He knows exactly what we need

I just finished getting a pedicure at Aqua Stone and I’m sitting in my car with tears in my eyes! I was just humbly reminded how loving our God is. How he personally cares about me and what I need each and every day. The last few weeks all I can think about is going to Haiti soon. For those of you I haven’t got to tell in person we did hear from our agency that hopefully (fingers crossed) we will go to Haiti in the next 1-3 months to meet our son. I’ve been excited, discouraged, anxious, and nervous all in one day (maybe all in one hour) for this possibility. But sometimes we just need a little reassurance from the Lord when he calls us to do something that He will give us the strength to do it.

Today getting my pedicure a young girl named Nee was my technician. We started chatting and I found out she’s from Thailand. I asked her lots of questions as I was very curious when she moved here, how it came about and how she ended up in Clearwater. We ended up chatting for over an hour about “her story”. She was from a poor town in Thailand and she had a family from Boston that sponsored her all growing up. If you don’t know what a sponsor is look into Compassion International and it explains what ministries like them do. A family can sponsor a child for about $35 dollars a month and that helps pay for books, shoes, clothes, cost of going to school and things like that for a specific child in a poor area. Nee had the same sponsor for 20 years. She ended up moving to the US to go to college. She met a guy here and long story short they fell in love and got married. Nee eventually after 20 years of sponsorship got to meet this family in Boston and they are Christians. She heard about Jesus all growing up from this family. And now Nee has given her life to the Lord. Her and her husband attend church here in this area now. She couldn’t say enough about how God used her sponsors to help change her life. Her sponsors were also an adoptive family, they adopted a boy from Ethiopia when he was about 3 and he’s now 18 she said.

I got to talk to Nee about us adopting a little boy from Haiti and how we currently sponsor a little boy in Haiti as well. The encouragement I gained from Nee today has been something I will never forget. When I was leaving I told her “thank you so much for sharing your story with me” and she said “I know God had me share with you today, I don’t always talk about it but for some reason I knew I was supposed to with you”. I gave her a big hug and when I got to my car I couldn’t contain myself any longer I just started to cry.

I’m so thankful for a God who knows exactly what I need each and every moment. I needed to be encouraged that no matter how long the wait, no matter how hard it is when our son first comes home, God’s got this. This little boy’s life will be forever changed because God is going to do something wonderful with him! Nee is proof of that for me. Because of this family that sponsored her for 20 years she heard the Gospel, she moved to the U.S., met a Christian husband and she gave her life to Christ. Now she said she loves to tell people her story so that God can be shown in it!

Now I want to sponsor like ten more kids immediately! If you don’t sponsor a child already, look into Compassion International or an organization like them or sponsor a child at the Crèche where our son is called Chances for Children in Haiti.  They are in need of sponsors (https://www.facebook.com/Chances4Children/). Nee is living proof it changes lives.

Praise Him In the Hallway

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Are you guys still adopting? People are curious. Everyone around us that says they are adopting actually brings a child home. We haven’t and it’s been 2 years since we started. Are we still adopting? Sometimes I wonder myself.

Lord willing, we are still adopting, for those of you wondering!

Sometimes I read blogs from other Haiti adoptive moms and then stop reading blogs because I’m frustrated. I join the Haiti adoption facebook groups and then stop looking at posts because I’m frustrated.  I start doing my lessons to learn Creole and then stop because I’m frustrated.

But this blog I read today actually made me think, okay this isn’t good and it doesn’t fix it but maybe it will help me explain to others why we don’t have a child yet. And help me come to the reality that Haiti has some a lot of problems but someday this will be a distant thought and our son will be home.  Haiti is trying to fix the problem of children being sold for bribes. Parents giving up kids not realizing they are giving up all their rights. Or maybe just giving up their kids for money to put food on the table for their family. I think the system may have good intensions but they definitely don’t have the personnel or man power to put the correct systems into place.  This blog I think helps explain a little bit of the Haiti adoption system from someone who has seen the system for over 20 years.

http://www.glahaiti.org/the-adoption-system-in-haiti-is-a-broken-system

If you have a chance to read it please do! Maybe you will know better how to pray for Haiti as a country, their adoption system and for us while we wait for our son to come home.

