Friday, October 28, 2011


Ever heard of it? Me neither. But, guess what? Our child is in Volgograd!! We don’t know who our specific child is yet, but we are being registered in the Volgograd region of Russia so that is where our child is! Craziness. Storytime…

I was out of town for the past 3 days at an awesome staff retreat at Lay Lake. Side note: I love my coworkers. I carpooled on my way up and we got delayed because I had a spur of the moment conference call that I had to be on. (This is all pertinent to the story, so stick with me.) We pulled over at a fast food restaurant so that I could concentrate on the call and the girls I was riding with ate while I was on my call. Since we were running late I got my food to go and asked one of the girls to drive my car the rest of the way so that I could eat. When we were about two exits away from where we needed to get off the interstate and drive 30 minutes down a country road to get to our lake house, I get a call from our adoption worker, Terri. She tells me that Russia wants us to register in the Volgograd region and she needs me to sign a couple of documents and overnight them to her. Russia only accepts paperwork on Thursday’s, so if we couldn’t get it to her then we would have to wait another week.

Here’s the kicker…I ask her if Russia randomly assigns you to a region and she says that no, they normally assign you to a region once they have a particular child in mind!!! What, what? Now this child could be already available for adoption, or almost ready for adoption, we don’t know but we do know that this process is moving VERY quickly and our baby is in Volgograd!!!

Now back to my story…so when she tells me all of this I am freaking out, literally shaking. God thing #1 - I was not driving, my coworker was. My debate was…track down a FedEx/UPS store in the middle of nowhere and be very late to our meetings or head to the meeting and wait a week. We decided on option 1. :) God thing #2 - If we hadn’t been running late because of the unexpected conference call we would have been at the lake house already and would not have gotten back out and driven an hour out of our way to sign the papers. Therefore we would have had to wait another week! God TOTALLY orchestrated it all!!

So with the help of my trusty iPhone and TomTom (what did we do before technology???) we found this…

Bar-DBar-D Western Store that handily doubles as a Fed-Ex/UPS store.  And this…

Bar-D at computeris where I sat to print off the forms from my email that I needed to sign. Note the deer above my head. (Of course, keeping with what you could imagine from our location, the computer was a dinosaur and I had to call my worker back to have her send me the forms in a different format, still had problems downloading, but finally got what I needed). And this…

Pawn and Gunis the gun and pawn shop one of my coworkers had to seek out to find a blue pen for me to sign my forms! NO one keeps blue pens around these days and Russia needs every signature to be in blue ink. Another side note: These pictures are not painting a pretty picture of Alabama…it’s not all like this, I promise.

It was quite an adventure to say the least, but $26 dollars later we got them mailed off! Since I wasn’t with Barry, he had to leave work early to get his papers sent overnight also…but we did it! God got those papers in the right hands at exactly the right time! Now we wait and see if this is really going down as fast as it appears it might. Please be praying that God continues to orchestrate things in His perfect timing!!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Camp Life

Wow. I had an amazing weekend this past weekend. Children’s Aid Society, my employer, hosted a camp for 14 and 15 year olds in foster care for three days and I enjoyed myself more than I can put into words. Many of these children will end up aging out of foster care, meaning they are on their own at 21. Completely on their own. No mom and dad to come running back to when they need money, no parents to encourage them to go to college, nowhere to go for Christmas, no one to call when they have a good day or a bad day. Can you even imagine? I STILL need my mommy and daddy!! :)

Check out these startling statistics…one in four of the 20,000 foster care youth who age out of the child welfare system each year are incarcerated within two years, one in five become homeless and only half graduate from high school. I encourage you to read this article on “The Aging Out Dilemma Plaguing the Foster Care System.”

It is so so sad to see. However, this camp was amazing for these kids, and for all of us that worked it! We did regular camp activities such as rock climbing, zip tower, archery, painting, etc. and then we also had workshops that taught sex ed, nutrition, exercise, budgeting, etc. Real life skills that these kids are really going to need. I can’t post any pictures of the kids because of confidentiality, but here is me…

zip line Zip-lining! Can you find me?

archery Archery! My first time shooting a bow and I got all 5 arrows on the target!

Before camp I was dreading it and scared of what we might encounter. That’s a tough population and I historically do not like teenagers. BUT I loved it! I got to see a side of these kids that I normally don’t see. I work with a lot of families that are struggling with their teenagers and when I teach GPS classes I am preparing these families for the worst case scenario. And this camp showed me that these really are great kids! They have challenges in their past and in their future, but they are great kids who are fun to be around and there’s more to them than their struggles.

