Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Year's Worth of Thankfullness

I'm sitting here getting ready to write a reflection of 2014 with one day left in the year. I am shocked to think that the year of 2014 is almost over.

We rang in the new year last year driving home from a ski trip to Colorado with the gang (see below). 

Mkini, Adam, me, Maggie, Casey in Keystone, CO

It was so shortly after returning home, that that little voice—the holy spirit—began whispering ideas of adoption in our ears. My first thought was no, no, we'll adopt after we have our own kids (I was so naive back then). My plan (of course) was to get pregnant in a couple months and we'd be starting our family. 

First of all, LOL. I'm laughing out loud just thinking about it. This is why I shouldn't try to make plans. But yet I always do.

We spent most of January 2014 researching and talking to everyone we knew that was currently adopting, or had adopted. We met with a few couples from church. And sent in our application on the last day of January with an agency that I had heard rave reviews from. You know how that turned out...see next paragraph. 

We withdrew our application with our first agency in February and began working on starting over and finding a new agency. Though there were hardships, (like thinking maybe we weren't supposed to be adopting?!), I'm extremely thankful that everything with our first agency happened when it did. No clue what I'm talking about? Refer back to the February posts.

We finally submitted our application to Bethany in April, after numerous meetings folks there (we were making sure this was our agency this time). 

May through August was all about the home study Meetings and meetings and meetings (and meetings!). It's still weird to think about that time being past us, since it was such important step at the time. 

August to now has been spent on getting our fees together and the dossier, which is still moving along, slowly but surely. 

It's crazy to think that a year ago we weren't on this journey, and then one day, poof, God says "go."

Each and every day, I thank God that he put this adoption on our hearts. Because I know, know, that our son or daughter is on this earth already. And just knowing that I get to be his or her mother is just amazing to me. Like, it's planned out. God already knows. That is just so cool to me.

In those same moments of thankfulness, I pray that he continues to give us patience and trust in Him. Because we know that this is our plan. No matter how long it takes or how hard it is. This is the plan that was created for us.

Our God is such an awesome God. And answering to him is also awesome.

Cheers to 2015. What an amazing adventure we've started out on. I can't wait to see how it turns out. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

High Five for Friday

Happy week before Christmas! I can't believe it's next week. Which means that 2015 is in another week after that. Crazy. It was a great week, and of course, I'm so happy it's Friday!

1. We did some serious house reno this week. I'm talking serious—like, we've never worked this fast. It's taken us three days (two together, one where Adam was flying solo) to get all the plaster out of the kitchen. For a fun comparative, it took us two months to get the laundry room gutted. Granted, that was in the summer. And if you know one thing about the summer, it's that it's hot. And dust + sweat doesn't lend the most perfect ending. Regardless of the season, getting the plaster out off the walls is the worst part.

2. I finally made an appointment to get my hair trimmed up. Nothing major, just a trim. It has been a few months, so it needed it. Bad. There's just something about a little trim that makes you feel fresh. Not like fresh, but you know, fresh. 

3. This week we had our small group Christmas party. It pretty much entailed delicious food and Christmas movie quizzes. For the record, my Home Alone knowledge is on point, and my Christmas Vacation knowledge is, er, less on point.

4. This weekend is chocked-full of family Christmas'. We have my extended family Christmas, my best friend family (and basically my family) Christmas, and Adam's family Christmas. It's one of those weekends where you have a lot going on in a little bit of time. It will be fun. It's still hard to believe that it's Christmas next week, have I mentioned that yet?

5. Adam's brother is finishing up with his first semester of grad school and is coming to stay with this weekend. We're excited to see him and hang out with him over the holidays. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Status Update

It's time again for a status update!

Not much has changed.

We're still working on our Dossier, i.e. putting together that last fee. Well, last for now. Remember all of those documents we needed for our Dossier (refer to this post for a reminder)? Well, we've got a few of them taken care of. The others are quick, like, "stop in and we'll type it up" type of quick.

So we really haven't bothered to get those right now, because we need that last fee.

Like the rest of this journey, God has blessed us with complete peace with His timing. I think it also helps that have a small house remodel going on in the background to keep us busy. Here's to praying that we stay at peace with His timing down the road.

We just filled out what is called a Service Plan with Bethany. Basically, it went over the gist of things:

  • Age Range: 0-5 years
  • Gender: Either
  • Siblings: Open to a sibling set of two

We were also asked for the first time our openness to meeting and/or communicating with our child's birth parents or caregivers (which we are very open to). We hadn't really talked about it before, especially since it's less likely than if we were adopting within the United States.

There's your update! As of right now, we're working on saving up to pay our Dossier fee. And yes, we still have puzzle pieces.

Friday, December 12, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday again. Yes. I hope you had a great week. Fridays make all bad weeks better, right? Not that I had a bad week, but Friday is just that little beam of hope.

1. Adam was out of town again this week, working. It made for a few melodramatic days for me at the house. Nellie and I didn't do much except catch up on laundry and sleep. Zzzzzz.

2. My team at work had it's Christmas party at a restaurant in town called Wallaby's. It's been here a while, but just reopened at a new location, and it's awesome. We also did a white elephant gift exchange (obviously), and everyone left with a pretty good gift. You know sometimes there are white elephant gifts that are funny and useful, some that are funny and not useful, and some that aren't funny or useful. Most everything was funny and useful. Success! I left with a set of hippo salt and pepper shakers. There are the most adorable things ever

3. Today is my niece, Sofia's 3rd birthday. She is so sweet and I love her.


4. The weather this week has been a pleasnt break from the frosty temps we left before vacation from. It's an extra easy transition when we don't have to scrape our windows in the morning.

5. This weekend, I'm looking forward to just spending some time around the house. It's nice after a long time away to just soak it all in. Am I right or am I right?

How was your week? Let me know!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hey, There

So you've probably noticed by now that this blog really isn't always about our adoption. I mean, don't get me wrong, a good, strong portion of it is. But you know, sometimes, there are just crickets on the adoption front. I'll get to that later. Sometimes, I just like writing out my thoughts blogging.

Today is one of those days. If you are in the business of reading only about our adoption. This is your cue to direct to another website.

Adam and I just got back from a 10 (ten?!) day vacation. We left the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to go down to Missouri to stay with family and eat. It was tough to explain to our almost-three-year-old niece that we were going to Disney. Upon packing up the remainder of our bags, she grabbed her tiny pink backpack (swoon!) and told us she was coming with, to the tune of, "I don't care about my mommy and daddy, I want to see Mickey!"  Uhhh, shoot.

We left on Saturday morning, which just happened to by my darling husband's 27th birthday(!!) to make the eight-hour trek to Birmingham, Alabama. There were a couple different reasons we wanted to stop by Birmingham. One being the Iron Bowl. That age old rivalry of Alabama or Auburn? Heidi or LC? Chicken or fish?

Okay, enough. So we watched the game in Birmingham, which was awesome. Roll Tide. We strolled (drove) downtown to see some stuff and find coffee. I felt like I couldn't go to a Starbucks in a town like Birmingham (I just couldn't, no explanation), so I yelped to find an answer. We found a coffee shop that was close to where we were driving and stopped. And oh my word it was THE BEST COFFEE I'VE EVER TASTED. It was called Revelator Coffee Company, which was kind of a weird, modern, not-my-style place, but dang that coffee was GOOD.

 

We peaced-out of Birmingham around 10 that morning and were off to visit Weaver, Adam's home town. We drove by his old house and had lunch with some family friends. I could have stayed and listen to their southern accents (+ ate the food) for days.

