Sunday, July 31, 2011

Attitude Check

Don't you get annoyed when you read the Old Testament- and God continues to provide for the Israelites yet they are always griping about His provision? God sends down the exact amount of food they need each day- and they complain that they want variety. They are rescued from slavery and have freedom- yet they want to go back.

Sometimes I am just like that. Okay, a lot of times.

In the last week, I have had several freak out moments where I am just OVERWHELMED by the Lord's goodness and provision for us.

Let's name a few:
- Found a perfect house to rent while living in Jacksonville. It is way bigger than we need, but perfect for college ministry (what Will is going to be doing).
-Since we have a too-big house, we need more furniture. Coincidentally, my parents decided to change out their living room- and are giving us a sofa, two big chairs and an ottoman. Score!
-We had an amazing baby shower - so many needs were met for our little one.
-Our new church paid for a moving company to PACK and MOVE our stuff- we didn't have to do anything!
-We found a great homestudy agency- one that I know I'm going to love 100% more than our first one. They are willing to work with us on a fast timeline!

YET- I manage to find something to complain about in every instance. Big house= lots more to clean... how are we going to get the awesome furniture?.... I didn't get enough time to "play" with my baby stuff- had to pack it up immediately (seriously, I can't believe I thought that but while I'm in the spirit of confession, let's be honest...), we are without our stuff for several homestudy = $3,000+ and LOTS of work.

So of course, I began focusing on the negatives instead of the TREMENDOUS BLESSING that the Lord has been pouring over us. I don't want a pity party, folks- and I don't want to be like the Israelites where I miss out on the joy of the provision because I'm wanting something more, or wanting to return to a previous season.

So here it is: my attitude check. The Lord has been so incredibly good to us. Even if he hadn't given us the list above of all the things we needed/desired, we have countless stories of God's faithfulness in our lives- especially because I have been redeemed by Christ and have a relationship with Him. How easily do I get distracted from the point of everything!?!

So I would appreciate your prayers in this new season: for the homestudy process, for our new ministry in AL, for this adoption to move forward quickly, and most of all: for the Lord to be glorified regardless of the details.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Farewell Party/Baby Shower!

Several very precious friends of mine decided to throw me a farewell baby shower before we moved to AL. It was so sweet and it meant so much to me that people blessed us so well!

One of my best friends, Anna- and her two kids!

Ladies at the shower!

Summit ladies- all expecting! Leanne- fostering, Stephanie- AGCI/Ethiopia, Catherine-Rwanda, me, Ashley-Gladney/Ethiopia, Laura Ashley- pregnant!

Will's mom, sister and her daughter!

My niece Lottie helping me with presents!
I had a lot of fun! Aside from eating and opening gifts, we played baby bingo and "where is Ethiopia" where everyone tried to find it on a map of Africa- it was pretty hilarious!

We were SO SO SO blessed by the generosity of our friends. We are pretty much set on hooded towels & kitchen towels, and got a lot of other fun things that I can't wait to use (moby wrap, travel booster seat, wipes warmer, cloth diaper, Jesus Storybook bible, lotion/ shampoo, etc.)!!!! My MIL also got us our high chair (it was delivered to the house so we didn't bring it to the shower), and I'm so tempted to set it up as soon as we move! (Can I justify it by saying I want to make sure all the parts are in the box?)

As soon as I got home, my husband and I looked at all of the neat stuff we got and then immediately had to pack it up. :( We're moving this weekend and went ahead and organized all of our baby stuff.

I am so excited that we are SO SO close to getting our referral and having our baby home. After a year and four months of the adoption process, "baby fever" is an understatement :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Paperchase, Round Two

Big things are happening for us, folks! This weekend we went to our future home in Alabama- where Will was officially accepted at the church he will be working at. We also found our future home and it is ADORABLE! You better believe nursery plans are reeling through my head right now! We move down in a week and I'm so excited (but sad to leave too!).

So now that we have an address, we have officially applied with a contracted home study agency. We're about to being the second round of the paperchase and we will be seeing a lot of the same paperwork that we did last year.

This weekend the Lord affirmed in us that we are making the right decision to move to Alabama for this opportunity. Even though the timing (moving when we are SO CLOSE to a referral) is not how I would have planned it, I can't wait to see how the story unfolds! I guess I am letting my dream of a baby by Christmas go, but I'm thankful that the Lord ordains our steps, and we will have more time to serve our new community before our world changes when we become parents. The Lord is so faithful, you guys! I hope you have seen that in our story.

Friday, July 22, 2011

She deserves an award or something...

My sister Sarah has been working hard to collect stuff for Hannah's Hope. She has been gathering coupons and stocking up on soy formula and diapers! She made it her goal to fill a tub for us to bring to Ethiopia on one of our trips - and she did it! It was a huge accomplishment not just because she took the time to shop, gather the coupons, etc, but because she has a 3 month old and has done all this while managing her 3 kids!! You rock Sarah!

I am so grateful for the support we have received from our family and friends. Everyday I am getting text messages from my sisters about how excited they are to get a niece or nephew soon. And don't get me started on our parents- they are SO EXCITED that their grandbaby will be 2ish hours away now that we are moving to Alabama (both sets of parents! woo hoo!). I guess that since we didn't know how our family would receive the news of our international adoption at first, it makes it that much sweeter that they are all 100% on board and ready for our little on to come home from Ethiopia.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Shower!

