Monday, May 11, 2009

Expecting...

I have so much to share and I don't even know where to start. As you may have noticed, I have been a bit cryptic about some of the things that are going on in our family and changes that are coming. I haven't shared with you yet because there has not been enough solid detail to share yet. As of today, some major changes have come and so I am going to tell you where we are as of right now.

A few weeks back in April I began to feel that we had two little girls that were going to be part of our family. My first thought was that this would be through the normal means of pregnancy and I was having a hard time with that for a lot of reasons, but because of all the work that God has been doing in my life, it was easy to say- Your will is all I want Lord.

Later I was called to prayer for "my girls" a couple of times. It was through this prayer time that I realized that we might actually be getting a call to adopt, not just be growing our family the good old fashioned way. One day on my way to MOPS I was overcome with emotion for them, praying for protection and speedy process. I did not know when they were to come and even if they had been born yet, all I knew was that God was placing them on my heart for protection and preserved innocence.

A couple of Sundays ago I got home from church and was going to check on Stellan before my quiet time, but really felt the Lord convict me and ask me to have time with Him first. He is to be most important and so I obeyed Him. As I was reading my Bible, I was directed to prayer more quickly than usual and so I stopped reading and prayed. My goal was just to be quiet before Him, to let Him speak and just listen. At one point I was guided to pray for "my girls" in a very strong way. I prayed that they would be brought to us quickly and that they would not have to be without their family any longer than absolutely necessary.

After this prayer time ended I went and checked on Stellan. I wanted to see how he was doing, so I went on right after my quiet time was done. This post was full of lots of things, but the one that was meant for me was about her 10 millionth hit and the lady who had proof of being the 10 millionth hitter...if that's what you would call her. She is very passionate about a ministry called Reece's Rainbow. It's a ministry that helps connect children with Down Syndrome from other countries with families in the US, UK, and Canada. After reading about all the things that happens with these children and the fact that at four they are transferred to an institution where 85% of them die within a year, my heart was called to action.

Isn't God's timing amazing? Isn't it awesome how He starts preparing you before He shows you where sometimes?!

The only girl sisters that I could find were in the "Other Angels" category. They were twins that are six years old and have other special needs dealing with seizures. We inquired about them, but were told that there was a family in the process of trying to adopt them. They were two of the few that did not have pictures on the site. I looked through the other children and there were so many that I felt for and wanted to help, but God gave me clear vision that two girls were our goal.

There were a couple that I really felt were extra special and wanted to pray for. Some were out of pity for the poor children and how hard life must be for them. There is one little girl that stood out to me from the first time that I saw her, but we didn't consider her because she didn't have a sister. Her name is Anastasia. I didn't feel strongly about her out of pity, but just because she touched my heart and made me smile. Every time I saw her I thought, I wish that she had a sister..."but I know that God will give me a love even stronger for the ones that He has for me."

Fast forward through some things and e-mails with an amazing lady at Reece's Rainbow to 4:3o this morning. I woke with a strong urge to pray. It was with panic and at first I wondered if there was seriously someone outside my home that was going to try and break in or something. I didn't know why I needed to pray, just knew that I needed to. This happens sometimes and I have learned that if I pray for guidance in my prayer the Lord will guide me to the area that needs prayer by giving peace as I work through praying down a "list" of sorts. I prayed for protection around our home. Peace. I prayed for the children that slept in their bedrooms. Peace. I prayed for Chalupa and things that have worried me about his health (he is in perfect health say his docs by the way, that's just my thing). Peace.

I arrived at "our girls". Urgency ensued. I stayed in prayer for them and my little spiritually in tune baby woke from his sleep and began to cry. I went in and nursed him and prayed with him. (That may not mean anything to any of you, but it was special for me. I love that prayer bond that we have. His sister is the one who is most likely to wake in the night, not him.) We prayed again for quick moving and that God would guide us to them- give faces and help us start the process. Finally by the time we were done with his feeding I had reached peace. I decided to go out and send an e-mail to Andrea, the lady that I have been e-mailing at RR. First I went on the site to see if there were any new kids that might fit for us. The first children that I saw were Tonya and Anastasia who are at the same orphanage and could be adopted together. When I saw her face I heard clearly, "Meet your child."


