Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

like Q-bert

Everyone keeps asking if we've heard anything new and the answer continues to be not yet. But don't stop asking, because sometome the answer will be "YES!!!" We're excited for that time.

Most recently I have decided to sit down with some different men that I respect and quiz them about parenting, spiritually guiding my home, etc. When we were home this past week, I had the opportunity to have lunch with our pastor, Waymond Warren, aka Brother Waymond. It was difficult for me to stay on topic because we so rarely get to talk. I jumped around from topic to topic like Q-bert. Brother Waymond is a leader. He makes the tough calls in his family and for the church. Both are blessed to have him. One day he will stand accountable for that which God has given him. And I will stand accountable for mine. Thats' heavy.

I also got to sit down with Dr. Thomas White. I won't recap our enitre conversation because...well...just because. For those of you who don't know who Dr. White is, he is the vice-president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, professor, author, adoptive father, and great man of God. I'm quite certain he would order thos differently. Probably exactly opposite of the way I did. Anyway, it was a great conversation. I will share one thing that he told me: bring everything back to the Gospel. He shared a few examples of watching a thunderstorm with his daughter, their Christmas traditions, and marker on the walls.

We should all look for things in day to day life that point people to Christ. The first step is to pray that God would give you the wisdom to see these opportunities. Once you begin seeing them, then start applying them.

I plan on sitting down with several other great men and will pass the wisdom. Until then...

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm thankful...

I'm thankful...
That my wife wife is more beautiful today than the day we married.
That my brother Clint is with us for Thanksgiving.
That this is the last Thanksgiving we will spend apart from our kids.
That we've been blessed to adopt.
That we are spending Thanksgiving in a warm home with wonderful friends.
That my sweet wife just came in and told me that I have to finish the pie, the cake, and the yams. Did I mention I'm already doing the turkey? So I gotta stop now.
For such great friends, I am especially thankful. And as always...

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

grace our blog!

So, as many of you know THE SHIRTS ARE IN!!! We are asking for a minimum of $15 (cash, check, or PayPal). We have S, M, L, XL, and XXL. We are seeing about getting kids sizes. Please leave us a message if you would order a child's shirt. All of the proceeds will go to help fund other adoptions. More to come on that...

Here is my beautiful bride sporting her stylish new N. shirt. She's so cute!

Please send us pictures of you and your loved ones wearing their shirts; we would love to have your presence grace our blog!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adoption is not...

A few of you have told me that we should post more often. The problem is we don't have any new news. All of our paperwork is in N. waiting for January to come so it can be processed. Then approximately 3 months later we will recieve a referral. This will include pictures and whatever information they have on our children. So that will be around March, give or take. About 3 months after that will have clearance to travel to N. to pick up our kiddos! We will spend about 2 weeks there. The first week we will visit them in the orphanage and the second week they will come stay with us at the hotel and be with us from then on.

We're really excited.

We interupt this irregularly scheduled blog with a confession from its sponsor: I'm really only writing this repetitive update because I wanted to try out this new Blogger iPhone app. Now back to the program.

We are extremely grateful to Brother Waymond Warren for allowing us the opportunity to speak to our Fair Park family this past Sunday about adoption. For those of you that don't know, November is Adoption Awareness month (or something like that). Since we have yet to complete the entire process we decided to talk briefly about what adoption is not. Jessica gave me the majority of mic time because she knows I love talking into a mic and in front of people. Well, really I just like talking. Anyway, I want to breifly recap what adoption is not.

1. It is not natural. It is the result of the fallen world in which we live. It is however our call as Christians to love and care for orphans and widows.

2. It is not a back up plan. It is the great commission. God has called us to make disciples of all nations. Is there a better way than to bring a child into a loving home?

3. It is not for individual couples. It's for the mission-minded church. If we believe that God has adopted (grafted) us into His family why would the church not be excited about doing that for others? Dr. Russell Moore says, "If we believe God in heavenly things, we will follow Him in earthly things."

4. It is not shameful. I grew up hearing very little about adoption. It was only talked about in hushed tones, the same way one speaks of cousin Frank's meth problem or the rumor that daddy took a mistress. Adoption should not be whispered about; it should be celebrated! It is a beautiful picture of the Gospel, maybe the clearest of all.

I'm done rambling.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh the anticipation...

Well, hello folks,

Ryan here. Just wanted say a few things. Pick up a copy of Adopted For Life. Be it from the library, bookstore, or friendly neighborhood superhero. Read it. Pass it on. This book by Russell Moore is eye-opening.

