Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our First Home Study Visit = COMPLETED!

Our house was in rare form last Thursday night. It... Was... SPOTLESS!! I mean dusted, mopped, vacuumed, etc. - spotless! As you can tell by our title we had our first home study visit! I was nervous (not sure why - just was). Lee said he wasn't nervous, BUT he began pacing around the house about 30 min before the social worker arrived :) She arrived promptly at 6:30 and we began. It went sooo well! She was easy going, friendly and didn't make us feel nervous at all. Miller was here playing in the floor. The whole atmosphere was laid back. WHEW :)
She just asked all of the "get to know you" questions - where are y'all from, how did you meet, what made you decide to pursue adoption, etc. She was so encouraging and shared stories from other adoptive parents she has worked with.
At the end of the visit she had to do a walk through of the house - detailing things like smoke alarms, number of bedrooms, etc. One thing she asked for that we do not have is a fire extinguisher :) so we will be purchasing one of those before our next session!!
Overall Lee and I considered it a success! We are looking forward to our next visit with her on March 7th! We are 1 step closer to Malachi! One visit down - 3 to go!!

Our first artwork auction is officially over! Thank you so much to everyone who placed bids! The winner was my sweet friend Jennifer Crane :) We plan to have another piece up for auction this week so please stay posted!

Here is a sneak peek!

In case you are wondering - I have listed some details below about home studies since you will be reading a lot about it over the next few months. It's only a very general description.

What is a home study?
A home study is required for every adoption, whether it is an international or a domestic adoption. This study is a basic overview of your life - including criminal background checks, your finances and even your personal relationships. It is used by the courts to assess if a stable environment exists for a family to receive an adoptive placement

By the end of our home study we will have completed all of the following:
10 hour online training course
4 interviews/home visits with the social worker
Health statements (doc visits)
Financial statements
Background checks
Autobiographical statements

(all of the above include subheadings under each thing - such as PAPERWORK not listed )

At the end the social worker will write up a detailed report about us and hopefully her approval of our adoption :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sweet Kisses and a Fundraiser

Throughout our journey you will probably hear or see me write about "sweet kisses" from the Lord. I'm not sure exactly when or why I started using this phrase but I know it's been within the last few years! Basically a "sweet kiss from the Lord" according to ME is defined as a moment during my day when something happens and I know that the Lord did that especially for me, usually to encourage me or remind me that He loves me. These "kisses" come in all sorts of shapes and sizes :) God knows exactly how to speak to me- during all walks of life.

Anyway. This weekend we got a sweet kiss from the Lord. Lee and I have felt like we were on somewhat of a roller coaster over the past month or so. Weary at times. Ecstatic at times. Too many reasons to list here left us exhausted on Friday and Saturday. On saturday, my brother sent a text saying that he, his wife, my niece and nephew all from Mobile, AL were gonna drive up and stay for two days! A surprise visit! Normally I would have freaked. My house was a wreck. We had no groceries. And physically we were exhausted! Instead, I was so excited! They stayed from Sunday til Tuesday and we had so much fun! It was just what Lee and I needed! They loved on us, encouraged us and we are so thankful they came! It's funny how God knows how to rejuvenate us. I would think a few days here alone, resting would be the answer - but God knows we needed more than physical rest... We needed to be loved on and encouraged!

I must insert here how AMAZING all of you have been after the announcement of our adoption! We have received so many texts, emails, facebook inboxes, phone calls, etc from people encouraging us and just plain excited!! It's been awesome to see the Lord working! I cannot thank y'all enough for all of your support! I was a little overwhelmed at times (in a good way) from all of it!

And to top it off - we have our very first auction piece to help raise money!! Yay!! I absolutely love art. I'm only a rookie artist, but still love every form of art. Lee and I made this particular piece together. It is made out of recycled wood so every dime will go toward our process! Below are some pics. This will be a silent auction. If you want to make a bid then contact me in any way (facebook, text, email, etc) and I will "enter you in the contest." Once you've made a bid - I will keep you updated on the highest bid/bidder. You can bid as many times as you would like! Bidding ends next Monday February 27 at noon!

Bidding begins .... NOW!! :)

The size of this piece is approximately
17 inches wide
21 inches tall

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finally!! Our FIRST blog post!!

