Sunday, January 30, 2011

All Because of HIM!

I don't know how it is possible for such an exhausting week to also be so uplifting and fulfilling, but God made that happen!  From paperwork to cleaning to making copies (and more copies) of paperwork to my sweet hubby being gone a lot to the normal daily life of 3 kiddos under has been full, but man was I tired.  Unfortunately Derek and I have yet to catch up on sleep and he has another RIDICULOUSLY busy week ahead, which means a full week for Mommy too.  By this coming Friday, I will probably have lost more of my sanity, but amazingly I am growing more and more okay with that!  Funny that as we grow closer and closer to the heart of God, so many other things slowly fade out in their level of importance.  It feels really, really good!

Our home study went well and yes it was easier than I thought.  Our social worker Kelly is fantastic.  She is a believer and also in the process of adopting.  How cool is that?!?  I am so glad that God orchestrated us finding our agency for our home study the way He did.  Our timeline feels a little more real now.  Originally we were really hoping to bring Ivan home by August.  It seems slightly possible that it could be sooner...oh please Lord...let it happen!!!  Needless to say that we will have some serious fundraising to do.  There are a couple of things in the works and will hopefully come to fruition soon.  I have been blown away by God's hand already!

In the last couple of weeks, this is how God has used His people:

~a friend that is a veterinarian donated our 2 dogs' vaccinations/check-ups!
~a couple donated the first $50 to Ivan's fund on our blog!  (and I know this family sacrificed...thank you!!!)

~multiple friends lovingly cared for our children so that I could get paperwork copied and run errands.  One of my dear friends has watched my children on 3 different days since Jan. began and she has 2 of her own!  Amazing!! (thank you girl! know I love you!)

~I received a thoughtful note in the mail unexpectedly and inside was a check for $100!!!  Most of all, she so encouraged me with her words and the scripture on the front of the card.  I needed THAT specific Word that day! 

~A company that I love donated a couple of items to use as our first giveaway on our blog.  They asked for nothing in return...AWESOME!!! (btw...this giveaway is coming soon:)...get ready for the cuteness!:)

~I have received almost daily emails and FB messages of encouragement and prayer from people that I don't even know...God has sent those words on my hardest days!

~One of my dearest friends is spending so much of her time trying to do all that she can to get fundraising started for Ivan!  I have been so overwhelmed by the other aspects of the adoption that the money part was making my head swim.  I didn't even ASK for help, she just dove right in and has almost DAILY worked on fundraising to get Ivan home quicker!!  (I don't know what I would do without your support and encouragement and desire to love us this way!)

~Derek got an email last week from a friend that felt moved to help get Ivan home as soon as possible.  He told us his ideas about using the marathons he is running in the next few months as a way to raise awareness for Ivan and funds.  His sweet wife stepped in and wants to go even further with the idea and make shirts!  As Derek shared the email that night, I cried so hard thinking about how God is using the life of this little boy in Eastern Europe to change hearts and drive us to things that matter to HIM!!!

~Another very dear friend of mine is already planning a yard sale with her friends for Ivan.  They live in another state and she has 2 children under 2 years old!!!  Yet she is doing what she can for Ivan!

~I walked into church this morning and was greeted with a big hug from a friend...after talking for a few minutes, he handed me a $100 bill for Ivan and said I have had this in my wallet for you! 

~Back before Christmas, before I had even seen Ivan's sweet face, a lady stepped up to be Ivan's Christmas Warrior through Reece's Rainbow.  She had a yard sale for him a couple of weeks ago (in JAN!!) and with the help of neighborhood kids that I will never meet, she raised $150!!!  There is a picture here of these awesome kiddos holding Ivan's picture!  I was overwhelmed!

~And just this morning, 2 friends, in conversation, came up with a really fun name for an idea to raise money before Valentine's day using FB!  People that already love Ivan, thinking of him...

God provides!!!

