Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Precariously Perched

I am on the verge of making a really big decision.  Will you please pray that God gives me CLARITY and PEACE?


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Should Buy Stock in the USPS

Another round of paperwork completed and shipped!

1) I sent 3 notarized and apostilled + 11 copies of Special Power of Attorney, another random notarized letter, my I-800 application, I-864, and Miss M.'s  visa application.  I am so hoping and praying that the US embassy sends the Article 5 letter to C*RA PRONTO so that C*ARA can issue the NOC!!!

2)  I sent Baby Joaquin's extension for my I-600a since I STILL DON'T HAVE A REFERRAL.  I will confess that I'm feeling very  bitter  frustrated about this.  I think what is most annoying is that as more information is coming out, I feel that I, along with many other families, were told time frames that were beyond inaccurate.  It's one thing to go into a program knowing it will be a long wait.  For example, China has a very long waiting list for a healthy child.  Not that waiting is easy, but at least you know up front that you are in it for the long haul.  With the Congo, I was told that it would be a 6 months MAX wait for a referral and then 2-4 months MAX after referral before travel to bring him home.  Yeah.  In REALITY, it's been a little over a YEAR waiting for a referral and based on the time frames of families ahead of me who have already come home, it's more like 8-13 months AFTER referral before I can go and get him.  This is just one part of my frustrations with this agency and program.  I wish I could go into more details about the rest of my frustrations but that will have to wait.  For now.

3)  I sent my updated home study to Baby Joaquin's agency.

A fun little surprise I found when I was filling out all of the I-800 paperwork for Miss M. I had to look at her I-800a approval.  Guess what the official approval date was?  May 17th- her birthday :)  I thought that was very nice of the USCIS to think of her and give her such a nice gift!

The next phone call I'm waiting for is either A)  that I received my NOC or B) that they have a referral for me and I finally get to see Baby Joaquin's face!!  It's a win-win!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Look what I got in the mail today!!

I knew it was approved but until you have the hard copy, that's when I really sighed a sigh of relief!!  What's next you ask?  Well, this was my I-800a approval which is basically the USCIS telling me that I am approved to adopt ANY child, healthy or with special needs, in M.s age range.  Since she was a waiting child when I found her, these two steps I'm doing are happening WAY faster than if I was just waiting for India to assign me a referral.  So, I'm filling out my paperwork tonight for my I-800, which is SPECIFIC to Miss M.  This will all get sent to the US embassy in New Delhi, where they will review my file and issue me an Article 5 letter.  THIS IS KEY!!!  They will also automatically send the Article 5 letter to CARA so that they in turn, can issue me the NOC.  I've been praying and praying that I will get the NOC in June.   I know it will be a miracle if this occurs BUT I HAVE FAITH!!  I want that NOC so bad so that they can tell M. she has a family waiting for her!!  PLEASE pray that I get the NOC in June!!

Tomorrow I am also sending out my I-600a extension for Baby Joaquin.  That little nugget is taking his time so I have to extend my immigration for him.  Since I don't have a specific child identified for him, I'm still in the 'a' process.  Once I receive a referral for him, then I will do the same thing for the I-600.  The numbers are different because India is a Hague country and the Congo is not.  This difference is in regards to how the children will enter the US.  They will have 2 different visas.


One of the very first verses I felt the Lord spoke to me in the whole journey is from Genesis 18:14

"Is there anything too hard for the Lord?"

No, no there isn't!

Can I get a witness??!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Birthday :)

Today is Miss M.'s birthday!!!  Or, more accurately, her intake day.  One of the sorrows of international adoption is that many times, there is no way to know the child's actual birthday.  Whether it's because the birth mother was too poor (many have children in their villages) and never go to get a birth certificate or more commonly, most children are abandoned.

I think birthdays are a big deal.  I get all sappy and weepy when I celebrate my loved one's birthdays because it reminds me how precious life is and how thankful I am for them!  So, there is some sadness on my part that I will never know exactly how old she is and when she was actually born.

Today, she "turns" 6.

I will go to the Indian restaurant tonight and celebrate with her in my heart.

And next year?  Well her birthday celebration is going to be a blowout!!!  It will be a first for both of us.  When I think about celebrating with her here, I get so choked up thinking about how wide-eyed she will be.  I want her to feel cherished as we celebrate her life.  I want her to know how thankful I am for her.  But most of all, I want her to know that SHE IS LOVED.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Every Day Keeps Getting Better!

