Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Mailbox

I lift my eyes up to the hills -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
        


               The mailbox has become my new best friend.  Prior to the adoption, the most exciting thing I might find in our mailbox was a good coupon.  Needless to say, checking the mail was not a top priority.  In the past several months this has become one of my favorite things to do.  From encouraging notes, generous donations and thoughtful cards, to USCIS approval, Grant decision letters, and passports, we never know what we might find or how it may change our lives these days.

                Yesterday I checked the mailbox only to find it empty.  Our mail comes fairly early so I assumed we had just not received anything.  Later in the evening I decided to check once more.  Yesterday was one of those days when the mailbox held another life change.  I opened one envelope to find an extremely generous donation towards the adoption and was once again overwhelmed by the willing generosity of so many.  Then I opened a second.  Inside was the most beautiful card and note, with the following scripture....

 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
You are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
You are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:11-13

      Taped inside the card was a check for $10,000. 

                   The shock and feeling that this is surreal has still not worn off.  Don't misunderstand...I knew that God was going to provide....He had to!  We certainly couldn't make this happen.  Yet I am blown away over and over again as He brings others alongside of us and provides in such astounding ways.  Together we are adopting a child....together we are answering His call....I am so humbled to be a part of this.  I knelt beside my bed after opening this gift and cried....tears of pure joy and praise to He who makes the impossible possible.  We cannot begin to express our gratitude to these amazing people in our life.  I cannot express how much this changes our lives and the life of a child; how it encourages us to continue to step out in faith; how we look up to their example of viewing themselves as mere stewards of His resources....how much we love them and are so thankful God has blessed us with them in our lives.  Thoughts of how we could possibly accept such a gift kept coming to my mind, but I kept being reminded of this....Who am I to question how He is choosing to provide and make a way?  Who am I to say that I cannot accept this? 

                      Nearly seven months ago we signed the contracts to begin this adoption.  We had $4,000 to our name and very few ideas of how to go about raising $50,000.   Here we are only seven months later at almost $40,000.  This is God.  Don't miss that!


                                         

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Crosswalk

           Exactly eleven years ago this past Monday was the day that Luke and I met as campers at the annual summer camp we attended as teenagers.  This past week our family and youth group returned to Crosswalk for a great time of fun, relaxation, bonding and spiritual encouragement/growth!  As I've mentioned throughout the week in previous blog posts, there was a significant amount of change/updates with the adoption in terms of the legal process while we were away.  What I'd love to share today are the many ways that we were encouraged and blessed by others this week as we shared about the journey we are on. 
             Each year at camp, the students are given the opportunity to choose a "track time," which is essentially something they are interested in doing for a couple of hours each day.  This year, the Arts & Crafts track time designated the first day to creating something for our family to sell in order to raise money for the adoption.  I was asked to share a little of our story with those who chose Arts & Crafts, and they were then asked to make Russian Nesting Doll Ornaments.  It is such an amazing thing to look around and see over 60 people choosing to spend their time on something that will bless our family.  This adoption is such a joint effort and we are so grateful for the many people who have contributed!

Russian Nesting Doll Ornaments ($2 each)
             Within that group of students a young girl approached me and shared that her family is also in the process of adoption....up to three siblings from Ethiopia!  She and her two current siblings will potentially go from being one of three children, to being one of six!  We talked about how things will certainly be different, but even at her young age I could see that she was excited about what God was doing.  By dinner time the news had spread and two boys approached me and shared that they had been adopted from Russia! They were so sweet and open with me....it was truly a blessing to speak with them and then be around them all week.

             Later that evening we were asked to share with the entire camp about the journey God has us on.  After we shared, a sweet seventh grade girl came up to pray for our family and the adoption process.  We learned that she had recently used her giftedness to bless another family who is adopting (turns out to be the girl whose family is adopting from Ethiopia that I spoke with earlier in the week).  She wrote a play, directed it, had a role in it and raised $1,000 for this family.  I was blown away that at her young age she would have such a desire, and that she would realize that she could use her God given talents and interests for an eternal purpose.  Such a reminder that we are all called to serve, to care for the orphans, to follow God's leading. 


             We had many wonderful conversations and many people let us know that they will be praying for us.  It was such an encouraging week and a huge reminder that God cares so very much.  It seems so obvious, but to really think about how He orchestrated this week to bless us with all of these little connections, conversations, prayers etc. was overwhelming and humbling. 

              I came home to three more donations, two sweet cards and meeting a girl who is fluent in Russian and whose family comes from the exact region we are adopting from.  God is an amazing God!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Turnaround

          Yesterday I was really struggling with whether or not we should leave camp in order to take care of the necessary changes to documents as they were requesting us to do so quickly.  Luke and I discussed it, prayed about it, and consulted some others and finally decided that God knew this would happen at this time, that we would be away and unable to take care of it immediately, and that we should wait until Monday.  Everything in me wanted to take control and get everything taken care of that instant.  An idea came to me this morning of another way we may be able to take care of the situation, but that was quickly dismissed as well.  Shortly after I received a phone call from our case manager saying that they had figured out a way to move ahead and not to worry!  We will still have to take care of this, but it is no longer going to be causing a delay to our case.  I feel like it was a test that I nearly failed several times in a matter of hours and am so reminded of God's grace.  I'm so thankful He doesn't give up on me and keeps teaching me these lessons....I am truly thankful He is the one in control because I certainly would make a mess of things if I was!