But until God opens the next door, we will just praise Him in the hallway!

Chances for Children

Can I be honest? I’ve had a hard month just wondering if we will ever really get to adopt! We know the Lord has called us to adopt a little boy and we feel confident he’s in Haiti somewhere but no idea where and no idea when he may actually join our family! I worked on adoption paperwork for so long and once we submitted our Dossier to Haiti about four months ago I wasn’t sure what to do next! I found a online program called Haitihub and thought “I’ll lean Creole that way when we get there I can talk to him”.  The Creole lessons aren’t going that well, summers been hard to find the time to do it. But after today’s phone call from Lifeline I think the Lord has given me a little gift to keep me trusting His timing and a renewed strength to praise Him and pursue things that will better our trip to meet her Son. Thank you Lord for your kindness to me!

Currently I can’t know much info on our little guy, I don’t know what he looks like, I don’t know his name, or his age but if all works out we knows he’s at the crèche “Chances for Children”.  We don’t have an officially referral but Lifeline has found a little guy that they think would be a good match for our family!  The process timeline is the same, 6-12 months for a referral and we are about 3 months into that timeline.  Our paperwork is ready for him, but his paperwork, to make him adoptable, is still in the works. Once his paperwork is done we can get an officially referral for him and at that time learn more information and receive an invitation from Haiti to go and visit him!

I know this isn’t much to those of you who may be reading this and haven’t pursued adoption, but this is HUGE to me!  I don’t know much about him but knowing where he is and seeing pictures of the staff that are currently caring for him really was the small  large blessing I received from the Lord today, and am so thankful for!

Here’s a link to his crèche and the staff there if you want to see! http://www.chances4children.org/c4c/about/c4cstaff/

1 Peter 5:6-7  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

The Process In Haiti

Just wanted to give you guys a little idea of what our adoption waiting game still has to go through before we get to meet our son! Our Dossier is currently in Haiti. Our Dossier is ready to go but the children’s Dossiers have to go through the below process in order to be  matched with a family. We are waiting for our sons Dossier to be completed!

 1) Dossier is submitted to Legalization 

2) Dossier is submitted to IBESR and goes to multidisciplinary service for inventory

3) Dossier is submitted to the Judge for Kids

4) Dossier is signed by the Mayor

5) Dossier goes back to IBESR for matching

Our agency has given us an estimated time anywhere from 6-12 months from the point we are at now! We know and trust the Lord that His plans are perfect and that we will be matched with the son He picked to be with us before the beginning of time. We are so excited, nervous and overwhelmed to think we could be in Haiti sometime in 2015 to meet our son!

Praying for Haiti

I’m happy to announce that today all of our paperwork (Dossier and I600A- immigration approval) left my house to head to our agency in Alabama and then hopefully make it’s way to Haiti in the near future.  Not a lot new on this end with the adoption other than the large stack of paperwork is out of my house and I couldn’t be happier about that!

The people of Haiti could use some prayers! The prime minister resigned from his position in December.  The President, Michel Martelly, just installed a new prime minister this past Friday. However, he still does not have the constitutional approval of parliament, whose term ended January 12 without any date being set for new elections. Our agency sent us an email last week saying this “I know that we have all been praying as the Haitian government continued to make decisions and work through challenges. The potential elections did not occur yesterday, and this has caused unrest in the Port-au-Prince area. The unrest has resulted in riots some of which have become violent in nature. There is potential that the unrest could cause different governmental offices to close for several days. All of our in-country staff, homes, and children are safe and doing well.”  Please pray for the Haitian people and government.

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Team Baltic

I never got to personally thank everyone that was a part of the Chosen Marathon with us! What an awesome, Christ centered event that we are so thankful we were able to be a part of! It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for all of you who ran with us and helped financially support us! This adoption does feels like a marathon in so many ways. We have already been in the process for 16 months and we have a lot longer to go but the end goal (bringing our son home) is what are keeping our eyes on and pressing towards!

