Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A big toothless grin

Some would gather money along the path of life
Some would gather roses and rest from worldly strife
But I would gather children from among the thorns of sin
I would seek a little child with a big and toothless grin.
For money cannot enter in the land of endless day
And roses that are gathered soon wilt along the way
But oh, the laughing children as I cross the sunset sea
As the gates swing wide to heaven
I can take them in with me.

Author unknown

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where Are Your Donations Going?

The Lenths

One of our biggest fears as we started on this adoption journey was the money it would take to bring our little girl home. But when you know God is leading, what else is there to do but follow? So we took a leap of Faith and we continue to pray each day that God will supply the finances to make it happen.

We have had big donations and small donations - each one is such a blessing and vitally important to helping us. Every donation that comes in humbles and amazes us as we watch God provide through His faithful Body. Thank you so much for giving what you can.

If you've never adopted or had someone close to you that has adopted, you might wonder what all the money is needed for. To give you an idea of the financial breakdown of our adoption, it is easiest to break it down into a few different parts:

Part 1 - Agency fees ~~ $3,400
  • These are the fees that CCAI , our adoption agency, asks for. We will be making the first big payment very soon with continued help. CCAI will be helping with our dossier, translations, communications, and other paperwork throughout this journey.

Part 2 - Our dossier and Nephtali's dossier ~~ $1200
  • This will take 3-4 months for us and the lawyer in Haiti to gather due to waiting on various government agencies. Once both dossiers are complete they will be submitted to the Haitian government and the waiting begins for them to be processed through several different Haitian government departments.

Part 3 - Haitian lawyer and Orphanage fees ~~ $5000
  • This fee will cover the work of the lawyer in Haiti, the processing of our paperwork, and provide for our daughter while she is living at the Life Line orphanage waiting to come home.

Part 4 - Nephtali's Visa, physical and other testing ~~ $500 to $1500

Part 5 - Travel ~~ $3300-$5000
  • Trip 1 ~~ $1500 to $2500 range
  • Trip 2 ~~ $1800 to $2500 range

We will have to travel twice to Haiti for the adoption. The first trip is to file paperwork. The agency usually sets up this first trip and you travel with a CCAI group. This is very helpful when you are entering a country you are not familiar with. For us this is different, since my husband goes down every January to work at the orphanage and has had a lot of experience with the culture, communities, and people. We are hoping to save cut some costs by planning our own travel.

The second trip will be to bring our daughter home!!

The costs of the trips vary because airline prices change so quickly and we are not sure when in the year we will need to plan either trip.

There are also other things that might or might not have to be done. Depending on the speed of the Haitian government, some forms are likely to expire and need to be updated. There is possible medical testing for Nephtali that may be needed. And as always, in life, there is the unexpected!

It is our hearts' desire and prayer that any money raised, beyond what we need to bring Nephtali home, be used to help other families adopting one of the precious 80 children longing for a mom and a dad and to help feed those 80 little tummies that some days growl with hunger.

If you feel moved to, we would love your help in reaching these goals. If you have any questions about the process or our journey please contact us. We will be more then willing to answer them.

We are all called to be good stewards of God's money. And if we can help you do that by answering your questions we would be more than happy to do so.

In His precious name.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

An oak tree

I know its a little silly, but as I watched the giant full oak tree next door cut down to a skeleton and nest flung about, I couldn't help but feel so sad for the birds and the squirrels that call that tree home. Home is precious no matter who you are.
This week in Japan, still so many in Haiti, foreclosures here in the US, and that beautiful majestic oak. Lord, please bring hope to those without a home. May a safe place they can call their own be found soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Garden

The first day of spring is only 12 days away. Spring, beautiful spring! Warmer sunny weather, plants waking up from their long slumber, birds singing their sweet songs , seeds sprouting , newborn critters. But it's not magic. Its not all going to just "happen" on March 20th. It's a slow process that happens day by day. Sometimes that change is so slow we can't really see it happen until it's happened. But we know it will. God has promised us these changes. We can be assured that spring will come.

As spring fever hits our home and the kids minds are filled with visions of sunny days, mud puddles, parks, gardening, riding bikes and so much more, I have felt a hole in my heart grow a little bigger.

You see, in my heart is a beautiful garden and when I look at it, I can't help but smile.

I see my husband, the sturdy Oak, in the back of the garden. His branches stretched out providing shelter, food and comfort and growing a little closer to God each year.

I see a young sapling that has sprung from the oak. His trunk is still a little green and sometimes bends with the gust of a strong wind but his roots are strong and and some day he will grow and bare fruit.

I see a tall sunflower with a bright and shining face turned toward the heavens filled with lots of little seeds getting ready to provide for others' needs and grow other flowers for God's use and Glory.

I see a happy daisy that brings a smile to my face. There is always the sound of giggles coming from her that brings joy to my heart, even on the hardest of days.

Next, there is the morning glory who wraps her self around your heart. She starts each day opening herself to God's light and taking in His nourishment so she can grow stronger and spread her vines further. Closer to the ground you will see a Lamb's ear plant. Such a strong little plant, but whose leaves are so inviting and soft you can't help but bend down to touch them.

Keep looking; we aren't done! Do you see it? It's that hole I was talking about. Right there in the garden is a hole in the dirt. It was dug just the right size and depth waiting for something. God has a little rose bush with dark silky petals that will fit perfectly in that hole. Her name is Nephtali.

If you close your eyes you can see her there in the garden with the rest. What a beautiful picture! Everyone growing together at the hands of our heavenly Father, our gardener.

Sometimes I wish I could keep my eyes closed. But I can't. I have to open them . I have to face seeing that hole and the sadness it brings to me some days. But God understands and has given me His word

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Because of His Word I know that hole is a good thing. And though I can feel that it has become a little bigger as another season comes and I still wait for my daughter, I know I can trust God.

I can stop every so often and close my eyes and see what can not be seen... my garden... complete. My faith is in Him. He is the one caring for His plants, providing for their needs, and smiling at what a beautiful garden He is creating.

So as spring comes and I await all the changes, I will wait with His Word in my heart and be sure of the work He is doing in our garden.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Words

Do you remember those first words? When you sweet little one spouted out the most incredible thing ever said by a baby. Did you squealed with delight, pick them up and danced around the room, called your spouse, fumbled for the video camera, called grandparents, post on the internet, write it in their baby book, and celebrated the rest of the night? Do you remember the joy that came bubbling up from your heart? How your smile burst on your face? Do you remember how amazing it was? That little person you love so much was able to express in words that they loved you also with a simple gift of "ma-ma"/ "da-da".

These tender milestones help make the sleepless nights, gassy tummies, feedings round the clock, piles of stinky diapers, saggy body, and more all worth it. All those things that you wish could not be part of the journey of having a child melts away in that moment. And nothing else matters but the gift of the moment.

Most of you know we have 5 children. I have been blessed 5 times in hearing those precious first words. But I was also blessed a 6th time. It didn't come with diapers, gas, or stretch marks . But it did come with sleepless nights, worries, giving up privacy, and so many other bumps in the road that make you trip and stumble and will continue to do so. But in those moments it all melted away. And my face burst with a smile. Joy was jumping up from my heart and my eyes in the form of tiny tears, and it was amazing! They may not have been her first words, and I probably wouldn't have understood them as sweet as I am sure they were. They were a treasure for another woman's heart at a time in life when things were different. But they were our first words.

I got to talk on the phone and video chat with my daughter for the first time this past January. And this is Nephtali saying those words I was so blessed to hear and can't wait to hear all the time.