From Weaver, we drove the six-hour drive to Savannah. We got in late Sunday night and just went to bed. In the morning, we drove to Tybee Island to enjoy a little breakfast and beaching. We found a breakfast place called The Breakfast Club that a local told us about, which was so good (hello cheesey grits), then we walked along the beach to enjoy the (cold) ocean. After Tybee we drove into the city to walk around downtown Savannah. It was seriously a beautiful city. I would love to go back and explore more.

Are you still with me? Or have I lost you?

From Savannah, we cruised the coast (not really) down to Orlando. We got there in time for dinner with Adam's aunt and uncle and their family (who live in Orlando) and his mom and dad (who were there for a conference).  I had never met Adam's aunt, and it was only the second time seeing his uncle and cousins. It was so fun getting to know them more.

The week consisted of Disney's Animal Kingdom, Cirque du Soliel, Universal, Islands of Adventure (hello Harry Potter world!) and of course, Magic Kingdom. It was so great. Adam and I rode all the rides we could, drank all the butter beer we could, and ate all we could (I think I gained five pounds...).

Obligatory castle picture.
We ended our trip by driving straight from Orlando to Ames, all 19 hours. We stopped once in Chattanooga, Tennessee for my first Waffle House experience. I don't know why, but I've always wanted to try a Waffle House. I think I remember my dad and brother talking about going when we were younger, and I always felt so left out. We had dinner at 11 p.m. and it was delicious. I got a waffle and covered (or was it smothered?) hash browns. Yum.

So that was the last 10 days of our lives. Have a great week. And take a vacation. They're worth it. And awesome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

High Five for Wednesday

Say whaaa?

It's the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, it's like Friday. Can I get an Amen?! So it's been a short week, which is the best. It takes me back to what it felt like to have a break from school. It's practically the same, right? Here's a look back at some of the top moments of this week!

1. Adam and I went to Hope Adoption Conference this past weekend. We were told about it early last week, so it was pretty last minute, but I'm really glad we went. There were great speakers and classes (hello free education credits!), and Adam and I really learned a lot.

2. We spent our date night volunteering for Meals from the Heartland, and had so much fun. Afterwords we were driving around looking for a palce to eat (it was date night after all!) and found a pizza tavern that Adam recognized as a place he used to go to with his grandpa. Plus the pizza was delicious. I think we'll make it a monthly thing. If you're around this area, I recommend signing up to volunteer for Meals from the Heartland, it's not one of those volunteer gigs where you feel like you have to be there, it's really actually quite fun.

3. We spent most of Sunday finishing up a little project at home, the weekend remodel, as I've grown fond of calling it. When we moved in, there were two bedrooms upstairs (well, there still are, I guess); one was blue and one was pink. Like completely. We're talking walls, doors, trim, and windows. Everything. So we found some old paint in our basement and came up with enough white to paint the trim (and doors, and windows) white and mixed a few more to come up with a sort-of brown color. Since we have a friend moving in with us in January, we figured it would be best for his masculinity if he didn't have to deal with a bright pink room.

4. We're prepping for vacation so we spent the last few days making snacks, packing, and getting the house ready. We've been fortunate to have a couple friends who will be staying with Nellie while we're gone. We're sure going to miss her! More details on vacay will come later.

5. It's Thanksgiving tomorrow! Nuff said. There are so many things I'm thankful for. Our God is an awesome God!

Friday, November 14, 2014

High Five for Friday

Holy cow. It's cold. This is real. Can't it be 65° forever?! No? Fine. At least it's Friday. I feel like this week has gone by rather slowly. But alas, the weekend has come.

1. We received notice from USCIS that we were approved to parent an internationally adopted child! We're officially on our last step of paperwork! PTL. Bring on the dossier.

2. This weekend my cousin is putting on a Holiday Bazaar for local artists and vendors, but here's the kicker, all of the registration fees are going to Adam and I for our adoption fund! Every vendor is also required to submit an item for a silent auction, and all of those profits will also be going to our fund. We're so thankful for awesome friends and family who are willing to take time out of their weekends to help us! Such a huge blessing! If you are willing, join us in praying for great attendance and generous giving.

3. I finished a book this week called Mistaken Identity that my MIL gave me to read. It's an amazing story of two families' strength and faith in Jesus Christ. It's an incredibly easy read—just be sure to have a box of tissues ready. It seemed like every page was a tear jerker.

4. I mentioned it being cold this week. Well, we woke up one morning this week to our first snow. It was just a light dusting (thankfully), but flurries have been flying around almost every day since. I even heard on the news that this was supposed to be the worst winter ever. I guess it just means we're more obliged to cuddle up next to the fire space heater with hot chocolate and watch movies.

5. Adam and I had date date night this week like we usually do, and for some reason, I just felt more grateful for the night out together. Although we don't have any kids, it's still a very important and necessary part of our week. Swoon.

Not an overly exciting week, which I am actually thankful for. Once the holiday's come around, things seem to get a little crazy. How was your week been? Drop me a line and tell me about it!

Friday, November 7, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday! Is it just me or is it starting to feel less like fall and more and more like winter? I got in my car this morning and had a tiny bit of frost on my windshield. Luckily, I didn't have to do any scraping, I just sat up a little straighter and could see over it. Anyway, it's been a busy week, let's get into the top five moments!

1. We had our USCIS appointment on Wednesday. It was super simple. We had to drive down to Des Moines, put our name in, and practically got called back to do electronic fingerprints. You know how sometimes you go into a government facility and sometimes people aren't the nicest? Well, there was non of that here, so it was an all around great experience. Hopefully we hear back from USCIS soon.

2. It was Adam's dad's birthday last Saturday, so his parents came up to visit for the weekend. His brother, who is studying physical therapy at Trine University in Fort Wayne, IN also came back for the weekend to surprise him. It was fun having everyone back together again...felt like old times. We didn't do much, mainly ate a lot of food, watched a lot of football (including a Cyclone loss), and played a lot of games.

3. Adam and I hung out with some friends on Thursday night. They recently moved to another town, so we don't get to see them as often. We just had pizza and watched a movie, but it was fun to get together.

4. I ordered our Christmas cards this week (for a steller deal, too!). We've never done Christmas cards, but I figured with the adoption news, it would be good to do a post card type of card this year with some FAQs. I'm excited to see them!

5. Did I tell you we have a laundry room? Okay, I know I did, but I'm still excited. I finally got around to posting pictures, so you should check them out on Hometown Renovations (our remodeling blog)!

Have a great weekend! We're laying low and staying around home this weekend. Sounds like it will be a good weekend for comfy blankets and hot chocolate.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dossier

Last week, we had an over-the-phone meeting with our adoptive specialist regarding our dossier. Since we got our fee paid (see last post for shout-out), we were able to have a conversation about starting the dossier. 

First off, if you're not suave with adoption lingo, let's talk about what a dossier is. Basically, the dossier is taking everything we've been working on the last however-many months plus a ton more information. Clear as mud, right? 

These are the documents we need:
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Home study
  • Medical letter from MD
  • Police Clearance (to prove we're not smooth criminals)
  • Bank statements, signed by teller
  • Photocopy of last 3 years 1040 Income Tax Returns
  • Passport photo pages
  • Post-placement heritage trip agreement
  • Recommendation letters
  • Photogrpahs of family and home sans Nellie for cultural reasons
  • Guardianship letter
  • USCIS Approval
  • Proof of home ownership, signed by assessor
  • Uganda travel contract
  • Adoption Learning Partners training certificates 
All of these items (minus the training certificates) will need to be Notarized and then shipped off to be State-Sealed. 

That sounds fun, right? 

