Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out of focus

Dear Levi

I believe I had a dream about you last night.  I was bending down looking into the face of a small child, only, my eyes couldn't focus and I was getting so frustrated because I couldn't "See" you.  In the same dream, we walked away hand in hand ... like one of those off into the sunset moments.  You were wearing a blue shirt.  Ironically, a few years back, I had a dream and I was holding a child with curly curly hair, chocolate little cheeks, with a blue shirt.  I was sure for some time it was a little girl ... about 3.  I am wondering if that little "Girl" was actually you and am awed that in this dream last night, you were also wearing a blue shirt???  Not sure why it's blue but wondering if all along the Lord was telling us it was a son.  For some time, we weren't sure.  For a few years we knew in our hearts you were out there ... we just didn't know if you were a boy or girl. "We" didn't, but your brother and sister sure did.  From the moment we first talked about your adoption, they said you were a brother!  Maybe the blue shirt is the Lord's confirmation, maybe you have a blue shirt, maybe one day when we meet you'll be wearing a blue shirt or maybe there is no reason at all.  Who knows!  I just thought I'd take a minute to journal this.  One day, we'll look back and see how the Lord with his own hands manually brought everything into clarity.

What I do know:

I can't wait until the Lord brings your face into focus!  I can't wait until I can see your eyes and your smile.

Until then, I am trusting that while I focus on the Lord, he's focusing on you!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Check out my private labeled Coffee!

I am super excited about our private labeled coffee for our fundraiser!  If you are an adopting family, organization, school or ministry ... you too can have your own private labeled coffee fundraiser.
Go check them out at Ground to Cup Coffee and in the meantime, we'd love for you to order some up from our online partner store.  40% of the proceeds will go back to our adoption of Levi.
To add, the store is always changing.  Every time they load up a new flavor or a new product, it goes on my store.  Christmas Gift packages will be coming soon.  They will have 3 flavors in a box, all labeled with our families picture.  You can give a gift that let's your friends know that 40% of that purchase is going towards bringing home a child and into the arms of their forever family!  They are also working on two Africa specific shirts.  I am so excited!

Check out my bag!
Want some, go click my Ground to Cup badge on the sidebar, it will take you directly to my store.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blow me away, Bake Sale!

I don't even have the words that would adequately express all the work, all the time, all the energy and all the heart my precious friend put into the Benefit Bake Sale she put on for us today.  After weeks of planning and hours and hours of baking, it was a smashing success!
I awoke this morning to the sound of thunder and rain.  Immediately, my heart began to race because last night Kimberly's kitchen table looked like this ...

And that didn't even put a dent into what was in the refrigerator and freezer in my garage.  The sound of that rain my heart race and immediately lying in bed I prayed begged the Lord to please have mercy today. What in the world would we do with all these goodies?  

As quick as it rained, it stopped and the sky began to lighten up.  The Bake Sale was a GO!

It was a complete success and as of tonight, without counting the change (with exception to quarters), the sale brought in $681.  WOWIE!  Just enough to file that I-600A that is the next step in our adoption.  Yup, indeed, exactly what we need!  

I am going to post some pictures here of our day because I want Levi to see how much heart was put into bringing him home.  So many people showed up and so many gave generously well past the amount their items "cost".  We were so blessed indeed!  
It was also super fun to watch Kimberly do her thing!  She is super talented!  If you are in the San Antonio area and are in need of baked items; cakes, cupcakes, delicious cookies for an event and more .. check her out!  


I am blessed!  

Kimberly's son, Alex directing traffic

Busy Busy indeed!

Sweet Kimberly, the Queen Busy Baking Bee and me

My beautiful blue eyed beauty!

My precious boy, Canyon, in between basketball games directed traffic!

It's serious stuff marketing a bake sale! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bakes Sales, Garage Sales, Coffee and T's ... oh my!

So along with diligently working on the paperwork and praying over Levi (as we chatted about in the below post - please do read that one, it's most important!), we are also busy busy fundraising to make it all happen.  I wanted to update each of you on what we're doing and when we're doing it.  Join us in this journey ... be a piece of our puzzle to bringing Levi home.

