Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Final Homestudy Visit COMPLETED!

Last Thursday night was our last home study visit with the social worker! Yay! I am sure that in the future we will have to update the home study due to increased wait times BUT this was a huge step and we are so excited to have it completed!
So what happens next?
Our social worker said that it would take approximately 3 to 4 weeks for her to type up our home study and get it approved by her agency (New Beginnings) and our agency (America World). Once it is approved and finalized, we begin wrapping up the final stages of our Dossier! More details to follow on all that. So right now we are praying for a timely finalization of the home study with very few hold ups (if any) :) please pray with us! Please pray for Lee and I to wrap up all the paperwork on our end of the Dossier and Homestudy! Life doesn't stop or slow down, unfortunately, when you have hours worth of online training and paperwork to complete! So we are praying for good time management and organization - and those of you who know me well, KNOW that this will take God sized intervention!!

Just a reminder that we are having a garage sale on May 5th to help offset some adoption costs! Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated!! If you have any items that could be sold please feel free to send them our way!

Sent from my iPad

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Name "Malachi"


There is a sweet little story that goes with why we chose the name Malachi. I have decided to share it with you guys. However, I do want to put the disclaimer out there that through the naming of our son I am in no way trying to be prophetic. I just think it's a sweet little story and one of MANY confirmations from the Lord about our son.

Hmmm... where should I begin?
After Lee and I committed to adopt we would often talk about our adopted son and what our hopes and dreams for him were. Of course we want him to know Jesus, but we both also said that in our hearts we hoped he would have a love for Ethiopia and the people there. We discussed what it might look like if he one day decided to "go" or "move" to Ethiopia to share the love of Jesus. As mommy and daddy it is less than ideal to have your son "going to" or "living on" a different continent! However, something in our Spirits say "yes" to that type of love for spreading the gospel. Why wouldn't we want that for our son?
So, much of this discussion took place while I was pregnant with Miller. As many of you know... we did not reveal Miller's name until after he was born. After we finally revealed Miller's name, so many people said "I figured you would have picked a Biblical name." Honestly, a Biblical name never really crossed my mind. So I remember thinking to myself, "what Biblical names do I even like?" The name "Malachi" came to my mind. I doubted that we would ever use the name, but there was something in that moment that made me freeze. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. I never mentioned to ANYONE that I liked that name!
At the end of December 2011, Lee and I decided that we were about to officially begin the adoption process. I came home from work one day a little giddy about the idea of tossing around some baby names and getting online to look at different names. You see, with Miller we had the name picked for years, so there was no "baby name searching" that ever took place with him. That's why I was so excited to discuss baby names. I remember it like it was yesterday. Lee was sitting in the recliner and I was standing on the other side of the living room. I said, "well, I guess we should start talking about potential names since this adoption is about to be official." Lee rocked back and forth in the recliner about 4 times with the "I'm thinking" look on his face. I was expecting him to throw out some names he had mentioned in the past. But instead, he rocked back and forth and almost matter of factly said "I like the name Malachi." Time stood still in that moment. Out of the GAZILLION baby names... Lee chose the ONE name that had popped into my mind... the ONE name that we had never mentioned out loud before! It was the FIRST name that came to his mind. I just looked at Lee... smiled... and said, "well... Malachi is his name then!" Of course I let him in on the short story about me thinking the name Malachi months before. We both agreed that his middle name will be his birth name.
 A few days later, I googled the name Malachi. Well... The name Malachi is of Hebrew origin and it means "God's messenger."  :):):) I don't think we could have hand picked a better name for him! Just the sweetness in all of that makes me smile. The very thing that Lee and I had discussed months prior to this regarding Malachi's life and him hopefully having a love for spreading the gospel, is the very thing his name means!  God cares about the details of our lives! Like I said, I am not trying to be prophetic about Malachi's life. What I am doing is PRAISING God for His constant affirmation about our son and our journey. Even in the small things, HE is present! The Truth is... Malachi himself does not have to do one single thing to help spread the gospel. His story is already spreading the gospel!

Sweet little story huh? Love my Jesus!!

