Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can you travel with a goat?

When I get home after work, I anxiously check our mail for my Criminal History Check. This is the LAST piece of paper we need to complete our home study and the reason I've had to be fingerprinted 3 times! I'm ready to get this process rolling!

Today, when I got home and grabbed the mail, I saw there was a letter from Allan, a child we sponsor through Compassion International. I sorted through the rest of the mail to see what else we got. Side note: I'm a save the best for last or delayed gratification type person so unless I'm in a rush, I'll save the letter from Allan to open last!

I finally open and start reading the letter, I'm also trying to eat dinner quickly so I can get to small group and having a "discussion" with Wes on the phone. I'm a little frustrated on the phone about something that's broken that we need to replace and then I read this:
"He [Allan] has a question for you.
He is asking to know when you will ever visit him so he can
give you a goat.
He says they are rearing four of them and that one is yours."

So, Wes and I are in said "discussion" and I'm frustrated so he's frustrated and I said "honey, Allan has a goat for us." We both started laughing.

Thankful to break the tension in our conversation, it was also a reminder of life outside of US and what WE are doing and our meaningless STUFF. Here is this young boy who lives in a culture that we can't even comprehend, he has never met us before yet he tells us "I Love you so much" and shares his memory verse with us (Romans3:23), tells us what he bought with the Christmas money we sent- he bought a suit, a football and sweets (and the cost of each). His family wants to give us a goat, such an important part of their survival. And his prayer request-to work harder so he can get to grade 3! I hope that we can be a glimpse of God's love and affection to Allan and his family as they have done for us. I am thankful for Compassion's calling and the responsibility they have accepted to work with the local church (a very biblical picture) to provide hope and a future while breaking the cycle of poverty one child at a time.

Allan has changed our lives for the better and is one reason we began looking into adopting from Uganda. So Allan, we're coming but maybe you can just give us a hug instead of a goat, I'm not sure how we'll get it on the plane and through customs!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ode to Coffee

If you've known me for any length of time, especially college or before, you probably know of my love for coffee! I have since limited myself to 1 cup a day unless it's just one of those days that requires 2 or 3 cups. From what I've heard, this love/addiction started when I was 2 years old. My family was at a restaurant and I was pitching a fit. The waitress tried bringing me everything from stuffed animals to candy but nothing by my mom's remaining cooled off coffee would quiet me! I guess I really embarrassed my brother and mom...well, like mother like daughter! I still remember many times when my mom would sit outside with her cup of coffee to read a book, she'd place that cup on the ground and I would sneak up behind the chair to drink the last few sips that she may or may not have left there on purpose!

In college, I may have even "shut the shop down" a few times. About an hour before they closed, they would refill your coffee for free since they were just going to toss it. I couldn't let it go to waste...and I might just be THAT cheap! Study groups at Waffle House...keep the coffee coming! Those coffee mugs are tiny!

Enough about my coffee habits. We have decided to do a little fundraising by selling some coffee. Just Love Coffee uses Fair Trade coffee only and they are a company that is helping orphans find their forever homes! Just Love Coffee was started by a family who adopted 2 from Ethiopia.
If you love coffee like we do, please consider ordering some here

Friday, February 18, 2011

2 Worlds

We are so excited to see the Turner's & Fanning's tonight with their newest family members! We've been praying for safe travel and occupied kids on the plane. It's such a long flight anyway, we hope that everyone was able to get some rest and not feel too cooped up on the plane!

While they are headed back to the states from Uganda, many of my co-workers left yesterday for Kenya! They will be visiting with some Compassion International sights and meeting LDP (Leadership Development Program) students who may be traveling with them throughout the summer. LDP students have been through the Compassion International child sponsorship program and our now in college/university in their home country while still being sponsored. It's an incredible program and to meet some of these men and women who are breaking the cycle of poverty while finding true hope in Christ has been life changing. I'm always a little jealous that I don't get to travel but I always love hearing the stories and seeing the life change.

If you are not already sponsoring a child, I would highly encourage you to get involved. Not only is it the opportunity to change the life and future of a child but it will surely change yours as well. The video below is of one of the LDP students who traveled with one of our summer staff teams.

Compassion Kenya - PROOF - Hezron Aidi from Student Life on Vimeo.

Unfortunately, not much of an update on our progress, please pray for us to receive my Background/Criminal History check. It's the last piece of paperwork we need for our Homestudy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Overflowing with unexpected mercies

Late last night/early this morning (midnight-3AM-ish) we had the opportunity to skype on and off with our friends in Uganda! They met with our lawyer and our lawyer had the children we're pursuing there with her! Where on earth do you even begin to explain that experience?!