We're getting all of this put together, calling the police station, calling the doctors office, calling my in-laws, hoping to get this stuff together as soon as possible. 

Our adoption specialist also dropped, what I like to call a "bomb" on us. Adam and I were under the impression that our last fee ($4,650) was the final fee before we were just waiting. 

False.

We need to also pay a country fee of $6,400 (includes payment of program administration–salaries; transportation and travel to develop, maintain, and supervise partnerships; communication: internet, telephone; occupancy rental, utilities, building and equipment maintenance; staff training and partner organization staff training; processing and assessment of partner referrals

So before we can submit our dossier, we'll need to pay the $6,400 fee. At first, I was kind of like, "reeeeaaaaaally? There is no way we're going to get that together by the end of the year." But then I remembered that it's in His timing, not ours. He's already provided us with so much in this journey and He'll continue to provide for this next fee. So if we don't get it together by the end of the year, that's okay! We'll get it together when we can, and it will all work out perfectly. 

Onward! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Serious Shout-out

Can I just give a quick shot-out to all you awesome people who are reading this blog?

The last two-ish weeks, we've paid $5,550 in fees for the adoption. Mind you, we didn't have loads of extra cash stuffed in mattresses in our house. Despite going through a home remodel, plus Adam going out to work for himself (making paychecks less consistent), we knew that starting this adoption when we did was something God was calling us to do.

We didn't know how we were going to come up with the $30,000+ (and still don't completely know), but we do know that our God provides. And He is so great. And it all works in his perfect timing.

We started this process back in January of this year, with enough money to submit our application (wait, actually two applications...) and just kind of let the rest fall into place. Sure, we've definitely been cutting back this year, but we couldn't have done this alone.

From the garage sale, to the t-shirts, to the puzzle pieces (why yes, we do have pieces left) we are so lucky that so many people have asked to help us out in one way or another.

What's incredible about that all? That so far in our adoption journey, we've had to pay around $9,000. And with all of our donations, and profits from the t-shirts and garage sale, we've received roughly $6,000.

Seriously. 

We've got a long way to go, but almost 30% of the cost is already taken care of.

I know there are some people that think, "why would you pay so much money to adopt when you can have your own?" or And I don't really have an answer to that question. Just that this little nugget will be ours. This is the family that God has blessed us with. I'll be the first one to admit that it's difficult to imagine our family without a face, heck, even a gender to put with our little one. But our family is built on faith. Because God put a little picture in our minds, we have to trust in Him. Which can be so hard at times. But He makes the rules. And He brings us awesome people like you.

Hebrews 11:1 says Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. I think that sums things up rather nicely, don't you?

Keep on keepin' on. Thanks so much for taking a step of faith with us and helping our family grow.

Friday, October 24, 2014

High Five For Friday

It's a foggy, weirdly warm Friday around these parts. One of those cozy days where you'd rather be snuggled up to your husband and puppy on the couch watching Netflix all day. But alas, it's not. And that's fine too. Here's a look back at some of the best moments of the week.

1. I did laundry. I did laundry. There is a reason this is number one on my list. We have a laundry room. Praise Jesus, we have a laundry room. I spent six hours on Saturday doing laundry. And it was seriously awesome. I was going through my clothes trying to decipher what really needed to be washed. We've still got a couple more things to finish, mainly tile above the shower, but hopefully thatt will be done soon. A laundry room + a fresh and bathroom, actually. If you could only see what our bathroom was like. .  . You would not be impressed. It was gross. The laundry room // bathroom is the first room on the main floor that is finished, so now our paint colors, trim styles, and other general lets-keep-everything-similar finishings are taken care of. So hopefully we Adam will spend less time trying to imagine what it will be like.

2. The Royals are in the World Series! WHAT! How does that happen? Adam and I have been getting our super-fan on this week watching the two games that have happened. We spent Tuesday as a date night at Old Chicago (one of our favorite pizza and beer joints to go to) and unfortunately watched the Royals lose, but stayed home on Wednesday to watch a "Royal win" (see what I did there?).

3. I'm heading down to the Des Moines Farmers Market this weekend to meet up with an old friend who I haven't seen in a while. I'm excited to see her and spend time with her. Typically I stay around Ames if I want to hit up a farmers market, but the Des Moines market is h-u-g-e.

4. Adam has been working on a small job this week. We're thankful that he's been able to continue to find work while he's out on his own.

5. Adam and I have been indulging in a guilty pleasure in the form of a TV show lately. We've gotten ourselves hooked on a show that (I'm sure) Adam would be embarrassed if he knew I was admitting this. We've gotten hooked on Pretty Little Liars. I'm a little embarrassed just typing that out. But it is what it is. We've started it and now we' just need to finish it. If you're not aware, it's about four high school girls who like keeping secrets (something like that). Anway, it's one of those this-is-too-dramatic-but-I-can't-stop-watching shows.

How was your week? I'd love to hear about it! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tiny I600-A Update

I have an itsy, bitsy update from our I600-A. 

It probably isn't even worth a blog post. But, what the heck, I'm feeling sassy today. 

We received a letter in the mail from the Department of Homeland Security stating that they had received our application (i.e. cashed our check), and would be scheduling an appointment for us to get our fingerprints taken. 

And that's it! 

Pretty cool though, it just means we're still trucking right along. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

High Five For Friday

Alright, folks, it's Friday, and that's really good news. But what's really crazy about this week is that we are practically in the middle of October. Here are my top five moments of the week!


1. This first one goes out to the gorgeous Fall weather we've been having. The picture below was taken at Lake Ada Hayden, a lake pretty close to us.

Walking at the lake.
2. We are so dangerously close to having a laundry room, I can barely stand it. It's so exciting to have that "fresh and new" feeling in an older house. The laundry room is just one of many of our home projects, which, actually, was much more than a mere project, seeing as we didn't actually have a laundry room to begin with. That's right, Adam started from the ground (er, floor) up with this one. We've ran into a few hiccups during the whole process, but that's normal, right? It's all about finding what we want and what will work with our budget. Sometimes you need to get creative. We actually started our morning off by waking up early to paint the walls and the ceiling. I'm telling you, we're close. Check out the post on Hometown Renovations for more details on it. Disclaimer: I don't post very often.

3. I'm not sure if I've shared that we're Kansas City Royals fans. Why the Royals, you ask? Well I'll tell you. Back in February(?) Adam and I decided that we wanted to find a team to cheer for. Around here, there are a few options: the Minnesota Twins, the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Kansas City Royals. We weighed the pros and cons of each city and team and landed on Kansas City. It's a short three hours away from us, and a neat city. So that was that. We were Royals fans. Of course, we're confident that we made the right choice now that the Royals are going into the post-season, which they hadn't done since 1985. It was a good year to become a fan. And we can say we were fans before they were good. Anyway, they're playing game one of their seven game series, so that's how we'll be spending our Friday night.

At a Royals game for our anniversary in August.
4. On Tuesday night Adam and I had a chance to volunteer with Meals from the Heartland down in Des Moines. We helped package over 250,000 meals on Tuesday night. The meals we packaged will be sent around our state, country and even all around the world. It's a pretty awesome organization.

5. One of my best friends is coming to visit me this weekend! I am so excited to catch up and spend time with her. I'm looking forward to taking her tailgating for the Iowa State and enjoying some of the fall weather.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

...And It's Off!

It's off! (airplane emoji)

...(What is?)

Our I600-A has officially been shipped to USCIS. PTL

Go ahead, ask me what PTL means.

...(What is PTL)

Side note: I have way too much fun having a conversation with myself.

