Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sticks and Stones

I just wanted to let everyone know that we have received one of the grants we applied for!  Along with a few other donations, you can see our thermometer is rising.  We still have two grants pending.  If we receive both of those, then all of the agency fees and travel fees will be covered.  Please pray with us that our applications will be looked upon favorably.  We are also still gratefully receiving donations from friends and family.  It is so nice to be reminded that there are some people around us who really "get" adoption.  They help when they can and are ready to welcome our children into their lives as well as ours.

Now I realize that adoption isn't for least everyone may not be called to actually adopt a child.  I'm humbled and honored at the same time that we are getting to walk this road.  Recently, a friend took some of my bracelets to work to sell as her way of trying to help us out.  She posted a small sign in the break room to let folks know that she had these bracelets for sale as a fundraiser for a friend's adoption.  Can you believe that folks actually took the time to assault her with negative questions and comments about our adoption?  "Why are they adopting if they don't have the money themselves?"  "Why are they adopting from another country?  There's plenty of kids here to adopt."  They made their disdain for us and/or for adoption so clear that she finally had to take the sign down and bring the bracelets back to me.  She did manage to sell 3 in spite of the chaos!

We've heard those questions, too.  Some people can ask with pure curiosity; others just want to stir something up.  Last week I received a comment on my blog about the Pinterest Party.  (I've already deleted it, so don't bother scrolling.)  My mind cannot fathom how a person can have so much free time on their hands to find a blog about a topic that doesn't interest them, spend their time reading it, and then spend their time formulating a comment that is meant to be venomous but instead reeks of ignorance.  At first I wanted to pick up the rocks she threw at me and throw them right back, but I realized she was more deserving of my pity because of the obvious bitterness in her heart.  Anyone who doesn't understand adoption (and especially anyone who feels the need to openly attack it) is really missing out on understanding one of the greatest mysteries of life: the gift of salvation.

According to Ephesians 1:5...

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  (NLT)

God adopted us into His family.  Not because He thought, "If I don't, who will"; not because He pitied us; not because it made Him look good.  He did it because it gave Him pleasure.  I know we will enjoy having M & V with us just as we have enjoyed Colton and Eli since they were born, but I also know that seeing us follow His example by adopting will bring pleasure to God as well...just as we would be pleased to see our kids grow up and follow in our footsteps.

Did you notice what else is addressed in this verse?  The cost of adoption.  I've lost count of how many people have asked us, "Why does it cost so much?"  I could go into great detail justifying some of the costs; other costs I do think are outright highway robbery.  Does it matter if I agree with the breakdown of the costs?  Some very uninformed people even refer to the cost as purchasing or buying children.  Call it purchasing, buying, paying fees, or paying ransom.  I don't really care what you call it. (It really doesn't matter what someone calls it.) The bottom line is that there is a cost involved:  money, time, lifestyle, persecution, being treated as weird, cramped living quarters, etc., etc.  It doesn't matter.  Look again at the verse.  What was the price God paid to adopt me?  He sent the only Son He had, knowing that He would be beaten, tortured, and killed.  Jesus Christ endured unimaginable humiliation, pain, and ultimately death just so I could be adopted.  Whoa!  Now that's a high price.  So, I'm not belly-aching about the cost.  Yes, it's expensive.  Yes, it has significantly increased since we first signed on for this ride.  It doesn't matter.  We will finish this.  Yes, we need some help to do it.  If you don't get that or don't agree with it, then you don't have to help. It's not a problem 'cause God's got this thing.  He will take care of it in His own perfect timing and in His own perfect way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pinterest Party

This is to my local friends.

Pinterest Party

We are so close to bringing our kids home from Bulgaria. Here is an awesome Girls’ Night Out that will be tons of fun AND help out our adoption.

Friday, August 31
Saturday, Sept 1
Friday, Sept 7
Saturday, Sept 8
$10 per person

This party is all about the food. Choose a recipe you have gotten from Pinterest. (If you don’t do Pinterest, any recipe will do.) Send me the link or recipe ahead of time, and I will compile a simple cookbook of the party’s dishes. Fix your dish to bring to the party, but don’t nibble too much fixing it. You’ll want to save room to sample all of the other creations. There will be a doorprize, and everyone will go home with a copy of the recipes.

STEP TWO (Optional)
Did you know there is actually more on Pinterest than recipes? Pick one other idea from Pinterest and send me the link. It could be a household hint, an organization tip, a craft…anything you’d like to also be included in the book. (And if you are still not a Pinterest user, you can just skip this step or make up your own entry.)

Any friend of yours is a friend-to-be of mine. Invite others to come with you. If I get more response than I can handle, I’ll schedule more parties.

