Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prayer Calendar

In case you haven't heard:
WE ARE LEAVING FOR THAILAND THIS WEEK!!!!

Just wanted to make sure you knew!

We are leaving as a family of 4 and returning as a family of 5. We are SO excited.

Many of you have asked how you can help.
That question right there is a gift in and of itself.
Y'all have NO idea what a blessing you are!

The answer to that question, other than answering the phone when I call because I'm a blubbering mess, would be to pray.

I have created a Prayer Calendar / Itinerary so you can pray with us, specifically, each and every day. If you were able to walk this journey alongside us in prayer we would be SO incredibly thankful!

While in Thailand we will be blogging from our password protected site: www.greatestjoyadoption.wordpress.com
We would be honored if you would follow along on our journey with us. If you need the password, please email or FB message me.

Also, I do want to state this. While we are incredibly excited to bring Caleb home, when we do return home our main focus will be on bonding as a family of 5. While you may be excited to hold and love on Caleb, please refrain so that we can work on properly attaching as a family. Give us time.
Come by for a visit, say hi. PLEASE don't be a stranger. But please understand that we will be the primary caregivers for awhile - changing diapers, playing, feeding, offering comfort, holding. The bond is important and we know that you all are so gracious, kind and understanding. So THANK YOU in advance!

We are excited to share our newest addition with you! And know he will be excited to meet you. Just give us time :)

With that - I am going to go bond with my 2 oldest because WE ARE GOING TO THAILAND SOON!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We Got "The Call"

The call that said "You are scheduled for an Embassy Appointment in Thailand"

But let me back up and tell you the story from the beginning.
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You all know we have been at the final stage of this adoption process for awhile now. I believe the last time I updated you we were waiting for Caleb to go and obtain his Thai passport. Due to the political unrest in Thailand right now, there were some delays in this process.
You all prayed and we received news that Caleb had gone in for his passport appointment on February 3rd. Hooray!
We received his passport (well, a photocopy) on Feb 12th. I then had to petition the Embassy to unlock a form so that we could upload his passport number and then schedule our Embassy appointment. We waited....and we waited..and we waited.
Finally, a week later the form was unlocked.

We were given tentative travel dates of March 19th, but had to receive the official Embassy confirmation before booking our airline tickets.
Our agency told us that as long as we heard from them by the end of the week (Feb 21st) we should be a "Go" for the Mar 19 meeting.
We didn't hear anything.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.

We heard nothing on Monday either.

At this point I am thinking that the Mar 19th meeting is a slim possibility and began setting my sights on the April meetings. I was bummed. We all were.

Then early Tuesday morning I got a call from the Thailand Program Director. She sounded a little hesitant, so I assumed our meeting got pushed back to April.

SW: We heard from HSF today....
Me: Oh...the date got pushed back? 
SW: Not exactly. They confirmed that you all have a meeting date scheduled for March 5th. Next week.
Me: Come again!?! 
SW: I don't know how they did it, but you are scheduled for next week and you need to be on a plane by Thursday, Friday at the latest.
Me: ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!?!? 

Or something like that :)
By the grace of God I managed to leave the grocery store parking lot, go find my husband and proceed to jump up and down, cry, shake and pee my pants. I seriously didn't know what emotion to feel so I felt all of them. All at one time. It was lovely.

SO! That's how it happened!


Our flights are booked. Bags are out of the attic. Toddler items purchased.
AND THERE ARE STILL A MILLION AND ONE THINGS TO DO!!!! 
So I thought it would be productive to record this day here on the blog for you all to read! 

This is what my desk looks like at this very moment. I'm not even going to show you the rest of the house!


Family is frantically rearranging schedules so they can help care for Ben and Hannah while we travel.
We would greatly appreciate your prayers!!!!



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Storming the Gates

Good news y'all! We are in the final phases of our adoption process. It is almost time to go and get Caleb! YAY!



In the recent days we have filed our I-800, received approval and sent it over to the National Visa Center. It has since been uploaded to the Thai Embassy. Once Caleb gets his passport (from the Thai Embassy), we can file the final phase of paper work! After that paperwork is process we will receive Embassy dates (for which we must be present for in Thailand!) Embassy Dates = Travel Dates!



But here is where the bad news starts. I'm sure you all have heard of the protests / unrest in Thailand. It has reached a point where many of the streets in Bangkok are impassible due to the large crowds.

