Saturday, June 30, 2012

Well, Oprah, let me tell you my life story.

Holy cow, I knew there was a lot of paperwork, but I simply underestimated the sheer volume of it all! Documents upon documents, fingerprinting, criminal background checks... I understand why they call this period the paper chase.

Part of the paper chase is completing the home study, which can take a couple of months, depending on the visits and of course, the paperwork. And part of the home study consists of writing your autobiography.

Have you ever written your life story? Ever wondered how you got to this point in your life? Ever wondered about how your events led up to this moment? I'm living through that now, and there are nice parts to the story, and not-so-nice parts. Writing my autobiography for someone to read who I don't even know feels like going onto a talk show and telling strangers all the details to what makes me, me. The good, the bad and the ugly. It's painful, yet therapeutic.

I love this quote:

I don't know who wrote it, but I saw it on Pinterest and thought, "Man, what a great reminder for me, especially as I write my autobiography."

As I read through my history, there are most definitely some points in my life where I could have gotten stuck on a page. And I won't lie to you. Sometimes I have. And I'm sure going forward I will. But if I get stuck on a page, I might miss out on something completely amazing that God has planned for me. I want to keep moving forward, because as I am reminded:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

We all have crazy lives, in some form or fashion. But isn't it exciting to think that God has a plan for us and that we get to live it out? All we need to do is follow it, and not get hung up on a page.

And on that note, I guess it's time for me to finish up that autobiography and move on to the next document.

With love,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Much love to Ethiopia

I have to keep this post short, because my table is covered with papers I'm working through for our dossier and home study. But I saw this video tonight and I simply had to re-post it.

As for me, I am happy to deal with paper cuts and getting documents notarized and writing narratives and having strangers look at every personal detail of my life. Because you see, it's worth it in the end.

Much love,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Walking in Obedience...well, trying

As I sat in front of the computer, attempting to come up with a name for this blog, nothing came, other than some obvious ones (and I know they're obvious, because they're already taken). So I continued to stew, frustrated that I couldn't come up with an amazing site name. I write, a lot, at my job, so why couldn't I do something as simple as this?

And so I decided to keep it simple, and state what is was we're trying to do: walk in obedience.

I feel like I should put a big disclaimer on the home page though. "We're really not obedient people though. In fact, I know for a fact that I'm disobedient every single day!"

Because you see, I'm a sinner. I wake up in the morning, chat with God as I get ready for work, ask Him to give me the chance to be positive in someone else's life, and it never fails. At some point during the day, I screw up. Sometimes, I screw up before I even walk out the door. Whether it's losing my patience with my daughters, snapping at someone at work, or groaning in frustration that my husband left his shoes in the hallway for me to trip over (again!), I am reminded of how far from perfect I really am.

I am so incredibly grateful to have a God who is patient and kind, who gives me mercy and grace when I most need it, who knows my shortcomings and loves me anyway.

What this blog really should be named is "attempting to walk in obedience." Because I do attempt it. Every single day. And I will continue to do so for the rest of my life here on Earth.

God gives us one precious life - what are you going to do with yours?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Diving In

What a busy week this has been! First and foremost, I can't thank everyone enough for the support we've received. The kind words through phone calls and email give me such encouragement as we move forward in this process.

That said, we made our first large payment to the agency, which will soon follow by another large chunk of money for the homestudy. The hubby and I sat down the other night to talk through some of the financing because as I'm sure you know, adoption is expensive. Sometimes it makes my heart race just thinking about it.
So knowing we had these two back-to-back payments, I started thinking. "We need to start consigning the girls' baby clothes, we need to work harder on cutting down expenses..." blah blah blah.

And last night? Well, last night stopped me in my tracks.

Drew came home from work with fabulous news. He was getting an extra paycheck as a thank you for the countless hours he's logged over the last 8 months. And the amount? Almost exactly what we need to cover the first agency payment and homestudy cost.

