Monthly Archives: January 2014

Approvals and such…

Here’s what we’ve been up to since my last post:

-I am STILL soooo overwhelmed by Gods continued goodness and grace. His love amazes me.

-We sent off our I800 and have been approved! This documents gives us approval to adopt our daughter specifically =) Our USCIS agent was the sweetest woman, so genuinely joyful for our family. She attached a post-it note to our approval, saying how happy she is for us, and how beautiful our daughter is.  =)  ( I know right   😉   )

-We sent off for our Chinese visas and have made the final decision to indeed bring our girls along with us to China. We really struggled with making this decision, solely because of finances. We have decided that no matter what, it would be worth the credit card debt we would accrue for their airline tickets. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our family. Its not just Caleb and I adopting, but our family as a whole. We didn’t want to disappear for a couple of weeks and then just show up with their new sibling.

We want them to experience the adoption from start to finish. We want them to see where their sister is from, and experience the culture. We want them to see her orphanage and all the other children without families. We want them to know why we are doing what we are doing. Our prayer is that this plants something in their hearts, and that it will grow into something beautiful in their own lives.

 

– We also made a photo album to send to our daughters orphanage via our agency.IMG_9909
The idea is that the “nannies” who care for her will show it to her often, and start to talk to her about her mommy and daddy and sisters. Then on “Gotcha” day, they can bring it along and point to our picture and then to us standing in front of her. IMG_9910IMG_9912

She is very young and cant possibly understand the words “Mommy” or “daddy” or “sister”. Those are just words. But over time, we will come to define them for her, and she will know what it is to have a mommy and daddy who love her, protect her, and can meet her physical and emotional needs. IMG_9913She will come to know the depths of the word “family” and “daughter”. She is our daughter in all that the word entails, and she will soon learn that she is the daughter of a mighty king who wrote her story long ago and knew all the days set before her. He formed her in her mothers womb. He was with her the day she was abandoned in that market place…. he stayed by her side and held her when her parents felt they had to let her go. I lightly sketched Psalm 139:13-16 on a sheet of paper and stuck it in the photo album hidden behind a picture. It reads :IMG_9914

“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place…. your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

He’s been with her every single day, and every single night. In a time when we can’t.IMG_9819

This is a picture of a crib in her orphanage, taken last year by a family picking up their daughter. Here he holds her, he sings over her, and embraces her with his peace. I know that full well.

Right now we are spending our days emailing the National Visa Center (NVC) a million times a day waiting to hear we are “logged in” so we can complete our last bit of paperwork. Then we wait for article 5, and lastly, Travel approval. We are counting down the moments until she is in our arms forever. We have been told we are an estimated  8- 10 weeks away from travel. Everyday is one step closer.

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Wishing this was the real Asia, and we were getting our girl.

 

 

 

FULLY FUNDED!!!!

After spending our normal Sunday afternoon on the farm in Callahan…IMG_9773(LOL) We got in the car to drive home. During the drive, I received a text from our good friend who, oh so graciously, handles our adoption Facebook page. (and so much more)  She told me someone left a message on there with a name and number asking us to call them. I recognized the name right away. She is the mom of a dear friend of one of my older sisters. My sister and her friend, this woman’s daughter,  have been close for a really long time despite the physical distance life has put between them.

When I got home, I stepped out onto the back porch to call her…  she answers: “This is ______. ”

Me: “Hi, its Hillary!”

She tells me she received a link to our Facebook adoption page yesterday, and that she and her husband felt led to help by donating. “If money is all thats stopping you from bringing your daughter home, we want to help.” ( well, yes, money and the never ending paperwork…)

Me: “oh, thank you!”

Her: “how much do you need?”

Me: “Right now we need $1,820 to be fully funded.”

Her: “Its done.”

Me: loud sobbing, while smiling at the same time. (?!?! I didn’t even know that was possible.) Between sobs, I was trying to thank her….

Her: “Thank God, he told us to give what you needed.”

Me: More sobbing and trying to talk.

She was sooo sweet, and God is soooo good. She didn’t even know our whole story, and she had never read our blog. (I hope you are now) 😉  But it didn’t matter, it was Gods leading…. He has directed every step, of this journey, including every donation. Each and every dollar you have donated, or prayed for, has led us to this. I had already planned on sending the check into our agency tomorrow!!! and today, exactly when we needed it, WE ARE FULLY FUNDED!!!!IMG_9810

Whatever amount you were able to give or whatever you did to help, Thank you!!! I read this and thought of all of you:

“What you do to serve others, not only provides for the needs of Gods people, but also produces more and more prayers of thanksgiving to God. You will honor God through this genuine act of service because of your commitment to spread the good news of Christ and because of your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else. With deep affection they will pray for you because of the extreme kindness of God in you. I thank God for his gift that words cannot describe” 2 Corinthians 9 12-15

Many prayers of thanksgiving have been prayed to God because of your extreme kindness, God in you.

