Thursday, July 17, 2014

Small Update

Things are moving along in our adoption. Our home study update is done and we sent off our application to U.S. Customs and Immigration today. Now we've got more weeks of waiting and we've got to finish putting our dossier together. We're still praying we'll be able to travel this fall!

Our summer has been beautiful with perfect, comfortable temperatures. We haven't had a lot of days off since we need to save our days for our adoption travels, but we've tried to make time to take walks and go to the park.

The kids have been enjoying warm, free days outside...riding bikes, playing with friends, picking flowers, and catching frogs and bugs.

Ally is doing so well.. Bringing her home from Bulgaria seems like some sort of distant dream and it seems as though she's always been here. She is such an easy-going child and is such a joy to all of us.






Please continue to pray for our adoption. Pray that we'll get approved for both girls. Pray for them as they wait, knowing nothing about us. Pray that the Lord will prepare their hearts to be part of our family. Pray that there will be no delays and that everything goes smoothly for us to travel this fall.  Thanks, friends....as always we appreciate your prayers and encouragement!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wow!

This adoption has been so much different from our first one.

This adoption has been full of surprises. I feel that the Lord is going before us and calling us to continue following Him wherever He leads. When we do that, it makes life a real adventure.

Recently we learned that there is another girl in the same country, and most likely in the same orphanage as our new girl. The girls are almost the same age, both have DS, both are non-verbal and probably have grown up in the same environment. They may even know each other.

So, if all goes well....we will be bringing home 2 new girls! Wow!

Our newest, new girl is "Geneva" on Reece's Rainbow. She also has a grant for her adoption expenses, which means that we will be fully funded for our adoption.

So many people played a part in this story before we were even part of it. We'll never be able to personally thank the people who made it possible for us to adopt our girls, but we are truly thankful. It is heart-breaking that because some girls lost their chance to be adopted, our girls get a chance, but we'll keep praying that the other girls' chances are not lost forever.

Hopefully our homestudy update will be done this week and we'll be able to move on to the next step. Thanks for all of your prayers....they are needed and appreciated.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Dixie"

Now that everything is official, I can tell you that our new girl is listed as "Dixie" on Reece's Rainbow. That's where we found her. "Dixie" is just her Reece's Rainbow name. We won't find out her real name until right before we travel to meet her and we probably won't decide whether to keep her birth name or change it slightly until then.

As I mentioned before, her story is connected to the stories of 2 other girls. One of the girls we prayed for is adopted and one of the girls is sadly, stuck in a country that has closed their doors to Americans adopting. Our girl was gifted the grant that she had and that is what is making it possible for us to adopt her.

Lord willing, we will bring "Dixie" home and she will be a constant reminder for us to pray for the little girl who still lives day to day in an orphanage. A lot of people are praying for her country to open up and for adoptions to be allowed again. We'll keep praying that someday she'll have a home and a family too.

Because "Dixie" has a large grant through Reece's Rainbow, we were able to commit to adopt her. I know that a lot of families step out in faith without knowing where a single penny will come from, but honestly, we wouldn't have stepped out at this time. But God kept pointing us to her, and when we realized that a big chunk of the money was there and that she just needed a family to give her a chance before her time runs out...we knew that we were her family. We are so excited to meet her and hope that she will love having a family!

Her country requires 3 trips. We will have to rent an apartment and live there for a month, and then travel back 2 more times to finalize. Hopefully, she'll travel home with us on the first trip, and then she'll have to travel at least one more time back to finalize.

Thankfully, between her grant and the adoption assistance that Jeff gets at work, a lot of the expenses are covered. We have some of our tax refund money left that was going to go to fix and replace some things, but those things are nothing compared to someone's life. So when it's all said and done...we'll be about $5000 short. Most of what we need is airfare for the trips.

When we look at what He's done so far, we have no doubt that God will take care of this. We appreciate those who will support us through this adoption. Praying for the process, praying that God will provide for the travel expenses, and praying that there will be no delays so we meet the deadlines before she ages out.

