Monday, April 18, 2011

More Than Conquerors

Hello friends!  I thought today would be a good day to update everyone on the process.  The last week has been an emotional time for us, but also a focused time, and a time to remind us that this process is in the Lord’s hands. 
 I know that most folks don’t know what is involved to adopt internationally.  Let me tell you that it is labor intensive!  We are compiling a dossier for the adoption of each child.  Just to give you an idea:
This dossier includes:  forms from our doctors clearing us physically, TBI background checks, information from the county about what our home is worth, info from our mortgage company about how much we owe on our home, marriage certificates, birth certificates, passport copies, snapshots of our bank accounts, letters of recommendation, clearances from a social worker, immigration clearances, shot records for our dog (good grief)I could go on.  There are probably 20 more forms I haven’t listed, but you get the idea.  THEN, there is the whole issue of the dates on each of these pages.  Many of them expire a year from the date issued and when we send them to the government of the country we’re adopting from, they won’t take anything that expires in the next 6 months.  On top of all that, each page has to be notaried, then certified by the county clerk’s office at $4 per page (Aaaaaaah), then apostilled by the Secretary of State at a rate of $5 per page (my blood pressure is rising).  Now remember, all those forms.times 3!!!
I’m not trying to bore you with details, but I know that much of what we learned about the adoption process, we learned from blogs so we want to give our readers a taste of what we’re experiencing.  We did a LOT of reading and research over the last couple of years, so there haven’t been too many surprises along the way.  We have been blessed with a pretty smooth journey so far and feel very thankful that God has allowed the door to remain open thus far for Fedya, Anya and Alexa to come home to be part of our family forever.
We got a phone call from our dear adoption facilitator, Lyndi last Monday.  Our hearts kind of jump into our throats when we see that she’s calling, because she is the bearer of news, good or bad.  Here’s what Lyndi saidshe said that the country where the children live now, will be closing to international adoptions in about 2 months. 
This is overwhelming news.  Everything just kind of goes white in my mind “IMPOSSIBLE!” is what my flesh screamed.  Getting everything done by October seemed insurmountable last week! 

How many timesdid God overcome on behalf of the Israelites?  How many prophecies has He fulfilled?  How many miracles did He perform?  He has defeated armies, parted the ocean, Healed the sick, overcome physical temptation, fed the masses with 5 loaves and 2 fish (ahem $?), forgiven the unforgivable, loved the unlovable and conquered the grave!!!  He has OVERCOME this world!  Hallelujah!  If His will is to fold those babies into our family, then that is EXACTLY what He will do.
I thought 6 months was impossible for us to do.  Maybe this is God’s way of pointing out that I can’t do it.that “His power is made perfect in my weakness.”(1 Cor. 12:9)  If this is done in two months, we will not be able to claim victory as a result of our efforts, but only in His perfect power. He will be glorified! He’s saying “Let me show you what I can do!”
Here is what my “Jesus Calling” said for today’s devotional:
“Peace is My continual gift to you.  It flows abundantly from My throne of grace.  Just as the Israelites could not store up manna for the future but had to gather it daily, so it is with My peace.  The day-by-day collecting of manna kept My people aware of their dependence on Me.  Similarly, I give you sufficient peace for the present, when you come to me by prayer and petition with thanksgiving.  If I gave you permanent peace, independent of My presence, you might fall into the trap of self-sufficiency.  May that never be!
I have designed you to need Me moment by moment.  As your awareness of your neediness increases, so does your realization of my abundant sufficiency.  I can meet every one of your needs without draining My resources at all.   Approach my throne of grace with bold confidence, receiving my peace with a thankful heart. 
Exodus 16:14, Phillipians 4:6-7 and 19, Hebrews 4:16

Peace (blood pressure stabilizing)freedom from worrylaying it at His feet
            so thankful and blessed