RSVP by August 24. 
Tell me the date you can come. Indicate multiple dates if possible, and I’ll put you down for one. This will help me keep the party sizes balanced.
Be sure to register your friends as well. (I will keep you grouped with any friends you are bringing.)
Don’t forget to submit your entries as early as you can so I can put everything together.

If you can’t come to the party on these dates but would like to come another time, let me know all the dates you are available in September and October (Fridays or Saturdays). I’ll try to schedule even more. Want to bring lots of friends? Let me host a party exclusively for you and your group. You don’t have to do anything except invite your friends. (I’m shooting for 10-12 per party.)

Thanks for helping us bring M and V home!
Libby DeMoss

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Yard Sale 31 and the Family

There's really not much to report.  We had Yard Sale 31 today.  I wasn't sure if I could muster up the strength for this, but events of this week served to remind us how important these sales are to our adoption.  So, we still yard sale.  Right now we plan to do another in 2 weeks.  We'll evaluate the situation then to see if/when the next one will be.  We made our usual, expected, average amount; but we also had a good friend stop by with a large donation...and not his first. (A big thanks to CN and AN!)  Another positive update for the finances is that we have finally filled in the budget hole left by the first trip!!!  Praise God!!  Now everything we raise will go toward the next trip or toward setting up their rooms.

Still no update from the kids.  Yes, it's frustrating.  It's one thing to have to wait possibly 6 months to go back for them, but it's another to not even be able to hear anything new about them.  August is Bulgaria's month for shutting down all government agencies for vacation.  Our Bulgarian adoption agency has also just finished being on vacation.  So I guess we won't be hearing anything soon.  I'm even more anxious to travel than I was in my last post.

If you are following the process since our first trip, we have had new ink fingerprints done and sent to the FBI.  They sent back our FBI clearance letters in record time.  Now we have to send it back to them to be apostilled.  This is the first time we've had to send anything to DC for an apostille.  Previously we just took everything to our own Secretary of State in Nashville.  Rules have changed again.  We also filed our I-800 with USCIS.  This resulted in our receiving the I-797 for each child.  This is the immigration approval for the kids.  Finally, Tim and I have each had our medical letters updated.  These letters and the I-797 forms will still need to go to Nashville for the apostille.

We are still waiting to find out our court date.  Once we know that, I don't know if we will be able to book our next trip, but we will have an idea of the time frame, so we can start pricing things a little more accurately.

In an attempt to stay busy in the meantime, we are trying to refinance the house.  We have to have an appraiser come out, and he'll take pictures of the house -- inside!  Uh-oh.  I'm not ready for that.  I'm in the middle of completely reorganizing and rearranging the entire house!  Stuff is everywhere.  I would just start moving it all to the garage, but the yard sale is still there.  I suppose I should look at it as awesome motivation, but I can't help but feel the stress, too.

Speaking of pictures, I don't post many here (just because I don't get around to it), but we started school this  week.  Colton is 10 and starting 5th grade.  Eli is 7 and going into 2nd grade.  Seems like just yesterday I was completely stressed about starting kindergarten with Colton.  I can't believe it's time for 5th grade already.  Next year, middle school!!!

Awww!   A moment of brotherly love!

I'm reading another book that I think is really cool.  It's called Cleaning House:  A Mom's 12-month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement.  We have already started giving the boys greater responsibility around the house.  It is so easy to do things for them because we love them, but that won't help them learn to be independent when they grow up.  The author of this book (a mom of 5) also found that as they asked more out of their kids, their kids not only delivered but developed a great deal of self-esteem.  Not through self-esteem programs but through experiencing a true sense of accomplishment.  I have even seen in my own kids (in the 12 days we've been on the program) that not only have they been able to maintain a clean room (WooHoo!), but they have also begun to do things for themselves instead of asking me to do for them -- and then they puff that little chest out and say, "Mom, look what I did."  The month of August is about beds, bedrooms, and clutter.  They have to keep their room clean and all of their stuff picked up from the entire house.  That may not sound earth shattering, but it is when it is being maintained that way daily.  We will spend a whole month focusing on this just so the habit is formed, then we will add another task.  I can't wait until we add kitchen duty.  The author's kids had to plan, shop for, cook, and clean up one meal per week.  I have great boys, but they can really complain when they come to the table.  I think after they realize the work that goes into a meal (and maybe hear a few complaints themselves), they will be more understanding toward the cook.  And I will have kitchen help!  Colton once showed an interest in cooking, and Eli likes to help out (especially with making cookies), so I'm really looking forward to some bonding time on this one.  Between this book and Large Family Logistics (which I've probably mentioned before), maybe we will get a system of survival worked out.  ; )

Prayer Requests:

  • 3 grants are still pending
  • Guidance on other fundraisers and participants for them
  • Complete paperwork
  • Update from the kids
  • Get the house ready and rooms furnished
  • M&V to have hearts ready for the transition ahead