Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hanging onto the "Rope"

Over the past three weeks, I've found myself, many times, feeling like Jude and Jake in this picture. Navigating my way through a spider web of paper chasing of documents for our dossier, organizing important fundraisers, home study requirements and meetings, and just LIFE! AND just like the boys, I've been hanging on for dear life hoping to make it through it all without falling flat on my face! The great news is.... it's all coming together! God is so good- He's totally been the "rope" I'm hanging on and trusting in this journey! When I've felt overwhelmed and like I was about to fall through a hole in the web, I've been continually reminded to just hang on! He's faithful and trustworthy and He's leading the way.

So here's where we're at in the process as of now...

Our home study report is being written up and hopefully we'll be able to review it and send it off to AGCI to be reviewed maybe by next week sometime?! Our in-home meeting with "B", our social worker, went really well! She is full of insightful information regarding children that are coming from an orphanage and the differences in raising Jude compared to our next child. And truthfully, while I feel somewhat ill equipped to know how to handle it all- I trust that God's grace is given according to need, and he will prepare Joshua and I along the way!

Our dossier is almost complete! We are waiting on our FBI prints to come back in. Because we had a heads up that the wait has been up to 14 weeks long, we tried to be ahead of the game and we mailed off our request at the beginning of August... so I'm hopeful that we'll have our prints back within a couple weeks! Also, we're waiting on our passports to come back in and I think that they should arrive around the same time as the FBI prints. Other than that, besides our two reference letters for our dossier (that are on the way) we have all the required documents collected! I have been one determined mama to knock this sucker out as quick as possible so I didn't have it hanging over my head! I've managed to collect it all in about 4 weeks... now I just need to wait to get the two documents back.

That being said... here's our next prayer request. Once our home study report is approved with AGCI we are then able to turn in our dossier. BUT we are also required to turn in our next chunk of money totaling $5,000 at that time too! I know, take a breath with me- it's a lot of money, I get that. We have paid all the fees for documents to be gathered so far for our dossier and we have paid our home study in full already, which leaves us with $1,473.08 in savings as of now. So our prayer request would be that the funding of the remaining $3,527 would come in in God's timing.

We continue to plan on doing our part in bringing in any extra income whenever and where ever we can and we continue to seek God's guidance in how we can do that! We plan on doing another yard sale at the end of October with the remaining items we had from this past weekend's sale and including any other donated items people might be willing to give. I just got an email yesterday asking if I'd be willing to lifeguard for the Toyota US Open Triathlon of the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series coming up on October 10th. It pays $100 (which I probably would have done for free honestly because I get to work with the Coast Guard- how awesome is that?! I'm a dork when it comes to water safety if you haven't already figured that out), and so every little bit helps! We are still doing the Just Love Coffee fundraiser,  the Worthy of the Prize Auction, the Chosen Child T-shirts, the Chosen Child Band, and the Chosen Necklace sales as well.

So here's the deal.. it might just turn out that we have an approved home study and completed dossier sitting in front of us, BUT that we can't turn it in because the funds aren't there to accompany it. And while that sucks truthfully... I have to be okay with that and trust that it's God's timing. He has been faithful to provide for each step along the way so far in His perfect timing, so I trust Him again with this. The hardest part about the thought of not being able to turn everything in is the fact that we can't be put on the wait list until it is. As of now, the timeframe we've been given from AGCI from wait list until referral (for a boy 0-12 months old) is 10 months minimum. So obviously the sooner we're able to be put on the list, the better. It's the whole "hurry up and wait" thing really. So... once again, I lay over any agenda I might  have and trust that God's got this thing figured out. But you're prayers that funding would be there around the same time that the dossier and home study are complete would be much appreciated! (o;

So, that's that in the Helms house as of now! Our prayer is that God would continue to get the glory through out this journey and that we would be obedient and faithful along the way! Thank you for your encouragement and support!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Garage Sale Success!!!

Setting up at 5AM on Friday in the dark
My amazing mama, up bright and early to help... thank you!

Jeff (our neighbor) earned some major points in our book for coming outside at 5AM to help set up! We owe you big time Jeff! 
All the kids toys lined up on the sidewalk

Daylight! My partner in crime... LOVE him! Joshua secretly must work in retail, because he was selling clothes like a mad man! 

From about 6:45AM until 11:15AM the people just kept pouring in! 
My wonderful parents were such a help!

The next morning we woke up at 6:30AM to pouring rain and we were sure no one would show up, BUT we were wrong!  6:45AM rolled around and we had our first faithful buyer! We left everything inside the garage just the way we had pulled it all in from the night before and we just let people rummage through boxes. They didn't seem to care a bit! Notice my sweet hubby... he would go meet people at their car with an umbrella and walk them in- such a gentleman! 

