Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wait List Count Down Wall

When I was so excited last week to get our wait list number I starting dancing around singing "We're 71, we're 71!", Jude joined in the excitement too and started saying "Yay, my brother is coming home!". I cringed a little and said "Oh no bud, we have a while until he comes home still... when our number gets to ONE then it we'll be super close to your brother coming home!".

I then saw on another adopting families blog that they had down a countdown thing of their wait list numbers and thought I'd totally copy the great idea. I figured if Jude could see the number going down that might help a little. So the game plan is every month that we get our new, lower, wait list number, we'll flip over the numbers that are no longer "us". Jude and I will put a heart on the sides of the cards that we flipped representing another child that was placed with their forever family. I can't wait to stare at three lines full of hearts rather then numbers! And then when we get our referral, we'll be able to put a heart on the back of the #1 card representing OUR babe being placed with us as his forever family! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From Yard Sale to Tornado to Date Night

 In the midst of the excitement of getting on the wait list, I almost forgot to post about our #2 Adoption Yard Sale last weekend!

This go around we had the remaining items from our previous yard sale, which wasn't much honestly, along with several things from random neighbors we had never met before. (Let me explain...Yes we literally drove around our neighborhood a couple weekends before our sale to other garage sales that were coming to an end,  and as we saw people loading up the items they didn't sell, to take to Good Will or wherever, we sheepishly asked if they'd be willing to give it to us instead... apparently we have no shame. Our sweet neighbor let us borrow his truck and we kindly offered to take the remaining items off their hands. People  were surprisingly willing to hand over their stuff if it meant one less trip for them!) All that to say, the above picture is what we were able to come up with before the sale on Saturday- so an entire garage full of quite possibly the most random stuff ever!

We once again woke up bright and early to get things set up in time for those crazy early bird garage sale goers. (I highly recommend doing this if you are planning a yard sale yourself... we make a good chunk of money on the crew that comes at like 6:45am-7:00am- it's well worth an early set up!) Here's what it looked like at 5AM all pulled out of the garage. It's a bit strange to be out and about that early in the morning setting stuff up in the dark. As Joshua and I were slowing pulling stuff out of the garage our neighbors one by one started coming out in the morning dark to help! How awesome is that?! From neighbors letting us borrow tables to set things on, to neighbors helping set stuff up and work the sale- we truly are blessed with a great cul-de-sac full of kind hearted folks! Thank you so much!

The day was a mixture of on and off again rain, just enough to make you nervous that it was about to downpour at any moment. We lucked out though and managed to stay pretty dry and still have a decent turn out despite the dreary day. Just like the last yard sale the crowd seemed to die off around 11:30am - 12:00pm and the sky was looking a bit angry, so we thought it best to maybe call it a day and start making some trips to the Good Will with our remaining stuff. While Joshua was gone dropping off a load of things at the GW I was pulling stuff into the garage as the wind started to pick up. I noticed it started getting pretty stinking dark in the garage and glanced up outside as Joshua was pulling back into the driveway. He jumped out of the car and motioned for us to get a move on it! "There are some nasty looking clouds Hil and we're about to get hit with this storm! We gotta bust bootie and get this stuff in the garage quick!". As we're hustling to drag the remaining stuff in, I hear the dreaded eery sound of the tornado siren go off! Ugh, if you know me at all, you know that I HATE tornados and will always be the first one in the closet when the sirens go off hugging tight to my babe and pup (oh and my cell phone too because I make calls to the rest of my family to make sure they're taking cover- no one seems to be nearly as concerned as me though, although they'll thank me one day when one actually touches down! Yes I get made fun of for this.). I pause, mid-move of a table we're caring in, and give Joshua my scared eyes, but then glance back outside and see there is still junk to be pulled in. I quickly became brave (yes, you should be proud of me), toned out the sirens and did some serious speed moving! We literally drug the last item in as the torrential downpour let loose! We quickly closed the garage door and I hurried myself to the TV to check out the tornado warning for our county. I should add here that in the middle of the hustle and bustle of bringing everything in, both my mom and sister called me (a bit of role reversal here when it comes to storm calls) because they knew that we were totally about to get hit hard. I called them back once inside to proudly let them know we got everything in the nick of time! For those of you concerned if our home blew away... it did not. Why does TX sound the stupid sirens all the time if there isn't a tornado on the ground? Don't they know it stresses a girl out?!
Okay, enough tornado talk, sorry... onto more important things! So grand total from the day was right at $600! For a dreary half day of yard selling it- I thought that was pretty darn good! We have since taken all the remaining clothes and furniture to some families we know that could really use them- so it worked out great for all!
We were able to end the day on a GREAT note! It was Joshua and I's SIX year anniversary, and while having a yard sale is super romantic, we figured we should go on a date to top off the day! Joshua had gotten a gift card for the movies from my sis and Scott for his birthday, and then the day of the sale, our amazing next door neighbors generously gave us a gift card to Maggiano's! Yay for free, really nice, date nights! So we got all cleaned up from being nasty sweaty and rained on, handed the Jude man over to my sis, who graciously offered to babysit, and went out for a relaxing night, just the two of us! What a great six years it has been! Nothing beats being married to a man who I know I can glorify God more by being with than without! I'm so grateful to share an adventure of pursuing God's call on our lives with this incredible man!