Well, it wasn't really a shower, but my office threw me a farewell potluck lunch today, and included some parting baby gifts! Since I will be leaving full-time employment and embarking into a homemaking season, I fully appreciate anything that will help me be a better mom! In addition to some incredibly thoughtful words, the office pitched in and bought me some very fun items to make for a very memorable ending to my job (although I still am working a few days next week).

They got me an incredible video monitor that we registered for, a super soft bear, The Little Engine that Could, and a BEAUTIFUL hand-carved wooden train that was made locally in NC. I am so thankful for these beautiful and thoughtful gifts that will remind me of my time at this job.

It was a privilege working for people that were so supportive of our adoption. So many people would often check in to see our progress along the waitlist, and I know they are all a bit sad that we are leaving right as we get to the exciting part of the process! Our finance manager was the person who notarized EVERY document during our paperchase; she even went to the doctor with us for our physicals! A very generous anonymous donor from our office gave us $500 last summer! Needless to say, we have been VERY blessed at my office and it will be sad to leave this support system... but we know the Lord will provide a new support system for us in Alabama, too!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fresh Air Fund

ATTENTION! Families who want to become involved in Orphan Care and are open to hosting foster children for 1-2 weeks THIS SUMMER! Here is a unique opportunity! Also, this is a great chance to show the love of the gospel to some children that may not have a chance to hear it otherwise. Host families are those in the NE region of the US. Scroll down to read more!

If you have been around here a while, you'll notice we blog about a bit more than our adoption process. I like to highlight other friends who are going through the process when they have fundraisers going on, or mention organizations like BigHouse who are advocating for foster families, or our church Orphan Care ministries. I was delighted when Fresh Air Fund contacted me to blog about the amazing ministry they have going on.

The Fresh Air Fund is still in need of 850 host families for this summer. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and homes to children from the city to give them a Fresh Air experience that can change lives.  It's only for up to two weeks, but it's an experience that can change their lives forever.
Fresh Air children are boys and girls, six to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are six to 12 years old and stay for either one or two weeks. Youngsters who are re-invited by the same family may continue with The Fund through age 18, and many enjoy longer summertime visits, year after year. A visit to the home of a warm and loving volunteer host family can make all the difference in the world to an inner-city child. All it takes to create lifelong memories is laughing in the sunshine and making new friends.
The majority of Fresh Air children are from low-income communities. These are often families without the resources to send their children on summer vacations. Most inner-city youngsters grow up in towering apartment buildings without large, open, outdoor play spaces. Concrete playgrounds cannot replace the freedom of running barefoot through the grass or riding bikes down country lanes.

Fresh Air children are registered by more than 90 participating social service and community organizations located in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York City. These community-based agencies are in close contact with children in need of summer experiences in rural and suburban areas. Each agency is responsible for registering children for the program.

Here is a microsite which explains everything, so please feel free to use any of the images, graphics, banners, or copy:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Official July Numbers!

This month is a big milestone for us. On July 27th, we will be officially waiting for ONE YEAR! Last year we turned in our dossier (months of paperwork) on July 22nd- but when it was reviewed there were two silly errors that had to be updated. I was so frustrated, after examining that paperwork a million times I thought I would have caught those errors! I hate to say I cried a bit when we didn't get our waitlist numbers that Friday. But on Tuesday, July 27, 2010- we got that phone call with those numbers we ached for- 84 girl, 51 boy- we were officially waiting.

So here we are, a year later, and we are not where we thought we would be! We thought surely we would have our referral by now, but God has divine timing with our pending move to Alabama.

So our July 2011 numbers are.......

For a girl:

For a boy:

Yes folks that is right- SINGLE DIGITS! And what is even MORE EXCITING is that we are definitely LOWER than 8 because there have been referrals this month that have not been accounted for in our official numbers.

I'm not going to be obsessive about carrying my phone around (yet) but I am getting REALLY EXCITED!!!

You know what else is really fun? Some of my girl friends up in NC are throwing me a baby shower on the 26th before we move. How thoughtful and special! I am so giddy thinking about baby stuff... I already warned Will that the first room that may get set up when we move is the nursery, haha!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Changes!

We are so thrilled to announce that we are moving to Alabama! Will accepted a position at a church in Jacksonville, and we are thrilled to be a part of what God is doing in that town. When we visited, we saw so many things that made our hearts leap and we can't wait to get down there. Did I mention the pediatrician is from Ethiopia? Yep, pretty cool.

Moving means a lot for us... leaving a church that we love, people that are very dear to us, and a large adoptive community/support system. But we have seen how faithful the Lord was to provide all of these things for us before, and we anticipate that He will meet our needs and equip us to love and serve Him in all places.

So... what about our adoption?

Well, we have to do a completely NEW home study, because we are changing states. New background checks, interviews, home tour, new homestudy agency (we are still clients of AGCI and they will be our placing agency).

This will be a lot of work and a good bit of expense... but you know what? We are confident in the Lord's plan and timing and that all of these bumps in the road will lead us to the child that is meant to be ours. And the extra months of waiting may be good for us as we learn the ropes in a new town and prepare to be parents. So although we don't know exactly how this will affect our timeline, we are excited to move forward and follow God's lead.
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