Friday, April 15, 2011

This Side of Heaven

My soul has so much more to offer in worship than my little white lungs can accommodatebut I try.  Just ask all the Rockvale, Christiana and Bell Buckle folks that I bless with my worship in the middle of the night occasionally.  Its just me, the angels, crickets and frogs and the open country road.  I can think of no more fulfilling moments of worship than those.  You knowwhen I get to heaven, I kinda think my glorified body is gonna be that of a big black lady.  Cause when I sing How Great Thou Art, or It is Well or The Revelation song, its gonna require lungs like Jennifer Hudson, a heart like Mandisa and the soul of Aretha.  In the midnight hour, there are no little voices from the backseat telling me to turn it down and not so gently reminding me that I havent yet achieved Aretha-ness.  Its weird I know, sneaking out in the middle of the night for a date with God.  Just know, that on that day yall find my car flipped over somewhere along a country road in the middle of the night, I went with Glory on my mind and Heaven in my heart!   I was probably doing something ridiculous like trying to raise my hands in worship or close my eyes to pray.or dancing like a foolyeah, I do that too.  God smiles though, Im his fool and my voice sounds like Arethas to him and I dance likewell, I dont know any dancers that I wanna dance like. 
That moon is mine tonight, he made it just for me.  Its got that foggy glow all around it.  Cant see the stars, but we know theyre there, right?  Just like those moments, when we cant trace His handwe have to trust His heart.  The low chorus of frogs slowly  subsides, then crescendos, drowning that one little night bird I hear chirping.and the sweet melodies of Selah soar over all of it. 
My heart is fulllonging after my Father.

"Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
with all creation I sing
praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
and I will adore you!"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cause and Effect

This week my task was to get the required letter from the bank about our house. The bank was very accommodating in providing the letter and notary, I was very grateful at how helpful they were. After leaving the bank I headed to the county clerk's office to get the certification. I wasn't to sure if they lady helping me was to thrilled about helping. When she came back to the desk with the stamped documents, I noticed they were slightly overlapping some text and not straight, which can cause the documents to be rejected. I was thinking what her reaction was going to be when I asked her to redo the documents. It just so happened she made a mistake with the dates, and was going to have to redo the documents any way. As I asked her since she was having to redo it if she would mind not stamping it over any text and keep it up right. The look given was less than cordial, however as I explained why, the question came "Is this for an adoption?". I responded yes it is for an adoption. The next question "What age?" After this response,1,2,4 and the ages of our biological kids, her demeanor changed. After a small discussion about the adoption and my sanity, I left with certifications and a request to return with pictures.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Children

Well, I guess you wanna meet the cuties that we hope to bring home soon!  I am excited to be able to post their pictures and current names.  They are from eastern Europe.  I cannot get more specific than that online, but I am delighted to be able to introduce little "frowny Fedya" (4), Anya (2), and Alexa (1)!  We are excited to be able to pray for them by name now!  We still have a long road ahead of us and the children will become "available" in April for adoption.  There is a chance that God could place them with another family before we can get all of our paperwork ready and go get them.  We simply continue to pray that God will put them in the loving home that he has chosen for them and that he will fill our home with children who need a loving home.

 :)heehee...I just wanna tickle a smile out of him!
 ...and that beautiful smile!
and whew...girlfiend, we gotta talk fashion!

Dontcha just wanna eat that little "frowny Fedya" with a spooon!?!  They are all precious!  And most importantly they need a mom and a dad to look them in the eyes every day and tell them how very loved they are and that God has a hope and future plans for them.  And don't even get me started on how they need a big brother to model integrity and character for them, and a big sister to nurture them and make them laugh and they definitely need another brother to make them laugh and entertain them.  God's definitely got plans for these kids!  Of course, let's also not forget all the friends and family that surround our lives...we know you will also be such a blessing as part of God's plan for these kids!  Thank you for the kind words and loving support that so many of you have already offered!  We love you and pray that you'll still invite us over knowing that it will be twice as many spills, splatters, stains, footprints and accidents...ooh and twice as much noise! :) heehee...I can't wait!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Doors Re-Open

We have learned that the siblings we were trying to adopt are still available for adoption!! The whole family was excited about the news. We know it isn't certain these three will be three we will adopt, nothing wrong with hoping. We will continue to pray God puts these three exactly where they need to be (here in TN)....