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Made the Wait List!!!

Wahoo! We made the wait list today and are officially number 71 on the boy's list for the month of October! Our parameters are baby boy 0-12 months old. We are truly overjoyed and so excited to be at this phase of the journey! We know the wait is long and hard- but we're trusting that God will prepare us in so many ways during this time! I'm confident that #71 is the exact number that God intended for us to start with knowing that it would, in the end, match us with the perfect kiddo that He has picked for our family! I also trust that #71 is going to provide the exact amount of time God desires to continue working in Joshua and I's hearts in preparing us for this addition to our family. We continue to be amazed at the way God is growing us and working in us and I can only imagine that He is up to a lot more work over this next phase of waiting! Oh how I love this number! This number represents our boy! Yay for 71!!!
For those of you who are not familiar with the whole wait list thing, pretty much it works like this... once families are done with their dossier/home study (all the adoption paper work) and have it turned in, approved and finalized, they are then put on a list based on their parameters of what they're adopting. There are three lists with AGCI: Boy, Girl, and Sibling. Some families may be on all three lists, on two of the lists, or just one list (like us). So if a girl referral goes out and they were on all three lists (because they're parameters put them on all three) then the boy list and sibling list would drop down a number as well. Make sense? So each month we're given new lower numbers based on how many referrals went out that month. One month it may only drop down a couple spots and another month it may drop 10... we never know! Right now they're saying that from now until our referral could be anywhere from 12-18 months, so it's quite a wait, but one well worth it! Once our number is zero that means we'll get our referral. At that point we'll be given a call and they'll let us know all the information they have on our boy. It may be very little depending on the situation that brought him to Hannah's Hope, it just depends. Regardless, they'll give us as much information that they have on him. They'll email over pictures of him and his medical records which we'll have reviewed and then as long as God doesn't give us a major red flag we'll accept our referral! From that point we'll make two separate trips to Ethiopia, one for court and the other to bring him home. That's the gist of it at least! Do let me know if you have questions or are curious about any of this though- it's all new to me too and we're learning as we go!
#71... a number I'll always remember for the rest of my life, near and dear to my heart!

Friday, October 22, 2010

ONE Change (grrr!)

Well we got the call already from AGCI about our dossier today! I was preparing myself to have to wait until this evening before hearing from them (they're two hours behind being in Portland, OR). BUT I got the call while sitting in a noisy Chick-fil-a with my sis and sweet friend Amber! Our case worker, "T",  asked if it was an okay time to talk (that's a silly question because there is no way in heck that I'm going to tell her, "eh, just call back later today"!)  so I assured her that it was a perfect time to talk! 

Let me jump in here real quick and say that yesterday AFTER mailing off our dossier, I again sat down to stare at the stack of dossier  papers determined to find what could possibly need to be revised. Sure enough, I missed something... GRRR!!!! On Joshua's employment letter the notary expiration date is for 1-29-11! (It needs to be good for at least the next two years) WHAT?! How did I miss this the hundred times I looked over every notary detail before sending it off? So I told Joshua last night to already go ahead this morning and get another letter from central office, because I knew this was going to be at least one change we'd have to make! So then I start doubting myself on all the other documents thinking that maybe I totally messed them all up and she would call today and laugh at me and tell me I was one big dossier mess! (Self doubt... one of Satan's great tactics in my life!). 

