Monday, October 31, 2011

Guess what I'm about to do?!

Praise the Lord! I am about to edit my FINISHED home study!!!

The background check from California finally came in, so all documents are present and a rough draft of the home study is at-long-last complete! It still needs to be edited by a few key people, be it's very close!

I am BEAMING!!!!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers. God is answering them one by one.

Keep on praying for the safe arrival of Samantha's completed file. God can do this.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Silence is Deafening

Its been too long since I've checked in. I'm sorry about that! My sister, Katie, called me last night to encourage me to keep everyone updated with specific prayer requests for Samantha. I needed that encouragement as much as I need all of your prayers! So here we are. If you will, please, please keep praying for us. Here are some ideas, although only HE knows what we really need, so we'll pray for His will as well.

  • Keep praying for sweet little Samantha. It hurts my heart to not even know what her day-to-day is like. I wish I knew what she needed so I could ask you to pray for that! But since that is not mine to know right now, please just pray God's very best for her. Pray that God will send someone to touch her and talk to her each day. Pray that He will give her reasons to smile and laugh. Pray that God will sustain her and comfort her. Pray that she will know and feel Jesus presence with her.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would draw me to Himself and that I would increasingly look to Him as THE source of help in this time of waiting and not knowing. Pray also for my quiet times with the Lord; that I would desire to spend quality time with Him, and that I would allow Him to fill up the lonely and empty spaces.
  • I am missing ONE lonely little document from my home study: the California background check. This one document is holding up a slew of other paperwork that needs to be done. Please pray that it arrives now! God can do this! 
  • Praise and thanksgiving that my education courses are complete and my certificate has arrived!
  • We're still waiting on Samantha's file. Please pray that all road blocks be removed so I can have the very important information that will help me to begin preparing a home for my daughter.
  • Please pray that Satan would have NO power over this process or in my life. Pray that God would protect my home, ministry, family, and again, my daughter.
  • Pray that God will show Himself strong in providing for the financial aspect of this adoption. I know He already has a plan in place...Please pray that the people God is calling to help will listen and obey. And praise Him for all He has already provided! He is faithful and good.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your loving support, and MOST OF ALL, for your prayers. Please keep praying. This adoption process is a spiritual battlefield. The enemy hates that God is making good out of something he meant for destruction. I know that GOD already has the victory, but that doesn't make the battle any less wearing.  

Please let me know how I can pray for you!


Friday, October 21, 2011

THIS is Why We Worship

Katerina Hope is officially not an orphan anymore! A Bulgarian attorney appeared in court today on her behalf, and now her adoption is complete! The Great Love of God our Father is bringing this 9-year-old, 11 pound, little love home. She's about to know family, comfort, sacrificial love, medical care, a full stomach, a warm bed, and a new start.

This is the little girl I've told so many of you about. Katerina is coming home from the orphanage where Samantha still lives. God has been faithful to Katerina, and now her rescue is nearly complete. For this we we praise the Lord! And we praise Him because Samantha will be following close behind!


God is good. He loves us. He never stops fighting for us.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bold and Very Specific

Will you please pray for the swift arrival of these 3 pieces of paper, which will complete my home study?
  • NE CPS/APS checks
  • CA CPS checks
These are background checks from Child Protection Services and Adult Protection services in Nebraska and California, stating that I do not have a criminal history.  My paperwork was submitted weeks ago; now we're just waiting for results to show up in the mail!

Also needed for the completion of the home study is proof that I have completed 12 hours of Hague accredited coursework. My coursework is nearly done, but the person who needs to approve of it and send the certificate of completion is out on maternity leave. Please pray that God will step in and provide a way for the certificate to become available now!

Thank you so much, friends and family! I love you all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

God Is With Us If We Are With Them

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but my heart just feels heavy tonight. Nothing happened. But maybe that's the problem. Waiting for something to happen is exhausting. Its harder, and hurts worse than the chaos of frantically gathering information and checking things off of a to-do list. At least then I get that feeling of accomplishment, like I'm one step, or one day closer to Samantha. Too many factors are simply out of my control right now.

Actually, there's a lot about this process that's been out of my control.  I was talking to a friend today, remembering how I originally had my heart set on a baby. But God led me instead to Sam (not having control isn't all bad!). Now, I can't imagine wanting or waiting for any other child. I love her. But in addition to love, my heart hurts for her. And I can hardly stand the time and distance that are separating us (ok, I'll take that control back now please!).

Control freaks, like myself, appreciate hearing things from God such as, "If you...., then I will....". I like the certainty of knowing what to expect from Him. God doesn't always honor this desire, probably because He doesn't want to encourage the crazy voice in my head...but tonight...tonight He offered the perfect balm for my controlling heart. The following is a quote from On The Move, by Bono (yes, you read that right), a book I'm reading for my monthly learning community.
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.  God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. "If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday and the Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in scorched places." Isaiah 58:9-11  
"God is with us if we are with them." God is with me, leading me, strengthening me, preparing the way...because I am on my way to Samantha. He loves her and wants her OUT of the terrible darkness where she sits tonight, and His loving protection and guidance surround me, His instrument, as I toil to to bring her home. I can trust that God is in this journey. It was His idea, and He is here. That's the kind of certainty I love, so I'm going to try to take hold it. Our gloom, Samantha's and mine, will become like midday. Yes, the light is coming! Praise the Lord for that! 

