Wednesday, December 29, 2010

He did it again!

Why do I doubt? I mean, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this adoption is what God is calling our family to do, but I still sometimes doubt HOW it'll happen. How will we get 28 THOUSAND dollars in less than a year's time? That's a lot of money, on top of all our regular bills, something we couldn't obtain in ANY way without His help. He constantly reminds me that THIS - us adopting our child from Ethiopia - is His plan. His constant reminders, His constant dreams He gives me, His constant whispers in my ear, His breaking heart for the orphans that He's given both Michael and I, and His constant reminder that He will provide for this adoption BECAUSE it's His plan....

I have absolutely no reason at all to doubt. But I do. Hey, I'm human after all! I don't doubt anything other than us not being able to get the money needed. God knows my heart and knows that I want to do this adoption 100% debt free. I want to pay cash (or check!) for every single thing. There are tons of Christian organizations out there who offer 0% interest loans for adoption, but I really feel like we need to do this without any loans and thankfully, Michael feels the same way.

Anyway, just a few days ago, I was beginning to worry about the money again. We had several expenses coming up in just the next couple weeks/month and our adoption fund was depleting because of all the other expenses we've paid (a little over $2000). Michael and I prayed and again, God proved to us that He is our provider. He will provide just EXACTLY what we need. Thanks to a donation from an awesome family, we were able to pay off our ENTIRE home study yesterday! With their donation, we had the exact amount needed to pay it off...

Even more awesome, somehow we "overpaid" on our mortgage this year and just so happened to get a check back in the mail for the EXACT amount needed for our I-600A Immigration Fee and FBI fingerprints. Tell me that's not God! I dare you! :) How can both of those happen just by chance? To have the EXACT amounts? That's impossible without God, in my honest opinion...

Isn't it just amazing how He works, though?? You'd think by now I wouldn't doubt that we'd get the money needed because this is what? The third or fourth time He's done this? Just totally awesome and just total proof that when it's God's plan, all the right doors will open! I love how He works!! It's just humbling and awesome and has brought me to tears way too many times the past few months!

I'm SO excited for this next year and to see just how God works. He's given me lots of ideas and dreams on some things to do, and I can't wait to share with you all soon... If I don't blog again this week, our family wishes you a very safe and happy new year full of God's tremendous blessings!!!

Love in Christ,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home Study Update and T-shirts

I forgot to update ya'll on the home study! For those of you who aren't Facebookers, we had part 1 of our home study done last Thursday. Our home study social worker is very nice and helpful and we feel very comfortable with her doing our home study. After a lot of paperwork, a few signatures, and lots of questions, it was over! She was here for around 2 hours, and seemed very happy with our "interview". She said our family seems like a great match for an adopted child and she was extremely impressed with our "very well behaved children" and said "it's a direct reflection of how we are as parents". In the coming months, we'll be continuing to obtain all sorts of documentation, background checks, fingerprinting and whatnot. Then we''ll meet again with her, and hopefully finish up our home study report and get the dossier completed. I'm hoping we can get all of this done and the dossier submitted by my 25th birthday in April, so then we can finally be put on the waiting list for our child!

Also, we received our shirts last week! I LOVE them and they turned out to be just what I wanted! We mailed out all the pre-ordered shirts on Friday, so hopefully you all who ordered them will be receiving them soon! If you haven't ordered and are wanting to, you still can! We have a little over 100 shirts, sizes ranging from Youth XS-L and Adult S-2X. I have changed the cost to $20 (youth) and $25 (adult), which includes the shipping and handling (some people were getting confused with the shipping and handling costs, so I figured it'd be easier just to include it with the shirt cost!). 100% of the proceeds from the tshirt sales are going directly toward our adoption fund. We have several thousands of dollars worth of expenses coming up in just the next couple months, so the proceeds are going straight to those costs. If you're interested in ordering, please use the "Donate" button to the right and in the "notes" part of your donation form, include the quantity and sizes that you want. Some people have asked if they could just donate and not get a shirt, and I just wanted to clarify that, yes! That is definitely okay! We are grateful for ANY support!



Close up of letters, made from the word "tasfa" 
meaning hope in Amharic (Ethiopia's main language) 

Thank you again for everyone's support, love, and prayers! We appreciate it more than you'll ever know!

