Monday, August 29, 2011

When God says "Wait"....

Last week was rough...

I would be lying if I said that I hadn't been stressing out over the upcoming yardsale. My house is a mess. My office and dining room have been taken over with the donations of dozens of incredibly generous donors and families. I find bugs constantly from having the doors propped open so often while bring stuff in and out and walking with dirty shoes from our car to the house and back again over and over.

I hate that most of the hardest and most labor intensive work can't be done until the last minute, making me feel very out of control. I hate the uncertainty of where things will come from, where help will come from.

And then, when I feel like I can't WAIT for this to all be over and behind me... when I'm wishing the days to go quickly so we can just get to the day of the yard sale and be done with it... God says, "Wait."

We knew that maybe this was what he was trying to tell us earlier in the week when the weather reports were showing a huge hurricane headed our way, sure to dump buckets on our area the day we have scheduled for our yard sale. And I prayed... "But God we've already spent the money taking out ads in the newspaper, We've put up flyers all over, We've told everyone we know about this sale! We even had a news crew come out to our house to do a story on it! Father, YOU are bigger than this storm! Move it!"

And He replied, "Wait."

As the week progressed I started to feel under the weather. "I know this is just stress Lord, as we prepare for this sale. I know that YOU love the orphans, I know that YOU are the One who has called us to this journey! God, heal me and move this storm so that we can have this sale!"

And again, He said, "Wait."

Finally, when on Friday morning I end up in the Emergency room and find out that I will be having surgery sometime in this coming week, and when it is apparent that Hurricane Irene isn't going anywhere but straight towards us...

And we finally say, "OK God, we will wait." (Not that we had much choice at that point... haha :) )

I'm not sure why with all that's going on in the world that He was so adament about us not having this yard sale this past weekend. I am unsure as to why He sent a hurricane to NC and me to the ER at such inconvienient times.

But just as I knew before, I still know now... that He DOES love orphans, more deeply and purely and fully than I could ever imagine... that He DID call us to this journey of seeking these children, and not leaving them as orphans, but instead bringing them into our family as loved children.

Does that story sound familiar?

So our new date for our yardsale is September 24th. We still need volunteers and we'll still take your stuff if you have any donations.

In the meantime, my house is still a mess... but it's OK. I still will have to have surgery this week... but that's OK too. Because the truth is, all those things that I mentioned above are merely red tape...
but pursuing the orphan, and using our family to reflect the love the Father has for His children... that is much much more...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We have been accepted!!

We got the letter this morning!

We have been officially accepted into the Uganda program by Generations Adoptions!

We are working on scheduling our orientation and will hopefully be able to complete that by the end of the week!

We are on our way to our precious and loved little ones!!

DISCLAIMER: These are not our kids, this is just a picture of a set of twins that have been at the orphanage that our kids will come from, and you know, they're just cute :)

On another note, please be praying for our yard sale on Saturday. There is a potential that we could get drenched on Saturday due to Hurricane Irene. Please pray that God would turn her path and that we will have a bright and beautiful Saturday morning to have this sale.

Our God is greater...

Monday, August 22, 2011

FAQ 2: How much is your adoption going to cost?

**UPDATE 9/12/11- After completing our orientation to Generations and going through the costs line-by-line we have realized that the final cost of the adoption will probably actually be between $28,000-$30,000... Not a huge difference, but we thought we'd cue you guys in!**

So I am back with our second "FAQ" in my little series. To see question 1 go here.

Question: How much does an adoption from Uganda cost?

Answer: Our adoption of 2 children will be roughly $26,000.00.

Yes, that's a lot of money.

Yes, we're kind of freaking out about it.

In reality though, it's going to be OK. It's kind of like being pregnant and birthing a child. It seems so dauting when it's in front of you, and then when you look and see how many people have done it before you... You kind of have to hit yourself and say

"Stop whining, and do what you have to do to get your baby (or babies in our case) home."

The truth is, there are a lot of things we, and seemingly everyone else in this country, spend our money on that is nothing but a waste. We have more stuff than we know what to do with, we have a house that's twice as big as our nation's average household size was 40 years ago, etc... It's all about priorities... and for a while, Ugandan orphans are at the top of our list of priorities!