1.)  THIS SATURDAY, October 23 from 1-4, my incredible friend and neighbor is doing a benefit bake sale on behalf of our family.  Kimberly is an incredible baker and has the most generous and giving heart.
Come out to the park in Bulverde Village neighborhood (off Bulverde Rd and Bulverde Green) to get your own tasty sweets.  She has been super busy baking and preparing for this day!
Also, go check out her business and you can get a peak at what she does.  Thinking about the holidays, then stop in and order up your treats from her!   Go here!  Come on Saturday, your sweet tooth will thank you!

2.)  We are gathering treasure for our garage sale that will take place on October 30th!  If you have items you'd like to donate, give me a shout or leave me a message here.  We have two storage units and are collecting away.  If they are large items, just note that our pick up will need to be when my sweetie is around.

3.)  Don't forget to order your Ground to Cup Coffee!  They have new flavors coming out and all of them are available for our fundraiser.  This months feature is Pumpkin Spice.  Coming soon will be special Christmas flavors and beautiful gift packages.  Just think, you can send a Christmas gift that keeps giving.  It will come with our personalized logo and you can let your friends, family and co-workers know that 40% of their gift is going back to bring home a child!

4.)  We also still have those awesome T's available with Adoption Bug.  I have had so many compliment the ones I have purchased on behalf of other families.  They too would make great gifts.  Who doesn't love a great T-shirt and especially one that helped a child come home.

Remember that the T-shirts, coffee and donations go towards our "puzzle".  If you don't know what that is, please check it out here.  The puzzle is coming together.  We will be posting some recent pictures soon.  Thank you for every one of you that has played a part so far.  It is super fun watching it grow knowing that indeed, our community is a part of this journey!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Short and to the point

This will be short and to the point.  The Lord is tossing around so many things in my head today and I find myself literally crying out to him.  I will expand more possibly later, but for now, I thought I'd just give a short update.  This journey isn't just ours ... I've said this before ... so if your reading this, you've been summoned to join in it in some way.

So first, a praise, we are completely finished with Hague training and our home study has been reviewed by our family coordinator.  We just wait now for our copy from our Social Worker to arrive.  Hopefully, any day.  Once received we'll file our I-600 and await our last step, fingerprinting with USCIS and the long awaited I-171.  I see the end in sight ... I smell a DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) in the nearer future!

Next, and the most important is this:

I asked you to pray over Levi.  The Lord actually prompted me to ask you.  I don't believe in coincidences and believe with all my heart that he knows every detail of Levi's circumstance and yesterday and today, he has summoned me to sit at his throne for Levi.  Through my tears I called Doug and told him to stop everything he was doing ... Levi needed us right then!

Today, I received an e-mail that confirmed those feelings.  An e-mail that made me stop and ask you again, when I say pray, I mean it, pray!

Our Levi sits in one of the hardest places on earth.  He sits in a place where the enemy ravages bodies with disease and famine.  He also is sitting in a place where neglect and abuse runs rampant.
I'm asking you to pray that the Lord would be his insulator from those things.  I'm asking you to pray in authority that the enemy has no ground where Levi is concerned.  Like that old kids saying "I'm rubber and your glue".  May the Lord be like rubber to any of his ploys.  Whatever it is the enemy would like to do to arrest the heart, body and soul of our child would not stand against the Lord who with his very hands has built a rubber insulator around him.  I am asking in the name of Jesus that his hands would completely encompass Levi and be a barrier between his body, his heart and his soul to the rest of the world around him!

Pray these things!  Pray how the Lord prompts you to pray.  Listen to his groanings and his whispers.
The reality is, adoption is ugly ... adoption is birthed because of the ugliness and brokenness of the world.  Oh, the end story is HIS and we know he makes beauty out of those ashes ... but the process, it's as ugly as the world sometimes.

Thank you for praying!  Thank you for grabbing my hand and walking with me on this journey.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh Hague

We're still here in the world of adoption.  It's been quite a busy week on many fronts.  I successfully finished 10 hours of online Hague training and am not so patiently awaiting Doug to finish his.  We await finalization of our home study because we need to get those certificates mailed off to our social worker.  Can you believe that ...she's waiting on us!!