- Amanda

Friday, December 24, 2010

Despite being excited for Christmas...

I'm having a rough day today... I am so excited for Christmas and all the family time we're able to have (which lately has been rare - poor Michael leaves way before the kids and I wake up in the morning and lately hasn't been getting home until the kid are in bed), but my heart is also aching for our child in Ethiopia... I have a feeling this is gonna happen with every holiday we go through without him/her! It's so weird, to me, that I can long for a child I don't know, have never met, and have never even seen (except in dreams). God has definitely put a whole lot of love in my heart for this child... He's put a lot of love in our childrens' hearts as well! Aydan and Ilana both pray for their brother or sister daily; just the other day, I caught Ilana praying in her room, completely on her own (head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded - the whole thing!), that God would please bring her brother or sister home for Christmas so he/she wouldn't be alone for Jesus' birthday. Makes me smile to see how God has put this love in her heart as well!

It just breaks my heart, though, to think about this child and all the children worldwide who are all alone for Christmas. Here we are, most of us getting together with family, enjoying all sorts of holiday festivities, presents (probably way too many), and tons of food, and there are literally MILLIONS (more than 147,000,000 to be exact) of lonely, hurt, malnourished, hungry children who have NOTHING and want nothing more for Christmas than a family. Just one person who will actually hold them. One person who will love them... I can't wait until we're able to bring our child home, But I still can't help but think of all the rest of the ones left behind... As Michael said just last night, "We won't be able to stop at one, will we?" He knows me way too well!

So, while you are enjoying this Christmas season with your family, friends, and loved ones, remember all the many children out there who are alone. Please take just a minute out of your busy day to pray for them. Please pray for our child that God has picked out for us, as well. Pray that he/she will be comforted and feel God's arms holding him/her until we are able to do it. Remember just how blessed you are and how much you have in comparison to the many children (and adults) worldwide. Most of all, remember what this Christmas season is really about. It's not the food, not the presents, or anything else; instead it's a holiday to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ... It's amazing what a little tiny baby can do for this world!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Will Follow

Have you heard this song? It's a semi-new one by Chris Tomlin called "I Will Follow" (to watch it/listen to it, you may wanna pause the blog music down at the bottom of the page)

It's such an amazing song and really fits our life perfectly right now! When I first began to actively think about adoption, I had so many doubts. So many questions... How could we do this? What will people think? How can we afford it? Is this God's plan? God began opening our eyes more. Both Michael and I, together and separately, were constantly hearing, reading, or seeing things about international adoption. He began working on our hearts, as well, basically knowing that once we had our hearts in it, there was absolutely no way we could turn back. And boy did He know what He was doing!

Once we decided this was it, that this was what God wanted for our family, we basically handed everything over to God. Let Him take control. And doors upon doors began opening... We began following Him, loving those He loves (orphans). "All His ways are good, all His ways are sure. We will trust in Him alone."

Many have wondered where we're at in the process. As mentioned before, this is a LOOOONG process. We're just getting into the home study process and starting to obtain, order, and fill out documents. We've paid for our parent education classes, which are not your ordinary "how to parent" classes, and will be starting those soon. These include: Adopting The Older Child, Medical Issues in International Adoption, The Journey of Attachment, With Eyes Wide Open: A Preparation Guide to International Adoption, Conspicuous Families: Race, Culture and Adoption, along with a specific one on adopting from Africa. 

In the past two months, God has proven to me that He will provide for this adoption! Somehow, we have been able to pay over $2000 in adoption expenses. $2000 may not seem like much, but for us, that's huge! We never could've saved that much in two months if we tried. I'm still not sure how we did it. There's really no other explanation other than God! God is providing that extra money and also working in so many friends' and family's hearts and the outpouring of love and support and prayers have been incredible. We appreciate each and every one of you who have helped us, either by prayer or by monetary donation. We are blessed beyond belief! 


Also, to those wondering, we should have the shirts by Christmas! I can't wait to see them!! We'll be sending out the pre-ordered (and paid for) shirts as soon as we can! Thank you!! If you're reading this for the first time and wondering what shirts I'm talking about, please check it out HERE.