YAY!!! Finally! Our first blog post about our adoption process! 
You guys have no idea how long we have awaited this first post and revelation about our decision to adopt. We are sure you are filled with questions regarding this decision so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions/answers below. Please understand that this is in no way an exhaustive list of questions and our answers may not give you the "justification" you are looking for. But we are okay with that and hope that you will be too! Our complete justification is in the Lord, in what HE has already said about himself in the Word, His heart for the fatherless, and HIS specific calling on our lives. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we are expecting another child.... from Ethiopia! 
We cannot wait for the day that our feet will touch down on African soil and our arms will embrace our SON for the first time! Tears of joy swell in our eyes each time we envision this day! But for now... we must wait! The adoption process is long. It will be emotional. There will be ups and downs! We trust that the Lord is over every detail of our journey. We trust that he chose a son for us before the beginning of time and that His perfect timing will bring us all together as a family of 4! We would love for you to journey with us. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why are you adopting?
    One word - JESUS! 
     Honestly if I answered this question fully I am pretty sure my blog would completely crash because of the length of this post! Our journey is jam packed full of God's goodness and faithfulness! 
    Our journey began only months after we were married - August 2010 to be exact. Lots of people have/will ask if we began discussing adoption during Pinelake's sermon series on OUTLIVE. the answer is "No." God began a work in us months before OUTLIVE.  We both felt the Lord calling us to pray for our future children, I mean ROCK HARD conviction to pray about our unborn children. It was in those quiet times that we both felt a "holy discontent" about our future and our children. We discussed our feelings with each other and I cannot remember exactly how or why adoption was brought up - but I do remember that we began praying daily "Lord, is it Your will for us to adopt?"  because we knew this was too big of a decision for either of us to make. We did not tell ANYONE that we were praying. It was us and the Lord!  We wanted the Lord to be specific with us about our "holy discontent" and adoption. Oh boy was He specific!!!! He granted us so much confirmation that this is what He wanted us to do! Lee and I have never been more united about something. God continues to both confirm and encourage us. We have learned so much about the power of prayer! Our requests do not fall on deaf ears! God both hears and sees us! The Lord answered us "YES, this is what I want you to do" in November of 2010. Honestly, at this point in our journey we knew absolutely no one that was in the process of adoption. We felt like we were alone but we were still excited! That is completely different now. 
Notice we didn't ask "when?" Well shortly after our "Yes" the Lord blessed us with pregnancy news of sweet Miller! Throughout our pregnancy we continued to pray about adoption and God continued to speak sweetly to us! 
Fast forward to today - a few months ago Lee and I both could not shake the conviction we felt about stepping into obedience and beginning the adoption process. We had tons of questions, fears, etc but God kept whispering "Trust Me!" So we did. We began applying and here we are! We are elated! We have never felt so right about anything!  Our lives are forever changed and we are grateful! 

Other reasons:
We were both once orphans, but we have been graciously adopted into the Lord's family. Ephesians 1:4-6
 James 1:27  Conviction about adoption poured into our hearts when we first read this scripture. 
    Adoption is the perfect picture of the gospel and God's heart is for the orphan! There are around 40 scriptures in the Bible referring to the fatherless. Over the past several years Lee and I both have prayed this phrase "break our hearts for what breaks YOURS" and He has...particularly for the orphan. 

I think that Proverbs 24:11-12 sums up our "refuse do nothing" attitude. 
  This proverb says:
   Rescue those being led away to death;
   Hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
   If you say "But we knew nothing about this,"
   Does not HE who knows the heart perceive it?
   Does not HE who guards your life know it?
   Will HE not repay each person according to what he has done? 

In summary - Once you are aware of something, you cannot pretend that you do not see it! God KNOWS and holds you accountable to how you respond to those in need. God KNOWS that Lee and I know He has specifically called us to adopt. It is our job to respond to His calling. 
Keep reading our blogs because Jesus and adoption  will be a constant theme in our posts!! 

2) Why Ethiopia? International vs national?
    Lee and I were not opposed to either. We were open to adopt from wherever the Lord led us - but even in the beginning we both felt like it would be international. We prayed over all the potential countries (including the U.S.) and the Lord confirmed in both of us - Ethiopia. For us -an orphan is an orphan. They all need a forever family. However, like we stated earlier - God is not surprised by our decision to adopt.  In fact, HE is the one who planted the seed in our heart. It was His plan all along. He knows all of our children, even though some of them remain unborn. 

