Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Talk about putting yourself out there...

Wow...definately out of our comfort zone.  We just sent our support letter via either hand delivered letter or a Facebook event to over 200 people!  That's a whole lot of "Hey, here we are and we need help."  Then again, there shouldn't be any shame in asking for help with this sort of undertaking....but....that's a lot of people!  Just feeling a little overwhelmed about the whole thing.  Thanx to all of you who are following us on this journey and supporting us through prayer and otherwise;  it truly makes a huge difference. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I am so frustrated - not with any part of the adoption process - I am frustrated with MYSELF!

We had our first meeting with our Social Worker on Friday, July 6.  She did our home visit less than a week later and we just had our last visit with her on Friday, July 27.  Everything, and I mean everything, has happened at lightning speed - just as I have prayed it would.  All of our background checks, our CPS checks, our reference letters - everything - is back.  All that is left if for the Social Worker to write the actual home study.

You are probably wondering why I would be frustrated.  I'm frustrated with myself because of my doubt.  At several points over the last couple of weeks I have doubted that things would pull through.  Here are a couple of examples:

1. My mother's physical - because my mother is living with us during the home study, she is require to get a physical.  Her doctor of 12 years moved practices and the new doctor that took her place decided she would not do it - even though my mother was just seen last month.  So, she went to Patient First (doc in a box) where we were assured she would be able to get her physical completed.  They said no - she has TO MUCH medical history for them to sign off on er physical - unless they had her full medical record.  Our last chance was the endocrinologist.  Finally, someone agreed to do her physical!  I received it in the mail yesterday and I was overcome with a sense of relief!  Then, I heard the small voice, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  

2. FBI Background & CPS checks - Our Social Worker said our checks would be done within 3 weeks.  I belong to this facebook group where people talk about everything to go with their adoptions in the Congo.  Some people had already been waiting 8 WEEKS (!!) for theirs.  I almost flipped out!  8 weeks is unacceptable.  I called the FBI -ours were not even received yet.  I was like, "Why would the Social Worker says 3 weeks when the FBI says between  -12 weeks?"  I was so upset!  I can't wait that long!  Well, on Friday, our FBI checks had already come in!  They use a expedited service through the state, so it was quick.  The, I heard it again, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Those are just two examples from the last two weeks.  I could give countless more...yet, I grow frustrated with myself.  Why?  Why do I doubt?  30 days ago EXACTLY I was 150% sure that it was God's plan for our lives to adopt a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo, so why would I doubt that God would see this through?

Every time God has conquered what I thought was impossible.  Yet, at the first sign that something might not go as planned I doubt the validity of this whole process. 

I'm really embarrassed.  I sit in church and sing praise to my God, I talk to others about how GREAT my God is, I tout a "personal relationship", I trust him for my eternity - yet, still when the going gets tough - I doubt! UGH!      

I tell you - it is very humbling to hear, "Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  It reminds me that even though I am not what I once was, I am still not the person God is trying to make me.

The next time I begin to doubt, I will say to myself, "As you have believed, it will be done"!  There is not one single thing that the God who raised my Saviour from the dead can not fix!  I praise God for forgiveness an for his renewed grace every single day!  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We are certifiably crazy...

There are days, one of them being today, where I think that we are certifiably crazy for adding a fourth child to our household.  Three boys, ages 11, 9 and 5, already keep us super busy and in a constant state of flux, with practices and school functions sending us this way and that.  Is adding a fourth, and a little girl at that, really such a wise choice?  Are we really going to be able to manage 4 children's schedules, financially support 4 children, have enough love for 4 children? 
Here is where I find myself at the end of my abilities and well short of where I need to be to be a good father to 4 kids...and this is where I must fully rely on God to carry me the rest of the way.  The really cool thing is that when I allow myself and my fears to get out of the way, when I allow Him to show me the finish line, I'm filled with an incredible sense of joy and excitement for what is to come.  I've always heard of other people allowing God to work through them, and this must be what that feels like because I feel completely inadequate yet very blessed to be used like this (and all I've really done is said "Yes").  Prayers are needed and appreciated...

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is going to cost what?!

I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that adoption was going to cost money, but I had no idea how much.  It's interesting to me that I'm more apprehensive about how we are going to come up with the money to pay for the adoption than I am about the impact of adding a fourth child to our family (and if you've read the other posts, you know that I was pretty worried about that as well).  On a quick note, it's simply amazing to me how excited I am about this process now and how my heart has truly fallen in line with my head, just as my friend had predicted.  Each day I get a little more excited about finally getting to find out who she is, to have a face and a name to think and pray about...pretty awesome stuff!  But like I said, the financial portion of this process is a pretty daunting obstacle to get over, and my suspicion is that this is probably the greatest hurdle for any prospective adoptive parents.  I will say that we are determined not to let this burden discourage us, though, from what we know we've been called to do.  I'm not sure how, but I'm confident that He will see us through this as well.  I'm also confident that in this process, we are going to be presented with circumstances that are way outside of our comfort zones, that we are going to be stretched to do things soley on faith in order for this to work.  Here is a big one for me, asking for help...financially.  I simply don't like asking for money, never have.  In fact, Christy and I have prided ourselves in getting to where we are without having to ask for a lot of help from parents and/or friends.  But the truth of the matter is this, no matter how much we think that we've done this on our own, we haven't.  EVERYTHING we have has come from the blessings of God;  we didn't earn it and it's only by His grace that we are where we are today.  So, I am going to put my pride away and humbly ask that we do indeed need help to bring our daughter home.  If you feel inclined, please see the Suppot tab on this page to see where you can be a part of this wonderful journey.  Thank you in advance!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Progress

