Thursday, November 10, 2016

unending love, amazing grace

exactly one week ago evan and i were sitting in the parking lot of the post office sending out a few prints and our phones buzzed at a new e-mail at the exact same time. it had been a week on constant e-mail refreshing as we awaited our referral documents and new pictures and the financial invoice and all the answers to the 500 new questions that pop up daily. evan and i have the type of relationship where one of us loses our heads and the other is completely chill. so, evan first. he tried to open the invoice attachment but couldn't so i tried on my phone. and there it was. twenty three thousand, three hundred and seventy five dollars.


that's a chunk of change.

and you guys know the story. you know how we were about $8,000 away from that amount and to make matters worse, we had exactly 14-days to pay it.

and so, like i said, evan freaks out and i'm calm. i freak out and evan is calm. so he went first. he's the protector. he cares for us. money is always on his mind. i'm the exact opposite about money so i'm like, IT'S TOTALLY FINE! oh my gosh! let's watch what God does! as i'm laughing hysterically because i don't even know what else to possibly do.

and then we went to ask my parent's advice because they have all the money answers (literally. all of them. i trust their advice over anything when it comes to money.) and as we were talking i could feel the weight of this problem creeping up into my chest and i was doing everything in my power to act calm, act natural when all i wanted to do was hide behind a door and scream.

and then we left their house (with three jars of my mom's homemade tomato soup, which is the best soup in the whole world for moments of stress because tomatoes are my comfort food) and i started flapping my arms and stressing out while evan literally told me to chill out because i was the one who had been so calm an hour ago. NO MORE.

we'd already prayed about the situation before we met with my parents but i don't think i've stopped praying since we opened that e-mail.

because this thing that i'm doing right now, these past seven-days, this is the hardest thing i've ever had to do. i don't like to ask for help. i like to be independent and do things myself and do them correctly and not worry about the stress on other people and blah blah blah. literally every fundraiser i've done that involves people in a place (ie: garage sale, spa night), i'm like, "i don't need help." then proceed to give evan and probably my mom a list of things to do and then other people force me to let them help and then i'm so unbelievably grateful that they forced their help upon me but then the next fundraiser comes along and i'm like, "nope. i'm good. don't need help. that would be rude to ask." AND THEN I LITERALLY DIE FROM THE STRESS. even though, once again, people force their help upon me and i'm so so so so so grateful.

SO. this. asking for help. trusting that God has this all planned out and knows exactly where each dollar of this adoption will come from. and every time i get anxious about this process, God jumps in with a wise word from a friend, the exact word that i need to hear in that moment.

for example, last night i was telling my dear bible study girls that after this big ask, i will feel so guilty asking for any more money. that we have done NOTHING these past two weeks besides ask for money (lie, BIG FAT LIE.) and how people will be so over us. but they obviously spoke truth over me and brought comfort and peace AND TRUTH.

and all the people who have said, "thank you for letting us in on your story." no, THANK YOU for being part of our story. for making this possible for us. for encouraging us.

we've been so humbled this week because my life is one big fight against God to relinquish control. i don't want to. i want to hold onto all the things in my life and control it all and be in control and have control and i don't. i have zero control and that's terrifying for this control freak.

so to ask for help and say, we have nothing left. i can make you a print. it's a tiny little drop in the bucket of what we need but that is all i can give you right now, and for people to say, we don't even want anything in return. it's too much for me. we've been humbled and blessed beyond measure and i can't believe how much people love us and how much they love zara.

so when we opened that e-mail last week and felt the overwhelming sense of failure and fear that we couldn't do it, God stepped in and brought forth such generosity that we have probably cried daily as we see the money roll in. before 24-hours had even passed, we had raised over $3,000. seven-days have passed and we're $700 away.


i know. we can't comprehend this. God is so good. he is so, SO good. my friend carrie who doesn't have a facebook was like, "how did you do this?" i literally did nothing, girlfriend. nothing.

so, there you go. our money is due next wednesday the 16. we'll wire it from our bank and sit back and watch God in his wonders and miracles as we start the next phase of this journey.

we don't have anything left except for THANK YOU. thank you for being our tribe and for loving us beyond measure.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

she has a name

yesterday we announced the name for our baby girl. this is completely backwards from maddox because we a) didn't find out what we were having and b) didn't tell anyone the names we had picked out. but can you imagine? that would not work with adoption. the not finding out part.

we've had our name chosen since our second anniversary. i remember coming out of our house on the way to dinner and asking evan, "what do you think of the name zara for a baby girl?" we'd had our boy's name picked out since evan and i started dating over 10-years-ago. we always thought we'd adopt a boy first (aka, i'm still waiting for God to add a boy to this adoption), but we are so excited to add a girl to our family. but LOLOLOL to God's timing because we picked out her name and then found out i was pregnant a few weeks later.

we liked the name zara before we looked up its meaning but it means "princess" or "to blossom." LOVE LOVE LOVE. and her ethiopian name is actually a boy's name meaning "blessing." which a) i love boy's names for girl's (charley, blake, etc. YES.) and b) CAN YOU JUST. this entire process is just blessing after blessing. i'm telling you, GOD SEES THE LITTLE THINGS.

also, the cutest thing in the world is maddox talking about his sister. we have her picture on our fridge and maddox brought me to the fridge last night and said, "i love zara, mom."


