Saturday, May 26, 2012

Adoption Benefit Yard Sale #2

            Again, a while back we decided on May 26th as our second yard sale day seeing as Luke had the day off.  God blessed us with another absolutely beautiful day in the midst of a lot of rain!  We have also been blessed with the most amazing friends and family who donated an unbelievable amount of items (never did we fathom that we would have so many things donated!) and who helped tremendously with the yard sale today.  We 100% could not have done any of this without all of you!  We are humbled by the amount of people who have so generously given of their things, time, money and love and we cannot thank you enough......
             So the numbers are in and we raised a total of......... $1,398.93 today!!!!!!!!!


            I forgot to take pictures at the beginning so here are a few pictures of things a couple of hours in (and rather messy at this point!)........




Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all who have donated to our yard sales....you have made this possible......

Jen Curry
Joy & Mike Thomas
Jeff Scott
Janine Roberts
The Bleau Family
Tim McDowell
Brooke Souza
Stacey Murga
Marybeth Adams
Lisa Discullo
Josh & Erica Shea
The Durnings
The Ayantolas
Karen Clemence
Ron and Karen Gardener
Roy and Sylvia Witt
Lorraine
Al and Sue Shaw
The Mlyniec’s
The Cullen’s
The Grenier’s
Patrick & Margaret Nassaney
Melanie and Malcolm Makin
The Broduers
The Blais’
The Worthington’s
Erica Shea’s friend Kim
The Salhany’s
The Senerchia’s
Karen LaPlume
 Lori Forget
Denise Peasley
Gerry Pezzullo
Gary Lonnegan
Jay Corser
Captain Brown
Chief St. Sauveur
Dolores & Liz
Matt & Sarah Fearon
Dave & Betty Smith 
Olivia Negri
Deputy Chief VanNieuwenhuyze
The Stearns
Sharon
Mindy Isaacs
Sheryl Canis
Lorelei Thomas
Susan Ducharme
Marge Holloway
Dan and Janie Ayres

And thank you so much to all those who helped us today at the sale.....
Amy Andrade
Julie Negri
Rachel Negri
Brooke Souza
Emily Thomas
Kyle Thomas
Nicole Fusco
Sharon Fusco
Matt Blais
James Tremblay
Denise Peasley

And finally to my amazing Sign Makers and Cupcake Baker....
Brooke Souza & Emily Thomas


If we have forgotten anyone, please know that we appreciate your help and support so very much.  Thank you all again!







Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Approved!

         Just a quick update on where we're at.....we received USCIS approval in the mail today!  We were told it could take 3-4 months for this and we received it in just over 1 month.  This is the first step in the adoption immigration process. 
         In the meantime, we keep finding ourselves back at square one with our "dossier."  Everything was sent to our agency to be forwarded to Russia, but there were a couple of errors that needed correcting in our home study.  Now we are waiting on new home studies to be sent to us so we can re-apostille and send them to our agency.  Once that is completed we can start moving forward again.
         Finally, our 2nd Adoption Benefit Yard Sale will be this upcoming Saturday, May 26th from 8am-2pm.  Please help spread the word!  I think it's safe to say that we have even more than we did for our first yard sale (which is hard to believe)!  God is good and he continues to provide....praying for good weather and lots of "shoppers" for saturday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Now Go!

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”                          
                                                                  Exodus 4:10-12


                I was reminded early in this journey that whom the Lord calls, He equips.....quite opposite to what I think many of us assume....that the Lord calls those who are equipped.  We, like Moses, certainly needed some major "equipping," but that's the whole point!  God asked us to be obedient in answering this call, but He is faithful to provide and make a way when it's beyond our capability.  I remember when we made the decision to finally start moving forward, it was as if God was saying what he had to Moses....Now go, I will help you!  Tonight I received an e-mail letting us know that we have received a grant to cover the costs of having our child's medical information reviewed by a doctor who specializes in international adoption.  There just so happens to be a highly recommended doctor nearby who is actually from Russia, studied there and speaks Russian, who we will be working with.  The grant agency has told us that they will send a check to him directly to cover the costs of this.  I am not so much surprised as I am excited and thankful.  We know that God is going to make a way, and we know that we are doing all that we can, but it never ceases to amaze me when it happens.  I almost didn't send in this application for various reasons, and often consider how many people are likely applying for grants and then start to doubt whether or not we will be considered.  But here we are....approved.  
               "My grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in WEAKNESS.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Practice

