Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art for Adoption Sale!

Okay, if you want some gorgeous art for your home or your loved one's home, stop by our photography blog. We are selling art for the holidays, and 100% of the proceeds go toward adopting our little boy or girl from Nepal! We need all the help we can get!

So jump from here to our other BLOG now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How far will we trust?

Yes, there are stories of political unrest in Nepal. These stories are not new. It has been going on in Nepal for a long time. Unfortunately, as I read through various adoption blogs of those who are adopting from Nepal, a mutual vein of fear and worry is pulsating and picking up pace. I can't fault any parent-to-be for feeling these things. We all long to see our child face to face. We all wonder when our day will come. And when "bad" news flows through the waves of communication for those of us adopting from Nepal, the feeling of panic seems to spread. But.....my question for those of us who have felt God clearly lead us onto this path of adoption from Nepal is, "How far are we willing to trust God in this?" Does our trust come to an unwavering halt when widespread cyber-worry strikes? When the circumstances of a country's government seem to go haywire, do we lose hope? I hope not, because then all of this is meaningless. My hope does not lie in the stability of Nepal's government. My hope doesn't lie in my adoption agency. My hope doesn't lie in the Nepali government officials who are over international adoptions. My hope lies in the One who created the heavens and the earth. My hope lies in the One who gave me breath and created every hair on my head. My hope lies in the One who saved my life. My hope lies in Jesus Christ, Lord of every moment and plan in my life. So when everything seems unstable, bound up, and crazy in the natural, the Spirit of the Lord is on the move, and in that move you will find freedom, peace, and joy.

Wes and I can't control what happens with this adoption process. What little we could control (collecting paperwork for our dossier), is now done, and now we can only wait. I know something miraculous is going to happen. I EXPECT something miraculous to happen. What will I gain if I worry and live in fear? If everything falls through with the Nepal adoption program, is God any less sovereign? No. He is still on the throne, and His ways are still perfect.

I will not put my trust in any man or government. I can't. Because men will fail. Governments will fail. But the Lord God Almighty will NEVER fail. No matter what happens, my God rejoices over me, and I know He has the best for my family. That, my friends, is something to get excited about.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One more to cry over....

My best buddy Aimee sent this video my way, telling me she cried through it. There is something so moving about watching the spirit of adoption in real tangible action. God took us in much the same way. He takes fatherless and lost children, and makes them His own. We only have to embrace Him. He's already embraced and chosen us.

I was so moved even by the workers in the orphanage, who obviously loved this little girl, saying goodbye to the little one they had cared for and nurtured until she went to her forever home.

Just a beautiful Story of Adoption

I watched this short video about a blind man and his wife who adopted a blind little boy from India. Check it out. So beautiful.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And So We Wait....

Right now I am sitting in the office. Wes is sitting at the kitchen table working on client invoices for Nina Mullins Photography. Sati (cat number 1) is crying, dying to come into the kitchen to Wes, but too afraid of the dog to make the leap. Blue is intrigued by Sati's cry, and is dying to be friends with her, but alas, no cats in this house appreciate Blue's presence. The constant hissing is evidence of that. It is raining outside. It is warm and cozy inside this house. And all is well.

So many people keep asking me how long until we get our baby. Nearly every other day. If it were anything else, it would be extremely frustrating, but I can't fault people for asking me this. They are excited, just as we are. But the wait is long. It's funny. Even though we only started this process a little over a month ago, it seems like everyone is wondering why we don't have our baby yet, or they are thinking it will happen next month. But alas, it will probably be another 11 months. That is all I have to report. There is not much else to say about the time frame. Only, I hope that there is a fluke, and our dossier slips in ahead of everyone else's, and we are called in January with a referral. But this is probably what everyone hopes for (did I sound selfish for saying that?). So again, I am SO thankful for the peace God has given me for the timing of everything. I just KNOW it's going to be perfect! Yes my heart aches to have a child in our home, a son or a daughter (maybe both!), but I can wait.

