Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bracelets are in!!

Awhile back, we ordered Mudlove bracelets to help cover our travel costs for both trips. We finally got them in!

We have 260 in total with plenty left to sell! Hurry and order soon, because it's first come, first served, color/wording wise! Each bracelet has a colored stretchy string and is fully adjustable.

100% of the proceeds will go towards our travel! They are $10 each (shipping is included in the price). Just click on the Current Fundraisers tab up at the top! :)

Thank you so much!! For those who have already ordered, I'm working on sorting everything through and plan to have these sent out by the weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life Lesson Number 53985... God always has a reason!

So... An update for all our blog readers! Both adoption cases for M and E were submitted to court on Tuesday!! Now we wait for them to assign a court date for us, in which we'll then make our first trip to meet our boys and attend Ethiopian court! My heart was filled with joy as I read the e-mail. Things are finally starting to feel real and it makes my heart ache that much more for our sweet Ethiopian boys! Once we attend and pass court, it's good news for all of you, too! We'll finally get to share their photos with you all! I know you all will love them just as much as we do!!!

Now, as for our life lesson... God has used this whole adoption process to mold, refine, and condition our hearts to His will. He has broken our hearts for what breaks His, taught us patience (which is an ongoing lesson for me!), that ALL our hope and trust should be in Him, and that most of all, HE is in control. This is HIS adoption. This is HIS plan. And His plan is SO much more perfect than ours...

You see, a few months ago, we were in the process of buying our house. We wanted to be all moved and settled into a permanent home before we brought M home, and turns out that buying a house (actually the same model we had been renting!) would end up costing us just as much as we were renting for. It made perfect sense! But as the buying process went on, problems began to happen. Things took longer than we planned. We thought we would close by the first of March. We didn't. It dragged on for exactly 3 weeks long as we were in limbo of no house (due to our lease ending at the end of February). Thank goodness for my sweet sister and brother-in-law! They let us stay at their house and we were so appreciative! Although we were happy to stay at their house, we were SO ready to be in our new home. We were frustrated on why it was taking so long and with every delay, I got more frustrated and upset, instead of trusting that maybe, just maybe, it was for a reason... I was so ready to get moved in so we could get our homestudy done and get our dossier finished ASAP so we could be on our way to adopt M! Finally, after 3 weeks, we closed and moved in.

Now, here we are... What was the lesson learned? Sometimes, God has a better plan... He allowed our house to be delayed because He knew that we were to adopt E. But... If our house wouldn't have been delayed, all our paperwork would've been turned in and we would've been submitted for court for just M, before our referral of E. You see, our house was delayed exactly 3 weeks. Our case was just submitted to court on Tuesday. If our house was not delayed, all our paperwork would've been turned in and submitted to court exactly 3 weeks earlier. Which would've been ONE day before we got our referral of E. Meaning, E would not even be becoming a part of our family if our house would've closed on our time...

Life lesson number 53985? Always trust God and His timing. Because sometimes, if it were all on your plan, something precious, like a sweet little baby boy named E***, would not be becoming a part of our family... And the thought of that breaks my heart. So, I must make the conscious decision to always, ALWAYS praise God, even when things aren't going the way I want it to... Because something like a petty 3 week delay can change our lives for the good forever! God is AMAZING and I must always remember that!


Also, just an FYI, the HOPE, BLESSED, and PRAY bracelets should be getting here very soon! Anyone who has paid already will get them as soon as we get them! Don't forget to order if you haven't, via the Current Fundraisers tab! They are first come, first serve and are going fast! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

6 years ago, I was just barely 20, celebrating Mother's Day with my husband and being pregnant with our first child. I anticipated becoming a mommy, as it had been my dream since I was a little girl. Lots of little girls dream to be a doctor or a zoologist or a teacher... My ultimate dream was to be a mommy to a houseful of children, and I was so excited to begin that journey!

5 years ago, I held a 7 month old little girl in my arms, celebrating my first true Mother's Day. While motherhood started out rough with a child with a cleft palate and only one functioning kidney with multiple problems, I was still elated and living my dream!

3 years ago, I held our precious miracle boy, 5 months old and growing so fast, and held the hand of my 2 year old daughter. Motherhood with Aydan was also a rough start. He began his life 9 weeks early, a month long stay in the NICU, but overcame quickly and grew strong! Before having him, I was worried about going from one to two children. Some said it was easy, some said it was difficult. Transitioning from 1 to 2 was much easier than I anticipated and again, I was living my dream, and couldn't wait to have more! Unfortunately, my dream shattered, as we were told that with my health issues and the chances of future pregnancies having major difficulties, we should think about not getting pregnant again because it was just too risky... My heart broke, and Michael and I knew we weren't finished with our family, but didn't know what God's plan would be.