As he does in his book, I've tried to compare what the process is like to what I think the process might be like for...gosh I'm at a loss for words...a couple doing this biologically, or naturally. I, at first, hesitated to say "naturally", but it's true adoption is not natural in the sense that God created it that way. It is the result of the fallen world in which we dwell. It may not be God's original intention, but it is God's call for our lives now. Not just mine and Jessica's life, but ours in a collective sense. Anyway, I think the comparison is like we're pregnant. We are anticipating the arrival of our children. We wonder what there names might be and imagine their little faces, and what games they might enjoy. So, it's like we're pregnant.

We just had our immigration approval notarized and dropped in the mail. Hurry up and wait. That seems to be the theme for the adoption process. Hurry up and get everything done so that you can sit on your hands in anticipation of receiving the referral. I guess the referral will be like the ultrasouund only our ultrasound will show more than a fuzzy shape on black backdrop. Anticipation.

I got an idea from some friends of ours. They adopted two beautful children from Haiti. They had t-shirts designed and printed. I didn't ask about what they used the proceeds for, but I know their hearts and I'm sure it went to the cause of adoption in general, probably Haiti specifically. We just recieved our shipment of shirts! We will have a picture up very soon so you can see what you're buying. Ha! You like the way I slid that in there? I'm only half serious. We do have N. shirts for a minimum of $15, but we don't expect that everyone will buy one. We are not keeping records of who does and doesn't. The proceeds will be used for adoption in general, but probably donated to another adoptive family that needs financial support. We love you all and know that you support us in a multitude of ways.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, prayers, love, and friendship throughout this exciting time in our life.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Approved by Immigration/Random thoughts

Hey everybody,

We received our approval letter from Immigration just a week after we had our fingerprints done! So God did answer prayers there. Now just waiting for January to get here so our paperwork can be reviewed and we can be matched with our sweet children. I have been thinking about them alot lately and all the things we have to look forward to. It's just little things that make me think of them...Ryan and I were talking about this being the first winter in our home and I said I just wished the kids were home with us.

I'm doing a bible study by Jennifer Rothschild called the Fingerprints of God and by no coincidence she talks about God adopting us as his children. She says we were orphans needing to be "gotten" and God chose us. In John 15:16, it says "You did not choose Me but I chose you". This gives me a new perspective on how God must yearn for his children to come to Him when they have not surrendered their life to Him or are living in sin and out of His will. I know how badly I want to see and hold my children so I cannot even imagine how it is for God! I am not the best at putting my thoughts on paper so I hope that makes sense.

I believe God has brought some special people into my life to encourage us on our journey. I have met 2 women at church that have adopted multiple times. Thank you Lord for bringing these new friends into my life. I know this is no accident either. God is so good even though I do not deserve it.

Until next time,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hey everybody,

Just wanted to update y'all on what I found out this week! There's good news and not so good news. Good news is our dossier doesn't have to be translated; bad news is our dossier most likely will not be reviewed until January. The cap of 10 families per agency per year rule that you've probably heard us talk about includes first they said we would not be included in this bc we were not adopting an infant but apparently N. changed the rules recently! Actually I wasn't as upset as I was when I found out we had to wait on Immigration approval a few weeks ago. I'm sure God had a hand in that!

I'm pretty excited that 2 of the waiting families from our agency will be traveling to N. in the next few weeks to meet their children. I can't wait to hear updates on how the trip goes!

Also, we have friends from back home that are in China now meeting their twin girls and will come home with them soon! How exciting! God is good!

Thank you to all those who are praying for us.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Quick update on Immigration approval

I know many of you have been fervently praying since I sent out the request this week...thank you! Our fingerprinting appointment is September 30th. Not sure how long it will take for them to process things after that. Hopefully not too long. Thanks again for all the continued prayers!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayer request

Well I found out today that our dossier can't be submitted to N. until we get an approval letter from the Citizenship and Immigration Office. This can take up to 90 days...pray this process goes faster. I am trusting that this is all in God's timing but I am disappointed.

Thanks for all the prayers,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

N. church

Ryan here. I am about to go visit a N. church with some new friends we've met here at seminary. Brandon and Cindy Shafer have graciously agreed to take me to meet these N. people that have church in Irving. Our thought is that this group of people could potentially be a vital part of understanding and continuing to engage in our children's cultural heritage.

Brandon has been fortunate to serve in N. and then got to know this people group existed after moving to seminary. I'm keeping the details vague because I'm not sure that I remember them correctly.

