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A Long Overdue Adoption Floodgates Update!

This adoption update is as overdue as a 45 week's ankles are swollen, it can't tie it's own shoes anymore, and it just plain wants the big moment to arrive!!  Well, if there's a perfect moment to birth a blog post, it's gotta be now.  Sister's down for a nap, there's a fall wind pushing the leaves around outside my window, the fire's blazing, I've got a snoring dog at my feet and a hot cup of tea on my desk. Oh goodness....and a ray of sunlight just beamed out of the sky, through the window onto me!  The bloggy angels are singing!

So much has been happening....I feel like I sound like a broken record saying that, it's at the beginning of each adoption update.  But those are the facts.  God keeps rolling this ball forward even though my life is as crazily busy as it's ever been!  So, my dear friends....never let me hear any of you say you wish you could adopt too, but your life is just too busy right now.   That one will come up with a big red X on the Family Feud answer board!

I think I need to use bullet points here or we're in danger of a 53 page blog goes:

  • Here's an excerpt from a thank you note I sent to an old friend last month...
"Got a great story to tell you.....

God has done amazing things to get us to the point that we were up to date with paying adoption bills....He's sent us $11,000 which covered the homestudy fee and US adoption fees which we already had bills for. The next step was to send our homestudy in to the US Immigration Department with a check for $850 to get clearance from them before we can send all our paperwork on to Ethiopia.

Last Friday, I had the filled out immigration application on my desk but was looking at an empty adoption account. A friend had emailed me to tell me to expect a $500 check in the mail near the end of October from her, almost enough to cover the Immigration fee. We are expecting to have about a 2 month wait once we send this form in, so Scott & I were discussing whether or not to "borrow" that money from our emergency account in the meantime so we could get the ball rolling and just send the application in. I was leaning toward going ahead, Scott felt that caution and waiting on God were the way to proceed. I agreed....reluctantly! I went off to run some errands and left the application on my desk. Later that day, I came home to a pile of mail sitting on the kitchen island. Our neighborhood mailboxes are keyed boxes at the front of our development. I've been without my mailbox key for the week because I traded cars with my son and gave him my mailbox key with the car keys. So, about a week's worth of mail was sitting on the counter.....with your check in it! What perfect timing - to not only pay a bill, but also inspire my confidence in God! I have a feeling your check was sitting in our mailbox for a few days before we got it. But it fell into our hands on the day we had a bill due and after we had, once again, told God that we were willing to wait on Him.

Thank you so much for what you did - I can't really explain what a big deal it is to us. It was awesome to watch the wonder in my kids' faces when they saw and realized how perfectly God had timed it and then to find out it came from another ministry family they don't even know.... I don't know what your family had to do to have a thousand dollars to put toward our adoption, but I hope you know how grateful we are to you and thankful to God for it. Please tell your sweet wife and family that we are overwhelmed by their graciousness...

You guys have paid the immigration fee, plus put the first dollars towards the Ethiopia fees that will be due in a few months! So exciting!! "

  •  A card came in the mail from a sweet couple who were part of our very first youth group.  They got the fresh-out-of-college, eager, newly married 22 year old youth pastor and wife!  We've kept up through the years on facebook.  He came to church alone, accepted Christ and started a whole new life.  One of those people you look back on and just thank God that He let you be a part of what He was doing!  Scott did the couple's wedding a few years later.  Their note came with a check and this sweet note, 
"It's ministry staff appreciation month so I thought I'd send a little something to help bring your little one(s) home.  Thank you for pouring yourself into a 16 year old boy and sticking with it even though he was only there for the girls and food!!"

  • Our church family lavishes love on us during October.  Since the October I was pregnant for Elena, we've received a big white envelope with some sort of crazy big gift stuffed in it.  Sometimes it's fist fulls of gift cards.  Sometimes it's weekend get-aways for our whole, huge family.  This year it was $1,000 worth of $20 bills and a note.  We've often wished we could properly thank these people, but they obviously want us to spend our time thanking God instead.  That's what we do because of them.  I can't express the encouragement they have brought to our family and now their encouragement is reaching across the ocean to a little person in an orphanage who doesn't even understand it yet.  Maybe our anonymous encourager is a blog reader, and you're able to feel a bit of the blessing you've given to us as you're reading....I hope so.  Here's the note that was as all cozied up with the cash:
"October is Pastor Appreciation Month!  Each year, in our effort to think of how to appreciate you and Lori, we give quite a bit of thought to what might provide the greatest blessing to the 2 of you.  This is somewhat of a difficult task (but an enjoyable one), as we can't ask for your input.  We seek God's direction, as to what He lays on our hearts.

