Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Jerry Maguire Kind of Moment

I'm feeling a lot like Jerry Maguire after he delivers his mission statement that he so passionately believes and he's trying to convince people to come with him.

Fundraising is hard.  It is very hard to ask people for money.  It is also very humbling.  There is nothing "Fun" about it so I think they should find a different word.  I am glad that I am only trying to raise 1/5th of his adoption costs.  I don't know how families do it who have to raise their entire amount.  It is a challenging, hard and faith-building process.  I will say that I know that adoption has forever changed my life.  In the same way that my mission trip to Africa changed my life many years ago.  I get it.  And from now on, this will be a part of my world that I will always campaign for, whether for my own adoption, for other families trying to adopt or for the rights of orphans around the world.

I came upon these statistics the other day and found them to be staggering.  They were from a Christian publication, so the emphasis was on Christian families.

34% of Christian families consider adoption
ONLY 1% do it
There are 163+ million orphans in the world who need a Forever Family
If only 7% of Christian families would adopt, there would be NO MORE ORPHANS

I know not everyone is "called" to adopt.  But, did you know the number one reason why people DON'T adopt is because of the financial costs of adoption?  If you can in any way contribute, you are literally, at least in Joaquin's case, saving a life.

Ordinary Hero is doing another $500 grant give away for the top seller between today and Sunday night.  I did not win the last grant, BUT a VERY kind donor gave me the $500 grant since I didn't win it:)  If you feel moved, you should check out their store  They have added some really cool jewelry, sheep to feed a village, and there are sales on some of the hoodies.  Just don't forget to click my name from the affiliates pull down menu on the billing page during checkout so I can get credit for the sale.  40% of each sale goes directly to the costs of my adoption.

Finally, I read this quote and it has stayed with me for the last several days:

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day. - E. B. White

I know for me I've found my greatest, lasting enjoyment usually has come from doing something that has involved giving a part of myself away- my time, my talent or my money.  I hope you will choose to pay it forward and in doing so, you will be paid back:)


Monday, April 25, 2011

Monsoon Season

It's been a month. wow.  Lola is driving me crazy.  Her list of offenses are described below:
1) chewed the passport - $ 225
2) chewed my leather planner - $80
3) peed on my bed - *&%$@
4) chewed up pictures that were in plastic bags in basement bookshelf - $ priceless
5) chewed up my ray bans that were on the dining room table - $175
6) chewed up my lip gloss and other magazines/papers making a huge, gloppy mess!

I am so irritated with her!!  Save the passport, I don't have the money to replace these items!  The sunglasses were a gift, which really tick me off.  She does not do well with thunderstorms, so I know she is acting out of her nervousness but my wallet cannot afford her anxiety attacks!  The last month has been a monsoon here.  She has broken out of her crate multiple times, I swear she is like Houdini.  I don't know how she does it.  I now have 45lbs of weight on top of her crate and lock the basement door.  She is slowly destroying my house:(  On top of all that, my basement completely flooded and my washing machine broke.  Sweet.  I just wish all of these storms and rain would go away!  There is a reason I don't live in Seattle - I need some sunshine!!!

The Congo

On the brighter side, I finally received my new, ELECTRONIC passport! and my birth certificate! Yeah!  So now I have all of my documents needed to send my dossier!!  I was just about to do the celebration dance when in a Murphy's law kind of way, an unexpected expense arose so that now I have to WAIT a little while longer before I can send in the check.  I'm trying not to be bitter. Seriously.  I keep telling myself that God has this under control and that HIS timing is perfect.  He knows where Baby Joaquin is, when he is coming home, and when that perfect time will be.  I've been spending a lot of time in the psalms and 57 has been on my mind much- specifically verses 2-3

"I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.  He will send help from heaven to rescue me... My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness."

Again, I'm trying to align my head knowledge with my heart knowledge.  Trust is such a hard thing to learn in your heart!


So far, the suspension is still in effect.  The US government is not satisfied with the changes the Nepal government has made with intercountry adoption procedures so until they make more changes, the suspension will stay in place.  The good news is that in all of the families processed so far, there has been no fraud found.  As far as I know, there is still ONE family pending.  I am praying for them, that their visa will be issued quickly.  Please pray that the Nepal government will implement the necessary changes in order to lift the suspension.  In the end, it is the children who ultimately suffer.  I feel very strongly that God is making the way "straight" for Sofia to get out of there. Again, His timing is perfect and I continue to trust that he is working things out, breaking down barriers and providing the necessary means to bring her home.
  I'm done with April showers and really looking forward to May flowers. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Dog Ate My Passport

Finally received medical clearance report. check.
Finally received State police background clearance. check.
Finally received expedited passport. cheee..... well, I received a letter that said I needed to explain exactly what happened to the mutilated passport that I sent in with my application for a new one.  Please keep in mind that on my application I had to state that I am a teacher.  Here is the notarized letter I sent to them:

I hope that at least one person in the passport office can find the humor in this.  So, as soon as I get this back, I will have everything I need to send to my agency.  Once they get my dossier, it will be translated into French and then sent to the Congo.  I'm not sure how long the translation process takes.  I hope that my dossier is on it's way to the Congo by the end of May!  We shall see!