Remember how I tried to call the USCIS to see if they could process my case?  And a grumpy lady answered the phone?  She told me that my case hadn't been assigned to an officer and she didn't know how long it would be until it was.  I was discouraged because getting the 171-H approval letter can take a v-e-r-y- long time, which slows down the process.  I need to get my I-800a approval (this is saying that I am approved in general to adopt from Ind*a) so that I can file the I-800 (my application to adopt M. specifically) which I will need to obtain my NOC- C*RA's stamp of approval that I can proceed.  When the courts see that you have NOC, it's a no-brainer for them and they basically just push my file through the process.  Well, I found out today that somehow my I-800a application was in another family's file and their I-800a application was in my file.  Sounds like a nightmare, right? WRONG!!!  Because it turns out that K. at immigration called up my caseworker to help him figure out who the applications go to and it just so happens that K. is not only efficient, nice, and super quick, BUT now he is also my assigned officer!!  My caseworker was thrilled because she said every time she has had to work with him, he has the I-800 turned around in 2-3 weeks instead of another 2-3 months!  So to sum up, my I-800a is APPROVED and in the mail.  Next week, my I-800 will be sent in so I should expect that approval in early June, lining it up perfectly...wait for receive my NOC so M. can find out about me!!!

In other good news, M.'s orphanage requested a "Declaration of Child Acceptance" letter from me.  Wow was I scrambling after school!  I had to print it off, run to the bank to get it notarized, then back home to scan it, so I can email it to my caseworker, who will send it to the orphanage so they have it first thing tomorrow!  She said it's ALWAYS a good sign when the orphanage requests information because that means they are actually doing something with my file and preparing it to present to C*RA!!!  On top of that, since I found her last June and requested to pursue her adoption at that time, and even though the first agency couldn't complete it, the fact that I kept pursuing her looks really good to the Ind*an officials. It shows that I'm committed.  If they only knew!!!

And finally, there's a new judge in the house.  We don't know if he will make parents make 1 trip or 2.  Everyone is praying for the one trip!  It will be interesting to see how the court process goes with this new judge on the bench.

THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of your prayers!!  It's been quite a week- and it's only Wednesday!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Here's a quick update.  Remember how I said that my agency is on it?  Today my caseworker emailed me to tell me that she called my immigration officer and guess what?  He processed my case!!  WOO HOO!!  This typically takes 2-3 months!  She said I should get my approval in the mail this week!  I need to give a HUGE shout out to my sweet friend Mer!!  She's the one who told me as soon as I get my fingerprint appointment, to high tail it down there and ask if they will do it early!  If I hadn't followed her advice, I would still be waiting for my appointment which wasn't until the 29th of this month!  I am IN AWE that not only did I get my prints early, BUT that my case has been fully approved!!  I am also filling out all of the paperwork for the Ind*an immigration because the US-side and the Ind*an side need to move along concurrently!!  In addition, I'm sending the notarized, certified, Power of Attorney ( with a specific attorney named!) to Columbus tomorrow to get the apostilles.  When I get those back, I will send them along with the immigration paperwork, back to my agency.

I'm really beginning to believe that Miss M. will indeed find out about me in June!!  I'm praying, praying, praying to receive the NOC then so that she can be told SHE HAS A FAMILY!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sleep :)

Last night I couldn't sleep at all.  No matter how much I prayed, or how many times I tried to do some deep breathing, I couldn't relax.  My stomach had butterflies and my mind was racing.  Finally, I started singing every praise song I could think of in my head.  I guess that did the trick because I dozed off sometime after 2 a.m.  And then I had the most fantastic dream.  I was in the Belgium airport to pick up M.  For some reason, this was the new process- meet in an international airport for the pick-up.  I remember when I first saw her, she was wearing the dress I bought for her a couple of weeks ago.  I bent down and said hi to her at which she giggled and ran away.  I freaked out and ran after her and told her, "NO!  You can't get lost in this airport, I just got you!"  She stopped, turned around, and ran full on into my arms.  The weight of her little body and the feeling of her determined hug was overwhelming!  I felt a rush go through me and a sense of peace that yes, everything is going to be O.K.
Then I woke up.