1 year ago, I was anxiously preparing materials for our dossier, excited to be adopting one child, 0-2 years of age. I was so excited to be on the adoption journey and felt blessed that this was how God decided to grow our family of 4 to a family of 5.

Today.... Today, I sit on the couch as my husband and two children pamper me, not allowing me to get up for anything (except to go potty!). I sit here feeling so absolutely blessed. I have the most wonderful husband who I'm blessed to call my absolute best friend. There are so many days that I look at him in awe, wondering how God allowed ME to have Michael in my life! I have a beautiful 5 year old daughter who is not only the spitting image of me, but acts like me in so many ways it often scares Michael and I! She is also so in tune with God, that I'm often jealous of her relationship with Him, and it teaches me to become more like a child, spiritually. I have a 3 year old little boy who is the epitome of love. He's one of the most loving, snuggly, little boys I've ever known, and I'm SO stinkin' blessed to be his momma.

Mommy, Ilana, and Aydan - Mother's Day 2012

 And now, today, I'm also able to look at the faces (in pictures) of not one, but TWO precious little Ethiopian boys. And as I sit there, staring at their beautiful little faces, I again, question how I am so blessed that God chose me! ME! Of all the amazing mothers in the world, God chose ME to be their mother. I cannot wait for them to come home and to go from a family of 4 to a family of SIX!

 As I sit here, celebrating Mother's Day, I'm also thinking and praying for "M" and "E's" mothers. Their mothers that loved them so much that they knew it would be best to give them a better life, knowing they could not take care for them well on their own. My heart breaks for them because I can't even imagine having to make the decision and how hard it must have been...

I want to take the time to also wish a very happy Mother's Day to my mom. For guiding me and showing me on how to be a great mother. For teaching me about God and setting a wonderful example on how to be a Godly mom and wife. You, Mom, are the true epitome of a Proverbs 31 wife, and I'm so proud and blessed to call you MY mom! I love you!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

3 days ago...

3 days ago, we got the call from our agency about a sweet 10 month old little boy, and a few hours later his picture and information. We knew he was ours! Nothing held us back from wanting him. Not his HIV+ status. Not the fact that he was a boy (because we originally requested a girl for the second referral). Nothing... Except the cost. In order to accept him, we'd have to pay another referral fee (each referral has a referral fee that pays for a variety of things.), this time of $6600, in 2 weeks, or ASAP. While we were a little doubtful (okay, okay... A LOT doubtful), we decided that if this was truly supposed to be our 4th child, God would somehow make a way for it to happen. We shared with our blog readers, Facebook, our family, and all our friends, asking if they'd be willing to help. We challenged to raise $5000 in 2 weeks... We thought it'd be pretty difficult - impossible, even! Well, here we are. 3 1/2 days after we got the call... And we now have our full referral fee. Not just the $5000. But the FULL $6600 for "E"!

Luke 1:37 "For nothing is impossible with God"

We prayed, and through all of you, God allowed us to receive "E's" ENTIRE referral fee. In THREE AND A HALF DAYS!!! "E" IS supposed to be our son!! God made sure that we had no excuse to say no! And He proved that NOTHING is impossible for Him! God DOES fund what He favors! And He favors the adoption of orphans! In James 1:27, it says "Pure religion in the sight of God the Father, means caring for orphans and widows in their distress...." God calls us to care for the orphans. And if it is His will, He will provide a way to make it happen, even when you think it's impossible!! 

Thank you SOOO much to everyone who has helped us along the way. For all your prayers, your thoughts, your kind words and encouragement, your donations, and just for all your support! We appreciate it SO much!

So now what? I've had several questions the past few days. Many asking if this is the only thing we have left to pay... The answer to that, is unfortunately, no! We still have to travel twice. Once hopefully in July, and then again hopefully about 2 months later. Not really sure, and it's all God's timing... We're estimating $8000-10,000 for travel. That is why we started to sell the Mudlove bracelets and coffee, to help with travel costs, along with a lot of saving and extensive budgeting in the next few months. They are still available (look under current fundraisers!). Mudlove bracelets will hopefully get here in 2-3 weeks! Also, to anyone who has ordered shirts, we will be shipping those out on Monday! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wonderful, Beautiful, Glorious

This is what I was listening to and worshiping to when I opened up my e-mail after cleaning up the kitchen this morning.


God is SO wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in everyway! As I opened our e-mail, I saw something that literally brought me to my knees, in tears.... Thanking my awesome God! My God who is the do-er of all impossible things!