One other thing... you may see me refer to Malachi as "CHI" on here. NO that is not meant to be pronounced "Chee" :) I know it looks like the most famous hair products! However, I have played around with the spelling a million times and am tired of fighting the battle. Not gonna spell it KYE, KAI, CHAI... not because I don't love those, but because they just confuse me :) So we are keeping it simple.... for today. Next week... who knows! It may be KYE!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Sad Email

On Thursday we received a sad email from our adoption agency. Not a detrimental email, just sad. The wait times for children ages 0 to 2 has increased :( It is now 18 to 24 months after Dossier submission. Our agency also said that if things in Ethiopia do not speed up that the wait times may very well increase again :( We are sad, but KNOW and TRUST that this did not surprise God. He has ordained the day that we will meet our son and the day that we will bring Malachi home. His perfect plan is not thwarted by government slow downs, but instead made perfect in it.

So what does all this really mean?
A Dossier is basically our whole lives packed neatly inside a folder full of paperwork. This paperwork is sent to Ethiopia, translated and used for our adoption process. We cannot submit our Dossier until AFTER our homestudy is complete. Our final visit with the social worker is this Thursday! Yay! However, that does not mean the homestudy will be complete Thursday. We still have lots of paperwork that has to be completed before it is finalized. So if we focus on this in phases... pray that all of our paperwork will be completed in a timely manner and that we will be able to submit our Dossier in the next few months! THEN... we will begin the "waiting" period - which is now 18 to 24 months. Hope that makes sense.

(Deep Breath)

How are Lee and I feeling over this news of extended waiting? We are okay. We are actually in a very content phase right now. I know that we are still probably in the "honeymoon" phase of adoption as we have only been in the process around 2 months. However, remember we have a 7 and 1/2 month old at home and life is still very much in a transition stage! So we are really good!! When I think about how LONG it will be before Malachi comes home, it makes me hope that time goes by fast... but when I think about Miller being 3 yrs old or even 4, it makes me really sad. So Lee and I have agreed to take this day by day and enjoy! I don't want Malachi to be in an orphanage any longer than necessary, but at the same time, I don't want to hurry time up because my sweet Miller is already growing too quickly! Just this week he learned to give kisses (more of a head bump) and take a few sips from the sippy cup!
Malachi, sweet boy... YOU... ARE... WORTH... THE... WAIT!!! I pray that you always know that!

I thought it was appropriate to share this precious video of a "gotcha day" to know that ONE DAY... in God's perfect timing... this will be us... wrapping our arms around Malachi for the FIRST time! I cry EVERY time!

Fundraising News!! We are planning to have a garage sale May 5th! If you need to do some "spring cleaning" feel free to send your stuff our way for the garage sale!

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord."
Psalm 27:14

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day At The Park

Saturday was Pinelake Preschool Ministry's day at the park. I was in charge of the 2&3 year old Jump House. Ha! You see.... I am not very authoritative when it comes to kids. I hope it will come with age. I will give you an example from Saturday. 
   I am standing in front of my big jump house just waiting on some kids to come. My tiny little sign that read "2 and 3 year olds" is posted right by the step to get in. Well, the kids didn't just "trickle" in. In 2 min the jump house went from zero kids to like 25!! I was amazed! Those kids came sprinting and before I could even speak they had thrown their shoes off and were doing flips inside! And how many of those kids do you think were ages 2 & 3?? Ha. Maybe like 4 of them and they were in danger because the 8 year olds were doing flips! Lee came strolling across the park at that moment and said all he saw was me standing in front of the jump house FULL of kids that were obviously too old to be in our jump house! I couldnt control the ages, much less HOW MANY kids were getting in. Praise God for a sweet little momma in that moment. She NOTICED my sign :) and started yelling at all the big kids to get out and go to the other jump house! Whew! I got a little better at managing it the rest of the day. I had some help too! 

Overall, Saturday was a fun day at the park! Miller Man loved it too! I talked at length with a mother of 2 who is in the process of adopting a baby girl from China! I talked to a few other moms who desire to adopt in the future. It was so encouraging and refreshing to talk to other mothers who are like-minded and have hearts for orphans. 

