Sunday, January 29, 2012

Faithful God

Today we received a check for $7000 to complete our adoption! We are in awe of what God has done for Sarah & Seth! I am in awe of God's faithfulness. I truly believe God hears the cry of the orphan, the cry of loneliness that comes from their heart & He responds to it. Having a front row seat to this miracle for the last few months has been amazing. We didn't do any fundraisers (not that I'm against that) we couldn't even figure how to put the link to the ministry that has an account for them/us on my blog:) BUT God moved on people's hearts & they responded to his nudges...

The lady who gave today just unexpectedly lost her husband. But years ago she had a dream about helping two orphans & when she heard what we were doing, she felt the Lord nudge her to help us as the fulfillment of the dream. She hasn't let bitterness over her loss take over her life, she is trusting God no matter what she is going through. What an amazing example for all of us to trust God and not let circumstances steal our joy & trust in God. I am humbled by her example!

Thank you all for your prayers and support as we have began this journey. Please continue to pray for Sarah & Seth's health & safety and that all the very complicated pieces fall into place in the next month. Pray that despite all human reasoning that things will continue to go fast and that they will soon be in our arms. There are so many components of the adoption ahead & so many people within their government that we need favor from God as we move forward. Please pray for us that we will soon have them home:) Thank you all!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thanks!


I just got a shower gift from a family in Arizona:) How sweet of you guys! Can't wait to see them using it to hold on to as they relearn how to walk again:) What an encouragment!

Keeping the Faith

Today I woke to an email stating that there has been some changes to the way our children's country accepts dossiers. Right now our initial paperwork has been filed and the team was waiting to file our dossier till February 1, when the country reopened to accept dossiers. Now it seems each family will be given a date that our dossier can be submitted on. We do not know if this will affect us or not as our initial paperwork (it's called the CSP) has been submitted almost a month. We are waiting to hear. Even if it does affect us, it shouldn't add more than a few weeks on to the wait....not hard for us because we have been flying and have alot to do to get ready to bring two children home BUT to the children, this would be an awful hold up. They need us and they need medical care. Please pray that this will not hold up the adoption in any way!!! Thank you!!!!

Since we started on this adoption in November, I've been totally focused on getting our paperwork done and getting all the money raised. We didn't research this country, we fell in love with two children. So as I'm reading in our FB group of all the things different families are facing and how long some are in country, it's overwhelming! At this point, we plan on taking Steve & Sam with us. We have no one to leave Sam with for so long and Steve is coming to help with Sam. (he's a great big brother) We can't take Sam with us to court or to the institution so Steve will keep him in our room/apartment. I'm so thankful for a dependable, mature. 16 yr old son! However we do have concerns about taking Sam out of the country. He is so much healthier than ever but he does have special needs and there are things that could go wrong...even getting food poisoning would be disastrous for him. But we have no one who could keep him for 4-6 weeks. Yes that is how long we will be in country....

I like to plan things...with this it is "just go with the flow" 100% there is very little that we have any control over. I've said a million times I'm sure that this is a total different experience than our Chinese adoption...that was smooth, step by step...totally knew what to expect in country, even knew where we were staying...not so here!!!! The group of parents that are there right now are having extremely different experiences...and I wouldn't say any one's experience was smooth at all! Some seem easier than others...but they all seem very hard & stressful!

This one thing I know is that GOD has lead us to this point. We were not a family that was looking to add anymore children! If you would have asked me last October if we were ever going to adopt again, I would have told you "NO" And had we been thinking of adoption I can assure you it would not have been this country from just the little I knew about the adoption process. We didn't research countries or try to figure which ways to go... God spoke to us and that brings me comfort when the way seems dark....I can see in my mind's eye, us walking down a dark path, a tunnel of trees in the dark, with just a little light with us. We don't know how long that path will be or what steps to take we just walk in the moment and in His light.....

