Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Faith

Posted by Angie at 7:16 AM 0 comments
For all those waiting...waiting for anything...have faith.

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Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21-22

Much love,
a waiting Future Mama

Monday, February 27, 2012

Little bit of this, little bit of that...

Posted by Angie at 7:14 AM 0 comments
I don't quite have one inspiring thought today, so you're in store for a mishmash post...

1.  THANK YOU for all the encouraging words and congratulations on this post!  We are thrilled to have completed the home study and be moving forward.

2.  You may have heard of the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Taiwan yesterday.  Luckily, His Hands, our orphanage, was not seriously affected.  In their words: "Yes the babies rocked and rolled this morning as mother earth did her thing, not to worry everyone is fine."  Love their sense of humor to soothe Future Mama worries!

3.  Future Papa and I shared our perspective "as a young adopting couple" at an adoption panel Saturday, looking like this again.  I may or may not have talked so much that Future Papa didn't get a word in...whoops!  ;-)  We loved meeting so many people in our community who are adopting, considering adoption, have adopted, and have been touched by adoption.  We even met a few blog readers...HI!!!!

4. The situation His Hands is in has been weighing heavily on our hearts and minds lately.  Please take a moment to read and considering sharing.  I still want to write my own post on this, but do not have the words just yet...

5. And because no post should be without a picture, take a look at this fun baby announcement!
{from here}
Whew, Monday already?!  Hope your week starts off with a smile! 

Much love,
Future Mama

Friday, February 24, 2012

Approved.

Posted by Angie at 7:01 AM 9 comments
"[Future Papa and Future Mama] have prepared themselves well for their adoption journey.  They have read suggested material as well as additional literature on international adoption of children.  They have familiarized themselves with the culture and traditions of the Taiwan.  [Future Papa and Future Mama] have a deep faith, strong family values, and mutual goals.  Their relationship can be described as loving and secure.  Their references could not say enough about how well [Future Papa and Future Mama] interact with children through volunteering at their church.  Friends and family form a supportive network which will welcome and nurture an adopted child from the Taiwan into this home.  This adoptive family meets all the requirements to adopt from the Taiwan.  [Future Papa and Future Mama] are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy and able to parent a child at this time. It is with great pleasure that [our amazing home study agency] recommends and approves [Future Papa and Future Mama] for the adoption of one male or female child, 0-24 months in age, from the country of Taiwan."

Those, my friends, are words that bring me to tears.  The words above are the final words of our home study report, a ten page long document that is the result of four interviews with our social worker, one home visit, four letters of recommendation, and countless other forms.   

WE ARE APPROVED! 

This week, our social worker sent us this wonderful report.  Then it was reviewed by me, Future Papa, His Hands (our adoption agency), and our social worker's supervisor.   Today, our social worker puts the final and official copies in the mail to send to us.

Which means...

...we are another step closer...

...to our precious future child!

So first, we took a minute to do this...
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And now we are back to paperwork!!  What now, you may be wondering.  Well, next we send one of the copies of our home study to the United States Central Immigrations Services Department (USCIS), along with some other forms, to complete the I-600A process.  The I-600A is the "Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition."  The purpose is to "generally speed up the part of the processing relating to the qualifications of the prospective adoptive parent petitioner." Essentially, it is something that we need to become pre-approved to adopt internationally in both the United States' and Taiwan's eyes.  It's a multistage process, but this is the first step.

Thank you to all who have helped us through this leg of the process, with prayers, letters of recommendation, and so much more.  Now, I'm off to prepare the form for the I-600A...a nice break from constantly wondering when we will be getting our referral!

Happy Friday,
Future Mama

New to the blog and wondering what a home study is like?  Well, we aren't experts, but here are all the links to our experiences...we chatted about everything from "what to wear when meeting the social worker" to "how much cleaning to do for the home visit"  Welcome to our over-sharing ;-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning Chinese

Posted by Angie at 7:11 AM 6 comments
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Future Papa and I would love to learn to speak Chinese.  At the very least, we need to have some phrases and sentences memorized before we travel!  After an afternoon of research, we found this wonderful website for learning languages.