Other reasons Ethiopia has captured our hearts are listed below.
Exact statistics are hard to find but we have consistently seen these numbers - even if these numbers are only "close" to being completely accurate - they still break our hearts! 

*There are approximately 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone. Honestly this number was beyond my thinking until I looked up the census of the state of Mississippi. In 2010 the entire population of Mississippi consisted of a little under 3 million people! YES! Basically for every single person in this state, there are 1.5 children in Ethiopia that are orphaned! I challenge you to think that if the entire state of MS and let's just say half of Alabama were orphans... Would you be more concerned about it? 

*1 out of  10 children will not live to see their first birthday
*1 out of 6 children die before their 5th birthday

*Over 60% of the population does not have access to clean drinking water

*The doctor/population ratio is 1 doctor to every 42,000 people

*1 out of 9 children are orphans

*4 out of 5 families live on less than 2$ a day

*frequent cause of death = diarrhea

3) Will your family be transracial?  Yes.

4) Why is adoption so expensive? 
    Adoption is VERY expensive. We are looking at a total cost of anywhere from 25 to 35 thousand dollars! Geez just typing those numbers makes me nervous! We trust that God is bigger than that and He has called us to trust in His provision! 
You will be hearing more about the specific expenses of adoption with later blogs. In a nutshell - paperwork, legal fees, agency fees, travel, etc all compile to create a huge expense. 

5) How will you pay for adoption? 
   We pray that fundraisers and donations will greatly assist in the expenses of adoption. There are also small grants we can apply for. Honestly, as of right now - we are not sure exactly how each expense will be funded but we trust in the Lord and trust in His provision during our journey! 

6) How long will the process take?
    Right now we are hoping to bring sweet Malachi home in approximately 2 years. Unfortunately this time frame is only an estimate and can vary without much notice. Ethiopian adoptions have slowed down drastically over the past year as the government strives to ensure that all adoptions are completely legit. You will be hearing our groaning about this slow process over the next 2 years.

7) Do you know if you will be referred a boy/girl and approximately how old will he/she be? 
   Yes. Our agency allows us to request both gender and age. We have requested an infant (0-18 month) boy. 
   We really don't have a huge explanation for why.  All we can say is that ever since adoption was first mentioned between us - we both knew "boy." This was even before I was pregnant with Miller. 

8) Have you had trouble conceiving biological children, or did you anticipate having trouble? 
   No to both. Honestly, adoption was always plan A. 
   Miller was a complete surprise and precious gift from the Lord. 

9) Where are you currently in the adoption process? 
    We are currently beginning our home study and paper chasing for our dossier (adoption terms you will learn more about). 
This is the very beginning steps of the process. Basically we were accepted by an adoption agency, have paid our initial fees, have a home study agency, and are beginning our home study/dossier. 
This phase in the process will take 4 to 6 months to complete. 

10) Do you plan to have more biological children? 
     We are slowly learning that our plans may look different from the Lord's, but we can safely say that as of right now "YES" our heart is to have more biological children in the future.  As for now, we are content waiting on Malachi.  

11) What can I do to help? 
     PRAY!! pray pray pray pray! We cannot express how crucial prayer will be in this journey! 
     Donate - lee and I both find it awkward to ask for financial assistance but the reality is - we need it! So please pray about this! This does not have to necessarily be monetary. You may be able to donate items that can be auctioned ie. Artwork, things you've sewn, any talent you have! Or you may could donate items for a garage sale. The possibilities are endless. 
     Participate - we will have multiple fundraisers and we hope that you will participate in them! Updates will be on our blog/twitter and facebook! 
     Encourage - this is also so crucial. Like I said, this process will be long and hard so your simple encouragement will mean so much! 

Whew!! That was long! All of our posts won't be this in depth! Thanks for being patient! 

A few details: 
Obviously you can follow us here at
 I confess I know absolutely nothing about setting up a blog!! A sweet girl is currently making us a background/header/etc for this blog so it will look completely different in a few weeks! 

Also - we have a twitter account @Journey2Malachi 
Follow us by texting  - Follow @Journey2Malachi - to 40404
It will automatically send you a text when we tweet! We will ONLY tweet about the adoption process. This will be the quickest and most frequent updates we give as we will not post all the small details in the blog! So please follow us!