No One Said This Would Be Easy…

Greetings all! It has been a very long time since we have written a post. It seems as though when we promise to be more frequent in our updates, something happens to make that more difficult. A LOT has transpired over the last couple of months. We will do our best to summarize and then give you an update on where things stand currently.

Back on May 16th, we were super pumped to find out that our I-800A application with US Immigration was approved! This approval is a major milestone in the process. Receiving it meant that we were finally able to send our completed dossier to Colombia. It is the last major step before dossier approval and matching. It was the major step that we had been building towards since we started the process. Everything seemed to be lining up just right for us, then May 17th happened…

Less than 24 hours after receiving our I-800A approval, I (Keith) had my contract rescinded and lost my job at the high school through which I was employed. Beyond the obvious challenge of wondering how and when I would find alternate employment, being jobless meant that our adoption had to come to a screeching halt. To be so close to our goal and to have it all snatched away less that 24 hours later was gut wrenching.

We will spare you all of the details, but long story short, it was a trying summer for us. Through it all and looking back, we are now able to see that God was sovereign and that he provided for us in so many wonderful ways. Below are just a few of the ways in which we were able to see God at work:

  • My (Keith’s) previous employer gave me a severance until the end of July which meant we were still provided with an income without me having to go to work. This freedom allowed for me to dedicate a significant amount of time to my job search.
  • I (Keith) had two months of time off to spend time with the boys and with Laura. This is the longest period of time I have had off since leaving graduate school so I was able to rest and enjoy our family…when I was not completely spazzing out over being jobless!
  • Our friends and family rallied around us in amazing ways which kept us encouraged and even led to the greatest provision…
  • Through a friend, I (Keith) was able to connect with a hiring manager at Kennesaw State University. I was offered and accepted a position in the Housing and Residence Life department and started working again on August 6th!!!

There is so much more that could be said about how God provided for us. We will have to write a book one day to outline all the details, but for now we are grateful that we are once again able to pursue the blessing of adoption! As a reminder, below are all the steps we have completed thus far in the process:

  • 11/13/18 – We submitted our pre-application to Lifeline
  • 11/20/18 – We submitted our official application to Lifeline
  • 12/21/18 – We had our orientation interview phone call
  • 12/31/18 – We had our first home study interview (in-home visit)
  • 1/22/19 – We had our second home study interview
  • 2/12/19 – We had our third home study interview
  • 2/18/19 – We had our psychological evaluation (required for adoption)
  • 3/19/19 – We mailed our I-800a to Lifeline
  • 3/27/19 – Our home study was finalized
  • 3/29/19 – Lifeline mailed our I-800a to USCIS
  • 4/1/19 – Our I-800a was received in the “lockbox” and we sent our FBI fingerprint results to DC for federal apostille
  • 4/5/19 – FBI documents apostilled and sent to Lifeline
  • 4/10/19 – FBI documents received by Lifeline
  • 4/11/19 – WE MAILED OUR DOSSIER TO LIFELINE (YAY)
  • 4/22/19 – We had our fingerprint appointment with USCIS
  • 5/16/19 – USCIS approval received

We’ve covered a ton of ground in the process, and now have a few things we need to do to get back on track. We were very fortunate that we did not have to update our home study or our immigration paperwork which saves us a ton of time and money. We did have to update my (Keith’s) employer letter, our medical letter’s, our FBI fingerprinting, and our applications to ICBF and FANA (see previous post for explanations). We were able to get many of these documents sent off in the mail and we are sending our FBI fingerprints to Washington D.C. for federal apostille. Once the federal apostille is completed and sent back to Lifeline, we will be back where we started on May 16th…ready to send our dossier off!

There are a few other really cool things that happened while we were waiting this summer that we’d love to share:

  • We have a matching grant through our church, Johnson Ferry, and Lifesong for Orphans. We were approved for $5,000 which if fully matched meant that we would receive $10,000 towards our adoption. We are thrilled to report that we were fully matched by the end of May.
  • Prior to my job loss, we had applied for a grant with Show Hope. We were concerned that my (Keith’s) job loss would impact our grant. We are thrilled to report that we were gifted with $6000 towards our adoption!
  • With these two grants, along with our $2,600 grant from Chosen for Life, our fundraising efforts, and contributing our own finances, we are approximately 80% away from our goal of being fully funded!!!
  • The coolest thing that occured this summer is that some very close friends of ours began their own journey of adoption from Colombia. Their life story over the past few years closely parallels that of our own, so we are thrilled to be going on this journey with them. But that is a story for another time!

How Can You Be Praying

Needless to say, after all of the anxiety, we feel extremely blessed. We have learned a lot about ourselves, but above all we’ve learned much about the character of God. With that said, here are some things that we ask that you be in prayer for:

  • Please pray that we sort through these last few bits of paperwork so that we can send our dossier off to Colombia.
  • Please pray for no more delays in our process. We are anxious to begin the matching process because it could take a significant amount of time to be matched.
  • Please pray for wisdom as we begin to think about the realities of the choice of adopting one or two children. Pray that God’s will be done and that we humbly submit to it.
  • Please pray for our boys as we seek to parent them well during the season before we bring home another child(ren).
  • Please pray that we are able to finish strong and be fully funded for our adoption by the end of 2019.
  • Please pray for our daughter(s). We do not know her/their name, but we know that God does. Pray that she/they be protected spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and that we be brought together soon.

We will not make ANY promises on when we will post another update. Just stayed for more information!

P.S. We’d thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into our life over the summer. We learned some creative ways to have fun without having to spend a ton of money. Here are a few pictures of our adventures!

Our little guy got his tonsils and adenoids removed at the end of May.
Had a great Father’s Day!
Had fun with our friends that we mentioned earlier that are adopting from Colombia!
Met up with Nina for a fun day at the museum!
Had fun visiting a dear friend in Nashville and then heading to Memphis for Keith’s cousin’s wedding!
Had a brief stop over in Birmingham to meet some of the very sweet Lifeline Latin America team. The ladies (and others not pictured) in this picture have been and will be instrumental in helping us bring our girl(s) home!
Had a bittersweet visit to Knoxville to visit family and to celebrate and remember Laura’s sister Kim who passed away on July 8, 2018. This year made one year. Kim loved the sunflowers in this field so we had to go back and take a picture in her honor.
A VERY brief chance to catch up with some dear friends while in Knoxville
We climbed Kennesaw Mountain…in the rain…and lived to tell the story!
Enjoyed some great food with these dear friends during our monthly International Cuisine Club!
Enjoyed several trips to White Water. Thank goodness for prepaid season passes!!!
The boys got to hang out with their school buddies a few times this summer!
Went to the Battery for some free entertainment. The best part was the company…we look forward to MANY more outings with this bunch!
Finally, the boys…and Keith started school!

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