One Year. It's been one year today since we sent the email saying that we wanted to make Ian our son.
It seems like the year has gone by in a blink. It seems like its been a lifetime that we've been waiting.
It's been a crazy, busy, beautiful, hard, amazing, life-changing year.
It's been 12 months filled with :
Prayer. Frequent, constant praying. Prayers for our son an ocean away. Prayers for this crazy process that has hit more bumps than we ever expected. Prayers of heartfelt gratitude poured out in joy. Prayers where the words would barely come when we had those moments of "Why is this happening..." Prayers of every emotion possible, poured out to the One who we know planned all of this, even the hard parts.
Fundraising: We have been so blessed by you all. Our family and friends, our church family, our adoption community, and complete strangers who have come along side us to sew seed into our adoption. People who have stood with us to say that our boy is worth it. Yes, it has been hard at times, exhausting and frustrating at times. But, I've gotten to see God work time and again. And, every single time, the money has been there when we needed it to be.
Fundraisers we have done in the last 12 months: 3 facebook auctions, 2 yardsales, 2 Bingos (including the one that we had to cancel but that turned into a huge blessing), 1 Quarter Auction (but stay tuned we have one planned for early Spring!), 3 online giveaways, Thirty-One, Rada Cutlery (Which we are doing again), Lila Rose, 1 Spaghetti Lunch and Dessert Auction at our Church, Hello My Name Is T-Shirts (which are still available for purchase), 2 vendor events, 1 Oktoberfest, 1 Craft Show plus all of the necklaces, bows, ornaments and crafts that I have been making.
We could not have done any of those events without help from our family and friends with the planning, donating of items, volunteering etc. I just can't say thank you enough to everyone for all that you've done. Even just having people 'like' my facebook posts about our adoption and fundraisers, comment and message that they are praying for us, sharing our story with others; It builds us up, it encourages us and we appreciate it all and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Paperwork: We completed our homestudy which included local and state background checks, classes, and basically revealing the most intimate details of our lives, finances and family for review. We completed USCIS (Immigrations) application, FBI background checks, and dozens of other forms, all of which had to be notarized and then apostilled before going into our Dossier and going over to our son's country to be translated and authenticated so that we could be submitted to the proper government authorities there for approval.
All of that while trying to lead our 'normal' lives, homeschooling Nicholas who is now in the 2nd grade and who turns 8 in just a couple of weeks. Starting grad school for me, then taking a break when I realized it was just all a little much. Steve's been working 6 days a week between his full time job at the Post Office and his part time job stocking at Kroger. We try to make the most of Sundays and spend time together as a family. Nick started gymnastics this year and is really enjoying it.
In the beginning one of my best friends whose family has completed back to back international adoptions in the past three years gave me some great advice. She told me that we still had to live life with Nicholas, that even though it feels like our lives are on hold when we're adopting, our kids' lives aren't. And, so we've tried to make holidays and every thing else special even though we feel like a piece of our family is missing. I won't lie, it's been hard at times, we all feel it. But, now we're at the point where we can say, "This was his last birthday, his last Christmas etc. without a family," and that makes it a little easier.
So what do we have to show for all of the craziness of the last 12 months you ask? Well....
We got our approval in the form of our written referral on Tuesday (My Birthday) and got confirmation of our travel dates today..WE'RE GOING TO MEET OUR SON!!!!
It took a year. It took longer than I had hoped and planned. But on February 7th we will board a plane in DC and fly to Eastern Europe! And, on February the 10th We will meet our son for the first time.
Please pray for all of us!
Please pray for Nicholas. He will be staying at our house with my mother in law with both of my parents and other family members helping out with taking him to his activities and keeping him entertained. But, we have never been away from him for this long.
Please pray for Ian. We found when we got our written referral that he was very recently transferred from his orphanage to a group home. We believe that this was most likely a good thing, group homes are usually smaller and have other benefits compared to an orphanage setting. But, any change for a child can be scary and unsettling. He has new caregivers, has to make new friends, is most likely going to a new school. And, we don't know if he has any idea that he has a family. We've been praying for his heart since we knew that he was ours, please join us. For 8 years he has not had a family, even if he wants one it will be new and most likely scary for him.
Please pray for Steve and I. Steve has never flown...ever. I've never flown internationally. I was able to book flights with just one layover so I'm hoping that will cut down on the stress of changing planes. Please pray for favor over our travel, for safe travel, and all of that good stuff.
Please pray for our family who will be helping with Nicholas.
And, please continue to pray for all of the children still waiting for their families to find them.
Also, one of my goals for the New Year is to be better about blogging. I am working on revamping the blog now so it will be easier to find stuff.
I'm hoping to make the tshirts easier to order and am revamping my jewelry making and going out of the bowmaking business. So, if you haven't already, please join our site over on the right hand side of the blog so that you can continue to follow along on our journey. I don't think I will be able to post pictures publicly from our visit with Ian so if you want to be able to follow along with us in country I will post details soon on how that will work.
Thank you all for your love, prayers and support this past year!