If your not of the adoption world, you may not be privy to what I am speaking of when I say Hague Training.  Lucky you!  10 hours of online course work required by the Hague Convention and our adoption agency of all adopting families.  Not all bad actually ... it really did have a lot of great information.  Lots of physicians, adopting families and been there done that videos on what to expect in our transition, in attachment, in medical issues, referral and in our travels.  I will say, as a believer, the enemy loved to use much of the knowledge to place fear in my head.   The information on the number of children adopted into homes that have autism, sensory issues, and major health issues was alarming.  I won't lie, I found myself wanting to press mute and asking myself if I'd really be up for all of that.  I'm just being honest here.  There's such a balance in preparedness and the enemy arresting your mind to fear.  Has anyone else had this issue or am I just whacky?

Now, don't get me wrong.  I know this adoption won't be full of roses.  In fact, when I picture the first moment we meet Levi, I find myself wondering and thinking that he'll probably scream his head off and even run straight away from us.  Hey, I would!  We're white, we'll smell different, we're strangers, we'll speak a foreign language - you name it!  Wouldn't you be petrified?   It makes me laugh a little that anyone would picture something different.  I try to imagine myself being put into the arms of a black family, whom I've never met, who spoke a foreign language and smelled weird.  I KNOW I'd be petrified and resistant.   I have heard stories of older children running to their new Mommy and Daddy in delight.  It happens, it's not outside God's possibilities, but I'm also preparing for that other scenario, a terrified and screaming 3 year old and assuming that's more like what our first moments will include.  No let down then in my heart.  Maliah was 10 months old and if she could have run she would have.  Yep, preparing my heart!

I have begun to pray all sorts of things over Levi.  Seeing as how we're seeking a child who is 3-4 then we know he's somewhere ... alive ... being cared for.  As we walk through paper work and you follow us along, it may be easy to forget that at the other end of all of this is a child, with a face, a heart and soul.  Right now, our Levi is somewhere.  What could he be doing?  Where could he be?  Linger in that will you?  Our son is somewhere RIGHT NOW!  I'm praying that someone is loving him.  I'm praying that someone is making eye contact with him, letting him know he is precious, holding him and talking to him.  I am praying that at night, someone is tucking him in.  Maybe, just maybe, he's in an orphanage where his Nanny finds favor over him.  I am praying that ... selfishly, that he is favored.  I want our Levi to have the best possible care given the circumstances he is probably in.   I'm also very aware that many and none of these things might be happening right now.   That thought makes my heart ache and makes me wake in the night!

I am praying that the Lord who knows him, is telling him in some way of the Mommy he also knows he has created for him - a half a world away!  I'm praying that he is being protected from illnesses:  tuberculosis, respiratory infections, scabies, HIV and more!  I am praying now against the spirit of rejection, fear and abandonment in him!
I am praying for his attachment into our family.  I am praying, selfishly, for a smooth and easy transition and yet preparing with every tool I can find of one that may look very different than that prayer.

Would you pray with me for Levi?  As the Lord brings him to your mind, would you pray over those things I mentioned and anything else he prompts you to pray about?  This adoption isn't just ours, it definitely requires the "Village" so to speak.  We know without a doubt that our community is not only valued but necessary in his safe arrival home.  From the fundraisers we are doing to the prayers you pray ... it's all a part of this journey - all necessary and all treasured!  And if you are prompted to pray for Levi, would you let me know.  Leave me a note here or through e-mail and let me know when, or how or what the Lord led you to pray.  I have no doubt, he'll call up his warriors in the times necessary to pray if we're listening ... wouldn't it be awesome to look back after he comes home and see if any of those times correlated with things going on in his life!  We might not ever know, but then again ... the Lord prompted me to ask ... so he might just show us!

"I have heard you, replied Jeremiah the prophet.  I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you."  Jeremiah 42:4

"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.  Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.  In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."  Psalm 5: 1-3

Thank you in advance for being one of the warriors he is raising up to cover our son!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our online coffee store is UP and LIVE!

Hey there, coffee fans!  Our online coffee store and fundraiser with Ground to Cup Coffee is up and running!  Stop in and order yourselves some delicious coffee.  They offer a variety of origins and flavored coffees, decaf, organics and non-organics.  40% of all your sale goes towards our adoption of Levi.  Who can ask for anything better?  You get delicious coffee AND help bring home an orphan into his forever family.  Order today and then sit back, relax and enjoy a cup!

