Our flights are booked through Golden Rule Travel and we saved about $500 off what I was expecting! Our flight is only 18 hours and only has one stop- Washington D.C. I have reserved two different hotels, but haven't confirmed that yet. They are outside of the city, but closer to the orphanage, so very cheap. I am still trying to connect with some missionaries, but on such short notice, we might have to wait until our next trip. The hardest part about planning, is that most of the information I've been given has been vague. I haven't been given the name of the orphanage or the location. Also, we don't even know how long we have to stay for our second and third trips. It's a little worrisome to me, but a godly friend reminded me, "You may not know where you're going, but you know The One who will guide you."
I also FedEx'd our Visa applications to a travel agency in New York for processing. This was another frustrating process! The questions were so detailed, it was like an employment application. And there were no instructions with how to fill it out except don't fill out this, this and this.
I went to the bank and asked them about getting new bills to take with us to pay our facilitator. I heard that some banks weren't very helpful. My bank is awesome. They made a note to have all the tellers pull bills when they see newer ones and reserve them for me!
I found out that our medical exams will now be done on our second trip when we go to court. So we don't have to come up with the $1600 for this trip. I modified our goal thermometer and we are finally funded for the first trip!
God has been providing little by little for all of our needs. My Key Lime Pies and Cheesecakes have been selling very well! We had two garage sales! I've sold several items on Craigslist! We are selling CD's by La Semilla, my husband's band! I sold my wedding band and graduation ring and my mom gave me some gold jewelry and I was able to get $1137. Some people have heard our story and just want to help! On Thursday, I was handed money by someone who someone I don't even know gave to her mom to give to me. I'm not sure if that made sense, but work with me, people! God is doing great things!
We are already planning our next big fundraiser. We will be doing a Both Hands Project in partner with Lifesong for Orphans. The director, JT Olson, has been encouraging us to move forward with this project, because of the success that other adoptive families have had. The idea is, we find a widow in need and assemble a team of our friends. Then the team (including us) would send out letters to family and friends asking people to sponsor us for the day, as we work on this widow’s house. All the funds go toward the adoption. It’s just like asking someone to sponsor you for a 5K Run for the Cure.
The idea has been done over 50 times around the country already! Attached is a link to a video that might help give you a good idea of what the Both Hands Project is all about.
Let me know if you would like to be involved in the project or would like to sponsor us as we "visit orphans and widows in their trouble."
Last night, I decided to start preparing our bag of goodies for Maria. It was so fun! We have been gathering little toys and things for her over the months. Our church gives Bible Bucks (like monopoly money) out to the kids when they recite their Bible verses, bring their Bibles to church, etc. Then they can "buy" prizes at the little store. My sweet 9 year old always buys things for her brother and sister and has been buying little things for Maria. We have lots of little goodies ready for her: a baby doll, a comb, mirror and pretend lipstick set, an instrument set, some balls, bracelets and necklaces and a magnetic drawing pad.
This weekend we're visiting my family in Torrance and we're going to be seeing my cousin's family including her 5 month old baby that I haven't met yet. My husband and I got to go on a little date and went shopping for a board book, sippy cups, snacks and my favorite: a pink tutu!
We drove right past LAX today and the reality was sinking in: two weeks from today we're flying to Eastern Europe! We're going to have to come down the morning before our flight because, of all days, the freeway connection from our house (101) to my parents' (405) will be closed starting Friday night. Unfortunately that means my hubby has to take an extra day off :(
I started thinking about so many things: will I recognize her from the one photo I have? Will she be shy or outgoing? How big is she? Does she get enough to eat and drink? Will her hair be long or will it be buzzed? Will she be stubborn like her daddy or stubborn like her mommy? Because there are different stubborn's, you know!
Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with love from the Father and for Maria, I feel my heart swell like it will burst. My husband can't stop talking about his baby- what a miracle we have been able to witness and be a part of. And since sometimes you just need to express yourself with a hymn... Enjoy!