I have another story from Saturday. This story has resulted in an ongoing conversation I am having with the Lord. 
    Looking into the jump house full of kids, they all looked the same. Just a bunch of kids having a great time on a beautiful Saturday. However, there was one little girl jumping in the jump house who is anything other than ordinary. Her name is Rayne. For those of you who attend Pinelake- you will probably remember her story, which was told recently at church. This little girl is 5 years old. (I know, she was too old for our jump house :) but she gets a pass! And she has a younger sister who was jumping!) Anyway, I am not sure about all the details of her story, but I know that she realized that not everyone had a Bible. So she told her mom that she wanted to give people Bibles that didn't have one. She would make bracelets to pay for them. Her mother said "it was all Rayne's idea." Around Christmas they began making bracelets and handing out Bibles. Today Rayne has handed out over 400 Bibles! She is impacting the Kingdom in a mighty way at the young age of 5. I talked with her mom about the ministry. Particularly I wanted to know how the mom felt when Rayne first came up with the idea. She replied "I didn't really know what it would look like." But Rayne's mom took the leap of faith with her child. She told of a time when they needed over 100 Bibles and in 2 days they had them. She said Rayne looked at her and said, "Mama, God IS FAITHFUL!" Wow! To experience the Faithfulness and Provision of the Lord at such a young age is awesome! Rayne is outliving her life! She is making a difference in the lives of others that will long outlive Rayne's life here on earth. Just imagine. Rayne gives someone a Bible. They see the love of Christ and come to know the Lord. They lead their family to Christ. Generations are impacted all because of the small step of faith a 5 year old took! 

My conversation with the Lord in reference to Rayne's story:

When hearing her story my first reaction, because I'm a mom now, was how would I react if Miller wanted to do something like that? Everyone WANTS to say "oh I would just be so proud!" But let's be realistic! Our first reaction is "how is this going to impact me?" Rayne can't drive. She has no money. She is not capable of organizing any kind of business, including setting up times/places to distribute Bibles. So who do you think is the backbone of the organization? Rayne's mother! There are a million things Rayne's mother could have feared such as: what will people think? I don't have enough time for this. Will Rayne be disappointed if it doesn't all work out? Will people buy bracelets? Will Rayne get tired of doing it (because she's 5) and then leave me with all this work? 
But Rayne's mom didn't give in to any fears (if she had them). Instead she encouraged her daughter to step out in faith! She supported her 100% no matter how big the task was. And on Sunday, I saw Rayne's mom running around church with a bag full of bracelets handing them out! 
My heart - and part of my conversation with the Lord. 

God help me to encourage Miller to take leaps of faith for You! I pray that he would have a desire to impact your kingdom and outlive his life. I pray that I would never discourage him from acting in faith to You no matter how scary the task may seem! In Matthew 16:22 Peter tries to convince Christ not to go to the cross because Peter loves Jesus and doesn't want to see him suffer. However, Christ rebukes Peter and calls him a stumbling block! Satan used Peter's fear about what Christ would have to go through to tempt Jesus to disobey God and not go to the cross! I am SO thankful Jesus didn't listen to Peter!! 
God I pray that I would not react like Peter! I pray that I am never a stumbling block to my children. I love them but you love them more! If you called your own son to the cross, do I think you will not call my children to difficult tasks? Teach me to trust You in the things you call them to no matter how afraid I am! Fear is not from You but from satan! I pray that Lee and I are discerning and encouraging! 

Email braceletsforbibles@yahoo.com to buy bracelets! 

Our bracelets! Lee's is Mississippi State :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gaining Ground

Wednesday was a big day for Lee and I (Miller too)! We were PRODUCTIVE! We started the morning off with the life insurance guy at our house doing our medical screening. Fun stuff! Then we took a trip to the bank to work out an account for our adoption. Next we were off to vital records to get copies of all our birth certificates and marriage license. Next up... You guessed it!! A trip to the vet to get our two dogs (Cash & June) up to date on their vaccines/heart guard - along with print outs of their records! Yep! We even have to have printed records on our animals' health for the home study :)  Then last but not least - our second home study visit with our social worker, which went great! She is so nice and easy to talk to! And can I just insert here how amazing my husband is (and even how MORE amazing my God is!) Journey with me for a minute! 
      Lee and I started dating when he was 16 and I was 17 (that's right, I got me a younger man!) We were literally only kids. On Wednesday night, almost 9 years after I first laid eyes on Lee, I sat across from him in my living room listening to him talk to the social worker. He described his relationship with Christ, the things he considered to be key concepts in a marriage, and the top few things he desired to teach his children. Y'all my heart was so filled with joy listening to Lee speak. I kept whispering in my Spirit "thank you Lord." I wasn't whispering that because I was scared Lee was going to something silly. I wasn't whispering that because Lee's answer was perfect (although I kinda thought it was!) I was whispering that because the man I was listening to was not the 16 year old boy I met 9 years ago. He was not even the same man I knew 4 years ago. This man was someone whose life has been transformed by Christ and Christ alone. His responses came from the heart. His responses were grounded in Truth. And his responses were REAL. He is my spouse, I know his heart, and his responses matched the life I know he desires! Mmmmmm it was so good! And the best part was - the social worker didn't ask Lee the questions specifically, she asked us both. But Lee spoke up and answered them better than I could have! I guess you could say that was my sweet kiss from the Lord that day! His goodness stares me in the face everyday and so often I overlook it! 