I am thankful for this time with Wes. I am thankful for this time to enjoy our two cats and our sweet Blue. I couldn't ask for more (but I still do!). Life is good, and I thank God for it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dossier Completed! Well, pretty much.....

Okay, I sent out pretty much every important document that we own in the mail today. It has been a hectic week, and I know our agency's workers are probably sick of my calls, but it is done! All I have left to send in is one more bank statement (still waiting on this since we have only been at our bank 2 and a half months, and we need 3 for nepal), and of course our USCIS paperwork (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Speaking of which, we ran into our first roadblock yesterday. It's bound to happen, but it kind of sucks when you travel all the way to Louisville to hit it. Oh well. :) We went to Louisville to hand in our "Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition", and to get fingerprinted. All of this paperwork is basically for the US government to say we are eligible to adopt internationally. Well, when we walked up to the window on time for our appointment that we had made just last week, the seriously unfriendly lady at the window said we could no longer apply in person. She said that our adoption agency should have known this. Yeah right! I asked her when she found out about it, and she said, "Oh, we only found out the day we received this memo." (a week ago from yesterday, which is when the new "rule" took affect!) So anyways, she offered to send it in for us (whoopi...yes, a little bit of sarcasm there), so we wrote out the check, handed it over, and now wait for them to send us an appointment for fingerprints, at which point we will have to return to Louisville. And so goes the adoption journey. :) We DID thank God for the parking spot right out front, though. That was nice!

So anyways, that put a possible delay on getting our dossier to Nepal, but we continue to believe that God's timing is so perfect, and we KNOW that the perfect baby will be in our arms at just the right time.

But now I can rest a little easy since I have put that stack of papers in the mail. It has consumed my mind this last week, and every morning I've awakened way too early with thoughts of whether or not I've done everything right, or whether or not the notaries have signed and dated everything correctly. It's been quite the ride, with only more to come.

Now we just wait.....wait....wait....

Friday, October 9, 2009

So What is a Dossier?

I've been asked this question a lot in the past few weeks. Okay, here's a pretty good definition:

"A Dossier, when used in the context of adoption, this term refers to a set of appropriately authenticated and translated legal documents which are used in international adoption cases to process the adoption of a child in its own country by the adoptive parents, or for the adoptive parents to obtain the legal custody or guardianship of the child in the foreign court, so the child can be brought by the adoptive parents to the United States for adoption."

What I tell people: "It's a boatload of documents involving every intimate detail of our lives and every single page has to be notarized. This includes bank statements, employment verification, physician forms....just to name a few....literally."

So that is what we are currently working on. We are moving pretty quickly on it too! It's so exciting! We are still waiting on background checks, child abuse & neglect checks, fingerprinting, immigration forms etc. And pray that we get Wes's birth certificate before Tuesday, when we have our appointment in Louisville to get fingerprinted and send in our I-600A (a document the government files with your homestudy and fingerprints and after 90 days they tell you that you are eligible to adopt...hopefully!).

It's a crazy process! Everything has to be PERFECT. The notary's commission can't expire too soon. The dates need to be written out completely. Half of the documents have to be on the signing party's letterhead. If anything gets crossed out or whiteout, it has to be done all over again. We even have to notarize pictures of ourselves! Yeah, weird. :)

And the entourage of comments and questions from friends and strangers alike has started. "How long will it take?" "Will you get a boy or a girl?" "What will his/her name be?" "How much does it cost?" "Where's Nepal (seriously! most people don't know where this tiny country is!)?" And then there are the comments. "I am SO excited for you!" (I LOVE that one, especially when it is followed by muffled screams and hugs) "You're going to be a mom soon!" "You'll be a great mom!" (also love that one) "It's just like being pregnant!" Okay....that one is probably my least favorite comment, and almost everyone says it. :) I guess the main reason I don't love this comment, is that I have never been pregnant, and would love to be pregnant, and have spent 4 years hoping to get pregnant, and have been told by doctors that it is medically impossible. This comment, of course, is usually made by women who have experienced pregnancy, and see the waiting for an adopted child to come home similar to waiting 9 months for your baby to be born from your own body. With adoption, though, you DON'T know when your baby is coming home. You don't know if it will be 6 months or 2 years. You don't know if it will be a boy or a girl. You don't know who it's parents are. You don't get to experience them growing within you. You don't get to see pictures of him/her before they are born. You have people going through every room and closet in your house to make sure it's safe. YOu have to be interviewed by a social worker to maker sure that you are fit to be a parent. You have to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to have this baby. And you don't get to bond with your baby the day he/she is born. To me, it is VERY different. Yes, I believe there are some similarities between adoption and pregnancy. I won't deny that. And adoption is an absolutely joyful process, and well worth it, but it is VERY different. Believe me, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be pregnant, and perhaps one day I will be (because I believe in miracles!), but definitely not the same. :)