I have to confess there are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and WORRY....and believe me there are SO many things to worry about!!! But all I can say is we are following God's leading & direction. When I can grasp that truth for a minute or so...I have peace... It's just hard to keep ahold of that truth!!

Currently my husband is having a rough time with 3 bulging discs in his back. He has had problems since July but it got 100% worse when we committed to adopt Sarah & Seth. He has had a treatment of an epidural into his back and it has helped some. He is getting another one next Friday and they hope that that will be the cure. If not it is going to be a very hard trip

When I think of all that could go wrong....it's overwhelming! Please continue to pray for us in this situaion! Pray that God will make the crooked path straight...thank you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

If you'd like to give

If you'd like to give there are two ways ....

http://reecesrainbow.org/28647/sponsorclanton


or you can mail a check to: Grace Church 7060 Berry Road, Zephyrhills Fl 33540 attn: Clanton adoption

Thanks!

Getting Ready

We are still waiting, our dossier is being translated and all kinds of details are coming together! We are hoping to be in the children's country by March 5th:) Everything is going wonderfully...had a small glitch in our immigration paperwork that was noticed as it was being translated but were able to get that fixed immediately and emailed over! We still need about $5000 to finish the adoption fees but I'm confident that God is well able to provide that!!!!!

The paint and wood is bought for their room. It's going to be a jungle theme and look amazing. We have a wonderful friend , Chuck, who did a great job on our church so now he has offered to paint their room and redo the closets in the house to give us all more closet space. My house is kinda a mess right now as I am going through everything but it is going to be great!!

Next week my friend are giving me a baby shower...we're registered at Toys RUs /Babies R Us if you are wondering:) I can't wait to get everything ready for them!!!!

I've just started buying some clothes. I love thrift stores and went to my favorite one over the weekend and found someone had just dropped off beautiful size 4 girls' clothes. The clothes don't look worn at all and are all name brands! I also bought her some leggings to go under some of the dresses. I got Seth a few things including a very nice Nike Gator jacket! I've got a lot of boy clothes...obviously but I want him to have some new stuff too. It's hard to decide what to buy since I don't really know their sizes. Everything I bought for Shad was way too big so I'm figuring the same with them.

We just want everything to be nice and ready for them. We can't wait to spoil them and hear giggles....

All my kids have been premature, Steve by a month, Sam by two months, Shad by a month....so it's our hope that they will be too:) We have been told that the earliest we could hope to go was the first of March...I'm hoping we'll have a ate by the end of February...what can I say, I've never had to wait for my kids to get here:) Even Shad was a month earlier than we'd expected and that was crazy times for sure:) I had 5 days to get my visa and leave for China.....whew!

Really want these precious children home, really want to start loving on them, can't wait to take them to get eye surgery and hopefully that will give them some vision....

Please pray that things will continue to go smoothly, that God will continue to show us His mercy. Please pray that they will stay healthy and that God will whisper peace into their hearts throughout their dreams...thank you so much!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We keep marching forward....

During these hard economic times, the state of Florida is closing TWELVE prisons!! Thank God my husband's prison was not affected. WE are so very thankful that he still has his job & we pray for our friends who have been affected! When he told me the news, I could have passed out. At one point, his prison was high on the list for closure but since they have a mental health ward as well as a hospice ward, they were needed so it remains open! WE are so thankful...

Well we are now officially done with our paperwork, just waiting....waiting on confirmation of the children's eligibility for adoption, waiting on February 1st, the first day we can be logged in the country, then waiting on a date to go..... We had one new piece of paperwork that had to be sent in, but it's done and won't hold us up any. It will be there before Feb 1:)

Some friends are giving me a baby shower, I'm excited:) I'm registered at Babies R Us/Toys R US, and have an idea of what the kids will need. Our friend is redoing their room and that should be done soon. I'm nesting...have gone through the kids' rooms and clean out alot of stuff. I LOVE to clean closets. I do it every few months and yet he stuff keeps growing in there:)

WE still need about $5000 to complete the adoption but have full faith it will all come in in the next few weeks. God has been so faithful to our children and to us!

