Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Doll Order #1

Remember how I made a set of dolls for my niece's birthday? You can read that here.

Well, I got my first order for a set of dolls, and thought I would share! These were made for our friends' niece. The little girl's initials are monogrammed on the back, and the boy doll is a UNC basketball player, with his name on the back. This was my first attempt at a little boy doll, so it was a learning experience... but I am proud of how they turned out, and my friend said her niece loves them!

What do you think??

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Humbled Again

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
Psalm 71:14-15

Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40: 5

God is so faithful, even when I lack faith. He is so sovereign and He is so powerful that I can barely understand it! Today, I am once again humbled at His plan for us, and in awe of the ways He is bringing this adoption together.

Thank you, anonymous coworker, for your generous gift for our adoption. You may not even believe in God, yet you have played a part in His plan for us.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Homestudy #4 (Last one!)

Well today our social worker came for our last appointment. For our home inspection we gave her a "tour" of the apartment, and then turned in some documents that we have been waiting to give her (health exams, education certificates, background checks, etc.). It feels really nice to have our work done with for that part, but now we have to wait for her to get back to us with a written report.

She told us that it would take 2-3 weeks for her to write the report.."there's a holiday in the mix"... so mayyybe around July 10th we will hear from her (and if you've been paying attention, that's the day of our AL yard sale!!). So you better believe she will be getting a call from us on July 11th :)

Next steps: Our social worker will write a draft of the report. We will edit, if necessary, then she will update it again. Our home study social worker will send the report to our adoption agency in Oregon. The agency worker, M, will make sure it looks ok, and then if it is ok, our home study social worker will give us 3 notarized copies for our dossier!!!

THENNNN we will mail our completed dossier, with all the copies to Oregon and be put on a waitlist!!!! Hip hip hooray it is getting closer to that point!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Don't Miss This!

Our college pastor, Trevor Atwood, preached an incredible sermon on Saturday night about adoption. Please, please listen/watch it. Go here. It is called Adoption: Identity and Inheritance. It beautifully parallels the gospel and adoption. No offense to anyone else who has preached at the Summit (we love our church), but Will and I believe it is the best sermon we have heard there, and we both wept while we were there. It is only 45 minutes, and well worth your time. Download it and listen to it on your way to work or while you are getting ready, during your kids' naptime or while you are cooking. Make time to hear it. Let us know what you think!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Can We Afford It?

Since beginning the adoption process back on April 1, there have been several times that Will and I have looked at each other and been like, "how are we going to pay for this?!". There have been times that I have angrily questioned God's provision, saying "God, I want to trust you to provide, but you're not doing it!"... and then there are times that I am completely, utterly BLOWN AWAY by the gifts and encouragement of people we know well, or that we barely know that are sacrificing for our baby.

For a big dose of self-disclosure, let me show you the path that Will and I have been on since our sweet wedding day on February 28, 2009 (yes, a mere year and four months ago).

We were married and then I joined Will up in NC, as he is a grad student at Southeastern Baptist Seminary. Thanks to the GENEROUS support of our parents, we had no debt from college and no car payments. The day we went to join our bank accounts I had $50 to contribute ("oops, thought it was more than that, honey".) He was a mailman that made $100 a week, and I had no job for almost THREE MONTHS! We were broke, living off gift cards and our savings account.

Finally, I got a part-time job making $7/hr..... and lost it 3 months later. Will took a job painting apartments all summer, and I got a new full-time job (my current job) in August. We tried to live off of just my income, practice frugality, and save everything that Will made as a painter.... and what do you know, a few months later, to our complete surprise, we had enough money to start an adoption. Who knew?.... not us!

Will is still in grad school, he works 2 part-time jobs and I have my full-time job (plus a little bit of money made from selling craft stuff). We are not living the high life, but we have not once lacked the resources to eat or have shelter. God has provided us with discipline to save, the magical start-up money from our savings this last year (that has already gone to pay for the first half of our adoption fees), and the community that is so supportive.

Now, can I look ahead at the $10,000 or so that we have left to pay, and tell you exactly where/how it will appear? No. But do I have faith that God WILL provide? Heck yes. He always has. He loves this baby even more than we do, and there are many days that we weep for him/her and ache to hold our baby and show it the love of a parent.

So, if you are considering adoption, go for it! Do what you can to save, live a financially disciplined life, and seek God's will for your family. Pray for wisdom and discernment on what you can cut back within your budget. Give generously to your church and to the needs around you, and trust that God will provide for you just the same.

God's calling is clear: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Matthew 25:31-46

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homestudy #3

Today our homestudy social worker came back for the 3rd visit, in which we did our individual interviews. The questions were based on the autobiographies we wrote in our home study history packet.

While Will was having his interview, I was in the back room and I just couldn't help but think about our baby and his/her birthmother. Some days my heart just hurts for her and I just cannot imagine the sacrifice that she is making by carrying this baby, delivering the baby and then having to give the baby up. Wow, the weight of that decision is tremendous.

During our last visit, our social worker said that we would do our home inspection today, but she didn't do it... today she said that she would do it next week (for our 4th and final home study visit). So we are still in the waiting game (is that what 90% of the adoption process is??) and hoping the home study process doesn't last too much longer! We are ready to submit the dossier and get on the waitlist :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Adoption Videos

Who doesn't love watching adoption videos??? Here are a few of my favorites. These are all AGCI clients, and our baby will be at the same orphanage.

