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Monday, September 27, 2010

Waiting for Referral!

As of September 20, 2010, we are officially waiting for our referral! Our agency told us last Monday that they have sent our dossier and home study to South Korea! A referral, for those of you who may not know, is when the Korean agency matches us with an orphan and we may receive the following information about the child: photos, medical, social, developmental, and any other background information. We then would have the choice to accept or deny that referral based on that information, within a certain amount of time.
So, how long do we have to wait? Well, that is really unknown. Our agency has told us to expect anywhere between 6 to 8 months! But...another source, a friend that is adopting from Korea from the same agency, said that she got her referral in 4 ½ months! She also told me that her sources (people who have adopted from our agency) have told her that if this is your first child, then you get priority in a faster referral, a that is why they got theirs so quickly! Well, I don't know how much of this will be true for us, but I sure like the way it sounds! ;) So, good news is that we might get an early referral, bad news is we have less time to raise the money we need to accept it! At referral, we are going to need to pay $2500 again to our agency, plus $16,540 for our international fees!!! That number blows me away every time I see it because I have NO idea how we are going to raise it! But...I know that God does! Really, this is the main reason I do this blog. To have record of what God has done and will do, so that one day I can show my child and others all He did for this to happen and to bring Him glory through it!
So, just so you know, the next few months are going to be a full force effort to FUND RAISE! We want to try to raise as much as we can before the beginning of the year, so if we do receive an early referral, we will be ready. Please pray for us, and ask God for a miracle in providing all the funds we need for this adoption! Ask Him to help us use this time efficiently as we apply for grants and fund raise, and for Him to prepare our hearts for parenthood while we wait. If you have any ideas or interested in helping us in anyway, please feel free to contact us. We are incredibly thankful for everyone who follows our journey and has helped us so far in the process! We love you all!
Flowers from my hubby to honor the occasion...

Friday, September 17, 2010

I-600A Approved!

Been waiting a long time to read these words...

"It has been determined that you are able to furnish proper care to an orphan(s) as defined in Section 101 (B) (1) (F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act."
We received this faster than we thought! Praise God! Next step...our agency sends all our approved paperwork and home study to South Korea! Yay!
We remembered the thumbs up this time...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Our Amazing Yard Sale!