That's the number of pipeline families left waiting to receive visas.  I can't believe it!!!  And the best part?  NOT ONE SINGLE CASE OF FRAUD WAS FOUND!!!  I'll admit that I'm starting to get butterflies.  In a good way.  I don't know how to explain it, but when the suspension went into effect, I put myself in "neutral" idling away, just waiting to be able to shift back into "drive!"  To think that I may be able to do that soon is very exciting!  But I'm still hesitant to let my emotions get out of control.  On the fun side, I'm starting to think that I might have to have my own The Amazing Race betting pool!  Who will make it home first? Will it be Joaquín? Or will Sofía pull a fast one and end up making it home first after all? Let's just say that the rest of this year is going to be very, very interesting:))))

After my depressing, nightmare having, curve ball throwing week, God completely rained down blessings upon me.  After I had the dream of my car spinning wildly out of control, I felt a release that things were going to happen when they were going to happen.  It was freeing.  I really felt peace and the verse I had read a few days before, "Be still and know that I am God" was resonating within me.  First, because I'm not good at being still and secondly, I've been trying to make my head knowledge and my heart knowledge match up. I caught myself several times starting to calculate or plan and then I thought about that verse and told myself to just be still and not worry about it!  God has it under control!  So a couple of days later, I received several letters in the mail with notes of encouragement and financial support towards the adoption.  I am still trying to process all of it.  I am sincerely blown away by the generosity and the faithfulness of these people.  Here is an update of the fundraising so far:
Ordinary Hero                 $137.10
Check donations            $850.00

My goal is to raise $4,250, half of his country fee, which is $8500. That leaves $3,263.  His entire adoption will cost $21,450.  After I send in the dossier, I will have paid almost $7800.  I also just applied for the only grant I could find that doesn't discriminate against singles.  I won't find out if I am awarded the grant until the first week or so of June.  I am super excited for summer and being able to pick up as many extra shifts as possible.  I've seen how quickly every extra dollar can add up!  

 For those of you who have been wanting to get your super cool Ordinary Hero gear but the busyness of life has gotten in the way, NOW is the time to do it!!!  They are having a huge sale this weekend and on top of that, whoever has the most sales through this SUNDAY will receive a $500 GRANT from Ordinary Hero!!!  Can you please help me get this grant??!!! Don't forget to click on my name when checking out and remember, you are changing the world for one!! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Control Freaks Need Not Apply

Since I started out on this adoption journey, I've experienced the most joy, answered prayers, and witnessed more miracles take place than I ever have in my entire life.  I have also experienced more stress, anxiety, fear, and never, ever felt so out of control.  Adoption is H-A-R-D.  It's a constant state of hurry up and wait.  Hurry up and wait.  Rush around to get this done or this sent in or this document signed then- wait for the next stage of, "hurry up!  we must have this by such and such date, time is of the essence because we want to make sure that we have all your documents in just in the nick of time so we can make you - wait."  I see how through all of this God has been changing me.  Slowly but surely he has been making some progress:)  But just when I start showing him, "see!  look at me! I'm patient! I'm trusting! I'm peaceful!"  He throws me a curve ball.  And I know it's not because he's a mean God.  It's because he loves me and he wants the best for me and he wants me to continue to grow.  So, the curve ball came in the form of silence.  I wasn't getting much feedback from the fundraising, my tips became significantly lower (which is very strange based on the restaurant where I work) and I had this overwhelming pressure weighing down on me.  I was on the verge of tears for a couple of days and finally broke down and cried at lunch one day.  I blamed my red nose and puffy eyes on allergies to my 6th bell class.  Thank God 7th graders are still gullible!  When I got home from school there was an email from a friend from high school.  She has been through the adoption process and has two beautiful girls from Guatemala.  She told me that when we go through the adoption process we lose all control and have to submit to others to getting the job done and have  to submit totally to God as well.  It made me think, am I really submitting to God? Am I really trusting that HE will provide?  I realized that there was a part of me that was still trying to control the outcome.

  I have always had vivid dreams.  I know God uses them to speak to me as throughout the years I've experienced some major answers to prayers through my dreams.  That night I had a dream that I would describe as a mix between Transformers and Speed.  It was so freakin' scary!  It was Christmas night and I got into my car. I drive an Xterra, which is capable of off-roading.  A car that, normally, driving in you would feel safe.  As soon as I started my car, I realized that I was on a sheet of ice and my car started doing donuts.  Fun, right? well, the car started spinning faster.  I tried to put my safety belt on, but it was jammed.  I kept reaching for the 4-wheel drive button and the more I tried to push it, the faster the car spun around.  So I tried to hit the brakes, nothing was working!!  Next thing I knew, my car was spinning down the highway, completely out of control, and I remember thinking, "I'm going to die."  Then, these huge semis and cop cars came out of nowhere and were all around me and the highway was shut down ( can you envision the scene from SPEED?) and I heard this loud megaphone "MA'AM- TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE WHEEL!! TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE WHEEL!" Then they came up and basically crushed my car between them to get my car to stop.  I remember looking out the window and I could see all of the rubber burning off of their tires!  When my car finally finally stopped,  I got out, crying and the officer looked at me and said, "That was a close one, ma'am."

Then I woke up.  After my heart rate returned to normal I started to laugh.  I must be driving God crazy because that dream really drove the point home!  With that said, I'm trying to just take it day by day and really surrender to him and KEEP my hands off the wheel.