If you're willing, here's where I could really use your prayers right now.
  • Pray that the Lord will help me to organize my thoughts! I am to a point in this journey where I am tying up loose ends, and following up on a long list of items that are already in process. Its becoming increasingly difficult to know whether I'm doing (or have done) everything I need to.  And of course, as you probably picked up from the rest of this post, I need help loosening my grip and letting God lead and comfort me.
  • Samantha's file is still not complete. Pray that we will receive it soon! I am SO antsy to have that information, and it would do my heart so much good to receive it. And once I do, I can post her picture for all of you to see!
  • We're still waiting on a couple items for the home study. Please pray that everything will fall into place and that the home study will be complete as soon as possible! There is international paperwork that I can't even start until the home study is done. And some of that paperwork can take a LONG time to process.
  • Please keep praying specifically for Samantha's well-being. She's already waited 6 years for me to come. Pray that Jesus will whisper hope to her, and that as a result she will wait expectantly for her rescue. Also, please pray that Jesus will hold her close; that she would feel his love and warmth, and that she would be comforted.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grace and Samantha-A Short Film by Sister Natalie

Its a little pixelated, but y'all get the point. Is this awesome or what?! Thanks, Aunt Natalie!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just So I'll Remember

Right after I told all of you about my memory problem, (forgetting the faithfulness of God, and acting as if I carried the weight of this adoption on my own shoulders) God graciously sent me MULTIPLE reminders that He is in control. And that He is GOOD!

So get this!

  • I have recently been offered THREE opportunities to speak out about Samantha's journey. This is amazing news! Not because I enjoy the spotlight. Or because I need to raise funds. But because I've had a feeling that God was doing something bigger than just me and Samantha. He's on the move, providing a way for children to move out of the darkness and into His light. And just as I had hoped, but in an even better and bigger way, He is doing just that. Praise the Lord!
  • My dossier paperwork requires me to be evaluated by a psychologist and receive a mental health clearance. I've heard that it can often take a lot of time to set up an appointment like this.  I called around to several offices last week, before being referred to someone who was able to complete the evaluation. Within two days of calling this doctor, I had an appointment set up for today. And that appointment was a pure joy.  I had the opportunity to share what God is doing in my life through little Samantha, and at the end of the appointment, the doctor informed me that there would be no charge for his time; he wanted me to keep that money as a contribution to Sam's adoption.
  • As of today, I have FOUR documents completed for my dossier! I just need to take them down to the capitol building to have them apostilled. Thank you, God!!!!!
I also need to thank all of you for faithfully praying for me and Sam.  I certainly do not deserve so much support, encouragement, and love. But I can feel your love and the effects of your prayers. Without a doubt God is moving on our behalf.  Please keep praying! Pray that my home study will be complete soon, so I can work on immigration paperwork. Keep praying for Samantha's file to be completed and sent to me. Pray for sweet Samantha as she waits. And pray for the work God is doing to get the word out about kids that need families! 

Lots of love to you all. Let me know how I can pray for you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Am Israelite

I hate that its true.

I want to be the glowing example of a woman who trusts the Lord with all her heart, and leans on Him for all of her needs.

But I forget. Again, and again, and again, I forget that He is faithful. 

So I freak out unnecessarily.

I worry about things way beyond tomorrow. Things I can't possibly control from here. And things (when I stand back and get a little perspective) I know He already has in hand.

I am Israelite. 

"Send me back to Egypt, God! Yeah, I was a slave, but at least there was good food!"

Lord, help me to get a grip. 
This is not my life. Its Yours.
She's not my baby. She's YOURS.
This is not my story. Its Yours. 
And You, O God, are FAITHFUL!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Before the Throne of God Above

If you're willing to bring Samantha and I, and this process before God's throne in prayer, please read through these specific requests. We'll take all the prayers we can get!
  • For Samantha. Please pray that God will prepare her heart to meet her mom! And pray that God will protect her from all evil. I know that some children in her orphanage have a "Baba"; a grandmother-type figure who is paid a meager sum to come in and hold them a couple times a week. Please pray that if Samantha is not already receiving the love of a Baba, that she will soon. This type of interaction would be wonderful preparation for her before she transitions home.
  • Please pray that Samantha's file will be complete soon. Inside her file will be medical information, her given name, her weight and height, and her picture. This file is important, not only because it will help me to prepare a home and care for her, but because her adoption cannot move forward without it. Ideally, it will be ready by the time my dossier is ready to be submitted, if not sooner!
  • I could really use prayers for my heart. I'm a little weary these days. The paperwork, classes, errands, meetings...they take a toll, mainly because I know that everyday this work is not done is another day she sits in a lonely crib.  And that's hard to swallow. If anything is going to delay this process, I don't want it to be me! But I also know that I need to figure out how to press on while also taking care of myself and my relationship with the Lord. 
  • Pray that the devil will have NO POWER over any part of this miracle that God is doing in mine and Samantha's lives. Pray that there will be no more glitches, but that everything from here on out will move smoothly and quickly, maybe even faster than normal!
  • Pray that, even now, God will work on the hearts of the officials whose approval I will need in Samantha's country. Pray that God would prepare the way for us!
Lots of love to all of you, friends. Let me know how I can pray for you.