Day by Day we are making progress.  Today, we have accomplished the remainder of our physicals.  All three boys and Rob are done and their forms are filled out.  All of them have had their TB tests done and read.  Tonight, Rob and I will finish our autobiographies and a questionnaire about parenting.  We have scheduled our last meeting with the social worker for next Friday morning at 9 am.  After that, we will play the waiting game.  I think that 2 of our 3 references have been received, so we are waiting on 1 more.  We will also be waiting for our FBI checks and our CPS checks.  I'm sure those will arrive while we are on vacation the first week in August.

I have already filled out the I 600a, so that is ready to go as soon as we get our Home Study approved and certified.  Thankfully, Rob's work is very flexible, so hopefully he will be able to get it certified pretty quickly once it is complete. 

So, we begin the waiting process!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We have been "warned"

Over the last two weeks we have been warned many times that Satan will try to interfere with our journey, so we have been expecting this. We have been told to expect him to test our relationship with each other (and our children), our finances and most importantly our faith. What came as a shock to me was how quickly the attacks started. We have made amazing progress in our home study. We have already had two of the three meetings, all of our background checks are in the works, we are putting the finishing touches on our autobiographies and medicals will be complete this week. Exciting, right? Satan has been trying to make progress this week too:

1. I have anxiety - I am a worrier. I always have been. Because I worry, it also means that I love to plan things out and be in "control". I went to my doctor for my physical on Thursday and had her fill out the form. Of course she wrote something on the form that I whole heartedly disagreed with and I told her so. This was not the wording that I had planned on her using. I was seriously angry and began to worry. Satan immediately jumped at this opportunity and led me down an anxious path - and, unfortunately, I followed. Ugghhh, for 6 hours I worried about the wording on my physical form. Rob kept telling me, "Everything is fine. God's got this. He's not going to lead us all the way here and then slam the door in our face." I showed the Social Worker our form and she said, "This isn't a problem. Why were you worried?" UGGHHH! I heard the Holy Spirit say, "See. I got this. You of little faith...."

2. The same day, I was getting dinner ready. We love General Tso's Chicken in our house, so I had bought some to have for dinner tonight because it was quick and easy. I bought two of the boxes because, as I mentioned before, we really like General Tso's so I had to make sure we had enough. I start the rice in the rice cooker and I'm looking in the freezer for the chicken. I found one box and I'm looking for the second. I can't find it anywhere. I'm starting to get frustrated because I know it was there! I just bought it a couple of days ago. Rob comes up and is like, "Oh, we ate it for lunch." What? You ate the General Tso's for lunch? We don't eat that for lunch. Your joking right? Yes, we got into a FIGHT over General Tso's chicken!!!!! How CRAZY is that? Today, I am laughing about it, but on Thursday, it was sooooo not funny. Rob quickly realized that this was Satan attacking, so he brought it to my attention and we moved on. All over General Tso's????

And finally....

3. Our renter called us to tell us they had broken up and she was moving out. So, we had to pull the lease out and go over the terms with them. Of course, it is not pretty to break a lease, but at the same time, we probably wouldn't hold them to the full terms if we got it rented pretty quickly. Anyway, we have no idea what they will do. Will they pay all the money or will they end up not paying? My guy tells me that they will do the right thing and not leave us hanging. They are nice people and we are nice people - not that it means much because nice people do bad things some times, but I know that Satan is attacking us to make us doubt the adoption. This is the one area where I feel completely at peace about. Rob is the one that is feeling the pressure.

Your prayers are sincerely appreciated right now! Pray for perseverance and an unwavering faith. Thanks!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Home Visit

We had our Home visit last night. It went great. I really like our social worker - she is very sweet and patient. My boys were drilling her with questions and telling stories about the most random things. She opened the door though....she asked if they had any questions! I'm not sure they asked her ANYTHING about the adoption. Here are a couple of the best questions I remember from last night: 1. Is Timbuktu in Mali and is Mali close to Congo? 2. Are you going to bring our new baby? 3. Can I check on your phone for a world map? 4. Why do have to be here? 5. Want to see our baby turtle? You know, all pretty decent questions. The answer is, yes, Timbuktu is in Mali and Mali is close to Congo. No, your Mommy and Daddy will bring the baby home. And yes, she was interested in the baby turtle. She was great! Handled them like a pro! I also liked that our Social Worker was very supportive of our decision to pursue an independent adoption instead of going through an agency. It was nice to have her supportive of that. Everything is turned in except for our autobiographies, Rob's physical and all the boys' physicals. They all have appointments next week, so I will turn it all in and then hopefully we can get our last appointment scheduled and done before we leave for vacation on August 4. Our CPS forms are already in the works, Rob hand delivered those on Monday. Our FBI checks are being mailed today and we were told it takes approximately 3 weeks. So.....remaining things in order to get our Home Study "done": 1. 3 positive references 2. Rob's physical 3. All 3 boys' physicals 4. CPS checks completed 5. FBI clearance recieved 6. Last meeting with Social Worker We've gotten alot accomplished in less than a week! I know this pace will not continue, but it is nice.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Man vs. Woman

