Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day

We received our CIS fingerprinting appointments last week, so we both took off from work to travel to our nearest ACS office (2 hours away) to have our "official" immigration fingerprints completed this morning. Unfortunately, FBI fingerprints required for the home study aren't "official" enough for international immigration paperwork so a second set needs to be done. Originally this seemed silly to me considering your fingerprints don't change, but I mentioned this to our pastor's wife (they've adopted internationally as well) and she laughed as she reminded me that fingerprints can indeed change...her husband accidentally cut off part of one of his fingers in a snow blower mishap a few years ago! As we were getting ready to leave, I checked the office's website to double-check address, directions, etc. Everything appeared to be in order, nothing special noted on their website, just the standard US government information, office hours, services performed. 

We arrived to find this taped to the door:

Seriously??? We did get some snow last night, but not enough to shut things down! We were totally bummed, but the situation was out of our hands. We sulked for about 20 minutes as we got back in the car to drive home, then began to realize this is just a little bump in our process, and if this is the worst that happens we shouldn't be complaining. I mean, we only have to postpone our fingerprinting, we weren't involved in anything serious like a snow blower mishap! (Sorry Kim and Stac, had to throw that in there!)

Earlier, a good friend of mine texted me "Chin up" and she's right, this is not a huge deal. Thankfully the sign says they'll honor walk-ins due to the closure, so we won't have to wait for another appointment to be scheduled for us. We'll just get some rest, cue up the ipod playlist, fill up the gas tank, and try again tomorrow.

(If you think of it, please pray for no more snow tonight!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Could this be you??

About a month and a half ago, JT and I had the priviledge to be a part of an adoption video project at our church.Through the experience we got to meet and work with another adoptive couple, who were literally just days away from reuniting with their son in the Ukraine to go to court to legalize their adoption. They were such a sweet couple, with great faith in God's plan for the change in their family.

Upon their return home, they brought with them great heartache for the children left behind at the orphanage, children dreaming of family, unsure their cries are being heard, uncertain their prayers will be answered. The following is a brief insight into what this couple experienced, and how it has affected them since:

"The first time we met him, we knew that Dan was special. He walked right up to us, held out his hand and said, 'hi.' Not really anything prolific about that simple gesture...unless you are an 11 year old orphan in Ukraine.  We met Dan while adopting D, our 9 year old son, in December.  The fact that we were adopting a child halfway across the world is evidence that God is wildly humorous and that He still asks His children to do things that seem totally out of the norm, perhaps even hilarious.

After that handshake on the first day, it was all hugs from then on...big, robust hugs. No matter where we would be visiting D, Dan would seem to appear out of nowhere - but he didn't stay too long because he wasn't allowed to be with us.  A few minutes is all it took to see that Dan had a sweet, sweet spirit about him.  Then we met Dan's sister, Nastay, who was just as sweet. Numerous times during our three week stay, both Dan and Nastya would look us in the eye and ask, "America, please." Our hearts have been stirred, and broken by the many children that have subjected to calling an orphanage their home.  In a country where there seems to be little regard for God, could He possibly hear the plea of these little voices calling out for the love of a family?
James 1:29 says, 'Pure and true religion in the eyes of God the Father is caring for the widows and orphans in their distress.'  This Scripture has taken hold of our lives this past six months as God directed us to adopt D.  Adoption was never in our plan but God made it very clear that this is what He was asking us to do.  Through our fears and fighting, struggling and questioning, we have experienced God providing for us in miraculous ways.  But now we have returned carrying a burden for Dan and Nastya...and Dasha...and Vulva.  Dasha is the youngest, Vulva the oldest of this foursome! While the task of finding a home for these four seems insurmountable, we are trusting that God will provide for them in a miraculous way too.  As we clearly see that longing look in Dan and Nastya's eyes, we also see the eyes of the Father."
~ as written by "D's" adoptive parents