FSI (Foreign Service Institute) language courses are all free and comprehensive, with both audio files and workbook pages.  There are dozens of languages on there, if you are interested!  For us, this seems like a great place to start.

And we are excited to get started!  Something to keep us busy as we wait on the referral.  Will it be today?  Tomorrow?  Next week?  EEEEEK!

Anyone else out there have success learning another language?  Any tips?  I took years of Spanish as an undergrad and have very little to show from it, unfortunately...

Much love,
Future Mama

Monday, February 20, 2012

What do you think?

Posted by Angie at 7:03 AM 9 comments
For Christmas, my mom went conservative.


Grey and gender neutral!

For Valentine's Day, she officially placed her bet. 

She thinks we are going to receive a referral for a little girl!!!

(but of course would be thrilled with a little boy too)

What do you think?  What will our referral be?

Much love,
Future Mama

Friday, February 17, 2012

Love, love, love...

Posted by Angie at 7:18 AM 0 comments
Sometimes, my breath is still taken away when I see that from tragedy, from heartbreak, and from broken roads, love can blossom.  Love does blossom.  This adoption process, while not always easy, is a tremendous reminder of love.

{Brooke's new baby girl, via adoption}
The love of my husband, as he kisses my forehead before heading to the police station to request our 911 call records for a second time.  The love of my friend, who mailed and then e-mailed a letter of recommendation to our social worker, filled with such beautiful words about us that I tear up just thinking about them.  The love of my mom, who will be visiting someone she has never met for me, just to share a smile and something pink.

The love of His Hands, who posts pictures that brighten my day and allow me to dream.
{from His Hands page...click on it the image to make it bigger}

The love involved in my own adoption.
{available for purchase here}
And soon, someday soon, we will have a new little face to love on.  But until then, there is plenty to love, right here.  

Much love,
Future Mama

P.S.  Want to spread a little love?  Be a miracle to this ministry, because every bit counts!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My sentimental Valentine's Day gift

Posted by Angie at 7:02 AM 5 comments
I hope everyone had a special Valentine's Day yesterday!  As his gift for me, Future Papa cleaned the house this past weekend and is cooking ALL the meals this week!  He even made my lunches (pasta and broccoli with Parmesan cheese).  YUM!  What a man.

For my gift, I decided to make something.  Remember the Jesse tree I made?  Well, I had purchased an extra box of ornaments, in case I needed them.  I didn't need them for the tree, but I became inspired to make something else with them!  Each ornament is filled with something sentimental from our wedding day.  Shall we take a walk down memory lane?

I filled the first ornament with beads from my wedding dress.

The second ornament contains some of my "something old," which is beads from my Great Grandmother's wedding dress.  I had planned to wear them as an anklet, but when we attempted to slip it over my ankle just hours before the wedding, it broke!  So instead, my maid of honor tied them to my bouquet to my "something borrowed" (Future Papa's baby bible).

The third ornament contained fabric petals that our flower girl scattered on the aisle.  Or, rather, was supposed to drop down the aisle.  She was so focused on getting to her spot at the front of the church that she only dropped one...accidentally!  Ha!  She was the cutest little thing.

Alright, ornament number four!  I filled this ornaments with little dazzlers that we used in our reception as decoration.  Instead of flower centerpieces on each table, we had little cakes in our wedding colors, each with a different design!  We had an afternoon wedding.

For the fifth ornament, I reached just past our May wedding day to our first married summer, when we worked at a wilderness summer camp out west.  Let me tell you, it was an adventure!  Camping, hiking, backpacking, sleeping under the stars every night.  Also...no indoor plumping, rare showers, and, for me, a constant sunburn.  Not many newlyweds choose to spend their first summer taking care of kids, but we loved it!  It was an adventurous summer that we will never forget.  I'll have to tell you more about it later.  But for this post, for the ornament, I put a piece of a love note Future Papa wrote me while we were there.

 The last ornament contains a piece of fabric that is an inside joke between Future Papa and I.  It's an embarrassing story.  And that's all I'm gonna tell you!  ;-)

I put the 6 ornaments back in the container they came in and wrapped them up for Future Papa.  

