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963 Coffee Fundraiser
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Love it...

Found this on a fellow adoptive family blog. What a blessing it is to learn from other adoptive families sharing their hearts. Great quote.

My friends, adoption is redemption. It's costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him." --Derek Loux

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy to be...DTE!!!!

We're so HAPPY TO BE...DTE!!! DTE stands for Dossier to Ethiopia. Our dossier is the term used for all the paperwork we were in charge of obtaining and getting filled out and getting notarized and put together in the correct order and...well, you get the idea! So we are officially on the waiting list! 3/18/2010 will be the date that starts our referral wait and puts us in line to be matched with our child! I've been waiting for this day for 8 long months now and it's finally arrived. Now the day we receive our referral will be much better and the day we meet our child even better than that and the day we BRING OUR CHILD HOME FOREVER the best yet! But this is a grand day in the journey of international adoption! I've included a picture below of our dossier before we mailed it off. It now has to get to Ethiopia and be translated and then I guess it sits in line with all the others but it's out of our hands now and that feels great! YAHOOOO!!

Also, our t-shirts came in the mail last night! So to celebrate we'll be selling the t-shirts starting on our blog. Currently we have adult small, medium, and large. We also have youth XS (2-4) and youth S (6-7) sizes. You can buy the shirts using the secure paypal button on the top right of our blog. Or you can mail us a check. Either way please e-mail us at autcr@yahoo.com to let us know your mailing address and size(s). My cousin, Hannah Svebakken, created the design for us as a contribution to our adoption journey and we love it! Thank you Hannah! We have a very limited number of shirts to begin with so if you're interested in making a donation to our adoption this will be our only fundraiser. We appreciate any and every donation that people feel led to give. I will admit that the funding has been the difficult part of this. I knew when we began that God was telling us to trust in Him and He would take care of ALL the rest. Well, I've learned that I am awful at leaning on other people around me. The thought of asking for money is a hard pill to swallow for most of us. However, I believe in God's word and in it Jesus tells us many times over to care for the poor and the orphan and widow. As God has blessed us with the resources to donate towards other couples' adoption costs I know He will lead those that will help us with the costs involved in bringing our child home. I will also be updating the blog often with specific prayer requests and hope that you will come alongside us in covering those requests in prayer.

I will end with some pictures of our t-shirts and some recent pictures of Go Texan Day here in Houston and our recent Rodeo outing! Happy Spring everybody!

Youth shirt on Oliver
Adult shirts...light grey map of Africa on side
Back of shirt...John 14:18 "For I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you"
Front of shirt...text says Closer to love
Detail of back of shirt with verse John 14:18

Chambers' Cowboys
Cowboy O
Wyatt loves to pet animals
Their ONE carnival ride!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heart happy and heart breaking news...

I debated whether or not I would post today...it's been a roller coaster emotional day. But I knew this day was important in our journey so figured I'd jump on here and make an update. Let's start with the heart happy news first. We FINALLY received our I-171h in the mail today! Yes, the piece of paper from the government that says we have been approved to adopt finally showed up. We had received an e-mail from the Houston office a couple of weeks ago that said we had been approved and our letter was forthcoming. So after a week I e-mailed them back to see what exactly "forthcoming" meant. They responded yesterday that it had not been mailed and we should receive it in two weeks. So you can imagine my surprise when, as we were pulling the car out to head to Monkey Joes with some family in town, I see the mailman and figure I'll just jump out of the car and meet him at the box. I could see the large envelope before he handed it to me just sitting there and I told myself not to get excited because it was probably for someone else. HE GRABBED it for us though and handed it to me! I ran back to the car and told Josh that it came! He took the morning off because his parents, his brother, and his brother's 3 boys were coming over to play so he was home when we got it. I never imagined it happening like that! So I'm rushing around running back in to the house to get what I need to get everything mailed off...very exciting! I get back in the car and get my phone out and happen to see I have an e-mail from our AWAA family coordinator...I open it.