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Doors Open, Doors Close

Since we’ve started this adoption process, we’ve prayed that God would open and close any doors according to His plan. So this past Saturday we experienced our first door being closed. There were three specific siblings we were hoping to adopt.   We found out this weekend that they have been adopted or at least are in the process of being adopted. Obviously there are mixed emotions, sorrowful we won’t be bringing these three into our family, but rejoiceful God has placed these children exactly where He wants them. Now for the excitement, what new door will be opened!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5


Monday, February 7, 2011

Where do we start?

Craig and I are so excited to begin our blog journey here with you.  We are so blessed!  It's always so exciting to see the Lord's hand at work in our lives.  He's been moving in such mighty ways lately! We have a lot on our hearts that we want to share here with you!  The Lord has brought us to a new beginning. Hallelujah!  Our journey, that began with years of praying and many hours of research and discussion, continues here in this very much more public forum.  This will be new for us,  but we think that this will be the best way to keep all of our friends and family updated as we progress.  Progress?  Progress through what you ask?  That's the best part!  I'm so pleased to share with you that we are EXPECTING!  Well, maybe not in the way that you imagine.  We are preparing to ADOPT... It gets better!  We will be submitting to adopt a sibling group of up to three children.  "THREE CHILDREN!!?!", yeah, pick up your jaw, you read that right! 

We can't wait to share our hearts about this here on our blog in the future.  Craig and I both will be taking time to regularly update our family blog.  You’ll hear much more “out of the overflow of our hearts”! For now...know this...we don't have all of the details yet.  We don't have all of the answers.  The important thing is that we are in constant discussion with each other and our Heavenly Father who loves our 3 precious biological children, and our future "grafted in" children even more than we can imagine loving them.   Hard to fathom, I know, but true.  His loving hand is covering us all through this journey and we will fully trust him.  Our goal as a family is His glory. In our victories, trials and even our failures, we will glorify Him. 

I know many of you have LOTS of questions.  We will be sharing openly on this blog and we welcome your comments and questions (yes Sandy, edits too).  One of the great tools for research was our ability to read through other people's entire adoption journeys on their blogs.  We have been able to understand some of the roadblocks and difficulties that folks encounter along the adoption path.  But through these blogs we've also been able to share in the joys and highs that come from growing your family in the Lord!  We already feel love for 3 children we've never met and we pray you'll grow to love them too. 

 In the meantime, we covet your prayers.  Here are some things that you can join us in prayer about;

1.  That our lives would be a pleasing offering to the Lord and that He would be glorified in this process no matter what the outcome for us.

2.  That the Lord would prepare mine, Craig's and our children's hearts for this wonderful metamorphosis that our family is about to undergo.  Specifically we pray protection over our biological children.  Even though they are excited, we all know that there will be difficulty at times while we transition from a family of 5 to possibly a family of 8.

3.  Pray for the safety of our "future children".  We pray for their physical needs to be met, but we also are praying that the Lord is placing loving people around them.  People that will look them in the eyes, smile at them and love them until they can come home. 

4.  Finances.  There are many details that we are trusting the Lord with, this is one that may be the most difficult.  This is an expensive process.  We will be doing a lot of praying, brainstorming, saving and fundraising to raise the dough needed to bring the little guys home.

5.  Last, but so importantly, we have been praying that the Lord would give us discerning hearts (and minds).  We pray that He will clearly open and close doors as he would have us proceed.  We pray that not only will He open and close those doors, but we will recognize and accept the "no's" that sometimes we like to pretend we didn't hear from the Lord. 

We are grateful for the love and support of those dear to us.  We've already been so blessed by some of your reactions as we've shared our dreams with you.  Thanks for coming alongside us!

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24
See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting

Psalm 139:23-24