April 11, 2014 at 8:38 am we received our REFERRAL!!! Siblings! One girl & One boy. Double the blessing!!! SO worth the wait!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

T H E - C A L L !

Referral Day
April 11, 2014
8:38 am

It was going to be a crazy day. But I had no idea HOW crazy!

I got up early and ran 5 miles on the treadmill. I had 5 daycare kiddos coming. I was watching my niece and two of my nephews and our kids were home from school. It was going to be a busy day with 10 kids running around the house. And we had dinner plans at a friends house, who are adopting through our agency. They had just returned from Ethiopia earlier in the week.

... I was on the phone with Josh, we were talking about how excited we were to hear about our friends trip. Couldn't wait to hear about their kids, Ethiopia and Hannah's Hope (our agency's transition home - where the children live) AND how it was going to be a little hard to hear about a certain sibling set, a sibling set we had been praying for... (more about that in a follow up post). As we were hanging up I noticed I had an incoming call. It was our agency. Wamp. Wamp. Probably a paperwork call...

It was 8:38 am. it was our case manager J she rattled on about paperwork for a moment and then.she.said. "AMY THIS IS YOUR REFERRAL CALL" I can't even describe the feeling I had, in that moment. We had waited three years to hear those words. And since I was unable to fully process what she just said. I just screamed "You are kidding me!?!" To which she replied "NO and I am calling to refer a sibling set..."OH.MY.HEART. is this really happening!?! THE sibling set we have been PRAYING for!!!! Oh.my.goodness. I just sobbed!!! She kept talking. I couldn't breathe. I honestly think the world stopped spinning for just a moment. Then she said "Can we call Josh?" "Yes!" So I hung up the phone ran into the kitchen, where our kids were eating breakfast, and I started jumping up and down screaming "WE GOT OUR REFERRAL AND THE KIDS ON OUR FRIDGE ARE YOUR BROTHER AND SISTER!" and they were SO excited!!! That is truly the understatement of the year!!!

THEN I called Josh. Here is how my conversation went with Josh "Hey hon. Um. We just got our referral call." "No we didn't" "Yes we did! and We were referred THE KIDS" "No way, are you serious?" "Yes! J is going to be calling you any minute so we can have our official referral call." "You have got to be kidding." "No this is REALLY happening" "I can't believe it." "Yeah me either"

J called and told us all about them! We hung on every word. But it felt like a dream. It still just seemed too incredible to be true. But it was true! And our precious children. OH MY WORD. We LOVE them!!! We can't wait to hug them, hold their precious little faces in our hands, look into their beautiful eyes and tell them how much we love them, wanted them and prayed for them. Thank you Jesus!

{I feel I should point out the additional chaos transpiring in our home while all these phone calls are happening! Day care kids are being dropped off. Family members are dropping off their kids. I'm trying to keep a straight face and cover up the fact I have been BAWLING. Snacks, meals and diapers are being changed.}

You might think that after we got "the call" we would have time to savor the moment. But no! While your head is still spinning, you are emailed a huge to do list. Some of which has to be completed in 24-48 hours!!! So in between phone calls to family and friends and caring for 10 kids, I'm tying to get in touch with an International Pediatrician. So I'm frantically emailing. calling. and then I finally get a yes from a Dr that can do a consultation within our limited time frame. By now it's 2:30. I haven't eaten a thing all day and I'm running on fumes. I can't even remember how to cut and paste documents into an email. So I inhale a Costco apple muffin in hopes the sugar will somehow get me functioning like normal again. Ha! Not possible. We got our referral today! I just may have to kiss "normal" goodbye! I finally get the email together and sent off. Paid the $500 fee. Can you even believe it? For a conversation! And I take the first full breath I think I have taken all day.

By now children have started to slowly file out of our house and Rori and Trent take turns sharing our news with family and friends! So proud to show off photos of their sister and brother!

We head to our friends house for dinner AND THEN we got to hear stories about their kids and OUR KIDS, see photos of their kids and OUR KIDS and by the end of the evening we had fallen more in love with our kids than we could have ever imagined. What a perfect way, to end the most amazing day...

Referral Day Photo

This is the only photo we have from "referral day" & it's after midnight!
We had just gotten home from dinner.
Josh was showering because he went to dinner straight from work.
The kids and I thought we would take a quick selfie!