I thought for sure this meant that Tonya would be our second girl. After all, this would be the logical choice for our other girl and they were already asking that they be considered for pairing. I didn't feel that bond with Tonya, but I felt like that would come because the Lord would provide it. As I prayed throughout the day, I just kept feeling different about her, I didn't feel like she was my child. That paired with some concerns from Andrea about two older girls and Tonya having a harder time with adjustment because she is "very high functioning", I knew that she wasn't our other girl. I knew that Anastasia was though. I knew enough that when Andrea e-mailed me telling me that the two sisters that we had looked at before had fallen through and were an option (though she still thought that younger kids would be our best bet), I agreed with her right away. I told her that I was so sure about Ana that I would be ready to start with her, even if we didn't have the sister.

We decided to pray about it and still are, but as more prayer is lifted up, I am more and more sure. Things keep happening so quickly in such a way that I cannot deny the hand of God in this process one bit. There are still unsure moments about certain things, like who is the other girl and did I hear wrong about her? I still feel like there is another little girl that is supposed to be part of our family too.

I haven't mentioned Handsome in this at all. It's somewhat hard to explain his feelings because he is so quiet and is not very expressive about the whole thing. I will tell you this though, I know that he is on board for the ride. I found out that the day after I talked to him (late at night that Sunday that I first saw RR after a long night of closing at work) he had already told his boss about time off that he would possibly be needing. I thought that he was still deciding because he had said, "Okay." (I was hoping to get a response that was stronger than that...perhaps with some emotion and excitement, or maybe some concerns. Not just, "Okay.") There are other little things that tell me he is more "okay" with it than what his words express. Though I wish at times like these that he might be a little more clearly readable for goodness sake!

So, what now? We are going to be putting in our application for her and will have to put money toward a Promise Trust, and some other fees. At the very start, before we can use any help from grants and assistance programs, we have to pay for a few things that will range from $1225 - $3500. Let's be clear here, this is going to be expensive and we do not have cash floating around. But God has called and God will provide. We are certain of that.

After our home study is approved then we can apply for grants and use other things that come in. I am sure we will need to do some fund raising. Target is an awesome company to work for because of so many reasons, and adoption is not outside of that. They will reimburse $5,000 per child after the child is placed in our home. (Total cost is estimated at $24,000 for one child and it is not that much more to adopt the second in the same orphanage.) There are tax credits that we will hopefully qualify for. Reece's Rainbow is a ministry set up for the purpose of building funds to make this more possible, so there is help from there too.

Would you be in prayer for us? Would you please be in prayer for our little Anastasia? Andrea wrote in an e-mail today, "You take your time, there is no one else strongly considering her right now, although she does have a growing number of prayer warriors. One of the most important things is to be sure you are financially prepared for an adoption of this cost, that if you aren't able to to fund raise the whole amount, that you have a source for the funds. (Eastern European) adoptions typically take no more than 6-7 months, so you don't have 2 years to come up with the money. Nastya is facing imminent institutionalization, so we will do all we can to hold her at the baby house, but it's really up to God."


Please pray for Ana that she would be able to stay in the baby house until we can bring her home. She is already past her fourth birthday, so it could happen at any time. (The institution is NOT a good place for her to be.) Please pray for quick paperwork and also for financial provision. If you feel led to help us with this you can click here and donate to Anastasia specifically. We do not have a family account yet because we have not arrived at that point just yet. I will post a link to that when we get it up, hopefully by the end of the week.

If you do feel led to help us, my request is this- please give half of what you are willing to help with to another child or family on this site. I don't ever want to think only of our family and forget all these special children. I do not wish to be selfish and only trust God to provide for our family through our friends and people who "know" us. I know that times are tough and every little bit helps. Don't feel like splitting $5 for us and $5 for another child will be unneeded. All support is wonderful.