Today I tried to keep that sense of peace.  Even when I felt like a crack head, checking my email every 5 minutes to see if the grant people notified me.

But God had a different plan for today.  Instead, He showed me that he can soften the hardest of hearts, that he can tear down walls in ways that don't destroy, and that through this, he can provide and answer prayers in ways that I wouldn't have imagined.

I will be paying the balance in full on Friday :)

God. Is. Faithful.

THANK YOU to all who have donated, prayed, and encouraged.  YOUR LOVE is FOREVER imprinted on my heart and I can't wait to tell Miss M. about all the people who were praying for her and loving her before she even arrived!

My prayer for you is that God will bless you IMMENSELY for your openness to bless me!

Tonight, I shall sleep well :)

Trying Not To Freak Out

Ughhh. I still haven't heard from the grant agency. I got desperate and called them. I got a voicemail so I pleaded my case in a message. I don't know when she will hear it.

I got an email from my agency today asking me to clear my account immediately as it needs to be settled for dossier submission. They sent my dossier but once it gets there, they (Ind*a) will want the fees.

My remaining balance has stayed the same. Will you please, please pray that I can have faith and not give in to the anxiety attack that is just over my shoulder? Also, please pray that I get the grant!!!

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

When I crossed over the side of celebrating Mother's Day from a child's perspective to being a Mom-to-be, my whole perspective changed about what this day means.  My children aren't even home yet, but this is definitely the most challenging role I've had in life so far.  I'm sure there are moms out there thinking, "just you wait until they're here!"  I know there are many celebrations, struggles, trials, heartaches, fears, and obstacles still in my path as I try to raise these two precious lives to be all that God intends for them.  But the common theme that I love most about Motherhood, is that all of us love our children with an unrelenting love.  How we display that to our children may be different, but it's there.  There's a mama bear in all of us that would do whatever we can for our kids.  I don't care if you're still pregnant with your first, if you got pregnant the first time you tried, if your pregnancy wasn't planned, if you struggled for years with infertility, if you've suffered miscarriages and are still longing for a baby, or if you took the path of adoption.  However you arrive, I'm betting that the first time you hold your child in your arms, it was all worth it.

 This journey has cemented the truth in my heart that anything in life that is meaningful, comes at a cost and involves some sort of sacrifice.  I'm thankful for Jesus' sacrifice because without it, I wouldn't be on this journey and I wouldn't be able to love them the way he has shown he loves me.  He has been so faithful to me throughout this journey and has brought so many moms into my life!  The sisterhood of Motherhood is a beautiful thing!  So to all those mamas out there, I hope you feel loved on this day honoring you!

I woke up this morning to a GREAT Mother's day gift- another donation!!!  The new remaining balance is:

$13, 160 

Your prayers are indeed working!!!  Will you please continue to pray:

1)  The rest of the money will come in by Monday at midnight
2)  I will receive the $7000 grant AND that I would find this out tomorrow (Monday?)
3)  That those who've donated will be BLESSED immeasurably beyond what they can imagine for giving in the spirit of joy!!

Yes, love requires sacrifice.  It's humbling to ask for money and my pride has definitely been sacrificed!

THANK YOU to everyone who has been praying, encouraging and donating!!!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Ants Are Working!!

Little by little this miracle is coming into bloom!  I really believe the specific prayers are working!  THANK YOU!!!  The new remaining balance is:

$13, 360

I just know that soon, this miracle will come full bloom!

Will you please continue to pray:

1) the rest of the money will come in by Monday at midnight

2) I will receive the $7000 grant- and that I would find this out on Monday!!

3) That those who donate will be BLESSED immeasurably beyond what they can imagine for giving in the spirit of joy?


Your Prayers Are Working!!!

"If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." - John 14:14

Yesterday I told you how a sweet friend told me to pray specific prayers.  I've also learned a lot about praying God's word.  Jesus promises that anything we ask in his name, he will do.  This is not a free for all as in, Hey Jesus, I really want that Burkin bag I saw Kim Kardashian carrying, could you hook it up?  Rather, whatever we ask in his name that will bring glory to him, he will do.  I know that adopting is his will because he tells me so in James 1:27:

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress"

What is a better way to care for an orphan than to provide a family for her?  After I posted last night, I took my dogs for a walk and prayed that God would give me faith and strength for this trial.