I love that every Christmas, we will have these happy memories to hang on the tree.  Before, all these objects sat in a box.  Now, we can enjoy them every year!  What did Future Papa think?  He liked them!  I don't think he was quite as in love with them as I am, but it definitely was a positive reaction.

This was a fun, easy little project!  And it is easy to tweak!  You could fill ornaments with mementos from family vacations, pictures, or childhood memories.  Ahhh, memory lane.  Hope you all had a day filled with love yesterday!

Much love,
Future Mama

P.S.  His Hands, our orphanage, is waiting on a miracle!  Read about it in this newsletter and please re-post it, if you feel led.  And here is a direct link to donate to His Hands.

Monday, February 13, 2012

November Date (and a bit more)

Posted by Angie at 7:11 AM 2 comments
Adoption involves a lot of waiting!  To help pass the time, I planned 12 dates for my husband and I.  Some are goofy, some are sweet, all are inexpensive (many are free).  So far we have enjoyed our adventures, in our August date, September date, October date, December date, and January Date!  November's date still needed to happen...and finally did!

November was an incredibly busy month for us.  Unfortunately, our date for that month got lost in the hustle and bustle.  Better late than never, though!  This was the date card I created for November.
Our dollar theater (actually a $2 theater) was playing The Muppets on Friday night.  Future Papa's older brother said this new version was hilarious, so we decided to give it a try.  We enjoyed it!  Sometimes there is nothing more fun then sitting in a theater and listening to kids laugh their heads off.  They have no inhibitions--their laughs are so loud--and it makes everything so much more hilarious!

Afterwards, we went to Tar*get and wandered through the baby section.  After this news and this picture, what can I say, I have babies on the mind!  Another one of the mothers just updated her blog about their referral...meet their new little boy.
You can see a lot more pictures of him on their announcement post!
And now we really wait, remembering that faith in God means having faith in His timing.  I did the math, and there is a slim possibility that if we get a referral in the next month, that we could travel this summer.  That, my friends, would be a HUGE blessing, since I work in a university that runs on a semester system.  Future Papa could return to work and I would have zero obligations (during the semester I would get some maternity leave, but would still have some obligations to keep up with via e-mail, meetings, etc).  A friend of mine recently posted this verse on her face*book page:

Be brave. Be strong.  Don't give up.  Expect God to come through soon. Psalm 31:24

We wait in hope and trust.  But I remind myself that my definition of "soon" and God's might not be the same.  His plans will be better than mine.

Much love,
Future Mama

P.S.  His Hands has a HUGE need to be met.  I'll be blogging about it at some point, but this post says it so well that I can't think of what else I would add right now.  Read the post or this newsletter from His Hands and re-post it, if you feel led.  Here is a direct link to donate to His Hands.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Full House!

Posted by Angie at 9:15 AM 2 comments
All the current babies at His Hands.

I mean, really, how am I supposed to focus on anything else with so much adorableness?! I hope they aren't too busy to keep looking for us!

And here's another picture they posted recently.

So much cuteness.

Happy Saturday!

Much love,
Future Mama

{Pictures from His Hands facebook wall}

Friday, February 10, 2012

SOON!

Posted by Angie at 7:13 AM 4 comments
What a week.

Yesterday, THREE referrals went out to His Hands families.  THREE!

For those of you keeping score at home, that means we are getting closer.

Scratch that.  That means we are getting CLOSE!

VERY CLOSE!  

To a referral!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To seeing our child's face for the first time.  To mailing our paperwork to Taiwan.  To planning our trip overseas.  To holding him or her in 4-6 months after accepting the referral.  AHHHHHH!

Now, there isn't a science to this.  We knew we were getting "close" when His Hands sent that e-mail telling us to get all our adoption paperwork in order.  But we also knew of families who had been waiting longer than us for a referral.  Well, now three of those families are off the list!  All at once!  Which means we are close to the top.  Very close to the top.

What does soon mean?  Does it mean six more months of waiting?  Does it mean three months?  Does it mean one month?!?!  We don't know.  And wondering/worrying/over-analyzing that is not going to change anything.  (Someone might need to remind me of this post from time to time).

But OH MY GOODNESS Y'ALL!  We are close.  SO CLOSE!  Close to one of these...