Photos from Referral Weekend 

My friend and I at her adoption shower!
Such a fun time celebrating!
Rori and I after the shower with our Ethiopian Flag cupcakes,
headed to a Called to Love planning meeting!

Trent and I celebrating later that day at my nephew's 1st Birthday!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

April 2013 Wait List Numbers

We are officially #28 for a Girl 0-12 months

And we are #11 for a girl and boy sibling group 0-48 months.

Getting closer. If you had asked me in October "When we would get our referral" I might have said "In the spring of 2013!" but here we are. It's spring and no referral... It has been S.L.O.W. There has been a lot of change happening in Ethiopia. So much of it has been good for the overall future of adoptions in Ethiopia. But we are yet again right in the middle of more changes and changes cause delays. While I am really good at putting on a brave face and convincing everyone that asks how I "fine" I am. The truth is, I am possibly... not "fine". It's hard to be patient. It's hard to not get discouraged or frustrated. While I know God's timing is perfect. After TWO YEARS of waiting, planning and dreaming. You start to wonder exactly how long the journey will be. 

Instead of crying into my pillow... 
I cried out to God and asked him how to use this wait to HIS glory.


A few months ago I attended Created for Care, 
a retreat in Atlanta for adoptive moms, with my friend Jen.

It was awesome. 
We came back refreshed & passionate 
to provide that same experience to adoptive moms here at home!

We got to work. 
And God moved mountains.
Now, after months of prayer and planning... 
dozens of meetings... hundreds of emails and phone calls...

May 1st 2013
Registration Opens for our 1st annual retreat!!!

"Called to Love is a ministry designed to encourage and support adoptive and foster moms by providing an annual retreat.  Whether you are just beginning the process, have been home for years, or are in the trenches of those first few months home, you are invited to join us.  Our desire is that each woman will connect with other mamas, refresh physically and emotionally, and renew your own relationship with the Father.  He who has called you by name to this journey longs to reconnect with you and re-energize you.  We pray this weekend of worshipping, eating, learning, connecting, laughing and resting will feed your body and soul and send you home a better wife and mother!"

Jen and I

Our Team

The Location
Oregon Garden Resort

God has been using the wait.
Making Lemonade out of Lemons!

I am so excited for this retreat!
Thankful I have something to pour my "adoption" energy into.

The wait is still really really H.A.R.D. 
BUT we remain hopeful!
Confident our time is coming and God is faithful.

One of my favorite songs right now is Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline
and these words give me peace while we wait.

"These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated"


Friday, November 2, 2012

September & October Wait List Numbers {How God is working while we wait}

November is national Orphan Month and this weekend is Orphan Sunday. 
Here is a link to the Orphan Sunday Video. 
This year it is especially significant. I'll tell you more about why later.
For now, I want to tell you a {tiny little bit} of our story...

But first, I want to update you on our wait list numbers. 
We have been busy compiling documents for our home study update/parameter change
 and preparing for our social worker visit (again).
The good news is the update is complete and our parameters are changed to include siblings!

September Wait List #
Girl 0-12 months

October Wait List #'s
Girl 0-12 months
OFFICIALLY on the sibling list!!!
One Girl. One Boy. 0-48 Months

Two years ago... I was unaware and unaffected by the plight of the orphan. 
It kills me to say that, but it was true.

Then God started to speak... at first it was just a whisper.

He used people I knew... one family in the process of adopting from Thailand. Another was traveling to Ethiopia to bring their twin girls home. Another home with their child from China. Another in the process from Rwanda. And Another in the process of adopting from Ethiopia.

Which left me asking...why?... 
Most of those families had at least two bio kids... 
so why would they adopt? 

He used music...
"He cries in the corner where nobody sees.
He's the kid with the story no one would believe.
He cries every night
"Dear God wont you please, could you send someone here who will love me?"
- JJ Heller
and in an instant I saw my son and daughter alone,
 with no one to love them and my heart broke into a million pieces...

And then...
"All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in,
a shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win.
Theres so much I could ask for, but theres just one thing I need.
All I want for Christmas is a family."
-Stephen Curtis Chapman
and I began SOBBING...

...God's voice it getting louder.

But God certainly isn't calling our family to adopt. We are done having kids, happy with one girl and one boy... we can't start over now, that wasn't the plan God. Our business is failing... we are both going to have to get jobs... it's just bad timing. Adoption is expensive and we just can't afford it, especially now... maybe some other time God. No, you can't possibly be calling us... someone else will do it.

