On Their Way

This has been quite a busy week around here.  I’m happy to report that all of our documents received apostilles on Tuesday and after being mailed, arrived safely on the doorstep of the family who is leaving for Eastern Europe tomorrow.  They will hand carry our documents and deliver them to the team who is facilitating the adoption.  It turns out that this family’s oldest son attended college with our son, Andrew, who is getting married on Saturday!  Isn’t that a special blessing from God?  I love seeing how God connects people.

Once the documents were in the mail, I began the mad rush to get ready for the upcoming wedding.  I had two days to make sure all the boys had shoes, shirts, and pants that fit.  How did everyone grow so much over the summer?  Today we have been busy mending, packing, making sandwiches, and emptying out the closets and vanity drawers in the bathrooms.  You may say, what does cleaning out the bathrooms have to do with a wedding?  Well, the best time to paint bathrooms is when they are unoccupied.  That only happens when the 13 occupants are out of the house for the day.  So, while we are enjoying a beautiful wedding, the painter will be laboring away.  We will return to freshly painted bathrooms, and, yes, a terrible mess in my bedroom.  Clutter is one of my stressors.  I’m glad the light will be off when I head to bed in a few short minutes.  I won’t have to look at it until morning!

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Two Reasons to Rejoice!

This is just a quick update as to where we are in the adoption process.  We have our completed home study in hand!  All our dossier documents except the USCIS approval are ready to receives apostilles.  After receiving the apostilles, the documents will be sent overnight mail to a family who is leaving for Eastern Europe on Friday. That means the majority of our documents will be hand-carried to Eastern Europe this coming weekend while we are enjoying our son’s wedding.  We had planned to enjoy the weekend anyway, but having most of the paper-chasing done will give us another reason to rejoice!

The Giver

It is quiet here in my house on this Saturday morning.  It’s a sleep-in day for all those children who find it an effort to wake up by 7:00 a.m. on school days.  I love early mornings.  They are so peaceful.  My mind is renewed as I focus on the Lord and ask Him to take charge of my day.  I’ve been storing up ideas to share with you on this blog.  Today I would like to share my favorite blessing from this summer.

Earlier this spring we made the decision not to purchase flowers to make hanging baskets.  We knew there would be a lot of adoption-related expenses this summer.  This was a big sacrifice for me, for I love flowers.  I am NOT a gardener, but I love the beauty of flowers.  For the past several years I had ferns that I saved through the winter and would hang out on the porches.  We finally disposed of them last year because they were looking so pathetic.  So, this year there was absolutely nothing to hang from the porches.  Every time I drove in the driveway, I would see my flowerless porches and remind myself that I was giving up flowers for a good reason.  I could do this!  What are flowers compared to children who have no families?

I never even prayed and asked God to supply us with flowers, but guess what?  God brought us flowers!!  They came in four installments throughout the summer, and they were all free, complements of Jim’s boss.  He didn’t even know of my sacrifice.  They were just flowers that didn’t sell at the market and which he didn’t want to return to his greenhouse.  He offered them to Jim, and Jim willingly brought them home, planted them, and watered them.

Is God amazing?!!  He gives and He gives and He gives.  I want to be like Him.September 4, 2013 (5)September 4, 2013 (4)September 4, 2013 (3)September 4, 2013 (6)September 4, 2013 (1)September 12, 2013 (1)

A Loving Reminder

Having never gone through the adoption process before now, we had no clue what to expect.  Would it go smoothly?  Would it be stressful?  Would it be time-consuming?  Would we feel overwhelmed and wonder why in the world we ever thought of doing this?  After three months of actually being in the process, I am convinced that attitude has much to do with how we perceive it.  We have tried to keep the attitude that God is orchestrating this.  If He wants it to happen, it will happen.  If He doesn’t, then we don’t want it either.  We want only to be where He wants us, at the time He wants us there.  This is a very freeing attitude because it means that God is in control and we don’t have to make things happen.  If there are delays, they are there for a purpose.  If there are changes, they are for our good.  So, I can honestly say that this whole process has been relatively stress-free.  Now let me assure you that this doesn’t mean it hasn’t required a good amount of effort on our part or that we haven’t gotten brain tired at times.  But, we haven’t ever felt like giving up and throwing in the towel.

We have a superb team from Reece’s Rainbow who is walking us through each step.  I would never want to do this without them.  They have all the documents and they check and recheck them as we fill them out.  They are quick to respond to our questions and they intercede for us whenever necessary.  The goal is that when the documents arrive in the country, none of them will have the chance of being rejected because they will all be perfect.