And here is the heart breaking news...not 3 minutes after receiving our I-171h we read that there are some new Ethiopia program changes. Now the Ethiopian government is requiring both parents to travel to Ethiopia 4-8 weeks after receiving our referral (picture and info of our child) and stand in court to state our commitment to the child. We then leave and wait 10-12 weeks to travel again to pick our child up. This is huge news to us (not to God mind you) but to us. This means twice as many trips and adding possibly $10,000 to our monetary needs. But what hit me the hardest is that this means that I leave my boys behind twice and my new child behind for possibly 10-12 weeks after meeting them, holding them, seeing where they are. This was heavy, heavy news to us today. It seemed to steal the joy right out from under us as we received our last piece of our dossier. Not to mention that it was just one of those days where EVERYTHING seems to go wrong from over tired children throwing MASSIVE public fits because the bandanas your buying for Rodeo day tomorrow don't already come with the trail mix in them to digging your Fed Ex tracking receipt out of the bottom of the trash for the important dossier we express mailed today. Josh looked at me when he was helping dig it out like "how did this happen?" and I looked at him and said "it's been that kind of day". I'll spare you all the in betweens of today but I will leave you with this. I will admit that I have been shaken deeply over today's events. I will admit that I have had thoughts ranging from "Oh, forget it...I give up" to "Of course we can do this with 6 trips if we need to". What I do know is this...as other friends have mentioned, adoption is spiritual warfare. What the enemy wants most from me is to give up and let this go and when I gave in today for moments I'm sure the enemy thought "well that was easy...I just had to throw in an extra trip to Africa and she's out!". And if the enemy can't get that then maybe me having a grumpy, defeated attitude is second best. So I'm letting this new news go. God will provide for us. God is not surprised by this. God has written our journey to this child from the beginning and we will be press on and be obedient. I saw a post on the AWAA yahoo group by a fellow adoptive parent that said it best when she quoted her devotional from today.

Most people glance at God and gaze at circumstances. We need to gaze at God and glance at circumstances.

Back to being joyful in mailing off our dossier! I'll let you know when it's officially on it's way to Ethiopia! We would appreciate your prayers over all of these changes and all of the families that this news affects.

Friday, March 5, 2010

First thoughts on still waiting...

So, we're still waiting on our I-171. We got an e-mail last Thursday from our Houston CIS office saying that we have been approved by the government to adopt a child. It also said our I-171 was "forthcoming". This is THE LAST PIECE OF PAPER we need to be able to send in our dossier (our completed set of documents we've obtained) and get on the waiting list for our referral. While this is not the end of the waiting, it is the end of our part of the obtaining of documents. It gets us in line to be matched with our child and we're so ready to be done with this part and to BE IN LINE! So I get so frustrated when I check the mail daily to find that our letter is not here yet. We have been waiting on this last step since October. I totally thought we'd have our dossier submitted before the end of the year when we started this process in July. I did everything so quickly and worked so hard to get it all done. WHY ARE WE STILL WAITING ON THE US GOVERNMENT for a piece of paper they said was forthcoming and have told us we're already approved???!!!

AND THEN IT HIT ME...we wont wait A DAY LONGER than God has ordained for us to wait. God is not surprised by this delay in the least. It is not keeping us from any child much less the child that God has already appointed for our family. He knows exactly where our form is and knows exactly when we'll get it and exactly when we'll turn it all in and exactly when it will get to Ethiopia and exactly when we'll get our referral and so on. AND NOT ONLY DOES HE KNOW THIS BUT HIS WAYS ARE PERFECT! I'm so tempted to be frustrated at our Houston immigration office for being so unbearably slow but then I remember that I am NOT in control of this and the minute that I think that I am, then we're in trouble. I don't know the half of it and when I remember that God is in control then I loosen up. If we wait 6 more weeks to get that piece of paper then that will be "perfect" timing. I want to let go of my plans for this adoption and this child and lay it down at God's feet. I know that He has it worked out so wonderfully and for HIS GLORY that of course I want to surrender my self indulgences and I KNOW what HE has planned is infinitely more purposeful and better for our family. He will provide what we need when we need it and if I really believe He is who the Bible says He is then I need to remember that each and every time I visit the mailbox.

On that same note, we have also decided to request either gender for our child. Our home study social worker approved us for an infant 0-12 months old and we originally were going to request a female. I never felt "right" about requesting a girl. I kept feeling that God was speaking to me about trusting Him. Do I trust Him enough to know what is best for me and my family? It was one of those quiet convictions that I tried so hard to talk myself out of. I would totally convince myself that asking for a girl was the right thing to do. I would think "Okay God, I will adopt as you've asked BUT I get to choose the gender". Finally I spoke to Josh about it and he agreed. This is not about us and I just personally felt that choosing the gender was a little self indulgent. The minute we re-wrote our application letter I just felt this huge weight being lifted. I've always thought that lingering convictions will totally weigh you down and steal your joy. The last couple of weeks have been so joyful for me. So we're on God's time table and it will be God's decision which child will belong in our family. I always say the first time I got pregnant I would have totally chosen a girl but thank goodness God was in total control and gave us Oliver. He's so much more than just a boy...he's a soul and a personality and he's blessed us greatly. When we talk about the baby now we tell him that we've decided to let God choose which baby to give us and we tell him how wonderful God has already been to us in giving us Oliver and Wyatt that we know God is better able to make that decision. So one day when Oliver was looking at a clothing magazine he was telling me that he wanted a little dress for his baby sister. I told him that God would make that decision and then told him that he could pray and ask God for a baby sister if that is what he wanted (it changes daily). He got quiet and kept looking through the magazine and then his eyes caught a Lightning McQueen shirt and he announced that he would be praying and asking God for the Lightning McQueen shirt also. HA...we will still be teaching about prayer here in the Chambers' household!