But again, it is all worth it! I mean, can you believe that our little boy or girl could be growing in some beautiful Nepali girl's belly?! The child that will call us Mamma & Daddy may already have a heartbeat! Wow! That thought overwhelms me at times. It fills me with joy! I wonder what the biological mother is feeling now. Is she scared? Is she sad? Is she happy? Has she been to a doctor? Will she ever go to a doctor? Does the biological father know about the baby? If so, is he still around? Are they married? What circumstances have led them to choose adoption for their child? What part of Nepal do they live in? What kind of food do they eat? What songs does the mother have in her heart for her little one? Does she sing to the baby? So many questions. Question we many never get answers to. Wow.

There is much waiting to be done. In some ways, I feel like God has prepared us for the wait. But then again, waiting is waiting, and waiting is rarely easy.

Once again, I am excited!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Really Real Now....

So today we sent out our agency agreement. The first boatload of money was sent in the form of a check along with it. Yikes! But I feel GREAT about it! Wes and I spent about 4 hours yesterday evening filling out all the home study questions, criminal background check forms, this and that form, scanning birth certificates, insurance cards, licenses, marriage license, getting the vet to sign off on our animals not being a threat to our children, etc. etc. etc. And that's only the beginning! There is so much more to come, but at least that's done and over with.

On Sunday we will travel to Owensboro, to participate in an "Education Interview", which basically is a time to learn about all things international adoption. There will be three other families there that are adopting from Nepal, so we are truly excited about meeting them, because we will all be able to relate to one another's experiences. I'm really looking forward to this.

It's funny, I look at that little adoption ticker that's at the bottom of this blog, every day. Sometimes I just stare at it, wishing that it said 200 or 300 days already, making it closer to the day we bring home our baby girl or boy. Today it says, 6 days.

Of course, my heart for Nepal started growing about 6 and a half years ago. And when we first found out about the infertility, I immediately thought of Nepal as the country I wanted to adopt from. The four months I spent there in 2003 really had an impact on me. And last night, as we were filling out our Animal Safety form, I remembered that our cats' names are Nepali names. Himalaya and Sati. Himalaya for the mountain range, and Sati for the word "friend" (Sati actually means "virtuous wife", but the way you spell friend in Nepali is "sathi", and we knew americans would never pronounce it right if we spelled it that way). :) So anyways, we thought that was kind of cool.

I feel like I have been in a constant state of anticipation for the last two weeks. Some days it is good anticipation, and other days are not so good. That evil fear has crept up on me at times, trying to torment me with the idea that something would go wrong with our adoption, and Nepal would deny our application. I feel confident in the fact that this is the way in which we should walk. It's funny when something actually just clicks. There are so many questions we have throughout our lives. There are so many times when I have wondered if I was doing the right thing, or if it was actually God that spoke something to me. There is often that lingering voice saying, "What if you made this all up? What if it wasn't actually God speaking to you, but just your own selfish ambitions crying out?" What's unique about this situation, is I don't feel that at all. I feel confident that this is where the Lord is leading us. The other day a woman at a certain adoption agency told me that she wouldn't recommend Nepal for adoption if we've had any large medical concerns in our past. Of course there was a momentary, "What if she's right? What if it all fails?" But in the very next instant, I felt absolutely certain that this was the right course of action. I felt that God was saying, "I will go beyond every obstacle, and make the path clear. This is the way you should walk. Walk in it." Even as I repeat those words, as I speak them out loud, I feel overwhelmed at the weight and beauty of those words. As humans, we question our ambitions all the time. What is our motivation? What if this is all selfish ambition?