Meet Lilly Wynn, one of the His Hands babies who was just referred to Emily and her husband.  Picture is from their blog!
My heart is just about to burst this week.  Through it all, I pray for the birth mothers, these brave women who make the most difficult decision of all.  Their decisions transform adopting women into mothers and they should never be forgotten in the excitement.  And for the adoptive families, I pray for their paperwork, for efficiency, and for the ache that comes as they wait...and wait...and wait...to finally hold the child whose picture they have stared at for hours!  Because soon...one day soon...that will be US!

Much love,
Future Mama

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A BEAUTIFUL Story

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 7 comments
So, it's no secret that I love my "Friend for Adoption" partner Brooke.

 
This old post of mine describes how God crossed our paths (via blogging) and this one is about our meeting in real life!  Well, I am a puddle of tears telling you that SHE GOT HER REFERRAL!

God led Brooke and her husband on such a beautiful journey!  A couple of weeks ago, Broke and I talked about a situation in Florida with a pregnant woman in need of an adoptive family, and she asked me to pray over it.  So I did, because that is what we do, we pray for one another.  Last week, I received a text from Brooke informing me that this mother was having pregnancy complications.  The baby girl was born, months early.  So I prayed some more.  And Brooke prayed too, while waiting to see if this was to be HER little girl.  And we prayed some more, more, and more.  This post she wrote, titled The moments that will live forever, is perhaps one of the most moving pieces I have ever read.  The next one, I didn't buy the milk, is just as powerful.  She is such an inspiration, a story of faith, a story of stepping out in fear, a story of trust.  Today, she is driving to Florida.  Brooke and her husband are about to become parents!!

If that's not enough, let me tell you about last night.  Last night, as they drove, Brooke and I spoke on the phone, and I found out just where in Florida she was heading.  She was heading to my hometown.  No joke.  The town I grew up in, until we moved to the "real" South my sophomore year of high school.  Brooke and her husband were driving to the town where I learned how to drive.  Where I went on my first date.  Where my mother still lives.  Where I visited over Christmas.  Where I walked along the beach just two months ago. 

As I drove through that town, as I walked on that beach, as I went out to eat just two months ago while visiting...in that same town, there was a woman.  I probably didn't see her as we whirled around town.  What would be the odds of that, it's a decent sized town, right?!  But maybe, maybe I did.  This woman, the woman who gave birth to Brooke's daughter, was also walking around, pregnant in the same town.  Wow.  As if God couldn't give us more of a sign that Brooke was meant to be in my life.  

And now, Brooke's story, her story of motherhood, begins today....

...when for the very first time...

...a very tiny baby will be placed in her arms...

...and will be her daughter.

Much love,
Future Mama

Monday, February 6, 2012

Home Study Visit and First Baby-proofing Purchase

Posted by Angie at 7:03 AM 4 comments
Whew!  We had our last home study visit (the in-home one) on Sunday and we survived!  Saturday we cleaned all day, and by the time Future Papa was vacuuming under the couch cushions and I was polishing the top of the salt shaker, I figured we were ready.  As we were folding the last load of laundry Sunday afternoon, Future Papa looked out the window...and yelped "She's here!"

30 minutes early!

After 2 minutes of panic (I took all the laundry and threw it into the closet, ran down the stairs while applying lip gloss, and headed to the kitchen to get a treat ready for the dog), we let her in.  Dasher (the dog) unhappily "sit and stay"-ed in the kitchen until I heard the front door shut, with the social worker inside, before I verbally released him to greet her.  She was so sweet (we LOVE our social worker) as he frantically jumped all around her feet.  She excused herself to use the restroom, giving us time to get out a nice new bone for the dog and settle ourselves at the kitchen table.

We went over some paperwork, talked about the next steps, and then took her on a tour of the house.  Everyone always says that social workers really don't check every nook and cranny for cleanliness...and it's true!  Who would have guessed?!  She didn't analyze the back porch that I spent an hour sweeping, she didn't look at my freshly organized pantry, nor did she discover (unless she is reading this now!) that there was clean laundry heap hidden in our closet.

