Sunday, July 18, 2010

going backwards??

So, I was so excited to post that last update, because I felt like we were SUPER close to getting on the waitlist.  Well, they say to expect the unexpected with adoptions, right? 

One of the things that our awesome agency (AGCI) tells us to look for on all of our documents that are notarized (almost every piece of paperwork in the dossier) is that the notary's name matches their signature.  Sometimes people are in the habit of signing their nickname or whatever.  So...I got everything notarized.  Checked the signature...yep!  Matches the stamp!  I take it downtown where parking is crazy with my 3 sweet, young kiddos to get a document (just one!) county certified.  We play all kinds of whispering games to keep quiet while we wait and wait and wait. To hear the news, "I am so sorry, Ma'am, we have a problem.  The notary applied to be a notary with the name Missy.  Her stamp says Myronette.  We cannot certify this." Apparently to certify it (I had no clue) they go back and get their paperwork that was filed to be a notary and make sure they are legit.

WHAT??  I just looked at him with a blank stare I am sure, and thought through all of the documents that have been notarized by the SAME GIRL.  All but a few in our dossier.  That means we have to redo all of them.  Wow.  So, we head out the door, and I am feeling so defeated.  I thought that that was the last of all of the paperwork.

So, we get in the car, and I am just reminded by the Lord that HE is in control.  HE designed our family.  HE knows who we will get the opportunity to love, care for, and raise on earth.  And even this little detail has so much to do with that.  Because of Missy's application...because we got her to notarize most of our things...we will have a different child.  God is THAT SOVEREIGN! That is amazing to me. 

I press on, being faithful to complete the paperwork and work hard on it...jumping through all of the hoops that we need to to make it to our little one in Ethiopia...and trusting God in His plan and timing all the while.

Now, back to paperwork since the kiddos are sleeping peacefully!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

another update!

A few posts ago, I updated where we were in the dossier preparation.   Here is what we had left, and now what we have crossed out (yes, I added one...):

  • Get some documents notarized (we are doing that this afternoon!)
  • Get our power of attorney county and state certified
  • Application letter (telling Ethiopia why we want to adopt)
  • 2 more online classes for adoptive parent training
  • take pictures of our house
  • once it is reviewed....make 3 copies!  That is IT!
  • Get last letter of recommendation notarized

So...I am getting the power of attorney county certified today and sending it off to get state certified.  Maybe I will clean the house and take pictures tonight!

Our home study is being revised just a little right now, but is basically approved by our adoption agency.  That will also go into our dossier.

It really has been so much easier than I thought!  Thank you, Lord!  It just took walking through it for it all to make sense.  There are just certain things that were intimidating, I think.  I can remember when I was in high school going to a college, looking at how huge it was, and thinking, "How do they even know what to do or where to go.  This is huge! The professors expect so much out of you, you have to figure out how a meal plan works, what each professor wants, where to buy books without a car, etc, etc, etc."  I felt like that with this paperwork. When I first started, I didn't know really what a dossier was...I had heard it tossed around, and knew that is was a bunch of paperwork.  But, I didn't know the difference between that and the home study, and when you do what.  I didn't have a clue as to what I should do first, what took more time to get back, what to send where, etc. Walking through this process has been an honor.  I have loved learning more about adoption and not feeling on the "outskirts" trying to look in.  It has been an honor to "chase" after our child and trust God for His sovereign timing in our family.  What a HUGE blessing!  I praise the Lord for His hand in all of this, and giving us this amazing journey!  This is only the very beginning of it unfolding!


Brian got the awesome opportunity to go serve in Haiti last month, and the kids and I headed to Florida to visit Chad, Karen, and the kiddos!  We had so much fun!  We got to go to the pool, the beach, hang out with cousins, live their "normal" life with them, going to the Y, etc.  Brian met up with us after his amazing trip, and we had a few extra days of vacationing with him, too!  Here are some pictures from our time:

Ha!  We got these things from the dollar bin at Target, and they thought they were the coolest!!  Too funny!  So, here was naptime in the car!:

Time at the pool!  Em and Lil'C are incredible swimmers!  It was really fun to watch them!

