Friday, March 18, 2011

Little (and big) blessings

So the past few days I've been blessed in lots of little ways.

First, I found an online Ecuador Adoption Support group via Yahoo.  Chalked full of women who are thinking of adopting from Ecuador in the future (me), women who have adopted from Ecuador in the past (most of them), and others who are just about to go and get their little ones (lucky few!), it's the perfect place for me to ask questions and get some good, honest answers.  As I've said, I have the rest of this year to pray and get info and make contacts, and that's exactly what I've been doing.  And I am SO glad that God has provided me with this opportunity, because I have now been in contact with a wonderful woman that I'm so excited to have met:  Anna.  

Anna has been sharing her experiences with me about JoshuaTree adoptions, and not only that- she adopted her little girl from FHC! The same orphanage I've been in contact with!  Coincidence?  I think, when God is involved, there is no such thing as coincidence.

I've also been blessed enough to find a truckload (well, that's a bit of an exaggeration) of Snapple Peach Tea products on sale at Kroger!  Woot!  It's the little things...thank you, God, for simple pleasures!

Please continue to pray for me and all the waiting children in the world.  We're still expecting to hear from God every time we open my email or the phone rings :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And the verdict is...

I think we are good to go, folks...

Hi Richard and Dena,

Thank you for asking!  For His Children is a great orphanage that we know quite well and is a great organization to dedicate your time and services to.  Are you planning on traveling to Ecuador and visiting For His Children?

What is most important is that to honor the Hague process, you do not identify a child for adoption  before your I-800A is approved and a child is offered to you by the Ecuadorian central authority.  I would recommend reading the questions asked on form I-800 ( so that you are familiar with all of this in advance.  

Pay attention to God's children

Make sure they're loved and nourished.

Give them a home,

and when they're grown

they'll spread their wings and flourish.   

An Answer- and maybe some Direction!

Hi everyone,

Remember that little e-mail I sent to For His Children earlier?  It was answered!  I won't bother copying and pasting it, but basically they told us all the ways that we could help out (and honestly, there were a lot!) But the most exciting opportunity of all (for me, because I'm kind of a nerd) was the opportunity to help them WRITE!
I majored in public relations/journalism in college.  I got married 5 days after I graduated.  I got pregnant 6 months later.  So (obviously) my PR degree was never really used and I figured it that I'd never have an opportunity to polish up my skills!  But guess what! They might need someone to help write their newsletter/Facebook page!
*Insert God moment accompanied by God music here*

When I received that e-mail I knew, beyond a doubt, that God wanted me to do that.  Now. Not later.  And the interesting thing about that, is...

"Please know that if you are truly wanting to adopt from Ecuador (and yes, there are only three U.S. agencies currently working in Ecuador), then your involvement with FHC may have to be very limited - due to international policy restrictions - so you'll have to check with whatever agency you decide to adopt through - for their opinion on how you can be involved with FHC without causing any problems for the agency and for your adoption."

This little part of the e-mail.  As I have written previously, we weren't even considering starting the adoption process until early 2012.  I think, folks, that you can now say that's been confirmed.  I mean, the waiting part that is.  
We already have a contact with Illien adoption agency, so we wrote her this little e-mail...

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for sending us all the information!  We have a quick question.  My wife and I wouldn't be starting the adoption process until at least the beginning of 2012, and recently we've decided to help out an orphanage down in Ecuador (For His Children). Basically we've volunteered to help write their facebook page/newsletter and might start recruiting sponsorships for them at our church.  I was wondering if you think that this will somehow hurt or negatively affect the adoption process when we DO start it something we'd need to stop doing?  Or is it something we'd need to refrain from doing now?

I have yet to speak to anyone from JoshuaTree.  But obviously I will bring it up with them as well.  Now, you see that last little line?  "Or is it something we'd need to refrain from doing now?"
If that answer comes up as a yes, then I'm going to have to rethink the direction that God is sending us in.  If her answer is more like...this is something you can certainly do now, but maybe not in 2012...then we'll just have to tentatively keep our plans for 2012...and obviously pray about what we should continue doing.