Plans in country with our facilitator is underway and all seems to be moving smoothly. I ask for prayers that everything will fall into place in each area so that things will go as smooth as possible.

Please continue to pray for Sarah's & Seth's health that God will strenghten them & give them hope in their heart that their mommy & daddy are coming for them!

Friday, January 6, 2012

THANK YOU!



I just want to take a moment and thank each person who has given towards our adoption. We plan on sending a picture card to each person after we get home wih them. If you've given through Reece's Rainbow, we do not get a list of the givers until right before we travel. But we want you to know how much we appreciate you!!!!!

I love that we keep getting donations from the Rochester NY area! Don't know exactly how you all know us but we LOVE that area!!!!!!!! Our son Sam received a life changing, sight saving surgery there at Strong's in August 2007 by Dr James Aquvella. We go yearly for check ups & have such pleasant experiences there. We have such a love & respect for the wonderful Ronald McDonald House there by the hospital. the staff is wonderful and always act happy to see us all the way from Florida! Dr A is the most wonderful doctor and man! His life work has been saving sight! He has perfected the corneal eye implants that gave Sam sight. Our plans are to take Seth and Sarah to him by June (and it will be time for Sam's check up too) He believes he can help them! If ANYONE can, Dr A can do it! We LOVE him. I've included Sam's picture above so you can see the difference!!!! That's the difference we hope to see for Sarah & Seth soon!!!!!!!!

So hopefully we will be able to meet some of our doors in person one day!

Our family is so blessed by the outpouring of love by so many. We know that people are praying for us and for Sarah & Seth! Thank you so very much!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homeland Security Approval

In less than 2 weeks, despite Christmas & New Years, we got our USCIS/Homeland Security approval! Just so you know, that is crazy fast!

Now our first round of paperwork is submitted in our children's country. This is when we get the official word that they are adoptable. WE know they've been listed but this is like a 2nd check to make sure they've not been adopted or moved or deceased. Although I've heard good things recently, this is a scary time for us. I think the rest of the adoption will be a scary time for us. Our work is done, the paperwork is in...now it is up to the children's country to say YES,come and adopt!

Please pray that all goes smoothly from this point on. We have no control whatsoever at this point, we're just trusting God for the outcome. This first batch went in, but no full dossiers are accepted until Feb 1. We are looking for ours to be submitted on that day. Then we get an appointment with their Department of Adoptions. Depending on when that appointment is, is when we leave for their country.

PLEASE pray for us & for the two children we already love so much. We want to bring them home and give them a whole new life!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Carnation Instant Breakfasts Drive

We've been asked by several people how they could help the children in the institution. One way we have thought of is through supplying Carnation Instant Breakfasts. A wonderful ministry works there called Life 2 Orphans and they supply the children with the mixes. So if you'd like to send monies earmarked for the Carnation Instant Breakfast Drive, I will buy the packets and we will take a duffel bag full:)

If you live in the area and would like to do a drive, through your works, school or church, that would be great too.

Make sure if you are mailing a donation for the Carnation Instant Breakfast Drive that you write that on your check or money order. Make our your checks to Grace Church 7060 Berry Road, Zephyrhills Fl 33540.

It will be tax deductible also!

Another $1030 came in today, we need just a little over $6000:) We are blessed!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Faithfulness of God -We got another miracle

When we started out on this journey less than 2 months ago, we had no extra money. We live on one salary with 3 kids. I coupon, do a veggie garden, thrift shop, love hand me downs....do all I can to stretch each dollar. We didn't have the $30,000...to be honest we didn't have the initial $3000...I was asked by the ministry that we are working through "IF we would have the required up-front fees as needed." I said "yes". When I said Yes, we had exactly $82 in our checking account & payday was a few days away. And even when payday came, there wasn't an extra $300 to spare, much less $3000! So did I lie? NO! Because I knew we would have the required fees to send it. Don't ask me how I knew it , I just did.