Well, I decided to just add to this post instead of writing another blog. I just got back from a wonderful time with the Shafers. I appreciate them so much for talking with us about N. culture and taking me to meet the group over in Irving tonight. Not to mention Brandon gave me a help-book on learning to speak the language!

On the way over Brandon and Cindy explained to me that church times change along with other aspects of the church that seem to be in constant transition. We showed up at 5 and walked around the building trying to find where exactly the meeting was taking place. We finally found Ati, Alex, and Harry. They were meeting in Ati's office. After warm introductions, Ati led worship on acoustic guitar. I guess I should mention that was all that was present: myself, the Shafers, Ati, Alex, and Harry. It was cozy in the office. They sang a few songs (hymns or choruses, I couldn't tell) in N. It was beautiful. I didn't know what they were saying, but I connected on a different level. Their passion for our Lord was evident.

Alex had some friends, Simon and Robbie, show up about the time we were going to read the Scripture. Once they were in and seated Brandon read from Romans 7, verses 14-25. Ati taught about our sinful state and our only hope being in Christ. It was a great time, meeting and worshipping with new brothers. They were excited to hear about our adoption and very inquisitive. We talked for quite a while after the service was over. It will be exciting to bring Jessica back to meet my new friends and even more exciting to bring our kids to meet them!

Well, I don't have time to say much more. I am currently reading a book that is revolutionizing the way I look at adoption. I have a blog brewing on the subject and I will lay it out soon enough. Until then, ta-ta.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Now we wait!

Hello everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything. I waited 2 weeks to receive our home study in the mail...and I wanted the completion of the dossier to be my next post. So after 2 1/2 months of gathering and preparing paperwork, making multiple trips to have documents notarized, and combing over every document to make sure there are no cross-outs or write-overs(of course there were some mistakes...I had to get more copies of our marriage license and have the home study agency redo documents for me)...the dossier is complete and in the mail!! I am so glad to have this step was really nerve-racking for me for a couple of reasons. I like to get things done in a timely fashion...I had to be really patient during these last few months when there were setbacks and that drove me crazy that I couldn't get it all done! Also, I am already OCD about things being perfect...when they told me how every document had to notarized and there couldn't be any write-overs on the documents and the notary's signature had to match their stamp...this just did a number on my already nit-picky nature. I'm sure Kim at the home study agency is tired of hearing from me. Listen to the dream I had last night...just to let you know how much I worry over such things. Well let me set this up for you. Yesterday, I was looking over all the documents one last time as I was organizing them and making copies and I noticed that one stinken' piece of paperwork from the home study agency was notarized with a signature that didn't match her signature on the other documents. So now I'm thinking I've got to call her on Monday and ask her to redo this document...great! Well I dreamed that I went to their office and asked her to redo the document and apparently she told me no or questioned that it needed to be done because I got really angry and told them just what I thought about that and the next thing I know the social worker is telling me they won't be able to do it at all because of what I said to them. So then I'm distraught, thinking how am I going to get this done? And I woke up...

I did receive some good news today from our adoption agency. They have found out from recent talks with the N. government that the government sees it as a priority to place children ages 3 years and older with their adoptive families.

I do have a prayer request...pray that the N. government will appoint a minister soon so that the wheels will begin to move for the adoption process for all the waiting families.

Until next time,

Monday, July 27, 2009

a few basics

I wanted to take a moment and go over a few basics. Some people are shocked when we tell them certain things about our adoption and it's probably due to the fact that we forget to tell everybody everything. So the basics.

Jessica and I have actually wanted to adopt for years. It's been on our hearts since before we were married I think. We are adopting internationally from N. N. is sandwiched between China (North) and India (South). Our original intention was to adopt an infant, but we are now (most likely) getting a sibling group. Long story short: N. changed their rules. The older child cannot be over six and one of the children must be female.

In my tiny brain I break the process into three stages. The first is the paperwork stage. In this stage we collect and complete all of the necessary documents for our agency, the N. government, and whomever else wants to know all things Ryan and Jessica.

Next is the waiting stage. It is waiting for us, but in N. the paperwork is being translated into Korean for their attorneys to scour. Just kidding about the Korean thing; they speak N. Later we found out the dossier doesn't have to be translated. After we are approved by the powers that be ruling N., they begin the process of pairing us with children. This, of course, transitions us into the last phase - referral.

We will receive a packet (probably delivered by a stork) that contains all of the info on our potential children. Sometimes this information is not very extensive. But whatever medical history, current condition, photos and such they have they send to us. We at that point can choose to accept or reject. Reject seems like a harsh word. I would say it would be highly unlikely we would not accept the first referral. There would have to be something glaringly uncomfortable.

