Today we received our I600A approval in the mail - our advanced approval by the US government to adopt a child overseas!
God continues to bless our journey!!!!
2 days ago
Well, my mailbox stalking has been completely without result this week! I have resisted the urge to send an email off to the USCIS office as well...very tough, since I have this urge to remind them it has been three weeks and no news, but I figure it would be good to wait just one more week :)
Tomorrow marks four months of waiting for a referral for our Annalee. The time has passed so quickly and we have been able to prepare in so many ways.
Last night at church my dear adoption friends surprised me with a gift in a "baby" bag...it was so sweet I could have cried on the spot. Since they know how much I love to read and prepare for our lives as adoptive parents, they gave me a great book! You will have to stay tuned for a future book review!
Monday we were blessed with a huge donation to our yardsale. Our friends Stephanie and Darrell were so generous in their "Spring Cleaning" items. The highlight was getting to have dinner with Stephanie "just the girls" to chat and share about our lives in general lately. I am so thankful that God continues to bless our lives with Christian friends!Supporting a Good Cause:
Tonight I came across a blog in which an adoptive family is raising money through a very nifty craft idea...country themed hairbows. If you have adopted from Ethiopia or Korea or know someone who has or will be, then head over to their site & check them out...just adorable!
If you live in Hopkinsville, KY and will be looking for some entertainment tomorrow evening (04/23/2010), then stop by the youth building at Hillcrest Baptist Church at 7:00pm for a free concert and guest speaker, Kelly Putty from Ordinary Hero http://www.ordinaryhero.org/. They will be taking up a love offering to raise money for the Wilson family, currently adopting from Ethiopia.
PRAISE: This Saturday our church and community held a benefit day for our Minister of Music, who just had a liver transplant. This morning they announce they had collected around $30,000, yes, you read that correctly - $30,000.00! Our church has a saying "God is Good - All the Time and All the Time - God is Good!" Praise the Lord for people that are so willing to step up and care for one of His blessed ministers!
This week will be my week to stalk the mailbox! In the adoption world, stalking the mailbox is a frequently enjoyed past-time for families with long awaited news expected soon. For our family - Tuesday marks three weeks since USCIS told us our I600A approval or a request for more information would arrive in about "3 weeks". Approval gives us advanced approval to adopt an orphan from oversees and is supposed to speed the paperwork process to bring our girl home once we have been matched with a referral!
Also, this week begins the first of two weeks of intense YARD SALE preparations! Pending the weather outlook our adoption fundraising sale will be held May 1st. We have had some wonderful families donate items to our sale and I have been cleaning out like nobody's business! In addition to a vast array of furniture, toys, collectable dishes, clothes, etc, we will have our knitted hats available, and our oldest will have a refreshment stand with bottled water, homemade cookies, and featuring fresh "Just Love" coffee, which you can taste, then go home and order a package on-line for your every morning pleasure!
On Friday, April 23rd at 7:00pm in the Youth Building of Hillcrest Baptist Church there will be a free benefit concert for Heath and Paige Wilson (Adopting from Ethiopia). A love offering will be taken to raise funds for their adoption. A friend of theirs will be highlighting songs from here new CD for sale and Kelly Putty with the organization Ordinary Hero will be there to share her adoption story. If you live near Hopkinsville, KY and don't have plans that night I would encourage you to drop by!
Friday, April 23rd will also mark four months since we were added to the list to wait for a referral for our little girl...not that I am counting or anything :) God has so richly blessed our family in so many ways, I am humbled and it just overwhelms me to consider that He would choose our family for such a special gift and to experience the awesome journey of adoption. I pray I always remember the lessons He has brought us and the love we have experienced!
Prayers for the week:
As soon as I charge my camera I will post some pictures of the great Knitted Hats that have busily been in production at our house. For all of you that commented on how nice they were and wonder why I never use the term "I or me" when discussing them...well, I cannot take credit for the wonderful hats...another adult in our house, who totally is okay with me taking the credit is the actual knitter. I of course am happily working on the more practical "pot scrubbers"! :) How great God matches the "free spirits" and the "nerds" in marital bliss!
Anyway...we have already sold three, completed two for additional orders, so I will post a full preview of those that will be available May 1st with prices, in case anyone is interested! They are really warm and would be great early Christmas gift purchases!
Stay tuned, later in the week I have news of a fabulous giveaway! Of course I need to charge my camera for pictures of the loot! Get your recipe boxes out and find some "original" and/or "family" gems (recipes)! They might just earn you some great stuff...you'll want to share this with your friends!Thanks for stopping by and have a very blessed week!
Life as of late has been stressful, to say the least, my mind races from topic to topic...adoption, orthodontist, taxes, work, chiropractor, church, school, drs. visits, family, finances, our military, couponing, deadlines, etc.
Some days the thoughts swirl, schedules are followed or missed, and life marches along at a break-neck pace, and you pause to look up and it is April, the first three months of the year have passed, the snow has melted and is replaced by sunshine, tall grass, budding trees and daffodils. In the busyness of life it is easy to get lost, to fail to appreciate the moment, to stop and smell the roses along the way. You pause to reflect and realize that you rushed the days away in a hurry to accomplish something and have failed to grasp the moments of life that cannot be recaptured.
The past few weeks/months have been spent in our family carting our boys from medical, dental and chiropractor appointments multiple times a week, trying to achieve movement with our adoption training credits and paperwork - as we just want not to think about it in hopes something "big" will happen, and juggling our work and church schedules to meet our responsibilities. Life is good, don't get me wrong, but this week I have had a gnawing desire to pause, to breathe, to even just run to the store with hubby and let the rest of life fade away for a few minutes....
It is in these times of hecticness, things often come along our paths to slow us down, to cause a time of reflection. For us this week, our youngest has been ill with a rash and fever most of the week. This week work, adoption, school, church, schedules, deadlines have not been important, instead time with our boys, time to rest, time to just take a breather have taken priority.
Along with the time to reflect, came moments of fear, times of frustration, hours of sheer exhaustion. Our oldest had a big health scare when he was four and awoke one morning unable to walk...the next few days were pure torture as we went from doctor to doctor and had test after test, the last being a bone scan to test for cancer. In the end his bloodwork came back and it with elevated step levels and he was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever.
This week we had every reason to believe our youngest may have a case of Scarlet Fever. I must admit the week for me was dominated by fear. The negative throat culture could not persuade me, only today when his bloodwork came back normal could a sigh a breath of relief. Now we still don't know what we're dealing with, most likely a nasty virus, but my greatest fear has been laid to rest, we are not reliving the nightmare of five years ago.
In this time of fear, in this time of reflection God's Word has pushed forward in my thoughts...
"I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind"
"Be still and know that I am God"
"I will not leave thee nor forsake thee"
"Ask and it shall be given unto you"
I am so thankful for a God, who is faithful in His promises and has the perfect Word for us just when we need it. He provides rest, healing, hope, faith, and love. What more could we ever want or need?
This week have you taken the time to reflect? Are you living the journey or are you so focused on the destination, goal, deadline that you are rushing the precious moments away? What promise are you clinging to?
We pray that as you enjoy Good Friday and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this Easter, that you will take the time to reflect and appreciate the promise and hope we have been given, and if you don't know if this hope of which I speak...email me..I would love to tell you about it!
The Ragsdales (firstname.lastname@example.org)