We sent some cloths and toys to UG with our friends. The little boy (who we've been most concerned about because of some health issues) just thought a big bouncy ball was the greatest thing! He was full of smiles. Wes asked him if he had a ball and the boy brought it over to the computer and stuck it in the camera...precious! The little girl, we're told wasn't feeling very well so she was very quiet and stayed in her grandmother's lap. She didn't seem too sure about these Mzungas (white people)! We watched them play for a little and smiled a lot.

We signed off so they could take some measurements and get back to where they were staying. They took a lot of notes for us with lots of great information. We are so thankful for their willingness, pictures, time, encouragement and knowledge!

Thank you Turners & Fannings! We can't wait for you to get back so we can bask in your knowledge :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fingerprint adventures

Yesterday Wes & I drove to Montgomery so I could get fingerprinted for the 3rd time!

Alabama DHR contracts with a security company (SBCN) to run fingerprints for things like adoptions and foster care. The prints I took previously were with ink & came out blury each time. My options were to drive to Montgomery (1.5 hours away) to do a "Live Scan" or they could do a Name search which could take up to 6 months for the results to come back. So, we drove to Montgomery. The folks at SBCN were very friendly and helpful and recommended, if we could, to drive to ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigation) in Montgomery

Our trusty GPS guided us to the perfect spot. ABI has 1 little door on the bottom level of a huge federal building. Everything is very secure, even the receptionist has bullet proof glass, a box that you pass things through & will only open up 1 side at a time, they get a little feisty if you don't close the door on your side! I explained why I was there, they don't usually get people in for adoption fingerprints, and it took a little explaining and a few people before they finally understood why exactly I was there. Once we got back to the fingerprinting room, they discussed whether they should do ink or live scan for my prints. We explained again about my fuzzy blurry fingerprints and they decided to do Live Scan. Don't get me wrong, they were very kind and friendly once they understood why I was there, they're just used to doing fingerprints for job background checks etc. & not adoptions!

Insert side note: I'm a task oriented person-let's just get the job done. Wes is relational. I very much admire and love this gift God gave him, I try and want to be more like that-things might slow down a little but it's usually with a smile and a better outcome!

We get to the fingerprinting room and they go to work entering my information and setting up the computer. They started a little small talk and asked us if we were adopting a boy or girl. I told them "twins, a boy and a girl." Wes jumps in with "Want to see a picture?" He showed them the picture and everything in that room changed! We were all suddenly on a mission together! With the Live Scan, you have to hold your hand/finger on the scanner until if gives you a green light. If it gives you a red light, you have 2 more chances to get a green light or it's over. So, with every green light it was a celebration. With every red, it was a careful re-placement of my hand or finger. Once I passed (green light on everything) they took us to meet the Sargent and told him what we were there for. He was very kind an immediately started to make sure that the prints looked good, everything went through etc. He asked us to wait for a bit so he could try to figure out where my prints were declined previously -by the state or FBI. He made sure my prints were clear enough to go through the state system and didn't get declined again, I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens at the Federal level. We are so thankful for their kindness and all their help!

Some details:
  • ladies, if you ever plan to adopt, start making the men wash dishes & do the cleaning! We were told women often have the hardest time getting a clear print b/c of all the washing, cleaning chemicals, paper handling etc. our ridges wear down! WHO KNEW!
  • If you're confused as to what most of this means, that's ok, so am I!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fingerprints-round 3!

I've been reading in Romans some this week & came to this text:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:22-23

This week has definitely had moments of groaning. Some friends of ours had a court appearance that didn't go as hoped. It was certainly discouraging to read their news but we eagerly wait to see how God will be glorified. I also found out I'll have to drive to Montgomery to get a "Live Scan" of my fingerprints at ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigation). 3rd times the charm, right?! I'm told that the ridges on my fingerprints aren't defined enough to give them a good print. If I drive to Montgomery for the Live Scan, they'll be able to tell me right away if my prints will be accepted or if they'll have to do a name search. A name search could take up to 6 months to complete & definitely not the route we want to take! And this is just for the State of Alabama, I still have to get fingerprinted for USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration). YIKES!

I'm ok with process, I understand why processes have to happen but I'm anxious and frustrated! There's 2 children half way across the world that we want to bring home as soon as possible and this part of the process is wearing on me. I just want my approved criminal history check so we can move onto the next part! (said with teeth clinched!)

This is the part where I can do nothing to rely on myself, I must rely on the sovereignty of God and he is constantly reminding me that he is in control even when I don't understand why things happen a certain way. Please pray for our friends the Turner's. Their court date has been moved again-to Thursday. We can't wait for them to go to court, so they can go see our twins!! We can't wait to see more pictures and hear a little more about them!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friends in Uganda

We currently have some friends in Uganda preparing for their court dates! These 2 families have meant the world to us in helping us understand this process, walking the road beside us, talking details etc. One family has a court date today (they've probably already had it since they are 8 hours ahead of us). The other family has a court date for Monday!

Please pray with us for these families~ the Fannings & the Turners