But maybe God could change our financial circumstances. Maybe he could provide the money. 
We do have room in our home... and in our hearts.

So one day, out of the blue (or at least it seemed that way to my husband) I blurt out "I think God is calling us to adopt!" That got his attention! He looked at me like I was CrAzY! And gave me a long list of reasons why we shouldn't adopt. And I sighed a giant sigh of relief...

But no matter how relieved I was that he had said no, I couldn't shake the feeling we had to say yes 
(little did I know God was working on his heart too). I continued sharing videos I had found or stories I had read. He was interested, but always had the same response. "Someone else will do it. Not us." but I just couldn't drop it or move on. I kept researching and we kept talking about it and about two weeks later Josh, out of the blue, says "If God is calling us to adopt and we say no, aren't we saying no to GOD and HIS plans. We can't say no to God. So, what is the next step? Lets see if this is really what God wants us to do." And so we did. And God opened EVERY door. We were pre-approved... and then approved... and then God provided the money we needed... I could go on and on. 
But here is the thing: When you let GOD be GOD, he WILL move mountains!!!

And here we are two years later... FOREVER CHANGED!!!

Now, I am fully aware and fully effected by the plight of the orphan. My heart aches for the "least of these". I long to hold in my arms Gods precious gift to our family! Isn't LOVE the greatest gift we can give and receive! Friends, adoption is not just about giving love, its about the love that we receive. I have NERVER felt so much love in my life. And I come from a very loving family. But when your family, friends and even complete strangers commit to pray for you and financially give to you, and get excited for you, its just about the most amazing gift ever! One of my favorite songs is:
"So let my life be the proof, the proof of your love.
Let my love look like you and what you are made of.
How you lived and how you died.
Love is sacrifice.
So let my life be the proof, the proof of your love."
- For King and Country

"Adoption" is not just something we are "doing", it is being woven into the fabric of our family forever. I want to shout from the roof tops how God has changed our hearts and moved in our life! God isn't just preparing us for the child or children we will bring home. He is preparing us for the rest of our life, a life that looks a little different than "normal", we embrace different, we crave different. I have never considered myself someone with the gift of evangelism. But put someone in front of me asking why we adopted and I can talk for hours about Gods love and mercy. It's not just about rescuing an orphan. 
It's about showing God's love every day, in ordinary circumstances and places.

November 4th is Orphan Sunday. I am so excited, our church is launching PROJECT 1:27, an Adoption and Foster Care ministry. It is a ministry near and dear to my heart. I have prayed for years that God would open a door and to see it come fruition is just amazing! I am blessed to serve with an amazing group of families. I can not wait to see what God has in store for this ministry!
I pray that HEARTS WOULD broken for the orphan and moved to action. 
I pray for the families God is whispering to, that they would say YES!

As we enter the holiday season, we ask that you pray for movement, referrals and families united.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

August Wait List Number

July was such a crazy month of massive movement! 
August was quieter, but we still had movement!

Our August wait list number is

We are unofficially number 14 for siblings.
Still working on a few documents for our home study update.
Almost have it all together though.
Anxious to get it all wrapped up so we can be official.

I am really excited!!!
 I will be attending a retreat in January for adoptive moms called:

"Christian families all over the world are being called to grow their families through adoption and foster care. Throughout the journey, different needs arise–some times, we just don’t know where to start–and other times we are just tired from all that is required in these callings filled with new approaches, lots of healing and much required extra love. While your hearts have been called to care, YOU were also created to be cared FOR. We want to not only support these families by equipping them with adoption resources, but most importantly provide resources to encourage them in their walks with their Heavenly Father who led them to this amazing calling." (taken from the Created for Care website)

The retreat is held in Georgia at this gorgeous resort!
Legacy Lodge on Lake Lanier

I know God won't give me more than I can handle.
But I also know our little ones will have experienced some significant loss in their life.
I don't yet know how they are going to respond to that grief.
I want to equip myself as much as possible to help them grieve and grow.
I am so thankful a retreat of this kind exists!
It is going to be AMAZING!

Thank you for your prayers and support!
Till next time!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Wait List Number

Holy Moly! 

We moved up 9 places this month! 