We are just going to keep moving forward and rest in the fact that this is God's work. We're willing to do our part, but the story is being written by Him and we'll be looking forward in hope to see how it turns out.

Thank you to everyone who is part of this story...we truly appreciate your willingness to be part of it.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Ukraine 2014

Last summer, our son Andrew and his friend Trevor traveled to Ukraine, to meet the Bible Orphan Ministry team. They had a great time meeting everyone. They helped the team and spent time in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Andrew came home and began saving for his next trip. This year he went to have a nice long visit. He left in May and won't be home until the end of this month.

He rented an apartment near the church and has been able to spend time with friends he made last year.




He's had a lot of opportunities to help and minister to orphans. Some of the young people are graduating, leaving the orphanages, and heading out on their own. Andrew was able to help with the graduating orphans project. He traveled with the team to a large bazaar to purchase the gifts, helped package everything and then delivered the gifts to several orphanages.



Some of the young people they have visited have special needs and are institutionalized permanently. They enjoy a visit and a lesson with a craft.




Check out the Bible Orphan Ministry's blog to see lots more pictures and read about everything they've been busy doing this month.

The Bible Orphan Ministry would be greatly blessed by your prayers and financial support. Please consider helping them continue the work they do.


Friday, May 23, 2014

A Little About Our New Girl

I already shared that we're not adopting a baby this time. When we committed to Ally she was only 2 1/2. By the time she came home, she was 3 1/2, but the size of an 18 month old, so she was still a baby and we've had the privilege of watching her grow up into quite a big girl this past year and half.

This time we're adopting an older child. She is 15 and only has a handful of months left to be adopted. The Lord has been pointing us to her for quite a while, but we didn't know that we were going to be led to adopt her. He brought her to our attention in such a unique way, but the story is all tangled up in the stories of 2 other girls, so I can't share it publicly. God has worked miracles and worked things out in such a way that we cannot deny that He cares for orphaned children and He does indeed level mountains in order to set the lonely in families.

So, our new girl isn't such a little girl. She has waited so long without a family and we are so excited that God is giving us the opportunity to be her family. We pray that He will knit our hearts together just like He did when we were adopting Ally.

We don't know her name. We just know a few things about her. We know that just like Ally, she's a great communicator, even though she has few words. We know that she likes animals, and cartoons, and likes to help. She likes to go out and about...go on walks and go to the store. We know that she has Down syndrome and that she is said to be a sweet, spunky girl.

We also know that she needs a family...and we know that we love her already.

We are so blessed to have friends that pray for us. Thank you so much. We could never do this alone.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Open Door

We're adopting again!

As strange as it sounds...I find myself a little surprised. I really did not expect us to be adopting right now.The door seemed to be closed and we were just living life, but the Lord kept pointing us to a certain girl. We felt very clearly that He was calling us to adopt her. We prayed about it and answered, YES.

When we stepped out, the door was open...so we're going forward.

We're not adopting a baby this time and at first it seemed a bit daunting. It seemed that the enemy was just waiting to squash our faith in hearing God's call. In the beginning...before you step out...it seems so easy for him to flood you with fear and lies and to try to keep you from taking those first steps.

But the Lord is faithful. He sends His truth at just the right time. He speaks truth, faith, love, and life right into our hearts.We don't have all the answers to our questions, but God does and He's got this.

I won't be able to share pictures at this time. Our girl is in a different country and they don't allow pictures. I'll share what we do know about her soon.

We really appreciate your prayers...we're going to need them.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gifts to Graduates Project

Our friends, The Bible Orphan Ministry, have begun their annual project to buy gifts for graduating orphans.

They would like to bless the graduates with some kitchen utensils and Bibles. They already have the money for the Bibles and have 25% of what they have left to raise.

Our son, Andrew, will be in Ukraine, Lord willing, to help deliver the gifts! He's planning to leave in a little over 2 weeks.

Please go read more about the project HERE and pitch in whatever you can to help. They only have a short time to raise enough, so every little bit helps.

Thank you!!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Opportunities to Help

Rachel made some things for two adoption auctions. Both auctions are running this week and benefit families adopting children from Bulgaria. Both auctions have a lot of nice items.