In all honesty I left thinking…I could do this…I could adopt a teenager. Wow…what am I saying? :) I bonded with my girls so much that I really would prayerfully consider adopting one of them if they ever became available for adoption. Never in my life would I have thought I would say that, but I just did. So there you go. Don’t be surprised if you see me stalking Heart Gallery Alabama and AdoptUsKids looking for my girls pictures…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Next Step…

Woop-woop! We just completed our next step in this adoption process…our USCIS paperwork. USCIS stands for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Basically this paperwork included a cover letter, an application (Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of An Orphan Petition), our approved home study, copies of our birth certificates, marriage certificate and a certified check for a fairly large sum of money. :) USCIS will determine our eligibility as adoptive parents and the eligibility of our child to immigrate to the U.S.

Once they receive our paperwork they will notify us letting us know that we can set up our next set of fingerprint appointments. Why they require you to get fingerprinted again is beyond me, but that’s how it goes. We will have to travel to probably Atlanta for this appointment.

AND…Our paperwork should be on it’s way to Russia as we speak…or actually as I write!! I talked to our worker, Terri, yesterday and she was waiting on one last thing and then would be hopefully sending it on today. Talk about C-R-A-Z-Y!! We do not need to have our USCIS approval before we make our first trip, so everything is really lined up and ready to go for our referral!! It’s going so fast!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bible Verse of the Day

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15a, NIV).

RULE in our hearts…not to just have a place in there for Him. Not to just have a peace that comes and goes depending on our circumstances. We must allow Him to RULE our hearts with peace. To control our hearts with the peace that only He can give. A peace that transcends our circumstances. That peace will then control our thoughts, emotions, conversations and actions. Are you letting Jesus RULE over your heart with peace??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adoption Update

And…we’re approved! :) Our home study was officially approved by our agency 2 weeks ago (slacker blogger, I know) and since then we have been submitting additional paperwork, signing a ton of papers, etc. that will all be submitted to Russia soon! When we got the email letting us know that our home study was approved we were also told that we needed to be prepared to possibly travel before, get this, the end of this year!! What!?!?

Because of the fact that we requested either gender and most families request girls, we could get a referral a lot faster than the original estimated timeline of 12-18 months. Now, we also might not. It could still be next July or later before we get a referral but there is a possibility that it could be a lot sooner. Craziness.

When we got that email we had a little freak-out because Barry is still in “school” at work and really can’t be missing work until July, 2012. We debated for a while if it was stupid of us to go ahead and submit our paperwork to Russia when we have a potential conflict with our schedules. On one hand God is totally in control of the timing of placing a child in our home but on the other hand God also gives us brains to think logically through things. We debated for awhile and finally went back to the fact that GOD IS IN CONTROL. We submitted our application exactly when the Lord made it clear to Barry that this was the path for us and we have been at complete peace with everything since then. It didn’t feel right to talk about holding off on submitting things to Russia, so we decided that it really is completely in God’s hands. If we have to travel before Barry is out of class than the Lord will work out the details.

Makes us a little nervous, but we still feel like we are exactly where the Lord wants us. So…please join us in praying that the Lord will go ahead of us (as we know He does) and orchestrate the timing perfectly according to His will.

Exciting times!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jeremy Camp

Jeremy Camp

I don’t know how much you know about Jeremy Camp, but I learned something very interesting about him while we were in Disney World at “Night of Joy”. His wife died when they were 23 years old, literally months after their wedding. When I learned that it made the lyrics to several of his songs so much more meaningful knowing that he has experienced such heartache and is still praising the Lord. I have had the song “Walk By Faith” in my blog post queue for quite some time but after reading a recent article about him, decided it was about time to post it. I am sure you have heard it because it’s been out for awhile but the lyrics echo my heart.

I also encourage you to take a minute to read this article about his testimony. Here is an excerpt…

In the passing of a loved one, would you be able to turn your earthly sorrow into heavenly hope? Could you truly lean on the Lord, trust in the power of His word and see that His plans toward you are for your good?

Camp, a talented singer/songwriter, wrestled with these questions and others from the depths of anguish after his wife, Melissa, died on Feb. 5, 2001.

"Why didn't you heal my wife?" he wailed in the weeks afterward. "I had faith. I believed. Why?"

The answer he heard from the Lord was not the one he wanted: "You are not supposed to know why. That is not my purpose for you. I want you to have a testimony of walking by faith."

Pretty cool, huh?

“Walk By Faith” by Jeremy Camp

Would I believe you when you say
Your hand will guide my every way
Will I receive the words You say
Every moment of every day

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to win my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With the one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ya

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Well I'm broken- but I still see Your face
Well You've spoken- pouring Your words of grace

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
Hallelujah, hallelu
(I will walk by faith)
I will walk, I will walk, I will walk by faith
I will, I will, I will walk by faith

You can listen to the song here.