I wanted to give a quick update to let you all know that we believe our “delay” is moving in the right direction. We are still unsure about the timing and ultimately still don’t know the outcome, but the conversation we had with our agency yesterday had a much more positive tone and outlook, so we think that’s something to certainly be thankful for. We know so much of that is because of all the prayers being lifted up on behalf of our adoption of little T so THANK YOU! Please keep the prayers coming! We know mountains can be moved when people come together in prayer and we still need LOTS of them to get our boy home!
We recently shared the awesome news of our approval for the matching grant through Promise 686, and just a few days after that we received the approval for a Both Hands Project through Lifesong! Honestly funding two adoptions has been a challenge at times, so we’re excited about this unique and refreshing fundraising opportunity. Let me explain…
If you can use a tool, clean a window, paint a wall, stuff envelopes, make phone calls, arrange food, or simply pray… then we need you! With your help, we have a chance, not only to raise the funds necessary to bring our son home, but to also serve a widow, just like it talks about in James 1:27. Here’s how it works:
Jonathan and I find a widow in our community who is in need and then assemble a team of our friends and family to complete a Both Hands Project. Then the team (including us) would send out letters to family and friends asking people to sponsor us for the day as we work on this widow’s house. All the funds raised go toward our adoption. It’s just like asking someone to sponsor you for a 5K Run for the Cure.
This idea has been done over 230 times around the country already! Below is a link to a video that might help give you a good idea of what the Both Hands Project is all about.
Here is my request. Would you please consider being on our team? You may be jumping up and down like I was and saying “pick me, pick me” or you might have several questions. Please ask and we will do our best to answer! If we don’t have the answers, we will find out! We were fortunate enough to participate in a Both Hands Project last year for a family bringing home a sibling group (3 girls…so fun!) from Ethiopia, and we had a blast! We just fell in love with the heart behind Both Hands, and so we’re super excited to be doing it again!!! The date of the project hasn’t been finalized yet. We are still working out some of the details, but will continue to share updates here soon. Thank you for even considering!
This post is bittersweet to write as it contains both good and bad news. I’ll start with the not-so-good news because it’s always best to end on a high note.
We recently received news from our agency that our adoption has hit a delay as our case is now requiring further investigation. We are praying for a quick resolution, but we honestly have no idea how long it will take to resolve. We are also praying that the upcoming weeks reveal more information (we have very little right now). To say we are disappointed is an understatement. As most of you know, we thought we’d be boarding a plane very soon and we were literally walking around on cloud nine as we started preparing to become a family of three. Now it appears we’re up against more WAITING. So now we’re trying to refocus and prepare for the next steps in our adoption process – whatever that may be. We’re dying to our plans once again and trusting in God’s plan for our family. I know God is still at work (even if that means some suffering on our part) and only He knows where this is all headed. During our adoption journey, Matt Redman’s “Never Once” has been one of the songs that has always filled me hope and testified to all God has done and is going to do to bring our children home. I’ve shed many, many tears over this song, and even now with our future containing a few unknowns, I’m singing louder than ever…
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
I know that what Satan has clearly intended for evil here, God will use for good. A friend reminded me this week that anytime we do something so close to God’s heart, Satan throws everything he’s got at it. I think it’s safe to say our God is going to be the victorious one in this situation! Would you please join us in praying boldly for a quick resolution? Would you pray that our doubts, fears and anxiety would be replaced with a peace that surpasses all understanding? We know the emotions we’ve been feeling are not of God, and I pray they are removed from our hearts and minds as we learn to TRUST in Him more. Just every time our little family comes to mind. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It is an honor to have you all praying on our behalf.
For the good news…
We received the approval for a Promise 686 grant! We applied and went through an interview process a few weeks ago and have been waiting to hear back. They are going to match every donated dollar up to $4,000! That could potentially cover our first trip to Ethiopia! Such a HUGE blessing! I have to admit that at first I sort of cursed the timing of our approval, but the approval came in God’s timing so there is NO mistake in that. We believe our children are in Ethiopia. We feel like this approval is God’s way of giving us hope and telling us to continue with fundraising, so that we’ll be ready to take the next steps in our adoptions when the time comes. We want nothing more than to be on Ethiopian soil with T in our arms! We were watching some of his videos again a few nights ago and as my heart melted over this little boy for the thousandth time, I turned to Jonathan with the first real smile in a week and said, “He IS our son!” and we’re going to keep on believing in that!