Each stage is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 months. We are sort of at the end of the first stage. All God's Children International (our agency) is reviewing our paperwork to make sure all is in order before sending it to N. We finished this stage fairly quickly mostly due to my extraordinarily determined and extremely competent wife.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not too much!

Hey everyone,

We're finishing up our dossier. Just need to complete our online education and get some documents notarized. You'll notice I have a new profile pic thanks to our friend Haley! She took some pics for us to include in our dossier...we had a lot of fun with that. Thanks Haley! I am so ready to be done with the dossier. Pray that I will stay motivated to finish it quickly. 

Until next time,

Monday, July 13, 2009

We just finished our adoption education notebook. It took us an estimated 12 hours spread over several weeks. It was no walk in the park either. It asked some hard questions. Circumstance questions like, "What will you do if your child tortures the family pet?" or "What if the child threatens you with a knife?" Yikes.

After completing it though, I think all parents-to-be should have to go through something like this. Granted our situation is different than having biological children, but still. It made us think about what we will say when strangers (or anyone) asks us inappropriate questions or says hurtful things to us or our children. Before opening this book, I would have said we were a 6 or 7 on preparedness (10 being super parents like Brad and Angelina or the Osbornes). After going through the book, I think we are a 6 or 7. Before it, we were probably pushing a duece.

There will undoubtedly be surprises, failings, and heartaches but we will endure. Jessica will make a great mom and she thinks the same of me...I mean that I'll make a great dad, not mom. Stop laughing. I wonder sometimes though because I have a weak stomach and kids can be gross. Everyone says, "When it's yours it's different..." I'm sure y'all are right.

Jessica may be upset with this paragraph because I did not pre-approve it. Better to ask forgiveness, than permission. Write that down, guys. One thing we read in the book was about how adoptive moms can become depressed afterwards. Now listen, those of you that know Jessica are probably saying, "pssh! Not Jessica. She's a warrior." And this is true. However, we (myself included) want to experience things just like other new parents would. Things will definitely be different with many, many things since we are adopting, but we still cherish your prayers, calls, cards, letters, love, balloons, flowers, baby gifts, showers, and Blu-Ray movies (haha...for the children of course!). And we so much appreciate you taking the time to read these blogs and stay updated with our exciting endeavor!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Starting to sink in

Hey everybody,

Just wanted to give a quick update. We spoke to our case worker at the agency last week and she said we should expect our children to be about 5 & 6 years old. Wow! We were hoping one of them would be about 2-3 but that's ok. We have been doing alot of reading trying to finish our adoption education requirements. I told Ryan I think its starting to sink in that we will be bringing home children that will not automatically trust us and will feel like strangers. That's kind of weird to think about, but true. We have great challenges ahead but I'm really looking forward to being a mom to these kids. Ryan has always said I like a challenge!!

I'm sure everyone will be delighted to hear that mine and Ryan's criminal checks came back clean...I know some of you were a little concerned about Ryan. :-) The home study report is completed so we are on our way to finishing our dossier. Thanks to you who have been praying that the paperwork would go smoothly. Our case worker told us it takes 2-3 months for the N. government to review our dossier, so we have some waiting ahead.

We have received one of our N. language books so we have plenty to work on during our waiting phase.

Until next time....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jessica set this up

So, this is Ryan again. Last night we met a couple that works with N. people here in Fort Worth. Jessica set this up of course. I don't consider myself shy in any way, shape, form or fashion...but when it comes to going to a complete stranger's house...that's another story.

Jessica heard about this couple through Lauren, the girl that cuts our hair. She's great too if anyone needs a referral. So, Lauren exchanged their emails or something, the next thing I know we're going to their house. It's always odd. You never know if they're huggers or shakers. Are you supposed to accept what they offer to eat or drink? Take your shoes off at the door? It's like going into a different country, you know? What to do. What not to do.

Things went really well. I knew they would. There's just always that chance that you'll sit on their cat or realize that they have a cup of noses in their freezer.

We spent about two hours with the Shafer's. We heard about their call into ministry, how they met, their work with the N. people. Jess and I plan on having them over sometime soon. Good people those two.

Our new friends have done some work with a N. church in Irving and have offered to go with us to visit sometime. I am looking forward to that in the same way as meeting the Shafer's...excited, but cautious, but mostly excited, and almost certain it will turn out good, but cautious. They do the whole service N. Songs, preaching, all of it.