We are officially #45 for girl for the month of July

The last two months have been absolutely, with out a doubt, 
the MOST exciting, of our process thus far.
So many kiddos being matched with their forever families 
and TONS of sibling referrals!

We stared our home study update 
and are hoping to have that completed by mid September.
We are working HARD to complete all the paperwork as quickly as possible!
Once it is complete, we will officially be placed on the sibling list!!!
I can't wait to see our name on that list!

Thank you for your prayers and support!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wait List # and... a Few Other Exciting Things!

Well friends! Some exciting things have been happening since my last update!


Our agency just announced they are opening a Guest House for families!
This means when we travel to Ethiopia we now have the option to stay 
at Hannah's Hope (the transition home of our agency). 
They have converted a portion of the compound
into a five bedroom / four bath home. 
Which means we won't have to travel to and from a hotel 
and that will allow us a little more time with our kiddo/s. 
Plus it's really nice!
Living Room at the NEW Guest House at Hannah's Hope!


Our agency also just announced they have a new orphanage partnership! 
Music to an adoptive parents ears. 
This could mean (we are praying that is does) an increase in referrals! 



We are excited to announce we are changing our parameters and adding SIBLINGS!

Let me explain: first of all it was some thing on my heart from the beginning. But was a little overwhelming to consider at first. But over the last few months, it seemed like every time I turned around someone was sharing a video or story about an older child or siblings and it was breaking. my. heart. I shared these videos and stories with Josh and his heart broke too.We have already had two "babies" (an experience everyone should have and needs to have). But, for us, there was no reason we couldn't adopt older, our bio kids are 7 & 5. It was really because the bonding and transition was "easier" with an infant that we initially chose to adopt under 12 months in the first place. Basically fear was holding us back. Josh and I talked about it, prayed about it, and decided why not!? We had already decided we would adopt again (why not adopt two at a time instead!) and after a 1 1/2 years into this adoption we have learned a lot! We decided to wait to make the change when we had to update our USCIS and home study. 

We are just starting the process now and are hoping to have our Home Study update competed by October. Once we have that complete we will "officially" be added to the sibling wait list. We will be stating that we would be open to adopting siblings (to include at lest one girl) up to the age of 4. The crazy thing is, the sibling list is much shorter than the boy or girl list. Which could mean a quicker referral! However, siblings are not overly common. We are hoping that since our age parameters are higher than the average family waiting for siblings, maybe that will increase our chances of getting a sibling referral. We would however, be overjoyed with a sibling or a baby girl referral! 

 We leave the final decision in God's capable hands! 
And as we wait, 
we will try to remain patient and obedient to His will for our family, 
with great anticipation for the "call"!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adoption Baby Shower

I thought today was an appropriate day to post some photos of the adoption shower, 
myself and a few friends threw a few weeks ago for a dear friend adopting from Thailand. 
They arrived in Thailand at the end of last week,
they took custody of their son yesterday, 
and TODAY are going to court to make it official!

The theme for the shower was {Vintage Travel}
I used a tons of Globes and Maps.
Suite Cases and Trunks.
Not all of my pictures turned out so I've posted the best of what I have.
{side note} I really need to get a "good" camera. Any suggestions!?

We held the shower at the coolest coffee shop in Salem the Ike Box.
If you are a local to me, I highly recommend them for your next event.
The ballroom is beautiful!

My color inspiration came from the globes.
So I used teal, yellow, grey and tan.
They are such peaceful and calming colors, don't you think!

I managed to find a half a dozen Thailand luggage tags/sticker images on Google.
While this may not seem impressive,
unless you are searching for luggage tags for places like Italy and France,
it's pretty slim pick-ins.

It's hard to read, but I've got the Bible open to:

 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father
 means caring for orphans and widows in their distress 
and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27 NLT

One of my favorite verses and one close to this adoption mamma's heart!

Sweet little "A" I can't believe he will be home on American soil in one week!
We have prayed for this child for so long.
The adoption journey is coming to an end BUT it's really just the beginning,
how lucky he is to be joining his amazing family!
Once an orphan.
Now a son and a brother!

Each of the tables had facts about Thailand.
And we provided each of the guests with a little sheet with information
 on how to best support the family when they return home.

Here we are:
Me (left) The Momma herself (middle) Our friend K (right)

It's been a blessing to be on this journey with her!
I'm so happy her son is finally in their arms... FOREVER!