[deep breaths]

[more deep breaths]

Really God? Really? How awesome are You? Because we don't deserve it. We don't always make the best decisions. We're such sinners. And yet...

He blessed us. He held our hands and said, "I love you. You have made the right decision. And I'm going to completely freak you out by slapping a check in your bank account for exactly what you need." (Okay, I don't believe God talks like that verbatim, but hey, it's my story!)

I'll tell you this. I know there will be moments I get discouraged by this whole process. I'll have times where the waiting kills me. And when our son finally comes home, I'm sure I'll wonder sometimes if I was completely crazy.

But then I'll remember times like this. And you know what? God may not give us a check like that again. Goodness knows, we are going to work hard to pull together the rest of this money. But I so love moments where God calms my heart and reminds me that He and He alone is in control. All I have to do is follow Him.

And my devotional for this morning? It was a story about adoption. Because you know, God likes to work in funny ways like that.

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" John 14:6

Dear Lord, I'm taking a deep breath and diving into Your way. Lord, help me please as I put my trust in You.

And in honor of diving in, I can't help but listen to this song and smile:

Humbled, once again,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Faith in Timing

As we've told friends and family, one of the main questions we get is, "So when do you hope to bring your son home?"

Great question. We don't know.

Only kidding. Well, a little bit.

Right now we are waiting to be assigned a social worker so we can begin the home study and dossier process (often called the paper chase). That will take a few months and once everything is submitted and approved by the U.S. government, it is submitted to Ethiopia. And then we begin the veeeerrry long waiting process. The waiting process typically takes 18-24 months, but that is an ever-changing target and I wouldn't be surprised if it increased.

Once we receive our referral, we have to travel to Ethiopia twice. The first trip is our court date, and the second is when we'll travel to finally bring our son home. That whole period could be as little as a few months, or as long as 10.

So overall, we're estimating around 3 years from now. Yes, that's quite a bit of time to wait, but Drew and I remind ourselves that we are on God's timing, which is always perfect, not ours.

For those who know me well, you know I'm not a patient person. Prayers for patience are greatly appreciated!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Boy, Oh Boy!

Wow, do we have some news for you! In case you can't tell by the title of this blog, our family has made the exciting decision to pursue adoption.

"What's that?" you say. "How great, but....why? You have two children and there weren't any major pregnancy/childbirth complications."

You're exactly right. We have been blessed with two healthy girls and we have loved every minute with them. And we look forward to many more fun times ahead. But God has been knocking on the door of our hearts for quite some time about following Him and being obedient to Him. We would push the adoption conversation to the back of our minds with excuses of busy schedules. Both of us work full-time jobs, our two very active girls keep our hands full, we love hanging out with our friends and going on trips. And on and on we would go with these excuses.

But then God started knocking a little louder, a little more persistently.

So we begin to pray. "God, is this really your will for us? We're not equipped to adopt. We can barely manage our schedule as it is. Maybe you're just saying we need to pray for orphans."

So we decided to pray for orphans. We picked out specific ones from Reece's Rainbow and poured our hearts out to God, praying they would find forever families.

And yet, it wasn't enough. Our eyes had been opened to the world of children without families simply needing someone to love on them. From one devotion to the next, through conversations with friends who had no idea what we were struggling with, to sermons preached, we finally decided to answer.

What a peace we have in our hearts, and we are so excited about what God has in store for our family!

We have a long road ahead of us - we feel God leading us to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia, so we are attempting to walk in obedience according to His will. We are working with America World Adoption to bring home our son and were officially accepted into the agency last week.

I've started this blog in the hopes of keeping friends and family up to date but more than anything, our family covets your prayers of support as we begin this process. It's only just the beginning and I know God is going to do great things through this.

It seems fitting that on this Father's Day, we especially remember to celebrate our Eternal Father, who is with us every step of the way. And we thank Him for continuing to humble us as we start this journey.

Courtney and Drew