Back up to April.  Remember when the lottery was at $650 million?  Well, I prayed that God would bless someone I know with winning so that they could partake in the joy of helping bring M. home.  I've been praying consistently that God would bless people in my life so that they could turn around and give joyously.  I know for me that when I've helped other families on this journey, it gave me a connection to that child.  I love reading their blog posts and seeing how God is moving in their lives.

I came back from my walk and there was a message for me on Facebook from a dear friend from high school.  We keep in touch but with life being as crazy as it's been, we haven't connected in over a year.  She is not a regular facebook user.  I can't remember the last time I've ever seen her post a status update or anything so I thought it was strange that she sent me a message.  Guess what?  She was in a lottery pool and WON!!!  And, she so kindly is donating $500 to bring M. home!!  I am in awe of how God answered my prayer.  It's incredible that he pays attention to the little details :)  After the lottery hit, I didn't think about that prayer again...until last night!  My friends, GOD IS FAITHFUL!!!!

The balance is now:


Will you please continue to pray for:

1) the rest of the money will come in by Monday at midnight
2) I will receive the $7000 grant
3) that those who donate will be BLESSED immeasurably beyond what they can imagine for giving in the spirit of joy?

THANK YOU!!  I hope you have a wonderful Saturday :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Good, The Better and The Scary....

Wow has this been a week.
To say that a lot has been going on with both of their adoptions is an understatement.  So let's start with the good.  My agency for Sweet M. sent me an email earlier with ONE more document that they need 3 originals signed, notarized, and apostilled.    In her words, this is "just in case" so that there won't be any delays farther down the road.  I LOVE that they are preemptive in their thoughts and actions.  So far I've dealt with 4 different agencies and I have to say that hands down, this one is Top Dog when it comes to crossing the T's and dotting the i's!

What's better?  2 hours later, I received ANOTHER email from her.  All my documents are on their way to Ind*a!!!!  YES!!!!!!  I am SO hoping and praying that I will get my NOC quickly for one reason only- That's when they will tell M. that she has a Mama fighting for her!!!  If my application gets processed right away and they follow the guidelines like they have been the past couple of months, then I *should* get the NOC 15 days after processing.

Now onto the scary:

First, relating to Joaquin's journey, I have been dealing with a watershed of information that honestly, completely blind-sided me.  I am nowhere near close to fully processing it or am I at a place where I can articulate all that I'm feeling.  I need some serious prayer for clarity and peace.  I apologize that I can't divulge more information right now.  Please know that if I could, I would definitely share.

For Miss M.- as exciting as the email was that my documents have been sent, it ended with the invoice due *gulp* Monday.  Yeah.  Um, I've been spending a lot of time in Matthew reading all about how people were healed because of their faith.  I particularly love the story when the man tells Jesus, "I believe!  Help me in my unbelief!"  I can relate to that one A LOT right now!

Because M. was a waiting child, all of her fees were basically due at once.  I was really hoping and praying that I would hear from the grant organization that is reviewing my application.  I remember when I got the notice back at the beginning of April, they sent me an email telling me that I was up for review for their May session.  I thought, "Hmm, I wonder if I'll have M.'s official referral by then?  Will her CSR be completed and sent already?  I wonder if that's when everything will go down?"  Well, yep, that's exactly what happened!!

So here's the skinny.  A very sweet friend told me on one of my fb posts that specific prayer is best.  Here it goes.

Please pray that I have the full $14,750 by Monday at midnight.  I already have $750.  I know you're probably laughing right now because I am too.  But not because it's funny.  I laugh when I get really nervous and have no idea what to do.  I only have 0.0508% of what I need.  Yeah, I did the math.
BUT, I am praying for faith and like my previous post if God uses ants to open the huge, showy peony blooms, then I'm sure somehow he can provide this.

And to be more specific:  Please pray that I get the grant.  The grant is for $7000.

I KNOW that prayer works so will you please pray for me?  And will you ask anyone you know who is a prayer warrior if they would also pray for this?


