The LONG Update

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.Philippians 1:3 (NLT)

HumbledBlessedRemindedGrateful. Whether it's friends ordering books through an online party (which, in turn, gives us free credit for school books), or people buying gifts for our kids (from our Usborne Wish List or Amazon registry), or a check showing up in our mailbox on the very week we book our housing for an exact amount (more on that below), with each event, I find myself feel more and more at a loss for words. If you know me, you know that's not usually a problem (I'm an introvert, but I'm also a Graham, and we're known for our ability to TALK. [or WRITE] A LOT.). But good golly... since February 1st (when we finally told our story to the wider world), Peter and I have been rendered speechless by the generosity of our friends, family, and even online-only acquaintances. 

We are HUMBLED... that you would choose to walk with us in a tangible way.
We are BLESSED... that God has provided needs & wants in ways we could not have imagined.
We are REMINDED... to hold loosely to what He gives us, ready to pass it on when He nudges.
We are GRATEFUL... for the opportunity to see God's hand writing this story, and using those around us.

WE'VE BOOKED A PLACE TO STAY IN COSTA RICA! After some searching, more outreach, and a whole lot of prayer, we've got a place to live while we're in Costa Rica. I'll get to the good stuff, but you need some background first. 

God has been reminding us (again!) that this is HIS story, not ours. Peter and I are both planners by nature. We had a PLAN for our life (and it was a good one)... but God walked in and totally disrupted OUR plan, substituting one that we never would have considered, but which has broken and taught us more than OUR plan ever would have. We had a PLAN for how we were going to pay for the adoption (that was working)... but God came in again and reminded us that the cattle on a thousand hills belongs to HIM, and HE is the one providing for this story (through our jobs - from Him, but also through the generosity of friends, family, and strangers). We had a PLAN for how many children (and what sex) we were going to take... I'm pretty sure God had to either chuckle or shake His head at our stubbornness to let go, and now we have "Little Brother" in the fold. And this week, God took OUR plan for housing and turned it upside down, providing something far better than what we could have imagined. To GOD be the glory, great things HE hath done!

When we found out about our kids in late January, Peter started looking for housing in San Jose. He found a house on the outskirts of town, big yard, nice kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms - and best of all, within the budget. He contacted the owner and explained the situation to him (coming to adopt, no certain dates yet, etc.), and we marked that one as "done" on our list. No prayer needed - we had it handled! ;) Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago... the lawyer in country decided she wanted to go look at the house in person, and her report on the property told us a few things that we didn't know (like the owner would be in the guest cottage next door - located approximately 4-5 feet from the house where we'd be living). Meh. It would work, but it probably wasn't ideal.

As we prepared to search again, we realized that we needed to seek GOD'S plan for housing, rather than ours. {Yes, we ARE slow to learn!} This time we prayed and asked God to make HIS will clear, to direct us to the right house for our kids and our needs, and to clearly open and close doors as we made decisions. Within 24 hours, Peter found a second house on the northern side of San Jose that claimed to sleep 7, and I found a 3 bedroom condo on the south western side of the city. [Insert theme from "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" HERE

Peter started emailing with the owner of the house he found, while I was connecting with the firm that managed the 7th floor condo. The condo was more than double the price of the original house, but it was situated on a compound that offered a nice playground, 4 swimming pools, a walking/running track/path, and a park with a duck pond, plus 24-hour security and parking. I decided it wouldn't hurt to write and explain the situation and see if they could do any discounts. 

Meanwhile, Peter's emails had netted him a house that was managed by an American who had lived in Costa Rica for over 20 years - a fountain of genuinely helpful information - at $1000 less than the original house we were looking at, and $4700 less than the 7th floor condo. Our initial reaction was that the decision was a no-brainer. My condo was a budget buster, his house was easy on the budget. However, we kept praying and decided we'd wait to hear back from the condo owners to see what they might be able to offer.

The initial response from the condo folks was encouraging. They loved what we were doing and would really like to try to make it work. And so we waited. The next day we received a long email from them again, and this time the contact said she'd found my Twitter account (something I hadn't linked to in our correspondence), and she loved that I was so open about my faith in my Twitter bio. Despite having found a job because of Twitter, and the various connections I've made online in the last few years, I'm still amazed at how God can use something as "silly" as social media, for His glory. 

After a number of emails our hold ups on the condo were what we could afford to pay that was also fair for them (this is how they make a living after all), and the fact that it was on the 7th floor with a balcony. I decided to tackle the 7th floor issue first, and (no surprise - it's God's story), they immediately wrote back to inform us that the also owned a second condo (a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom) on the ground floor with a private outdoor patio and grill. The bad news was that it was booked for some of the time we would need it, but the good news was that the other renters were willing to be moved up to the 7th floor so we could have the ground-level apartment. Well, that was one item off the list!

We continued to pray about both locations, and despite our initial reaction to the house over the condo, the more we learned about the second house (like the fact that it really only slept 6, and one kid would have to sleep in a recliner for 6-8 weeks), the more we felt like God was directing us towards the condo (which, despite being just 2 bedrooms, really did have room to sleep 7 on something that resembled a bed). But budget wise, it just didn't fit. No matter how many pools or playgrounds it offered, we couldn't justify the cost. 

After talking it over, I told Peter what I thought we could afford, and he responded with a number that was $500 higher than mine, and $2700 less than the advertised price. After a nudge from God, we also decided that I should offer my services as a writer/editor to them as a way to barter some of the difference. We sent our offer to the condo folks and then waited. In less than 24 hours, we had an enthusiastic "APPROVED" response, and they took me up on my offer to help with updating their website copy. Win-Win! :) They're excited to be a part of this story God is writing, and we're excited to have a space with so many free options for the kids to run and play and expend energy. 

As an aside: less that 2 hours after receiving confirmation that our condo offer was approved, the owner of the second house wrote to say that he had an American family of 4 who wanted to reserve the house for almost the same amount of time during the same period of time - so even though we had to turn him down, he wasn't out anything. I love that. :) 

And so on Tuesday morning of this week, that was that... or so we thought. All week I've been little bit bothered about that $500 amount that Peter felt like we should add to my original offer amount, but since God had made it so clear that this was the right place for us, and the owners confirmed it with their response that they believed God led us to them, I had to let go and trust that God would take care of the little details... like paying for it. ;) When the mail came yesterday I heard it drop in our box, but forgot to go check it. Last night about 10:30, Peter opened the mailbox and pulled out a personal card from some old family friends. When I opened it, a check fell out. Yep, you guessed it. For $500


  1. I am in tears reading your story. Family's journey is a little different than yours. We already had 3 children when God called us to adopt. Just like you, when we think we've got it all figured out, God reveals His much greater plan. We were waiting to be matched in the Haiti program. Yesterday said "yes" to 5 siblings from Costa Rica! We're still a little overwhelmed, but I know that our amazing God will guide our path. I'll be praying for your family as you welcome your children home.

    1. OUTSTANDING, Michael! So thankful to hear that 5 more children (and I believe I know the group you are accepting) have found a home. Praise the LORD! I met your wife on Facebook, and we're happy to pass along anything we might find out during our next 6+ weeks in San Jose that could help you guys. Hooray for God's adventures!! Keep in touch!


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