          So many changes in the past few days......We also received word that Russian Parliament has just ratified the Russian-US adoption agreement which is great news!  Early on in our journey there was word that some regions of Russia would potentially close their door to adoption temporarily, but this agreement will set all of these issues at ease and is expected to help adoptions continue on smoothly.

          There have also been several exciting things happening here at camp in regards to the adoption, but we'll share more about that when we return!  Once again, thank you all for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Newest Info

         Today we received word that our case manager has once again changed, and we will now be working with the original case manager that we began with.  This doesn't effect things all that much as everyone we have worked with in our agency has been great!  The not so great news is that we have just received word that we have to re-do a few documents because they did not have a date on them.  Not a huge setback, but seeing as we are out of state we will have to wait to do this.  They have asked us to do it as fast as we can so it's hard to have to wait.  Yet another reminder that this is not in my control and that all will happen in God's perfect timing.  We so appreciate all of your prayers that things would move forward smoothly and that we would be able to get everything completed as needed!  On an exciting note, we were told that things are moving along steadily in our region which is partially why they want us to act quickly to make these corrections!  We'll update more as things change!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Adoption Benefit Yard Sale #3

                We were blessed with another beautiful day today! (Okay, the heat was a little excessive, but still it wasn't raining!).  Once again we had countless people who so graciously gave of their time, energy and love to help us make this possible.  Especially today, when I'm sure they would have all much rather been in some AC or at the beach, we had an amazing group of family and friends serve with us joyfully.  We are SO thankful for you!  I thought for sure this yard sale would be a smaller scale than the others, but once again the donations poured in and we had just as much stuff as before!  Thank you thank you thank you!

                 So the grand total for today was.........$1,216.00!!  Amazing, I know! (We've officially passed the halfway point now!)

            
               Our next yard sale will be August 18th, and potentially our last, with the possibility of one more in September to sell what's left.  Except for a few people I've already been in touch with, we won't be taking in any more donations, but please know how grateful we are to all of you who have so generously donated!  We have started considering doing this again next spring either for another adoption, or to help another family make theirs possible.  It seems that many people just need someone to donate their things to, and these have been so effective that we feel it may be only the beginning.  We'll see!

                  Now for the thank you list that has continued to grow....you have all blessed us so much!


Thank you to everyone who has donated to our sales!
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
Matt & Sarah Fearon
Dave & Betty Smith 
Olivia Negri
Deputy Chief VanNieuwenhuyze
The Stearns
Sharon
Mindy Isaacs
Sheryl Canis
Susan Ducharme
The Bouthiettes
Luke Hopton
The Tremblay’s
Liz
The Ayres
Marge Holloway
Becca Sherwood
Michelle Lee
Helen Vaughn
Tara & Steve Hart
The Cooke Family
The Mart Family

And A Special Thanks to those who helped out at the sale!
Julie Negri
Rachel Negri
Ian Quinn
Kyle Thomas
Amber Durning
Caroline Mart
Kristen Schaffer
Sharon Fusco
Denise Peasley
Cliff Peasley

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Show Hope

         So today I received an envelope from Show Hope, an organization that helps to make adoption possible for many families through providing grants and other assistance.  I have said this so many times, but although I know God is going to provide I still find myself blown away when He does!  It just amazes me how incredibly faithful He is and how much He has blessed us with.  I had heard so many stories of other families getting the money needed and God providing in ways they never had imagined, but it's even more powerful when it's happening firsthand.  Needless to say, we received a grant, in the amount of $4500 from Show Hope and we are so incredibly thankful!  Our next and final payment to our adoption agency, before all of the travel fees etc. will be coming soon and now we are fully equipped to pay in full!  God is so good!  Thank you to everyone who is praying for us and for our precious child.....thank you to everyone who has provided items for our yard sales, helped to make them possible and to all those who have so generously donated to this adoption.  You are all such a blessing and we are forever thankful!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dossier Registered

Just a quick update:
         
              We received some information today that gives a little more insight into how long our wait for a referral could be.  Our dossier was sent out around June 5th, however it was just registered in our region on June 29th.  Families ahead of us in line have recently received their referrals within 2 to 2 1/2 months from the time their dossier was registered.  Of course we know that this may not be the case for us, but if the pattern continues, we would likely receive our refferal sometime at the end of August to mid September!  Again, this is not a guarantee, but it's always nice to receive an update and a possible timeline.  My prayer is that this will not be the case, but rather that it would be even sooner! : ) I so want this baby to come home!

                 On another note, we hit the $20,000 mark and our 3rd Adoption Benefit Yard Sale is this coming Saturday July 7th!