So, back to noisy Chick-fil-a... I have no doubt that our case worker thinks I'm running a day care in the background. Ever been to a Chick-fil-a at noon on a Friday?! Yeah, you get it! Anyway, she says, "Well Hilary, I received your dossier and have taken a look over it and it all looks great..... except for ONE revision." I quickly chime in here and say "Is it that stupid notary expiration date on Joshua's employment letter?!" to which she chuckles and says, "You already caught it! Yep, that's it! BUT everything else is perfect!". What relief to know the entire dossier wasn't flop! To be honest, I was glad too that I had caught the mistake yesterday because I was just so happy to hear it was the only revision that needed to be made! 

So... Joshua is already on top of it and is picking up his employment letter that will be notarized by someone else who's commission doesn't expire for awhile at 3:30pm today from central office! We'll overnight that bad boy to AGCI so they have it Monday and as soon as they do, we'll get our number! Easy enough! 

So sure, bummer that there is no wait list number for today... but that was God's plan anyway! Our perfect number that God knows is just right for our family will come soon enough! Trusting that His timing is perfect! 

I'll keep you posted on Monday though for sure! Until then, I have a yard sale to get ready for tomorrow! Come on by if you're local- we're starting bright at early at 7am! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Such a Good Day!

Me and my partner in crime, Jude man, ran around this morning on cloud nine getting everything in order to overnight our dossier to AGCI! I woke up this morning almost in a daze to the whirlwind of this past weeks events. The amazing blessings that have gotten us to this point of being able to turn in our dossier TODAY have truly been God doing His thing! So before heading out the door, I double checked all the documents, dates, notary signatures, and checklists for quite possibly the hundredth time! (Listen, I get that more than likely tomorrow AGCI is going to notify me that I still have to make revisions of some sort, but I just don't want it to be over some huge obvious avoidable mistake on my part- so I feel better staring at it a hundred times just in case!)

Jude and I loaded up in the car, Jude gave me the thumbs up as we backed out of the driveway, as to say "Let's do this mom!". First stop was the bank, where the gals behind the counter we're equally excited that we were at this point! Most the time I go through the drive through, making deposits, and they're always so sweet to ask "How's it coming along?!"... So they know that when I actually walk into the bank to get my credit union check, something important is happening and we're at the next step! Jude was quick to tell them, "We're getting money for my brother!"... which just melts my heart. I get that he doesn't entirely understand what's going on as a three year old- but the idea that we are working hard to bring his brother home, does make sense to him and he genuinely gets excited! He's going to be such an awesome big brother, I'm so proud of him!

Then it was off to the UPS store (yes the same UPS store where our journey began)! We made our three sets of copies, two of which had to be included with the original to be sent to our agency and the third was a copy for ourselves. We got them all stacked up, each copy set clipped, and wrapped it with a bow. Here's Jude proudly holding the paper that will eventually be the papers that help bring his brother home!

I was needing to overnight it to Portland, OR- where AGCI is located and to get it there by 8:30am was going to cost around $88! Sheesh... but if I went with getting it there by 10:30am instead it went down to like $44 (I liked the sound of that better). So I quickly called our case worker, "T", and asked if 10:30am was early enough to insure that it would be reviewed tomorrow and she said it was! So tomorrow morning at 10:30am this crazy labor of love we've been working on for the past month and half is going to be sitting in the offices of AGCI for review! Wahoo!

One of two things will happen. They'll review over everything tomorrow and if it's perfect, then we'll get a call with our wait list number for a boy 0-12 month. OR, what will more than likely happen, is that they'll review over it, see some minor changes that need to be made and give me a call and let me know what those are. As soon as we can get those changes made and sent back to them, we will then be put on the wait list. So of course I pray that it's perfect, but not banking on it. I'll keep you posted either way though! From what I can tell from other families numbers that are on the boy list I'm thinking that our number will probably be in the low 70's. Once we're given a
number we'll just watch it go down every month as kiddos are matched with their forever famlies, until we eventually make it down to the number 1 and get our referral! It's a long wait for sure (minimum of 10 months at least) but the sooner we get put on that wait list the better! This number represents our babe!