Thursday, November 3, 2016

paper pregnant

i have been waiting to write this blog post since july 20th but so much has been top secret because adoption is tricky.

i'll give you a little timeline of what has happened since the end of july to catch you all up to speed:

july 20-alicia at CHI e-mailed us about a waiting child. it was a tuesday and evan was at college age and i was probably at home dying from my parasite like i did all summer. i sent him a thousand texts FREAKING OUT about it and dying until he came home. texted our moms and my bible study girls and was like "Y'ALL BETTER PRAY RAT NAOW."

--the referral was for a little girl who matched our profile (you have to specify medical/emotional/physical needs that you're willing to accept) and was in our desired age range (younger than Maddox) and had a medical necessity that required us to say yes or no within 24hours so they could get the funds to move her to a better orphanage and get whatever medicine/tests/whatever done.

--we literally said, "the only thing holding us back is money. we're saying yes." SO WE SAID YES. we would owe over $15,000 when we accepted the referral.

--here's another part of this story: we didn't even have our homestudy done. NO HOMESTUDY. but we've got a child. i had just turned in the last piece of paperwork FIVE DAYS BEFORE this e-mail. typically this is not how this happens >>>> more on that in a minute.

july 21-we said YES!

--since our homestudy wasn't done, we couldn't officially accept so we were only given a "soft referral," which meant that she would be ours if we could get our stuff turned in quickly. it also meant they wouldn't show her profile to any other families. 

--we didn't even have our homestudy scheduled and my agency was like PLEASE DO THAT A MONTH AGO. and so my gf callie was like, "give me something specific to pray for." i'm all, "my homestudy needs to be done and i don't even have an appointment for it." within an hour, my social worker had called us and set up our homestudy for that saturday, as in two days from the phone call.

july 22-clean the entire house. buy one million stupid outlet plugs. freak out about the rugs that move too much and the book case that isn't nailed to the wall (hint: IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL).

july 23-our social worker came for a few hours and interviewed us and questioned maddox about how he shares and is he excited for a brother or sister (I DIE, SO CUTE) and toured our house. she's amazing and we love her.

--we then went to shoot a wedding for the rest of the day. ALL THE NERVES.

july - august-meet with our social worker two more times to fill CHI's quota. do a million hours of online training.

august-feel like we're going to get our homestudy back any day and stressed about having no money (started with about $6,000 in july). i prepare all the grant stuff.

september-feel like we're going to get our homestudy back any day and still stressed about having no money. i complete all the grant stuff but can't send it in because lack of homestudy.

october-CRAZIEST MONTH OF MY LIFE. i don't know why i thought it was a good idea to schedule everything in one month but i did: a conference at our church (well, i didn't have anything to do with that), mini session and a spa night fundraiser ALL IN THE SAME WEEK. i almost died of lack of sleep. still feeling like we're going to get our homestudy back any day. i thought that because our social worker TOLD me she was finished with it and waiting on CHI to send it back. there was some sort of miscommunication about some papers so i waited for over two weeks from the point of it being finished and actually getting it back.

november-NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH! our homestudy is approved by CHI! we can accept our referral! we accept! WE ACCEPT! we find out we have 14-days to make a payment and we've got our $15,000 ready to go! i have a weird feeling that it's not $15,000. guess what? it's not. there were two financial statements and i wasn't looking at the correct one when i was getting all excited about hitting our goal. i beat myself up, have a quick panic attack, cry to evan and FIGURE IT OUT. the actual total that we owe is almost $24,000. so we're about $8,000 away from our total THAT IS DUE IN FOURTEEN DAYS.

here are some things that i find incredible:

1. we got our referral acceptance on november 2nd because God knew i would straight up KEEL OVER if i found out that i can't read and was $8,000 wrong in my crazy stressful month. because i had a week of "rest" (it was not restful in the least) at the end of october in preparation for this new kind of crazy.

2. last year i wanted to announce our adoption during national adoption month. this year we get to accept our referral! WHO KNEW?! this year has flown by.

3. God is in the details. i know this. otherwise he wouldn't have made us do this completely backwards.

so, we get asked all the time about what a "referral" actually is. when you apply to adopt and are eventually matched with a child, the referral is basically the child. our babe came with a bunch of papers explaining why she's an orphan and her medical needs and height and weight and the things she can do like walk and talk, etc.

we filled out several applications for grants but because we're doing this out of order (proper order: homestudy > grants > other stuff > referral. our order: child > rest of the stuff), we don't even have time to receive any grants. this is literally a test of my faith, RN.

reasons we won't get any grants (probably):
grants take a bajillion weeks to be approved.
grants won't cover anything you already paid.
grants won't cover any loans you take out.
grants won't cover travel expenses.

we have a few more payments that we'll make to our agency so we can probably get a grant for a few thousand dollars but i was reading this other blog where they broke down their financial situation after their adoption and they received like $20,000 in grants and i'm like YES! I LOVE GRANTS! FREE MONEY! and then God was like, "actually no." so we don't know where this money is coming from. but we have faith. and $8,000 is a lot of money but shoot. i serve a God of miracles. #praisehands

we can't share many details about our babe but since we accepted the referral, we did announce that it's a girl! i may have secretly, not so secretly shared that on FB already but for those that missed it, WE HAVE A DAUGHTER!!! i can't believe those words! we've known since july. her picture has been on my fridge for months. but it's real now! THIS IS REAL LIFE!

if you made it this far, THANK YOU. thanks for praying. thanks for sharing in our JOY. thanks for being a part of our tribe to bring our love home. more to come. this story isn't finished.

 ps. maddox took this picture. he was like, "okay, now just mom." click click click. "okay, now just dad." click click click. "okay, mom get back in there. okay, now kiss." WE DIE. he is literally a mini us.