Here is the low down on the latest happenings:
2/12 – Home study officially approved. Dossier instructions were emailed to us and the paper chase began!
2/28 – Dossier done in record time! Scanned all the documents to the program director to review. She quickly let us know we were good to go – no changes! At this point we just needed our form from USCIS to arrive – the final document before mailing our dossier to DC for authentication.
3/6 – Had our referral call to go over all the legal documents. Signed, notarized and mailed them off to make the referral of “T” OFFICIAL!
3/8 – Form from USCIS came in the mail! No longer need to stalk the mailman everyday! Yay!
3/11 – Drove to FOUR counties prior to making the trek to ATL in order to have all dossier documents county and state certified. That was an interesting experience for sure. Couldn’t have done it without my momma joining me for the adventure!
3/13 – Mailed dossier to DC for authentication
3/21 – Got the call that authentication was done and dossier was being mailed to our agency
3/22 – Got email from our agency that she had received and everything was ready to head to ET! Praise God!
Dossier gets to ET and is translated. This takes a few weeks, and then we are submitted for court. Praying we are making our way to Ethiopia very soon!
The past week or so I’ve started to put together T’s room. Mostly to keep myself sane in this new kind of waiting, and because I don’t want to rush it all together last minute! So far I have the bedroom furniture painted and set up in his room.
I’ve also made a wish list of items from Etsy that I would LOVE to see hanging on his walls! My mom added wheels and rope handles to this cart for his books and toys. Precious!
I’m anxious to see the final product, but I’m taking my time and making it extra special for our little guy! It’s weird, but I feel so close to him while I’m working on his room and preparing our home for him. With all the excitement over T, I haven’t talked much about where we are with #2. We are #100 for a baby girl 0-12 months. Still a LONG wait ahead. Praying for a rush of referrals and that we hit double digits this month!!!
To our little one,
Mommy and Daddy are making progress! For the first time, mommy feels like we’re getting close to leaving on a plane. Not nearly close enough of course BUT we’re headed in the right direction. I have to admit there were a few weeks where I was throwing pity parties left and right. I was being inpatient and feeling irritable and depressed from being forced to “stand still” and wait. Then the day finally came and the ball was back in our court. So now we’re completing the paper chase and are so very close to being finished. The mailbox is being checked daily for those last few remaining documents. Please Lord, let our FDL come soon!
Here are just a few things that have happened since our last update:
Home study update approved
Mailed our request for an updated FDL to USCIS
Mailed off two grant applications – praying they will help fund some of the travel fees
Took our family to Desta, our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, for my birthday. Everyone loved the food and enjoyed the experience. Mommy cried the moment she walked in because all the Ethiopian people reminded her of YOU! Mommy has actually found herself crying (mostly) happy tears a lot lately, which is very unusual for her. I guess that’s just one of the many side effects of having a piece of your heart in Ethiopia.
Began the paper chase – requested documents and letters, medical exams, background clearances, lots of signatures and notaries and copy making. So much fun…
We ordered your bedding and bought the paint that will be used for the furniture in your room. Mommy has been nesting – cleaning out closets and rooms and preparing more space for you!
Made photo books as part of the dossier – it’s exciting that one will be given to you and will be your first glimpse into your new home and forever family!
We received an updated development report for this month. You are healthy and happy! You have no idea how comforting that is for us to hear. The description of your personality has changed from shy and serious to sociable and happy and recent pictures show that to be true! We are SO thankful to know you are being loved on and cared for. We do not take that for granted!
And so much more. We’ve been busy, but it’s all so worth it! Every single day of this journey is worth it because they are all a part of our journey to you, little one. We love you so, so much! We hope in some way you can feel our love all the way from your little corner in Ethiopia.
See you soon – but never soon enough!!!