Friday, July 30, 2010

Eternal Gratitude

Our visas have been issued - all three of them!! We are eternally grateful to the anonymous guy there who has worked with us through this process. He was laughing along with Clint when they figured out that what we sent would work, and he told us excitedly to go get our kid!

Another thank you to the lady at fedex who has personally watched over all of the packages we have going back and forth as a result of their first mess up. She has been great! Now we are just praying that fedex gets the last package here in the morning.... 

I can't believe how hard satan has been working against us, but guess what...our God is bigger!!  :)

On another happy note, we all went to see Mary Poppins at the Kennedy Center with my mom last night. She had purchased these great tickets for all of us some time ago when we were planning on being here for a quick vacation. It just so happened that the timing worked out for us to go on this trip, and it was such a nice diversion for us in the midst of the craziness. What a great show!! We'll be packing the rest of the day, and then dinner with my whole family (yea, get to see Meaghan!) - all in all, a much better day than yesterday!

The Scene

We are staying hopeful that the consulate will approve all three of our visa applications today, and that fedex will not lose them as they return to us!

While we wait we are repacking everything and have completely taken over my mom's formerly beautiful place...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Visa Catastrophe

I strongly, strongly, strongly dislike fedex. Despite the fact that we tracked the package with our visa applications to the Consulate, and despite the fact that they said it had been received the next morning at 10:24am (on July 23), they did NOT in fact deliver it. We did not check with fedex in person before today because it had obviously gone through just fine. NOT!! Today we spoke with a real person and it had been misdelivered - a week ago - and was now sitting in a warehouse in NYC waiting until AUG 3 to be sent back to us as 'return to sender'. They, of course, could not explain how this could happen or why on earth they would not notify us. It has now been delivered to the Consulate but there isn't enough time to process our visas because they have a problem giving one to Matt since he has a different last name than I do...which would have been fine had it been delivered on time last week!!!! 

As it stands now we don't think we can get our visas until Saturday or Monday at the earliest - but here's the next catch - there aren't any other flights until Wednesday. It's getting really hard to think straight. :(

Last Minute Chaos

I can't believe that we are leaving for Kazakhstan tomorrow! Some of the time it feels like forever that we've been on this road, and then the rest of the time it's rushing past. The packing is mostly done - we still have to repack things once Clint makes it to DC, but that seems small now. The big thing we're trying  not to stress about is our visas - they aren't here yet - which means that we'll be waiting on a 10:30am delivery tomorrow. This wouldn't really be a big problem except that FedEx's are notoriously late here and we have to leave for the airport at noon. The other problem is that our passports are with our visas and we still don't have apostilled copies of them. We thought we did but the Sec of State's office in GA mailed them back to us NOT done because we didn't fill out the proper passport affidavit forms, and instead of calling us and letting us know they just overnighted them back to us. Now we have to scramble around today and figure out how to get those done in DC...assuming we don't need the actual passports to do this. The fun never ends!

Please pray  with us that our visas get here by the 10:30am guaranteed delivery time tomorrow!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gathering up our children

As we get ready to travel half-way around the globe to meet our child I often think of these verses in Isaiah...

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do  not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth. -Isaiah 43:5-6

It's just too cool!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Made in the USA

After several days of shopping for gifts made in the USA I have only one question -- do we even sell anything here that isn't made in China?? Okay, there are a few things made in India, but check your tags the next time you are out. I'm not kidding.

stuff, stuff, and more stuff

Visa application overnighted to the Kazakh Consulate in NY and received by them yesterday. Last expired documents (more HIV tests and GBI fingerprint clearances) overnighted to Sec of State to be apostilled. I hesitate to say this, but I believe that is the last of the major paperwork!! Still need to go through all of our documents and make sure we'll have the right stuff with us in country, and need to go get nice, new, crisp, un-blemished bills for all of our money (which we may have to do in DC).

The major plan for today is to print out a bunch of photos for our kiddo's little photo album (which we'll leave with him between trips), finish our shopping in Savannah (we still need TONS of stuff) and try to get some more gifts for the super important people who will be helping us in Almaty and Semey, and of course, find some time to start packing and cleaning the house. Yesterday we did get a lot done but satan was all over us. I think we were so busy starting early that our precious time with God got shoved out the window - big mistake. Today will be different!