After our spin about the house, we chatted a bit more (about football, halftime shows, and the Superbowl party we were throwing that night, actually) and she was on her way!  Not before complimenting us on what a wonderful dog we have, who sat quietly by our feet most of the visit.  And let me tell y'all--that was an answered prayer!  Our dog is typically an energetic dog, well-behaved unless we have guests over, at which time he throws all his manners out the door.  We had really been working on him to mind us with distractions around, and whew, this was just the encouragement we needed to keep it up!

Oh, and as far as baking goes, I decided to make blueberry muffins.  They made the house smell delicious!  Of course, because she got here early, they were still doughy and cooking in the oven most of the visit.  We offered her one for her drive back home, but she had already eaten (plus, in all honestly, they were probably still piping hot).

So now, we have a PERFECTLY clean house and an almost complete home study.  WOOO HOOO!  Thank you all for the prayers and encouragement through this leg of the process.  We have one more form to turn in and are waiting on a couple of friends and two former employers to mail in their letters of recommendation (the former employers are summer camp directors...our state requires letters from all jobs involving children).  From there, she will write the report, we will read a draft, His Hands will read a draft, and then we approve a final copy.   

In related news, after enjoying our January date last month, Future Papa and I made our first baby-proofing purchase!  Our fireplace is officially prepared for a toddler who may bump their head on it.  My brother has a small scar on his forehead from where he cut his head on a fireplace as a child, so we knew this was one thing we needed to get done!

Getting ready to put on the bumpers






Whew. What a weekend.  Hope you all had nice ones!

Much love,
Future Mama

Friday, February 3, 2012

One more visit

Posted by Angie at 10:26 AM 3 comments
Just swinging in to say that Sunday is the day for our last home study visit, the in home visit, and I'm not perfect yet!  Have you seen that article?  It's hilarious.  Here's how it starts:

The social worker is due in a few hours. We're basically ready. I mean, we've cleaned this house like nobody's business. And we've put rock salt all over the driveway so she won't slip. I was going to make applesauce so the house would have the warm, welcoming smell of cinnamon. But now I'm thinking I should bake bread instead. Or how about a fire in the fireplace? The smell of a fire definitely says: Home.

But what is the smell of Parent? More specifically, what is the smell of Good Parent Material? The social worker is coming to consider us. She's coming to our house today to do a 'home study,' step one in the adoption procedure... 


Here is the rest of the article.  It's a wonderful read.  And it sums up my fluttering emotions.  Except instead of ice, we have a hyper dog that I just know is going to jump on her, and instead of applesauce, we are baking cookies.  Yikes!

Much love,
Future Mama

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Swap

Posted by Angie at 7:02 AM 0 comments
Friends for Adoption is a "buddy system" that links adopting families together so that they can encourage each other through the twists and turns of the process.  Each month, you and your Friend send and receive encouragements (with a $15.00 limit) in the mail.  This post is about my gift to Brooke.  Even though my husband and I are saving up for our own adoption, we believe we should support others financially, with prayer, and with encouragement as we are able.  Find out more about Friends for Adoption, including how to sign up, here.  

I see things for Brooke everywhere.  And I mean everywhere!  It's a good thing we have a price limit for our swaps, or I would be in some real trouble.  I have a habit of picking up little things for her here and there.  Last month, I realized it was time to finally send some of them to Brooke!  So, this month was a bit of a mishmash of comfort.  Here's what her package contained.


A frame for when she gets a referral so she can stare at her beautiful daughter all day long, two cute ornaments (totally on sale after Christmas, I'll admit, but I couldn't resist), and a couple of super soft socks.  Brooke is the queen of giving soft socks, so I thought it was time for her to receive for a change.  Remember the ones she got me back in October?  Here they are, making an appearance way past season ;-)


Now, I can't even tell you how many compliments I have gotten on the surprise Brooke sent me this month!  Want to see what it is?  Hop on over to her blog to see what it is!

Also, this post is a reminder to all of you involved in Friends for Adoption...it's now February!  Which means you have 2 weeks to get your encouraging gift/letter/package of smiles ($15 or less) in the mail to your Friend!

Much love,
Future Mama

Want to catch up on our past swaps?  Need some gift ideas?  Here's the July's swap, August swap, September swap, October Swap,  November Swap, and December Swap!
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