Good News/Bad News

Wow - a week goes by quickly, doesn't it? :) Happy Friday!

ADOPTION UPDATE: We had good news and bad news in the last 7 days. The good news is that we're on our way to total approval by Costa Rica for adoption, with approvals received this week from the in-country social worker and psychologist (that's right - we're NOT crazy!). ;) 

The bad news isn't really bad, just a little hiccup with the revisions on our U.S. Immigration paperwork, but we're back on track now and waiting for that to be finalized so we can send them to the adoption agency to be apostilled and then sent on to Costa Rica. We *think* the next step from there is final approval, and then an official match (it feels like we've already had that for several months now, since we know about the kids!), and then the kids are finally told that we exist. It's getting real!

And speaking of REAL...

The last month has been tough. 
I've mentioned before that Peter and I are both planners (and maybe a little "Type A"), so the inability to plan (to secure a rental in country, checking ticket prices, not even knowing dates that we'll be gone) has been wearing us down. Add to that a lot of changes in our life (outside of the adoption), financial pressures, and the possibility of planning a big (for us) fundraiser, and we've both lost our cool a few times. 

The good news is that God is faithful. He's been showing us that just because *we* can't see the bigger picture, doesn't mean *He* has stopped writing it. :) As different plans have fallen through, He's provided clarity that a better plan is forming. As worries about finances surface, He reminds one (or both) of us that we don't need to worry about tomorrow - we just need to be faithful stewards today. Whether it's slowdowns at work or feeling pressure to finish *all the projects* before we leave, God has been using each event to remind us that HE is in control, and this is HIS story. So much to learn, so grateful for the opportunity. 

* Pray that we would keep our eyes on Jesus at all times.
* Pray that the finances would come in when we need them.
* Pray for wisdom as we work with friends to plan a fundraiser.
* Pray for our kids as we get closer to the relationship being two-sided. :)  


Don't Forget The Book!

ADOPTION UPDATE: We're still in a holding pattern... nothing major to report. We did receive a notification this week that USCIS had received our paperwork for the i800-A revision, and had forwarded it to the proper department for processing. We should hear something in another week or two.

*PRAYER: Pray for our kids, that during this time of waiting (when they still don't know we exist) God would be preparing them for life with us, and for this massive transition they are about to face. Pray for us, that we would have patience when we need it, persistence when required, and peace at all times. 

FINANCIAL UPDATE: We're just $694 from hitting $11,000! Would you consider sharing our link again to help spread the word? Although the actual date for travel is still fluid (based on approvals and paperwork), we know it will happen this summer, and the cost of that is still a concern for us.

*PRAYER: Pray for our peace of mind, that God will continue to provide what we need, when we need it, and that through this experience, He would be glorified, and we would grow in our walk with Him.

FUNDRAISER IDEAS UPDATE: Last week we proposed a possible walk/run/bike event on one of our local trails, and several friends have been providing ideas for how we can get started with that. For two introverts, this isn't exactly our cup of tea, but we think it has more potential than anything else we've looked at, so we're pursuing it now and will see what comes of it. 

*PRAYER: Pray that we would have wisdom in what to pursue and that our cause would be favorably received by those we need to talk to about this possibility. Pray that if this walk comes about, it would honor and glorify God and this story He is writing.

REMINDER: Tell your friends about Little Brother Stories (did you know you can follow our page on Facebook? Search for "Little Brother Stories" and give us a like!), and remind them that all of our proceeds from the book sales go towards the adoption expenses. Available on Amazon: http://bit.ly/LittleBrotherBook.

*PRAYER: If you purchase the book to read to your kids or grandkids, tell them about the "real life" little brother - and his 4 sisters - that will receive a family. And as a family - please pray for ours.


Half-Way There!

$10,281 raised to date. We're on the "downhill" slide to our $20,000 goal - amazing! As I told a donor last week - saying "thank you" seems shallow, so we trust that you're giving because you feel led by the Lord to help, or because you want to be a part of our kids lives - not because of anything we are doing. It's not about us - it has never been about us. We're just a tool for God to use, just as so many of you have been a pipe to channel His resources into this journey. So thank you - from the bottom of our hearts - for being a part of this story.

HONEST ADOPTION UPDATE: We're still waiting. In a moment of unguarded frustration this week, I told my co-workers that I think it's time for me to wear a sign around my neck that says, "No change. No update. Nothing to report. Please stop asking - when we know, we'll share." Thankfully they were able to laugh and empathize with me, allowing me to vent and then move on. :) 

As introverts - and naturally private people - the attention and interest can become overwhelming. I'm sure we're not the only ones who have felt that way - introverts or not - while waiting on something to happen (a house to close, a move, a new job), so some of you reading this can probably understand where we're coming from. 

In my head, I know those asking do mean well and are genuinely interested, but it's also why we waited three years before we told people outside of our immediate circle. We knew - before we ever started - that it would be a long road. We didn't feel up to facing 3 years of questions, 3 years of saying, "Nope, nothing new. Still working through the process." And despite posting weekly updates now, the questions still come and they always will - it's something we have to learn how to handle with grace. :) 

Of course... there's also the possibility that God knows we need more practice in dealing with a lot of repetitive questions - we are getting 5 young children. ;) 

Bottom Line Update: adoptions take time and patience and grace. One day at a time. #iamthankful


Help From Friends

Wow. We're just $969 away from the half-way point. The donations that came in during the last 7 days have left us speechless. The people that God has moved to give towards our adoption are - once again - not people that we ever would have reached out to if it had been up to us because it would have felt like a stretch. But it's not a stretch to God, it's an example of the Body of Christ working together, and that's really exciting to be a part of. Thank you for joining our journey!

