Thursday, October 31, 2013

Adoption Update

I'm about to sum up 6 months of adoption news into this blog post. This post is kind of long because a lot of great things that I am excited to share have happened in the past 6 months!!

As you read in THIS POST well over a year ago, we started the adoption process, found out we were pregnant two-ish weeks later, and decided to continue the process once Wyatt was 6 months old. And that's what we did :). In April, we started our home study again with our amazing social worker Julie Bolles, and started working on our dossier. The dossier is a whole boatload worth of papers such as birth certificates, bank statements, insurance info , recommendations,  and many other documents  that have to be collected and sent to Ethiopia. Along with those documents, we also had to go to the Department of Homeland Security and have our fingerprints done so we could get approved  to be able to go to Ethiopia and bring a child home with us. We finished all of that and received our approval from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in about 3 months, and our dossier arrived in Ethiopia on September 1! Then we we were put on a wait list. We are currently number 134 on this list.  When we started the process before we knew about Wyatt, we were told we would be on the wait list 6-12 months, but while I was pregnant, the Ethiopia program through our agency, Lifeline, grew A LOT. I am so glad so many are interested in adopting from Ethiopia, but the implications of that are that the wait will be much longer. We are ok with that. God has shown us so many times and in so many ways that His timing is perfect, and that there is much to be learned during the wait. We trust that there is a child that God intends to join our family that will not come home a day too soon or too late. We are currently approved to adopt a boy or girl, age 0-2. After talking with our agency and social worker, we have decided for now to keep our birth order intact (so Wyatt will remain the oldest), but I know God could change our minds on that if that's what He wants :). 

As most of you know, adoption is expensive. Like $30,000 expensive. We don't have that kind of money sitting around, but we trust that if God is guiding us to do this, He will provide the funds needed. So far, we have paid a little over 1/3 of that, and God has provided pretty much exactly what we needed right when we needed it. I don't know why I ever doubt that He will provide. He is so good.

A few examples of this... when we started the process again in April, our pastor preached a sermon about "trust and obey", and after the service, a friend from church handed us a check. For $2,000! She told us that she felt like God was telling her to trust and obey that morning and to give us this amount of money. Well neither one of us knew at that point, that we would owe about $1900 towards our adoption THAT VERY WEEK! We put the check in our adoption account, and then received news just a few days later that we had to pay that amount. That was some pretty clear confirmation from the Lord that He is going to provide what is needed. 

Shortly after that, my good friend Kristin Ferguson had a HUGE yard sale for us as a fundraiser for our adoption. If you haven't met Kristin yet, you need to. She is unreal. She has the most giving and selfless spirit. I have learned so much from her. Thank you also to all of our friends and family who donated tons of awesome things and time to making this yard sale the best one in the history of yard sales. I'm not kidding. It was amazing. 

Well the morning of the yard sale, it started monsooning. I woke Wyatt up at 5 a.m. to take him over to Kristen's on the first day of the sale. Brian came in the room and told me it was raining. I started to have a freakout moment, but felt a peace come over me. We decided we still needed to have the sale, and I knew God would be at work. Well, it rained hard pretty much ALL DAY LONG. And not that many people came, but somehow at the end of the day, we had raised close to $1000! Brian said it was like God was just adding cash to the money case... every time he would count the money there would be quite a bit more, but it didn't seem like that many people had even bought things. I made him count the money like 4 times that night to make sure he wasn't miscounting :). The next day, it was sunny and nice and we had a great turnout, and so many sweet friends from church would come and buy things like an old cassette tape from 1982 and give us a $200 check! That happened One friend gave us $1000 for a toy penguin. Who does that?!?! People who want to also be a part of loving the fatherless, and who also believe that children belong in families do things like that. It takes a village, and our village is pretty awesome. Our life group and other friends came to help us (in the pouring rain) and even baked lots of yummy food to sell. We are so blessed. God used the yard sale to show us the beauty of the church coming together to fulfill His calling on all of our lives to work together to care for the orphan. It was such a beautiful day. We raised over $4000 through the yard sale, and we were able to pay the other fees that we owed to our agency and to get our dossier to Ethiopia. God is so good. We had no idea how we were going to come up with $6000 in the matter of a few weeks, and God provided everything with needed before we even knew how much we needed! Holy Cow. He is awesome. In addition to the yard sale, Kristin also sold jewelry that her friend made to help us raise money, and our friend Whitney had a thirty one party and gave a portion of the sales to our adoption. Seriously blown away by the generosity of our friends!

The next large amount we will owe is $9000. We will have to pay this after we accept a referral (for the child we will be adopting). To help with this amount, we are going to start selling our adoption fundraiser shirts designed by our good friend Brandon Wood. Our theme for this adoption has been "bright hope", and Brandon did an amazing job portraying this through our shirt :). 

Here is a digital picture of what they will look like :). The box below shows the different color options. We should have real samples within the week. The color choices will be pink, brown, kelly green, heather navy, heather dark gray, and heather red. They will be $20 a piece. If I will have to ship the shirts, just add $5 to the total. Heather navy and heather red are only available in the men's (Unisex) shirt.

Sizes are as follows: Mens (unisex) Small-6XL; Womens XS-4XL, Kids XS-XL

 If you want to order a shirt (or shirts) leave a comment below or send me an email :). You can pay by check, cash, or credit card using the donate button in my side bar.

Many of you have asked... Why Ethiopia? A few reasons are listed below... We both feel called to adopt from Africa because of the number of orphans there, the poverty in which most of the orphans live, and because of the statistics of what happens to them when they "age out" of the orphanages. We in no way feel that we are rescuing a child, as David Platt puts it - "we adopt because we have been rescued", and we are adopting because we believe with all of our heart that children belong in families, and know that God has called us to grow our family in this way at this time. We know this process will be hard, that the wait will be long, and that the difficulties will not end when this child joins our family, but we believe that God is good, that He is faithful, and that this is what He wants us to do. Thank you for joining us in this journey. Thank you for supporting us through prayer and through finances. This is not something we could ever do alone.... even if money did grow on trees. We still would need you. I can't wait to tell our little one someday how hard people worked together to provide a family for him or her. Thank you and we love you all so much. 

why adopt from Ethiopia -

  • There are over 4,000,000 children currently in orphanages in a country that has a population of 85,000,000.  39,000,000 of those are under the age of 18.  That means that almost 5% of the entire population and over 10% of children are orphans.
  • 38% of the population live below the basic needs poverty level.  To give some perspective of how low that level is, 78% of the population lives on less than $2 per day.  50% of the population subsists on an insecure source of food.  33% are severely malnourished.
  • Percentage of girls who suffer “female circumcision” as it is described in the media, but more accurately described by W.H.O. as “female genital mutilation”: 62%
  • Only 25% of girls attend high school, and only 35% of women can read and write.
  • 1 in 8 children die before the age of 1.  1 in 6 children die before the age of 5.