Sunday, August 31, 2014

Family Camp 2014

Enjoyed being at family camp with many of the DeNeal’s this weekend. Annaliese especially enjoyed the time with her grandma and grandma & her two cousins.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

Our turn...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day of School 2014

Can’t believe we have a 1st grader in this house : )

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Puzzle Fundraiser

Finally getting names on these puzzle pieces (because I finally had the guts to start it)! Sure glad I can write small : )

Want in on it??
http://jsdeneal.blogspot.com/2014/03/new-fundraiser.html



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Illinois State Fair

Had a blast today at the Illinois State Fair!

Saw animals…








Enjoyed shows/demonstrations…

 
 

 

Rode rides…



 

 
 


 



 
 
...and just had fun!











 

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Hairdo

Annaliese got her hair braided today for the first time. Although the process itself was a bit rough for her (ouch!), she LOVES the finished product!! Her hair is now “long, just like mommy’s.”




Progress

As we have mentioned to many of you in the past, there is a new step that has to be completed before a family can travel for trip #1. It is referred to as the pre-adoption immigration review (PAIR) process (for more information: http://www.uscis.gov/adoption/country-information/adoption-information-ethiopia).

There are several steps to this process, but it begins with the retrieval of the child’s PAIR documents from the adoption agency, which are then forwarded to us for us to submit (along with some other forms we filled out) to USCIS. We received those forms yesterday afternoon and sent the appropriate paperwork to USCIS this morning. The package should arrive to them on Monday morning!!

There are several steps to proceed through from that point, but we will do our best to keep you informed of the progress our case is making.

In the meantime, please continue to pray for our son as he waits for us to come and for our paperwork to clear each upcoming step with ease.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Financial Update

We apologize up front for sharing little information over the past couple of months with regards to our adoption fundraising, but to be honest, we have been a bit shocked by all that God has done through His people!!

Since mid-June, we have received the following:
·        A grant from Gift of Adoption (our 3rd one this adoption)
·        Exceptionally generous monetary gifts from family & friends – the kind that are unexplainable in worldly terms
·        An update that the daughter of one of Jonathan’s high school classmates is doing projects (making bracelets, lemonade stand) to raise money for our adoption
We are always hesitant to say that we are fully funded, as the last fees of the process are always uncertain (i.e. airfares, travel package fees), but that does appear to be the case at the moment!! Any additional funds raised at this point would be set aside to cover any unexpected fees at the end of the process or to assist with medical expenses upon Gojam’s arrival home.
And with that, all we can say is, “WOW – God is good!” If you remember, when we started this process in July 2013, we were dragging our feet because we did not know where the funds were coming from. Now, here we are a year later with the funds ready and waiting for clearance to travel. A huge thank you to each and every person that has believed in this calling for our family and has helped make it possible. Brings us back to one of our favorite quotes throughout this process (and throughout life): 
“God does not call the equipped, He equips the called.”

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Update on Court Closure

We have received more information regarding the Ethiopian court closure for the rainy season. The court officially closes tomorrow (August 10) and is scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 6. AWAA indicated that the first court dates given once the court reopens are generally two weeks after reopening. So, the scenario at this point appears to be court no earlier than October 20.

We are, of course, saddened by this news, but do trust that God’s timing is perfect – even when it makes no sense to us.

Please continue to pray for our son as he waits for us to come and understands the red tape even less than we do.

Also, please pray for those affected by the rainy season in Ethiopia, as these pictures were posted by one of the AWAA guides this past week…