Monday, March 24, 2014

BELIEVE. Just believe.

Believe. It sounds simple, right? I believe a lot of things. I believe that I am healthy. I believe that the sun will come up tomorrow. I believe that my husband will have a job to go to tomorrow. I believe that God loves me. I believe that I have an addiction to reality TV and Chick-fil-A diet lemonade. You get my point.

However, when it comes to something that is really hard to believe, that is a different story. Like, when you have to believe for something that you desperately need, it suddenly becomes difficult. Almost impossible. And that is where I found myself last Sunday afternoon.

I was getting the house ready to host our small group. While mopping the kitchen floor my mind was all over the place with what I had left to do with our adoption home study. The main thing was sending our new adoption agency our application and the $700 app fee with it. We had decided on this new agency a few weeks ago but sending the fee was something that I just could not do. It was a mixture of fear of trusting again,  and the fear of using the last of the money in our adoption account to pay this app fee. I was going to be wiping out the account with this $700 check. Eeek! And we still had to pay the rest of the home study fee.

I started going over what we had already paid by using our fundraiser money. Trying to praise the Lord and remember all that He had already provided. We had already been able to pay:
$1250 - 1/2 home study fee
$300 - first adoption agency app fee
$200 - adoption online courses required by home study and new agency
$80 - fingerprinting fees
$700 - remained in acct for new agency home study fee

After this time of remembering, I looked down at the Believe band on my wrist that we are selling for our fundraiser and instantly the Scripture that came to mind was this from Mark 9:24 - The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"
I prayed this over and over for the next several minutes and then I wrote that check to Children's House International and placed it, along with the application in the envelope and got it ready to send out the next day. 

I won't lie and say that I didn't have a bit of a rapid heartbeat after that was done, but I boldly prayed for God to bless our fundraising efforts and to provide the funds for us because we were going to very very quickly need another $1000 for the rest of the home study, and $3000 to send to our agency as a deposit on our contract. And then after that another $4500.  I kept praying for God's favor in our fundraising until our group started rolling in and then I felt an overwhelming peace. OVERWHELMING!

That night, out of the blue, a couple who was in our group for several years happened to stop over to say goodbye as they were moving to Wisconsin. They handed me a ziploc bag with a note in it and told me to just read it later. I didn't think another thing about it until I was putting the kids to bed that night. I opened it up and nearly cried the ugly cry. Inside the note was a check for $600! What?!? Prayer answered in 2 hours! Then 2 days later, a friend mailed us a check for $100. That completely replaced what I wrote the application fee check for. And then, we randomly entered a grant contest through Ordinary Hero (the group we travel to Ethiopia with). Although we didn't win the big grant (we came in second place), we did earn a $100 grant and 40% of our sales which brought our big total to another $600. 

In one week, just 7 days, God saw to it that we got $1300 for our adoption. Nearly double what was in our account last Sunday when I originally was doubting. Friends, God answers prayers. He knows exactly what we need so I encourage you to let go of the doubt and unbelief. Pray bold prayers. Anything less is insulting. He is God after all! Let Him be God and he will accomplish way more than we could ever even think to ask!! (Ephesians 3:20)


Monday, March 17, 2014

Update on Where We Stand

It has been a busy month for us. We took the kids to Disney World for a family vacation. It was their first times going and it was a truly magical experience for all of us. Chloe is 7 and Brody is 5. Even though David and I have been to Disney many many times in our childhoods and adulthoods through his work, it was different this time. We were seeing through their eyes on this trip and that was so special. The joy was unspeakable and just what my heart needed. Nothing could have stolen that joy away.
After that week, David and I spent another week without the kids in Orlando at a business seminar with his work. This year was incredible! The speakers seemed to be speaking right to me on topics that I needed to hear. We were able to get into breakout sessions that were life changing and when we left at the end of that week, we felt refreshed and refocused.

So now, I can say that we are moving forward with an adoption agency called Children's House International. They are based in Washington State. I have spoken to them on the phone twice and have researched them to the point of nausea. I have tried my best to dig up dirt on them and have yet to find anything. I want to make sure that I am doing the best and most that I can do this time around knowing that we are going all in having to just trust the agency and the process. I never want to look back and think I wish I had researched them more. One HUGE deciding factor for us is that most of the children in their orphanage do have one living birth parent. And sort of like in the US, this parent simply is too sick or unable to financially provide for this child so they choose to place them for adoption. The agency then works with a well respected group called EthioStork who searches all over for birth parents for lots of different agencies who have abandoned kids etc... EthioStork will then work with the parents in making sure that no one coerced them into adoption, that they completely understand that adoption is a permanent thing and that the child may never come back, etc... They really want the birth parent to understand what adoption means. If this is what they really want, then they will make a DVD of the parent sending a message to their child telling about the area they are from, about their family, etc... for the child to see later when they are old enough. David and I both LOVE this! We have always said that because we travel to Ethiopia yearly that we would love to have a relationship with our child's birth parents if we knew who they were. Of course, if our child happened to be abandoned and they couldn't find the parents or if both parents were deceased then we would not have that, but hopefully we would know some part of our child's story so that we could share it with her when she is older.

So, our next step? We are sending in the application for CHI on Monday. Next we are taking the online international adoption courses that are required by both CHI and our home study agency. And then we will complete our home study visits on April 7th. After that, it will take about 2 months for it to be written up and submitted to our agency. Once that is done we can begin applying for grants. Praise the Lord because once the home study process is complete we will need $7500 in order to be put on the waiting list for a child.

It feels so good to finally have made a decision to move forward and trust again after having my heart so shattered by our former agency. The Lord has been so so faithful to remind me of specific Scripture, bring people into my life to speak words of encouragement, and send sweet moments of refreshment during this time of uncertainty.

As we move forward, David and I do have a prayer need that we don't want to get into specifics of just yet. Just please pray for God's favor and blessing over us in this :)

Thanks a million! Oh, and we are working on getting an adoption website set up so that those of you who have asked can donate to it online through Ordinary Hero which will make it tax deductible!