Setbacks and Extra Prayers…

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This past weekend, snowpocalyse came to visit. The kids were out of school for an entire week. Karate and basketball were both canceled, and so were all our church services. We were getting a bit stir-crazy. So…lots of thoughts and prayers for Mia. Lots of playing with the boys and soaking up this time as a family of four, soon to be five.

On Friday, John got a call from Colorado. I knew immediately it was our agency headquarters and so he answered right away. Hoping for good news (like LOA soon), but hearing John’s end of the conversation, my hopes fell.

The CCCWA (reviewing our file in China) had let our agency know that they needed additional information concerning our income.

Here is some background: When we applied to be considered by our agency (a year ago), we KNEW that income was going to be an issue. There is a set amount needed per family to be considered “acceptable” in the eyes of China. BUT-the income requirements have recently altrust-in-godlowed for families to be considered, even if they don’t EXACTLY meet those requirements, based on the cost of living in their area. This is the only way that we felt we were able to apply in the first place. The cost of living where we are is very low, and we felt that God was opening this little door and we would try to go through it. Our agency accepted us, which made us feel that they believed our income and cost of living would be accepted by China as well.

When we went through our home study process this past summer, income was again discussed. We provided all documentation and everything we could to show our income was as close to those guidelines as possible. Before our home study was complete, John received an additional contract and I became an Independent Beachbody coach. We discussed these additions to our case worker, though she felt we had enough information without those two pieces. So, we continued on with the process.7fae7c633372c64b3eb7f242e9c4243e

Now, with the request of additional information, I felt frustrated, sad, and irritated that our additional income was not added in back in the summer. John continued to explain his stipend amount and my average income from coaching each month…and I held my breath. The lady on the phone said that they would have a social worker in their office put that information in a letter to augment our file with the CCCWA. Then, we just HOPE and PRAY that China accepts this letter. If not, we may have to go through the entire document approval process all over again for these two additions to our income (which took us about 4-5 months the first time). Of course, my mind went to worst-case scenario, while hoping for the best. However, John informed me that the last thing she said was that this information helped, and to maybe expect our review to be finished before Chinese New Year (which falls on February 8th this year). Despite my melancholy, John explained that the agency worker made it sound like this kind of thing happens fairly regularly and isn’t necessarily a “setback.”

For a momma who is terribly missing her daughter, any kind of “additional information required” FEELS like a setback to me. So, we pray. And pray. And pray.a91b9b7018fc112cc23fcbacc8b429c4

The boys don’t really understand the ins and outs of the paperwork process, they just know they want their sister home NOW. They are SO excited. Owen is planning to take care of her, teach her how to read, and show her how to do everything. Camden says he will help feed her and play with her. Both boys pray out loud for her every single night and pray that God will bring her home soon. Camden has decided to make sure he prays for her at every meal, too: “God is great. God is good. Thank you for our food. Be with our sister. Amen.”

Otherwise, things remain the same. I am feeling extra pressure (from myself) to switch around the kids rooms, decorate for both the boys and Mia, but not actually accomplishing anything but adding pins to Pinterest. We keep SUPER busy with karate, basketball, all of John’s jobs keep him away a lot, and I am building my business, training my coaches, and working from home all the time. Marathon training is in full swing, with double-digit long runs every weekend and shorter hill and speed work runs during the week. Sometimes I wonder if I chose the best time to take on another 26.2, but God knows what I need, and that time on the road is precious and calming. Running friends keep me sane, and stress is somewhat relieved by pounding the pavement.6f5e5cc443b61764707daf122e57a862

We are still trying to fund-raise and find time to do more with that. I opened a savings account this week for the money that we have collected so far. A running friend hosted a make-up party for Mia and I am always reminded of God’s blessings through others.

I mentioned this hiccup in our adoption agency group on Facebook, and let me tell you–God has just blessed us TREMENDOUSLY by the support of those families. The photos I have placed in this blog post were the verses and encouragement that were given to us by those parents. They have been there. They understand. They are holding us up in prayer, too. God is GOOD!!

Continue to pray for us, for Mia, and for the CCCWA to accept a letter for our income, rather than holding up the process. Hopefully, our next update will be LOA!!!203576845625464435rzmIZYYlc

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A Surprise Phone Call…

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Right now we are in the midst of the waiting game. Adoptive parents say this is the hardest part. I didn’t believe them. Turns out, they are right. My heart has been extremely heavy lately, as I look at Mia’s face on my phone throughout the day, knowing that I still have to wait longer to hold her in my arms. Some moments are easier than others. But this week, I was feeling a heavy burden that was just not being lifted.