Thank you for walking along side us in this journey!

 

Philippians 4:9… “My God shall supply all your needs”

On Wednesday, Jan 1st we still owed our agency $6,310. When I woke up on the 2nd, an unexpected donation brought that number down to $5,690, and this spawned a very timely, impromptu social media fundraiser. Once again, family, close friends, friends of friends, and even complete strangers rallied around us to show their support in what God is doing in, and through our adoption.

Some gave monetary donations, others reposted, prayed, or wrote kind words of encouragement. We were so blessed by each of you. In just two days we had raised $1,770  towards the adoption. Leaving us just $4,440 short of being fully funded!!!! That was yesterday, and then comes today……

Im driving when I receive a text from my hubby. I pull over in a random neighborhood to respond, not because i’m such a great  law abiding citizen, 😉  but because I knew by the words in his text: “what!?!” , that it had to be something good and I needed to pull over. He tells me we received a donation of $2,000!!!!!!! WHAT?!?! (yea, his response was spot on) …..but, from who?!?

Although we share a family member through marriage, we’ve only met the donators once, and it was just before the “mom” passed away. I’m sure they have been through a lot in the past couple of years, having lost a very dear loved one. I am in tears as I type, overwhelmed by the fact that they would give so unselfishly to what God is doing in our journey, in our daughters journey. If you are reading this…… all I can simple say is, thank you.

On the day this “impromptu” yet perfectly timely fundraiser started, this was the verse I felt God speaking to me:  “My God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches, which we have been given through Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:9

Once again, God has shown us his goodness and faithfulness exactly when we needed Him!!!!! $2,440 to go!!!!!!!!IMG_9763

This has been the most faith challenging, yet amazing journey of my life. I am more aware and certain of Gods presence in my everyday life (both seen and unseen) now than ever before. He loves us so much more than we can ever fathom, and his thoughts for us are more than the grains of sand. I “knew” all of this before, but I can say I truly “know” this now.

“How precious are your thoughts concerning me oh God! How vast in number they are! If I try to count them they would out number the grains of sand” Psalm 139:17-18IMG_9250

This is true!! Its true for me, its true for you, and its true for my daughter who currently lives in China. His precious thoughts of her outnumber the grains of sand. She is an orphan, but she is not alone, and she is not forgotten. She has a mighty father in heaven who loves her more than she could ever fathom. I pray for her, and our two other daughters, that one day they would be able to say, that they truly  “know” this for themselves……

 

 

LOA, I-800, I-800A… crazy day

(Written around 12pm today:)

I have so much adrenaline rushing through my body right now over Gods goodness!!!  I woke up this morning with a feeling of hopeful anticipation. Today we will receive our Letter Of Acceptance from China (LOA) via Fed Ex. I may, or may not be lurking by the front windows of my house, looking like a creeper 😉 AHHHHHH!!!! Seriously?! My door bell just rang… and look what it is!!!!!

 

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(630pm:)

Ok, I am back.  Let me tell you about my crazy day. We knew we would owe our agency “in full” at the time of LOA so that they will move forward with travel arrangements when the time comes. We just thought we would have a couple more months before LOA. (I am not complaining at all) As of last night we owed over $6,000!!! I woke up this morning and got an email that we had received a donation of $620!!!! OH MY GOODNESS, well….GODS goodness anyway. 😉 I really felt like God was using the couple who donated this morning to remind us, “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches” Philippians 4:19

THANK YOU for the timing of your generous donation, you know who you are =)

We need to raise $5,690, like right now. I know its a lot of money to raise …. but I know HE can do it.

I had to call the USCIS today, (The united states citizenship and immigration services) to try to get questions to what has become a little bit of a complication in our paperwork due to the quickness of our LOA. (again, trust me, I am not complaining)

My agency was afraid we would have to wait for our updated approval to arrive in the mail since we had just requested for it last week to include our daughters “special need”. Stay with me here… I told you it was a little complicated. 😉 I called today to see if we would indeed have to wait for the new update, which would possibly delay our travel plans by a month, even though we had just got the “go ahead” to move forward with the next step.

I’ve called the USCIS for something for the adoption in the past, and the agent who answered was very serious and matter-of-fact. Today, at first the agent who answered was about the same. When she asked how she could help me , I dove right in to try to explain our complicated situation and informed her that I was calling to try to get answers….

Me: “Hi, I have a couple of questions about our I 800 and I 800-A …. (I didn’t even pause long enough for a responce or a vocal cue to continue)…..We received our I-800A approval awhile back, but had to send a supplement 3 form to include our daughters special need. I sent the supplement 3  sometime in the last week and a half, but now we are ready to send out our I-800 since we have receive our LOA. ( I am so glad the agents speak “adoption-ese” 😉 ) Can we go ahead and send our I-800 even though we haven’t yet received our updated I-800A?” …….. This time I paused long enough for a response, and expected one…. silence….. “uh…..hello?”

