Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - The Best Year of My Life!

"I love you Mommy"
Those were the words I woke up to Tuesday morning as we snuggled under the covers.  I can't think of a better way to start the last day of 2013 :)
This time last year, I celebrated New Year's Eve at a friend's house and managed to laugh and smile through all the necessary social interactions.  Inside though, my heart was breaking because a week before I had done the most heartbreaking thing I've ever done in my life:  I dropped Munni off back at the orphanage and had to tell her goodbye.  I will never, ever forget the look in her eyes.
Today, 10 months later after bringing her home, I still have to pinch myself when I look at her beautiful face and see joy in her eyes.
Her life has been transformed and my world has been rocked.
As I reflect on 2013, I am blown away at the goodness of God.  He has sustained me through the most difficult days and lifted me up to highest peaks of pure joy and happiness.
He moved mountains to bring her home.
He provided the best medical care that saved her life.
He sustained me during the hard days of her emotional healing.
He whispered his love and comfort while anxiously waiting for her surgeries to be over.
He led me back to India to find her baby sister.
He opened the floodgates of heaven and poured out blessings through generous hearts.  A village of  people who purchased Spread More Love t-shirts, sent donations, and bought books to help bring Baby R home.
He provided encouragement and hope through emails, prayers, hugs, and shared tears.
He has made the crooked paths straight through miraculously moving Baby R's case- my dossier is sent and I was able to get fingerprinted today, AHEAD of my scheduled appointment.

Today as we were walking into the USCIS building to plead with them to fingerprint me ahead of time, Munni held my hand and skipped as she told me, "Mommy! you and R and me are family!"  I couldn't even answer her because the lump in my throat wouldn't let me.  The wisdom and love she has for R and our family and what it means for Baby R just completely blows me away.

Adoption is by FAR the most challenging, life changing, humbling, faith building journey I've ever experienced.  There are dark, dark days where it seems impossible to hold onto faith.  And then there are days of inconceivable love and joy.  But through it all, I've learned that God will never, ever leave me.  He is faithful and he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."  - Isaiah 42:16

It is with this confidence that I look forward to 2014 and the unfamiliar paths before me.  Happy New Year and may the God of peace that transcends all understanding, shower you with his love in the year to come!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Progress And Remembering A Year Ago...

Monday morning I put in the order for 36 books!  In addition to the books, some people included extra donations, which completely humbled me.  At lunch on Monday, a colleague and I were talking about the fundraiser and she asked me how much was raised because she knew the total amount I need.  I told her, "It was close to $1,000 and after paying the immigration, I have $1,000 left in savings, so, I've got $2,000."  There was a moment of silence and then we both started laughing.  Another colleague sitting next to us asked why that was so funny and we told her because I still need $6,000 but we know God will provide somehow, someway.

That made me reflect on when Munni's referral came and they told me on a Friday that I needed $18,000 by Monday.  And God provided every last cent including answering a prayer I prayed a month before that someone I knew would win the mega lottery and use part of the winning to help me:)  It was a faith affirming conversation to say the least!

When I got home from school on Monday there was a check in the mail from a church in Florida.  My friend Kristen whose husband authored the books, The King's Christmas List and The Battle For Christmas Castle had shared my story with her mom.  Her mom is a pastor and an amazing woman.  Apparently, she spoke about Munni, me and sweet baby R in her sermon the week before and that touched many people's hearts.  They sent me a check for $1,000!!!  I was a sobbing mess.  I called Kristen immediately and it went to her voicemail.  I left a message for her in that high, squeaky voice when you are crying and trying to talk at the same time….I'm not sure if it was intelligible :)  She called me back and told me she knew it was coming and wanted me to be surprised!  Well, surprised, humbled, overwhelmed and completely filled with joy is a better description!  Then today, I received another check for a $100 from an old friend I haven't seen or spoken to in almost 18 years.  A little while later I received a notification of another donation for $250.

There are no words.

