Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Gift

I received the best gift I could get for Christmas today (except for having Maria here with us). Through the
Gold Coast Orphan Alliance, we received a $3000 adoption grant!  God is so faithful, so good! Thank you so much for your continued prayers. Please pray that the psychologist will finish his report ASAP (!) so we can get our homestudy certified by the Secretary of State and then translated and sent to Eastern Europe. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

The winners...

Afghan and necklace: Jamie Woodell
Flower clips: Helle
Flower clips: The Abell Family

Thank you for your bids. Please go to my chip-in to make your donation (via PayPal) and I will ship you your item promptly. It would help if you could add about $5 extra for PayPal fees and shipping. If you have any questions about shipping, email me at

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Support for orphans

Would you please consider making a donation for one of the waiting children at Reece's Rainbow? The only thing keeping a family from adopting is money. For $35 you can make a difference and you also get a porcelain ornament with the child's photo.

Here is the little guy that I couldn't pass up: Simon. I can't wait to get my ornament and see his face and pray for him each time I look at it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Moving mountains

I wasn't expecting to update so soon- but mountains were moved today.

1. I decided to go to the Police Station for the FBI fingerprints and there was an open appt, so I quickly called my husband and had him come over too. Then I asked if we could get police clearance letters and it only took about 15 minutes and only $10. The Sherriff's dept. charged us $25 and we had to wait 2 weeks!
2. The psychologist agreed to do the evaluations for $250 each-not $750!
3. I found a beautiful pink dresser for only $20 and then she gave it to me free after sharing that it was for our future adopted daughter!

We are almost done!
-Notarizations on Sunday
-Psych eval's on Monday
-Last homestudy follow up on Tuesday
-REST and eat turkey on Thursday

So I can't end this post without speaking about faith- because it is being tested. And I love it! I remember a friend used to say, "Don't pray for faith, because then God is going to give you trials." And I would be bothered by this statement because trials give us dependence upon God and it's so easy to slowly start to feel self-reliant.  Where do I get faith? The Bible tells me: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17  Reading the Bible will increase my faith!  Well, I've been praying for faith and listening to God's word because I am weak and don't have enough dependence on God- and guess what happened today? He moved mountains!

"If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I was so excited today to get an email with some additional information about Maria. The most incredible of which, her birthdate in the email was listed differently than before. Instead of Sept. 17, 2007 it said she was born on July 17, 2007- which is my birthday! Not sure which is true, but it would truly be amazing if we share the same birthdate. Here is the info I received about Maria:

Maria (17.07.2007)  Unfortunately they have no right to give official information without official application with the dossier, thus they cannot give the pictures. But they told me that she walks, runs, and has cosiderably good fine and gross motor skills, she helps to clean the tables, she understands the speech and fulfil instructions, he speach is not clear, but she tries to verbalize. She has had surgery at the heart due to inborn heart problem and thus she has deformaty at the chest bones. She is friendly and outgoing.

Very encouraging update- she seems to be in a place where she is receiving some good care- Praise God!

The dossier mentioned above is all of the official paperwork including approval by the social worker and US Immigration.

I finally found a psychologist who will work with us and he is a professor at my alma mater. However, his evaluations are $750 per person. That's $1500! So, I'm going to try to get him to give us a discount, but who knows!

Today is our last home study visit and then the social worker will be writing her report that will determine if we are suitable to be adoptive parents. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!

All we have left to do:
Psychologist evaluations
FBI fingerprint/criminal history
Finish online adoption training
Get everything notarized and certified

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Usborne Book Fundraiser

We will be selling Usborne books in an online bookstore from now until Nov. 24. 100% of proceeds will benefit our adoption!

I love Usborne books because of the beautiful color illustrations. My 4 year old son will open Time Traveler and sit and look at all the pictures. It reminds me of the Where's Waldo books, with lots of different activities happening in one scene.  They really help my children "travel in time" and get a picture of what life was like in different time periods.

Another favorite is See Inside Your Body. It has tons of flaps and talks about all that the body does... It is GREAT!