Praise the Lord. It's a thing I'm trying to get going. I heard a friend use it and couldn't let it go. You should start using it, too. I think I've successfully gotten my mother-in-law hooked. Or maybe she just says it to me. Can you confirm, MT?

Anyway, PTL is obviously just like saying "Praise the Lord", except more refined. You know, sometimes you just don't have enough time for the entire phrase. So you just shoot three little letters. It can even be used in texting, I'd say you could successfully use PTL anywhere you would use LOL. Seriously, think about it.

Personally, I think it has a nice ring to it.

Anyway...back to the purpose of this post: to inform you that our I600-A has been shipped off. So that means we'll wait for that to get approved by USCIS, get some more fingerprints taken, and get started on our dossier. We're told it should take about 4-6 weeks for approval.

This just means we're one step closer.

I also want to take just a moment to say thank you to all of our awesome friends and family who have contributed to our puzzle fundraiser. I never knew people could be so excited about puzzles. Seriously though, puzzles were your least favorite "toy", weren't they? That's why we'll just keep ours between glass. Anyway, your donation is why we were able to send off the I600-A right now. Which is huge.

Okay, before I start rambling about other acronyms or puzzles, I'll stop. Cheers to Thursday, which is basically Friday, which is basically the weekend, and cheers to being one step closer to baby (toddler?) Negrete.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fundraiser #3: The Puzzle

Dun duh.

Are you ready?

Dun duh.

You've probably heard of the puzzle fundraiser (am I hearing crickets?). If not, here's a onceover.

So we bought a puzzle. It's a 500 piece puzzle and are selling (well not really selling) the pieces for a minimum of a $10 donation. So here's what happens.
  • You buy a puzzle piece. Or two, or three. Heck, we'll let you buy us a whole puzzle.
  • We write your name on the back of the piece.
  • When the puzzle is complete, we'll frame it and put it between two pieces of glass so our child can see the names of everyone who helped bring him or her home. Or maybe it will be a normal puzzle that we put together. (Either way, they get see who was part of their journey). 
Pretty cool stuff, right? Below is the puzzle we picked out. Adam (the artsy, creative one) thought it incorporated the different parts of life and family (...or something. Like I said, he's the creative one).


So here's how you go can go about buying a puzzle piece (or two or three, or the entire thing...kidding. Am I though?) I'm really liking bullets today.
  • Click on the donate button on the right (over there) to pay securely through PayPal
  • Write a check made out to Adam and/or myself and hand deliver or mail it (email me at negrete.stacy@gmail.com for address details)
  • Do the same thing as a check, but with cash!
  • Send a donation directly to our church (this is tax deductible). For the address, go to the Donation Information tab
  • Donate to our Go Fund Me page

So let's just say we "sell" all 500 pieces of the puzzle. That's $5,000 right there. Which is pretty darn substantial to our cause. If everyone who buys a piece decides to give $20 instead of $10, that's $10,000.

Isn't it crazy what $20 can do? Now, I don't want to tell you how to live. But what if I challenged you to cut something out of your day, or week, or month. I know this is a common example, but what if you cut out your Starbucks* run once a week (go the other six days, that's cool!), but cut out that $3 once a week. Over the course of, like 3.2454379 weeks, (okay, I'm not a mathematician) that's $10, which would buy you a snazzy puzzle piece! And you can come over sometime and I'll make you a cup o' joe**.

To those who have already donated, thank you. To those that are even considering, thank you.

*or Dunkin', or McDonalds, or DQ...you get the picture
**no pumpkin spice lattes available

Friday, September 19, 2014

High Five for Friday

Well hot dang, it's Friday, ya'll. Can I just say that I am lurving this fall weather? This week has been borderline perfect. I hope heaven is a calm, warm, 72°. Pefection.

I feel like this week has flown by, so here are the top 5 moments of the week:

1. We met with a couple on Sunday, the relationship between us all is a bit weird. Adam went to high school with the Mrs. and I randomly met (and apparently got into deep enough discussion to put together than his knew my husband) the Mr. at the Apple store when I was there for something. They read on Facebook that we were adopting and we started planning on a dinner to talk (and meet the spouses). It was a really good time getting to know them and share our story with them. High five for new friends!

2. Adam's old boss needed some help this week out of town, so Adam left to go to Southern Iowa to help him. While it was no fun being alone for the week, we were very thankful that he was able to get a week of paying work in.

3. Last weekend we went home to go to a football game and attend a memorial walk held every year in honor of my dad, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. My aunt works hard all year and partners with the Lustgarten Foundation, as well as different organizations around Cedar Rapids. It was great to see a lot of my family and participate in a great cause.

4. Our church is having their 20 year anniversary this weekend! There are events going on today, tomorrow and Sunday, so we'll be attending those and seeing what God has in store for the next 20 years!

5. We were able to rack up enough cash to finish paying our fee of $4,650, which is awesome! We now need to work on getting the $820 needed to apply for our I600-A. Even though we could be able to submit this now if we had the money to do so, we're confident in God's perfect timing and are not stressing out about it. We'll turn in the paperwork when we're meant to turn in the paperwork.

Please join us in praying for people to support us or even consider it yourself. Remember, It Takes a Village—we can't do it without you, and we're not just talking about financially. We need your prayers, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Uganda Updates

Our agency received an alert from the U.S. Embassy in Kampala with regards to security alerts.

Over the past weekend, suspected Islamist al-Shebaab terrorists were arrested in a raid which put a stop to their terror plot and recovered their weapons. The U.S. Embassy reports the threat was countered, though they still remain on alert. 

They're urging all U.S. citizens to exercise all possible caution, remaining at home or in a safe location until the all clear has been made. 

While this doesn't super involve us; it may involve our potential kiddo and other Americans in Uganda. Please pray that they are kept safe and can come home soon! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Home Study Approval!

You guys! Our home study has been approved!

After having to make a few edits last week, the Bethany Global Offices have approved our home study. So now what?

Do you remember this post about the I-600A? That's next. Well, after we sign the home study to say that we approve (I guess that's important, too!).

Then, the fee. When I log in to our adoption portal (a place for message between our adoption specialists, resources, waiting children, etc.), I see a familiar, red $ at the top of the screen. With an approved home study, comes the fee. So actually, that's next.

We've still got a couple hundred dollars left to save/raise until we can pay the fee, and we know God will work in His perfect timing, per usual.

Friday, August 29, 2014

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday to all ya'll. It was a pretty quiet week. . . which is generally a good thing around here. We got some rain, some sun, and some wind, mostly separate, which is also generally a good thing around here. Below are some of the top moments of my week.

1. It's Labor Day weekend. Enough said. Three day weekend, whoo! We have a wedding of a family friend this weekend. Adam is ushering so we'll be heading to the rehearsal dinner Friday night and attend the wedding on Saturday. Adam's parents and brothers (+ nieces!!!!!) will be in town, and I'm so excited to see and spend time with them all. We haven't seen Adam's older brother since he has been home from his recent deployment to Djibouti, Africa.

I'll also make a separate note on the fact that football season starts tomorrow. Go State! Roll Tide!

2. Our connection group has officially started back up for the semester. We've got two new leaders this year and I'm really looking forward to the discussions and conversations we'll have. Currently we have six members, plus our leaders, and are looking at growing to 12–14 members. If you are in the Ames area and are married and in your 20s. . . join us!

3. Because of the wedding this weekend (see number one), Adam's parents came to town on Thursday. While Adam's dad was golfing, Adam and his mom came in and visited me at work and had lunch with me! I'm very fortunate to work for an amazing company that also happens to have amazing food, so everyone likes to come in and try it all. It was fun taking a break to eat lunch and show off my work place to them both.

