Friday, May 30, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Okay, so probably not going to happen. But nonetheless, it's Friday.

1. It was Memorial Day on Monday which was so nice. We took Nellie for a long hike at Lake Adahaden in town, and she was in heaven. And tired...which we like. We also broke out the fire pit for this first time this summer. and I think it's coming out again this weekend.

2.  We had a member event at our church on Wednesday. We just became members in April, and it's neat to get involved in the church decisions now. We also enjoy getting to know more people there.

3. I was able to catch this awesome picture. I don't know that I could live anywhere other than this beautiful state.

4. We've got another relaxing weekend ahead. I should note that we bought a sledgehammer this week, so I'm not sure how relaxing it will be. But no traveling or anything like that. And we've got some friends coming over to, you guessed it, have a fire.

5. I'm on our WebFilings softball team and we have a game tonight. It's not the team's first game, but it's the first game I'll be able to attend. To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect. I used to play softball, so I enjoy it, but we'll just have to see.

How was your weekend? Here's to the days ahead!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Home Study Meeting #1

Happy Thursday!

Remember in last week's High Five for Friday where I said we had officially submitted our paperwork?

Well...we made our first appointment with our social worker. We're meeting with her on June 12. The first meeting will be in the Bethany office in Des Moines, with the following three at our home, each visit taking about an hour and a half.

There isn't much we do until that point. We have a few other documents we need to get together but we technically have until July for these. Our wonderful references will have some paperwork sent to them to fill out, and we need to get medical exams set up.

It's not much, but it's definitely a step in the right direction!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Hard Places

Like any Sunday, we started off the morning by going to church. We've been going through the book of 2 Timothy where Paul writes his son in the faith, Timothy from inside a Roman prison.

Our pastors broke both books down into one theme, with several sub-themes throughout:
  • 1 & 2 Timothy–The Good Fight
    • Carrying the Legacy
    • Guarding the Gospel
    • Clinging to Sound Teaching
    • Enduring All Things
    • Being Set Apart
    • Avoiding the Corrupt
    • Preparing for Prosecution
    • Finishing the Race
    • Standing Through Opposition
This past Sunday, we listened to the message on 2 Timothy 4:9–22, Standing Through Opposition, and it seemed to speak to me. 

After a man and woman spoke a bit on their experience with foster care, we our paster began unpacking the last verses of 2 Timothy, Paul's last instructions to him. He speaks of how he had been deserted, but the Lord stood with him and strengthened him. 

Our pastor, Mark, spoke of how obeying Jesus will put us in situations that stretch us beyond our limits. It's the times where you're weak and alone, that Jesus meets you and speaks to you. He doesn't promise that following him will be easy, but it will be worth it. 

I thought of a few things during this message; losing my parents was hard. But I seemed to be focusing more on our adoption. So far, things have been pretty easy, there was that one minor mishap (I feel like things could be a lot worse than having to switch agencies), but I know that things are going to be hard. For us and our child. We're bringing a child out of their homeland, parents, language, food, everything. That would be hard for anyone to go through. Now take into consideration that it's a child dealing with this. 

As we get farther into this process, the home study, the referral, and eventually bringing our child home, things are going to be hard. Paul says that in 2 Timothy. In 4:18, he says 'The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom.' He's saying that the hard times will happen, and He will rescue us. 

And I am so thankful to live for and obey such a glorious and generous God. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday. I need to throw out the TGIF today. This week has been long. Very long. We are so looking forward to the weekend.

1. Adoption paperwork has officially been sent in.  YAY! We'll wait for the response and have our first meeting with our social worker. There are some documents that we'll have to add in later, but that's no big deal.

2. Nellie. Poor little Nellie. She is a Vizsla with sensitive skin. She got a skin allergy last week that's been slowing her down a bit. However, we got her some new meds a few days ago, and she seems to be doing much better. I know this doesn't seem like a highlight, but it's been a big part of our week.

Still truckin'. 
3. Adam and I got out for a date night this week. We dedicated Wednesdays to date night, something we'd like to continue when we have kids. This week we rode bikes to El Azteca, our favorite Mexican restaurant in town. Had some chips, margs, and a delicious dinner.

4. We had one of our last official connection groups this week. Group is starting to dwindle down for the summer, but I think we're going to try to get together a couple times a month. You know how things are, there's always something that comes up in the summer. 

5. It's Memorial Day Weekend! I don't know about you, but I need a little r&r. This week has been so crazy at work (for both of us) and we're really looking forward to a little break. I think we're even going to break out the grill and fire pit. Who knows, maybe we'll make our way to the lake in town, too. 

So that's that! I hope you have a wonderful, safe holiday weekend. Enjoy time with friends and family! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

If You Wouldn't Say It About a Boob Job...

Wait, what? 

A friend of mine introduced this video to me, and I just have to share it. Although we haven't brought a child home, we still have heard many of the same questions.

  • "Do you still want to have your own children?" Also, "Why are you adopting before having your own?"
    • The word you're looking for is biological–bi-o-log-i-cal. 
  • "So will you choose a baby then?"
    • Um...

I think most people who adopt just have to laugh. Most people probably aren't asking these questions to be offensive. They just don't know. I'm sure we will get more fun questions, so I'll keep you posted. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Is it really May? (If you live where I live, odds are it feels like October...) But it's not just May, but almost the middle of May. Seriously, when did that happen? It's already time for the ol' High Five for Friday.

1. We're practically finished with our adoption paperwork. There are a few forms that we may not be able to complete right away (guardianship form, and medical evaluation form), but for the most part, we're pretty much completed.

2. I went to Missouri to visit my sister-in-law and her babes last weekend. It was so good to see them all. I'm missing them already.

