Friday, September 10, 2010

Praying for Plans

So I am very careful about how I speak about plans. Anyone that knows me from my childhood, knows that I had a very clear sense of direction with my life. God has blessed me in knowing well the desires of my heart, but how he fullfils those desires has rarely been what I expected, or would even have guessed. So as I begin to share with you our tentative plans, please be prayerful for us to trust and yeild joyfully to God's will in our family's life, whatever it may be.

Adoption is, well, expensive. I hate to talk money, but its just a fact. The other half of that fact is that we don't have oodles stored up somewhere. God has been so faithful and generous with us, I am by no means complaining. I am always astonished at tax time to see how much God allows us to give and how he stretches the little bit we actually live on. All this to say, we are saving and planning fundraisers, but a large sum would really help. My hope is that selling our home can really get us a good chunk to cover the expenses. We live in an older home and have been trying to finish up some renovations. Our hope is that it will sell well and we can then buy a relatively low-priced home and bank the earnings for adoption, or at least in part depending.

I ask that you pray for us about the timing that we place the house on the market and also God's provision for where we should buy next. There are many great houses in our neighborhood and we would love to stay nearby. Its hard to think about leaving our first home sometimes, but mostly I think about my neighbors that I have come to know and love.
For fun, I'm including some pictures of a couple renovations we've done.
Upstairs bathroom: Before (I know, it was pitiful)


Kitchen: Before (this is after we started stripping the cabinets, but they were gross and had literally 7 different colors of paint and who knows how many layers. The pictures are a bit misleading cause you can't see just how gross the cabinets were before, with rust coming throught the hinges, paint drips and stains.) Before:


And finally our front yard. Big thanks to Alan Murdock of Arthouse Gardens for the landscaping design. Jacob and I did all the labor to save some money and we got the peagravel for free from one of Alan's clients! Before:

After (excuse the fallen leaves)

We are almost out of projects before the house is ready! I'm excited to get this big process done so we can then focus on more specifics for our adoption. Again I think God has used circumstances to force me to wait. Nepal adoptions have been suspended recently and we are praying hard about whether to pursue our daughter there. I'm very tempted to freak out, but have resisted thus far. With all we are doing with the house, it may be months before we sell it and are then ready to proceed in the process. I'm thankful to have this time to pray, without having to make any big decisions immediately.

Again, with the flimsiness of plans, our house may not even sell. Even still, I'm thankful that we have been blessed in both of our work situations the last couple of months and have not had to go in debt to make these home improvements. We shall see just what God has in store!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A beautiful suprise in the mail!

No, we did not get a big fat check, if that's what you're thinking. But quite a nice treat nonetheless. In our county, we get a book in the mail each month for each child until they are 5. R2's book for the month came in today. It was called "A Mother for Choco" by Keiko Kasza. It was a beautiful, loving picture of adoption. K1 told me almost immediately when we got home and wanted me to read it to him. After we read it he said, "its adoption!" A must read for sure. Briefly, it begins with baby bird Choco looking for someone who looks like him who might be his mother. It ends with Mrs. Bear, who looks nothing like him, bringing him home to be his Mama. He joins her family, that includes a little pig, a little alligator, and a little hippo. The last illustration is Mama Bear hugging all four in her lap, so so sweet.

While I'm on the subject I must give a shout out to another favorite, the PBS Kids series "Dinosaur Train." The premise is the adventures of the Pteranodon the are often facilitated by a special train that can travel through time tunnels that take them into other eras to learn about the dinosaurs there. The Pteranodon siblings consists of 3 pteranodons and a T-rex who somehow ended up in their nest before he hatched. They so wonderfully show him as part of the family, while celebrating his uniqueness. I love this show for a zillion reasons, but I'm so glad to teach K1 about adoption with this help.
So if you know of anymore great jewels like this, let me know.
I am feeling very encouraged at the end of this day: sharing this book with my boys and reading the blogs of the Hollis family who just met their son in China and my childhood friend Jill celebrating he new son's 1 month birthday. Its so encouraging to see God's faithfullness in guiding and providing for such a rich blessing as family and adoption. My heart is overflowing with love, gladness and thankfulness today.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fundraiser follow -up #2

Highlights of our Jacksonville, AR fundraiser.