The past two weeks were especially busy with signing forms and having them notarized.  I never realized how important it was to do everything perfectly.  We must use blue ink and not black.  There must be no cross-outs, white-outs, double stamps, smeared stamps, overlapping stamps, wrong dates—and the list goes on.  I don’t know about you, but as soon as I know that I can’t make a mistake on this form or I have to do it over, and doing it over involves other people,  that’s about the time my hand becomes shaky and I mess up.  We had our share of mess-ups these past two weeks.  Thankfully, they were all caught and amended.  There are checks and rechecks to make sure.  First I scan and email the forms to Reece’s Rainbow.  If there are mistakes, I fix them and rescan them to RR.  Then RR sends them to the country where they are checked.  If there are mistakes, word comes back that the form needs to be redone.  There is great relief when the forms are approved!

The finished draft of the home study was completed on Thursday, but sadly, there were a few mistakes in it that wouldn’t pass inspection.  We were so hoping to have all the forms in hand to take to Harrisburg on Monday to receive apostilles.  (An apostille is a special stamp that certifies to foreign countries that the notaries are legitimate.)  I was disappointed at the news that the home study would need to be amended, but I reminded myself that there are no delays in God’s timing.  God will work out His plan, and I can rest in that.

Now I am finally at the point of this post.  I hope you are still with me.  If you have not read the “Why Adoption?” page, I invite you to take a few minutes to do that before continuing to read this post because you’ll need the background to fully grasp the significance of what I am about to say.

Yesterday morning I was feeling mentally tired with all the effort put into the adoption the past couple of weeks.  I asked my daughters if they could take charge of school and just give me a few minutes alone with God to hear from Him and thus, refocus my thoughts.  I sat on the floor at the end of my bed, got out my journal, and asked God to meet me and speak to me.  My heart was open to listening.  I pulled out Daily Light on the Daily Path, a devotional book that combines portions of Scripture based around a theme.  Turning to September 20, I read the following words:

“Poor, yet making many rich.—Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.—Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.—My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.—God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.…We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Thank you, Jesus, for the loving reminder that you are in this, that you care, and that you will bring it all to fruition.

You’re doing a blog?!!!

Maybe a better question is “WHY are you doing a blog?”  I honestly could not convince myself that I should or could do a blog.  I always feel light years behind everyone when it comes to computer technology.  (Add phone technology to that list, too.)  We probably wouldn’t even have a computer if we hadn’t received one as a gift from my parents.  Then again, maybe we would.  We just wouldn’t have had one as soon.  Nowadays it gets quite a bit of use around here with two sons doing college by distance learning.  We even had to get a second computer.  The computer has been invaluable in keeping in touch with family who don’t live nearby.  It has been invaluable during our adoption process.  There is a multitude of forms to complete and scan and send, and redo and scan and send.   My computer skills are increasing slowly, though the kids often here me say, “I need help!”  So, back to the question, WHY are you doing a blog?

On Saturday, August 31, I was chatting with a friend who was instrumental in our pursuit of adoption.  She was encouraging me to do a blog.  I had been considering it but had a list of reasons not to do so:  I wasn’t sure about publicizing our family; I thought a blog would take up too much of my time;  I didn’t know if I’d have anything to say; and I didn’t know the least thing about setting one up!  I know how stressed I can get when the computer has issues (or I have issues with the computer) and I don’t know how to fix them.  I told my friend that I would have to pray about it and see if God wanted me to do it.  I told my family that if God gave me a name for it or some clear sign, then I would do it.  Two days later I got this beautiful email from my future daughter-in-law.   “So, I was wondering, is there anything I can do to help with the adoption/fund-raising process? I would really like to be involved in the RR community.  I’m not sure in what areas I would be able to help or if no help is needed in these areas, but I had a couple ideas — Create blog? —  Raise awareness/post on the RR Facebook page? — Send fundraising letter to church/family/friends?  If this would be helpful, let me know!  I would really love to help anyway I can.” 

That was my sign.  God was pretty quick in answering, don’t you think?  Within less than a week the blog was created and ready to go.  I’ve been a little slow at figuring out how to manage it, but I’m working on it.  The blog name came out of the Scriptures that God put on my heart last fall when we began thinking of adoption, but I’ll save that story for another post.  Let’s see if I can figure out how to get this first one published!