It is so remarkable to see how God continues to move in our adoption journey. We are so (SO) far from seeing it through, but what absolute peace He gives with the assurance that He has already seen it through. He knows the beginning and the end. He knows the name(s) of our son or daughter; He knows their story; He knows the beauty of our uniting in His perfect time! Things are progressing, and we have much to be thankful for this month!
1. Andy and I had our fingerprint appointment at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ) in St. Louis a few weeks ago. This is the LAST step to completing our dossier. We will wait now for about 4-6 weeks to recieve our “official” clearances from them, and submit them to our agency to get registered with the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria!!
2. After deciding to partner with Apparent Project, I sold all 161 bracelets in less than a week. This proved to be more of a blessing than I could have ever originally seen. Not only, did it produce $644 for the men and women in Haiti who work for Apparent Project, but matched the same for us as we prepare to save over the next two years for that beautiful day we will travel to Bulgaria! However, even more of a blessing than that was the new friendships that were created through selling these bracelets. I talked with people I haven’t seen in years, I met neighbors I didn’t know I had, I received encouragement from people following our journey, and I got to know other adopting families waiting on their Bulgarian sons and daughters as well. The way God used this ministry was more than I could have seen!
3. We SUBMITTED our DOSSIER!!!!! This felt like a huge milestone. With the exception of our USCIS clearances, we submitted all the other paperwork along with the second agency fee last week. This has showed God’s faithfulness in many ways, but especially financial. After a month and a half of wondering if Andy might receive a Christmas bonus this year, not only did it come, but I deposited it into our account immediately before I went next door to mail off the dossier and payment….it covered the whole thing. As we laid in bed a few nights later, Andy looked at me and said, “You know, Bethany, it is no coincidence that my Christmas bonus came the same day we submitted our agency payment.” Nope. Of course it wasn’t.
Our AGCI case worker called after she received it, and said it looked great…no revisions needed! She sent it to start being translated last Friday!
4. SNOW DAYS! You’ve just got to love the first days of snow each year. It is breath-taking how a snow-ladden earth makes your heart so warm! Our weekend was filled with snowballs, sledding, laughter, and hot chocolate.
5. Birthday Parties! I have a Christmas baby. Yep, that’s right. After contractions on and off through Christmas Eve, and then ramping up Christmas Day of 2009, I reluctantly went to the hospital and gave birth to a sweet Christmas boy 2 hours later. My little Abe blesses my heart beyond words. He is a mama’s boy through and through and has me wrapped around his little finger. He loves to snuggle me, requests that I read and rock him each night, and loves my cooking……does it get ANY better?
Well, having a Christmas birthday makes the party planning a little more difficult, but we have always celebrated the few weeks before so the two can feel separate for him. This year he wanted to have a super hero birthday, which is only appropriate seeing as he IS a superhero. So, while family all arrived to celebrate, so did the snow and sleet, but it didn’t stop Super Abe from having the time of his life as an “almost-four-year-old.”
6. Last, but certainly not least, on reasons to be thankful this month, is the celebration of Advent. The word Advent literally means “the coming,” and I have been trying to be more intentional of seeing the coming of Christ as the true gift this season. As a family we have celebrated advent by making family memories each day, and during school the kids and I have been doing a Jesse Tree. In my own devotion time, I have been going through Ann Voskamp’s, “The Greatest Gift” Devotion which starts in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and each day goes through the genealogy of Jesus, one person at a time, reminding me that the WHOLE Bible is the story of Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation, and that for some reason, He invites me to be a part of that story.
I don’t want to paint a false picture of a perfect little life we have going here. We have our share of messes and meltdowns, busy-ness and bad decisions, distractions and disappointments, but in the midst of it all, God shows Himself faithful to us. If I can keep my eyes on Him and His perfect peace, then I can believe His Word when it says:
“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”