  More than anything, throughout this process I want us all to see just how big God is and how He is going to work all of this for His glory!  Truth be told, I have absolutely no clue how we will raise $27k or more.  I have no idea how it will all work out with leaving our children for long periods of time.  And the thought of how full our house will be in hopefully less than 6 months could make a sane person run screaming!  Again I have no idea how it will all work.  

must get the glory for it.  I feel honored that He would choose us to play in the game!:)  Ivan, as do all of my babies, feels like icing on the cake.  God doesn't have to give us those gifts in this life, but He has and I am grateful to be on this journey.  And I am thankful for the ways that He chooses to glorify Himself through His people!  It shows us that He is real, that He is at work, and that He will speak when we listen!  I am in awe today at the work of His hands...continually amazed that I serve this God, that He chose me and made beauty from ashes! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I am not sure how this is already upon us...but TOMORROW IS OUR VERY FIRST HOME STUDY VISIT!!!!!

I really don't know whether or not I want to squeal with joy because we will be a step closer to our sweet boy or throw up because of the unknown!!

Please pray for us.  Pray that it goes well and our children will have fun with it and just be natural with Kelly our social worker.  Emily and Timothy both talk about Ivan all the time and I sure hope their love they already have for him shines through.  Stella will just give her usual grin, I'm sure!

I am going to finish up some last minute things while my crazy little toddler boy regains his energy for the second half of his day;)  Because once he is up...nothing will get accomplished until bedtime. I will sleep at all tonight!!!

Thanks for all of the prayers!  We have received so much encouragement over the last few days (and weeks) and it is keeping us encouraged in ways that is really hard to verbalize, especially without doing the "ugly cry".  I can't wait to share some different ways that God's people are surrounding us and already being changed by Ivan's story.

No time to spare...I will update tomorrow!  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just Love Coffee...Don't We All!!!

I have been dying to get this fundraiser started!  We were introduced to this amazing company through our church.  You have to check them out!  They exist to help with the cost of adoptions!  Basically how it works is that you order coffee through our "store" on the Just Love Coffee site.  Then you will get delicious coffee (which I can vouch for because we bought some) and we will get money for every bag you purchase.  So drink up!  Drink coffee all day.  Buy it for friends.  I mean who wouldn't like a bag of fresh beans and the knowledge that they are helping to rescuing a sweet little one in Eastern Europe!  Spread the word! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

One of Many Hard Days to Come...

Today has been a normal day.  Nothing really out of the ordinary.  But then I began staring at Ivan's picture on RR.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have been so busy with all of the paperwork for our homestudy that I have been somewhat emotionless about the whole adoption.  I was in a get things done mode and I think I subconciously knew I had to push the emotional part of me aside to be productive.

It hit today.  I was not expecting the flood of overwhelming emotion that struck.  It was much like what I felt when I first saw his face and asked God if He could really ask this of us.  Except now I know that we are on our way to him.  I sit here sobbing uncontrollably even as I type this.  I want Ivan here.  I want to hold him and for him to know he is safe.  I want him to be warm and eat a full meal until his little belly is content and I want to hear him laugh.  Oh God, I want our son home and I don't know how it is going to happen.  I wonder if he is scared today or if anyone held him and stroked his cheeks.  Did he get out of his crib at all?  The thoughts flood my mind and my heart aches.  I don't know that I have ever felt this type of aching and yearning in my heart.  And really it isn't even a hurt that comes from me not holding him, just the knowing that he is alone like so many others without his family.  He has no idea yet that we are on our way. 