While it seems almost ridulous to post this...could you be their family? Over the past 6 months, we have seen/felt God's hand in every step of our adoption and we have have been surprised time and time again by His provision. Although adoption was placed on our hearts years ago, we needed a little nudging to get the ball rolling.  Well, I'm nudging you today.  Perhaps you've felt the tug to open your heart and home to someone longing for a family...follow that tugging. Perhaps it isn't for this particular family of four, but maybe it is; consider it, pray about it.  With so many children lost and alone, you could be the one to show them hope.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The new "normal"

Today was the start of a new sermon series by our pastor entitled "Greater Than: seeking a new normal." Each year, our church has a "theme" verse, this year's is John 14:12

"Very truly I tell you, all who have faith in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father."

Today we were challenged to examine our lives, to define our normal, then let God redefine "normal" for us.  As a Christian my normal should be a constant reflection of Jesus: The WAY, The TRUTH, and The LIFE. Is my life reflecting that? Most days, no, (quite frankly and sadly) it's not. 

So what does a "Greater Than" life really look like? This adoption process is only beginning to change my concept of normal...I know, the end result of this process will be a big change at our house, but I think within the overall picture of our lives' purpose, we'll look back and see this as a small change toward this new definition of normal. I believe that my normal up to this point has been living a "less than" life for Jesus. He said the words in the verse above just shortly before he was going to die, and knowing what was ahead of him, He introduced his disciples to the thought of a life "greater than" what they were currently living. A "greater than" life we all can have if we choose to follow Him with our WHOLE life, not just a portion of our lives one day a week.

His disciples didn't get it; I don't blame them, I don't get it all the time and I know the end of the story.  But the exciting (and scary) thing is, we're not designed to "get it" all the time, we're just designed to trust. I don't "get" why we have to do all the things we're required to do to provide a home for these boys, but I trust that God has this process in place for a reason. I'm trusting his timing (even when it's extremely tough), knowing that he's using this time to prepare us to become godly parents and to prepare our children's hearts and minds to the transition of a family. I don't always "get" why my sons are living halfway around the world, but I do trust that God has specifically chosen these little cuties as my children and am so grateful that He's chosen to entrust us with these precious babes. I pray as trust in my Saviour deepens while I'm on this journey, that I'll be able to let go of my "less than" life and begin living the "new" normal. A normal where God desires to use my life to shine His love, to point those around me to a life "greater than" what they are living. He's purposed us for more than we can imagine, join me on this journey.

*To listen to our pastor's sermon (I highly recommend it) simply go to

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick little update

Just wanted to give a quick update on our adoption process.  Our dossier is just about complete! Remember how I blogged previously that our case worker said it usually takes about 3-6 months to complete the dossier, and we were going to aim for the 3 month mark if possible? This weekend will mark 2 months and we're just waiting on our final form! This form is coming from Homeland Security, and it basically gives us the "go-ahead" to submit our dossier to our agency for review. After review, it will be sent to Washington DC for final approval, then off to Ethiopia!!

The form we're waiting on is called the I-171H (our government is very creative with all of the form names, aren't they!), and we've been told processing takes 6-9 weeks.  We received an email last Monday that they received our paperwork, and then today we received a letter stating our petition is being processed and we will soon receive our appointment day and time for our USCIS fingerprinting.  It seems so silly that we need to be fingerprinted again, but oh well, we'll go along with it to get our boys home!

We're getting so close to our dossier submission, my excitement is building moment by moment! In fact, I'm smiling as I think about it, even as I sit here and type! ;) To think that just a year ago, I was sitting at my doctor's office reviewing different types of fertility treatments and now I'm just a short time from becoming a mom of 2! God has opened my eyes and my heart so much over the past year, not just to the cause of the orphan, but to His love and provision for me and my family. What a year it's been, and what amazing things we're looking to celebrate in 2011!

Although submission of the dossier is just the beginning of another "waiting" period in the process, we're trusting God for peace and patience (and hopefully a speedy referral!) as he finishes preparing our sons' hearts to join our family.