Thankfully, God knows our needs, even before we really understand them ourselves. I got a message today from a friend who is literally like a sister to me. She was asking for prayer for a few things that she was facing today. Of course, I replied that I would be taking those things to the throne of God on her behalf. Then, she asked me if there was anything SHE could pray about for ME. Then, staring at my phone, my eyes welled with tears as I thought about my daughter…halfway around the world. I miss her. I have yet to even meet her, but my heart is just longing to be with hers. It’s a very difficult feeling to describe, but I tried my best over messenger to explain to this sweet friend the pain I was feeling in that moment.

Not only am I feeling the void of one of my children being far away from me, but I have been struggling with the fact that we do not have all our funds raised to bring Mia home. This is a touchy subject for me because it exposes my pride. I know in my head that God will not bring us all this way to leave us in a financial bind. I KNOW that there is a reason for this trial of patience, which I am despising at the moment. But, when we received a letter of rejection for a grant this past week, I had that moment where I wondered if we would have to take out a loan to bring Mia home. Don’t get me wrong, we will do whatever it takes to have her with us as soon as possible, but I feel this obligation to take care of her through whatever means WE can do without going into debt. There’s that pride part of me. We had also received a letter from Show Hope saying that our application for a grant was received and it would take 8-10 weeks to review. So, never say never, right? But, yet, I had moments of sadness and date I say, doubt.

Okay, so at this point, you are saying, “Just get to it already!” So, here I go…

This afternoon, mere hours after my little conversation with my friend, I received a call from a Tennessee number. I was unable to answer it, but I figured it was Show Hope’s offices calling to ask for additional information for our application. Turns out, it was nothing of the sort.

Remember our story about our relationship with Show Hope? This is an organization that cares for orphans through special needs care centers around China and through providing adoption grants for waiting families. Check out www.showhope.org for more info. We have been monthly sponsors for this organization for years, and I was able to visit their first care center called Maria’s Big House of Hope in the summer of 2012. This is where I fell in love with orphans with special needs. Then, I ran the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon as a Show Hope advocate, raising over $3,800.00 to help another family bring home their son. We asked our agency to be matched with a child from the Henan province, knowing that if she was from there, she likely had been cared for by Maria’s Big House of Hope at one point or another. And, as it turns out, Mia WAS at Maria’s for a short time before her surgery in 2014! (Another God-thing, right?)

Back to the phone call…

I got on the phone and a sweet lady named Kathy asked if we could do her a favor.

“Sure.”

“We are looking to raise more funds for Show Hope through a campaign program and we have chose over a dozen families to spotlight during this campaign, so that other people will be able to see the faces of those for whom we are trying to provide funding. Would your family like to be featured during this campaign?”

“Um, oh my goodness, YES!” (At this point, I was already crying…)

“Our other thought was that since you all live fairly close to Nashville, would it be okay if we sent a small crew up to your house to shoot a video on your family’s story?”

“What? Absolutely!”

“Someone will be in contact with you soon and set up a time to do it, but your family’s story will be on the Show Hope website by the beginning of April.”

Wow. I just continued to cry. God is SO GOOD! I tried to explain to her through the tears how THOSE STORIES that Show Hope has done about their waiting families….THOSE STORIES have given me HOPE through all these years. Hope that maybe someday WE could be one of those waiting families. Not even a family featured in a video, but just a family ABLE to ADOPT! Now, we can have our story told to inspire others to give and help MORE families bring their children home! Wow. Just wow. I can’t believe it.

She and I talked on the phone for almost 30 minutes. We talked a little bit about our family, her adopted daughter, our love for charitable organizations and giving and setting the example for our children. At one point, I said, “I LOVE Show Hope!” and she replied, “I know! I’ve read your story!”

So, more than notoriety, our family is getting the opportunity to support this organization we love and hopefully inspire others to become long-term sponsors as well. Kathy made sure I heard her heart:

“We need to do this campaign to increase our funds so we can help more families like yours. At this point in time, we don’t know how much we will be able to give you, but our desire is to give each family a $5,000.00 grant. What this means is, you ARE getting a grant from Show Hope, we just don’t know the exact amount at this point.”

“Wow….” (more tears)

So the point of this whole story is to share our joy, to raise awareness for this amazing organization, and to give you an update of what is to come. Our family is being featured in a Show Hope video!

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We’re coming for you, Mia! Mommy and Daddy and your brothers love you beyond what words can say!! God is opening every single door, baby girl! May you feel His love surrounding you always…