          My natural response to anything going wrong is to worry....it always has been one of the things I struggle with the most.  Even if it's not the end of the world (which I guess includes everything I've ever worried about) I have to work really hard not to fall into the same path of worry and anxiety.  I knew with this adoption that there would be times where I was challenged in this respect and I also have purposed to keep my focus on Christ and that He is in control.  I've been trying to wait patiently to hear back on the status of our dossier and whether or not all of our effots to get everything done just right had paid off or not.  Today I received an e-mail that there were a few things that needed to be corrected and my initial response was discouragement and....worry!  Some of the documents are easy to fix, while others take time and require us to rely on others to get things done so my mind started going, thinking of all the possible problems.  So here's where I caught myself, stopped and thought that maybe for once I could use a stressful situation to practice being calm, trusting God and not worrying!  Philippians 4:6-7, which I memorized forever ago in my attempt to work on this flaw, immediately came to mind and for once I was not overcome with anxiety.  Even typing this, it seems completely ridiculous, but it's something that I find difficult.
           Our case manager is amazing and complimented us on completing our dossier very well.  One issue is an easy fix, but the other requires us to rely on our other agency where we have already experienced some problems and a great deal of delay.  It was probably what I wanted to hear the least in terms of problems, and yet because I was not already all caught up in worry and sick to my stomach, it did not seem like that big of a deal.  I was instantly reminded of the fact that this is all going to happen in God's timing anyway and there are so many potential reasons why this delay, or any, could be happening.  I can't see the big picture, but thankfully God has a bird's eye view and is in complete control.  I'm actually thankful that my tendency to rush and get everything done as soon as I possibly can is not able to hinder us from the child that is supposed to be ours, because God will allow whatever is necessary to make the timing right!  We have an amazing God!


          Just as a general update, now we're just waiting for these corrections to be made, have the documents apostilled again and send them to our agency.  Then they will be able to send them on to Russia.  On another note, we have received an appointment from USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to be fingerprinted next week.  This is an important step in receiving permission to bring a child into the country!  Lastly, we are working on preparing for our second Adotion Benefit Yard Sale, coming up May 26th!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hope

             The further into this journey we find ourselves, the more we feel that this adoption is only the beginning of how God is calling us to care for the orphans.  We certainly anticipate the finalization of this adoption, but are also excited to consider that this is but one chapter, with more to come.  One major hope and prayer we have as we go through this process is that others will join us on this journey!  Not just in helping us to bring home our child, but in considering how God may be calling you to live out the call.....there are so many ways to do so!

         One of the first books that I read, "Fields of the Fatherless," had spoke of a man by the name of George who was working in Russia with the International Bible Society and was moved by the conditions of the orphanages and the grave needs of the children there.  Although he and his wife were unable to adopt, he felt burdened to bring hope to these children.  He began by investing his time to help these orphans, shared the vision with his friends and together started Children's Hope Chest, which today helps thousands of orphans each day.  (Below is some information and a video from their website if you're interested).  It's amazing how God blesses our efforts when we're willing to do what he's asked.  This was just one man, giving the little that he had, and thousands have been impacted.  Certainly these children need homes, families, parents......but right now in the midst of their seemingly hopeless circumstances they need hope.  They need to know the love of a heavenly Father...and they need someone to tell them.


Here's some information from Children's Hope Chest's website, specifically regarding Russia:

The Challenge

Many children in this vast and complex country are “social orphans.” While some have lost parents to death, many have been orphaned because of alcohol abuse, economic, or other social factors. In many areas of Russian society, the word “orphan” is often synonymous with “worthless.”
The orphan story doesn’t end at the orphanage. As young teens, orphans face another crisis, one that threatens their future. This second crisis happens the day they “graduate” from the orphanage—on this day, their chances for survival are cut in half.
According to the Russia Ministry of Education, the typical orphan statistics are grim:
  • 60% of orphanage “graduates” are unemployed or not in school
  • 50% use drugs and abuse alcohol
  • 60% fall into prostitution to survive
  • 15% take their own lives.
Life in an institution has left them completely unprepared to manage simple tasks of life – or make good choices about relationships, who to trust, or how to spend their time. No guidance and no accountability mean no compass. Orphaned girls are especially vulnerable to prostitution and sex trafficking.

The HopeChest Solution

Children’s HopeChest provides the benefits of sponsorship to children who are living in orphanages. Sponsorship funds raise the level of care in a variety of ways. Most important are the relationships children form with their HopeChest Discipler and individual sponsors. The Discipler visits the orphanage on a regular basis, providing support and encouragement—and teaching them about the Father who loves them and will never forsake them.
In addition, HopeChest provides over 1,000 orphans with protective services through our Ministry Centers, Family Centers, Independent Living Center Programs, and the Young Mothers Program. Girls and boys in these programs are not only safe, but loved and cared for by our dedicated staff.
All HopeChest programs are designed to help these children beat the odds, to become productive citizens and mature Christian adults with healthy families of their own.
For over 15 years, Children’s HopeChest has been at the forefront of providing the support orphans need to thrive. These programs have a proven track record of dramatically reducing the likelihood that these children fall into sex trafficking, crime, prostitution, alcoholism, unemployment, and suicide. They are HopeChest’s most effective programs for positive long-term outcomes.