On our quest for gifts yesterday we went to River Street and searched for something significant for all of the baby house caregivers - representative of Savannah/GA and of what these wonderful ladies mean to us. We finally found these cotton boll angels - grown and locally crafted in GA, and the significance of the angel thing is perfect! We had actually received one of these as a gift from my mom many years ago after she visited Savannah. The ones we have are much prettier than the above picture and we hope that the ladies will enjoy them! The only other things that we could think of were Savannah Bee products but we just aren't sure how well honey and bees wax products will travel. We'll probably stick a little angel in a gift bag with some other small item and call it done. Gift shopping for people you don't know is very difficult!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Test Post

Just testing to see if my posts by email are working since we'll probably have to work it this way from Kaz! Our baby Sam dog!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LOI and Going Private

Just wanted to let you know that we'll be going private tonight as we now have our LOI and we're going to Semey super fast!!!  If you have already asked for an invite I have you on the list and you'll get one tonight, but if you forgot, please comment here or send me an email with your email address.

Thanks guys -- and if you aren't following along I guess we'll see you on the other side! Sweet little boy, here we come!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the whole long (absolutely amazing!) story

We knew going into this adoption that God would have to do it for us - we were in no way prepared or qualified. It is in our weakness that we have His strength, and we have been blessed to see not just His strength but total, straight up God miracles and it is just too cool! None of this is happening because of anything we've done - it's just the opposite - we are loved in spite of ourselves and we really want you to see how awesome He is and how much He loves each one of us. I know this is long but it's really worth it - please, please read it!! :)

About a month ago we believed that our trip wouldn't be for months 6-8 months which gave us lots of time for our grant and loan applications to go through. Then at the beginning of July it sped up to two weeks ...... As it turned out Kazakhstan wanted us to travel right in the middle of the mission trip that Clint was leading, I was chaperoning and Matt was going on for the very first time. Not only did we not have the money but we really felt that God was calling us to be faithful and take our kids on the mission trip. Our students are like our own kids, very loved by us so we weren't bitter about it, but we were devastated about what it meant. If you turn down an LOI that's it, we would lose our child, the chance to work with Kaz and all of our money. We cried our hearts out for days but ultimately knew what we had to do. Either this was in God's hands or it wasn't. We said we couldn't go.

After several days we got our first miracle... a family that doesn't know us at all sent me a message that said they had been blessed by a surprise 'gift' when they were hurting for funds before their adoption trip, and they wanted to do the same for us. God had laid us on their hearts and they responded with faithfulness, generosity and obedience and I just can't imagine a greater gift than this. There will never be words enough to thank them!

A few days later, even though we now had the money, we still couldn't travel when we were requested. But then God stepped in again and suddenly Kazakhstan decided they still wanted to work with us - the whole thing was not over!! Due to some extenuating circumstances our little kiddo couldn't wait for us and we were crushed but amazingly enough God gave us enough peace about this to get through and ultimately we knew that He had our child for us if we could just hang in there. We are so indebted to our agency for working through this process with us!

Knowing all of this we left with our kids and headed to Chattanooga, TN to repair houses as part of World Changers - a great mission group for students. We had an awesome time but in the background there were some heavy hearts. On Wednesday we couldn't help but think that this was the day we could have met our son for the first time.

On Friday of last week we received we got an email from Andrea, our coordinator, and she said she needed to talk to us right away. Clint and I were working on different crews, at different locations. He got the message and played phone tag for what seemed like forever. To make a long story short, she told him that we had new travel dates - they wanted us really, really soon! Then she told him that that wasn't even the good news... through what could only be described as the hand of God we were travelling specifically to adopt our little one!!!!  Of course when Clint called me (three times) I had my hands in paint, washing out brushes, and couldn't answer. By the fourth call I was frantically drying my hands off trying to get to the phone, and when he told me the news all I could do was stand there in total shock and ask "what does that mean?". No way!!!!!!

God called us to be obedient and faithful even when something so precious was on the line, then He gave us the strength to do what He'd called us to, and then He rewarded that God-assisted obedience with the most amazing gift of all. I'll never be able to do this story justice but I had to try. We are so unworthy. I am praying that my retelling of it brings some much due glory to our Heavenly Father, and some faith and hope to everyone else!!

Whole long amazing God story to come soon...

