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.


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. 
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