What makes this day even better is that it's my awesome hubby's 30th birthday! What a day of celebration! My life has been blessed because you are in it and I am one lucky gal to live this adventure with you! Happy Birthday Joshua, praising God that He brought you into this world 30 years ago! You are one heckuva daddy, teacher, friend, and spouse! Love you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You're Not Going to Believe This!

No joke, we came home this afternoon from running some errands, I opened my email account and there sat a pending donation for $845.26 from one of the most special people in my life, my Sunday school teacher from when I was in the 2nd grade, that walked me through what it meant to be a follow of Christ!!!! Talk about bursting into tears, I just lost it (I might just loose it again if I'm not careful)! God could not be any more amazing in His divine work in every detail of this story! I'm simply at a loss for words. I feel like just putting my hands up in the air, closing my eyes, and just letting Him hear my heart because words just don't seem adequate!
Wow, okay... so that leaves us in a little bit different place then we were earlier today. NOW I can scramble to get my ducks in a row, copies made, home study report in hand, and overnight this dossier to AGCI tomorrow so that they have it by THIS Friday for review! Here I was hoping to maybe just maybe have it in by NEXT Friday and now everything has fallen in my lap for that to happen now! I was able to meet up with "B" (social worker's) husband tonight to get the three original notarized copies of our report that I needed. He was so sweet to meet up with me at 9 o'clock at night, changing his plans around, so that I could have these reports to send off in the morning! So tomorrow my agenda is strictly getting the three sets of copies made, making sure it all looks perfect, and overnighting that baby to our agency! Ahhh!!! We could possibly have our boy's number by this Friday! This just makes it so real- that this number will forever be associated with our baby, and that we'll watch this number only go down from here! I LOVE that God knows the exact number that our child needs to be and knows our boy by name already! We're coming for you kiddo, one step at a time! And oh the stories we're going to have to tell you of how God brought you home- how we can't wait!
Pray that everything comes together smoothly tomorrow and I'm able to get everything copied and shipped off without a glitch!
Thank you for all the prayers, love, excitement, encouragement, generosity, and amazing crazy ways that ya'll have helped fund this God given burden to adopt an orphan!

Home Study is Approved and Finalized!

I literally just got finished posting the post below and checked my email and found out that our home study is officially approved and finalized! Yay! Jude and I did the happy dance in our computer room we were so excited! God is good!

He's Just Showing off Now!

At this point, truly God is just showing off in how He is providing! Joshua and I have been in a state of awe over the past several days of the amazing ways at which He is at work in this journey we are on! I'm not even kidding when I say that late Sunday night we received yet ANOTHER donation in the amount of $500, from once again, another adopting family that we've never met!!! Is this not just unbelievable?!? So that's a total of $2000 over the weekend given from two families that, they themselves, are in the midst of an expensive adoption as well! They themselves, are trusting that God is going to provide for their families as they step out in obedience to the burden He's placed on their hearts! They themselves, are living out Christ's love in HUGE ways! These two families have forever impacted our lives by their amazing generosity in helping us get one step closer to our babe! They have also served as such a huge reminder of the fact that you can never out give God! My prayer is that Joshua and I would always remember that and act on that as well! We were radically impacted this weekend by the actions of two faithful families who took a hit financially to bless ours, oh how this journey has brought so many sweet moments I could have never have expected. Love God, Love Others.... to these two families... THANK YOU for doing just that!
On the paper chase/dossier side of things, all we're waiting on is for our home study to be finalized and approved! AGCI and "B" (our social worker) have gone back and forth a couple times (which is normal) with some minor revisions and were just waiting to here "its' good!" from AGCI! I'm hoping that'll happen this week! Joshua and I went yesterday evening to get our passport copies notarized so we're done with that!
Our sweet photographer friend, Liz, dropped off our photos that we picked for our dossier last night so that completed the "to do" list on our end of the deal for the dossier! We picked some of our favorite photos to include for our dossier knowing that this was the image that was going to be what represented the Helms family to all the important people reviewing our paperwork. This is when I was so thankful to have incredible professional photos taken of us that made our skin look flawless and our teeth bright white! Yay for Photoshop! (o;