My friend Mandy's auction is part of a 6 family auction. The items are divided by family so the items for Mandy's new children are listed under The Sutton Family.

Rachel made these items for Mandy's auction. You can find the auction HERE








The other auction is the Hidden Treasures Auction. This benefits the family adopting a little girl named Brandi.

Rachel made this apron for Hidden Treasures.


The adoption auctions are great places to find unique items. It's a nice way to find gifts that you are going to buy because you help an adopting family at the same time!

And just so you can see how great Ally's doing, here are a couple of pictures of Ally with her best buddy...her brother Ryan.




They get along so well and are so cute together. Ally sure isn't the baby we brought home. She's getting to be such a big girl.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Opportunities to Help

When we adopted Ally, I had a great friend to go every step of the way with. We helped and encouraged each other and passed the time chatting about adoption and our new children who waited on the other side of the world.

Now we have Ally home and are just starting to feel settled, but my friends' family found out shortly after getting their little guy home that he had a biological brother back at the same orphanage.  So, instead of just settling in, they're off again. Adoption paperwork, appointments, fundraising.

My friend, Mandy is going back for Ben's brother and another little girl. Both children are Roma and, because of their skin color and ethnicity, have no place or future in their birth country. We got to see this prejudice first-hand when we were there. These two sweet children will be so blessed to have a family and Ben and his brother will grow up together!



Please consider encouraging their family and supporting their adoption. They have a matching grant to meet and donations toward the matching grant can also be entered into their ipad giveaway! Go to their blog, Blessings Eternal to learn more.

I know any help would sure mean a lot to them.

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Another friend is doing a fundraiser for The Bible Orphan Ministry's project to hire caregivers for the boys' institution. Last year, BOM raised the money to hire two wonderful caregivers for a year. They wanted to hire them this year too and enough money was raised to hire them for 6 months.


My friend, Brianna decided to do a fundraiser to raise the funds needed for the rest of the year. She has already raised enough to hire the caregivers for one more month and has almost reach the goal for another month. She has a goal of raising $186.48 by this Friday.

Please help by going to Cover Up for Christ.

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My final request for help is to ask you to pray and/or advocate for these teens.



Alla from The Bible Orphan Ministry has learned that the two younger teens are available for adoption. They could be adopted together if a family files paperwork with the U.S. government by V's  16th birthday on May 10th of this year. That is only two and a half months, but anything is possible with God.

I have been praying for them and I am just sure that it's possible. There must be a family who would be able to adopt two teens. They are not little children, they just need someone to want them. To include them. To love them and be willing to give them guidance so they can finish their childhoods and get a start to become young adults. They could finish their education and for the first time in their lives feel safe and loved.

Look at them. Can you imagine them on the streets struggling alone?



Their older brother is 18 and too old to be adopted. He will "graduate" this year. He has hopes and dreams, but very little chance of that becoming a reality. Perhaps someone could sponsor him. Sort of "adopt" him and let him know that even though he's a young adult, that someone cares for him and would be willing to encourage and support him so that he can learn to stand on his own. A letter of encouragement, a package, a regular gift sent to help with his day to day needs?

There are a lot of possibilities and opportunities to help make a difference in the lives of these teens. Go to BOM's blog to read MORE

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Just had to add this cute picture that Rachel took of Ally. She's doing so great! She blesses us every minute of every day.




Sunday, January 19, 2014

Year in Pictures

Our Alayna Grace has been home for one year. It's been an amazing and wonderful year.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to share this account of our adoption journey and Ally's first year home. I've always marveled at blogging moms and thought, "I have time to either live life or take pictures and write about it, but not both.". Now I find myself in that place.

Our little one is home and thriving. She's putting down roots and feeling a secure sense of family and belonging. And now it's time for me to get back to some very important things. I may be back to give occasional updates, but for now I won't be blogging much, if at all.

I've loved that friends, new and old, have shared and prayed along with us during this journey of adoption. Thank you so much, dear friends for all of the parts you've played in Ally's story. Thank you for loving her with us and celebrating her first year home.