Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Exciting Fundraising Update!

We are overwhelmed with humility and gratitude for our friends and church family.  The spaghetti dinner benefit was a HUGE SUCCESS!  We made more than $5000, which means we are getting so much closer to bringing our little one home!  Words cannot express how thankful we are to our God!  He is amazing.  Thank you Oh-so-much to all the volunteers who put this together!

We have recently had quite a few people reach out to say they wanted to lead forward with another fundraiser of their own to benefit out adoption.  So in no particular order, here are some other ways for you to support our adoption process and help impact the life of a child:

Click on the name of each fundraiser and it will take you directly to our friends' secure websites.

Mary Kay
Order your Mary Kay products from my sweet sister-in-law, Cassi and 100% of the proceeds in November will go to our adoption! Free shipping and 25% off all orders over $100!

Custom Christmas Cards
Order your custom Christmas cards from one of my best friends, Blaire and a portion of her proceeds will benefit our adoption!

Get organized or get some super cute personalized Christmas gifts from my friend, Candace and all of her November sales will benefit our adoption!

Worship CD 

Finally, our very talented friend, Katie Cruddas has come out with an amazing worship CD.  She is shipping 200 to us to sell for $10 each.  100% of the profit goes straight to bringing Baby G home! These will be available beginning November 24 on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Reserve yours now by commenting here or sending us an email/facebook message.  Hurry because I think they will be gone in a flash! 

We have a big goal of being 100% funded by the end of November!  We know that is a lofty goal, but with your help we can do it! Feel free to share our fundraisers with your friends.

We can't thank you enough for your support!  We are planning to turn in our paperwork next week and we couldn't have done it without the prayers and support of our wonderful friends and family.  God is so good! We love y'all!


DJ and Andrea

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Parents' Night Out Success!

A few months ago, my friend, Traci, came to me with a fundraiser idea.  She works at a local gymnastics center and she wanted to offer a parents' night out as a fundraiser for our adoption.  Parents were able to come drop off their kiddos for 2 hours of fun at the gym.  On Friday night, 42 kids showed up at the gym.  She divided the kids into groups and rotated them through stations, as well as pizza, and a craft.

I helped by manning the craft.  I found this idea on Pinterest and we ran with it.  All of the kids were able to create a watercolor picture and the older kids also added clear glue and salt to the pics.  It didn't turn out quite as neat as the way the blogger describes the original idea, but overall it was fun (especially since it worked for a huge range of ages - from 2 - 12!)

The fundraiser, on the other hand, was a huge success! We were able to raise $533 for our adoption!  Wow!  We were amazed!  More than that I was just amazed at everyone's willingness to come out to help us.  Traci organized volunteers that helped with each age group.  Many of these volunteers didn't even know us, but they were still willing to come out and help.  Amazing!  Traci's sister and husband also both came out to help. Another one of the volunteers was a sweet college student (now graduated) that I had in class and I even received an email yesterday from another one of my college students saying that if we ever do another fundraiser requiring child care again, she would love to help.  Wow!  That's all I can say... wow... walking through the adoption process has been nothing but a blessing and I know the biggest blessing is yet to come!

Thank you so much to Traci and Ryan Kana, Ashley Mensik, Emily Sudtelgte, and all the other volunteers!  Also a big thank you to Beamers Gymnastics and Cheerleading!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Parents' Night Out Adoption Fundraiser

We are so excited to announce our next adoption fundraiser!  We are having a parents' night out this Friday and Beamer's Gymnastics and Cheerleading Gym.  My good friend, Traci, has generously offered the gym and her time (as well as recruiting volunteers).  Parents can drop off their little ones (as long as they are potty trained) for 2 hours of gymnastics fun, as well as pizza and crafts! We are doing a  suggested donation of $10 per child.

When: Friday night, August 16, 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: Beamer's Gym
133 Tannehill Dr.
Abilene, TX 79602
Who: Kids ages 2.5 - 12 years (little ones must be potty trained)
Cost: Suggested donation of $10/child
You can pay online at our adoption fundraiser website or cash when you arrive.

We are so excited to see you Friday night, but be sure to sign up because space is limited.

Thanks so much!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get your Adoption Shirts Now!

Our adoption t-shirts are designed and ready to sell!  As we were trying to think about what we would like our t-shirt to look like I thought about other adoption shirts I had seen.  Many shirts for international adoptions had an outline of the country where the baby was born.  Since our adoption is domestic, I started thinking about how could we design it with the shape of our country or since we are from Texas, our state.  This made me think of the popular shirts that have the state outline with the simple word "home."  And our design was born...