I am blown away by the outpouring of love for Sweet R.  I told Kristen when I talked to her that this fall I felt my heart being guarded against R.  I'm not quite sure how to explain it but she, a mother of 4, told me, "Welcome to your second child."  You see, when I found Munni I think I cried over her every day and prayed for her constantly.  I was DESPERATE to get her home.  Her situation was obviously very different and her adoption was uncertain for a long time which probably added to the anxiety.  Anyway, I cried the first few days I found out about R but after that, I had more of a stiff upper lip.  I was so overwhelmed with Munni's medical stuff this fall that I honestly don't think my heart had room to allow me to FULLY let go and let my heart completely embrace R.  I was struggling big time with guilt because it wasn't that I don't love her and pray for her, it was just different.

I told Kristen that last Friday as I stepped out of the post office after mailing out all of the updated documents to get the apostille, I lost it.  I started crying and my heart was flooded with an overwhelming love for R- it finally felt REAL.  It was happening!  I also think because Munni's surgery is behind me now, I am free of that stress.  Well, that act of mailing out those documents have opened the floodgates of tears of joy :)  I have a renewed sense of hope, love, and joy about R and her adoption.  It reminded me of the man that came to Jesus with his child who was possessed.

20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” - Mark 9:20-24

I believed that God was working in R's adoption but there were/are still seeds of doubt and unbelief- Would God really provide again?  Would he move on R's behalf the way he moved for Munni?  He is showing me in only the way he can that indeed he is working things out for Sweet R!  Will you please continue to pray that God would continue to move and provide the remaining $4,600?

I am also *almost* finished with allllllllllllllllll the paperwork!  In my excitement to send everything off, I forgot to get the notary on my home study certified before sending it for the apostille.  Grrr. The state capital sent it back with a note telling me to take of it and then send it back.  The county were the notary is registered is 4 hours away.  So, I overnighted it yesterday and they received it today.  I should get it back by Thursday and I will turn around and overnight it back to Columbus.  The thing that stinks is I was hoping to overnight my complete, updated dossier to my caseworker on Monday because she is leaving the country for Christmas.  I'm still waiting to hear when R's CSR is in- we know it's in route!  Please pray that I would have patience and continue to trust and not be frustrated with more waiting.  I realize that I just asked for a miracle ;)

Finally, TODAY one year ago, I met Munni for the very first time :))))))))  Words cannot even begin to describe how incredibly blessed my life has been ever since she became a part of it!  I broke down several times today, completely in awe of the miracle she is.  I love my Munni Bird!

THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone to has been praying, encouraging, and donating.  My prayer for you is that God would bless your socks off!





Sunday, December 8, 2013

Answered Prayers and Miracles On The Way!!

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!  I LOVE waking up to WONDERFUL NEWS!
But first, Munni's medical update:  Friday I got the results from Munni's MRI.  Her brain development is normal!!!!  WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!  This is such an answer to prayer!  They didn't see anything abnormal in the brain itself.  They did note that she is missing quite a bit of fat on one side of her head- the side where some of the major trauma took place.  I was expecting something like that since when you actually feel Munni's head, it is quite lumpy in that spot.  I still have to meet with the neurologist, but this phone call provided an amazing sense of relief.  THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!!!!

In regards to her mouth, they extracted 3 teeth, did a root canal, filled 8 cavities, took x-rays, and silver sealed 5 of her baby teeth that are not in good shape.  Poor thing was in a lot of pain :(  I LOVED her dentist who is also an adoptive mom.  She was so very kind to us.  She met with my mom and me beforehand and told us her adoption story.  It was so touching I even cried!  She never made me feel rushed and instead, it felt like we were meeting for coffee.  She was that personable!  When the surgery was over, she did such an awesome job explaining everything she had to do and also made sure that all my questions were answered.