 
Because of safety issues, the social workers will not be bringing Caleb into Bangkok to get his passport. No passport = no travel. Our travel has been delayed until March. Although March is even tentative at this point :(

So prayer warriors, Will you all storm the gates of heaven with me? Will you all pray for peace in Thailand? And for peace in our hearts? Will you all pray that this conflict ends soon? That Caleb (and the kids of the other adoptive families in the same spot) is able to safely travel to Bangkok and obtain his passport. So he can come home. 

One friend put it this way:  We are literally at the very last step and boom…halt…do not pass go.

We are at the LAST STEP. And nada.

Will you pray with us? We are weary. Discouraged, yet oddly hopeful. We know our God is the God of the nations. The God of the impossible. Will you ask Him to move mountains for His children? 


"My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your Name." 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Update!!

We received our December update today!!! WOOHOO!!

It is always a gift to see Caleb's sweet little face :)

Pictures and details are up on the other blog.
Same password as last time. Email/message me if you need it again!

www.greatestjoyadoption.wordpress.com



Friday, December 06, 2013

FIRST APPROVAL!!!!!

WE RECEIVED FIRST APPROVAL!!!!

Ya'll.
I cannot believe it.
You all prayed Tuesday night and we heard from our agency on Wednesday morning that not only had our case been considered, but we had also been granted First Approval!!!

FINALLY!!! That call had been 12.5 months in the making! :)

I had been in Bible Study that morning and when I got out I had a message on my phone (via FB) from a friend. 2 families had received First Approval from the meeting, they were one of them! Yipee! My heart rejoiced for them!

Of course I immediately began checking for missed calls, voicemails, emails - anything! - to see if we were that other family.

Nothing. 

My heart sank.

I listened to my daughter chattering away in the backseat as I drove towards home, battling my fragile emotions the entire time.

I finally get ahold of my hubby and just to double check, asked him if he had heard from our agency this morning.

"Why yes I did" came his cautious reply.

"You did!?!? What did they say? Is it bad news?? Why do you sound like that? 2 families received approval, were we one of them?" I blurted out.

"Honey, calm down. It will be ok"

"Ok? It wasn't us was it? Please just tell me! It wasn't us? Was it us? I AM ABOUT TO CRY!"

"It was us. We received Approval."

Aaaaaaaaand then much screaming and happy noises in-sued. Hannah even joined in - not sure she knew why - but we were excited!

Bless my hubby's heart. He wanted to wait to tell me when we were all home together. Great plan. Brilliant plan.

He just didn't know the emotional roller coaster I had been on for the last 7 minutes. ;)

When we got home, there was a group hug/jumping/screaming session. :) Later that evening we went out for ice cream to celebrate.

Happy First Approval Day!!! 

_________________________________________________

Now there may be some of you wondering "great! now what does that mean?"
You are not alone my friend.

This is what it means.***

Paperwork. Waiting. Paperwork. Waiting. Paperwork. Waiting. TRAVEL!!!

Our agency tells us that we should be traveling in 2-4 months.
Woohoo! The time is drawing ever closer!




***For those of you who are curious as to the specifics of the paperwork/timeline - here are the nitty gritty details:

- File the Pre-Travel Visa Packet (I-864)  - done and in the mail! - 
- Receive Article 16 (2-8 weeks)
- File I-800
- I-800 approval issued in 2-6 weeks.
- Send I-800 approval to Thailand.
- Check to confirm that Thailand has received documents (1 week later)
- receive confirmation numbers. File the DS-260 form.
- Receive approval from Thailand that the I-800 has been received from the Embassy and confirm travel dates.
- Purchase tickets to Thailand!!! 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

That Just Happened.


 Yeah.....so that happened last night. :/

I had been debating between making baked potatoes or roasted red potatoes.
Apparently I made the wrong choice. :/
The knife cut right through those potatoes and took part of my fingertip with it!! OWW!
Its a good little cut - but nothing a bandage (or 30!) and going to bed at 7:15 pm can't handle.
(all the blood loss people, it made me tired!) 

Obviously I am a professional at bandages.

As I am texting my sister (what else does one do when crisis strikes?) I am bewildered by the amount of blood that is pooling in my hard. I had just bandaged it up, it should be clean! ...Apparently the knife attacked my pinkie too. Thankful Hannah had a Dora bandaid she was willing to part with :)

I am clumsily trying to make it through the day (and type this!). It still hurts. Doesn't help that I keep banging it into things! I never quite realized just how hard I am on my hands!