The front of the shirt says:
 I helped a child come home.

The back says:
 Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me.
 -Jesus (Matt.18:5) 
Choose life ... support adoption. 

Your color choices are navy, maroon, and gray (and we are thinking of adding a purple option).  If you have a color request, please let us know!  We can also order youth sizes.  If you need youth sizes, just add it to the comment section.  

Thank y'all so much for supporting our adoption and more importantly, impacting the life of a child!  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adoption Application

For months we have been working on all of the details involved in our adoption process. As I was working on some of the paperwork today, I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse into this process.  I found a checklist that I thought might be helpful in helping y'all to understand all that this process entails.

My goal for the summer is to get all of the paperwork complete and we are getting very close.  We have most of the forms complete, now we are working on steps #2-21.

This may be more information than you want, but for those of you that are into details you may be interested.  So without further ado, here is a list of all the forms and items we must complete:
1. All forms received with orientation materials which require completion or signatures: 
  • AF-205 (his&hers) Personal Spiritual History & Plan for Spiritual Development for You and Your Children
  • AF-034 – Working Agreement Between Christian Homes and Prospective Adoptive Parents
  • AF-008 – Application to Adopt a Child
  • AF-012  - Family Background Form
  • AF-153 – Financial Information
  • AF-015 (his&hers) Affidavit of Affirmations
  • AF-010 – Birth family background Checklist
  • AF-009(i) – Infant Physical Challenge Checklist
  • AF-013-1 (his&hers) Statement of Good Health
  • AF0-13-2 (his&hers) Health History of Applicant
  • AF-058 – Adoptive Parent Consent to Use Photographs
  • AF-119 – American Indian Descent Form
  • AF-100 – Authorization to Share your Study
  • AF-027 – Statement regarding Firearms and Firearm Safety
  • AF-016 (his&hers) 10 Page Autobiography Form and Outline
  • AF-023 – Profile of Adoptive Parents
  • AF-151 – Health Insurance Statement of Coverage
  • AF-152 – Adoptive Parents' Acknowledgement of Discipline Policies
  • AF-500 - Interstate Compact Agreement
  • AF-204 - Discretionary Drug Testing Policy
  • AF-142 - FAST Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas Application  
  • AF-116 - Adoption Fees Policy and Explanation TX and OK Residents
  • AF-160 - Statement of Legal Risk
  • AF-150 - Internet Profile Information
  • AF-214 - Personal Outreach
2. Photograph of applicant/s and any children in the home.
3. Photographs of your home, surrounding grounds, outbuildings, etc.
4. Photograph/s of your pets.
5. Copy of current vaccination record for all pets for which vaccinations are necessary.
6. Sketch of your home’s floor plan, noting dimensions and purpose of each room (See example floor plan attached with proper dimensions and room purpose noted.). Also please note fire escape route/s on the floor plan.
7. Copy of home ownership, if applicable, i.e., Deed of Trust, Home Owner's Title Policy, etc. Statement from landlord, if renting, to verify rent.
8. Copy of driver’s license for each applicant if not returned with preliminary application. Copy of driver’s license for any other household member, or Social Security card if individual has no driver’s license.
9. Medical exams within the past six months for the adoptive applicants and any children or other persons in the home. (Items AF013-1 and AF014a listed in item 1 above)
10. Statement and proof of income. (Please supply a copy of the past year’s tax return.)
11. Copy of marriage license.
12. Certified copy of divorce decree, if applicable.
13. Certified copy of death certificate of spouse, if applicable.
14. Copy of birth certificate of each applicant and each child in applicants' home.
15. Copy of savings passbook or statement, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, retirement accounts, IRA’s, etc.Page 2
16. Proof of life and health insurance coverage (attach a copy of the face sheet of each life insurance policy showing the amount of the insurance and copy of health insurance policy or a copy of health insurance card showing date of eligibility).
17. Infant Parent Training Class verification (at least 6 hours). (Note: This is not a requirement for those who are parenting children currently.)
18. Infant, Child, and Adult CPR Certification.
19. First Aid Certification, with rescue breathing and choking.
20. Birth Mother Letter
21. Photo Album 

Even though this may seem really overwhelming, I have to say that we have really been blessed by this process.  It is so encouraging to see all the people interested in helping us to achieve this goal.

