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We have our Article 5 letter!

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One step closer! We received notice this morning that the US immig. office wrote our Article 5 (permission to proceed) letter! So, next what we need is for the state of Uttar Pradesh to issue our SARA approval (ironic, I know… There is already SARAH approval- but we need SARA and CARA approval next). We are waiting for CARA approval followed by a paper called the No Objection Certificate (NOC). Each of these things are ‘supposed’ to happen quickly. I think the official verbage on their website says it should take 5 days… but it seems most families lately have seen it take more like 5-6 months.

Please pray with us that we get CARA and SARA approval- as well as our NOC. Lots of abbreviations! I’d love to go get this little cutie and bring her home soon!!!!

Thanks for your prayers and financial support! We have received 25% of our goal through the https://www.adopttogether.org/mercy page.  We’re also gathering stuff for another Adoption Fundraising Garage sale as well! We have some very generous friends. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

i800 approval!

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We have our first official approval in the process!!! We submitted paperwork to US immigration and our i800 is provisionally approved. Next step, the infamous Article 5. Ok, it’s not infamous, but I feel like in my blog following days, I kept hearing about that and other abbreviations that I didn’t know what they stood for- so I’m experiencing joy in just being able to say that we’re finally entering into the process of getting all of these abbreviations behind us! :) We have many other hurdles to jump through, but I’m excited to finally HAVE hurdles to jump, even if my pockets are emptying as we go.

So, please pray with us for our Article 5 letter to be released!

On other exciting news- the AdoptTogether  page has helped raise just shy of $4400 (including $1.10 from one of E’s sweet 7 year old friends at school)! We’re hosting another adoption fundraising garage sale in about 6 weeks- so hopefully that will help get things rolling as well, so local friends feel free to bring over your junk (or I’ll come pick it up)!

Thanks everyone for your donations and prayers!

Mercy’s first birthday!!!! And- donations are coming in! Thank you!

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We celebrated our sweet girl turning one today!!! We prayed for her, baked her a cake and sang Happy Birthday in her honor. The boys decorated this sweet cake for her which we all promptly devoured.

We are also overjoyed that our friends and family are helping us out with adoption costs! Thank you all! We have had $1605 come in already through our AdoptTogether page! If you interested in donating, or know someone who might want to help, we’d love if you’d send them to our fundraising page.

I also have been waiting years to post a picture like this:

Praying over the paperwork we signed to bring Mercy home!!!!

Praying over the paperwork we signed to bring Mercy home!!!!

Help us bring Mercy home!!!

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Hi all!

We’ve opened an account at Adopt Together to gather funds to go toward adoption expenses and travel costs! We would love your help to help bring Mercy home!

Our page is: https://www.adopttogether.org/mercy

You can make a tax-deductible donation on that page. You’ll receive a receipt by email if you donate online. You’ll receive a paper receipt in January if you donate by check/mail.

Thank you all for your love and support!adopt together page

I now know what she looks like, and she’s lovely!

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We have a referral!! I have waited 5 years, 6 months, and 3 days to say this!!

Sweet Indian daughter of mine, you have been so dearly longed for. So earnestly desired. I have held on for you, sweetheart!

Beautiful Celebration photo used from ramworldtravel.com.au

Beautiful Indian Celebration photo used from ramworldtravel

She is beautiful and everything we hoped and waited for! She is very small for her age, and lives in Uttar Pradesh. We’ll tell you more as time goes on- so for now that’s all you get! :) We told the boys about her tonight- and they were so sweet, wanting to call and text their friends. They printed out her picture and started writing her full name, birthday, city, etc on it.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. -Psalm 136:1-3

It’s amazing that we now have a face and a name to pray for! On here we’ll continue to call her Mercy, since that’s how I’ve been referring to her for years.

Our caseworker said that we still have a long road  ahead of us since she’s never completed an adoption from this area and doesn’t have any precedents on timelines/how to expect communication to occur/etc.

I feel joyous to know this information but actually really apprehensive to share it with everyone. It feels like a high risk pregnancy. We are cautiously optimistic, and feel like we should share it so that you can 1) Celebrate with us! and 2) Pray for her to grow healthy and strong, and 3) Pray for the paperwork/court/approvals to come through quickly! Thank you for your love and prayers over the years! Now ramp them up and pray for this little girl to come home to us!!!!

What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do. – Isaiah 46:11b

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”- Isaiah 43:4-7

Mercy on our hearts, in our minds, and filling our prayers

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This is a post of vulnerability- for the sake of God being glorified:

As I have referenced before, we call our soon-to-be-daughter by the name of Mercy when we pray for her.  This weekend was full of Mercy! :) I went to Toth Ranch in Colorado for a beautiful retreat with a friend, and Mercy was on my heart several times during worship and prayer time. I raised her up over and over again before the Lord. So, to honor Him- I want to recount all of the things that He brought to my mind and heart recently, in order that He might be praised and given all the glory when she does indeed come home to us, and His word is proven true!