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After The Race! Emil’s 4th half and Angie’s 1st

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:14

 

Paperwork = A waiting game

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Just wanted to give an update to those of you wondering what’s going on in our adoption world. For the last 2 months (since we made the decision to switch our adoption country to Haiti) we have been redoing all of our adoption paperwork and medicals.  We had to do an update on our home study. We also had to redo our whole dossier as most of our paperwork had expired and Haiti had some different requirements than Ethiopia.

Here’s where we are now and how you can pray for us.

1. We are currently waiting on Mississippi to send a criminal clearance for Emil. As soon as this paper is received our home study will be done.

2. Once home study is complete we add that to our paperwork to turn into immigration then we wait for their approval.

3. While we are waiting on immigration approval I’m sending paperwork to the state level for authentication. Then we wait again to receive these documents back and add them to our Dossier.

3. Once we get immigration approval and our docs back from authentication at the state level then I can mail our Dossier to our agency. Our agency sends to Washington (I think) for more approvals and then they will have our Dossier translated before it goes to Haiti.  Once received in Haiti we will get on the waiting list for a referral!

Currently the wait for a referral for a child is said to be about 8-12 months. Within 2 weeks of getting the referral Emil and I will head to Haiti for a 2 week visit to meet our son and spend time with him. Our agency is hopeful that sometime in 2015 Emil and I will be in Haiti! That’s exciting news to me!

Thanks for all your prayers and support thus far! Please pray our clearances and government approval would come back quicker than expected! And that I will continue to have patience! I’m very anxious to get this huge stack of paperwork out of my house!

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The Tampa Chosen Marathon that we have been training for to benefit and bring awareness to adoption is in 2 weeks! We have a 12 mile run this weekend to wrap up our long runs in our training! I’ve never ran a half marathon before and I can say during this training it has been a good reminder to me of what adoption will be like.  I’ve had many ups and downs in training. Days you feel great while running and days you feel like death would be better than to continue running another step (okay that’s a little dramatic).  But we have been determined to finish, Kept our eye on the end prize, persevered to the end, and I know at that finish line it’s going to be a special feeling. Not only a great feeling that 13 miles is over and I can sleep in some days instead of getting up at 5:30am to go torture my body – ha ha – but the joy of being given my medal by an adopted child and knowing that everyone there has come together and trained for months on end to bring awareness to adoption and are there to care for the fatherless. It’s going to be a great event and we are so excited to be a part of it. I’m really excited to continue my running journey hoping to be a part of this great run and this organization (chosen and abba fund) every year – Not only for my own child’s benefit but for the benefit of all adopted children!

Philippians 3:13-14  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

A New Direction

 

Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.

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With much prayer, research and seeking advice from other families that are also in this adoption journey, we have made the decision to switch our adoption country from Ethiopia to Haiti.  There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes in Ethiopia that have us feeling uncertain about how long it will actually take us to bring home a child. Our agency was currently asking families on the waiting list to patiently wait in the adoption process with Ethiopia for at least 3-4 years from now, and based on how things are currently moving we feel it actually could be much longer than that.  We still feel a strong love and burden for the country of Ethiopia. Although our son won’t be joining our family from this country anymore we have decided to still support a little boy in this country through the wonderful mission of Compassion International.

The Lord has really opened doors and moved our hearts towards Haiti.  When we first started the adoption process in order to adopt from Haiti some of the international adoption requirements were things we did not meet such as; the adoptive parents must be 35 years old, must be married for 10 years and had to have no biological children. With these requirements in place when we first started the adoption process Haiti was not an option for us to adopt from that country. Recently the international adoption criteria has changed to one adoptive parent must be at least 30, five years of marriage and you can have biological children, all of which we do meet!