And for all that may be interested... we have finished designing our adoption t-shirts and just got the proof back from the t-shirt company.  We will be posting all the details soon!  They turned out really cute!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What's the Next Step?

Many have asked, "What's the next step?"  At this point we have not heard from the birth mom we met with in June so we are operating under the assumption that she has chosen a different family, which is completely fine.  We continue to pray for her daily and whichever family the Lord has for that precious baby girl, knowing that our babe has already been hand-picked as well.  

So what's next... well, at this point we are focusing our efforts on fundraising.  As soon as we have raised the amount for the Home Study we will submit our paperwork and get that ball rolling.  About a month ago we had a fantastic garage sale and we were so blessed when a couple we met at our adoption orientation showed up with a check... wow, talk about humbling and encouraging!  We raised around $850 that day and still had a garage full of items that did not sell.  So we basically left it all set up in the garage and decided to have another sale this past weekend.  We sold almost EVERYTHING!  At the end we had about 3 oxen of stuff that we panned to donate and a man drove up and asked if he could buy all of it and haul it off for us!  Sure you can!  In addition, we had another sweet family show up and hand us a card, which we later found out had a $500 check in it!  Wow!  We are completely amazed at the Lord's faithfulness!  

Our next plan is to get the t-shirts designed asap so that we may begin selling those and we are also working on our dinner fundraiser plans.  We will keep you posted as soon as all of the details are worked out.  Thanks so much for loving our family and enough to read this!  You are each a blessing to us! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why Does Adoption Cost So Much?

One of the questions we get asked all the time is, "Why does adoption cost so much?!?"  Many people have even asked us why we chose our agency instead of adopting through the State or even a cheaper agency.  These are tough questions, but we want to answer them in hopes that people can understand that this was not just a decision we came to overnight.  This was a decision that we put much research and prayer into making and I hope that this post may be helpful for understanding our journey and adoption as a whole.

Why We Chose Domestic Adoption:
We have a heart for both domestic and international adoption and plan to adopt internationally at some point; however, as we began the overwhelming task of researching adoption we found that domestic adoption offers clear guidelines and parameters (as much as possible) and we were able to find an amazing agency within miles of our home. We decided that for our first child we would walk through domestic adoption of an infant, and then see where God leads us in the future in regards to choosing a country or age for future international or domestic adoptions.

How and Why We Chose Christian Homes and Family Services for our Agency:
Back in the fall of 2011, we received an invitation in the mail to attend an event benefiting Christian Homes and Family Services.  David L. Cook,  the author of the book Seven Days in Utopia was scheduled to be the keynote speaker.  We had recently seen the movie based on the book and really enjoyed it, so we were excited about the possibility of hearing the author speak.  In addition, God had begun tugging on our heart about adoption, so we were also naturally interested in the event.  God used the event to speak to us in many ways and as a vehicle for nudging us to begin our adoption journey.

It was at this point we began to research the MANY different avenues for adoption.  This process can be extremely overwhelming, but if you are considering this process I would encourage to just begin searching the Internet and reading all that you can.  In addition, talk to people you know and spend lots of time in prayer over this decision.

We had already heard great things about the agency and were very impressed from the event we attended, but we didn't just stop there.  We spent hours and hours reading all that we could about all the different ways to adopt.  In the end, we chose Christian Homes.

We believe the history of the Agency speaks for itself.  I have included the history below (from their website - I have bolded some points that were important to us).  In addition, one of the things we loved about the agency was their incredible ministry to the birth mothers.  Yes, we could have chosen to go through the state (which is very needed form of adoption) but for us the birth mother is paramount and we believe shining Christ to her through this agency is another way we can indirectly impact her.

At our orientation, they were very upfront with us in saying that they are not the cheapest agency out there but they are also not the most expensive (they right in the middle).  They helped us to understand the costs involved and why they believed these costs were necessary and important to both the birth mother, us, and the baby.  To us excellence in ministry is very important and we believe Christian Homes and Family Services does that well.  Their history is listed below and then I have included the approximate cost of the adoption below that.