I expect that God is going to direct us somehow with this response.  Funny, because when I was praying that God would show us what to do with this sudden interest/love for Ecuador, I was hoping He'd send a dream or something...or, you know, a vision.  Something very old school and biblical.  Funny that He finds such modern way of directing/speaking with know, like an e-mail.  Good, Old God.  :-)

I will keep you all updated (well, whoever is reading this!)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maybe we CAN do 2012!!!

God really is amazing.  Last night my husband and I had a talk about how we really just couldn't afford the costs of adopting....upwards of 18K, not including third party costs!  We talked about how God would really have to provide if this is what he wanted, but honestly, I couldn't imagine that God would just drop a 20K check in the mail!

So, yes, today things have changed.  Not because there was a gigantic check in the mail (I wish!), but because of two things...
I looked up tax credits for international adoption, and they will give you (if you qualify, which we should) up to a 12K credit.  But better yet, we found out that my husband's company offers an "adoption reimbursement program," which covers up to 10K in adoption fees!!!  Not to mention the fact that they offer adoption leave!! (We're still waiting to hear exactly how much!)

Wow!  Assuming we qualify for all these things (and, I'm sure if this is God's will for us, we will), then we might be ready to adopt by the beginning of next year.  The nice thing is we have the rest of this year to research, save, prepare, but most importantly, PRAY.  I have a feeling that if this isn't what He wants for us, doors will close.  But right now, honestly, it seems as if they're opening.

We'll see!

Agencies with Ecuador programs?

We're getting the feeling that there aren't many options if you want to adopt from Ecuador...
so far we have only found about 3 agencies that have Ecuador adoption programs...  *UPDATE*  We called them this afternoon, and they will not place us with a child because we already have two children unless we are looking to adopt a special needs child.

If there are anymore that I do not know of, please let me know! Thanks!

First Steps

Well, yesterday we did two things.

1) Wrote to FHC (For His Children) to ask how we could help, and...

2) Called Illien Adoption Agency just to ask some questions.

Like I said in the previous post, we are not out to adopt right now.  But one day we might be, and we had some questions.  The woman who answered the phone with Illien was amazing- she took a lot of time just talking to us, answering our questions, responding to our fears.  We quickly realized that the biggest obstacle is money.  To adopt from Ecuador, their fees our $20,000.  Upon hearing this, I thought...well that isn't that bad...people make bigger investments in cars! Then there are all the "third party costs," and that quickly jacked the price up to around 35K when all is said and done.  Now understand me when I say- it's not that a child is not worth it.  Children are priceless.  It's just that...well, we don't have that kind of money.  And we're just going to have to trust that if God wants us to adopt, somehow he'll provide everything we need to make it happen.

I also wrote an e-mail to FHC last it is in its entirety:

  We are a Christian couple with two kids, a five year old little girl and a 2 1/2 year old little boy.  My husband and I have always had a heart for orphans/children in need, but we've always assumed that God wanted us to fulfill His purpose here in America, and not for several more years.  Recently, we have not been able to get Ecuador out of our minds.  We have never been to Ecuador nor known anyone who's been...we honestly don't even know much about Ecuador.  But for some reason, God won't let it go!  I feel like God is leading us to do something, although honestly, we are not sure what that might be.  This morning I googled childrens' ministries in Ecuador, and I stumbled upon several results...but when I came upon yours, I felt as if the Holy Spirit had led us there.  I have no idea what we can do for you guys other than pray, given we are in North Carolina, but I really felt led to send this e-mail and tell you THANK YOU for all that you are doing on Christ's behalf...I read everything on your website, and it is so inspirational to see how obedient you have been to God. Please let us know if there is anything you need help with, specifically.  I was also wondering if we could start receiving your newsletters?  
We just started a blog today about Ecuador, just in case God might be doing something huge, so if you want to read there and get a better feel for who we are and what we're feeling, please do.  


Would you guys please pray that we get an answer?  Richard and I both prayed for them last night and this morning, and I know that even if we can do nothing else, that's the best thing we could do.  We prayed that all the kids there would find forever homes, and that God would bless the organization and meet all their needs before it is even a need.  

I'm not sure what we've been called to do, but I pray that you guys would pray that we will figure it out.  Until then, we're just going to keep praying and keep believing that God has a plan for us.

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jer. 29:11

I know that verse is true for all those waiting children in the world, and I know it is true for us as well.  There is comfort in the fact that God already knows what we'll be doing, and what role we'll have in all of this.

Thanks for reading!