Please pray for him today.  Pray that someone will be merciful and cuddle him and sing in his ear if he wakes in the middle of the night.  Pray that the people of God would hear His voice and respond to the needs of children like our precious Ivan and so many others.  This love that God has put in our hearts is undescribeable.  Even though I haven't held him yet, I see his precious little face and know that we have got to get to him.  If Emily, Timothy, or Stella were languishing in a crib, I would stop at nothing to get them home and this is no different.  Today I am surely relying on the arms of our Father to love a son that I have never met but long to hold and it is really hard.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Edited my last post:)

If you tried to read the last post over the past few days, you may have noticed there were no photos:(  I had a little issue with Picassa and had to edit the post but all is well in blog land for me now and the post now has photos.  Yay!  So, I invite you a second time (or first:) to read below.  Included are some precious pics of our big girl...TURNING 5 in three short days!!!!!!  I can't believe my baby is almost 5!!!!  Big celebration to come..will post pics!:)

Oh and I should mention that I have our VERY FIRST giveaway fundraising item coming up on the blog soon.  All I will say is that it is precious and cannot wait to post it.  More to come on that...stay tuned:)

Crazy Love

That is what we are feeling. For a little boy whom we have never met, never held, never tickled, never rocked to sleep, never fed, never whispered I love you to...

I have wrestled with what the follow-up post would be to our announcement. Derek has asked what I would write about. Fundraising, timeline of paperwork, Christmas, Emily's 5th birthday on the horizon...all sorts of thoughts completely flood my mind. There are so many things to think about right now and so many things needing to be done.

For Christmas, Derek and I scaled way back on Christmas presents, as we have for a few years now, and on Christmas morning, he surprised me with two very thoughtful and precious gifts. One was a picture of Ivan. It is in the sweetest frame that has the word JOURNEY written on it and part of Jeremiah 29:11 across the bottom. It now sits on my windowsill in my kitchen:) The other was a copy of "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan with the very simple words, "I Love You!" written on the inside. Besides my children's sweet kisses and hugs Christmas morning, these two things were my greatest treasures that day! I had no idea how that book would begin to impact my heart.

I could quote page after page of that book. It has been just what I needed. I highly encourage you to read it...let it soak in. I promise you will love the Father and desire to know Him and follow Him in a whole new way. Crazy Love. That is what the enemy knows is welling up in us. That is what he wants to quench. He can't though. Greater is He that is in us...My God is big. My God is all powerful. My God speaks. My God is all knowing. The enemy has pressed in over the last few days and let me tell you he is real. Again, I am reminded of the love that my Lord has for His children and I am reminded that God always wins!

This crazy love that we have for our God, that transcends my understanding, is now a crazy love that we have for our son, yes our son so far away and so deeply placed in our hearts. Who else but our God could do that? Who else but a God who gave His son for us? Who else but a God that knew from the beginning of time this journey that we would be embarking upon? Who else but MY GOD? It is a crazy love indeed. A love that is changing all that I ever thought I knew about God. And it is good.

God's love for us was beautifully represented in our (almost) 5 year old daughter's heart as she quietly told me a little over a year ago that she wanted Jesus in her heart and she knew that she had to decide that for herself. She cried as she prayed with me as we laid in her bed together and told me that she knew she needed Jesus and how we needed to pray that Timothy would see he needed Jesus too...that he had sin in his heart and that only he could make that decision. She prayed, "God please let Timothy ask you into his heart too." Precious. Beautiful. So innocent. God has given us another responsibility. We are to care for Ivan so that he too will know the love that Jesus Christ has for him...the sacrifice made on his behalf. So that, even in his "differences" he will walk in a manner worthy of the calling placed on his sweet little life.

I think Ivan is going to change lives. My life. Derek's life. The life of our children. Our friends' lives. Far-stretching to people that we may never encounter in this life. And...I believe that other precious and innocent little souls will be rescued out of lives lived in orphanages and will meet their forever families because of Ivan. God is moving. So is the enemy. But this is what God promises us...

I will carry you when you are too weak.
I will speak truth in love to you and reassure you with My Words.
My Spirit will wash over you and make you new every day.
I will rejoice with you.
And I will hold you with My righteous hands and never let you go.
No doubt that this crazy love that we have for the Father will lead us into some unknown places, but we know that He is already there and already made the way.  For this reason, we move on.  Steady.  Strong.  Unshaken.  And truly in love. Oh how I love Jesus!
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