...but for now suffice it to say that there has been such an amazing turn of events that we are still reeling from it all! I will share everything in the next post. In the meantime, our LOI is on it's way and we travel in a very short time. The travel prep craziness has begun in earnest and we are frantically trying to book airfare, finish up paperwork, pack, get our house ready for our house sitter, etc. Overwhelmed is such an understatement but I know that soon enough we'll be on our way and meeting our precious little one!

Off to be fingerprinted one more (last?!) time, and fedex some more documents! :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Matt's blog

If you noticed something uncharacteristically hip about that last blog post - 5 points for you! Kiddo #1 has a blog too and that was his post. Just so you know, he'll be posting about the adoption from a 12 year old's perspective. Might be worth checking out!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Changing the World.

Hey peoples!  Unfortunately this will be my last post for about a week. But the good news is that I'm gonna be in Chattanooga for World Changers (WC), and i will hopefully be saving allot of lost people (Spiritually speaking). Please pray that God would lay his hands on the people of Chattanooga Tennessee, and our WC group. If you wont pray because you aren't christian, then become a christian. God bless my peoples.  -M out

and then there was HOPE

So things aren't exactly as we thought they'd be but there is so much hope. God is so, so good and he has let us know that His plan is at work here...not ours. Ultimately this is exactly where we want to be.

We are off on our second mission trip of the summer - to Tennessee this time - and I will post more when we get back, but wanted to let everyone know that all is not lost. We are praising God for his goodness, and thanking him for faithful servants who hear His voice and respond!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nothing yet

First let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the encouragement and prayers we have received. I can't tell you how much these things mean to us - they are literally what is keeping us going when all seems so dark.

Second, we do not have any major breakthroughs yet. I hate that money is such a big deal right now, because it's not really about money at all - it's about the life of a little child - it just happens to be money that stands in the way.

Our world is upside down and we can barely breathe right now but we are clinging to our faith and praying that God will give us a miracle. We know He can. We will fight until the very end.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Please Pray

Two weeks ago when things sped up by more than 6 months we hurried up and got a particular loan in so we'd have the last amounts covered (mostly). This was a 'sure thing' loan that was our last resort but that fell through yesterday and we are so devastated I can't even begin to describe it. We are truly at the point where we know we have absolutely zero human way of pulling this thing off - and that is such a terrifying and humbling spot to be when something so precious is on the line. We spent yesterday in tears, crying out to God begging him to show us what to do to get a miracle moment that would glorify Him. We've tried all along to let everyone know how this was God's thing and how He was the one doing it all, and we've known that the ending would be a huge point-to-God-and-know-that-He-is-awesome moment for sure. I've been reading in Luke recently and yesterday I came to the verse in chapter 9 where Jesus sends out the disciples and says "take nothing for your journey". Ok God I prayed, I get it. Rely on You. Rely on others. We truly, fully and completely realize our powerlessness to make this happen - there isn't even a tiny thought anymore about how we might possibly be able to do this one little thing.  It is ALL God and absolutely zero little bit us.

We frantically searched for and called every possible adoption loan place we could. One group disqualified us immediately because we aren't the 'right kind of Christian'. Okay, whatever. My husband is a pastor...we love Jesus with all of our hearts...we are adopting a precious little child in an orphanage on the other side of the world...are we followers of Christ or not?! To make a long story short we applied for another loan and have a request in at an adoption loan place on an emergency basis. So much for grants and raising the rest. We are now praying that these come through, and even if they do it has to be within the next week or two. Without a huge, God-sized something it won't happen.

Only He can make the process work for us now. Only He can work in the hearts of His people to help us and this little one. If God has laid this particular little kiddo's adoption on your heart and you would like to contribute, financially or with prayer, we certainly welcome that.

We have felt all along that God called us to this and His hand has been on this adoption. Please pray with us that the funding comes through so He can be glorified. And if not, that He makes His plans known to us - at least the next step - and He is glorified.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, July 2, 2010

Going Private

Well, it's that time. We have made the decision to go private while we are traveling so in a short while you will need an 'invite' to continue following along with us. Please let me know if you would like one so we don't lose you!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

If only I had a car that went this fast....

Whoa, what a ride! Believe it or not (and there are moments when we can't quite believe it) things have sped up yet again!! Looks like we'll be traveling this summer, and keep in mind that official "summer" in Georgia is over by the first week in August. Uh...somehow panic feels very appropriate!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.  John 14:27