Well...our "hopefully" huge yard sale turned into an "absolutely" HUGE YARD SALE! How could I have ever doubted our God!? It was just AMAZING! From start to finish, evidence of God's provision was all around us! I only wish I was better at writing and explaining things. But if you have the patience, I will at least attempt to. :)
God's Blessings:
The Donations!
So, first off, I have to begin with the donations! To be totally honest, I was really worried there for a while that we wouldn't get anything. I kept thinking, “we are doing advertising for a HUGE yard sale, and what if we don't get anything!” But after seeing everything laid out, I was just overwhelmed at the amount of items we had for sale, and thought “how did I ever waste a thought on worrying about that?!” We thought we had gotten a lot of stuff the week before the sale...it literally filled up our garage! But then my parents came and then our downstairs started filling up! And then Bry's dad came the day before our sale with a huge truck and trailer full of more nice stuff!! We had to cover it up with a tarp and leave it there, because we just couldn't put it anywhere. We had so many people give us donations up until the day of the sale! And it wasn't junk. It was great stuff! Even the small stuff was great! Bry and I had to hold ourselves back sometimes, for wanting some of it. We did, however, give into some things like... a Darth Vader Christmas ornament (thanks Tim) and... some new teething toys for our little one (thanks Allison), just as mementos! ;) But anyway, everyone that came by the house would say, wow, this is a lot of great stuff! We were just blown away by the response!
Good Deals!
Of course, I can't help but mention my coupon deals! :) Since we knew we were doing this yard sale a few months in advance, I started keeping my eye out for deals. We wanted to pay as little out of pocket as possible. Little things like markers, poster board, baked goods and drinks would add up. Well, God provided deals for us too! Our neighborhood builder provided signs for us to use. Publix donated a bunch of bags and some boxes to use (from a manager who was also adopting). ;) I got baked goods for pennies with coupons at Publix (and our wonderful Sunday school ladies). I got tons of water and Sobe bottles for free by working the CVS deals! I got poster board, tape, and even some lights to go around the poster board, also free at Rite Aid! And I found a deal online from a company that makes vinyl banners and made one for us, to not only use for this fund raiser, but for future ones too; that was only $6! We spent a total of about $50 for all this, an ad in the paper, and gas!
Our Health!
God provided health for both Bry and me. I won't get into too much detail, but Bry was having some sinus issues for a few weeks, and I have been dealing with severe and chronic vertigo for nearly two months. And yet, the week before our yard sale, God renewed us, and gave us both the energy we needed to prepare for this sale! And boy, did we need it! From early morning to late at night, I (and Bryan after work) did nothing but price, clean, organize, and plan! There was always something to do. I thought I would never have enough time to get everything done, but around 11:30pm, on Friday, we priced our last article of clothing and looked around and there was nothing else left to do! We were in bed by midnight. God provided just the right amount of time too!
Also, on a personal note, anyone who knows me pretty well, knows that I deal with anxiety. I worry about a lot of stuff that I shouldn't, sometimes causing me to be sick and have panic attacks . Even though I feel I am getting better, it can be pretty unpredictable. So, many times I get scared anticipating that I will have an attack and that causes me not to want to do things to avoid embarrassment. I realize this is a spiritual stronghold I have to deal with the rest of my life and have to work hard to resist the temptation to worry and just trust God. This sale was so important to me... so much work had gone into it, so many people were involved, and most importantly, it was for OUR child! I knew this would be the perfect opportunity for Satan to attack! Well...he did. I was nervous and got sick all night long causing me only to get 3 hours of sleep that night! I was exhausted and felt horrible, but along with the sickness I prayed constantly for strength and instead of giving up, I made myself (or God allowed me to) trust in the Lord. I just got up and stepped out in faith that God would help me through, and I was perfectly fine. No one even knew (except for Bry, of course.) ;) I just feel it was important for me to mention this even though a lot of people didn't know this was going on, because it was a MAJOR blessing for me to even be present at the yard sale!
Again, I worried. This time that no one would come. Here I was blown away by all the stuff and all these people helping, and thought now “what if people don't come after all of this?!” We started unloading stuff around 5:30am, and then as we were unloading, I noticed it started to get light outside and realized no one had even shown up yet. Bry and I had gone around the weekend before to yard sales for advice, and all of them said, set up early because they will come before daylight. About the time I thought about this, a couple strolls in around 7:15. And then they just all started coming! It was so busy! I actually went home to let the dogs out thinking it must be 12:00 based on how busy we were and how much we were selling and when I saw the clock it was only 9:00!! God provided a steady amount of shoppers the entire time!
Location and Weather!
We had a perfect location and weather! With all the stuff we had, there would have been no way we could have had it at our house. Even though it was more work to move everything out there, we were so blessed to have approval for use of our neighborhood pavilion. We had plenty of parking for the huge amount of traffic. Everyone was friendly, and we had no complaints from the neighbors, even though this event attracted so much traffic into the neighborhood! The weather was nice and cool all morning, a little heat in the afternoon, but I won't complain because the rain stayed away. Actually the first drop fell on my head after packing up our car with the last of the stuff, and I was walking back home! God held off the rain up until the last minute for us!
This, by far, was our greatest blessing! One of the reasons we chose to do a yard sale was because we honestly thought it would be easier to ask for donations than it would be to ask for money. We thought we could plan it all, get a few donations and a few workers and do most of the work ourselves without any help. Not because we didn't think we could get it, we just didn't want to have to ask. Well, we did need the help and we still didn't have to ask! We have the most amazing friends and family in the world. Everyone was just so willing to help! I mean, who gets up willingly at 5:00 in the morning and does hours of physically and mentally exhausting labor and still asks what else they can do to help? I only expected a couple people to stick around to help for a few hours, but instead they all stayed for most of the sale! Turns out we needed it! I just don't know what we would have done without all these people there to help! I had to hold back tears the whole time. It was so emotional seeing how God was using these people to do things that I know we couldn't have done. We had very little experience with yard sales, but some of our more experienced friends stepped up and were able to sell so much stuff! I knew it had to be so overwhelming and exhausting, because it was for me, and they just did it with a smile on their face! This wasn't benefiting them at all! This was pure and genuine kindness that only could come from God! I could go on and on about the sacrifices these people did for us! I was absolutely humbled! And I know that there were those that wanted to be there and couldn't, but were with us in prayer. And I thank you for that and I hope after reading all of this, you will see evidence of those answered prayers! When we got home, Bry and I hugged each other and just cried. All I could say was, “I can't believe they did that for us.” We prayed together, and thanked our LORD for such a successful yard sale! (and this was before we counted the money!) ;)
Okay, so this is probably what you have been wanting to read this whole time. Let me say at first, Bry and I talked about what we thought our goal would be. At first I cautiously thought $1000 would be great, then as we got closer to the sale and saw all the stuff, I thought maybe we could even make $2000! Bry, always overly optimistic, hoped for $3000!!! I made fun of him for thinking we could make that much. So, anyways, before I say the total, enjoy some pictures from the event....
All for a little Korean orphan...

And...the Grand Total was.....


God exceeded our expectations! Over-exceeded mine, by far! If we ever had doubts this adoption being part of God's will, they are gone now! After an experience like that, it is hard to believe that God is not in this! Can't wait to tell our little one about all the things people did just so they could be a part of our family!! To all those involved in this fund raiser, either by prayer or participation, we can NEVER thank you enough! We are so inspired by you and just hope to return the same amount of love and sacrifice for you one day!