Nothing new to report. I wish there was, but we're still in the holding pattern. We do know that our (revised) paperwork is with USCIS now, so hopefully we'll get our approval for 5 (from the U.S. government) within the next week or two. Still in a holding pattern for approval from Costa Rica, so the update this week is - there is no update. We're just waiting. :) 

If you want to do something (non-financial), please PRAY for our kids. They still don't know we exist (they won't be told until all the paperwork is official and we're stamped for approval by everyone involved), but so many people know about them, and so we ask that you use this time of waiting to pray for them. 

  • Pray that God would begin preparing them for this huge life transition - language, culture, country, family.
  • Pray that He would put Christians in their lives to show them the love of Jesus.
  • Pray that their hearts would be open for learning how to trust us and accept our love.
I took an informal poll on Facebook to see what - if anything - people would be interested in buying to support the adoption fund. The outcome of that was two-fold. 

  1. The overwhelming majority of the folks who responded indicated that they felt the same way we did - if they're going to donate, they'd rather just donate outright so that most of the money went to us rather than a t-shirt company. (FYI: YouCaring also takes a percentage out of each donation to pay for running the site and handling the payments and donation receipts, but it's a tiny amount compared to paying $20 for a t-shirt and the company keeping $15 while we get $5). Several folks also mentioned that they really didn't need another bag or t-shirt, although they loved the design our friend created.
  2. Another friend - someone that Peter grew up with in Peru - reached out to let us know that he runs a print shop and would be happy to work with us to get the amount down so we got more from each shirt or bag printed. We're still considering this option as it would be pre-sales (so we'd handle payment/shipping), and then we'd let him know how many we would need. 
BOTTOM LINE: It looks like we might hold on printing for sales, and instead use the designs our friend created to make thank you cards or a small token of appreciation for the people who have donated - so don't worry, it will still be put to good use! :)

One of the reasons we're hesitant to go down another sales path is because we already have anitem for sale that we're excited about. Most of you know that in 2010, we published a children's bookthat Peter originally wrote when he was in high school. Feedback from the parents - and grandparents - of small children is that the kids love it. We resurrected our promotion of "Mashed Potatoes: A Little Brother Story" this year in the hopes of bringing in a bit of income to put towards the adoption. And now an online friend has picked up the theme and run with it on her blog.

Some of you may know about or follow the Life as MOM blog, or you may have purchased one of the cookbooks that Jessica wrote (I've recommended them highly!). This week, Jessica (a mom of 6 - so she knows what we're headed into!) used the platform of her blog to talk about our book, and our adoption, and to offer to donate for each book or Kindle sold through her unique links. It was a total surprise to us, and we are so honored by her gift of support. PLEASE check out her blog post about it (http://lifeasmom.com/mashed-potatoes-book-adoption-fundraiser/), and share it with your friends. Not only will we receive whatever she donates from the sales, but we'll also receive our portion of the book sales. Thank you, Jessica!


April Fools

This is no April Fool's joke - while looking into t-shirt fundraising options this week (after receiving a BEAUTIFUL, personalized image from a talented friend), we've both been reminded of how much we loathe admitting we need anything, especially money. And even though every adoption agency and web forum out there says, "fundraise with t-shirts, garage sales, and auctions," while comparing sites, I sat at my computer thinking: "How low have we sunk?!" Give to our fund. Buy our book. Hire Carrie to edit. And now... buy a t-shirt?! I feel myself becoming THAT friend on Facebook - the one always asking for something. Not cool.

As two, very independent introverts, fund-raising was one of the worst parts of our missionary years, and the thing we came home saying, "we'll never do that again." And yet, here we are... with a YouCaring page, looking at t-shirt options. After all those years of standing firmly on the base of, "If you're going to adopt, then you need to budget appropriately!" - how in the world did we end up here?

I have a story to tell you. And (unlike my usual stories) I'll try to keep it short. :) 

In December of 2014, we found ourselves sitting in our car while I sobbed (you can't choose when conviction comes!). Once again, I knew (very clearly) what God was asking me to do, but I was digging in my heels. "No, Lord. I don't want to let people in on this story - they'll ask questions and be nosy and want details, and I don't want to deal with that. [See Above: Introvert] I don't want to ask for anything. WE can do this. WE don't need other people. We are lone rangers, riding along with You -we don't need a team." 

As Peter and I sat there and talked, the conviction that we were being selfish with this story - that really wasn't ours, it was God's - began to flow out of both of us. The idea that God wanted to use this story to encourage other people, and that maybe that even included sharing financial needs, started to take root. As you might have noticed by now, we're a little slow to acquiesce at times... but on February 1, 2016, we finally gave in. 

It's been 2 months since we first decided to open this part of our lives to the world (after more than 4 years of keeping it to ourselves and a small circle of others), and in the last 2 months, you have added $7,211 to our fund, and an incalculable amount of support and encouragement with your notes, emails, and messages of encouragement. We have been both surprised at the response (that people think it's as exciting as we do), and honored that it has been deemed worthy of your hard-earned dollars. 

As of April 1, 2016, we are within $2,800 of our half-way point ($10,000), and have 2 months left before our earliest potential travel month (June). God knows our needs - He knows them better than we do - and He will provide (through our jobs, through our thrift, and through the support of others)as we need it

It's been stretching, it's been humbling, and it's been exciting. Thanks for joining us on His journey. 
P.S. Stay tuned... due to the request of some of our friends, t-shirts, bookmarks, tote bags, or something else will soon be coming to a Facebook page near you. :)