You may need a few tissues and get your heart ready, you may be next in line to adopt!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just a taste of the Scottsboro Yard Sale

For all of those who live in the Scottsboro/Huntsville area (Will's hometown), you don't want to miss our yard sale to raise money for our adoption on July 10, at Will's parents' home.

We have been blessed to have five families donating their stuff for the yard sale.

Also, a great friend of mine and her mother have pulled some strings and have convinced The Unclaimed Baggage Center (which was recently featured in the New York Times) to donate hundreds of items to our yard sale. This yard sale is going to be huge. If you live in the area, you do not want to miss this.

My mother picked up the first load of many today at Unclaimed Baggage... Take a look.

Already, we have found several big-ticket items, including game systems, digital cameras, nice clothes, and a gucci laptop bag!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Need Your Advice: Adoption Yard Sales??

Will and I have been continually blown away by the support that we have found in not just our immediate friends and family, but people who barely know us but are just excited to see God's kingdom expand and His plan unfold for our lives through this adoption. There are many stories I could share, but one in particular is a lovely group of people in Alabama who have offered to put on a yard sale for us in July. Will's parents, who are just as excited about our little one as us, have been spreading the word and several families (and even a local business) have offered to donate to our yard sale!

We have about a month before the yard sale, and we need your help! I've noticed that several adoptive families raised a lot of money through yard sales- so what did you do? Please pass along any tips you have on a successful yard sale/fundraiser! Did you price everything, or just leave it up to the buyer? Sell coffee/t-shirts/snacks? We plan on having a table with information about Ethiopia and why we are adopting.

Thanks for your help!!! I am so thankful for this online community!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Orphan Care Ministry

Will and I are very blessed with a church that we are proud to stand behind. We love the vision that our church has, and fully believe that it is gospel-driven in its methods. Recently, our friends took the scriptures regarding caring for the orphans, and created a starting plan for our church involving some aspects of orphan care. You can read a little bit about that here, on the Fleming's blog.

In addition to a sermon series at our church, the beginning of this ministry will involve a mentorship opportunity for families interested, or already involved in adoption and foster care. Wednesday night Will & I met with several families who fall in those categories, and we learned more about this opportunity as well as heard stories of fellow adoptive and foster families.

It was so refreshing to get to know these new friends, and to hear how God has brought each family to the decisions they have made regarding opening their hearts and homes to orphans. We even met a family who was #27 on the boy list at AGCI (they aren't on the listserve but I told the wife that she needs to get on it!).

We are excited to see what this ministry becomes for our church family, and for God to continue to get the glory as He is the original adoptive father, and we are a mere reflection of the wonderful salvation He has given us.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Homestudy #2

Well, just as quick and painless as the first round, our homestudy today lasted right around an hour. Our social worker has a conflict with a date that she previously set for one of our future appointments, so that may prolong the homestudy process for us. I asked her if she could double-check on the rule about the homestudy meetings needing to be a week apart. Hopefully she will hear that we can do two in a weekend (she only works weekends).

Today we discussed our marriage/parenting preparations/expectations of our child/talking to our child about adoption. Will and I have had many discussions about this type of stuff so nothing took us by surprise.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Gifts!

On Monday we saw our dear friends, The Flemings, and they gave us a precious gift to gear us up for our baby. They gave us some wipes, burp cloths, washcloths, a picture book (to send to our baby before we meet him/her), and another adoption book. These were items that they personally preferred with Isaiah- so thoughtful!

More importantly than this bag of goodies, the Flemings have been instrumental in bringing us to this place where we are ready to adopt. We were privileged to watch their entire adoption process (little Isaiah is from Ethiopia and also lived at Hannah's Hope, where our baby will be).

They were the first people we told when we were considering adoption, and have most definitely been the most excited for us. They have been a constant source of information and advice, and have been so patient with our many, many questions. They have been honest with us (and really, we watched them through the paperwork and waiting times, so there is no denying the emotional roller coaster of adoption- that they handled so gracefully by covered themselves in scripture!). Their friendship has been invaluable and we are so thankful for God's strategic placement of us into their small group last year.

We hope that we can be the same encouragement/information source for other families considering adoption. So please, if you have any questions, we may not be the best source, but we will be honest about our view of the process and hope that by bringing home our baby, many other babies will find forever homes.

Thank you, Brian and Heather, for your obedience to God and for being such precious friends. We love you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New To Our Bookshelf

The positives and negatives of not knowing anything about our child from Ethiopia include not buying stuff we may not need. So instead of stocking up on clothes in various sizes, right now we have been investing in books!!

When Will's mom found out we were officially adopting, she immediately sent us this precious baby book. It is absolutely perfect!!

Here are some of the pages. Can't wait to fill in all of them!

For Mother's Day, my mom gave me this book. Apparently it is very helpful- my sisters used it too!

A few weeks ago Will went by a local book sale and brought home this loot of books for a couple of dollars. We can't wait to have a little one to read to!

Will also ordered this book online- and it is awesome! We went through all the questions together and can't wait to teach them to our kids!

And finally, these are two of the adoption books that we have ordered so far, they are children's books that can help with conversations about adoption. A Mother for Choco makes me cry every time!

If you are wondering why we are so excited about the beginnings of our kids' book selection... then you should just check out Will's book collection and you can figure it out. We love books! I believe he may have some mixed emotions when his office becomes a nursery! :)
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