Eliana wanted to join in the goggle fun:

Beach time!:

Every Friday night on the island, they have live music around this little pond area... here is Uncle Chad and Eliana having a little conversation and eating popcorn:

Some chill time for all the cousins... (can you tell who lives at the beach!?! :) )

on the way home, Eliana wanted to wear the little eye things!!  She looked hilarious!:

Thank you, Woelke's, for an awesome time!!!  We CANNOT WAIT for you to be here in just a week!

The Carrolls

My dear friend, Ashleigh, and her hubby brought home their fourth child, who was adopted from Ethiopia.  Here are our kiddos and theirs (minus Jones :( ) playing while we were talking about what their parents were doing in Ethiopia that day:

The girls LOVE each other!!

And, the boys do, too!  Of course, they were doing manly things like building a house or something...

Here are the Carrolls coming HOME with Abigail!!!!!!   I am so excited for them!  It has been such a privilege to watch them walk through both of their adoptions! Here is a whole CREW waiting to meet her! is the first time everyone saw them!:

Charis was SO PRECIOUS...wanting to hold her hand the whole time.  She seriously would not let go of her new sister's hand the whole time I saw her!

So, so sweet...a daddy and his two girls!:

Ugh!  I just love this family so much!  Welcome home, Abigail! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Angels Rejoicing!!!!!!

I am super excited tonight!!!!  Our sweet Olivia gave her life to Christ!  The angels are still probably throwing a party!!  It makes me awe-filled when I think of our stories of how God woos us, saves us, has patience with us, and loves us!

Here was our tonight...normal day, normal turned up noses at our dinner: chicken pot pie, normal squeals of delight at some ice cream for dessert, normal get the picture...

Personally, I have been begging the Lord for some not-so-normal for a little while now. My "normal" can be trying to do things on my own, not relying on God, not having a passionate prayerlife, etc.  Nothing in me wants normal.  I want to be radically sold out for Christ.  Radically trusting Him.  Radically submitted and a source of support and encouragement for my sweet husband. Radically loving and patient with my children.  I can do nothing without him.  Sure, I can do "behavior modification" for myself or my children, but I do not want that at all.  I want what He wants.  He is an amazing God.  I have been wrestling through  that lately and trying to be aware of my self-reliance when I fall into that. 

So anyway (that was for you, Carrie!), back to our "normal" night...Olivia was pestering Austin trying to beat him to the stool to brush their teeth.  I hear them bickering as I give Eliana a breathing treatment.  Austin is trying to be patient with her and then comes in to me..."Mom, didn't you say for me to brush my teeth first and then help Olivia??"  Yes..."Olivia, come here, please..."

Olivia (as precious and free spirited and joyful as she is!!!) has had a bit of a new normal lately:  SIN.  She has been trying to antagonize, disobey, annoy her siblings to get a reaction, struggling with a lot of fear, etc.  Well, I sat there on the floor in Eliana's room, and just prayed to myself, "Lord, I have no idea what to do.  You need to help me.  This is so frustrating. (this has been happening a lot and obviously we haven't solved the problem)."  Well, I just started talking about sin, and how hard it has been for her lately, and then talked about how she had power over that if she gives her life to Jesus and trusts him for the forgiveness of her sins and relies on Him for her strength in that...

We just talked about the gospel...what it really meant that Jesus died for her sins...what it means to be forgiven...what it means to live to glorify God.  I told her (very seriously, b/c she tends to almost never be serious!) that this was the biggest decision she would ever make...she said she wanted to be a Christian, and wanted to pray with me! So, we did!  Sweet little her...oh, it brings tears just typing this!  She prayed so seriously and was SO EXCITED to be a Christian!  Daddy was gone, so we called him, and then she wanted to send out some texts to share her life change!