Turns out that last night was only a precursor to today.
Not in a bloody painful sort of way! (no emergencies here!)
Just in a rough battle for my heart and mind sort of day.
It seems that the world would love to discourage me today. So it is attacking in every way it can.
A cracked windshield here, a dented door there, an ever growing to-do list, battles with insurance, showering without getting my left hand wet.... you know. A. Day.
Ever have days like that?

Ironically the message on Sunday was about the battle for our heart and the message this next week is about the battle for our minds. A message for which I am to be preparing a worship set for - however at this point I can't even begin to think that I will be able to play the guitar or even the piano! (not that the piano matters - thus far that playing takes place between the Lord and I -  not suitable for human ears!) 
So here I sit in the middle of the battle.
And honestly, this morning the world was winning.
But I don't want to end the day like that. I want to take "every thought captive" and think on what is "pure, lovely and honorable".

But ya'll, some days it is just a battle.

Speaking of battle.....
(like that segway?!?)

I am going to ask you all to go into battle with me tonight. For Caleb

We found out the Thai social worker was reviewing our file. She was lacking one document, so we got that to our agency as quickly as possible and it should be in Thailand by now. We are praying that our case is being presented on Dec. 4th. That's TONIGHT!!! (Wednesday in Thailand).

Will you all pray with us?
Pray before your head hits the pillow tonight?

Pray for favor if our case is indeed presented?
Pray that the board will give lots of First Approvals?

There was 1 First Approval given at the last meeting.
We received our referral in November of 2012. At that time we were told it would be 6-7 months. It has now been 12...going on 13.....
It. Is. Time.
Time to get our Caleb home. Time for all these kiddos to come home.

And I promise, I will stop playing with knives :)


Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Officially Been 1 Year.

It has officially been 1 whole year since we first opened that blessed file and saw our son's face for the first time. One year. One entire, long, crazy, world turned upside down, hope filled, 365 day year.
And we are still waiting.

When we accepted Caleb's referral we were told we would possibly travel in the summer of 2013.....and then in Dec of 2013....and now....sometime in 2014. We are on the longer side of the 'average' wait time. (which has now unfortunately lengthened to 10 months) 

The good news is that a friend who is on our same timeline just received First Approval! Hooray! That means there is movement and the boards are starting to function again!! We received a request from DSDW (social workers in Thailand) for additional paper work (it was left out of our home study update...). While I will admit that I was extremely bummed, angry almost that our file wasn't considered for approval as well (bc of paperwork), I am choosing to hold onto hope. Hope that they are reviewing our file. Hope that our time will come. Hope in the Lord who has this entire process, from beginning to end, in His hand.

Now don't read that and assume that all is sunshine and roses throughout this time. I am struggling. There is often at least one day a week, if not more that I find myself insanely sorrowful, depressed almost over this arduous 'wait'. That manifests itself in many different forms - often to my poor unsuspecting family!

And while I know that God is sovereign and in control - His timing is perfect! if one more sweet, kind person gives me that cookie-cutter "Christian-ese" response, I just might scream! Absolutely it is truth, and we all need to be reminded of the truth. But for crying out loud, just tell me you will be praying for favor with the boards and for peace in the wait. No pep talk please! Those who know me well will know when a pep talk is needed. Otherwise, just give a hug and pass the chocolate.
(Okay, thank you for letting me vent! I love you all!)

So here is my pep talk :)
I was just re-reading this blog post today and wanted to share a snippet with you.

"there is so much learning in the waiting.
We learn patience and long-suffering and tolerance when we wait. We learn forgiveness and self-awareness and we learn how to slow down. When we wait it is one more example that life is a journey to be walked through not a destination to be won.
Waiting makes us mature and age well, I believe.
So next time we are forced to wait, for a child, for an ever-late husband, for a project or a venture to be born into existence, maybe we can rest in the waiting, knowing that it’s making us ready for the next thing.
That is the grace in life: that even in the long night before the morning, there is goodness even there." (source)


So as each day passes I am choosing joy. Choosing to believe that there is goodness in the process. Choosing to trust that God, who knit all things together, is weaving together a beautiful tapestry for His glory.

Honestly people?
It's getting hard.

But God is good.
And I will choose to bring Him praise.


(We sang this song in church today. Love it! It was near and dear to me during a particularly painful season of life. And it is near and dear today as well. )