All in all it was a very good day! Malachi, sweet boy, we are gaining ground towards you every day!! We cannot wait to get you in our arms! I long for that day! People ask me "is it weird to think that there is a baby in a belly in Africa that will one day be your son? Or there is a tiny baby in Africa who has just been born that will one day be your son?" No it's not weird! I love it! I love him! I pray for him and his birth parents often! The only way I know how to compare the love we feel for him to a "normal" pregnancy is - remember the first trimester, when you cannot feel the baby at all and your belly hasn't even grown? Yet your heart is completely FULL of love for the child inside of you? The only proof you have of the child's existence is a small black and white sonogram? Well that's how I feel! The proof is in the paperwork. I cannot feel him in my belly but my heart is full of so much love and joy for him! Just like I dreamed about Miller for months, I dream the same about Malachi! What will he look like? What will he love to do? Who will he become? Adoptive mamas like to say "you didn't grow under my heart but in it!" I find this statement to be true! 

"The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." 
                               - Mother Theresa 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Keeping the Faith

I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to blog again. Life has been kinda hectic lately (not that it isn't always)!

First things first: ADOPTION UPDATES

1) We have our second home study visit tonight at 6:30 pm

2) We have another art work auction up - see pics below

3) Please pray for us as we are knee deep in paperwork right now! Those of you who know me well, know that I am very un-organized! This is an issue with TONS of paperwork to get done - all of which has to be very EXACT! No room for error.

4) We are tossing around the idea of having a garage sale this spring. Please contact me if you might be able to donate some stuff! Lee says he doesn't know where we will store a bunch of stuff - but I think we can make it work! I'll keep you posted.

5) Please pray for God's continued financial provision as tons and tons of fees are coming due daily!

6) Last but not least, we have a coffee fundraiser! Not sure if you've noticed it but it's on the sidebar of this blog. Just click the image and it takes you to our store.

Many people have asked when we have to start paying fees. We have actually already paid several fees and have plenty more coming up! Below is a list. These are just a few that I can think of (I'm sure there are more that I haven't thought of)

Fees due basically now (or as soon as we can pay them)

Online Training Course - $175
Passport - $140
Birth Certificates - approx $50
Home study remaining balance - $1,500
Post adoption visits - $735
USCIS fee + Fingerprinting - $890

Can I be honest? Just typing out fees that we owe gives me anxiety. I feel the full weight of the calling from the Lord. This is so much bigger than us and God will have to provide in ways we can't comprehend. We trust that He will. HE has been sweet to speak to me this week about having faith in Him.

Matthew 14:25-31
"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," HE said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out "Lord save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. "You of little faith," He said, "Why did you doubt?"

Ahhh there is so MUCH in this passage! I wish I could write on all of it but for times sake I will get straight to a few things!
1) God is capable of the impossible (even walking on water)
2) God invites us to be part of His miracles
3) We HAVE to step out of the boat - step of faith
4) We have to focus on Christ and NOT our circumstances! (Peter began looking at the wind (circumstances) instead of focusing on Christ and thats when he began to sink).
5) Even when we fall - Christ is faithful to extend His hand and rescue us!!

Honestly - this passage was a wake up call. I had began to look at my circumstances instead of staying focused on God. He is calling me to return my focus. It is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed! My circumstances remain the same - the difference is WHO I am looking at! And THAT is the difference between walking on water and sinking.

After all - it is Jesus who invited us to "Come" into this adoption journey! It was HIS idea in the first place. Why would we doubt?

Below are the pics of our next auction piece. Lee and I did this one as well. Same rules apply. Contact me via facebook, text, email, etc and let me know your bid. Once you've bid you are officially in the contest. I will keep you updated on the highest bid until the auction is over! All proceeds go toward our adoption! Yay!

Bidding ends Friday at 12:30 pm.

This piece is approx