Liz also brought with her an awesome surprise that she had a family picture of us blown up and framed for  the wall in our living room! I absolutely LOVE it! It fits just perfect on our wall of family pictures, don't you think?!
So here is my prayer as far as all this stuff coming to completion and us being able to get on the wait list... I pray that our home study will be approved and finalized this week. I pray that our Adoption Yard Sale would go awesome this weekend! I'm going to pray BIG here and pray that it would bring in the remaining $845.26 we need in order to cover the $5000 fee we need to turn in with our dossier! If it does, then we could possible turn in our dossier next week and get our wait list number by next Friday!!! (They review all dossier's on Friday's and they may require that we make some revisions, which happens quite often. If we do have to make some revisions then we'll get our wait list number once we get those changes to them). If the sale doesn't bring in the remaining $845.26 then we'll trust that between our raffle tickets and shirt sales coming up that it will be there soon enough. But oh how AWESOME it would be to turn in our dossier next week! A girl can pray, right?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bragging on God

I'd just like to take a minute to brag on God. I want to be very clear here in saying that He is GOOD! He is at work in our lives in ways that we could have never imagined. He is showing off left and right in providing for this adoption in crazy ways! I truly, wholeheartedly, believe that when we seek His will for our lives, when we listen and follow through on what He wants to do in and through us, He shows up! I have been moved to tears in complete awe and joy more in the past 4 months than EVER before in my life! I have been left speechless because of His presence and blessings more times that I can count! So if there has ever been a doubt in anyone's mind who gets the glory for every blessing in this journey, wonder no more, it is God, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! This has NOTHING to do with us and EVERYTHING to do with Him! He is GOOD!
You know when you have BIG news to share and you almost can't get your words together because words don't seem to do it justice?  That's where I'm at right now. I'm so blown away and in awe of a blessing we received on Saturday afternoon that I truly can't think of adequate words to describe how it's made Joshua and I feel. I think we'd some it up with "Awe". So you're wondering what the heck has left us speechless, right?!....
Well, I went to the mailbox on Saturday with Jude in tow (because if at any point you announce that you're going to get the mail, Jude will quickly shout out, "I wanna go, I wanna go!", like it's a vacation or something, it's cute). After pulling the mail out, I typically stand there in the driveway, sort through it all, and if by chance there happens to be something good in there, non-bill-like, and personal, I always open it up before I even get inside because I'm excited, and clearly lack patients. So I see a handwritten envelope and as I'm walking back up to the garage, Jude following close behind, I open it and pull out a letter with a check. The check is flipped over, so I don't notice the amount on it, and I start reading the letter trying to figure out who it's from. As I start to read, I soon realize that it's from another amazing adopting family that we've never met in person, but that I closely follow through this incredible adoption blogging world! As I'm reading her words of encouragement and her hearts desire to help other adopting families, even in the midst of their own adoption journey, tears are running down my face. I turn over the check and see that it's in the amount of $1,500!!! At this point I start blinking really hard trying to clear the tears from my blurry eyes and thinking that surely I've misread the amount! NO, it's a check from another adopting family, who is also have to come up with crazy amounts of money, written out for $1,500!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!! I'm standing still in the middle of our "yard sale waiting, packed full garage" when I hear my tender-hearted Jude say, "Mama, why are you crying?". Try explaining happy tears to a 3 1/2 year old! I told him that God is good, and that a sweet family just helped us get one more step closer to his brother in Ethiopia. Thankfully, that was a good enough answer for him! So I walk in the door and say "Joshua!" apparently with my cry voice. He comes barreling around the corner from the kitchen completely freaked out thinking that Jude has gotten hit by a car or one of us is hurt (so clearly I've learned that I need to come up with a happy cry voice and a sad cry voice because I almost gave him a heart attack!). After I quickly reassure him that Jude is not in fact laying in the middle of the road and I'm just floored by the generosity of people that have never even "met" us as I show him the check- he too starts shaking his head in disbelief with tears in his eyes. I mean seriously, is this not just the way God works?! You'd think at this point, I wouldn't be surprised at the unlikely people and circumstances that He is using to bring our baby home- but it still gets me every time!
So catch this... their one request is that they stay as anonymous givers! While of course I'd love to shout their names from our rooftop in thanks, it doesn't surprise me that this was their desire! And you wanna know why it doesn't surprise me one bit that they had this one request?... Because they clearly display in their lives their heart to give God all the glory and brag on Him as well! I love that! We know that God used them to bless us and we know that God will bless them in return!
Amazing, right?! Well, that puts us at approximently $3500 in savings now to go towards our $5k fee that we'll turn in with our dossier! With our upcoming yard sale, photo shoot raffle, and t-shirt sales- it's gonna happen folks, I believe it! Wahoo! Our home study is still in review with AGCI and hopefully it'll get approved and finalized this week! Our passports came on Friday and so now we'll just have to make a photocopy of them along with a statement of truth that will need to be notarized and our dossier will be complete! We're getting so close to the wait list- all in His perfect timing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Moving Right Along!