So what are we going to be doing to get this money together?

*First, we are going to SPEND LESS MONEY! A novel idea, huh? 2012 will be the first year of our marriage that we're not going to be taking a family vacation, except to travel to Uganda of course! We've canceled our cable. We've cut back on our grocery budget, eating out, etc... There's not a single facet of our life that we're not cutting back on.

*Well, I've already mentioned in previous posts that I have picked up some overtime. I plan on doing that some more, in small doses, over the next year or so. Before I did it last time I underestimated the emotional toll it would take on Ainsley, and although she had a great time with her Aunt, after it was all done she had separation anxiety from me worse than she's ever had. After a couple of weeks she seems to mostly be back to her old self, but I'm not going to put her in that position again.

*We are having a HUGE yardsale THIS WEEKEND! We have had a TON of families donate a TON of stuff and this coming saturday is the day! In this process, we too, are purging a TON of our own stuff.
Simplifying + De-stuffing + Raising money for our adoption = Good stuff!

*We will be applying for grants as soon as we get approved for our agency (hopefully this week!) And then there are many grants that we can't apply for until we have gotten our referral.

*More fundraisers! This is where I need YOUR help!! Yes YOU! The ones reading this! What kind of fundraising ideas do you have? I've thought about selling the 31Gifts stuff,

I've heard of flower bulb fundraisers, I've seen some awesome ministries in Uganda that teach impoverished women a trade like sewing and bead making that they then provide for fundraisers.

Leave me a comment here on this post and let me know which fundraisers you think would be best or if you have any additional ideas let me know!! We are willing to consider anything!

*Donations... You know what that means ;)

*Finally, prayer. We know that God loves orphans. We know that God has called Christians to adopt. Therefore, we believe that God is going to provide for this adoption, in some way.

Hope you all are having a great Monday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

17 Months

I can't believe I have a kid who is 17 months old! How did that happen?

I can't say enough how much we love this little one! She brings more joy to our life than we even knew possible!

At 17 months she is walking and running EVERYWHERE and has in recent weeks learned to climb the stairs (we fought this with every fiber of our being for the past several months!), climbing on our furniture, beds, etc. This new habit is taking an emotional toll on me as just last night I had a nightmare about her climbing out of her crib, out her window and down the side of the house!

Laughing because I caught her climbing on the couch!

She's expanded her vocabulary quite a bit... Words she can say includes...Mama, Dada, Schatzi, Maddie, Nana, Pop, Grammie, Paps, Dog, Cat, Sheep, Duck, Bird, Pig, Cow, Horse, Fish, Goat and all the noises these animals make...Light, Sun, Moon, Eyes, Ear, Hair, Nose, Please, Eat, Pool and Beach.

She can point to body parts including hair, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, chin, forehead, eyebrows, fingers, toes and elbows.

She still LOVES books and we recently started going to the local library. She also loves swimming, playing in the sand, drawing with sidewalk chalk and mimiking.

Here are some pictures taken in recent weeks!

Schatzi loves her! Well, sometimes :)

Loving on Larry, her best friend :)

Three of her favorite things; her hat, a book and her bike

She has learned how to open our doors

Playing with her twin babies her Grammy got her to get ready for her future siblings from Uganda!

She loves to color!

Talking to her friend, Goofy

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rethink Adoption

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have a guest speaker at our church named Russell Moore. He is an awesome preacher who is kind of famous in adoption circles because of his book "Adopted for Life."

This book with absolutely change the way you look at both the adoption of children and the doctrine of adoption. It will rock your world.

Read this book IF:

*You've ever thought about adoption.
*You know someone who is adopting.
*You are a Christian and have been adopted into the family of God.
*You have ever heard the word adopted.
*You know me or Matthew.
*You are breathing.

Well the message he preached was powerful, to say the least...

As our Campus pastor Danny Franks said that day and then later tweeted:

So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the next 41 minutes of your life and listen to this message...

Dr. Russel Moore - Adopted for Life from The Summit Church Sermons on Vimeo.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Frequently Asked Question 1: Do you plan on having any more children "of your own"?