-We had LOTS of stuff for the swap. Everyone who came walked away with a good bit. It is sometimes hard for me to take money from people, so it really helps me to see them be blessed as well. I have to remind myself that with this adoption, the giving done by others will be rewarded in heaven as well, and not just by the material nature of the fundraisers.

-The food was AMAZING! My sister-in-law, Katie, made the most delicious, Nepali-inspired food for the reception. Curried chicken and potato kabobs, rice balls (rice, cheese and red pepper rolled together and fried), pita chips and veggies with cumin yogurt dip, shortbread cookies, Nepali tea. SOOOO good. She decorated the table with pictures from the orphanage my father-in-law visits each winter as well.

-The turn out was not quite what I had hoped, but I learned a lot about how I might aproach it better next time (nearer the end if we are still needing help with funds). It was still great to talk about our adoption and the work of 147 Million Orphans. We made less money on this second fundraiser, but I feel like we raised so much spiritual and personal support sharing our desires with so many close friends and family. I definately feel the priority of prayer in this endeavor. We will need to save and raise quite a bit of money, but even more we need the continued prayer and encouragement.

Thanks again to everyone who helped and participated.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fundraiser #2

So we are coming to Jacksonville next! Below is a link to the evite. I've been to this kind of fundraiser before and I got so much more than my money's worth. It's not the point of the fundraiser of course, but its a nice plus

I've saved some women's clothing sizes 4-16 from the Russellville yard sale. I've also got a handful of accessories and children's items leftover too. So I know there will be some variety. Let me know if there are any questions that the evite doesn't clarify.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First Fundraiser Update

Our first fundraiser went really well, exceeding our goal by 50%! It took much more work than I had anticipated because my parents had so much stuff to get rid of. It was great to raise money in a way that blessed other people too. My mom is recovering from a broken leg and hasn't been able to walk, much less do many projects around the house (like cleaning out her storage closet and garage). I was able to help them sort through lots of stuff and move most of it out. We also had so much stuff, we were selling everything VERY cheap, even some really nice stuff. We also discovered that Jacob is the salesman in the family. After an hour or so of my mom and I giving everything away for $1, Jacob took over and made sure we actually earned a decent amount. Allie and CJ were awesome too selling stuff for us on the other side of town.

My merch from 147 million orphans did not show up in time. So I can definately take some orders in the future. When I get the stuff back I'll try to organize a sale for that.

A few old friends from my grade school days showed up with their babies. It was so good to see them and catch -up a little.
Thanks again to everyone, you have truly blessed our family. I was thinking about this as I drove to Allie's house to collect tables and funds. Helping us with this fundraiser, through donations, purchases, even prayers, has accomplished so much more than making us feel loved or helping out an orphaned girl. I truly believe that you all have had a hand in something eternal. A treasure in heaven worth so much more than a good feeling. I hope God pleases you tenfold for the way you have blessed us.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First Fundraiser!

We are getting ready for our first fundraiser, in Russellville! It is going to be quite an endeavor, but I'm hopeful it will be awesome. (Thanks to the help of my gracious mom and my faithful friend Allie) Allie has been collecting donations and my mom is letting me go treasure hunting through her storage. We will have your standard clothes and knick knacks, but also some bigger furniture items. We have also decided to use merchandise from 147 million orphans to raise money as well. I am so excited about this organization and there work to reach orphans. You can give me an order or buy at the sale (images below are the only items I've ordered so far). Just look at what they have under 147 gear.

I've decided to do a presale Friday morning to help us sell as much as we can. So let me spell out the details for you:

Friday May 28

Saturday May 29
You can help by:
donating this week- items or baked goods(contact Allie or myself)
hands on help-set up/ clean up

Thanks to everyone involved. Those of you not in the Russellville area, stay tuned. We are planning a fundraiser in the fall in Cabot and a few Nashville-based as well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Domestic v. International

This past year, Jacob and I have done a lot of research on where to adopt from and different agencies. We talked to everyone we knew who had adopted, from many different countries including the US. We prayed a lot too.