Ahhh!!! We're getting close to the end of this crazy paper chase! Yesterday evening our home study report was sent to AGCI to be reviewed! AGCI has 5-7 business to respond back to "B", our social worker, with any changes that need to be made. I've heard that it's normal for the agency and home study worker to go back and forth a couple times before it's finalized and approved, so this may take a little bit of time... or it may not!?! We'll just have to wait and see! Once this report is "good to go" and finalized that means we can start applying for grants! 

We have three organizations picked out that we are going to apply with for grants.  Most of you have probably heard of Show Hope , an amazing organization started by Steven Curtis Chapman, to help start a movement to care for the orphans! They graciously give adoption grants to adopting families in need, in hopes of uniting more orphans with their forever families. We'll have to fill out and submit an extensive online application and then... wait and see. There are far more requests for assistance each month that outweigh their resources, so even if we do meet all the requirements- they're not always able to provide assistance to every family. This is another reason why we're applying to three different organizations, hoping that at least one grant will be approved! 

Another grant we are applying for is through Lifesong for Orphans . They have a particular grant that both Joshua and I LOVE called Both Hands. We will be responsible for identifying 10 local families that would be willing to come along side of us and work one day on a widow's home. Each family will send out sponsorship letters to friends and family, asking for sponsorships for their day of work. The awesome thing about this particular program is that while 100% of the sponsorship money raised will go towards our adoption... we also get to help out a local widow in need!  Along with the Both Hands project we plan on applying for, we are also able to apply for Lifesong's matching grant, where whatever money that that is raised from the 10 families sponsorship's, may be matched up to 4k! Again, we'll have to send in an extensive application and then wait and see if we get approved. 

And the last grant that we'll be applying for is through Room for One More Child (thank you Laurale for letting us know of this amazing organization!), where just like Show Hope, they give grants to adopting families to help assist in the cost of the adoption process and hopefully unite more orphans with forever families! And again, we'll fill out the extensive application and then wait to see if we get approved or not. All three of these grants have been prayed over since before we turned in our official application with AGCI and even if we don't get approved for any of them, we LOVE what they stand for and how Christ's heart is clearly the center of what they're all about! May God bless these organizations! 

We're still waiting on our, oh so important, passports to come in the mail, but they should be here any day now, and once they're here, our dossier will be complete! Wahoo! As far as that 5k check that needs to be sent in to the agency with it... we have stuff in the works that we're hopeful will bring us to that amount! Our Adoption Yard Sale is coming up on Saturday October 23rd, our Photo Shoot Raffle is going on until November 1st, and the last week in October and first week of November we're teaming up with a club that Joshua heads up at McKinney HS, called 2412 (I'll tell you more about this cool club and what they're planning to do with Project 61 another time!) to sell another round of An Inexhaustible Love shirts! So I'm hopeful that it'll all come together in just His perfect timing and before too long we'll be on that wait list with our number! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Because I'm a wear my heart on my sleeve kinda girl, I feel the need to be honest about my whiny day. I've spent the majority of the day having little "chats" with God about how this journey he has us on sure isn't comfortable! How it would be so much nicer if we had $30k sitting around in the bank and didn't have to fundraise or wonder how the heck we're suppose to come up with the next adoption fee that's due. But I'm realizing more and more that the comfortable way isn't typically the way He works. It seems to me that He uses unlikely situations (or people for that matter) to accomplish His work so that we can't take the credit, so that He gets the glory. Because let's just face it, a stay at home mom and a high school history teacher/coach, are not the obvious choice financially to accomplish a 30k task! But that seems right up God's alley for a way to show off what He's capable of! In order for us to pull this adoption off it's going to require that we realize this is His story.