Our History

For decades Christian Homes & Family Services has been known as two agencies: Christian Homes of Abilene, a ministry originally conceived by the Highland Church of Christ in 1962 to provide foster care for young needy children; and Christian Services of East Texas, a ministry given life in 1975 by the Glenwood Church of Christ in Tyler also to provide foster care for children rescued from neglect and abuse.
In 1999, the two independent agencies, both recognized as 501(c) 3 organizations by the Internal Revenue Service, merged and in 2006, the agency began operating under the same assumed name, Christian Homes & Family Services.
Almost as soon as Christian Homes began operating, it discovered and began responding to a desperate need for maternity care for young women with unplanned pregnancies. For more than 50 years, Christian Homes has provided residential and community-based care for young women with unplanned pregnancies. Most often, the care culminates in the agency finding loving parents to adopt their precious babies.
When a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy reaches out to Christian Homes for maternity care, our goal is that through the ministry, her life, as well as the life of her child, will be transformed. We may arrange for her housing, either in our comfortable apartments in Abilene or in her hometown, and we may also provide her food, clothing, medical care, legal services, moral support, counseling, and if needed, foster care for her newborn.
Our Abilene foster parents stand in the gap for birth mothers and adoptive parents. Foster parents love and care for newborn babies who must leave the hospital before all the legal hurdles have been jumped and they are cleared for adoption by their new and forever family. Infant foster care is provided according to the same strict standards as is required by the State for all foster care provided for minor children.
For young children who have been removed by the State from the home they likely shared with biological parents or relatives but where they were abused or neglected, our goal is that a Christian Homes’ foster family will be the last foster home they ever need. Our ministry is to identify, train, and prepare loving, Christian couples to welcome young foster children into their home and to ultimately make them a forever member of their family through adoption.
Christian Homes & Family Services is governed by a 23-member Board of Trustees who for more than three decades has operated independently of its founding church congregations. The agency is served by a 21-member team of dedicated employees; five of whom have worked for the agency more than 25 years. All trustees and employees are faithful and committed Christians. The agency is licensed by the State of Texas to provide maternity care and foster care, and in both Texas and Oklahoma to provide adoption services.
Approximately 40% of the agency’s $2 million budget is funded by adoption fees. For the balance, the agency relies on the generosity of individuals, churches, sympathetic businesses, foundations, and sound investing of the dollars donated to the agency’s endowment fund.
Since 1962 Christian Homes & Family Services has placed more than 1850 precious babies and children into loving adoptive homes, provided maternity care for more than 2500 women, and cared for more than 1570 foster children.
Christian Homes Fee Schedule:
  • Pre-application -              $95
  • Orientation -                    $250
  • Application -                   $750
  • Home Study -                 $1500
  • Social Services -             $4,800
  • Marketing -                    $6,000
  • Match/Placement -         $10,000 - $25,000 (sliding scale based on income of adoptive family)
  • Parental Termination -   $1,500
  • Consummation -              varies

Approximate Total Costs -       $25,895 - $40, 895

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of why adoption costs so much and helps you have a little insight into this huge process.  We believe it is important to be transparent with people, as much as possible, about the process of adoption because that helps you to better understand how you can love and support us through this journey, but hopefully it will also give you a heart for caring for the orphans in some way as well.

We are all called to care for the orphans, but we are not all called to adopt.  You might consider helping to care for the orphans by supporting our family through prayer, donating your time or services, or donating financial resources to help provide a home for a child.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crazy Roller Coaster Ride

A few weeks ago we experienced our craziest day yet walking through the adoption process... we met with a birth mother.

We haven't shared this publicly until now because ultimately it is up to her (really the Lord) to choose us and at this point she has not chosen us.

But WOW, this is one crazy roller coaster ride so far.  I describe it as a roller coaster ride because I am not sure people can truly understand the range of emotions experienced unless you have also walked through this process.

It is similar to thinking you might be pregnant, but don't know for sure... except this baby might come much sooner than 9 months from now (this particular birth mom is due in October).

It was similar to a job interview, except it was the most important job interview we will ever attend because it is interviewing for parenthood (except most people never have to "interview" to become a parent).  

At this point, I cannot imagine how my heart will hold up if we have to do this again and again.

Don't get me wrong, we are doing well... this is such an exciting journey.  We know for a FACT that the Lord is in complete control and he has hand picked each of our children way before we ever had the ability to even consider adoption.  But I just have to be real and say this is an unbelievably hard journey, which requires us to walk in complete reliance on the Lord - which is the sweetest place to be.

So now for the details (which is why you are here in the first place, right?) ...

Towards the end of May we received a message from some friends indicating that they had learned of a birth mom who is looking for a good family and they wondered if we were interested in meeting with her.  We agreed to meet with her to see if this was a possibility.

