Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Humility


As I shared previously, we are the grateful recipients of a grant through Lifesong for Orphans. Actually, they are hosting the grant for the James Fund, so our grant is actually through Family Christian Stores.
We are so incredibly grateful for their willingness to help support us in our adoption process. They will match any funds we raise, up to $3000, before April 11, 2012.

Part of the stipulations of the grant was that we send out a support letter to Family and Friends. That is such a humble letter to write! Why is it that our pride so often stops us from asking for help? yet, we know that God asks us to be a part of the body of Christ and to share needs and burdens, so with that in mind, we composed a letter to send out asking for Prayers and *gulp* financial support.

This adoption cost around $25,000. *gulp* That is certainly money we do not have. But we are trusting that the Lord has lead us down this path, and we are trusting that He will provide the means.
So.....


I thought I would post the letter below for you all to see. It explains a few more details about our adoption, our decision to adopt and the fundraising process. So, if you have a moment, please continue reading :)


____________________________________________________________________


Dear Family and Friends,

“Father to the fatherless, … this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families…” Psalms 68:5,6

As some of you know, we have felt called and directed by God to adopt a “fatherless” child into our family. We are currently in the process of adopting a child from Thailand. We are expecting to be matched in March of 2013 and then travel to Thailand in the fall of that year to bring our child home. As a family, we have been praying specifically for the little boy or girl God has for us and are very excited to welcome another child into our family!

Did you know it is estimated less than 10% of all orphaned children are adopted into evangelical Christian families? According to current estimates, if only 10% more Christians in America would adopt, it would be equivalent to providing homes for all the orphans in Eastern Europe (1.5 million), Latin America (400,000) and the US foster care system (150,000).

Some of you are probably wondering what has prompted us to adopt. A primary reason is that we have felt so directed by God to adopt that we cannot respond with anything less than obedience to His calling. We also have a great desire to be a family to a child who is “fatherless”. God desires for orphans of all nations to be loved, cared for and adopted into families – ultimately so they can be adopted into His eternal family through Jesus Christ. We believe that adoption is at the very heart of the Gospel, as we ourselves are adopted into God’s family through our faith in Jesus Christ. It is our absolute greatest joy to be a part of the family of God! Here are just a few things that God has used to move our hearts towards adoption:

"Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." Isaiah 1:17

In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved" Ephesians:1-6

Even our children are excited to have a new brother or sister! They pray for them daily. Ben is specifically praying for a brother so he can share all of his cool toys and have bunk beds! They both have sensitive hearts and are saddened by the thought of a child not having a mommy and daddy. In fact, Nick and I were able to go on a mission trip recently and both children were sad when they realized we did not bring home their sibling! They were under the impression we were going to Thailand to bring home our child!

The biggest challenge for us is not opening our hearts and home to another child, but it is in finding the finances to make this happen. We estimate our total cost for adoption fees, document preparation, home study, airfare, travel, attorney fees, etc to be $25,000 - that is certainly money we do not have, but we know God is faithful and is leading us to trust Him. By God's grace we have been able to pay the first $6,700 through donations, a rummage sale fundraiser and personal funds.

Honestly, because of our pride, it's a little difficult to make our needs known to the Body of Christ around us, but we also know it is very Biblical to do so. We appreciate your friendship very much and would like to ask for your prayers and for you to consider helping us in our adoption. There are two ways you can help:

1. Prayer - Please pray that God will care for our child in Thailand until we are able to bring him home, that God will prepare Ben and Hannah, as well as ourselves, for the upcoming changes to our family and that God will give us wisdom, discernment and insight as we raise our children to know Jesus Christ.

2. Financial Support - Will you please consider making a tax-deductable donation to help us pay the remaining $18,300 in adoption expenses to bring our child home?

Family Christian Stores and The James Fund have partnered with Lifesong and have graciously given us a matching grant of $3,000 to help pay the "ransom" to bring our child home. The only ‘catch’ is that we must raise our matching funds by April 11, 2012.

If you would like to be a financial part of God bringing our child to join our forever family, you can send your tax-deductible gift between now and April 11, 2012 to the address below. (The fund will be open until we bring our child home, but we have till April 11 to raise the $3,000 needed for the matching grant to be awarded). Lifesong is a trusted organization administering the funds on our family's behalf, and will pay adoption expenses out of funds received.

1. Please make checks payable to: Lifesong. You may preference how the donation might be used by writing "preference Jackson #2546 adoption" in the memo section of your check.
(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor's suggested use)

2. Mail checks to:
            Lifesong for Orphans
            Attn: Jackson #2546 Adoption
            PO Box 40/202 N Ford Street
Gridley, IL 61744

- OR –

You can donate online via Paypal at: www.greatestjoyadoption.com
(Please note that Paypal does charge a 1.9-2.9% service fee and the actual amount received will be decreased by that much.)

Thank you for investing in the Kingdom through prayer and finances - It will be an investment with an eternal return! (Matt. 6:20) We will give you an update with pictures and details as we get them. You are welcome to follow along on our journey via our adoption blog at: www.greatestjoyadoption.com. Please pray this entire process will glorify God and fulfill His purposes!

In Christ,

Nick, Stephanie, Ben and Hannah


www.greatestjoyadoption.com

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fundraiser!!!


I know it might not be winter or even remotely cold in some parts of the country, but it still is here!!!
SO! In attempts to help raise money towards our adoption, I am selling some handmade scarves and bows.

Here is a sneak peek....

Please ignore the wrinkly sheet in the background....sorry about that! 
Hop on over to our fundraising page to find out more!


In other news,

You all have been patiently waiting for our “great is His faithfulness” news.

So here it is – We got awarded a grant!! 
WOOHOOOO!!!!!

You have no idea how excited we are!
Without the grant, we have approximately $18,000 to raise.
WITH the grant, we have $12,000 to raise.
That’s a huge difference!!

I will share more on that later, but if you are inclined, hop on over to our fundraising page and take a look around.
I hope to be adding a few more items, some more variety in the near future, so stay tuned.

(And as always, Feel free to donate even if you aren’t interested in any of the products ;) hee hee)

Thanks for your prayers and your support.

Blessings! 



Saturday, February 04, 2012

I-800 A Approval


We received a notice in the mail from the US goverment today. It read:
You have been approved to adopt one child from the following Convention country: Kingdom of Thailand. 
YAY!

It also contained a lot of other government speak, but bottom line is, we have approval from the US government, Department of Homeland Security, now we are just waiting for our file to reach the top of the stack in Thailand....