4. Remember this post where I described the I-600A process? Well, with the help of our Bethany Global Team, we've got it all filled out. Once our home study has been approved (any day now) we'll get it out of here!

5. I feel like I've heard a lot of negativity lately from my peers lately. Nothing too daunting, just complaining about their husbands or wives, work, and some times just life in general. It's easy to fall into the negative spiral once you're sucked in. Though I feel like I have a mostly positive attitude. . . I've decided there is no room for negativity. Today and every day, I'm choosing to be positive. And I'm hoping that others will catch on.


You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Form I-600A...huh?

We've received word from the global office that we're able to start preparing for our I-600A. For those of you who don't know, this form is the Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition, got it? 

Okay, let's back up.

We have to file with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (often referred to as USCIS). According to the USCIS website, the form is used by U.S. citizen who plans to adopt a foreign-born child and enables USCIS to adjudicate the application that relates to the qualifications of the applicant(s) as prospective adoptive parent(s).

Okay, I'll be honest, I had to look up the meaning of adjudicate—to make a formal judgement or decision about a problem or disputed matter. 

Basically we submit this form to USCIS and they will approve us to adopt internationally. The child you (or we) are adopting can not immigrate into the United States as an "orphan" until the form I-600 has been approved and the child has obtained an immigrant visa.

Along with this form, we'll need to include certified copies of our birth certificates, marriage license (I ordered these during our homestudy process), our homestudy report, as well as $720 to submit the form, and $85 per person living in the household (two people for now, and we'll have to do an addendum when Mkini comes to live with us...more on that later).We'll also need to get fingerprinted again and mail those in with this form, which if I remember correctly was $10 per person (again, Mkini will need to do this as well).

So that's what we're working on next. We can go ahead and get this filled out, and once our homestudy gets approved, we can send it in right away. After that, we'll start working on our dossier.

To see the form and read more about the form I-600A, you can click here and here.


Friday, August 22, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday again! TGIF . . . amiright?

If I have anyone out there that actually reads my H54F posts, I'm sorry I missed the last couple. Let me explain what you missed.

1. Last weekend was Adam and my anniversary. Yep, two full years have been recorded in the books. Who keeps those books? I don't know. Anyway, I feel so blessed and honored to be Adam's wife. I love looking back on the day we said our 'I dos' on August 17 two years ago, which was such a great day. As part of our anniversary, we went to Minneapolis to relax and spend some QT together.We also went to a Royals vs. Twins game (obvi) and were able to meet up with some friends who moved up there. For your viewing pleasure. . . a fun flashback picture. I just love him.


2. Adam has officially started working for himself and has been doing great! He was fortunate enough to get some work right away for some good friends of ours (who just happen to be our neighbors, so that worked well). He's got a few other jobs lined up, and has been keeping busy by working on our house. 

3. My brother-in-law is headed to Indiana this week for his next adventure in physical therapy school in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He is (obviously) Adam's brother, and was his roommate up until we got married. He has become a true brother and even more best friend (don't tell him that), and I am very sad to see him leave (and be 10 hours away, at that). He moved in with us at the beginning of August so we've all been playing the "roommate" role the past few weeks. We spent his last day in Ames at El Azteca (another obvious one) and played yard games (Mexican golf, obviously). We'll be praying for his new adventure, though he'll do great.  I should also mention that his fiance is also a good friend of ours (because of the whole fiance thing), and we'll likely be seeing less of her, too. So it's a double whammy. 

4. I've decided to slow my hair appointments down in order to save a bit of money. In the spring, I had this crazy idea of going blonde, which I've never done before. Well, I did it and really liked it. But the time has come to go back to my roots (literally!). So last night I went dark and am planning on nixing the appointments (besides maybe just a trim here and there) to grow it out and go au natural. Adam's mentioned time and time (and time and time and time and time) again that he likes my long, dark hair. We'll see how long I can last this time before chopping it off again. But for now, it's nice to get back to my dark hair. Long live brunettes! 

5. Adam and I have a few things going on this weekend, but tonight we're spending some time with a couple that we're good friends with, who just found out they are expecting a little girl in January. Since we've both gotten so busy with our lives these days, I've found it's important to make time for some good friend time. I'm looking forward to it. 

Cheers to Friday. . . Enjoy your weekend. It's supposed to be hot here, so hopefully it will be an "inside weekend". Sending blessings your way. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A little bit of downtime

First off, my apologies for missing the last couple H54F posts. Things have been pretty hectic the last few weeks. . . maybe I'll be able to explain them in this week's post, assuming I get to it.

Secondly, I thought I'd just give a brief update on the process. Last I checked in, our social worker was all finished up with our home study report. As it turns out, we were still waiting on one thing; Adam's employer letter. Well, fortunately, that got sent in, and now it's complete.

 So I checked with Lindsay to see how things were going, if we could be working on anything to get us ahead of the game a bit.

Lindsay's supervisor (the approver) is out on vacation this week. They're going to see if someone else can get it approved this week, but they're not sure if that will work. Otherwise, we were told that there isn't anything we can do to get things moving.

Hmm...

So that's it. That's all I have.

By God's amazing work, we've been able to put enough money (thank you garage sale, t-shirts, donations!) for our next payment due after our home study of $4,650. We'll need to pay this after our home study is approved. I knew (knew!) that God would pull through and stay faithful. We're doing his work, and He's providing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

T-shirt Success

I wanted to give a quick shoutout to everyone who purchased a t-shirt from our t-shirt fundraiser. . . we ended up selling [drumroll, please] 74 t-shirts, for almost $900!

Holy cow.

I had no idea we would sell so much. Thank you to everyone who bought one (or two, or three, or four), we really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, the site is closed, so there aren't any more shirts for sale. However, if there is enough interest, we can open up the site again, it would just cost us a $50 start up fee, so we'd at least have to cover that with the shirts.

If you bought a shirt and are sitting there wondering where the heck it is, fear not. I have them and will be shipping them out this week, so expect them sometime soon.

Again, I wanted to say thanks to everyone for all of your support. Ya'll rock.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Call of Abraham

We had a great message at church a few Sundays ago focusing on Genesis 12:1-19, the call of Abraham, where God tells Abraham to leave his land and his relatives to go to a land that He will show him and will make him into a great nation, be blessed, and make his name great. Sounds pretty good, right? Eh, not so fast.

When God tells Abraham to go, he doesn't tell him where he's going or how long it will take him, he just says, go. How often does God tell us to do something––whether that's adopting a child from across the globe, or taking a new job––and we don't respond. Are you sure you want me to do this, God? What if it's a hard transition? What if I don't feel comfortable? Do you think Abraham––a 75 year old man––felt comfortable picking up his family to walk to this "great nation" that God spoke of. I think I may have be like, Ummm...really, God? I think I'm good. If you read a bit farther into the chapter, you see that even after 25 years, there Abraham is, living in a tent, no babies of his own yet. But he's still like, yep, I'm still here for ya, God. 

What a testament of faith. To do as God says and know with certainty that He is faithful and will be there.

I'm not going to say that answering our call has been, or will be easy, but let's be honest. We wanted to expand our family, so that's what we're doing. I want to live with the kind of faith where I know that if God says, go, I'll go, even if I'm not getting something tangible in return. I pray that I can be in a place where my faith is so strong, that I just listen and respond to what God is asking of me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's time for the August version of High Five for Friday. Holy cow that came out of no where, didn't it? We've been fortunate to have some beautiful weather (less of the 100° and humid days than in previous years), which has been ah-maz-ing.