I looked out the front door at one point and saw this! The guy literally drove off with this couch hanging out of his car just like this! I'm pretty sure he probably got pulled over at some point! 

Alright, are you ready for this?! Even with one day being rainy all day long we managed to bring in $2121 total in Yard Sale Proceeds!!! Can you believe this?! Such a blessing! We were amazed at the turn out and the success! We want to thank everyone again who donated items for the sale, gave of their time, purchased items at the sale, and stopped by to show their support! We couldn't have done this without ya'll! 

On another note, we had our in-home home study on Sunday and it went super well! I'll post next about that! Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Time Has Come! Our Adoption Yard Sale is HERE!

I just put Jude down for his afternoon nap and I have a split second to write, before getting back to pricing and organizing the last load of things that was just dropped off for the Yard Sale! Guess what?!... The time has come to get this ball rolling!!! So much generosity, preparation, organization,  and time have been put into this sale and tomorrow and Saturday we're praying it pays off! Just incase you've been living under a rock and haven't heard my many annoying updates- This weekend, Friday 24th and Saturday 25th, starting at 7AM on both days, at 8205 Sonnet Drive McKinney TX 75071, we're going to be selling a ton of donated items and 100% of the proceeds are going towards our adoption costs! 

We have already been blessed by early "buyers" off of Craigslist and have made a profit of $555 before the sale even begins!!! We've taken some of that money and put it back into the yard sale to have donuts, coffee, hot dogs, and drinks at the sale along with the some of the costs in making the signs & cards. But seriously, what a great start!

My prayer is that God would just show up this weekend! In ways that I can't imagine. I pray that He shows up in conversations with strangers, and that we would represent Him well. I pray for generous hearts and that He would provide in amazing ways, like He did in multiplying the fish and bread for the five thousand in Matthew 14.  I pray that hearts might be opened to adoption and the truth of God's love for the orphans would be evident. I pray that the items we're selling would bless others in need and come as an answered prayer to them as well. I pray for awesome weather! I pray that ultimately we would tell the story He is writing in lives well and that He would get the glory in it all. 

We would be so grateful for your prayers as well! It's going to be two pretty early mornings, the game plan is to be up by 4AM and setting stuff out by 5AM... so pray that we don't fall asleep! Oh how wonderful it would be if we were able to sell EVERYTHING!?!

To top off an already super busy weekend, we have our Home Study meeting on Sunday afternoon where our caseworker, "B",  is coming to our house- so after the sale, some serious cleaning and baby proofing is going to be going down in the Helms house! Say a little prayer for Joshua because he's not super enthusiastic about cleaning and I'm hoping he choses to have a happy heart about it all! (o;

Monday, September 20, 2010

How it's unfolding- His timeline thus far!

So I have a "timeline" page on the side of the blog that I highly doubt anyone ever notices or looks at... I wish I could have a different layout for our blog design where I could put tabs at the top to direct people to the main "umph" of this journey, but I can't. So for now, the hard to notice, "How it's unfolding so far" link will have to do. BUT... just to catch everyone up real quick on only the factual milestones we've hit so far, here you have it! Keep in mind our calendar is chalked full of all the emotional blessings we've received and all the details of generosity as well! That being said, even just looking at the nitty gritty met requirements and paperwork turned in bring me to tears as it's so stinking evident God is unfolding this story right before our eyes!