There are a few times I can look back on in my life and just KNOW I heard from God! When I was a young person, God spoke to my heart, beside our mailbox that I was to go to Southeastern College. I had gotten a flyer for it & as I was pulling it out of he mailbox, in my heart, head, spirit...where ever, I clearly "heard" this is the school you will go to" So against many odds, I did go and did graduate from there!

So in the same way, we felt God spoke to our hearts about these children. So when I said "yes", I was speaking in complete confidence. I've learned to trust God & I've learned God's nature. Read the Bible, it's filled with references about taking care of the orphans. Was I a bit overwhelmed? YES But I just "had a knowing"

So within the first week, everything came in that we needed for that time frame. Every single step of this journey, the need has been supplied. It's been amazing!

Then a few days ago I realized I had miscalculated & that we needed more than I thought at first because I had left out the children's tickets home & I'd written 2 deposits twice & I hadn't budgeted but for 4 weeks there, and really we need to be prepared for 6 weeks....so I was overwhelmed. But I prayed that God would not let me be like the children of Israel who had seen so many miracles but when times would get rough, they'd doubt God every time. I really prayed through about that & told God that I chose to trust Him, no matter what!

So yesterday.....

I checked our Reece's Rainbow account when I first got up and was encouraged that there was $30 that came in, then 221.50 later in the morning, then around lunch $2000 was posted!!!!! We were rejoicing as a family! Then another $100 came in and we were just blown away....A few hours later, I got a call from a sweet lady that I know and we talked for a bit and she told me that her family was mailing in a donation. I was blessed & thankful...THEN she told me the check was for $7500 & I literally could not catch my breath! When I finally could breath I was bawling, just torn up because of their willingness to be a part of this journey. Then I managed to tell my husband who was on the phone to someone else and he had to get off the phone & he laid down on our bed & wept! We were blown away.....Thank you my friends for giving so these two sweet little people can come home with us! We promise to make their life sweet & so different from what it is now.

Since then another $225 have come in and we are down to needing $7211 to have all the funds that our agency suggests we have to insure that all in country fees are paid.

God is faithful to the orphan! I don't believe He moved like this cause we have such great faith ( LOLOL) but because He hears the cries of the orphan. When Sarah's & Seth's parents left them in the hospital after their birth & forgot about them...God never forgot them. The God of this Universe heard their cry. I have a picture of both of them sucking their fingers, to comfort themselves at rest time. They have never known the love of a family. Obviously they've been taken care of, basic needs met but even if they couldn't' describe it, in their hearts they yearned for a family. God heard their yearning.

Why these two? Doesn't God care for ALL orphans? YES, yes He does! I don't have perfect theology but I believe if Christians began adopting orphans that the problem would be solved. I've read that if only 10% of professing Christians would step forward and adopt both within their own country & internationally, all orphans would have homes. But God is waiting on someone to step forward to take the children. Jon & I were willing, not that we're saints, but our hearts were moved with compassion. Not everyone can adopt but many can who think they can't! If ONLY the people who have said to me "i wish I could adopt" would get up and do it instead of wish about it, many children would have homes!!! If you are in a place in your life that you can not adopt, then give to someone who is or to a feeding program or something. God doesn't say everyone has to adopt but He does tell us to take care of the orphans & the fatherless. God has used so many different people who could not adopt at this time in their lives to bless us to enable us to adopt. It's all a part of God's plan.

God is faithful, able to be trusted! We sung this morning in church (preplanned before all of this) "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus" How very fitting. It is so sweet to trust in Jesus. I think back on my life and those times when I leaned back on Jesus and trusted Him and not myself, those are the sweetest moments of my life. They were not always the most pleasant or easiest moments but they were so sweet. Right now I feel that as I see this all unfolding..."Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus just from sin & self to cease..." Sometimes we need to cease from self!