1. We switched up date night this week to Monday (we usually have it on Wednesday). It was a great start to the week. We actually switched up activities as well. We went to several home improvement stores (can you say romance) to look at some stuff we need for the house. We were sure to get some Tasty Tacos and ice cream after. It was a nice change starting the week off with a date night. Who knows, maybe Mondays will be the new Wednesdays. 

2. We have a rental house that Adam and I help manage and it's been a crazy last few weeks getting it ready for new tenants. I'll be happy and relieved when we're finished.

3. Adam's parents came to town to help his brother move out of said rental house and into our house (before he starts PT school in Indiana), so it was nice to see them. (This is why we changed date night to Monday...are you piecing things together?) It was nice to spend time with them and have dinner. We went to a relatively new place in town, The Mucky Duck Pub—a new British pub-type of place. They've got killer fish and chips + banana bread beer (yum). 

4. We had the Workiva (my company) summer picnic on Thursday, which was a lot of fun. It was for the whole company plus the kids (or dogs) in everyone's family. It was fun to see everyone outside of the work element. My favorite was seeing the Executive Chef in normal clothes, magical. 

5. Adam is going down to a golf tournament with family on Saturday, so I'm looking forward to really getting stuff done. I made a list earlier this week and have been adding to it as the week has gone by. Sometimes it's nice to have a relaxing weekend, but sometimes, you just want to get stuff accomplished. AmIright? 

[Bonus] 6. Our social worker let us know that she's almost done with our home study already! It will need to go through a few rounds of approvals (she said they're always at least one) then we can start getting our Dossier documents.

[Double Bonus] 7. I know two (two!) adoptive mama's that are in Uganda right now! One is meeting her kiddos, and one is bringing her son home! If you get a chance, please pray for their travels, kiddos, and time in Uganda. How exciting!

Have yourself a wonderful first weekend of August. Sending blessings to you all. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Last Call for T-shirts

This is it, folks.

The last call for t-shirts. Our pre-sale site closes this evening, so if you haven't had a chance to get on over to this site and buy one, you better do it now!



As a reminder, you can order on the site, and after it closes (tonight!) they will begin production. After the turnaround (they estimate 8 days), I will get them and give them out (if you don't live near me, I'll ship yours).

With our next fee of $4,650 quickly approaching (due after our home study report is written), these shirts are a way to help with that. We appreciate 1 shirt or 10 shirts and thank you for thinking of us (and wearing a cool shirt!)

Click here to buy a shirt!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Home Study #4: Check

Well, folks. We're done with our home studies. This is great news. We're practically (not quite) done with two out of four steps of our adoption process, though the wait comes next.

We went though the normal home study process where our social worker came to our house, Nellie wiggled and squeaked with excitement, and we chatted.

Up until this point, Adam and I have been working on educational classes, 10 hours (each) had to be completed by the end of our home study:

  • Adopting an Older Child
  • Conspicuous Families
  • Finding the Missing Pieces: Grief and Loss
  • Medical Issues in International Adoption
  • The Journey of Attachment 
This home study focused mostly on these classes. Lindsay asked us any concerns we had from those classes and ways we would address any problems that may arise. It seems like the most important thing she touched on was how to foster attachment with the child.

She also gave us a book to read, The Connected Child, which helps adoptive parents understand and face the challenges that come along with adoption. Have any of you read this? Any insights? 

So what happens next? 

Lindsay will need 2–3 weeks to finishing writing up the home study report and then it will get sent off for approvals. After the home study report is completely approved, we'll need to start gathering documents for our dossier (they need to be the most current documents, which is why we can't start now), and apply for our immigration approval (more money + fingerprints). 

Thank you for joining us on this journey, we'll be done before we know it...right? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday! Though it seems like a Tuesday for me. Probably because I took off most of this week. That being said, we're going to do a special RAGBRAI edition of the H54F.

1. We spent four days of this week on RAGBRAI! It ran across northern Iowa, where Adam has some family. We are so lucky we had such great hospitality while we were up there, we didn't even have to stay in a tent! This is good news when you ride your bike all day. We stayed with Adam's aunt and uncle, his cousin, and some of my friend's parents' friends (I'll give you a second to try and figure that out.) Never-the-less, it was great to see and spend time with people we don't see very often.

Me with Adam's aunt and cousin + pups
2. Iowa sweet corn. Iowa sweet corn. It's the best. The best. (Do you think I'm just copying each phrase and italicizing it?) (Do you thi...I kid.) But in all seriousness, folks, Iowa sweet corn is good. And definitely one of my favorite stops on RAGBRAI. You know, those sweet corn stands on the side of the road with coolers full of delicious, hot, (sweet) corn. I just love it. I actually had a bit of a hard time finding that primo sweet corn that I just described. See, I don't want to go into a town and get some off of a cart. I need it to be out of a van, or a truck, or (jackpot) a trailer.

That Iowa sweet corn.
3. One of the towns we stopped in, Terrill, had a pro-wrestling ring set up. I think I'm using the word 'pro' loosely, but it was excellent entertainment. We weren't sure what was going on when we first got there, but it wasn't long before Ricky, the defending champ, took the stage to take on his opponent. It was a great match (according to pro-wrestling standards), and we really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, Ricky lost, but we heard he had another shot at getting his title back. Unfortunately, we had to leave town before it started, but I'm confident he took the gold. He was nice enough to stop and pose for a picture with his newest fan.

Defending champ, Ricky
4. On our first day, we rode into a town called Hull and at the start of town, we passed by a house with a sign in their driveway that said 'Vizsla Puppies', so I slammed on my breaks and rode on in. Our pup, Nellie, is a vizsla, and I think this is something only other vizsla owners will understand (any of you out there?!). We stopped and saw the most adorable little puppy. Who looked just like our pup a couple years back. It was a great start to our 70 mile day.

Isn't she the sweetest?!
5. We're already looking forward to next year's RAGBRAI. It's not looking like we'll have our kiddo home at this point next summer, so who knows, maybe we'll try and do the whole thing. We joked (maybe?) that we have our team name, Big Jon (no h). Which is named for my friend's dad, who, you guessed it, would be Big Jon (no h). Either way, RAGBRAI is a blast, and we've already got some plans in the works.

RAGBRAI may seem like it's just riding your bike across Iowa (okay, well it kind of is), but it's so much fun. How was your week? Leave a comment and tell me about it!

Friday, July 18, 2014

High Five for Friday

I don't know about you, but dang this week felt long. I don't know if it was the busyness of last weekend of the excitement of the upcoming weekend (or maybe it's  the lesser amount of caffeine that I'm trying to consume on a daily basis), but dang, this week felt slow. But you know what? It's Friday! So let's celebrate.

1. It's RAGBRAI week (almost)! I've been busy doing some bike prep, you know, packing up the sun screen and butt butter (a true essential). We're leaving on Saturday afternoon to go up and stay with family before it all gets under way on Sunday morning.

2. We have some friends moving into their first home, so we helped them pack some stuff up this week. Their closing date got pushed back, so we're praying for a smooth, quick process from here on out.

3. We've had an awesome response to our t-shirt fundraiser! If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet, you should!

4. I've hit my last week in my "old role" at work and I'll finally be transitioning completely into my new one. I'm looking forward to getting busier and more involved!

5. This week's weather has been ah-maz-ing. I think it was some sort of cold front, but it was like it was fall 'round here. And I loved every second. I was half expecting to be preparing for a football game this weekend, but I guess tailgating to bike can be a thing? It's supposed to warm up (humidy included) next week. It wouldn't be true RAGBRAI fashion if it was too nice.