September 20: Mailed off Power of Attorney to get state certified. Mailed off application for passports.
September 17: Notarized our Power of Attorney
September 16: Notarized copies of our birth cert's for HS. Met with "B" our home study social worker and handed over all the important doc's she needed to start our home study! LOVED her! 
September 13: Dossier Walk-thru webinar
September 12: Passport pictures taken
September 10: Hilary's doctor appointment needed for dossier, notarized
September 9: Bright Dreams International home study agency finally was approved as a cooperating agency with AGCI, we can move forward!
September 8: Ordered Birth Certificates
September 7: Ordered marriage license
August 31: Purchased the required online education courses, cost: $172
August 30: Heard from AGCI, still working on getting Bright Dreams International approved as a cooperating agency. Can't do our dossier run-through call until that is taken care of. Praying.
August 29: Began our required education "Eyes Wide Open" workbook... it's gonna take awhile!
August 27: Received Adoption Planner (aka The Big Hefty): Includes everything we need to gather for our dossier and allows us to begin the paper chase!
August 25: AGCI Received our Orientation Packet/Contract and it's all good!
August 23: Mailed in all our notarized Orientation Packet/Contract to AGCI with our $7390 check
August 21: Got all Orientation Paperwork notarized
August 20: Had our AGCI Orientation call
August 16: Orientation Packet Arrived!
August 11: Found out we needed to change home study agencies. Hoping for Bright                                   Dreams International- the two agencies are getting the paperwork together to see if they can make Bright Dreams a cooperating agency.
August 5: Officially Approved with AGCI
August 4: Mailed in FBI fingerprints
August 3: Joshua and I got our FBI fingerprints taken
July 30: Mailed in our Official Application with AGCI with $300 application fee
July 29: Met our goal of having $6000 in savings in order to start the process!
All of June: Raised money
May 10: Sent out update letters letting other's know what God was doing in our lives
April 14: Asked AGCI how much we should have saved up before turning in official application. Recommended over $6k. Start thinking creatively on how to come up with that kind of money!
April 8: AGCI approval for the pre-application
March 25:  Joshua and I both felt like God laid Adoption on our hearts at the same time on this night.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Check this out!!!!

I almost forgot to tell you about this awesome Adoption Auction that Worthy of the Prize is hosting for it's adopting families that it partners with!!! Check it out... it'll be just in time for Christmas purchases! 

Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

It's a week before our mega Adoption Yard Sale and you want to hear something awesome?!?.... We've already made $470 before the sale even begins! Wahoo! I decided to post the sale on several online free classifieds late last week, Craigslist being one of them. Well just from that post, we were able to sell an armoire, fridge, lawn mower, and kid's rocking chair = $470!!! Which also means less stuff for us to have to drag out on the mornings of the sale! A true blessing if you ask Joshua! Oh but don't fret, we still have some great things for the sale! A gas dryer, tons of kids toys and necessities, clothes (from baby to adult), poker table, home decor, bikes... yadda yadda- the list goes on!

Another pretty cool thing that has come of this are the people we've met who have bought the stuff! Truly, it's been a blessing to have incredible people buy the things we've sold so far! We've been encouraged and blessed by our encounters with complete strangers! We're getting ready to meet a gal today actually who is dropping off several totes worth of home decor for our sale. She saw our post promoting the yard sale on Craigslist and said she wanted to help and donate some things in support of our adoption! LOVE this! God is using strangers to bring this kiddo home!

On the paper chase side of things, everything is coming along! We were able to get our power of attorney notarized yesterday and I'll send one of the copies off to get state certified on Monday. We filled out our passport applications today and will get those in the mail too. I met with "B" our home study social worker on Thursday and I LOVE her! I was able to have my first little interview with her and hand over all the documents she was needing for the home study. She'll be coming out to our place next Sunday to meet the whole family, including my mom, dad and sis! I genuinely am looking forward to meetings with her- there is something very therapeutic about her that I just love (it might be the fact that she has an awesome South African accent that I truly could listen to all day long!). I'm going to be bummed when our home study is complete and we're not required to meet with her! (o; We're still knocking out our required education one night at time, The Eyes Wide Open workbook will not get the best of us.. just our aching hands! We have one more online course to finish up and we'll be done with that!

So it looks like we almost have everything checked off the list that we have to order and take care of when it comes to our dossier documents! Joshua still needs to get in for his physical and have it notarized, but other than that, it's just waiting on getting back the things we've requested... our recommendation letters, copies of our birth certificates, state certified power of attorney, and our FBI checks to come back! I just sighed because I actually see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I'm still praying for balance in it all because the juggling act of life, adoption, and fundraising is still a bit tricky. I keep telling myself that this is just for a season of our lives and once we have our home study and dossier turned in and are put on the wait list I will be able to breathe again!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Balance

Sheesh! I feel like I've been juggling a million things over the past several days and I've barely had time to sit down and breathe. I'm totally in one of those places where everywhere I turn and look there is something to get done, whether it be everyday "life" stuff, like laundry, cleaning, and groceries... or adoption mumbo jumbo, like dossier documents to gather, and our required education... or preparing for this mega yard sale, sorting, organizing, and pricing like a crazy lady! Add on top of that, starting a Beth Moore Bible study, A Women's Heart, that I'm super excited about but completely at a loss for when I'm going to have the time to knock it out! (ladies that have done Beth Moore before, you know that the homework load can be a doozey!)  Oh and one minor detail in this mix... I have a 3 year old son that needs his mama!  I'm not sure how the heck to find the balance in it all besides to make "to do" lists and feel a little accomplished when I cross one off... AND Diet Mt. Dew does wonders in keeping me going! (o;  But both those things only go so far, so I pray that God would step into my chaos and be in it with me, providing a healthy balance of it all. 

