Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The "Paper Chase" Has Officially Begun!

Please know that I am writing this with flour on my face and egg on my shirt – we are up to our ears in pies!
We love it, but oh my, it is keeping us busy! After just one week’s time, we have made and delivered 11 pies and we have 16 orders for this coming week’s time! The word is spreading at work and people are responding in a remarkable way. I am getting e-mails and messages from people I do not even know, but who want to help. Praise God for such kind hearts : )
As the fundraiser continues, we are also continuing to move forward with the paperwork. We have been assigned a family coordinator with AWAA (Jennifer), who will be our family’s guide through the remainder of the process. She has already been exceptionally helpful to us and seems to be tolerating our hundreds of e-mails a day without flinching : ) We have also been in contact with Illini Christian Ministries for completion of our home study. So, we have officially begun the “paper chase” process. It definitely has the potential to be overwhelming, but as Jennifer says, “There will be blessings and challenges along the way… I trust our feet will always have the Light to walk in as Christ is the leader of this voyage.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Unexpected Generosity

Jonathan and I have felt so blessed over the past two days! God has placed some amazing people in our lives and we are realizing that more and more each day : )
Just yesterday, we initiated our ‘homemade pie fundraiser’ at my work and it sparked such great conversation. So many have shown a genuine interest in what we are doing, sharing their own stories involving adoption, and helping us financially, that we have been blown away! Others, like the individuals in our bible study, have shown great interest as well – offering their time and their resources to help to make this fundraiser a success.
We really do not know what to say – simply saying ‘thank you’ does not seem adequate – but we do want to thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts. We are exceptionally excited to be in this process and really cannot fully describe what it means to have so many of our friends and family partner with us in making this dream a reality.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Adoption?

Jonathan and I wanted to take a moment to share what draws us towards adoption…
Throughout this journey we have been introduced to individuals and information that continually remind us that people are at the center of God’s heart. Scripture specifically mentions three types of people (orphans, widows, and aliens/strangers) that He desires for His people to care for. This is mentioned no less than 60 times in scripture – I think He is trying to get our attention : )     eH
Although we realize that adoption is not for everyone, we do believe that all of us our called to some type of service. Whether we help collect & deliver food to families, tutor a child struggling in school, spend time with the elderly at a nursing home, or any other of the hundreds of options to serve people, it is during these times that we feel closest to the heart of God. In fact, we believe that if Jesus was still here in human form, we would find him spending his time with people in these sorts of ways.
We feel blessed to be able to take part in the charge to care for the orphans, widows, and aliens, through the international adoption process. Tom Davis, an accomplished author, speaker, and adoptive father, summarizes it best in his book Fields of the Fatherless, when he states,
“In this world you are an orphan – eagerly anticipating your adoption as God’s child.
In this world you are a widow – longing for reunion with your Bridegroom.
In this world you are a stranger – a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven.

And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the stranger, and the widow….brings you back to what Christianity is really about:
giving yourself to others, being Christ to a hurting world, and living for the one that comes next.”

It is our prayer that, through this process, we will desire what His heart desires and grow closer to Him as a result.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pinch Us - We May Be Dreaming

We are not even sure where to begin to describe how we feel at this precious moment in our lives…

As many of you know, Jonathan and I felt a strong calling to “grow our family,” through international adoption, in July of 2009. Although we always believed that adoption would be one method to bring additional children into our family, we never considered the idea that it would be the only way to do so. But, as He often does, God had a different plan for our lives, which He began to share with us that summer.

We have no reason to believe that we are unable to conceive children of our own, but our hearts began to be opened to the needs of orphans around the world. Although we both grew up in the church and were aware of such things, we both (individually) felt a very distinct prompting of the Holy Spirit to adopt. Neither of us can put into words what happened, but we both remember having absolutely no doubt in our minds that this was the direction God was leading us.

Knowing next to nothing about international adoption at the time, we began by filling out a pre-application. Unfortunately, just days after feeling this incredible prompting of the Holy Spirit we encountered an obstacle that could not be overcome easily or quickly. Without going into detail, we were devastated – why would God make a path so clear and so insurmountable at the same time – but we began to do the work we were told we needed to do. We believed we would have a 3-4 year wait time before being able to officially begin the adoption process.
Fast forward nearly 2 years later, and here we are…
In late March, a friend from church came over to help Jonathan and I (okay, let’s be honest, I was more or less “supervising”) move an old couch out of the office. He and his wife have adopted, both domestically and internationally, so we were talking with him about the process we were in. He encouraged us to reevaluate our options – contact agencies, U.S. Immigration, etc. – and see if anything had changed. Although we felt encouraged that evening when he left, we were still skeptical. We were apprehensive to ask the same questions – fearful we would receive the same responses and feel the same heartache.
We finally made some calls in early April, though, and were shocked with the information we received. The roadblocks that were apparently there just two years prior, were not even spoken of in these conversations (except in our questions). It was recommended that we submit an official application with a new agency and see what happened.
So, we submitted an application to America World Adoption Association (an agency that was highly recommended from a family in our church) on Monday, April 4, which they received on Wednesday, April 6, and approved on Wednesday, April 13!!
To be honest, we do not know what happened nearly two years ago when we started this process, but we do know that His timing is perfect and there had to have been a reason for that roadblock. Jonathan & I venture to guess that perhaps we were not emotionally ready for the journey, while others have suggested that perhaps our child was not yet ready :) Whatever the case, we trust that He will guide us to the end of this journey, just as he guided us to the start of it.