This past week I was reading The Strength of Mercy by Jan Beazely, an AMAZING story about how she and her husband came to adopt their little girl from Romania (I cried tears of joy throughout the entire book!). I loved how she described her dream to adopt, and God's place in that dream in her book: "The word of God tells us that the Lord wants to give us the desires of our hearts in accordance with His will (Psalm 37:4). Sometimes we fear our desires and longings. We assume that our yearnings are not spiritual enough to merit God's approval. In reality, our deepest hopes often are rooted in dreams that God Himself has planted in our hearts. Without the pull of our emotions, that compelling sense that this is the direction we should go, I doubt we would ever have the courage to move forward." I LOVE that! Those words really ministered to my heart. I felt confirmation from the Lord that my heart is not deceived! This is the way He is asking us to walk!

I realize that this journey is only beginning, but I cannot wait for the days to come. I am aware of the frustrations and complications that come with international adoption, but I can only trust in the One who called us to it. I have to believe that His ways are perfect and good, and I am confident in His plans for me. I don't know what all of them are, but I know He has the best for His children.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We've Been Approved!

Ah yes, two posts in one day! But I simply had to write a little snippet, sharing with everyone that we have been approved by our agency! So we just made it into the last two spots for 2010! Yeah! So what does all that mean? Simply that they will be sending out all of our paperwork tomorrow for the agency agreement and piles of information to get everything started. So here it begins. How am I going to stay calm and patient for possibly over a year of waiting! :)

And yes this is a slightly old picture, which has been scanned on my horribly inept scanner. But it is meaningful to me, all the same. The pic is of me and my Nepali friend, Rekha. This is moments before I had my nose pierced with a giant stud in a store on the side of the street. Ah, the memories....

You can't always guess God's plans

Okay, seriously. I Really have no clue as to how God works sometimes, or why He does the things He does. I could pretend to have an answer, but I truly don't. Okay, straight to the point.

About two weeks ago, our church had entered into a weeklong time of 24/7 prayer. Honestly, I didn't feel much throughout any of my scheduled times there. I continued to pray, though, and I pretty much stuck to playing my guitar and singing the Psalms. One night in the middle of the week (the night of Sept. 2nd going into the 3rd), I had a dream about Gautam & Rekha. This is a couple I spent a ton of time with when I lived in Nepal. I loved them dearly, and the love was mutual. I dreamt I was in a large hall, kind of like a big school gymnasium, with the stage at the front. There were tons of people there, with long rectangular tables set up throughout the room. The tables appeared to all be set up for a meal. I was sitting down together with Gautam & Rekha, and the thing that struck me the most was that Rekha's English was much improved (when I lived there, Rekha spoke very little English). Unfortunately, we couldn't hear each other very well, because there were so many people there, and a lot of noise. So the three of us decided to leave the hall and go for a walk. We went from the hall, directly into a multilevel parking garage. I really don't remember what we talked about. I just remember how happy I was to see them again.

I don't know what all that translates into, but I believe it was a God dream. Because of it, my heart was awakened to Nepal again. I feel as if my heart for the nations has laid dormant these past 2 or 3 years. And now, I feel as if something is stirring within me. That same week, Wes felt God speaking to him about Nepal. And he also mentioned adopting from Nepal. Both of us started kind of getting excited about it. That's a FIRST!!!! Wes and I have not been on the same page, emotionally, about adoption since we started this journey. This was another indicator that we needed to pay good attention to what the Spirit is saying.

So a week later, on September 9th of 2009, we sent in our preliminary application to Kentucky Adoption Services. On September, 12th, they approved it. On September 14th, we sent in our formal application. And once that is approved, we will one of the final two or three spots left for Nepal in 2010. WOW!!!