  • So, to bring this blog post in with a bang, I’m putting this video up of one of the songs that we sang at the retreat that made me immediately think of Mercy… Anabeth so beautifully ushered in an atmosphere of worship this weekend, and this song specifically says “You have planted dreams, in the good soil of my heart, I know it’s just a start, give me patience…” And then goes on to praise Him, recognize who He is and what we have through Him (strength, life, hope, etc.). I couldn’t help but pray for Mercy as I sang this several times! I hope it ushers you into the throne room of God like it did for me…

  • A friend at my small group said she really felt that the timing was ‘soon’ and that I would have her soon! I love hearing that, and prayed “Yes, Lord!” (That was either this past Wednesday, or the Wednesday before).
  • On Friday at the retreat: I had some things written down about my hopes/dreams regarding adopting a little girl from India, and I had put the paper in my bag with my bible and journal for the weekend. At one point during worship, I felt like I should raise it up in my hand and offer it up to the Lord. What came to mind is that it felt like it was a ‘powerful secret.’ It felt a little bit like I was Frodo in Lord of the Rings, when he had the ring in his pocket… :)
  • We had a short spa time right after the worship time (above) and I had a parafin wax hand treatment. I’m relaxing on the couch, enjoying the atmosphere, when this song starts playing from someone’s ipod on the coffee table… My heart was already super tender after such a beautiful worship time praying over her, then I top it off with this song, and I’m a wreck all over again.The song is one that ever since I first heard it, I labeled it as ‘my adoption song.’ This song has brought me to tears in a number of places… the most memorable being the grocery store (picture me in a heap of tears looking for the items on my grocery list).

  • Then, at worship after dinner, a gal I didn’t know started to pray over me- and she prayed something like, “God, you have children in mind for her… bring those children!” ;)
  • On Saturday at the retreat: In the morning I read the passage, “Lord you are my God. For in perfect faithfulness, you have done marvelous things; things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1. It felt so providential to read that.
  • Then later, on Saturday I read Isaiah 48:3 (which was written to Stubborn Israel, as the heading on that chapter says. Kinda makes me snort with laughter a little because that word has been used OFTEN to describe me): “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.”
  • The other fun and completely awesome thing I learned after I got home. Steve told me that while I was gone, he had a dream, and in that dream my hair was SUPER short. Like shaved in the back… He mentioned this to me after I told him of all the fun things I experienced that made me think we were going to hear something soon about Mercy. The reason this is significant is that when we started our adoption process, I made an internal vow that I would not cut my hair (besides a trim), until we got a referral! If you’ve seen me lately, my hair is down to the middle of my back (be careful the vows you make to the Lord… I’ve not had a substantial haircut in 5 1/2 years!). Ha! It gave me goosebumps on my arms to hear that he had dreamed of me with short hair! Let it be a sign, God. :)

So, all of this to say: We would love your prayers and agreement that the Lord brings her quickly! That the things that He has spoken to us through nudges, scripture, songs, and dreams- would truly come to pass. That she would be made known to us, and that the processes that need to happen to get her into our arms would move quickly and smoothly! Thanks, friends! Can’t wait to celebrate His faithfulness with you!

5 Years “Pregnant”

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Tomorrow marks 5 years waiting on our little one…

tree of life This week has been very emotional for me. So many questions: Do we continue? Do we change countries or programs? Do we expand our already expanded age range? Do we hold on to hope? How long will we wait? Will this happen?

Now, 5 years in, I’m packing up the little girl stuff into boxes again. We’ve been fostering for about 6 months now, and we’re nearing the end of our time with the 2 little girls that have been a temporary part of our family. It has been cathartic in a way, to have them to love on, dress up, and ‘have tea with’- but my heart still aches for a little girl to call my own. I had originally opened up all of the boxes of items I had saved, clothing I had purchased, little girl toys I had set aside and I let the girls use some of it… but my youngest son has expressed interest in having his own room for a season after the girls go home- so I’m slowly packing it up and putting it into the attic (again) so that he can use the bedroom.

I can honestly say that my deep love and connection with the two little girls that we’re fostering is truly from the heart of the Father. One night late, as Steve and I were reflecting on the difficulty of loving children who have lived through trauma, I confessed through tears that if our whole wait was so that we could temporarily ‘parent’ and bring some healing to these two beautiful children, then it was totally worth it. There is a lump in my throat even as I type it. My flesh wants to scream, ‘NO WAY is it worth it’. But my spirit says a wholehearted ‘Yes!’ These girls are so precious and so in need of the kind of love, home, and support that we provided. So I’m believing (in Faith, at times) that it IS worth it.

For the first time today in our 5 year wait, I actually declined going to a baby shower because it hurt too much. I’ve been so weepy this week that I didn’t think I could emotionally keep it together this time. I am honestly deeply joyful for this family, because they conceived after being unable to conceive for a long time, but I was afraid I’d be sitting in the corner crying and I didn’t want my grief to seep into the joy of the moment for her.

I know the weeping only lasts for the night and the joy comes in the morning. So, I’m clinging to that. To Hope in the Father. I know that He has a plan in all of this longing, waiting, and weeping. And, I know that my longing for a daughter in no way compares to the longing that an  orphaned little girl feels because she has no home or family. Trying to keep perspective.

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On another note: As you can see, I haven’t blogged in a YEAR. A YEAR, friends. This used to be such an outlet for me, and reading other blogs was such a great connection to the adoption world. My heart just hurt too much to keep reading but not have any movement. I stepped away to dull the pain. And in my blog-absence, unbeknownst to me, I actually lost my whole blogroll (I used google and they did away with it!), so now I don’t have a list of the blogs I used to read so religiously (comment below with yours, as wordpress has a reader I can use now… I want to get back in touch with what’s happening out in blogland).

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