On a Saturday a few weeks ago, we drove to the Metroplex, where she lives, to meet with this sweet girl.  It was a beautiful afternoon, so we sat outside on the patio underneath a umbrella and waited for her to arrive.  I can't even begin to put words to the emotions we felt as we sat there waiting for her to arrive.  But soon they arrived (she and her mom) and the conversation flowed fairly easily.

Kate (not her real name) is 18 and her mom is only 3 years older than me and younger than DJ.  Her mom (I'll call her Missy) had Kate at 18 and she was really encouraging Kate to give the baby up for adoption because she wants her granddaughter to be able to have the life she was not able to provide for Kate.  Kate was also very much on board with the plan of adoption, although we did sense how difficult this decision is for her.

Kate and Missy asked us some very difficult questions and at times it seemed that they were looking for very specific answers in return.  They were so warm and friendly in response to our answers, but we really don't know exactly how our answers matched up with what they are looking for.

Kate was very interested in Open Adoption (which is what we are choosing to do) and wanted to know how "open" we are to open adoption.  We shared how important she is to us as the birth mom and that our baby would know from the beginning that he/she is adopted.  DJ did a great job of explaining to her that our adoption counselor with Christian Homes would be able to help us set up the expectations and parameters for our open adoption and that this would be something that we would all come to a written agreement about.  (Side note:  Open adoption has become the most common form of adoption today and I will write another post later about how this works and why it is the method we have chosen for our family.)

They asked us if the baby would go to private school or if we would choose to homeschool.  I shared with them my heart for public school and some simple reasons why we had chosen that path for our family.  We told them that our children would either attend the school where I teach or the great school in our neighborhood.

They also asked if I would be staying home with the baby or what our plans were for childcare if I continued to work.

We shared with them many, many details about our life... our jobs, family, church, home etc.

Faith was very important to them and we were able to share the up most importance that Christ holds in our lives.  They also asked specific questions about our church and denomination.

Before we left DJ asked if could pray for us.  We prayed and then told Kate that we would continue to pray for her regardless of whether or not she chose us for her baby.  We also told her that the ball is in her court.  We are very open to meeting with her again or talking on the phone if she has more questions, but we are not going to contact her again unless she chooses to make contact.  We gave her the contact information for our adoption agency, in case she was interested.

We walked away feeling hopeful, but also guarded. From the beginning we were so excited about the opportunity to meet her, but we also tried to guard our hearts knowing that she may not choose us.  At this point, it has been 3 weeks and we have not heard from her.  We are OK with that because we know God is sovereign, but we would definitely ask you to pray for us as walk this exciting but difficult journey.  We wouldn't have it any other way and we are so excited for the testimony God is unfolding for our precious babes even before they are ever born.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Faith in the Details

I walked into my classroom this morning to find a gift on my desk.  Since it is Valentine's day I assumed that one of my students had brought it in before I arrived.

 I glanced at the gift quickly, but decided to wait to open it until the giver made their arrival in a few minutes.   It sat amongst other smaller gifts that I had already received this week from my little ones.

"Wow," I thought, "someone really put a lot of thought into this."

I quickly began to get ready for my day because my first graders would be arriving soon.  As the kids arrived I expected someone to proudly tell me that they had brought the beautiful gift on my desk.  No one did.  So a few minutes later I asked them who had given it to me.  They did not know.

At this point, I began to look at the gift a little more carefully.  I noticed the photograph collage with the word "faith," the jar of pink tulips (my favorite), a Sonic drink, and a Snickers (also my favorite). It was all tucked neatly inside a wooden crate.  I tasted the Sonic drink and realized it was cream Dr. Pepper, a new favorite that a friend I work with had introduced to me in the past year.

"Oh!  This is a gift from a friend who works with me! But which friend?"

There were a couple who knew the struggles of our past year... taking the scary step of faith to begin the adoption process, pregnancy, miscarriage, pause in the process...

I am now mentally trying to decide which friend had been so thoughtful to put this together.  Maybe a few of them?

You may be wondering, why I did not automatically assume this was from my husband...

It completely has his name written all over it, but he was out of town on a basketball trip for work and the few days before he left were filled with busyness, so I knew he did not have time to orchestrate this gift.

But then I saw it... tied neatly in the bow around the mouth of the mason jar was a jump drive.