I told Brandon that I really want to learn to speak the language so he is going to send us some resources. I hope they don't speak in clicks. That would be difficult.

Okay. Thanks for reading.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Not sure how she does it...

So, I wanted to write a little bit in here to make people think I'm involved. Just kidding. I am, but not as much as I'd like. But maybe more than I should be.

"Dear people holding up our adoption, please get your stuff together." I just tried to fill out some further questions that our social worker needed. I get aggravated because I know she asked this stuff already. And I know we've answered the same questions for other people in the loop. Why can't they just get together and talk?!?! Play Go Fish with our info. Something. Jessica quickly set me right by reminding me that she usually does this stuff without complaining. Of course, she does almost everything without complaining. I hate that about her. And I love it too. I'm not sure how she does it. I shouldn't whine about it. I'll try not to anymore.

By the way, 'dossier' is pronounced 'dah-see-ay'. And it is in fact not a large yellow machine used to move dirt. That would be a 'dozer'. The things I'm learning.

This past Sunday, Father's Day, the thought occured to me that we are adopting children. Not infant. Toddler or runner possibly. The process takes about one year. So that means the child(ren) that God has for us are already alive! I was a father on this past father's day! I know it's a stretch, but God already has them picked out. It's strange and surreal knowing that.

Errands to run. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Overwhelmed to say the least!

So our second home study visit went very well also. We had to think about our worst childhood memories...I'm so glad me and Meredith get along so much better now! Ryan enjoyed telling our social worker that even when Meredith moved back home temporarily after being in Shreveport that we started fighting again. I'm not sure I remember that...but it's true we didn't do well living together!

We received our adoption planner that lists in detail every document that makes up our dossier. The dossier is basically a collection of documents that will be sent to the N. government. I'm a little overwhelmed since reading it...maybe because there are some things in there that I don't fully understand yet..especially about Citizenship and Immigration paperwork. I did spend about 3 hours emailing questions to the home study agency and preparing some documents this afternoon though. I do feel somewhat better now that I got some of the things figured out. I have a list of questions going that I will ask our case worker when I talk to her Thursday. I could see how this process could take up to 4 months to finish for some families...especially families who have children already. I am so thankful that I have a job that I have days off during the week to work on all of this.

Another cool thing is I am in contact with a guy that serves with a ministry that serves N. people. We are trying to plan a time when we can meet he and his wife. He's really excited to tell us about the culture and introduce us to some N. people. I am really looking forward to meeting them.

More to come...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Home study

We just finished part 1 of the home went really well. The social worker was really nice and laid back. She was adopted and has adopted herself. Ryan and I were interviewed together then she did a home inspection. I was a little nervous but it went really well. We will meet her again Sunday evening and do individual interviews. Thanks for all the encouraging messages and prayers...they are much appreciated!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Getting started...

I guess I should start this blog by giving some details of our adoption. We are applying to adopt siblings ages 0-6 from N. We want one of them to be a little girl. Ryan wants a little girl so bad! The adoption agency is telling us it could take approximately 1 year to complete the adoption but we will find out more in the next few months about the estimated wait time. In case you're wondering where N. is...its a small country that sits between India and China. It is the home of Mt. Everest. Our children are in an orphanage. We are in the first stages of the process...we have to prepare our dossier which is a collection of paper work that has to be translated and sent to N. where the government matches us with a sibling group based on our preferences. This can take up to 6 months.

So we mailed off our adoption contracts today. We first stopped by FedEx to see how much the notary service would was going to be like $60 so we went to Southwestern because we found out someone will notarize documents for students for free!! We go into the lady's office and told her we needed our adoption documents notarized then with a big smile she said "we adopted our daughter from Guatemala 8 years ago", so she was more than happy to help us! How cool is that!

We are required to complete a book for adoption education. We completed the chapter on food and feeding last night. Our assignment is to find a common recipe from N. and cook it for ourselves. This ought to be fun! It seems like their cuisine is similar to Eastern Indian so lots of curry dishes and rice. We've tried Indian food a few times since we've lived in Fort Worth, and we both seem to like it. It can be heavy though! I'll let you know what we made and how it came out. This is just one of the many issues we have to think about when preparing to bring home our children. One of the big concerns Ryan has is the language barrier especially with the older child...but they say that kids learn another language really quickly and we'll get really good at sign language too I'm sure! We have found out there is a N. group of people here in
Fort Worth so we're going to try to connect with them so they can teach us about the culture.

Our home study is scheduled for Friday so I'll update on how that goes!

Thanks for reading and praying for us...