Wednesday, August 31, 2016

4 Years DTE

Four years ago today was one of the most exciting days in our adoption journey. We had completed all of the necessary paperwork and it was finally shipped off to Ethiopia! We were officially placed on our agency's waiting list.

4 long years have passed since that day

Quite frankly, I'm not sure whether today is a day of celebration or a day of mourning :-)

I have so much to say about what God has been teaching us and why we have chosen to stay the course on this crazy ride to Ethiopia (versus switching to another program which would be faster) but I may have to save all of that for another post.

For now... My hope has been renewed. My hope that this adoption may eventually actually happen :-)
Honestly, my heart is scared to get hopeful because I've had much heartache during this journey. However, my hope is in God and not in an organization. I am learning to trust that He is faithful.

In July, our agency issued 3 infant referrals. In August they have issued 5 referrals (not sure of the ages). Those numbers have been unheard of in the past few years! Ethiopia is divided into regions and while many of the regions have completely closed their doors to adoption... One region recently RE-OPENED their doors and our agency has a new orphanage partnership there! This is extremely exciting!

Think of our waiting list as a line. You are placed in order based on your DTE date. Our DTE date is 8/31/12.
The last infant referral I saw the family had a DTE of March 2012 (so that's a family just 5 months ahead of us in line).
And then on the toddler list... We actually recently got skipped for a referral!! A family whose DTE date was December of 2012 got a 2 year old boy just a few weeks ago. I know it sounds crazy but it actually excited me that we got skipped. It means we had a chance at a referral if we weren't on hold for baby girl.

So.... I have new energy to get busy updating all of our paperwork!! We can officially come off hold once Tate is 6 months old (so December 22). Once she is 6 months and all of our paperwork is up to date... We are officially eligible to receive a referral! We are pretty close to the top of the list. We are unofficially #24 on the infant list and #15 on the toddler list. But like I said, many of the people ahead of us are on hold or don't have their paperwork up to date for some reason! So we are actually higher on the list than those numbers!!

I know I sound excited. I kinda am. But I'm also realistic. While it could be this spring finally seeing his face... International adoption is very unpredictable and it could be much much longer.

Pray for our hearts!

For today, we are thankful God has loved us enough to take us on this journey which has ultimately resulted in us getting to know HIM more... Trust Him more... Love Him more and be more like Him. Isn't that always the goal? Even if it's painful.

Happy 4 years DTE!! We are coming for ya Malachi!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Very Overdue Blog Post!!

Hey Guys!
The last time I blogged was in October!! Geez!!
So, PROJECT 30 in October was simply AMAZING!! We had so many fundraisers (thanks to our "village") and we ended up raising......
10 thousand dollars!!
thank you. thank you. thank you.
We could have never done that without you guys!!
We are considering ourselves "fully funded." Yes, there may be surprise expenses that come up, but we feel confident that we are very close to the total amount that we need to bring this baby boy HOME!! We do have lots of left over shirts that we will sell in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for those!!
Here are a few photos from that week.
But these are only a few photos I had on my phone. There were so many other amazing fundraisers!!
My husband's gun raffle turned out great! He raised around 4K just on the raffle! Thank you to everyone who helped and bought tickets.

Megan Manuel did an awesome bake sale! She even delivered the goodies!

We had a Noonday party (pictured above). We also had a Trades of Hope party but I don't have any photos on my phone.

Proceeds from a Brittany's antique booth!

Crossfit Clinton hosted a Saturday WOD!

Outdoor Movie Night at the Gates' house!!


Another photo from the Crossfit WOD!

I could spend the rest of the blog talking about how amazing it was to see our village come together! Amazing things happen when people join together around a common cause!
So why am I just now updating on a fundraiser that happened in October??
On October 24th I wasn't feeling "normal." I decided to take a pregnancy test "just to rule it out."
To my complete and utter shock... it was POSITIVE!!
Seriously, I paced around the house sweating! Can I reiterate the word "SHOCKED??"
Pregnancy was the farthest thing from mine and Lee's minds. God had different plans!
One week later... BAM.
Nausea. Fatigue. The fullness of the first trimester hit me!
I am so thankful for Lee because there were days that I just laid on the couch and let the boys run wild. It was a rough 3 months!
I'm feeling better now!
It's a GIRL!!
We are thrilled!
 So how does this effect our adoption?
We filled out all of the necessary paperwork to remain in the program during pregnancy. We are officially "on hold" with our agency until baby girl turns 6 months old.
After baby girl is born we will update our home study as a family of 5. When she is 6 months old we will come "off hold" with our agency and be eligible for a referral (so around December 2016).
While "on hold" we still continue to move up the waiting list!
Which means that by the time we finally come off hold, we should be very close (hopefully) to the top of the list! We are praying for a referral in 2017!!!
We are currently #29 for an infant and #16 for a toddler!
Lots of changes coming up in the Blackburn household!
Thank you so much for journeying with us!