3. This week is 'Bike to Work Week' at work. I rode my bike on Thursday (of course the coldest day of the week), but got free lunch out of the deal. I'm thankful to work for such an awesome company.

4. Adam has been working like crazy lately. And not just because, they have a lot of stuff to get done. It couldn't have come at a better time though (i.e. this adoption thing...) I'm so thankful for a husband who is willing to work so hard for his family (insert 'awww').

5. We're going to Kansas City this weekend to see my friend Anneli, remember her? We're also going to World's of Fun and a Royals game. If you haven't heard, Adam and I have determined that we are now Royals fans. It was a lengthy discussion, but the choice was made. So now we're all in. We're going with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, and our friend Mkini. We're excited to spend some time together. 

I hope you have a blessed weekend! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Doesn't Anyone Care About Trees?

Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic. 

We got our packet last week from Bethany and it was jacked full of paperwork. Our case worker, Bonnie, asked that we fill it out to the best of our ability, send it back in, and we could get started with the interview part of the home study. 

I'm sure this is just the start of all of the paperwork we'll be providing, and let's be honest, it's not that much. 

According to our International Adoption Family Checklist, we need to fill out/provide the following:

  • SAFE Questionnaire–questions regarding your relationship with your parent/guardian 
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Guardian form
  • Family history data
  • Adoptive family information sheet–basic information about us, i.e. name, address, date of birth
  • Affdavit of health insurance
  • Medical exam 
  • Employer reference
  • Criminal background–including a set of fingerprints for each of us
  • Parental discipline policy form–instructs that discipline is a necessary part of parenting and is taught biblically
  • Duty of disclosure
  • Last three years tax forms
  • Financial statement
  • Reference letters–four personal references, one may be a relative 
  • Verification of employment 
  • Bethany permission/concent form–permission for our employers to share information on us 
  • Prospective adoptive parent training requirement–we need to take 30 hours of educational training. Classes they've had so far are language acquisition, and sexual behavior problems. 
Phew. That's it. 

We've got most of it filled out, and are getting our fingerprints done (the police station only takes appointments a couple days a week). So once all is complete, we'll send 'er in. After they receive our paperwork, we'll be in contact with our social worker, and set appointments to meet. 

I know this is only the beginning. And it's such an exciting time in our family. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Adoption Fund

Last week, Adam and I met with the International Ministry Director at our church to discuss the possibility of raising funds through Cornerstone. 

It was a casual conversation that involved questions about how long we've been involved in the church, why we wanted to adopt, etc. After about 30 minutes, he told us he would have to present our case to the council of elders and get back to us. 

[Wait time]

Adam and I have been approved to receive funds from Cornerstone and to raise support through Cornerstone. This means our friends and family (that's you–the one reading this!) will be able to give a tax-deductible donation to Cornerstone for our adoption. The church allows us to raise up to $10,000 in this fund and they will provide an additional donation after the adoption has taken place. 

If you have any questions about donating, please don't hesitate to ask! And while we would definitely appreciate any financial donations, we ask first for your prayer. Pray for our family as we prepare for a large transition, and pray for the heart of our little one–whether he or she has been brought into this world yet or not. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Order of Things

Adam and I have have had some people question the order of things in our adoption. Mostly, people ask about the fact that we haven't struggled with fertility, and are pursuing adoption first.

People seem puzzled with the fact that we were choosing to adopt first. Supportive, but puzzled.

This is something we've thought about before. Are we doing the right thing by adopting first? Should we try to get pregnant?

But then we think; this isn't even our choice. True, Adam has known he wanted to adopt for years now, and I was supportive of that, but when we wanted to start a family...we just knew that we were supposed to adopt. We truly feel that the Holy Spirit called us to do this. Any by choosing to answer that call, we're being obedient to Him.

Adopting certainly doesn't have to be someone's 'Plan B' after they aren't able to get pregnant. Sure, that is often times the case, but what would happen to the children of the world if they were always someone's Plan B?

Fortunately, our agency is very supportive of our choice to adopt before having biological children (if we choose to have biological children).

There are a couple of reasons why they believe it's not a bad idea to adopt before having biological children:
  1. Birth order – Often when adopting (especially international), the chances of adopting an infant are small. If you have a biological child first, then adopt when the child is two or three, you may end up with an adoptive child who is older than your biological child. 
  2. Attention – Children who are available for adoption have likely suffered trauma in their short lives. It's likely that they won't automatically accept a mom or a dad as their parent; full attention needs to be given, trust has to be built. This is more easily done if there are less distractions around the home.
Above all, let's just remember one thing – love makes a family, and we've got that.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

High Five for Friday!'s Saturday.

But wow, a week! The weather has been dreary and rainy here all week, so we're looking forward to some warm, sunny weather again. Here are the top five moments for the week.

1. I got baptized on Sunday! I wasn't baptized as an infant, and started becoming curious about church when I was in 7th grade. After losing my parents in 2008, I started relying on Christ. I've wanted to be baptized for a while now, but always came up with an excuse not to. After taking the membership class at our church, I couldn't come up with an excuse not to get baptized. And I'm so happy I did. It was a great feeling professing that Christ is my Lord and Savior in front of my entire church family.

2. Today, (well yesterday) two good friends of ours are tying the knot. I'm so excited to celebrate their mawaige. This summer, they'll even be our neighbors. Life is good.

3. As of today, we paid our home study fee. This means we won't have another fee until we send in our dossier, where we'll pay our first country fee. Actually, here is a handy visual of our adoption road map.

4. Rain. So, it has rained here all week. The one thing about the rain is that everything is so fully in bloom and gorgeous. Spring is such a wonderful time of rebirth. So even though the rain has been dreary and cold, it's good for something.

5. Adam and I went to Once last week in Des Moines. It was great to have a little date night and enjoy a live show.
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