Thursday, May 10, 2012


I think I spoke too soon.  That or Baby Joaquin, wherever he may be, got jealous that I said his adoption was easy but his sister's was full of drama.  Some things have come to light in the past 48 hours that have left me with a very unsettled heart.  Unfortunately, I can't share details...yet.  But I do have a very specific prayer request please!
Would you please pray that the baby whose referral I receive is indeed the baby that God has intended for me?  That this baby's adoption would come to full fruition.
Thank You!!!
On a positive note, my updated home study is on it's way to me (for the Congo) of which I will turn right around and send off to USCIS.  My fingerprints were redone in March so this is the last thing I need to do to update his immigration.  As of now, it is set to expire July 8th.  It feels really good to know that in one aspect I am actually ahead of the game!
I did ask my caseworker if she's heard of any new babies coming to the orphanage and she  They are still processing the 2 babies that came last month.
At the end of the day, I know that God is in control.  Someone in my Congo group said some very wise words today.  She reminded me that God is there to guide and sustain us.  Amen.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lilies, Matthew, and All Kinds of Answered Prayers!

"Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.  They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.  Why do you have so little faith?"

Thank you Jesus for this reminder!  I was reading last night in Matthew 6, still fretting about all that needed to happen and all at the right time and if this doesn't happen tomorrow then I'll have to figure out how to do this the next day or else this might happen.... and then I got to this part of Matthew 6.  What a gem.  I love to garden.  There is nothing I enjoy more than waking up in the summer and sitting on my front porch to gaze out at all of the flowers and listen to the birds sing.  I think it's funny that God used this verse to hammer his point home:  Kristen, I got this.  Back off.  You keep getting in the way with all your worrying and what not.

I woke up at 2 in the morning with a migraine and I know it was from the stress.  I took some meds, prayed and went back to sleep.  I was expecting a torrential downpour when I awoke based on what the weather man predicted but guess what?  No rain.  Yet.  I was nervous about my mom driving to Columbus and back in bad weather.  When it wasn't raining I let my go of my anxiety a little more.  I prayed that my mom would have a great time with the Lord on her way to Cbus.  She arrived at my school right after lunch with all of the necessary documents.  I asked her how everything went and she told me that she didn't have any rain, that it was sunny and she had the best time praying for everyone on the way up and back.  To top it off, she said that everyone was extremely nice to her during the whole process!  Praise God!  So far, he has answered 2 of my prayers I posted!

Immediately after school I drove down to the federal building and went into the USCIS office.  There was another young man there waiting to be fingerprinted.  When the lady called me up, I explained that I knew my appointment wasn't for another 3 weeks but I've had such difficulty with this process could she please do it today?  She asked if my fingerprints had been rejected.  I told her no, it's just that this is my 4th time down here.... She looked at me with a grumpy face and told me, "We don't do that."  I think my smile probably faded because she came back with, "But I will today.  But this isn't normal and I'm going to take all my other appointments before you."  Fine by me!!!  I quickly filled out my paperwork and sat down to wait.  The other guy was taking forever to fill out his paperwork.  Then you know what happened?  He walked out!  At this point, the man who was working pointed at me and told me to come on back.  He fingerprinted me, we chatted, turns out that he lives right by where I teach!  My fingerprints were accepted!!  I showed him a picture of Miss M. that I have on my phone and told him that all this craziness was for her!  He wished me luck and I was on my way!
I made a pit stop at Staples to make the color copies of her CSR and then headed over to the post office where I stood in line for 30 minutes.  You know what?  That was the best 30 minutes of my day because I thought about the verse I had read the night before and was so giddy how God was checking each prayer off of my list one by one!  I was able to overnight the package so my agency will definitely get it tomorrow!
I'm in a REALLY great mood at this point thinking, this is the best day!  I can't believe how God answered all of my prayers!  I got home to my house and got the mail out of the mailbox and sat on my front porch to open it.  I absolutely love my porch.  I can sit there for hours and hours.  Right now, almost all of my peonies are in bloom.  Peonies are my all time favorite flower.  There is just something about the layers and layers and layers of petals that make their blooms so majestic!  But what seems like an instant, they are gone.  It's like they show up to remind you just how amazing creation is and then they bounce, not returning until next spring.

I was enjoying the view of my peonies, the smell of my roses, and opened an envelope.  Inside was a generous check from a very sweet friend.  I've known her for almost 20 years and have experienced so much life with her.  I broke down and cried.  I really felt like God was showing me that I do not need to worry.  This is about him showing up to remind me of his majesty and sovereignty.  He loves little M. more than I could ever imagine and he has an incredible plan for her life.  And it's a good plan!