Cheers to Friday. Enjoy your weekend, and I'll check back in next Thursday. Until then, sending blessings your way! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fundraiser #2: T-shirts

It takes a village to raise a child. ––African Proverb

Oh that's nice, and it's African, so that's fine. But what does it mean? 

Well, here's what we thought: You guys are our village. Our village for love, support, guidance, laughs, and so much more. Where would we be without our village? Who knows. But definitely not here.

It's not just now that our so called, village, has come into play. You've also helped shape us into who we are by offering the same items that I listed above (we just didn't ask you to buy t-shirts then [insert chuckle]). 

So, without further ado, let me just get to the point. Will you buy a t-shirt? We love what they represent and of course the placement of that little heart sits right upon Uganda.



These shirts are $22 and 100% of all proceeds go towards our adoption fund. There is a bit of a caviot: This site is only open until July 29, so if you want one, better do it now. Once the site is closed, they will make the shirts and I'll ship them out to those who don't live near me. Click here to buy a shirt, or copy and paste this into your browser: https://village.eightsevencentral.net/shop/it-takes-a-village/

Please consider purchasing a shirt. And tell your friends.

Blessings to you!

[While you may be familiar with the Hillary Clinton book that shares the same name, I assure you that is not what we were going for.] 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Garage Sale Success

We had our first fundraiser in the form of a garage sale this past weekend. And it was a great success!

We had some awesome support before and during the sale. Thank you to all of our friends who helped spread the word!

So, I know, you're probably like, on with it already! Drumroll, please: we made $661!

What?!

Unbelievable. I am so overwhelmed! I was expecting us to make, like, $250, tops. So the garage sale was a serious success.

I look at this situation and wonder how people can think it's a coincidence that this garage sale was such a success. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Hmm. . .

I'm praising Jesus for bringing so many people to us and put our cause on their hearts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Home Study #3: Check

Home study #3 has been completed! Three down, one to go.

Lindsay (our social worker) came to our house last Thursday to meet with the two of us. This time around, she didn't have any paperwork for us, and we didn't have to be separated. There really wasn't much to it. 

Her questions consisted of our family information, our past and childhood, and a bit about our finances. So we talked about where we grew up, who we hung out with, what we did in school, that kind of stuff. Then we discussed a little about our finances (basically just that she would need a bank statement) and then we just discussed the relationship we have with both of our families.

After we chatted for about 45 minutes, she had the tour the grand tour. We walked through the house, room by room and she simply observed; didn't really say anything, didn't write anything down, just observed.

One thing in particular that she did was look in every closet. I'm not exactly sure why she had to do that, but she did. She made a comment that she had to see that "this wasn't where you kept the bodies". But I assure you there are no bodies. . .

Our next home study is scheduled for July 24, which will be after we return from RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Check it out. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday, you know what that means! It's time for the High Five for Friday, so let's get into it.

1. I'm still feeling so overwhelmed with all the love and support. Seriously, I had no idea so many people would be so supportive and on board with our decision! You guys, rock.

2. We had such a great weekend at the lake with family! We were able to stay Sunday night and drive home on Monday, so it seemed extra long. I still worked in the car, but it definitely made the week go by super fast. We were able to take our time a little bit and stop for lunch, which was nice.

3. I am in serious garage sale mode! If you saw my posted yesterday, you know we've got some great items for sale. And of course all proceeds will go towards our adoption fund. If you're in this area, you should try and stop by. . .even if it's just to say hi! (See what I did there?)

4. Adam and I did some serious house work this week. We've finally got all of the plaster and insulation ripped out. And it. was. a mess. I am not looking forward to doing that again. But hot dog, it's done for now! Here's what it looked like after we had it ripped out, before the clean up.

There's a lot going on here.
5.  We've officially got three home studies out of the way! We had our third one yesterday where our social worker came to our house and asked us questions, much like the last one. I'll have a post up on Monday with more details.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend! Remember, if you're in the Ames area, stop by 1201 Curtiss Avenue and find some treasures! Blessings to you!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fundraiser #1: Yard Sale

We've got a couple different fundraisers up our sleeves. . . and one is happening in this (that's right, this) Saturday!

We're having a yard sale this Saturday from 7 a.m.––2 p.m.


Hot ticket items (I mean, I hope they're hot ticket items) include:
  • 2010 Harley Davidson (you know you want it!)
  • Retro chairs
  • Entertainment stand (made by my hubby)
  • Book cases
  • Queen headboard
  • Dressers
  • Books and movies
  • Random home decor
  • Other awesome stuff! 
You can find us at 1201 Curtiss Avenue (the corner of Curtiss and 12th Street). If you're in the Ames area, stop by, and tell your friends! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

To Those Who Are New Here

Hi! Are you new here?

I recently posted the picture below on Facebook to announce our adoption and am overwhelmed by the amazing response of our friends and family! All the likes, comments, and shares have made us feel so loved.


So I just wanted to say thank you to those who have come to visit our blog. If you haven't already, feel free to check out our different pages, and don't hesitate to ask questions if any arise. I have really enjoyed talking to people about our story, especially if you feel adopting may be right for you and your family.

Feel free to stick around, I'll continue to update the blog as things happen.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, July 4, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Happy birthday America! Can you believe it's July already? This year is flying by. Since I've got the day off, I'm busy making Scotcharoos (yum!) so I'll get on with this. . .

1. It was a three-day-week for me at work. I feel like that is enough to cover 2-5. But I'll keep going.

2. We had a family picture session this week with a good friend of mine who came to snap a few pictures. We didn't go crazy, we just wanted a couple. Here's one of my favorites.


3. We didn't end up having our home study this week. Adam was working out of town every day, so it made it a bit more difficult to leave and come home. We rescheduled for next Thursday, so I'll give you an update after that happens. 

4. Remember the t-shirt debacle? Well I talked with our designer and something on the website was off and confusing the different types of t-shirt prices. So anyway, it got figured out. He also told us about a pre-sale they offer. Where they create a pre-sale site (for only two weeks) so we're working on creating something like that. I'll keep you posted. 

5. We're headed down to the Ozarks this afternoon for the holiday festivities. I think I've mentioned before that Adam's parents have a place down there right on the lake. It's so much fun to spend time with family + there are some great dive bars. 

Have a happy holiday weekend! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Go Fund Me!

That seems a bit direct, doesn't it? 

Maybe you've heard of it, Go Fund Me, it's a site used for donations of all types—medical bills, mission trips, weddings, businesses, adoption, just take a look at the categories, there are tons of them. You can even search by your zip code to view any fundraisers that are in your area.

I know that it seems like I'm all for this donation thing (well, that's because I am), but it is a bit difficult to say to someone, "My husband and I decided to do this thing that costs $40,000 so will you give us money?

I know that 1.) We truly didn't decide to do this and 2.) This thing is bringing a child home. Giving a child a family. 

I know adoption isn't for everyone, and that's okay! But adoption is one of the ways we can live out the gospel, become more like Christ. And if you aren't able to bring an orphan into your home, I ask that you consider supporting those who can—not even just us. Take a look at some adoption blogs by doing a simple Google search. There are few people who feel called to adopt who can truly "afford" to adopt. But that is the beauty of our God! 

I tend to be a worrier. I know I shouldn't worry. It literally tells us not to in the Bible. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Shout out to my Mama T for reminding me of this!)

But you know what, I haven't been worrying about the money we need to raise for our adoption. A calmness comes over me that tells me all is well. That we'll get there. And I know it may take time, but I know that eventually, we'll get there. 