If you look at our fundraiser/puzzle link you will see that 2 bags = one puzzle.  That's right, order two bags and you get to be a piece of our puzzle.  We'll write your name on the back and you will be forever remembered by Levi and our family!  THANK YOU!

Friday, October 8, 2010

16 million more!

WHEW!  I'm exhausted and this week is flying, but I had to take a few minutes to sit down and let you know about the amazing adoption conference we attended this past weekend.  Doug and I went to the "Together for Adoption Conference" in Austin.  We were asked by AWAA to be exhibitors and of course, were THRILLED to have the honor.  After reading the speaker line up and information on exhibitors and break out sessions ... we became even more excited!

I signed up for the pre-conference with Karen Purvis, author of "The Connected Child" on the Thursday before so together, with another precious friends, I headed out at the crack of dawn that day!  Really! But  Boy, was it worth it!
First things first.  If you haven't read the book .. READ IT!  If you are in an area where she is speaking, GO!  If you are adopting; her work, her research and her tools are a MUST in your pocket of preparedness!!  Her session was so great and I found myself scanning the files of my brain and asking myself many questions about Maliah.  I also came back armed with new tricks and tools and guess what ... they are WORKING!  Indeed, I'm sold!  I also know the Lord is equipping me for what is to come with Levi.  We don't walk this road with rose colored glasses.  We know that before us will be a great time of transition for all of us.

AWAA had a exhibitor booth.  Wowie, we were busy.  Lots of families interested in adoption and lots of AWAA families stopped by to introduce themselves.  Can I tell you how much fun it was to actually put a face with some of your names out there.  What an amazing group of families indeed.  That was super fun.

My highlight!
As I said in the previous post, I am a huge fan of the work at Children's Hope Chest and a personal fan of Tom's!  He is the real deal and what he speaks and writes ... he lives!  So, of course, CHP had an exhibit and we enjoyed stealing candy to sustain our day from Vince (thank you to that candy angel!), but the highlight came during a Q&A time after Tom spoke on child trafficking.  As Tom and Vince sat answering questions on the details of how a rescue takes place, a man on the side of the room asked how much a rescue would cost.  Vince had just mentioned that they were working to raise the fund of 3 rescues of girls who were between 9 and 13 in India.  He was specifically speaking of his time he had just spent in a brothel.  Horrifying and enlightening.  Can I just say, on a side note, the Lord arrested my heart for orphans and adoption when he opened my heart to Maliah and this past weekend, he wrecked me completely when I heard the depth of child trafficking that takes place with those precious orphans.  I am forever changed!
Anyways, so here we are in this room, about 80 of us.  Vince answers this guy who just probed on the cost by telling him that it depends on the situation but these were anywhere between $2,200 and $2,700.
I watched as this man, over the next few minutes appeared to be counting heads.  I even turned to a AWAA Daddy next to me and said "You watch, he's figuring up what we each need to donate to rescue a girl ... we're rescuing a girl today".  Sure enough, as they were ending the session, this man boldly stepped forward with a plea.  He said there was 80 people in the room and if we each donated $30 we could rescue a girl today.  He then added he owned a business in the Austin area and would match anything donated.  WOW!
Tom and Vince looked speechless and to be honest, they didn't say a thing.  They went on closing up the session and then as the seats began to empty, a line filed to the front and people began to drop off cash and checks.  Oh my gosh that was fun!
So, guess what, at the end of the conference, CHP had collected $7,000 ... enough to rescue 3 girls!
THREE lives changed and honestly, it cost the each of us one dinner in.  One night of not eating out for each family and it brought enough funds to rescue the lives of 3 beautiful and broken girls from the pit of hell ... from the darkness of the devils grip.

So, do you think that what you do isn't enough ... that you alone can't change the world.  Well, as I said in the previous post, if we all do something, anything ... a little from each of us does make a huge impact.

I am awed!  Lord, hear our cries.  Lord, be with each of those girls as they are rescued by your hands! Can I hear an amen!  AMEN!

Oh and by the way, you know that stat we all love to throw out, 147 million orphans.  We were informed that the number has increased to 163 million.  You overwhelmed?  I was, until I saw that God is bigger than that statistic!  Press on, one at a time!
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