Who am I to question how God is going to accomplish bringing her home?  He uses the tiniest insects, ants, to open the peony buds so they can reveal all of their glory.  So the next time I start to worry about the process of bringing her home, I'm going to look at the ants and remind myself that the Lord is capable to do anything and that when I "seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, he will give me all that I need." - Matthew 6:33

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Couple Quick Prayers Please!

Tomorrow is a big day!  My mom is heading out bright and early to make the 2 hour trek to the state capital to get the apostilles.  She is going to come to my school on her way back to drop off the papers.  Yesterday, I received my fingerprint appointment for Miss M.'s immigration!  However, the appointment is more than 3 weeks away.   I'm going to do an insider trick that my sweet friend Mer told me - Right after school I'm driving directly downtown and I'm going to beg and plead with the staff at the USCIS office if they will pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top go ahead a fingerprint me right then and there?  Hopefully they will agree.  Then on Wednesday, I will call my immigration officer and ask that they please process my case due to the urgency of the deadline coming up (May 20th).  The fingerprints take a 24-hour turn around time before my officer will have access to see that they've been submitted.

After I leave the federal building, I will haul it back up to my neighborhood post office where the post office lady and I have become bff's, and overnight all of the documents to my agency across country.

Then I will have a nice glass of Malbec :)

Will you please pray for the following?:

1)  That my mom has no trouble making it to Columbus (it's supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow and I don't want her to be stressed driving in the rain.)

2)  That the apostille process will happen quickly and my mom makes it back home without incident.

3)  That the USCIS office will acquiesce to my plea and will fingerprint me without hesitation.

4)  That my package will indeed make it to my agency by Tuesday morning.

5)  That on Wednesday when I call my USCIS officer, they will pull my case and process it immediately. They did this for me for Nepal, so I know it can be done!


For some fun news.... after the Derby I went to my good friend Jen's house.  She has twins who will be 3 in June.  I showed her M.'s new hand and footprints.  We put them up to her daughter's foot and hand and guess what?  THEY'RE THE SAME SIZE!!  We also determined that they are about the same height- only about a 2 inch difference.  That means that M. wears a size 8 shoe.  It was really fun to look at her daughter and realize that M. is going to be very close to that size!  I'm SO EXCITED!!!

I'm praying that tomorrow night I will be able to post that everything went swimmingly!!  That's a pretty funny phrase now that I think about it.  What does that mean anyway?  If it has anything to do with being able to glide through the water without effort then it doesn't apply to me because my swimming is not pretty.  At all. ;)

Friday, May 4, 2012

One Year...And Then Some

Today marks One Year Anniversary that I have been "officially" waiting for a baby boy from the Congo.
It has been One Year, 7 months, and 19 days since I was "officially" accepted into the Congo program.
It has been 2 years and 1 month since God whispered into my ear that I would adopt a baby from Africa.

Looking back over Baby Joaquin's timeline, I am filled with awe and wonder in how the Lord brought me to where I am today.  I was only a few months in "officially" working on the Nepal dossier when his seed was planted in my heart.  From day one, his journey to me has been one of hope, a ray of sunshine.  There hasn't been any drama.  Things have been, although slow at times, steadily moving.  I've always known where I stand.  In contrast, his sister has taken me on different journey.  One of heartache, anxiety, fear, but also incredible joy, happiness, and thankfulness.  So I am not surprised that even though I was hoping to have a referral for him by now,  I do not.  I look back at each of the steps along the way and I see how the Lord was guiding me - in tandem with his sister's journey.  I have always prayed for God's timing with these two lives, that they would come home at the perfect time.  I have gone through periods of trying to figure out who will make it home first and why and how that particular scenario would be best.  And yes, I've figured out how if either one makes it home first, that would be best!  But when it comes down to it, I have to continually trust and know that the Lord has these two lives in the palm of his hand.  And whoever comes home first, the timing is perfect.  I'm trying to not be anxious because I want to see his sweet face SO BAD!!!!  When I'm in supermarkets or stores and hear a crying baby, I want so badly to go ask the mom if I can hold it.  I love holding crying babies.  I know that probably sounds weird but I do!  I love rocking them and singing to them and comforting them.  I wander through the baby sections at stores and look longingly at all of the cute clothes.  Probably twice a week I browse all the diapers at Justsimplybaby and imagine how cute he will look in them.  I can't wait to change his diaper- even the blowouts- because I've waited SO LONG (not just through the adoption period) to have a baby.  I can't wait to carry him around in my Ergo baby carrier.  I can't wait to make his baby food.  I can't wait to photograph him in my garden.  I can't wait to sing him to sleep.  I can't wait to get up in the middle of the night, sleepy-eyed to soothe him back to sleep.  I can't wait to give him a bath and watch him play with the water.  I can't wait to hear him say, "mama."  I can't wait to see him smile at me.  So when I start to feel frustrated, I continually remind myself that God knows who he is and where he is and I rely on that for strength to keep waiting.