To say that I was hesitant about adopting would be an understatement.  We had been "done" with kids for 5 years now, we were just starting to enjoy the prospect of no daycare costs, making plans with the money we would be saving, etc.  We were settling in to our comfortable suburban lifestyle, why would we want to upset the apple cart?  I mean, we had thrown around the idea of one day maybe adopting a little girl, but that day was always far far away, so why now?   Because God had other plans...

We mentioned in Our Story about a class that we took through our church called Experiencing God.  Through this class, our eyes and hearts were opened to who God really is and how we are to interact with Him.  One huge takeaway from this class for us was that instead of asking God "what is your plan for my life?" you should actually be asking "where can I join God in where He is already working around me?"  This was a huge idealogical shift for us, and we began to open ourselves up and make ourselves available to where we saw God working in our midst.  Towards the end of this class, Christy went on a missions trip with the church to Brazil where she experienced first-hand the poverty and strife that children of a third-world country live with.  I already knew before she even came back that she was going to be fired up to do something in regards to missions;  we had already been feeling like we were being nudged towards missionary work.  What I didn't anticipate is that God would completely break her heart for the children, and the wheels that would be set in motion because of that trip. 

I've titled this post Man vs. Woman because a large part of my hesitation was because I wasn't experiencing the emotion that Christy was when faced with the prospect of actually adopting.  She was already feeling it, 100%, and yet I was doubting the idea, rationalizing reasons not to, and trying to work out the logistics in my head of adding another child to our family.  After praying about it, having many conversations with Christy about her experiences and seeing the passion in her eyes for this, I knew intellectually that this was the right decision...yet my heart just wasn't feeling it, and this concerned me.  Did this mean that it wasn't the right thing?  That this wasn't God's will for us?  Many questions and doubts lingered in my head.  An old friend of mine, whom I knew had just recently adopted a little boy from China with his wife, popped into my head and I knew I needed to talk to him.  We spoke on a Friday afternoon and made plans to have breakfast on the following Tuesday morning.  By the time that I got home, our wives had spoken and changed our plans to meet the very next morning for coffee...someone definately wanted us to meet and soon!  That night, we had some very violent thunderstorms that knocked out power to both of our homes and many more, but we still found a way to meet....someone else desperately didn't want us to meet, and now I understand why.  During our conversation, all of my questions where answered, all of my fears were calmed, and he told me that for a man, it's usually not a decision of the heart, that it's usually an intellectual decision and your heart follows afterward.  This happened for him and for many other men that have adopted that he's spoken to.  And to be honest, once I looked back at the decision to have our own children, it was the same way as well.  What a relief!  God was definately speaking through him to me...

Since then I've had this peace about our decision to adopt, and I can even feel my heart getting excited about the prospect.  I think that my quick change in heart has even suprised Christy a little bit, but in reality, all I really needed was to know that she and I would take different paths to the same conclusion;  we have been blessed with so much, and when face with the reality that every child deserves a mom and a dad, we cannot turn a blind eye to where God is leading us. 

Last night we went over to that couple's house for dinner and played with their new son.  Watching their family interact with him and seeing the joy on his face that he now had a home, and more importantly a mom and a dad that loved him, made me yearn for the day when we could do the same for another.  We are at the beginning of our journey, one that is sure to be long and difficult, but we're excitedly waiting with outstretched arms for whatever child God blesses us with...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And it begins....

Well, we met with our Social Worker for the first time yesterday.  Turns out she lives in our subdivision - although about a mile away.  We recognized her from the pool and swim team.  She was super sweet!  She put us at ease and we were able to ask questions about the process and get a better feel for what is going to happen.

I have already started filling out the home study application.  We are going to fax that in on Monday and she will send out our references first thing.  We scheduled our home visit for this coming Thursday!  We have a couple of things to do this weekend, which works out becasue it is going to be 104 today and 102 tomorrow!  Way too hot to do anything outside!  We are hoping to get our Home Study done in 6 weeks.

Our boys are very excited.  Ben, our youngest, said, "Are we getting the sister on Thursday?"  Oh, if it were only that easy!

I have lots of fundraiser ideas going on in my head and it is time to sort some of them out and decide what we will do.  I have already signed up for a Just Love Coffee account:


This site gives us $5 or more for everything sold through this link.  And the coffee is great!