All that said, the most important thing you can do for us is truly prayer. Our Father has more than enough to provide for whatever costs we may encounter and our faith in that is strong. He might use some of you. He might use none of you. Listen to His voice and join us in prayer for all these little children. How special each of them are!

...You might even hear a call to bring your own special child home...

26 comments:

Grandma S (Sheryl) said...

You are always in my prayers, Miss Amberlyn; I have been praying for your 2 girls, and will continue to do so. I wish that I were independently wealthy so that I could help financially. All I can give is my love and support, which you have unconditionally. What a special story you have shared. What special children they are. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help.

Vicky said...

I am so excited to see all that God is going to do over the next few months. I can't wait to meet her, and I'm praying for her as well as you and Tom. I'm also praying for Curly and Smiles, that the Lord will prepare them for the coming changes. As you know, whatever you need, I'm here for you.

I love each of your kids so much! Thank you for sharing them with me :)

Lindsey said...

Amberlyn! I will be praying for you and Handsome, as you prepare through prayer and action for this! It's such a blessing to hear about the ways that you are listening to God's promptings, and obeying His leading!

Much love, and many blessings!!!

Lindsey

J. R. Miller said...

Wow! what an amazing story. I will be praying for you, Tom, and Ana!

Stefanie said...

What a SWEET little girl! I will be praying!!! Sorry I haven't responded to your e-mail yet, my mom and sister just went back to Arizona yesterday I've had a busy week, talk to you soon!!!

Suzie said...

Wow...What amazing things God is doing in your family, I will definitely keep you, your family and the girls in my prayers

NaeLee said...

Now that was worth the wait- what an incredible story! And this is just the beginning! I can't wait to see how God moves through all of this! How exciting! I will definitely be praying for you and your family.

Blessings,
Renae

P.S. Could Ana be any cuter!?!

Mom (Lisa) said...

Yeah! Another grandaughter! an A-dorable one at that.

Let's have a fund raising garage sale at my house this summer. Maybe several.

Chalupa and I will front the money you need to get started at R.R. Let the momentum begin to build!!!

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

What a sweet post- a story very similiar to our own calling to Tori!!! We will be praying for your Anastasia!

Trinity Mommy said...

I found your blog through Lydia and just wanted to tell you that my children and I had been praying for Anastasia and are THRILLED that she has a family to love her now!

Amelia said...

What a humbling calling! The youngest of my siblings, a five year old sister with Down's is also named Anastasia. She is a beautiful little blonde as well, so the pictures of YOUR sweet Anastasia are hitting a little tender spot in my heart. I will be joining you in prayer for this sweet addition and for God to prepare your hearts and your wallet. I know He will!

Please keep us updated. I can't wait to see how He will bring about the second of your two. :-)

Raising Olives said...

Amberlyn,

What a wonderful plan, what a beautiful girl. I will be praying that God will continue to guide your steps.

Blessings,
Kimberly

Best Fantasy and Science Fiction said...

Thank you everyone for the thoughts and prayers. I am definitely "ALL IN" for this one and know God has a great plan for Anastasia and our family. Really I cant wait. I may not get excited and hop up and down clapping with a smile from ear to ear, but I truly am excited to get the process underway and things moving!

Pray for our stress during this time. Theres a lot to do and a short time frame to ensure her safety and well-being.

Vicky said...

If you do decide to "hop up and down clapping with a smile from ear to ear", I'd really appreciate it if you waited for a time when I'm there. Because that's something I'd really like to see. :)

Laurel said...

So excited for you!

Couple thoughts ...

#1 Do you have permission to post her pic on your blog. Many adoption agencies do not allow pics to be published before the child is legally yours. Just don't want you to "get in trouble". :) But, she's adorable!

#2 I REALLY believed that the Lord had another little girl for us when we adopted, and we went through a couple of possible little girls. But, we brought home 3 children instead of 4. I am always open to another little one, just waiting on His timing and plan. Maybe ... the other little sister will be through the old fashioned way. :) I actually wondered if that would be how we would get our little girl ... but it has not come to pass.