Just when I was about to really give God my piece of mind today about all my fears and insecurities, He gently reminded me that He's got this thing!  Remember Carla? My sister's sweet friend (now my friend too) from college who let me know back in September that she was going to start collecting items to sell and the profit she made, she was going to send to us? Well she emailed me today letting me know that the resale went great and that she was able to make another $72 on top of the $35 she had already sent us! She even wore our shirt at the resale! Here's a gal in North Carolina that is selflessly helping us get yet another step closer to turning in our dossier! If I had that "comfortable" 30k in the bank right now- I'd have missed out on the blessing of Carla's involvement in bringing our babe home!

Remember Lindsey? She is a dear friend of mine from high school who now lives in AZ and is a photographer. She generously gave of her time and talent for the whole month of September to have 100% of the profit she made from photo sessions to be split between our family and the O'Neals (another dear friend from high school, who are also adopting). She recently sent us a check for $170 because of her selfless generosity! Over the weekend I got an email from her saying  that she had a few last minute requests for more photo shoots to help support the fundraiser! The photo shoot she had just done donated $160 to be split between both our families! Again, simply amazed at who and how God is providing! 

Here's the deal... our daily "manna" is being provided. Each step of this adoption journey has been a step of faith and He's yet to let us down! I need to stop whining about being scared and uncomfortable! Thank you ladies for being a reminder of His faithfulness in my life! I'm truly thankful! Joshua and I often joke and say "One day when we're rich (stop laughing) we're totally going to do something super awesome for people like ya'll!" Until then, THANK YOU!!!! 

And as far as being comfortable and safe in life... here's a fresh perspective! Check it out: 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Look and New Blessing!

So have you noticed some changes on the blog?! First off, totally new "look" that we're hoping is a little more us, or as a friend put it, "helmsy"!  AND we hope that we can make a little more user friendly as we continue to play around with it.

Second, as I'm sure you noticed, our new photographer friend Liz (that we met at our yard sale), is offering a photoshoot raffle in support of our adoption! How incredible is that?! God is bringing people we've never even met before into our lives and blessing this journey we are on! Best of all, I have a new friend!

Check out the raffle if you live in the North Dallas area and we'd be so grateful if you'd help spread the word! Tickets are $5 each, unlimited entries ($10 gets your name entered twice into the drawing and so on). 100% of the proceeds will go towards our adoption and one lucky winner will be announced on November 1st! She is offering an amazing package that truly would be an incredible deal for anyone! Check out her talented work at! If you want to see the family photos she took of us a couple weekends ago, click on "client viewing" and then on "An Inexhaustible Love".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Guess what came today?!

That's right folks! Our FBI check that we sent off a little over 10 weeks ago came back today! I saw the FedEx truck pull up and wondered what he was delivering, thinking we still had a couple more weeks before getting this- but sure enough, it came! Yipee! It's all coming together! Now the wait is on the passports in order to complete our dossier! 

I LOVE the FedEx and UPS man these days! 
The two pieces of paper we've been waiting for! 

