Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Milestone For My "Baby"

Our sweet girl Delaney turned 13 today. Where did the time go? How did I become a parent to a teenager? It really feels kind of strange.

It seems it was just the blink of an eye ago when I was sitting in Urgent Care bawling my head off because I just found out I was pregnant with her. Our doctors told us it would be highly unlikely that we could ever conceive a child because we both have fertility issues. I had been on Clomid for sometime trying to get pregnant when Jeff's report came back that he also had some issues. We were told to give up and go home until we could schedule surgery for him. About a week later I ended up in Urgent Care because I thought I had one killer bladder infection...turns out the bladder infection was my sweet girl Delaney.

I could go on and on about Delaney and what an amazing person she is. She is compassionate and kind, goofy & lighthearted and loves the Lord. She is growing into an amazing young woman and I feel privileged to watch her grow and mature.

Happy Birthday Delaney!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where For Art Thou USCIS?

It's been one month since USCIS received our country change request. I realize in USCIS time that's not really long, but it still makes me nervous. It might be easier to be confident if it wasn't so darn difficult to get a hold of these people.

The toll free number is maddening. The online case search says my receipt number is not valid (this is the receipt number that is printed on my correspondence from them, mind you). I did manage to get an e-mail address, but it says you should only use it if it is an emergency. I have to wonder if I chose to use it for a non-emergency, would my case get moved to the bottom of the pile as punishment for my inability to comply?

Anyway, not that it is currently an urgent matter, but now that my dossier is off my plate it would just be good to have that updated I-171H in my hot little hands. It would also cut down on the incessant stalking of my mailbox every day between noon & 1...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bye Bye Dossier

I got Jeff's employment letter today and was happy, no - thrilled, to overnight the dossier to our agency in Washington. I also had the opportunity to talk with the nice lady at the Post Office about our family and adoption. Good stuff!

My most favorite part of our Post Office excursion was Delaney. I had gone in and while standing in line I realized that I hadn't written out the check to pay our country fee (I suspect they may want that). I went back out to the van and Delaney asked how much money I had to send. When I showed her the written out check her eyes got big as saucers and she let out a little gasp. She looked at me at said, "Did you see that reaction? That's what you call the dossier flinch." I started laughing hysterically. I love my girls sense of humor.

Let the "official" waiting begin!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Life on Fast Forward

It seems there is SO MUCH going on these days! In honor of the Livesay family I have decided to do a bullet point post:
  • We rescheduled our brat fry fundraiser that was supposed to be held today. The weather forecast was miserable with storms/rain/cold so we decided to forgo the torture and trust God that another day will work out better.

  • We spent the afternoon pricing stuff for our adoption garage sale fundraiser. When Jeff offered to let me use his price gun I was in pricing heaven! Just set the dial and click away. It was almost fun to see how fast I could price stuff (yes, I realize that is quite pathetic to say out loud). It also brought back a lot of memories going through the clothes that the kids used to wear.

  • Here's a quick shout out to our good friends the Streckert family! They are an amazing bunch so we just have to say, "hey". Check your calendar guys and let us know when you can come over for dinner.

  • There has been much talk about selling our home. The warehouse where Jeff works out of is relocating and it would be nice to be closer to where the new one is being built. Don't really relish the idea of the act of moving, but having a different house is very appealing. Our kitchen is small and drives me crazy on a daily basis with the lack of cupboard/counter space. Delaney's bedroom is also small and the girls will be sharing. We've also had lots of conversations and checking around for what to do about beds. Her room is too small for a double bed, but we really don't want bunk beds either. We thought a trundle bed would be nice for space, but we don't want Mercy to feel like a second class citizen having her bed pull out from underneath. I have a feeling we'll end up with bunks.

  • We've tentatively been van shopping. Our van is burning oil like crazy, the driver's side window doesn't roll down, the passenger side mirror is broken off, rust spots are in the beginning stages and we've recently learned the air conditioning is no longer working. Sigh. We really don't want a car payment, so we're praying about what direction to take with this. It's amazing how easy it is to get caught up in the idea of owning a new vehicle. I feel like we need to keep the spending to a minimum and not get trapped by a fancy vehicle. When I think about how I can stop, take a step back and recognize that, I thank God for the work He has done in me. It used to be fairly easy for us to get caught up in worldly trappings. We've made a lot of progress in determining needs vs. wants. Praise the Lord!

  • I was planning to send in our dossier on Friday and then realized I didn't have Jeff's employment letter. That's the only piece of paper I'm waiting on and I'm hoping it arrives tomorrow so I can overnight the whole thing to our agency. Since God already has her homecoming day figured out a few days wait won't matter anyway.

  • Lots going on with the school year wrapping up and dance recital coming. I will surely be glad when summer break is here and life's pace slows down.

I pray you all have a blessed week!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What a Difference!

On the left measuring at a sturdy 3" is my Haiti dossier. On the right measuring in at a whopping 3/16" is my entire Ghana dossier. I kid you not - that's the whole thing. Why does this seem like it should be much more painful?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What We Were Expecting

We were expecting that adopting from Ghana was a crazy idea because most of the money was due up front...God knew differently.

We were expecting that maybe, just maybe, several months from now we would have enough to pay the first fee of $4,200...God knew differently.

We were expecting that we would have to use a big chunk of our tax refund to complete the first fee...God knew differently.

To date we have paid almost $8,000 in expenses. We now also have almost $5,000 available to pay the next fee of $6,000. That leaves only $1,000 plus travel expenses (which we think will be around $5,000).

