Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

My kids are so blessed to have such a great daddy! He plays with them, takes them on errands, and tucks them in almost every night.  I hosted a play date and our friends came over and we all made crafts as gifts for Father's Day.
We made paper towel roll versions of daddy:
We cut out words from magazines that describe daddy:
And we made paintings:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

FAQs about our adoption:

1.  Why Uganda?  It is so expensive! Why not adopt from the US?

      Well Doug and I have always felt called to adoption and when we heard about Texas' Foster/Adopt program (which is very low cost, quickly completed, and a pretty simple process)  we just assumed that we would do that.  We were starting to pray about moving forward with that process when a friend lent me a book called, "Kisses from Katie".  This book is so inspiring! It is about a teenager who moves to Uganda and does ministry there.  This book affected me on such a deep level.  I knew God was giving me a heart for Uganda and by the end of the book I was convinced He was telling us to adopt from there.  So I reluctantly told Doug, thinking he would tell me I was crazy but his response was, "Yeah.  I pretty much always thought we would adopt internationally."  So he read the book and God gave him a heart for Uganda as well!
     We still know there is a great need for children in the US to be adopted, and we are not completely taking that out of our future either.  We just know that right now we are supposed to adopt from Uganda.  Orphans in the US at least have food and medical care, where orphans in Uganda are not so fortunate. 
     We know it is expensive, but really can you put a price on a child's life?  These orphans need help and more people need to step out on faith to do so.  I believe the cost of international adoption stops a lot of people from ever even considering it.  We are stepping out on faith and trusting God will provide because He placed this on our hearts and has called us to do it.

2.  Who will you be adopting?

     On our application we filled out the age range 0-7 (because Logan asked to remain the oldest), boy or girl,  open to a sibling set and open to a child with mild-moderate medical needs.  It will be quite some time until we receive a referral though because we chose an agency that is very careful to make sure the children they place are true orphans.  One of the things you have to be careful for in international adoptions is unethical adoptions.  Orphanages will offer parents money for their children are coerce them in some way to put up their children for adoption.  We did not want to be any part of this "baby buying" so we did a lot of research on agencies. 

3.  How long will it take?

     Good question! I wish I had the answer or a crystal ball to see that day! There are so many crazy factors in international adoption.  Uganda could decide to close their country to placing children internationally.  They could change their laws at any time about who can adopt or who can be adopted.  And then there is the factor of our agency finding true orphans and all the people who are already with the agency waiting for placements.  The agency we have chosen currently has 29 families waiting.  We are hoping that with our age range, and openness to either gender it will make this part a bit quicker but we have no idea.  The whole process could be as quick as 18 months or it could be much longer.  We are figuring it will take about 3 years.  Which is crazy because we are so ready to have our child now! Just thinking about our child having to go 3 years without us just breaks our heart.

4.  How does the process work?

     Uganda is very unique.  They do not actually allow you to adopt from their country unless you have lived there for 3 years.  What they do though is they will grant parents legal guardianship of the child.  Then the parents take the child back to the US and adopt them here.  So basically whoever the judge is will decide our fate.  Kind of scary but we know that God is really in control, and not the judge.  Doug and I will both have to be at the initial court hearing and then Doug will be able to come back to the US and I will have to remain in Uganda for about a month until the next court date.  The awesome thing is, is that the entire time we are there our child will get to be with us! 

We are Expecting!!!

....from Uganda! Our application has been sent! We look forward to the day when we will have our child home! We know there are many challenges that lay ahead but we can't wait to see how God works it all out.
 Please consider supporting us! We have to raise almost $30,000! We now have a paypal "Donate" button on the right side of this blog page.

Our first goal is $3,000. That's just 300 people donating $10! Or 100 people donating $30!  Or maybe you want to be part of our bigger goal?  If 300 people volunteered to donate just $10 a month over the next ten months we would have raised all our support!

Here is a break down of all the costs:

STAGE 1 (due in 4-6 months)-
Adoption Agency Orientation Fee = $250
NCFA Online Parent Training Course = $195
Home Study Fee = $1,500
US Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee = $890
Approval Fee = $3,000

Total for STAGE 1 = $5,835

STAGE 2 (Due when we get our referral)-
Passport Photos = $20
Passport for 2 parents = $270
Placement Fee = $3,500
Orphanage Services Fee = $1,500
1st Installment of Lawyer and Court Fee = $1,000
Fed Ex Fees = $100

Total for STAGE 2 = $6,390

STAGE 3 (Due before we set up travel)-
Humaitarian Aid Fee = $750
Roundtrip Airfare for parents = $3,000
Lodging (for approx. 25 days) = $1,500
Food (for approx. 25 days) = $250
Transportation = $1,450
Visas to Uganda = $100
2nd Installment of Lawyer and Court Fee = $2,500
Witness Expenses = $500
Visa for child at US Embassy = $230
Medical Exam at US Embassy = $100
Airfare for child = $1,000

Total for STAGE 3 =  $11,380

STAGE 4 (Due when we return to the US)-
Post Placement and Post Adoption Services = $650
Court Report for Finalization = $200-$600
Citizenship  Certificate = $550

Total for STAGE 4 = $1,400 - $1,800

OVERALL TOTAL = $25,005 - $25,405

And if we are referred a sibling  set  some of those fees increase.  It seems like so much when we write it all out like this but we know that God called us to adopt from Uganda and we know that He is our provider.  He owns all the cattle on  1,000 hills after all (Psalm 50:10) and we know that He is bigger than any obstacle we may face!

Thank you for supporting us.  You are not helping us "get another child".  You are helping a child find a forever family!  You are helping to rescue a child from extreme poverty.  You are giving a child the life that he or she deserves! Saving the child from ever having to go to bed hungry again, or from having to wake up from a nightmare with no one there to hold them and tell them it will be ok.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First Swim of the Season!

We went to our community pool for the first time yesterday! We are so blessed to live in a neighborhood with a pool.  Last year we'd have to drive to the YMCA and half the time the pool would be closed when it was supposed to be open.  Hopefully our neighborhood pool will be more reliable! It is a really nice pool and we can walk to it from our house!

The Jungle Book

I took the kids to see their first play.  We have an awesome outdoor theater here in Houston that has all free performances called the Miller Outdoor Theater.  We went to see The Jungle Book and the kids really liked it.  Even Ariah had her eyes glued to the stage.  We will definitely be doing it again!


Memorial Weekend

We got to go to Mimi and Papa's house for Memorial weekend.  Mimi and Papa surprised the kids and rented a bounce house for the weekend! We also celebrated Logan's birthday at a Chuck E Cheese while we were out there.  Thank you Mimi and Papa for such a fun weekend!

Fun in the bounce house:
The kids love playing on the ride on toys Mimi has:
Like father, like son:
Time for a birthday!
Levi kept his tokens in one pocket and stuffed his tickets in another.  He was very much trying to be a big boy:
They loved this rollercoaster simulation:
We went to play at a cute park by Mimi and Papa's house"

Free Zoo Day

We love going to the zoo on the free days! Doug surprised us this time and showed up to hang out with us.