Here is a picture of my sweet girl...and my sister in Christ:

Father God, thank you so much for such a great, miraculous night.  Your grace is amazing to me.  Only through you, we can have peace, joy, love, forgiveness, kindness, repentance.  Thank you that Olivia is a Christ-follower!  I pray that she would follow you passionately and whole-heartedly ALL the days of her life.  I pray that she would obey you not out of obligation, but out of love.  I pray that she would have a deep relationship with you and that in the overflow of that, she would love others well and show them who you are. Thank you that tonight, she is a NEW creation!  I love you, sweet Jesus!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Knoxville Crenshaws!

I wanted to catch up and post some pics of our sweet time with the Knoxville Crenshaws!  We had a great time!

My nephews are super sweet, and it was great to get to be around them!  My kids had a ball with them, and there were plenty of tears when they left!!!

Mimi and Pops came in town one day to hang out with the whole gang!  Fun memories!  Here are some pics:

One day Becky and I took the kids to "My Big Backyard."  It was so much fun!  The two biggest boys were in the top of the house, and here they are peeking out!  I have no idea how they fit up there??:

When Mimi and Pops came, we enjoyed some time outside...had a Star Wars (of course!) pinata, played baggo, ate popsicles, and had great fellowship!

Babies in diapers with popsicles...priceless!  Gotta love summer days!

I can't believe we got a picture with Mimi, Pops, all the grandkids, and everyone is smiling!!!! (well, maybe not Eliana...)

One day, Brian and Brent took the biggest boys to a fishing rodeo!  They had so much fun, and caught some HUGE fish! (and all on their own!!...the dads could only help bait the hook and put the fish in the net after they reeled it in!!)  Austin actually won a bike for catching the biggest fish!  We were so excited for him!!

Here are the fishermen:

What a fun time we had! 

Making Progress!!!

Everyone has been asking for an adoption it is!  YAY!

Okay, I am SO CLOSE to having ALL of our paperwork done!!!  I must say that when I first got started, it was all just overwhelming.  I had heard from almost everyone that there were mountains of paperwork involved in an international adoption.  So, I had some weeks that I was just paralyzed, and didn't do anything!  With life and three other kiddos, I felt like I had to "stop" everything and turn on paperwork.  Then, right when I would get going, someone would wake up from a nap or dinner would need cooking or whatever. I say all of that to say that there were a few times that I just sat down to knock some things out. wasn't that bad!!  At all!!!  If I could do it all over again, I would not be so intimidated to be paralyzed in it.  I think it would go quicker.  I realized (after I was done and looking at it) that I could just do one paper at a time...that was okay...just put it in the "completed" pile and check it off.  Sometimes I feel like I wouldn't make any progress if I did it that way.  I guess I am too "high-closure!"

Anyway, here is what I have been working on:
  • 4 online classes for adoptive parent training completed!
  • adoptive parent training handbook completed!
  • the home study is just needs to be revised a little and sent off for approval!
  • all birth certificates and our marriage license are in!
  • My passport renewal has been ordered!
  • We have all had physicals and gotten our medical forms notarized!
  • Our criminal check is done!
  • Our employment verification letters are done!
  • All of our letters of recommendation are done!
  • Our financial statement is done!
  • Our power of attorney is done!
  • Our post adoption commitment letter is done!
Still have left to do:
  • Get some documents notarized (we are doing that this afternoon!)
  • Get our power of attorney state certified
  • Application letter (telling Ethiopia why we want to adopt)
  • 2 more online classes for adoptive parent training
  • take pictures of our house
  • once it is reviewed....make 3 copies!  That is IT!
I CAN'T WAIT TO BE WAITING!!!!!!!!!  I think about that sweet child so much! 

As far as finances goes...we have raised $14, 024!!!!!!!  WOW!!!  Thank you, God!!!!!  We have truly been brought to tears at this provision from the Lord!  So much sacrificial giving...thank you all SO MUCH!

I need to number-crunch, but with the two trips that are now required, I think we need about $12,000 more.  Do your thing, God!