The process in Haiti is very different than Ethiopia although it will still be a lengthy process we have high hopes it should be quicker than Ethiopia in bringing our son home.  There’s still much uncertainty in Haiti and their adoption process but we are trusting the Lord that he will work all of those things out in His time.

So what now? First we wait on Lifeline to approve us to be a part of the Haiti program.  Then we have to do an update on our homestudy and we have to redo our Dossier, which is the packet of paperwork that will go to Haiti including more doctors’ visits, immigration approval stuff like that.  Then we wait again, but hopefully a shorter wait to get a referral match.  The Haiti program director with Lifeline (our agency) feels within 6 months of submitting our Dossier to Haiti we should have a referral for a child – could be shorter or longer.  The referral for a Haitian child is a little different than an Ethiopian referral.  Once we receive a referral soon after we head down to Haiti for a two week trip to meet and bond with our child.  After our visit then we wait again with behind the scene approvals going on for an unknown amount of time before we bring him home.  The wait will still be long but it will be different than it would have been from Ethiopia and maybe even harder knowing that we have met our son, held him, played with him, fell in love with him and can’t bring him home until paperwork is completed. In a way it could make the wait easier too though knowing that it’s for something tangible and real since we will have met our son.

We are excited and sad at the same time about our news. I just had a long conversation with Owen about why we switched countries. Owen had fallen in love with Ethiopia and I hope to help his love for Ethiopia to continue in him! But we can say with confidence we feel this is the next step the Lord is leading us through in our adoption journey! We have already learned and grown a lot through this so we can’t wait to see what else He has for us🙂

Isaiah 40:21 Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether it be to the right or to the left.

 

#26

Got an email today from our agency that we are now #26 on our referral waiting list. Referrals are actually happening again in Ethiopia. That’s so encouraging to see! Even though we know we still have a long wait we are excited to see other families, that are also working with the west sands and dove agencies, bringing home their babies.

The big news on our front is that we are starting to get ready for our Chosen Marathon.  We are very excited about it and starting to train for the half marathon. Our church, family and friends have been so supportive. Many people who have never run before are starting to train and possibly going to do the race with us.

We are excited for what Chosen stands for and their support of orphans and adoptive families across the world.   For more info on the race and how you can be a part of it see the tab “Chosen Marathon” on our blog or go to Chosenmarathon.com!

We only get an update once a month now, so you probably wont hear from me again until July 1:) Until then…

 

#29!

I heard today from our Ethiopian adoption agency that we are #29 on the referral list.  This means with our agency their are 28 families in front of us to receive a referral for a child. Although that number doesn’t sound like a HUGE number, in our case it actually is.  Since November of 2013 our agency has only given out one referral and it was a sibling group ages 5 and 7. They haven’t been able to refer any children under age 5 in about a year.  The process in Ethiopia has become a lot more complicated,  hopefully for the good. They are intending to make sure each child that is referred to a family is truly an orphan.

The way referrals work is that the orphanage will let our agency know when they have children who are “document ready” – meaning all documents needed to satisfy the U.S. Embassy and the Ethiopian Courts have been obtained and translated.  When they receive the documents, they review them carefully and then – if they appear to be accurate and complete – our agency prayerfully refers that child to a waiting family on the list who has indicated a preference for that age/gender.

With all of this said, we have been asked to be patient for the next 2-3 years. It’s a lot longer process than we originally thought. We are excited that we are now on the referral waiting list and we are just ready to see what the Lord has in store for us as we wait! I think with all the paperwork completed I’ve really started to internalize how our life is going to change with our new son! I’ve started to pray for our son and his birth mother so much more in the past couple of weeks. I am excited and nervous to see what the future holds:)

Quail Hunt Fundraiser

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who attended the Quail hunt fundraiser. Emil had a great time so hopefully everyone who went did as well! A special thanks to Nick and Tullia Yzzi for setting up and planning the fundraiser with Colliers Ranch. Colliers ranch donated $600 towards our adoption fund from the payments made from everyone who attended. Here’s a couple pictures of the Quail Hunt. ImageImageImage