Not every day you get mail from the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Exactly what we wanted to see! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A taste of Ethiopia

 So we ventured out to an Ethiopian restaurant last night to experience a taste of our what our kiddo's culture has to offer! My sweet parents came along too, because they're good like that! We went to a restaurant called Queen of Sheba (I'm not sure if it's a chain or not, because my friends Joely and Kelly Jo went to a Queen of Sheba too, but in OK?). Anyway, it was a really nice place and the gal who owns it is from Ethiopia and was so kind to order everything for us since we were clearly "newbies". We decided to just go with a family style platter that had a combination of chicken, lamb, and beef as well as veggies. In Ethiopia they don't eat using utensils, rather they eat using this injera bread to scoop up the food and eat it with their hands. I'm a fan of this because I can't tell you how often our silverware holder in the dishwasher is the first thing to fill up when we load her up! The injera bread was actually pretty good, not as tangy as I thought it might be. It's kind of spongy and crepe like. Mom, dad, Joshua, and I liked everything pretty well. Jude on the other hand must have said "It's spicy!" a hundred times! Notice his facial expression! To his credit, a lot of the stuff did have a bit of a kick to it. So just another step in figuring out a little more about where our babe is from!  
Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my mind around what it's like there, the smells, tastes, sights, sounds... but I'm trying, and now I can say I have an idea of the tastes.

This also marked the last page to be done in our Eyes Wide Open workbook (a required education with our agency)! We had finished the whole book but still had stinking pg. 28 marked to come back to on "Experiencing different foods". And last night, we finished filling that sucker out! Woot woot! Our social worker , "B" will sign off on it tomorrow and I can mail that baby in to AGCI this weekend! So all our required education is now DONE, our online courses and this workbook, such a relief!

So yeah, I meet with "B" tomorrow to hand over just a couple things she was still needing from me, Jude's immunization records and a copy of doc visit- but then I think she'll be finishing up our home study report before too long! We're still waiting on our FBI prints and passports, but they're both being processed according to the sweet people I've hounded on the phone to find out from! (o;
Our biggest prayer request is that the remaining funds that we need in order to send in our dossier to our agency would come in all in His perfect timing! Once our dossier is complete (the FBI prints and the passports come back in- which I'm thinking will be a 2-4 weeks), it would be awesome if we were able to submit it to our agency ASAP to be put on the wait list- but it has to be turned in with $5k (Broken down this is what it looks like: Authentication $300, Translation of Dossier $200, International Service Fee $4,500). We currently have $1623.14 in savings, which we know falls over $3k short. We're not stupid, we know that's a lot of money to come up with in a relatively short period of time, BUT strangely, we have peace about the money being there exactly when we need it. We have another yard sale coming up October 23rd , who knows, maybe it'll be a whopper of a sale! (o;
God has been faithful each step of the way so far and we trust He'll continue to provide as long as we do our part! We have been blessed to know God's presence like never before throughout this process and honestly we're humbled and grateful to be in a place of complete reliance on Him. After all, what's better in life than God's presence?!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Family Photos (sneak peek)


Can I just start off by telling you how excited I am to catch a glimpse at a couple of the "sneak peek" photo's that Sarah took from this weekend of our family?! I absolutely LOVE how they turned out and I just had to share a few with you!  If you haven't already heard, Sarah and a friend of hers stopped by our adoption yard sale a couple weekends ago, complete strangers to us at the time. Truthfully I didn't get to talk to either one of them very much at the time- Joshua talked to them mostly, letting them know why we were doing the sale and yadda yadda. But you know how some people just stick out in a crowd to you because they seem nice? I noticed their smiles from a distance and how "normal" they seemed and genuinely interested in our story. Once they got back in their cars, Joshua came over and showed me the business card of Sarah's  and said, "Catch this... that gal said she'd be willing to do our family photo's if we wanted for free, in support of our adoption!". We were both blown away and once again taken back how God is clearly using so many other's in unique ways in this journey we are on! 

So long story short, we met up with Sarah this past Saturday for our photo session! She is just wonderful and it was such a joy to meet her once again in person! She is totally down to earth and easy going and super talented at what she does! I'm confident that God is going to bless her for blessing us! The best part about it is, now she's not a complete stranger anymore! In fact, she's one more name written in RED on our calendar of yet another individual who helped bring our kiddo home through generosity and selflessness! I sure can't wait to tell our little Ethiopian boy of all the amazing stories that took place on our journey to get to him! And to think, we could have missed it all if we had said no to the burden of adoption God put on our hearts out of  fear! Remember that God funds His callings and blesses them!