So what's next? Well, immigration papers and home studies. We're used to collecting paperwork and home studies. Working with the State has prepared us for that. And what about the foster care/adoption route with the State, you may ask? Well, I think we will be putting that on hold as we embark on our journey to adopt from Nepal (there are many regulations on international adoptions, and having a child enter our home from the State right now might halt our international adoption process). We feel that this is the route we are supposed to take, and honestly I am SO excited! I have a little bit of fear that wells up once in awhile, and that fear concerns Wes's medical history. Since he has had a form of cancer, it puts a little black mark on our applications, but we are hoping that it won't make a difference. Where's the money coming from? No idea! :) We are able to kick start the adoption process with a very generous gift, and after that we have about $20,000 to go. Ironically, the biggest road block (rather the excuse that I used) for international adoption for me was the insanely large amount of money that goes into it. Money we don't have. But now it seems like nothing. YEs, another indicator we are moving in the right direction. Wow. We have no idea where the rest of the money is coming from, but we know that God will provide. Isn't that crazy! :)

Now Nepal is a crazy unstable country when it comes to their government, so you never know what will happen next. But I think God is just asking us to trust Him. If all goes according to plan, then we should be traveling to Nepal in a year or so to pick up our little one. Isnt' that nuts! To think that some Nepali woman is probably pregnant with a child right now that is going to be our son or daughter! HOly crap! That's amazing!

So for the select few that actually read this blog (thank you faithful ones!), be praying for us. Pray for our hearts. Pray for patience. Pray for finances to come in. Pray for this child that's about to come into the world! Pray for the child's birth mother and father. Just pray!

Thank you all. I will definitely be writing more in the future as we go through this process. Frustrations, joys, and all.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Procrastination and More...

Okay, yes, I know....It has been well over 6 months since my last post. That is not even proper blogger etiquette, but I've honestly tried to avoid this blog. Jumping into the foster care system is a huge deal, and it scares me to death. We moved into our new house on February 27th. They came and did our final home study a few days later. All we had to do was get a safety knob and a few safety latches for our cabinets, and we were set. But we actually didn't get those things until 2 weeks ago, 4 months later. I guess Wes and I have both been scared and unsure. What it all boils down to??? Just being scared to fall in love with a baby that is placed in our home, and the possibility that that baby could be taken away.

So about 2 and a half weeks ago, I was having one of those, "I'm so tired of wanting to get pregnant, I wish I had $25,000 to adopt a baby," days, and I called my friend Angela and balled on the phone with her. Of course, Angela is some kind of conversational wizard (well not a real wizard, because wizards are evil) that makes the most upset person calm. She worked her Godly woman magic on me, and asked me if I had thought more about doing the foster care/adoption thing. Of course, I told her about my fears, cried some more, and then she just prayed for me. She's awesome. I proceeded to walk into a worship team fellowship time at Moe's late, and had a good time hanging out with friends. At the very end, there was this couple in the corner of the restaurant that we noticed was holding a little newborn baby. My buddy Lisa, who seems to have never ever ever met a stranger, just wanders over to this couple and starts talking to them. Of course, my interested was piqued, and I headed over too. Yup...this couple had gone through the same foster care program that we had, they had gotten this baby at 3 days old, and they were about to adopt him. The birth mother was signing over rights, which doesn't seem to happen much.

Okay, yeah....obvious....God was giving me a big fat sign, and might as well have stapled it on my forehead, because it was that obvious.....

God kept whispering to me, "I can give you that case that 'never' happens." But I was too scared to respond. Well, after meeting that couple, I shared it with Wes, and we both agreed it was time to move forward. We have no idea what is going to happen, but we know we need to take a chance on this one. That's all there is to it. No more living in fear.

So they came and did our final check 2 weeks ago, and we're ready to get a placement now. I'm not freaking out now. I guess it just doesn't seem real. So I guess that "realness" will hit, when the baby gets dropped off at our house....whoever that little baby may be. We shall see....