On Friday we had a severe snow storm so we stay cuddled up inside with the fire.  The night before my attorney friend came over and notarized a butt-load of paperwork for R's adoption.  I emailed my caseworker to clarify some things.  She told me to pray because the orphanage was saying that they were waiting on notification from C*RA in order to send R's CSR, and C*RA was saying that they had already sent the email awhile ago.  My heart sunk.  I know how things can go in her country and this added to the stress I was already feeling because at this point, I was still waiting on the MRI results.  I called several of my friends and asked them to please pray.  I have been matched on the website with R since August 7th so I was already feeling like it was taking too long for her CSR to arrive.

Saturday morning I woke up, got my coffee going, let the dogs out and then sat down at my computer to check my email.  I couldn't believe it.  There was an email from my caseworker and the subject title was:
R's CSR is in the mail!!!!!!!!!!

I screamed with joy and woke up Munni :)  Her email said the prayers worked!!!  It was on it's way and we should receive it THIS WEEK!!!!!  PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is where it gets exciting because God is about to pull off another miracle :)  I need to pay the referral fee- gasp!  With Munni's adoption, God answered those prayers in the most amazing ways.  I only had 3 days to get almost $19,000 and it all came in time.  For R, it is not nearly that much because I've made payments along the way.  I will owe $7,950 and $805 for the immigration.  I have the money for the immigration and also I have $1,000 of referral fee saved so I will still need $6,950.

Last week, my good friends contacted me about donating all of the proceeds from his Kindle book, The Battle For Christmas Castle.  I was overwhelmed by their generosity.  I called them on Saturday to tell them about the good news of Baby R's CSR.  Kristen and I were talking about everything and how many people had requested a hard copy.  Then, Kristen came up with most amazing and generous idea.  You see, Eldon had written the first book in this series and had it published through Thomson Neslon publishing.  They had sent me a copy when I found Munni.  Kristen and Eldon prayed over this decision and told me to sell as many hardcopies of the book as I could, The King's Christmas List This is a BEAUTIFUL children's book!  The message is beautiful and so are the illustrations!  Munni loves this book!  Here are a few pictures from the book:









Isn't it magical?  So here's how it will work.  The cost of the book including shipping is $20.  In order for me to receive the proceeds, it needs to be purchased through my paypal account on the right in my sidebar or by simply clicking HERE.  Please make sure your address is the correct address!  The sale will run until Sunday, December 15th.  Monday morning, Eldon and Kristen will contact the publishers with the amount of books that have sold.  The publishers will drop ship the books to me and I will send them all out by Thursday, December, 19th so that you will receive them in time for Christmas!!
Again, I am blown away by their generosity and I am hoping that whoever buys a book will think about Baby R when they read it!  The Kindle book The Battle for Christmas Castle is also still available for purchase here.
O.K., I am ready for a miracle :)  Please pray with me that God will provide!  

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Battle For Christmas Castle!

My good friends contacted me the week of Thanksgiving with some incredible news.  Eldon wrote a children's book about the battle for Christmas.  It was such a page turner!  They told me that they were feeling that the Lord was telling them to donate all the proceeds from the book to Sweet Baby R's adoption!!!  I am completely overwhelmed by their generosity!  I am waiting to receive my I-800a approval and R's CSR.  Once I receive her CSR, I will have to pay the $7,950 referral fee which includes the humanitarian fee as well.  This is the last payment I will have to make!

I have been pretty strung out this fall with all of Munni's medical stuff going on that all I could do was pray for R's adoption and funds to come from the Lord.  This is such a huge answer to prayer!  I love Eldon's and Kristen's hearts and their willingness to walk beside me on this path to bringing R home.

If you enjoyed any of the series from C.S. Lewis and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, then you will be sure to enjoy this book!

Would you please consider purchasing a copy of this book?  Not only will you be receiving and incredible story to read with your children at Christmas time, but you will also be helping to bring Baby R home :)  You can purchase a copy here.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and I hope you have a wonderful, blessed holiday season with your loved ones!