At first I was paralyzed. How could we choose a direction? Any criteria would mean there would be children we excluded. That was a very hard concept. My pediatrician is head of the international adoption clinic here and gave me just what I needed to hear to move on. She told me its about finding a child that is right for our family. Not in snobbish way, but practically, not just any child would benefit from our particular family structure, dynamic, or resources. That really helped us move forward. We finally decided to pursue adoption from Nepal. I could list the top ten reasons if you really wanted, but I'll spare you unless you just have to know. One of the reasons we chose Nepal is that my father-in-law goes every year to help this local man who runs an orphange there. But I'll return to this fact later.

Now that we've begun sharing this decision more, its suprising to me how many people have simply question or even taken issue with our decision to pursue adoption internationally. I am definately aware that there are concerns about child trafficing and such, but looking into it more brought up some interesting objections to international adoption. All-in-all I'm glad to be more aware of the issues so that we can be sure to be as ethical as possible and truly help a child that is in need.

So any of you interested in adoption, but unaware of some of the criticisms, I do think its a good idea to educate yourself on some of the corruption and downfalls of international adoption. We are still pursuing Nepal, mostly because our heart is there and I can't imagine finding our daughter anywhere else. If it is God's will that she come to us from elsewhere, I trust that he will change my heart for that as well. But with this new information I still feel confident because we have some one there who we feel we can trust. Hopefully we will find an agency who takes our concerns seriously and will help us adopt a child who is truly an orphan and will benefit from a life in America with our family.

So anyone concerned about our pursuits, I ask you to first pray for us. We are trusting that God will give us wisdom in all decisions and guide us to our daughter.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Political Crisis
We got a call from my father-in-law last week about some turmoil in Nepal due to former Maoist rebels. The strike has been lifted, but I don't understand the politics involved in this well enough to know what that means in regards to our concerns. I'm posting a link to explain it better than I can, but please pray for this situation.

We knew that the Nepalese government has been fluctuent. The current government has only been in place about 2 years, and now there is another threat to its stability. We are still hopeful that Nepal is where we will find our daughter, but this situation reminds me to be thankful for the inherent wait involved in us meeting the adoption requirements. (Current regulations make us ineligible for about 3 more years.)

For Nepal and the Church there, we hope this unrest is dealt with quickly and positively. For our own sake as well, we hope the government will be stable enough to keep its doors for adoption open to us.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why you ask?

Sometimes it seems counterintuitive for us to adopt. We are ridiclously fertile and both of my pregnancies have been very healthy (though not fun) with simple births and perfectly healthy babies. It seems I was made for birthing babies, but God has given me a heart beyond the limits of my own physical gifts. My career is in pediatric health care, so obviously I have a heart for all children. But a trip to South Africa my senior year of college really captured my heart for adoption.

Allie and I went to this great orphanage for 2 weeks. Although the children were cared for well, you could tell they longed for parents. For that deeper connection that I am yours and you are mine unconditionally. Even though Jacob did not go with me, he felt God calling us to adoption as well before we even were married. Also, as I grow in my faith, I feel compelled by the gospel to reflect our adoption in Christ in our family as well. Taking part in this earthly adoption will be a beautiful picture of how God chose us to be adopted into his family through Christ. How we are forever his and we are loved before we even take a first breath. The girl we will bring into our family is probably not even born yet, but I love her so much already. Keiran does too! He has been asking for a sister forever and every night he wants to pray for God to bring us a little girl to be in our family.

So with this blog I hope to provide a place for friends and family to follow our journey, to testify to the great mystery that is our adoption in Christ, and to bring awareness to the subject in general. To conclude this first entry I would like to recognize a few people who have helped us get started on this path.

Allie- for sharing a heart for children with me, even as we were children ourselves, and for taking me to Africa

Hollis family-great resource and encouragement

Kirk-encouraging us through your heart for Nepal and the resource you have there

and of course Christ for graciously giving us the life, love, and peace of our own adoption