Well I'm thrilled to share that as of Nov. 20th...
The beginning of this process has been much different than Ivan's. With Ivan's adoption, God called us to special needs adoption, we said yes, saw Ivan's picture, and began the process right away.
This time was quite different...
After our miscarriage we were disoriented, confused, angry at God. We felt like God was leading us in a certain direction (growing our family) and then in an instant our future and our dreams were stolen from us.
But we sought God in our grief and found healing in knowing that God's ways are so much higher than ours.
We knew God gave us Dawson for a reason.
Before I found out I was pregnant we had a plan. It involved working and saving for a house so we could move out of our apartment. We were both in agreement that after Ivan had been home for a year and we were in a house, we would start praying about growing our family again in whatever way God saw fit.
When we found out I was pregnant, Ryan began looking for a new job and we began house hunting and dreaming a new plan for our family. It is hard to explain, but in the instant we found out about Dawson, none of our old plans mattered. Growing our family now felt like the best thing in the world. We were filled with a joy and hope unlike anything I've felt before in my life. Those short three weeks we knew of our precious baby were precious and cherished beyond what I can explain.
So after my miscarriage Ryan and I both knew that we wanted to grow our family sooner rather than later. Our old plan was out the window and we began to seek God with open hearts. We truly thought we would have another biological child, but after a couple months of trying to get pregnant again, God began stirring our hearts for adoption.
Then came a season of wrestling with God. We told him every reason why now was not a good time for us to adopt again.
We just didn't feel ready...
But, as usual, God was persistent, in his obvious but tender way, and we eventually threw up our hands in surrender.
Okay Lord, if you want us to adopt again then You need to get us into a house by the end of Oct. (when our lease ended) and extend our USCIS approval before it expires.
Both of those things looked impossible to us. At the time we made God that challenge we only had a couple months until our lease would end.
Right away we began taking steps out in faith. We believed that if God wanted us to adopt then we WOULD be able to buy a house and update our approval. So I emailed our facilitator from our last adoption and asked her what was necessary for us to update our adoption approval.
Because we were approved to adopt two children last time and only brought home Ivan our case file was still open at USCIS (The division of the US government that grants approval for a family to adopt a child from a different country). In order for us to update our approval we would need to update our FBI fingerprints, get a home study update done, and send it to USCIS before our prior approval expired.
We were on a MAJOR time crunch!!
I was shocked to find out that our needed fingerprint update would expire the coming Monday. It was Thurs. so I hurried up and sent in our request to update our fingerprints and it was received the next day!!
JUST IN TIME!!
|Quick picture before putting it in the mail, still not knowing if this would ever end up in a future adoption journal|
Also around this time, I laid my eyes on an updated picture of a little boy with a heart defect that I have loved since before bringing Ivan home. Reno was a little boy I had advocated for on many occasions. I found out that a family had tried to adopt him, but were unable to because his paperwork wasn't ready. I reached out to the woman who had met him and she told me how sweet and amazing he is and how much he wants a family of his own.
My heart melted.
Here was a little boy almost exactly one year older than Landon, also with a special heart and all he wants is the love of a family.
She also told me that if a family does want to adopt him they should do it soon because he is doing so well there's a chance his medical condition may not be considered severe enough to qualify him for international adoption if they were to update his medical record any time soon.
Could this precious little boy be the reason God is stirring our hearts again?? I wondered
Ryan and I began praying about him and God filled our hearts with a great peace in the midst of the raging storm of unknowns we were facing.
We were scared... we had decided that if we ever adopted again we would pursue a baby girl with down synrdome. We felt strongly about that and assumed that was a desire God had placed on our hearts. So this...
This didn't make sense!
We definetly did not think we would pursue another boy, let along an older child.
His ways are higher than our ways and His plans are increasingly more wonderful than anything in our wildest dreams.
So we committed to Reno (not his real name), but nothing could be public because we didn't have a new address to write on our commitment forms.
Telling Reece's Rainbow we wanted to pursue adopting him was just another blind step of faith we felt we needed to take.
So now this was beginning to feel real. We had a face, but we were trying to hold back our hearts from falling in love with this little boy because everything still looked so impossible.
The next hurdle would be updating our home study, which is impossible to do until you are in the home that you will be bringing your adopted children into.
But I reached out to our past home study social worker and she told me that she no longer travels to do home studies.
Another huge hurdle....
Long story short, after a lot of time passing, prayer, and God moving and opening doors, our social worker made an exception and agreed to updating our home study!!
Now we just needed a house...
We had looked at a few homes here and there, but every door we tried to open came slamming shut in our faces.
I was getting very discouraged!
I wish I could tell you we never doubted.
I wish I could tell you that we prayed without ceasing and our faith was unwavering, but I can't.
