Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Timeline Guesstimate

My Guess at the Timeline:
I realize these adoption terms are like a foreign language and if you're truly interested in what each means you can research it. I only know bits and pieces myself, but basically these are the steps we're waiting for until we travel to China and I've put approximate dates (total guesses based on others' dates and numbers right now) so you can see how close we are. I'll update with the actual dates as they come.

I800 approval on 4/19
GUZ a week later on 4/26
RTF on 4/28
Art 5 drop off on 5/2
Art 5 pick up on 5/16
It's very possible that we could have TA as early as 5/19!
This is when we would apply for visas.

So... we could be leaving 6/1 with a *Family Day* of 6/5 (or 6/12) !!!

FYI: We stay 2 full weeks in China -near Hong Kong - and then bring home the USA's most adorable new citizen, who becomes so as soon as her precious little toes step foot on our soil.

*Family Day (also called Gotcha Day) is the day we meet her and she's put into our arms.  We will celebrate her Family Day every year as the day she became a part of our Forever Family.

Again, this is a completely hypothetical scenario but I am having fun watching the averages on other adoption pages and can't wait to see how close we get!  Yes I'm very excited and yes I'm kind of a nerd 🤓

Sunday, April 09, 2017

We Have Smiles!!!

Recent update sent April 6.  I can't stop staring.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Adoption Process Praises

Finally on Friday...NEWS! Our Dossier has moved to the final stage, which means our LOA has been issued and our agency is just waiting for it to arrive there! She's coming soon! 
The answer from our caseworker that EVERYONE wants to know is here. 
Drumroll please: End of May/early June is not a guarantee, but a pretty good estimate!!!
Here's a sweet picture from when she was a baby but I think it expresses best how I'm feeling today!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Thoughts from Philippians 1

The adoption process is stretching me.  I'm leaning in to hear God speak like never before.  I'm ready for my daughter to be home right now and yet I trust in the timing of my perfectly-timed God who sees all and knows all and whose ways are better than mine.

Last week I found myself in a slump.  I find myself there every once in a while.  Burdens weigh heavily on my heart and I can't seem to come up for air.  I was lacking my joy and listening to lies so I went to God's Word.

Precepts has always been my favorite way to study God's Word so I found a free study guide to the book in the Bible that's known to be about that thing I was lacking...good ol' Philippians.  It was just what I needed.  I started last week, getting up early, opening up my bible and my bible app for different translations and even my laptop to listen to Kay Arthur's podcast, too.  Here are some things God has been teaching me and reminding me of this week and I write them here so I can come back and remember:

  • There is freedom in Christ.  There is also a connection between freedom and joy.  No matter what circumstances imprison us, we can choose JOY.  Remember:  His chains are easy and His burden is light, so count it ALL joy!
  • When I find myself in a slump or "in chains", sing praises to God!  Bless His Name!
  • Paul & Silas were in jail and a JAILER was saved!  Sometimes those chains are not about you.  Or me.
  • Security in Jesus = Joy!  He who began a good work in me WILL complete it!  That's a promise so believe it!  (Hey, that rhymed!)
  • When I find myself in this slump I need to ask myself:  Who am I serving?  If the answer is wonder I'm in a slump! Serving myself will never = Joy.
  • When I forget my purpose on earth, I need to remember this:  For me to live is Christ (as a bondservant) and to die is gain (in heaven).  He chose me before the foundation of the world and appointed ME to go and bear fruit.  
  • Why do I want to go back into slavery when I'm already a servant of Christ, the best master there could ever be, the only One who died for me?  According to Deuteronomy 15:12-18 freedom after slavery means I'm supplied, blessed & redeemed.  What's better than that?
  • Pray Phil.1:9-11 over my loved ones that their LOVE may abound more and more in REAL knowledge and all discernment.
  • The more you LOVE God the more you want to live out His purpose for His kingdom on earth.
  • A prayer for my loved ones:  Lord, create a hunger for the Word of God in ______________.
  • The gospel is how we are saved from an eternity away from God.  No matter how it happens, the gospel needs to shared.  Use all circumstances to speak God's Word.
  • Be courageous and fearlessly share God's love and good news!
  • Yes, some will preach with the wrong motives or selfish ambition and I do care a lot about motives, so this verse convicted me:  "But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, CHRIST IS PREACHED.  And because of this....I rejoice."  ....I have joy.  If I tried to judge every person's heart that I listened to or if I became that person that lives critiquing every speaker or worship leader, I'd be operating in fear....and a slump.  I want to live in joy, not fear.  I want to serve with joy, not as a skeptic.  I want to be courageously and fearlessly living out God's Word.  
The JOY of the Lord is my strength and no one but God can take that from me.

I lift mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help.  
My help cometh from the Lord, the Lord who made heaven and earth.  
Psalm 121

Friday, March 03, 2017

Adoption Grants

Filling out grant applications is much like the home study process, so it's best to have a place (I used google docs.) where you can copy and paste much of the information.  Some are online, most are handwritten.  It takes endurance but I'm praying it's all worth it in the end.  Just as you may apply for many scholarships for college, don't expect to get them all.... but the more you fill out, the more apt you are to receive something and everything helps bring your baby home!

So here is my list gathered from those who've gone before me in this process, as well as research.  I am not going to take the time to link the websites here because I figure if you've gotten all the way to my little blog, you can probably find your way around a search engine to find them.  Be sure to read all of the requirements for each before you waste time filling them out and yet don't even qualify. (Lesson from experience)

I also suggest some sort of a running file folder system for pending applications you print out and a list to keep track of when you mailed etc.  I like clipboards, so I have 1 now that just needs 1 bit of info so I have that info needed on a sticky note.  I have another clipboard with a printed application that I'll begin next because it's deadline isn't until the end of this month.

Start with the 2 big ones...then save all of that info for others that will only vary a tad in their own ways.

  • LifeSong for Orphans
  • Show Hope (Steven Curtis Chapman's)
  • Chosen and Dearly Loved - connected with LifeSong
  • God's Grace Adoption Ministry
  • JSC Foundation 
  • Gift of Adoption - requires a $50 fee to apply
  • A Child Waits - I did pay the $20 apply fee for this one.
  • Forever Families
  • Families Outreach
  • Lydias Fund
  • Sowing Roots
  • Karen Kingsbury - wants you to wait until you're in the final stages
  • Rollstone Foundation
  • Trusting Him Adoption
  • Joseph's Dreamcoat aka Orphan Outreach
  • Eph320 -opens in June
  • FBC Livingston Adoption 
  • Katelyn's Fund
  • Baptist Minister's Adoption Fund - NAMB 
The experts say that the best tip/advice they have is to email and ask these organizations if they've received all of the application information they need from you.  This proactivity shows your need and puts your name in someone's eyes.  Most importantly, be sure to pray for favor with each and every ministry that you apply to and praise God for how He will provide, no matter which way He chooses.