And YES a blog entry as been on the list and I feel a little better now that I can cross it off the list, at least  for today! (o; Any other of you adopting mama's ever feel like this?!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The "Nudge" of God

Over and over again Joshua and I have been amazed at how people are totally taking initiative and generously thinking outside the box in ways to help fund this crazy expensive adoption of ours! I mean, seriously... they're following through and coming up with ideas I would have never thought of, all in an effort to help bring our little boy home! It's quite possibly the most amazing and humbling experience of our life! And to think, we could be missing all of this if we would have said no to His burden because of our fear!

What really sticks out though is that people are being obedient to the nudge of the Holy Spirit to "do something"! It's like God is whispering in the ears of His people, giving them ideas, and courage, and creativity, and guts to follow through. I know He funds His callings... I'm just simply amazed at how He uses His people to do it! I say that with tears in my eyes because it simply is "God"... He's at work. These blessings have been a HUGE reminder to Joshua and I as well to follow through and be obedient to the whispers of God! I've never seen more clearly God use His people as His hands and feet to accomplish His story!

I went to the mail box today to find a letter from a gal who went to college with my sis, Carla. I'd like to share with you what her note said:

"Joshua and Hilary,

Cool story: I was wearing "your" t-shirt the other day while helping neighbors clear out their garage. I offered to list their dog crate on Craigslist for them. After asking about my shirt they told me to sell the crate and give you the $!!! How cool is that??!! So I got the idea to go to garage sells for cheap stuff and clean it up. I'll sell it in an upcoming resale and what I make goes to your fund! Hope this adds to your fund a little at a time.


And she included $35 in cash.... What?! Simply the hands of God at work once again! Carla, you amaze me and I can't thank you enough for being a part of our story!

Other GREAT news that we found out today... The home study agency we want to use finally got approved today and is now officially a cooperating HS with AGCI! Our Dossier Walk-thru is scheduled for Monday evening! Yay!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Want to Help?!

We are super excited to share that three amazing companies, Worthy of the Prize , Cap Creations, and 517 Creations have partnered with us to help fundraise for our adoption! Check out these super fun and trendy items that you could purchase and would help us in the process! 

Cap Creations will give us $10 for every Chosen Necklace sold

Worthy of the Prize will give us 1/2 the proceeds from every Fit Band (key chain) sold

517 Creations will give $5 from every shirt sold towards our adoption

Take the time to check out each of these sites and see how they are opening their hearts and business to "defend the fatherless" and support adoptive families in their journeys! It's truly amazing!

If you are interested in buying one of these items (perfect for a Christmas gift if you ask me!) check out the links on the right hand side of our blog for more information or go directly to their websites to place your order. Be sure to put our name (Helms) in the "Instructions to Merchant" section so that proceeds will get sent to us! Thank you to everyone for your support, encouragement and prayers! 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I know I said this before, but staring at this "Big Hefty" adoption planner day in and day out without really being able to fully tackle this thing is driving me crazy! My fingers are crossed that we'll be able to have our dossier walk-thru call this week and I'll be given the official "go ahead" to start the paper chase! (side note: I got an email today from AGCI letting me know they received the email from the home study agency with all the additional requested documents, and that the social services department had it and they would be in touch with me when they heard more. So we're moving along in the right direction!) That being said, there are several things on the list of documents to order that seem pretty fool proof, and so to fulfill the need of accomplishing something in this binder, I ordered our marriage license and birth certificates today!

When I called good ole' Carter County Court house in East TN to request our marriage license today, the minute the gal answered the phone it made me miss Tennessee! We've been here in the Dallas area now for almost 4 years, but there is something about small town East Tennessee that tugs on my heart strings. Maybe it's because it's where Joshua and I met, fell in love and got married, maybe it's because that time in our lives represents some of our sweetest memories of true fellowship and growth with friends, maybe it's because deep down I'm a country girl at heart, maybe it's because it's where all my "kinfolks" are from, maybe it's simply the fact that I miss the beautiful mountains and the accessibility to outdoor adventure fun. Whatever the reason, calling the 423 area code makes me smile and hearing Patsy (that was the gals name at the courthouse today) at the other end of the line answer the phone with her southern twang brought a feeling of "home" to my inner being. She added yet another reason why I love Tennessee... after I told her I needed two official copies of our marriage license mailed to me because we were adopting internationally she said, "Sure thing, they're on the way sweetie!" to which I replied "Okay, what is that going to cost?" and she said, "Sweetie, don't you worry about it- I've got it covered, they'll be out in the mail to you today!" Fearing that she misunderstood that I just wasn't needing copies of the license but the actual official certified deal I questioned her, but she reassured me that she was sending me the right thing! Wahoo for a free document checked off the list! If I were to have ordered this sucker through Vitalcheck it was going to cost me over $30... Yay for small town TN courthouses with super nice "Patsy's"working there! She made my day! I was sure to tell her that too! Patsy's name is written in RED on the calendar... she's an answered prayer in this journey!