Oh my! I covered my mouth and gasped... the tears began to flow.  Who had done this?!  I'm mentally trying to think who knew that I had carefully put away our adoption jump drive after the miscarriage?  I put it in a very safe place, a place so safe that we still have no recollection of the location!

I left my students with my student teacher and quickly ran (i.e  which translates to quick walking feet in an elementary school) to my friends' classrooms.

"Did you do it?"

Looks of confusion...

"Do what?"

Finally I found Libby.  "Did you do it?! How did you do it?"

She gives me a little grin.

"It wasn't me.  It was your husband."

Now I am so confused, but also thinking, "How ridiculous could I be?!  Of course it was him... but how?!"

She says, "I put it in your room, but you need to call him.  I don't want to give it away.  Let him tell you the details."

At this point, I am so overwhelmed with emotion and excitement.  I run to the phone and call him at his hotel in New Braunfels.  I wake him up... but he is happy to explain.

He tells me he thought of the idea the day before and had called the agency to explain our story.  He calls Margaret at Christian Homes and Family Services (our amazing adoption agency).  He spills the whole story about why we had misplaced the jump drive.  He tells how the Lord has been clearly telling us in the last few weeks that we need to step out in faith and trust Him in this.  Finally he asks if it would be possible to get a new jump drive.

 Margaret says, "Of course! But my assistant is out today and she is the one who loads all of the application files onto the jump drive."

DJ tells her not to worry about it today and says, he can just get it next week.  No problem.

But Margaret insists that she will see what she can do.

15 minutes later, Margaret calls back and tells him that she explained the whole story to her assistant and she said, "I love the Gilillands!  I want to take care of this today!"

Margaret tells him that he can come by after 2:00, so he runs across town to take care of this before he needs to leave with the team at 3:00.  Next he calls Libby's husband and asks for the favor.  He takes the jump drive to Ryan and then calls Libby to ask her to help him get the rest.

He explains he wants to recreate this song that we love called "Wal-Mart Flowers," but he needs a few things.  Libby selflessly goes to pick out the items and texts him pictures of the items she finds to get his final decision.

He decides on the faith collage since the Lord is clearly calling us to step out in faith.

As he speaks, I am in complete awe!  I am so in love with this sweet man the Lord has chosen for me, and also so excited that God is orchestrating our adoption story with each perfect detail.

I cannot wait to share these details one day with the precious one He has already chosen for us!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stepping out in Faith

Wow... it has been a full year since I have been able to blog.

It has been a challenging year.  After our second miscarriage, I struggled for at least a few months to feel like myself again.  I think my husband was really worried.  I didn't know how much I struggled until now when I can look back upon the whole thing.

If I am honest, I haven't blogged this past year because I haven't known how to answer the questions about the pause in our adoption process.  I kept thinking we would get back to it soon.  We wanted to get back to it.  I think we both believed we would get back in the grove much sooner than this, but we both felt so much fear in the process.

Most of fear came from the fact that we had no idea how to pay the enormous expenses of adoption.  We know that most people fundraise to at least help pay for their adoption, and that has always been our plan... but somehow we have still held onto this almost unspeakable fear of asking people to help.

When I step outside of myself, it sounds silly even to me.  I am person who naturally trusts that God provides (this is not a compliment to me at all, but just part of my natural, God-given personality).  However, somehow stepping out in faith in this has felt really scary and awkward.

Where do we begin?  We still aren't completely sure...

I think we have some good ideas, but we still need to nail everything down.

But I can say that the Lord is doing a huge work in our hearts and it is really incredible to know He is working... and also a lot of fun. I am excited about the anticipation of it all.  I can't wait to see how His plan unfolds.

At this point, there are still a lot of unknowns but I just wanted to share a little bit of how you can pray for us right now.  We are planning to begin the fundraising process in the near future.  Right now we are researching and making some decisions about where to begin.

There are so MANY options!  Pray that God would guide us through these scary and humbling decisions.  Pray that we would be willing to step out in faith wherever He leads.

There are so many reasons to wait... but we desire to be obedient.  So please pray that we would not wait any longer than He wants us to and that fear would not be an issue.

My hope is that we will have some fundraising news soon.

We know that God doesn't call everyone to adopt but he does call us all to care for the orphans.  One way you can do this is by praying for us as we begin this process (again).

This morning my Bible study just happened to be over this verse (don't believe for one second that I thought this was a coincidence):

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

He is doing BIG things and I can't wait to share more of it with you later.