#3 God can do AMAZING things for finances. So glad that you are stepping out and TRUSTING Him, as you walk this new journey.

I look forward to walking this adoption walk with you, as someone who has "been there done that". As you know, I am in Africa right now, helping another friend walk through the journey, that can get difficult at times.

Hugs!

Laurel

Jenilee said...

my husband is NOT the "jump up and down" kind of guy either. It is hard to tell when he is really in to something. :)

this is amazing and I can't wait to see more of this journey unfold! I'll be praying!!

Jenilee said...

I meant to go to bed early tonight but clicked on the RR link. I am heartbroken at the faces of those precious kids! I sat here showing Jeremy pictures. Wow. So much to think about. So much to be thankful for. So many babies to pray for!

Alicia said...

felicidades! anastacia is beautiful

Molly C said...

Welcome to the club! Reeces Rainbow is probably my favorite site in the entire WWW. I'm only 20 but I know that one day I will be adopting from that site. My little sister (14) and I were going over all the children on the site, I'm hoping that she will understand why I want to do this so badly. I started looking at RR about a year ago, and SO many of the kids I've prayed for have found families. It's a miraculous journey and I welcome you to it. Ana has always caught my eye, she's so freaking cute.

Praying for you!

soontobemomof9 said...

What a great post! And what a beautiful little girl! I am so excited to see her with a family, can't wait to see her in your arms!

Anonymous said...

Your family is an answer to my 9 month prayer! Oh how I have waited for the day that Anastasia would find her forever family! I can not even find the words to how my heart is lifted up with joy and thankfulness for your family. Our family prayed, fasted, and begged Heavenly Father to find a way to bring Anastasia here. Like you she captured my heart and my every thought and dream was for her. Yet no matter how hard I prayed I knew it was not time to bring another child into our home. Andrea promised me she would have a family by Oct., Dec., Jan., March... I will be forever thankful that you saved my little Anastasia. My good thoughts, prayers, and wishes will be with you during this process and forever!
Kari Teague
teaguetribe@blogspot.com (I haven't kept it up for a long while... but I will soon!)

Kerry Shealy said...

Wow! I am amazed at how God brought you to the RR website and then to Ana. I know Tami must be so excited (if she knows how it happened) that God used her blog for His glory. Ana is beautiful!
Congratulations!
Kerr (RR)

gillian said...

Amberlyn, I'm gillian, we were on chat at RR together Monday night.

I just love this post. So much of your beginning is similar to mine and I think the Lord for his clar pointing in our lives.

Ana is beautiful! Please let me know if I can do anything to help and support you in this.

God bless!

http://expectingevangeline.blogspot.com/

Rosalie said...

Hi there. We just saw from the Reece's Rainbow website that you are adopting Anastasia. My son and I have been praying that she and Tonya will get forever families. We discovered the girls on the RR site last fall and my son commented immediately that Anastasia "looks exactly like Whitney". Our Whitney's birthdate is March 3, 2005 and they look sooo much alike that it seems like they are twins!! Wonderful to read about your adoption on your blog and look forward to following it. You can take a look at our Whitney on www.whitneyandmore.blogspot.com she too has Ds. We have been in process of adopting from Haiti since Oct. 2006 so were not able to consider adopting Anastasia & Tonya at this time. We are so happy for you and your family and most especially for Anastasia (Ana) !

Blessings,
Rosalie & son, Mathew

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

Amberlyn,
We met in the chat room last week! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ana and am SO excited you are adopting her!!!! We look forward to traveling the journey with you!
Renee
(adopting Kellsey)
http://www.myspecialks.com
http://www.aspecialkadoption.blogspot.com

Leslie said...

I'm in tears. Someone just shared your blog with me as I was hoping to find Anastasia's family. We were helping to raise money for both Anastasia and Tonya.

Unlike you, Tonya is the little girl I have fallen in love with. I pray for her so often to find a family to bring her home and while I would love for it to be our family, I just want someone to love her.

I'm thrilled to know you will be going to bring your beautiful daughter home. God bless you on your journey.

Blessings
Leslie