Once again I am blown away by God. Blown away that a bank account that said $0 has turned into this. If we had waited until we had the money to adopt we honestly probably would have never started. We stepped out in faith, and this faith has taken us to amazing places. To God be the glory!
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hands on History

Welcome to Hands on History where we learned about the pioneers.


Grinding corn (notice the face - it was hard work)

Pumping water

Churning butter

Carrying water

Laundry time

A corn planter


At the desk with his chalkboard
In the Saddle


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Piece of My Heart is in Ghana

I was so excited to get a new picture of the Divine Miss M today with the gift box we sent her. No sooner did I get the picture, cried (ok, bawled like a baby), and composed myself then I got to talk to her. She was very excited and told me she thought her new dress was beautiful. Of course I told her it wasn't nearly as beautiful as she was. Whenever I tell her something like that she always says, "Thank you mummy. God bless you."

I am finding myself falling more and more head over heels for her. My heart skips a beat when I see her picture or hear her voice. My prayer is that the Lord will continue to bind our hearts together during this time of waiting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Mr. B wanted me to take pictures of him this morning doing all of his favorite outside things:
Riding his tractor

Swinging on his tummy



Monday, April 13, 2009

All Good Things Must Come To An End...

Spring break is over and I am bummed about that. It was a divine week and makes me long for summer break. Thankfully I know it is just around the corner. We all loved the relaxed pace of no school. I think my kids are pretty darn terrific and love to have them around!

I started to really feel a sense of urgency regarding the adoption last week after chatting with my new friend Dawne. Her dossier got to Ghana mid-February and she passed court last week. That's less than two months to a full adoption decree. Now all she has to do is file her I-600 and wait for visa/passport. That timeline seems absolutely impossibly crazy to me. Jeff has his medical this week which means we are just about done with our paperwork. We are hoping our dossier will get to Ghana by the first part of May which means by June we could have the adoption finalized and just be waiting for approval to travel. Did I mention I'm having a hard time wrapping my Haiti adoption mindset around that idea?

Of course upon the realization that June is quickly approaching I went into nesting mode. Friday night I started cleaning and organizing the basement. Then of course I decided I'd always wanted to paint the hideous paneling. Well then of course I had to paint the stairs. And clean some closets. And started getting ready for a garage sale. I was seriously like a mad woman and my muscles are screaming at me today. In between all that I also got a haircut, went to a birthday party and celebrated Easter.

Full blown nesting...bring on the crazy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Thankless Job

Last week my husband called me and shared about something that had happened during his work day. It all boiled down to the fact that he was irritated about sometimes having a thankless job.

I told him I knew all about that and understood how frustrating it was to not be thanked. That every day I completed mostly thankless tasks like washing clothes, folding clothes, making beds, loading and unloading the dishwasher, scrubbing the toilet, and countless other "little" things.

As you can imagine, that conversation ended abruptly.

The more I thought about our exchange I was convicted by the fact that every day I am the worst kind of offender. Sure I thank God for the obvious kind of stuff, but do I thank Him for the little things? You know, the things I take for granted. How about the trials or the things that are just there, but are none the less a blessing showered lavishly upon me? The answer is no, not often enough. The Bible doesn't tell me I should thank Him when he comes through on the big requests, but in everything give thanks.


Wow! Clearly I have a lot of work to do. Thank you Lord for continuing to refine me. Help me to be a thankful daughter and appreciate everything that comes from You.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, April 2, 2009

God is Moving

When we were first considering a Ghana adoption I called to inquire about the fees and when they would be due. Since the process currently goes so quickly, even though they were required in two installments they would pretty much be needed on the front end. Logic told us there was no way that could happen. Logic told us it would take MONTHS before we could even consider starting.

Being that we're not very logical people, after much prayer we decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it. We were in this 100%. We were going to take our $2,400 and BELIEVE that it would be multiplied.

In the last few weeks God has really been moving on our behalf.

Application Fee...$125...PAID!
Homestudy Update...$500...PAID!
Agency Fee...$4,200...PAID!

We were blessed with $800 in donations just this past week, which means we have $800 towards our last fee of $6,000. We will also be getting our tax refund soon which will cover another good chunk and we are praying that we will be awarded a grant through Shaohannah's Hope. We will continue to fundraise for our travel expenses and already have brat frys planned for April, May & June along with a garage sale.

When we began this process I clearly felt God was telling me we would not have to incur any debt to do this adoption. This is HIS adoption, not ours. I can feel Him moving and completely trust in this promise. I am humbled and God be the glory!

Who compares with you among gods, O God?
Who compares with you in power, in holy majesty,
In awesome praises, wonder-working God?
Exodus 15:11 (The Message)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meet Shelda

I'd like to introduce you to Shelda, the little girl we just began sponsoring through Compassion International. Shelda is 8 years old and lives in a rural area of Haiti with her mother, father, and three siblings. Shelda was considered high risk because she had been waiting for more than six months for a sponsor!

I'd had the feeling for some time now that we were meant to sponsor a child, but our own financial need for the adoption kept preventing me from doing it. When the tug to do it finally got so strong that it was undeniable I decided to take the plunge. Hey, I can cut corners somewhere to come up with the tax deductible $32 a month to give this sweet girl new opportunities to learn and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. And as a friend recently reminded me - it's all God's money anyway.

I'd love to hear if you are involved with any child sponsorship ministry and about your sponsored child. If you don't currently sponsor a child please take time to pray and see if you are being called to.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9