To say we've gotten a TON of questions since we started pursing this adoption would be an understatement. I just thought maybe it would be a good idea to address them here. However, the questions require more than a one word answer, so I'll just plan on doing a different post for each of them.

Probably one of the most common responses we get is this:

Question: Do you plan on having any more children "of your own"?

Answer: Before I give an answer, I'm going to address the question itself first.

I know that no one has ill intentions when asking this question, but it can be hurtful to the children and parents in an adoptive family when people use the phrase "your own children." You see, by using those words you are implying that children who are adopted into a family are somehow LESS of a part of that family than those who were born into the family biologically. The truth is, our children who we will adopt from Uganda will be just as much our children as is our precious Ainsley!

The word "adopted" is not an adjective. It is not a word used to describe a member of the family, i.e. "This is Mrs.Smith's daughter Emily and this is her adopted son, Michael."

Instead it is a verb, and it is used to describe how someone came to be a part of a family, IF for some reason it comes up in a conversation, i.e. "These are Mrs. Smith's children Emily and Michael. Emily was born to Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Michael WAS adopted." In the imaginary Smith family I've created here, Michael is just as much a child of Mr. and Mrs. Smith as Emily is, they just came into the family by different means.

This may seem like silly verbiage to many, but to the child and his/her parents, this can be huge. Unintentionally, when saying this, people are devaluing the relationship established through adoption.

Our adoption of these children is meant to be a reflection of our adoption into the family of God. The Bible says that those who have accepted Christ have been adopted into the family of God and made children of God. It also says that since we are children, we are joint-heirs with Jesus to the throne of God. Therefore, if God is placing us on a level playing field with Jesus, surely we should do the same when talking about children who were brought into a family biologically and through adoption.

A great way to ask this would be: "Do you plan to have anymore biological children?"

The ANSWER to this question is: Sure! If God blesses us with another pregnancy we will be incredibly excited! We have been very blessed in the fact that, thus far, we have never had any problems with infertility, that we know of. For us adoption is NOT a "plan B." We are passionate about the value of life and of children and that our God cherishes every child and they are each precious to Him. Because of that, we will welcome any child into our family with joy, no matter how they come to us. We don't "plan" pregnancy in our family and we certainly don't avoid it medicinally. If you want to read an awesome post that reflects exactly why we have taken that stand in our marriage read this awesome post by Sharon Hodde.

"the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Now if we are children, we are heirs- heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ..."
Romans 8:15-16

I hope you are all having an awesome Monday! I'll post another FAQ later this week!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let the Countdown begin...

Well it's officially official...

Although in our hearts and with our words we have committed to our adoption from Uganda, we hadn't actually put it on paper yet.

You see, when we had our telephone conference with the representitive from the agency we've chosen she recommended that we have a decent amount of cash at our disposal before starting because in the beginning of the process the fees come quickly.

Well, we immediately kicked it into gear...

First, we arranged for Matthew's big sister, Kimberly, to come and stay a couple of weeks with us so that I could pick up lots of overtime. We are so thankful that she not only watched Ainsley, but that she even cooked dinner for us every night! The fact that we weren't paying for childcare made a big difference for our "net" earnings for those shifts.

Second, we started begging for all of our friends and co-workers unwanted stuff so that we could have a yardsale. We are partnering with the Dager's (who we mentioned here) on this endeavor and hope to raise lots of money to help bring our kids home!

So, on Thursday I got my paycheck from all of my overtime.

On Friday we mailed in our official application to our adoption agency!

Wooo Hooo!!!

And, in case you were wondering... No, that overtime does not cover all of the expenses. However, we're acting on faith that the yardsale is going to be a success to get us to our first fundraising goal for this whole process.

We're so excited to actually be able to say we've put the rubber to the road on this whole process and we're officially on our way to adopting our next two kids.

Please pray for us as we start on this exciting journey! We are so excited and humbled that God has called us to this!

If you want to follow this step by step look over at the sidebar and "Follow" this blog so that you don't miss any updates!

Also, leave us some love by leaving us a comment below! Believe me... it is such an encouragement to actually see and hear that we have people backing us on this endeavor... It's a daunting one and we need all the love, prayers and encouragement we can get!!

Love you all!