needs so we can bring our boys home, He does something wonderful an amazing that leaves no doubt that He is in control and He will complete what He has started.   

The incredible thing is that we get to be part of it and experience the blessings.  We are humbled.  We are amazed.  Our God is awesome!

God is AMAZING!!  

Back in July, we were in Eastern Europe in the country we hope to adopt from.  We go several times a year to do mission work but this wasn’t just another trip.  We went with the expectation of God to speak to us and show us where He was working and how He wanted us to join Him in that work.  We sought Him and pleaded with Him to show us.

For the past several years, we have felt called to something more than just going on trips and having “limited” impact (not that anything God does is limited...we just felt that we were to have a larger scope).  We didn’t know if He wanted us to move there as missionaries, stay stateside and continue to raise money and travel periodically or what.  We had felt for some time that we were supposed to think about adoption.  We’ve thought about it, but frankly the financial needs for adoption seemed way out of our reach (which they are out of OUR reach, but not God’s).  So basically, we just said, “God, show us and we’ll follow You know matter how crazy it sounds.”
He has definitely given us a passion to help orphans and specifically orphan with special needs and more specifically orphans with Down Syndrome (our youngest child, Eli, has Down Syndrome).  

God spoke and said it’s time.  So on our journey back home we knew what God was saying to us and we started praying and asking Him to confirm.  We stayed in a “guest house” that has been built to be used as a conference center and when the man who owns it found out what we were thinking about, he said for us to come stay there when we were in country (knowing it was to be over a month) and there is NO CHARGE.  Wow!  This man, who is a believer and a man we trust completely, went on to tell us about a Christian attorney he knows who does adoption work.  I told him I’d like to contact him sometime and he picked up his phone and called him.  The man speaks English.  So we have a legal contact we can trust if we need him.  Within a couple of minutes, God had begun the confirmation process.

We got home and continued to pray.  We started trying to put money aside to get our home study started.  We called a handful of places that do international adoption home studies and couldn’t ever get any of them to call back.  We knew it was going to cost between $1,000 & $1,400 for the study, but God had provided the money so we were ready.  Yet, no one would call back.  I finally emailed one more place and they contacted us immediately and then the social worker contacted us the same day and was at our house the next evening to start the home study.  And she charged a much lower price and she is a Christian who has helped hundreds of families adopt from overseas.  WOW!

But it doesn’t end there.  While we were staying at the guest house, there was a missionary who lives there and helps this family with their ministry.  She emailed me 2 weeks ago and told me about some friends of hers who had moved to the States and they emailed me almost immediately and then referred me to Reece’s Rainbow . Suddenly, God had revealed the boys to us and implanted them into our hearts.
We don’t know what else God will do, but just last Sunday, the church where I have served for 15 years had a big anniversary bash for me and my family.  They gave us $2,000 on a money tree (and they didn’t know about the adoption at that point).  A dear couple gave us $2,500 for the adoption as soon as they found out.  We’ve had people give us a couple of hundred dollars since then as they found out and just wanted to be part of rescuing our boys.  We got 2 grants for the boy’s adoption expenses through RR.  So the insurmountable mountain of cost (WITHIN TWO WEEKS) dropped from $27,000 to only needing about $11,000.  Still overwhelming but nothing to God!   He has done great things.  Every day we realize other things that we will need when the boys come home, but we know that God will provide these things and dollars.  He is so amazing!

Papers everywhere!  

The papers are accumulating!  We ordered more documents today.  It seems impossible that all the paper work will ever be complete and exactly the way it’s supposed to be and in order.  But...we’re trusting the Lord.  He Who began this good work will complete it...

There’s no way we could do this on our own.  We are trusting God for so much...the finances, talking to the right people, getting the right boys, the right facilitator.  God has already done so much for us in this process that we can hardly believe it!  He is really proving His power and sovereignty.

Sharing the news...  

We’ve gotten to share our adoption journey today several times with several people and it has been a VERY encouraging experience.  People at church today seemed very excited about what God is doing.

Last night, I explained it all to my mom.  I was a little nervous about telling her what we were doing because after all, we already have five kids.  Isn’t that enough??  :-)   Sometimes, my family looks more at “common sense” than on God’s calling.

We are afraid to get too excited about all this, though.  In the back of our mind, we wonder what will happen if everything falls through!  But I must be already feels like these two little boys are ours and we are just waiting to go pick them up.  We’ve never seen them in person or heard their voice or felt their touch...yet, it seems like they already belong to us.  Crazy...but there it is.

The journey begins...  

The process has started!  We have started our home study, ordered copies of all the documents we need so far and have even began praying about the two little boys we hope to graft into our family.  We have barely started the journey and we are SO EXCITED and can hardly wait! Right now, we are anticipating about 1 month on our home study.  The social worker said she would really try to have everything ready to finish her report as soon as she receives all the documents that we have to collect for her (criminal background checks, child abuse registry reports, etc...) and then we can get it submitted to immigration.   We’re in the process of getting our application sent off to immigration in hopes that we can get our fingerprints and some of the red tape out of the way while we wait for the home study.  We are praying for favor and that our paper work will always land in just the right hands and that we won’t get lost on someone’s desk. 

We are going through lots of different emotions right now.  Excitement, FEAR, uncertainty in what the future holds, amazement about what the future might hold...  Above all, though, we are trusting God to do what He wants to do in our family and possibly in the lives of two little boys.