Agent: “uh… do you have a receipt number for you’re I-800A?”

Me: “I do, for the first approval…. but not the updated approval.”

Agent: “ok, what is it”

I tell her the long series of letters and numbers and then she asks me to hold. When she returns on the line, her voice sounds, lighter, more cheerful.

Agent: “Ok, I’ve found it! I am actually the agent assigned to you!”

(WHAT?!!! NO WAY.)

Me: “Really!? Thats great!”

Agent: “Yes, no prob. Go ahead and send it. I haven’t received your supplement 3 form yet, but it could be a couple of weeks. I’ll just write myself a note and then when your form comes I’ll be sure to approve it on the updated form.”

Me: “OH, MY GOODNESS, THANK YOU!!! We didn’t want this to delay us anymore than it has to!….”

Agent: “I understand, lets get you to you’re baby. I am so excited for you and your family. congratulations…..”

She was so genuine and sweet. There are TONS of agents working there at any given time, and our agent is the one who answered my call!!! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!?! YOU CANT MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!!!!!!

Psalm 66:5 “Come and see what the Lord has done, what awesome miracles he performs for his people.”

HE IS SOOO GOOD, ALL THE TIME!!!! HE IS DOING MORE THAN WE COULD HAVE EVER ASKED OR IMAGINED!!! (Ephesians 3:20)

So, we were interrupted earlier by the door bell ringing, and this is what followed….IMG_9735

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Hours of paper work, a visit to Caleb’s work to get important signatures, and a trip to Fed Ex. IMG_9733

IT IS EXTREMELY URGENT AND IT IS REALLY HAPPENING. We’re doing everything we can to get you home baby girl, and God is undeniably at work on your behalf!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY new year


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Happy New year everyone!! Almost exactly a year ago, Caleb and I sat in bed late at night and filled out our adoption application online through our agency. Although, we had been praying and talking about adopting for 3 1/2 years, I was only just then about to turn 30. (The required age to adopt from China) So we were allowed to move forward. We were so nervous…. “ok, this is it…… we’re really doing this…for real”… (deep breath, hit “submit application” button) “Here we go.”

I felt, at that time, Jesus was asking us to “step out of the boat” and “onto the water” in faith, trusting that he wouldn’t let us sink.

There’s an amazing song out right now by Hillsong, called “Oceans”.

IMG_9721Most of you have probably heard it, and it probably speaks something different to you than it does to me. But to me, the words describe exactly what we have been going through this past year in our adoption journey:

 

You called me out upon the water, to great unknown, where feet may fail. and there I find you in the mystery, in oceans deep, my faith will stand. I will call upon your name, and keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace, I am yours and you are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters, your sovereign hand will be my guide, where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, you’ve never failed me and you wont start now.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the water, wherever you would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior.

 

 

We’ve been in deepest waters this past year, where feet should have failed, and fear has surrounded me. But it is there that we have found him time and again. He’s never failed me….. he has never failed her, our daughter in China. never. and he wont start now.

We received some amazing news on New years eve from our agency. They informed us that they have received our LOA!!! (Letter of acceptance) That’s the paper we’ve been waiting on in order for us for to move forward with the next step. We were told it could take 30-120 days. Ours took 34 days!! This is so amazing! Our agency worker said that was surprisingly fast. His grace abounds in deepest waters.

So, the next few steps are pretty crazy. More paperwork, important paper work… to our government, and theirs, more praying, more waiting…. but the good news is, this has significantly changed our travel window!! We will be in China sooner than we thought.

We won’t know for sure when we are to travel until we get our TA (Travel approval) from China. When that happens we will have about two or three weeks to get flights, and pack, ect. BUT, what we do know is, on “average” it takes around 3 months from LOA to travel, if everything goes smoothly. Soooooo we could be flying to China in 3 months!!!!!!! We could be holding our baby girl in 3 months!!! AHHHHHH!!!

Please be praying for God’s hand to be on the rest of the paperwork needed, for quickness in every possible way with every document, and for the rest of the money that is due NOW to our agency to come in miraculously!! (just over $6,000 needed… like, yesterday )

He’s never failed us, and he wont start now.

 

** I meant to post a blog on Christmas eve, you know between making homemade doughnuts for santa, (yes we make doughnuts, we figure he’s tired of cookies by the time he gets to our house, plus we get to eat the “leftovers” for breakfast 😉 ) and getting two overly excited girls in bed, reading “the night before Christmas” and our devotional, and praying, and wrapping all the the girls gifts last minute by myself because Caleb was working, and filling the stockings, and remembering to move the Elf on the shelf…well, anyways, needless to say, I didn’t quite get around to posting anything on Christmas eve… but heres a sweet pic of Reese’s stocking hung by the chimney with care. =)  2013 was our last Christmas apart… it is indeed, a HAPPY new year!!

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