I've come across quite a few adoptive families who use Go Fund Me to raise money for their adoption, and I thought, "Yeah, that's a really good idea." 

So here we are. 

Go Fund Me is very easy to use, you simply go to our page, Ugandan Adoption—The Negrete Family, click donate, and use a credit or debit card from anywhere in the world. It would also be helpful if you shared our story, so others can view the page and read about us. 

Thank you for praying and considering a donation to our adoption fund. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

High Five for Friday

Friday! The first Friday of Summer! So that means that June is almost over. Holy cow. Here's a question for ya: is half Christmas in June or July? Anyway, let's get on with it...

1. I got a new job in April in a different department at the same company and have been both jobs for the past three months. Well, someone finally got hired for my old position last week! This means I get to fully transition over to my new department. I'll do the full transition mid-July after I help train my replacement.

2. We're heading to Minneapolis this weekend for Adam's grandpa's wedding! We'll be seeing Adam's parents, aunts and uncles, and their families. I feel like it's just been forever since we've seen family. I'm really looking forward to it.

Just, this. 

3. Adam and I have been really kicking it into gear working on our house lately. We're working on converting a room into a laundry room and have just been stuck on the worst part: ripping out plaster. For some (unknown to me) reason, people used to put drywall up, and then put plaster on top of it [insert are you kidding me? face]. So when we rip it out, it's even more heavy and even more dusty. Ew. But this week, we just felt some motivation to keep going, which is awesome, because it's something we've been praying about. . . shout out to the big guy on this one!
Doesn't that look so fun?
4. I made home made mint chocolate chip ice cream on Sunday. And it was good. Having fresh mint is pretty fun. Even though I don't always know what to do with the abundance of mint that I have.


5. Before our home study is complete, we need to complete a 10-hour Hague course that can be purchased from Adoption Learning Partners. Some of the courses took a half our to get through and some took longer, but I was able to knock them out this week. The courses are on transratial families, grief and loss, attachment, medical needs of adopted children, and adopting an older child.

How was your week? Sending blessings your way!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The T-shirt Situation

Who remembers when I said we were meeting with a t-shirt company to look into designing shirts as a fundraiser? [counts raised hands]

So we met with Eight Seven Central, down in Des Moines when we had our first home study a few weeks ago. We gave the designer a few ideas and let him work with his imagination. He came up with a great design earlier this week and we are super excited. We've been emailing back and forth since then talking about logistics. However, yes, one of those, I checked the website today and it looks like the price per shirt went up by $2.00. (I know it doesn't seem like a lot, but when you've got to by a pretty substantial quantity, it adds up!)

So I'm kind of bummed about that, it just means we'd have to come up with a couple extra hundred dollars just to order the shirts. I've asked designer we've been working with if we could use the original pricing that we talked about originally, since we had no heads up that this was going to happen. 

What do you think? Is that weird or am I just being cheap? I guess either way, I might look into some other screen printing companies. I think you have the ability to buy the artwork from the designer, so we could still use the design we like.

Friday, June 20, 2014

High Five for Friday

Friday has come again! Sorry I didn't get a chance to post last week, so I may be mixing in a few posts from the last two weeks–just think of it as a really long week.

1.  Home study #2 is complete (see previous post). So that's exciting. We scheduled our next home study (where our social worker will come back to our house) for July 3. We're moving right along!

2. A couple I "met" (over the internet, of course) who is also adopting from Uganda through Bethany found out last week that they got a court date! They are leaving today (12 days after they found out) to go meet their son! They also have to leave their 2 year old son at home while they're away, which would be so hard. We'll be praying for their save travels and for peace while they're there. I can't wait to hear about their trip!

3. Nellie got to come to work with me this week and she was in heaven. Everyone loved her butt-wiggling and she loved all the attention.


4. We're going to an iCubs (Iowa Cubs) game tonight with some friends. We haven't been to one yet this year and they're always a good time. 

5. We went to a wedding last weekend back home. We got to stay with my brother on Friday night and came back again after the wedding. It's been both a curse and a blessing living a few hours from him. We're pretty close and I would say that I actually enjoy his presence, but I'm not sure if I could live in the same town as him anymore. I suppose we're in a happy-medium, that's what that's called, right? 

Enjoy your weekend! Hopefully the weather is cooperating where you are and you'll be able to spend some time outside! Cheers to Friday! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Home Study #2: Check

Home study #2 has been completed. . . and it was easy [insert Staples guy's voice].

Lindsay came to our house and we immediately got started. She met Nellie (who didn't even jump up on her., she must have known), and handed us both a few sheets of paper to fill out. the paperwork consisted of questions mainly about ourselves; things we've experienced, family history, if we do drugs, you know that fun stuff.

We had to fill out the paperwork at the same time, but couldn't talk to each other to ensure we weren't going to conspire against our social worker. We're good people, we wouldn't do that.

After we finished that up, Adam had to leave. So, naturally, he went to the garage. While he was gone, Lindsay and I went through the questions where we answered something other than "neither" or "not applicable".

The first box I checked was that I had experienced violence. The first question. I explained to her what happened when I lost my mom and how it affected me. Sidenote: I'm wondering if this is weird if there is anyone who doesn't know what happened. Is that weird? 

Some other questions she asked us were about why we chose to characterize our spouse the way we did and how we plan on disciplining our children. This this we were both (separately) like, "uhhh? Not exactly sure?" so she was pretty lenient on that answer. I mean, we have an idea of how we want to discipline, but then, who's to say that will stay the case once we have children?

Overall, the second home study was a breeze. I didn't need to worry about it as much as I did, of course. Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts while helping us through. Two down, two to go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anticipation

Tomorrow marks our second home study! We're anxious to get the second one over with. Like I mentioned in my last post, this is the first time our social worker will be coming to our house to interview us; she'll meet with us together, then separately.

To tell you the truth (that's a weird expression isn't it. Like I haven't already been telling the truth? Well I assure you, I have been–anyway, focus), I think I'm most nervous about her actually coming to our house.

I know I've mentioned before that we're remodeling–like really remodeling. The whole house, the whole kit and caboodle. She said she needs to know that we'll have a designated space for our child (which we do), but I just fear that she'll look at our house and the busted down walls and think, "you can't bring a child here!" and we know that. We started the adoption now thinking that we wouldn't be bringing a child home for a couple years, which is still the case.

I'm asking for prayers to keep our (my) nerves calm tomorrow. I just came across a wonderful little quote: "Pray or worry, but don't do both." I need to remember that more.

Have a blessed Wednesday!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Home Study #1: Check

Whoo hoo! We survived our first home study! That's exciting, right? Well, we think so. 

We met down in Des Moines for our first home study. I know, you're probably thinking "wait, if it's a home study, why wasn't it at your home?" Right, right. Well the first one is at the agency's office–I assume it's so we can meet our social worker before she comes straight into our home. 

The home study itself went really well. Here are the things she asked us:
  • Describe your personality.
  • Describe your hobbies.
  • Describe your house.
  • Why do you want to adopt? What's your story?
  • What does a typical day look like? 
  • What does a typical weekend look like? 
  • How do you celebrate holidays? 
  • Do you have any family traditions? 
  • How culturally diverse is your town/neighborhood?
  • Etcetera. . .
Honestly, I don't think we answered any questions that we haven't already covered with someone at Bethany or in our paperwork. 

While we were there, we went ahead and made our home study #2 appointment. We scheduled it for a week from today. Our social worker said she will need to meet with Adam and I together, then separate. She said she'll do a quick look around the house and then talk with us. So we'll see how that goes. 

Cheers to step 2.1! 
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