This year we are sending some cash for you to use towards adoption expenses.  We realize that this is a bit different than what we have done in the past, but believe that this choice provides the greatest blessing to your family - and future family.  We hope we have hit the mark.

Please know that you are appreciated and this is a small way we can show that appreciation."

  • We found another envelope in the mailbox....with a love note and a check, expressing happiness at the thought of another nephew or niece!  Having family share our excitement is doubly important for us because they have more skin in the adoption game than everyone else.  They're the ones that have to do it with us, and didn't really get a choice.  These new Floridas will be  a part of their family as they become a part of ours.  It's such a gift to sense them hear God's call to us as God's call to them too.

  •  If you've been following our story, you remember some cool events that led us to another family in our town who recently adopted two lovely children from Ethiopia.  If not, the story is here.  We've met them, cooked-out together and shared stories...and their daughter, Kate has joined our fundraising team.  She sent us a check this month in a super-cute hand-made Ethiopian Adoption card from  the proceeds of cards she makes and sells.  Such a blessing to be surrounded by people who share you heart and will walk down the path with you and show you where to step! 

  • And then, another recent flooding from heaven came from a child-hood friend of mine.  Her family and mine used to vacation together when we were little.  I remember our Dads valiantly fighting off a swarm of bees that attacked my little sister and her little brother.  Her family moved across the country before we hit high school and I don't think we've seen each other since.  But through the wonders of facebook, her heart became connected to our adoption.  She decided to use a work bonus to help bring our baby home.  One more proof to me that this is God's work, not mine.

  • Work bonuses seem to be a theme this time of year.  Another fat one was laid in our lap through the hands of some loved ones....this one came with permission to be held back and used for the expenses "around" adoption if needed.  Apparently God knew what was coming next....

  • This next story may seem unrelated to adoption, but stick with me, it's in the thick of the adoption update.  We spent last weekend in Wisconsin and Chicago celebrating the wedding of one of our former youth groupers and spending a fun family day in Chicago.  Worn out and happy, we were within 30 minutes of home when the brakes woke me out of my comatose, dozing state.  I opened my eyes just in time to see the deer Scott was yelling about.  When I looked up, the 8 point buck was in full stride right in front of us.  One second later, he was dead where he landed
  • and our suburban was hissing and smoking.  The suburban's such a beast that we weren't even jolted enough to wake up the sleeping children, engage my seat-belt or deploy the air-bag.  We were safe, but the poor old suburban that had carried our family of 8 for the past 7 years had given up the ghost.  Our plans were that the old girl would limp along for another year until we could get the adoption under our belts and save up for an upgrade.  Adding a family member or two will mean that we've outgrown suburbans and will have to move into the really big family category of 12-15 passenger vans - and those aren't cheap!!   Or we could get a limo, Scott always likes to remind me.....wouldn't that be cute and convenient pulling up the car-pool lot at school?!  The best part of this story, though, is the thought that came to my heart just moments after the deer's and suburban's hearts stopped beating.  Old, tired Lori of a year ago would have started worrying before the crash actually happened.  New and improved, connected to the vine Lori got really excited about the OPPORTUNITY that had just occurred for God to do something amazing and unexplainable again!  I'm just praying that this paradigm shift of my heart is permanent - what a great way to live.  A problem becomes an adrenaline rush because my heart recognizes it as the uphill climb of the roller coaster that comes just before the good part!

I have to tell you-all what transpired as soon as I typed that silly little line about the bloggy angels singing....  Child called from school needing to be picked up early because of a raging headache, sister had to go potty - nap interrupted, husband dropped by for lunch, sons arrived home from school and changed my music to hip-hop, rest of kids needed to be picked up from school, homework needed to be monitored, dinner prep, sister woke up from nap with fever, my throat started aching......I have no idea what I though I was hearing, but now I know it certainly wasn't bloggy angels!  Right now, I'm a bit ragged and just glad we were able to push that baby out!

So, here's the low-down of where our adoption process stands today....thank you, thank you for being willing to put your heart on the line with us, can't tell you how loved and supported we feel.  But don't quit praying, and let's together fight the urge to let God's awesome, amazing acts stop stirring our hearts to awe because we're seeing so many of them.  Let's stay speechless....
  • Our homestudy is completed and paid for - $11,000
  • Our preliminary orphan immigration application has been sent to the Department of State with $890
  • There is almost $2,000 sitting in the adoption fund waiting for the next bill - can you believe it??!!
  • It can take up to 2 months to receive immigration approval back, we're praying for the fast track because I would really like to be on the waiting list by Christmas....
  • Our big project right now is gathering and notarizing documents for the dossier - our goal is to have it completed by the time our immigration clearance arrives.
  • We're hoping by Christmas to send our homestudy, immigration clearance & dossier to Ethiopia with the next big check (which will be $5,000-$6,000)


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