1/27/09 - Home Study State Endorsement

We received an email from our social worker, Faith, yesterday saying that our home study has finally been endorsed by the state of Illinois (an eight week process for what should have taken four to six weeks, but who's counting - ha! ha!). We are very excited as this means on to the next and last step of approval waiting!!

NEXT STEPS: Due to changes at USCIS(United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), Mike needs to redo some paperwork, which he is doing this week. He will send it to Faith and she will forward it, with our home study, to the USCIS office. Last fall, USCIS was taking about four weeks to approve home studies and send out I171H forms - the last form we need! We're not even counting, though. It will all happen in God's timing.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: Praise for our friends and family and their encouragement that we keep going in this process. Pray that God's hand would continue to be on this process and our hearts and that He would get the glory!

1/26/09 - Double Answer to Prayer!

Discouragement has passed for the moment and we're keeping on keeping on! Two events to report:

1. Mike met with a lady last week who is interested in having him illustrate a children's book she is self publishing (which happens to be about adoption!). We're not sure if that will ever come about, but when Mike walked into her house to meet her, there are pictures all over the house of the children she has adopted from China! So most of the meeting was discussing her adoption and ours and her encouraging Mike. He was more positive than I have seen him in months and would love for me to meet this lady someday too.

2. I made a realization while sitting in church this Sunday listening to a fabulous message on prayer which challenged me to pray that God would get the glory in all our times of trouble and challenge. I realized that by choosing discouragement, putting our adoption crate in the closet, and not wanting to keep moving forward, I was not following God's plan for us. God was not getting the glory but rather the enemy was winning. So the crate is out and Mike and I are going to read through the new dossier guidelines tonight.

Watch for our next steps in the days to come!! Thank you all for your love, prayers, and encouragement!!!

1/21/09 - Five Months and Waiting . . .

Today marks the five month anniversary of the meeting with our social worker Faith to update our domestic home study to an international home study. First thoughts were that our completely updated and approved home study would be to the USCIS office by October and that our dossier would be to America World and Ethiopia by Thanksgiving or for sure by the end of 2008. However, the home study is still waiting to be approved by the state of Illinois. Needless to say between that disappointment, the other challenges in our life at present, and how long we've been waiting for a child, we are feeling a bit defeated. HOWEVER, we are having cheesecake tonight in honor of the five month and counting home study wait so that it is not a totally sad day.

PRAISE AND PRAYER: A huge praise for our family, friends, and small group who are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO supportive of us and continue to beseech the Lord on our behalf. We could not keep going without them. Please pray that we would feel hope that this is what God has called us to do. Please pray that Amy would have the desire to take the adoption crate out of the closet where she put it just for a little while. Please pray that we would have the desire to read through the new guidelines and begin to redo several pieces of paperwork.

1/02/09 - Addition to Amy's Parents' Christmas Village

Over the holiday season as Mike and I were leaving my Mom and Dad's house, we noticed one of the houses in their village. (They have ceramic like houses on a shelf in the playroom and if you've ever been at my parents' house during Christmas time, you'll know how winter wonderland it is and how we might miss noticing something right away!) We making a comment about what a coincidence it was that my parents had this certain house and how I had never noticed it, my Dad told us he had just gone and bought it that season! Pretty cool!!