Visit our bookstore to browse all of the Usborne selections:
(For homeschool subject books, click on "School Age" on the left side bar)

Or let me know if you're interested in earning free books by hosting your own book show to help raise funds for our adoption!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting things done

I have been super blessed this week by friends' words of encouragement.  We know we're obeying the Lord and we love being in that place of walking in faith- but it can be hard, let's admit.  I've seen how surprised, shocked, disappointed, ecstatic and happy people's reactions have been upon sharing our news with them. So when someone reminds me, "the Lord will provide, just like He always has", it is such an encouragement.  Or when someone says, "God's already got it all worked out" I am reminded that is my job to trust and obey and His job to work the miracles.

I've always been a busy person, but as we are in the "gathering" stage of our adoption process, it's a whole new level.  And yes, I'm a list person so here's my accomplishments this week:

Doctor appts (all five of us)
Young Life Banquet- met Young Life Director for Russia
Down Syndrome Association Play Group- met families
Started 3 fundraisers- Usborne books, Premier Jewelry and Just Love Coffee
Tweaking and adding to my blog and facebook (I'm still learning)
LOTS of phone calls/emails
Soccer practice
Piano lesson
Birthday celebration
Picked up paperwork from the County for our short sale approval (still waiting to hear from lender)
Preparations for Orphan Sunday at church

And I did all of this with no voice- recovering from a cold!

What's left to do:
Psychological evaluations
Online adoption class
Reference letters
Certified Marriage/Birth Certificates
Notarizations of all docs
2nd homestudy visit
File immigration paperwork- I-600a

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Busy days

We've been super busy trying to get all of our paperwork filled out and appointments made. We've had our blood tests and they came out clean (no surprise I guess) and Luis had his medical exam. I have my exam and fingerprints on Friday and he does his fingerprints on election day.

We've also been advocating for our church to recognize Orphan Sunday on Nov. 7. We are going to have a table on the patio and be able to share the flyers on 10 ways to care for the orphan from the Christian Alliance for Orphans. We also will have Reece's Rainbow flyers and flyers for an Orphan Sunday event being held in Ventura hosted by the Gold Coast Orphan Alliance. It's interesting that the directors of both the Christian Alliance and GCOA all went to Westmont College with me!

In addition to all of this, I've been contacting people with the Down Syndrome Association of Santa Barbara and am trying to get resources and build connections. We realize that our life is about to change in a big way and we want to be as best prepaed as we can. We know the Lord is going before us and has already brought people to us that are great sources of information. He is answering our prayers: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

And besides that, trying to keep up with our homeschooling and coaching and ref'ing our kids soccer teams and cleaning and organizing and purging to prepare for two weeks of house guests and trying to find a house and Luis getting a stomach bug and last night my baby developed croup and is having a hard time sleeping. :(

So, that's what this week has looked like!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Give Me Jesus

My husband is such an encouragement to me and such a blessing. Thank you Lord for giving him to me! He sent this video to me this morning:

This has been what the Lord has been challenging our family with. What are we willing to give up, surrender, deny in order to do the things that matter to Him?

I love my family

Of course, we have felt the full range of emotions since we started this process. Yesterday I scheduled our first home study visit and am trying to take baby steps and get a couple of things (paperwork, anyone?) completed each day. I called the Sherriff's office to schedule our fingerprinting and had to leave a message. The automated voice told me that the available appointments are usually two weeks out. Huh? I wasn't expecting that.

On a sweeter note, my beautiful children are really embracing the idea of having a new sister and it is so amazing to see how God has put a deep love for her in their hearts. After seeing her photo, my 4 1/2 yo keeps remarking about how he would like to take her right out of the photo and bring her here. My 8 yo thinks about her constantly: I really miss her, Mommy when you go see her, it will be so hard for you to have to come home and leave her, Mommy, don't forget to take a video of her when you go so I can see my baby. They pray for her every day and it's such a blessing. The most precious thing she said today was "This is the best thing that's ever happened to us so far." I agree and I love that she "gets" it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yes Lord Yes

My grandfather is a pastor and he has a favorite chorus that says, "I'll say yes, Lord, yes, to your will and to your way, I'll say yes, Lord, yes, I will trust you and obey. When Your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I'll agree and my answer will be yes, Lord, yes."
I want to do what this song says. I want to trust and obey the Lord. I want to say "Yes, Lord".
James 1:27 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."
Maria needs a family.
Yes, Lord.