Monday, September 6, 2010

All in All a Productive Weekend!

This weekend the hubby and I spent time focusing on our crafty side... working on some of the details for the Adoption Yard Sale. We made up a poster that we can have set out at the sale, with the hopes that it'll open up doors of conversation about what we're doing and why. We were able to knock out several signs that we'll have posted around the neighborhood too pointing people our way.

We've also been spending much time in our garage organizing, pricing, and cleaning items that we'll have for sale. Each item out there represents a person (and yes, I know who has given each and every item out there!) that donated the item and more importantly ANOTHER individual apart of this story that God is writing to bring home our child! Our full garage is such a representation of God's faithfulness to provide! Our sweet and generous neighbors next door, Liz & Ken, noticed the overflow of items and even offered to let us start stocking up their garage as well! How great is that?! So if this is just the motivation you need to de-clutter around the house- we'll take anything you're willing to donate!

We also hit our required education reading head on this weekend with only two more online courses to complete! We're down a couple more chapters in the daunting, Eyes Wide Open workbook too. I say daunting because I feel like it's going to take us forever to finish this thing! My hand hurts after each chapter from all the short answer questions, so I made an executive decision that Joshua and I are to take turns writing each chapter- I don't think he's thrilled with the idea, but geesh my hand needs a break!

Quick update on the home study agency we're hoping to use... they sent over all the additional documents that AGCI was asking for this weekend- so my fingers are crossed that things will be finalized this week and we can set up our dossier walk though call (a.k.a. "DWC" as I recently learned it's called from some professional adoption mama's!). We've pretty much read and re-read through everything in the Adoption Planner and have already gotten a head start on obtaining the documents that we know we don't have any questions about- so we're moving right along!

All in all a productive weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

From Empty To Full!

So in one weeks time of announcing our need for donations for our Adoption Yard Sale coming up the weekend of September 25th, our garage went from looking like this:

To this!: 

How awesome is this?! Seriously, we've been amazed at the generosity of so many! We have a little more room, so if you have things you're still wanting to donate, we'll take 'em! Thanks to all who have given so far! We've been super busy making Adoption Yard Sale signs, ads on the web, pricing, and organizing to prepare for this fun Yard Sale! We designed some cool cards to hand out to buyers the weekend of the sale thanking them and letting them know our blog address and the purpose of the sale.
We're going to have some flyers advertising the Just Love Coffee that supports our adoption as well. Wahoo for success so far!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I love this picture of my boy Jude and his cousin Jake's sweet legs hanging off the bench. It reminds me of a couple things... ONE, how cute little boys are and how this picture captures such a short time of their lives where their feet don't touch the ground when they sit. And TWO, it captures the image of "waiting" to me.

Since getting our Application Planner this past Friday, I've felt this urgency to start marking things off this list. The binder is packed full of important information and instructions on gathering all the required  paperwork we'll need for our dossier and truthfully it's quite overwhelming! Our agency knows that it's overwhelming and that's why they schedule a "dossier run-through call" with you shortly after receiving your packet to answer any questions you'll inevitably have. WELL... this call can't take place until the home study agency we want to use is finalized as a cooperating agency with AGCI... and that is still in the works. Ugh! To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what the hold up is. I have no doubt that I've been "the annoying squeaky wheel" to our agency trying to get my questions answered and figure out what needs to happen in order for this agreement to get finalized which will enable us to move forward. Regardless, it's out of my hands and all I can really do is WAIT until we get the all clear. Waiting stinks! Please pray that the two agencies will be able to sort through whatever the heck they need to sort through  and that, God willing, we're able to use Bright Dreams International for our HS!

I hate having the "Big Hefty" sitting here staring at me, unable to tackle this bad boy. We have however been able to start working on the required educations courses, both the workbook and our online courses. So at least I don't feel like we're being completely useless! None the less there is a feeling of "Dope-dee-Doe" until we can have this dossier run through call.

Ultimately this is in God's hands. I trust His timing. (And yesI wrote that out so I would re-read it to myself and mean it.)

Thanks for your prayers!