An excerpt from my Facebook status and Facebook Adopt-a-thon update this morning:

"Am still amazed by how God works! We got the call for "E" not even 48 hours ago and found out we'd have to pay the $6600 in two weeks for his referral fee. Up to that point, we had everything else paid for (except travel costs for two trips to Ethiopia). We have depleted so many of our funds and savings, paying for various fees for the adoption, that I was worried with how we'd come up with $6600 so soon. So I put up a challenge asking people to help. I challenged to raise $5000 in two weeks, thinking it'd barely be able to be done, and especially not the full $6600! Here we are. Not even 2 DAYS later, and will the help from hundreds of family, friends, and people we don't even know, and we're at $4200! Is that not God working miracles and showing us that "E" is meant for our family?!? Don't ever think that anything is impossible with God!"

I now have more to say... Upon opening our e-mail, I broke down, seeing that we have surpassed our $5,000 goal! My God has done the impossible! He brought $5,200 towards our adoption in less than 48 hours. I have had several friends tell me that even if we get to our $5,000 goal, that I should keep the Facebook Adopt-A-Thon open. One, because we need $6,600 for "E's" referral fee. I thought $5,000 would be impossible to obtain in 2 weeks, so I figured we could at least try for $5K. God must have laughed at me when I thought that and said to Himself, "Just wait. Watch what I can do!" And he used you, all of you, to help us get to our goal. And in less than 2 days!! If we can get to $5,000 in 2 days, I'm fairly certain we can raise the remaining $1400 in 12 days! Others wanted me to keep it open longer because they wanted to take part in this amazing miracle, but can't until this weekend or next week or the following week. So... We are leaving it open... Let's see what God does! (to see the actual event, in which I've been keeping updated, please visit THIS LINK .)

I just cannot even explain how much this all means to me. To my family. To my boys. Two precious little boys. HIV+, but flawless in God's perfect eyes. Loved by Him, and by SO many. And to think that neither of them even know what is going on. That there is a family wanting them, loving them, and waiting to go and make them a part of their family. And during the process, hundreds have rallied together to help bring them home. If only they knew.. That they are NOT unwanted. That they are NOT unloved. That despite their HIV status, they are Wonderful. Beautiful. Glorious. And made in God's own image. That they are LOVED!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just cannot believe it...

God surprised us today! This afternoon, during the kids naptime, my phone rang. I saw it was a Utah number and thought "Our agency is in Utah! Could this be?" And then though "No, I doubt it... Even if it is, it's probably just regarding our dossier or something..."

It was our agency! And it was NOT for our dossier. They had a little boy that they are trying to find a family for and new that we were waiting for a little girl, but wondered if we would possibly be open to another boy. I told her that *I* was okay with it and was pretty sure Michael would be too. She told me to call him and then call her back and let her know. I immediately called him and told him what was going on and Michael said "Call her back and tell her 'YES!' We will adopt him!" So, I did just that! We're currently waiting on an e-mail to see his photos, but even without seeing him, we are SO excited!

He is a 10 month old little boy and he does have HIV. We will call him "E" for now, because just like "M", we cannot share his photos or his name online until we pass court. We will adopt him the same time that we do "M" and will be bringing both boys home together!

Now that we've announced the good news... There's some other news... Along with this referral, we have to pay an additional $6,600. Which in reality, isn't so bad. If we would've done these adoptions at different times, we would've had to pay two sets of around $28,000. With doing them together at the same time, it's only the $28,000 plus the additional $6600 (along with a few other smaller costs). But, here's the kicker. We have TWO WEEKS. Two weeks to raise $6,600 (or even just $5000 for now) in order to accept the referral of "E".

I'm not one that can easily ask for money and I know so many people have helped SO much during this entire process in the past year and a half and I absolutely hate having to ask for more help... But, we cannot say no to "E". We cannot give him up because we don't have that money right now. I KNOW and trust that God will provide. Even though raising over $5000 in two weeks seems almost impossible, He has provided every step of the way. Would you be willing to help? All we need is 500 people to give just $10. Or 1000 people to give just $5. That's just a little over the price of a Starbucks coffee. Would you be willing to give up a coffee or a fast food trip and help bring a 10 month old HIV+ child home from Ethiopia to their forever family?

If you feel lead, please feel free to donate using the Paypal button at the right. Or if you'd prefer to buy something instead of a monetary donation, check out the "Current Fundraisers" tab. We are so forever grateful for everyone who has helped all along the way and I have no idea how we'll ever be able to repay everyone for your generosity... Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!