Knowing that today would be harder than the others in waiting for Baby Joaquin, I think it's fitting that his sister provided a much needed balm to this aching heart.  Although my caseworker called me Wednesday to let me know about her official referral, today I actually had it in my hands!  I saw her new footprints and hand prints!  She weighs 35 lbs.  She has met all of her milestones.  She gets along with her peers.  I also learned some new things and I will treasure those in my heart.

But the best part about today?  I got to write, "I accept M______ as my daughter" across a gazillion documents.  Never have I enjoyed writing a sentence over and over and over again as I have today!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

IT'S OFFICIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'M OFFICIALLY MATCHED!!!!  I just got off the phone with my caseworker and I am going to need some serious prayers please!!!  I can't get into all of the details because some of it hasn't been made public yet but here's the skinny:

Miss M.'s CSR is en route to me as we speak.  I have to get the Official Referral notarized AND apostilled (IN COLUMBUS!) AND back to my agency, which is on the other side of the country, by Tuesday morning at the latest BECAUSE:

They need to assemble the official referral, combine it with my dossier and have it sent off to Ind*a by Thursday morning AT THE LATEST in order to get my NOC application submitted by the May 20th deadline.  Are you lost yet??

Holy cow do I have a ton of running around to do between now and Monday afternoon!

I really, really need prayers for these things PLEASE!!!

1) That I would be able to get all of the documents notarized and the apostilles done and sent by Monday afternoon.  My mom is going to make the 2 hour drive to Columbus to do a walk-in for the apostilles either Friday morning or Monday morning depending on when I get the package.  I should have it no later than 10:30 am Friday.  They are discussing right now whether or not they will email me a copy and have me get the copies done just to be able to submit by the deadline.  If this is the case, then my mom will drive up Friday morning and I can send them out so that they get the package Monday morning.

2)  I now owe a BIG chunk of money.  I just sent in $3k for the second set of agency fees so.... I'm trying to have faith.  I applied for a grant that would cover half of the fees.  They are supposed to be reviewing my case this month.  PLEASE PRAY THEY WILL SAY YES!!!

The best part?  I found out that they are indeed following the new time guidelines!!!  The bad part?  Remember when I said I didn't think I was far enough along to get caught up in the court closure for June?  Well, I'm farther along than I thought!  BUT, as soon as I get my NOC (if I don't get caught up, then it should be a 15 day turn around from the time they receive and process it - JUNE!) Sweet M. finds out that there's a mama WAITING FOR HER!!!  Yep, as soon as my NOC is issued, they will tell her there is a family who is adopting her and I get to send her a photo book!!

I'm so stinkin' excited there is no way that I will be able to sleep tonight!!

Last night, I was reading in Psalms and praying about everything.  I've been trying really hard to DAILY surrender my anxiety, doubt, unbelief, fear, all things negative, to Him and to remember that He is in control.  I stumbled upon Psalm 146 and it couldn't have been more perfect:

"Don't put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there....
But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God.  He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.  He keeps every promise forever.  He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry.  
The Lord frees the prisoners.  
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.  The Lord lifts up those who are weighted down.  The Lord love the godly.  
The Lord protect the foreigners among us.  
He cares for the orphans and the widows, but he frustrated the plans of the wicked.  
The Lord will reign forever."

I am continually amazed at how faithful the Lord has been through this process.  There are some really amazing, miraculous things that have occurred and I can't wait to share them but for now I can't :(  Let's just say though, He has his hand on this sweet little girl and the way He has navigated the paths so that hers and mine are going to FINALLY meet, well, it absolutely blows me away.

I have tears streaming down my face right now because I am OVERCOME with JOY!!!!  THANK YOU a million times for all of the support all of you have given me.  I really will never be able to express how vitally important it has been to me!

LOVE to all of you!!!