The truth is, I didn't see how it would come together. We didn't have the money for a down payment and we just couldn't seem to afford anything in this crazy housing market.
Aren't you glad that even when we're faithless, God remains faithful!! 2 Timothy 2:13
We had less than a month until our lease would end.
We had basically come to terms with the idea of renewing our lease and "maybe" pursuing adoption later, when we got a call from our realtor saying that there was a new house on the market that she wanted to show us.
We went and looked at it that night.
Made an offer the next day.
Received our down payment almost right AFTER putting in the offer. (Yes, you read that right!!)
JUST ENOUGH, JUST IN TIME
The sellers accepted our offer the next day!!
Our closing date was set for Nov. 14th, but miraculously got moved up to Oct. 29th.
We moved into our new home two days before our lease ended!!
God came through!!
JUST IN TIME!!
|In front of our gift from God|
So now all we needed was our home study update done and our documents and request for our extension sent to USCIS by Nov. 20th.
If we didn't get our stuff to them on time we would have to start over from scratch due to some changes in adoption laws since our last adoption. But if we got our stuff there on time we would be grandfathered in, meaning our process would be MUCH FASTER!!!
I was consumed with anxiety when we found out we wouldn't be able to have our home study visit until Nov. 11th. that would give us just a little over a week to get our update written, corrected, and sent in to USCIS.
Truthfully it looked pretty impossible.
I sent our beloved package out on Nov. 15th, but I missed the time of pickup so it didn't actually get sent out until Nov. 17th.
I will never forget how I felt driving home from my mad dash to the UPS store. I made it there at 3:42 and they closed at 4, but it ended up not mattering since pickup had already taken place.
You would think a woman who had just been handed a house from God wouldn't struggle with doubts, but again, I found myself angry and scared.
Everything was out of our hands now all we could do is pray for a miracle.... and wait.
Fast forward through the agonizing wait to Thurs (Nov. 20th), I knew that our package had made it to USCIS, but their systems were down so they couldn't transfer me to our case officer (same person we had for Ivan's adoption).
I received an email from Reece's Rainbow telling me they had received all of our commitment forms and asking if we were ready to make our adoption public? Ryan and I discussed it and he gave me the go ahead, but I was still hesitant.
Lord, I really wish I had absolute confirmation that our file made it to our officer.
Just then my phone alerted me that I had a new voicemail.
I stopped writing my reply, clicked listen, and held my breath.
It was our case officer, she informed me that our file had made it to her desk THAT MORNING AND WAS BEING PROCESSED!!!!
I promise you I'm not making this up!! It got to her on the very day it expired!!
JUST IN TIME!!
Ryan and I screamed our heads off and jumped up and down we were so excited!!
Months and months of praying and fighting doubt had paid off.
God of miracles!!
With tears of joy I pressed send on my email and an hour later our adoption was made public for all to see!!
So I saved one of the best parts of our adoption story for last since it is just too beautiful for words.
Not long after committing to Reno in our hearts, I found myself drawn to a baby girl on Reece's Rainbow. I'd frequented her profile and couldn't believe that such a gorgeous baby hadn't been committed to yet... then I did something crazy.
I contacted a women who is known as one of the best at finding out where children are located. I asked her if she could find out where baby girl was and in my heart I knew it would be a miracle if she was in the same region as Reno
Yep, she was!!
We now know that her and Reno are not only in the same region, but the same orphanage!! Only God could write this story!!
I showed Ryan her picture and it didn't take long for us to agree that if God would make a way, we had to try to adopt her as well.
We didn't even know if we qualified financially to bring two more children into our home, but with Ryan's new job we make...
you guessed it, JUST ENOUGH :)
Looking back I am in awe of how God works.
He used a precious unborn baby, one that we will never hold this side of Heaven, to change our hearts and redirect the entire path of our family. If it wasn't for Dawson Ryan wouldn't have his new job, we wouldn't be in this perfect little house, and we wouldn't be fighting to save two more precious lives.
I hope everyone who reads this can see that we are not above doubt and fear, but our hope is that through sharing our crazy journey, God is highlighted in every aspect of our brokenness.
He will always be just enough for you and His timing, although sometimes annoyingly precise, is always abundantly perfect.
We would be honored and blessed if you would support us through this journey again.
Above everything, we need prayer. Prayer is what moves the mountains and breaks down any barrier standing in our way.
Right now, our biggest mountain is money. This process could go extremely fast this time. It's not unrealistic to think that we could have the children home in 6 months.
Obviously this means we need to come up with a lot of money FAST.
It looks like an impossible mountain, but we know it is nothing for God.
Please be on the look out for upcoming fundraisers and if you feel led you can donate through our family Sponsorship page on Reece's Rainbow
Here we go again!!