Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amazingly Thankful...

So, it's been almost a month since we were put on the waiting list... Unfortunately, we're still at number 47. There have been NO referrals from our agency this month! (I stand corrected! I forgot that one special little girl was referred to a family, so we're actually number 46! Yay!This is not all that unusual as there are occasionally lulls in referrals. Some months there's nothing, then the next month it's referrals left and right! I stand corrected! I forgot that one special little girl was referred to a family, so we're actually number 46! Yay! While we're disappointed and wish our number would move up more quickly, we completely trust God in this and know that God is working things together for the PERFECT moment for our referral. Could be a couple months, could be early next year - we never know! But, what we DO know, is God's plan is much better than ours!

Speaking of God's plan... God told me from the beginning that His plan was for us to do this 100% debt free. I questioned how in the world that would happen, because we, like most people, don't have an extra $28,000 just lying around, and I stay at home with the kids, and Michael doesn't make the best income... Even though I KNEW it would happen, one way or another, and often worried how it was even possible, I was constantly reminded of this verse: 

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." - Phil. 4:19

Again, that doesn't mean I never doubted or worried... Believe me, I did!! But I am SO happy to say that God has provided to meet almost ALL of our needs. With the help of friends and family donating, helping out with fundraising efforts, and lots and lots of prayer, along with MAJOR sacrificing, giving up completely unneeded things, and saving on our end, we had paid over $8500 towards all our adoption costs. With the help of our church, and now Show Hope and HandinHand (if we get the full amount), we are almost completely funded. We have just about $4000 to go! 

HandinHand is a matching grant. They will match up to $2500, making a total grant of $5000! What a HUGE blessing! We'll be sending out support letters to friends and family and if anyone else is interested in donating, your donation is tax deductible and is to be sent directly to them, NOT us (and just write our name on the envelope, not on the check)! All donations must be in their office or postmarked by September 8 to be able to be matched. Please send them to:

Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. 
Michael and Amanda Nunez
18524 Juniper Street 
Gardner, KS  66030-9147

We had also applied with Katelyn's Fund (another grant) and had an interview with them on Monday night. Let me tell you... They were absolutely incredible. We spoke with 3 of the board members at first and ended in prayer after almost an hour with a total of 5 of them. I cannot say enough good about them and feel so absolutely blessed to have had that interview with them. They prayed over us, our family, and our adoption, along with a few other prayer requests that we had. Ilana had been having nightmares nightly for the past month or so. These were not just ordinary nightmares a typical 4 year old has. These were much more than that and scary even to me. Michael and I honestly felt like she was being spiritually attacked... We briefly talked to the board about this and when they prayed, they prayed specifically for her and the spiritual battle going on and that God's angels would surround our home and family and fight (yes, I know, we sound crazy, but we are total believers in the spiritual battle out there. It is SO real)... The next morning (and keep in mind, she has not had a single GOOD dream in over a month) she woke up in her own room (another big thing - we'd been finding her on our floor beside our bed every morning) and said she had the best dream...  Wanna know what she dreamed about? Nothing more than... Angels! It was just incredible... The Katelyn's Fund board and their prayer team at their church will continue to pray for us and our adoption journey these next several months. Even if we do not get this grant, we feel so blessed to have the spiritual support and prayers from them and that, to me, is most important! 

All in all, we've raised about $24,000 in just 6 months. How absolutely incredible is that?! If anyone asks how, my only answer is "Only God!" It's just so awesome to think about... I never, ever, would've imagined it would go so smoothly and quickly! I have no doubts about the next $4000 and know God will provide one way or another!

A few have wondered what we do if we end up having more than enough, between the grants and our own fundraisers... I am being completely honest and truthful that every single penny we make from fundraisers and donations will go to Ethiopia. If our adoption costs are all paid for and we still have funds left over, that money is going towards items that the House of Hope (the transition home) and our child's orphanage needs. Clothing, bottles, vitamins, formula, diapers, wipes, etc. Along with saving up for our adoption, God placed it in my heart to also save up for these types of items. We want to help not just one child, but as many as possible while we're there. We plan on packing LIGHT and taking as many things to give away as possible each trip! If anyone is interested in donating items, I'll be posting more on this later as the time gets closer! :)

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, spiritually, financially, and just been there for us. It's been an incredible journey and we are so blessed and thankful for each and every one of you!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What next?

I've had lots of people ask me what's next and I figured it would probably be best to go ahead and write a blog post to explain it and to also share a giveaway!

Now that we're on the waiting list, we wait (and wait, and wait, and wait) for a referral. It will probably be months before we get a referral, which in a way is disheartening to think about... Mainly because of my impatience and it makes it even harder when studying up on Ethiopia and their food, culture, language, etc. I am SO excited to go and have been having dreams about it and our child... I KNOW it's worth the wait, just sometimes hard to think we still have months to go sometimes! But thankfully, I know that God's plan is absolutely perfect and much better than my own!

Once there's a referral for us, our case worker will call and tell us about our child, then will e-mail us pictures. Then we'll get a package in the mail and we'll have 7 days to accept our referral. I'm sure many of you are wondering why we can't just say "YES - we want him/her!" With the acceptance of the referral comes a fee of $8235.... So we have to have $8235 to our agency within 7 days, or we cannot accept our referral. This fee is the International Program Fee and In Country Fee. It covers things like translation, liaison with government and agency authorities, facilitation, adoption and travel coordination, physicians, orphanage fees, visa medical exams, U.S. Visa for the child, Passport, Birth Certificate, etc.

After referral, we'll wait for a court date - usually 6-8 weeks. We'll travel to Ethoipia for the court date and meet our child and then come home. Then if/when we pass court, we wait (at home) for an embassy date when our child can receive a Visa to come home. This can take another 6-8 weeks or so and once we get that date, we can go back to Ethiopia to pick up our child. So, after the referral fee, the only remaining costs we have are travel fees (which can vary greatly, depending on the time of year, but it's estimated to cost $6000-8000).

So, I'm sure you're wondering - do we have the $8235 for the referral fee? Unfortunately, no... Since paying the $4100 for the dossier fee, our adoption account has dwindled a lot and we're not anywhere close to that amount! So, sometimes it's a good thing that referrals can take awhile, because we've got awhile to come up with the $8235!

We still have lots of puzzle pieces and shirts for sale (for shirts, we are out of XS in childrens, and have no more S in adults left! I'm sorry! I'm not sure if we'll be able to order some anytime soon unless we get a high demand for them, because it's best to order in large quantities.)! You can buy them using the side links or you can just donate! Even if it's $1. Every single penny adds up!

And, a great friend of mine, Christine, messaged me yesterday and said that she wanted to do a giveaway for our adoption. She is so sweet! Anyway, she's giving away a $25 giftcard! And, if we get enough entries, I will also give away a HOPE shirt and a $25 Starbucks giftcard! There are a few ways to enter:

1. Donate (ANY amount is SO appreciated!)
2. Buy a puzzle piece ($5 piece or $10 piece - go HERE for more details on our puzzle fundraiser!)
3. Buy a HOPE shirt ($20 for child or $25 for adult - go HERE for more info)
4. Share on your blog or Facebook

Once you do any of those, comment on this blog or comment HERE and you will be entered in the drawing! (you can be entered more than once by doing more than one of the above!) You have until Sunday, July 24!

Thank you SO much Christine for doing this!! You are so sweet! :) And thank you to anyone who donates, shares, or prays for us. It means more than you'll ever know! The most awesome thing is seeing just how many people have come together so far to help us bring our child home. They are SOOOO stinkin' loved, aren't they? :)