Ready for the next set of letters?

LOA!!! This is what we've been waiting for for SO MANY MONTHS!! All of that paperwork, meetings, notaries (and more notaries...and more notaries...)... Here's our Letter of Acceptance!!!

I kind of feel like I'm back in the second grade, passing a note: Will you be my friend? Check YES or NO. Except this time, it's from a whole other country: Will you be a parent to this child? Check YES or NO.


I mean, really...who in their right mind would do ALL OF THIS WORK, just to be like, "Ummm, well I was thinking about it, and....I'm just going to not..."

Anyhow, this little paper, along with another huge stack of papers (shock...) are being sent out tomorrow! This original paper is going back to our agency to send back to China, a copy of this paper with all of the extras is going to get our final immigration approval for Z, and our passports will be sent off for travel visas!!


Be Still My Heart...

You guys, our God is A-MAZ-ING. Seriously awe inspiring.

There was a bit of chatter of LOA's being issued today on some adoptive parent forums, soooooo...because my curious mind couldn't contain itself, I shot off another e-mail to our agency to check our dossier status.


{Side note: I'm sure that I'm in the norm of adoptive parents. I cannot be the only one who bugs them for this information. Thank you, Holt staff (that will most likely never read this), for putting up with our mothering-hormone-induced-obessiveness}

And be still my heart, there had been MORE progress!! Our dossier status is "seeking confirmation", which means that we should expect our LOA (letter of acceptance) in about a week!! ONE WEEK!!!! This is China's official approval for us to adopt Z. Seriously.

Let the paperwork begin! AGAIN! I'm SO ready for it!!!

p.s.- Remember my friend Gina? Her dossier shows the SAME progress!! We're sticking together like glue!!!


Look Out Now...

Look out now...we have some


When a dossier gets logged in China's system, it's supposed to be updated as it goes through each step of the process. With everything going as it should, the adoption agency can theoretically log into the Chinese system and see the progress of a dossier. We were warned when our papers were logged in that this system is sometimes used correctly, and sometimes forgotten about until the dossier has final approval.
Several people with similar timelines as ours had notifications that their dossiers were making progress through the system, and even though I'd been warned...a mama's heart needed to inquire!!!
I e-mailed our agency last night telling them I was aware of the lack of correct use of the system, but asking if they would pretty please check our file and see where it stood. Guess what?!? We're OOT!!!!!! That's out of translation, people!! That means that our huge stack of papers
have been in the hands of the Chinese government for the last 30 days being translated. These papers are now ready for the matching department to review our information, verifying that we qualify for adoption in China, and verifying that our match with Z fits what our social worker approved us to adopt. Once they see that all of our t's are crossed and i's dotted, they'll send us our LOA, letter of approval. That LOA is the beginning of the end!!! We'll be able to better guess our travel dates once this is issued, as well as start the snowball of final paperwork/visas/immigration approvals/private Facebook group to share tons of specifics!

This is it, folks! We're almost there!!!

I'm adding a new prayer request to the list today! I'm sending off {yet another} grant application tomorrow. I'll admit, it gets disheartening to send...send...send...with no results, but yet I continue to send! It looks like we'll be facing quite a deficit at the end of this, which is a situation we knew was a possibility. Quite frankly, I don't care if I'm in debt for the rest of my life at this point. Z is worth every penny. Every. single. one.

Until next time...COME ON, LOA!!!!!


And the waiting continues

Seeming as it's almost tomorrow, I'm going to officially say that we are on DAY 30 of our LOA wait! THIRTY!!! 3-0! Whew, it's been the longest, quickest 30 days of my life. Ha!
I feel like I've been doing pretty well with this last-unknown-duration wait. Plenty of things have been occupying our time, like getting a Kindergartener and a First grader ready for school (eek!!!), building a new princess bed for Oakley's new bedroom, and getting the room for the boys ready. None of that is completely finished, which means I should have plenty of 'stuff' to keep me busy for the next few weeks of wait.
There have been a few rough days, where it feels like there is this hole in my mama-heart just waiting for our little guy to fill. So many emotions...nerves, excitement, worry, love, fear, joy... kind of like the movie Inside Out, with ALL of the emotions going nuts at the drivers seat AT. THE. SAME. TIME.
With all of that being said, I am sincerely trying to live each day, experience each day the Lord has blessed me with, and enjoy every minute of this process. I know it's true that the next three months will go by in the blink of an eye, and before you know it, we'll be a united family of five.

Prayer Requests:
-As always, Z. His preparation, transition, and knowledge of his new family and new life
-Our LOA. This is the Letter of Acceptance from the Chinese government. We'd love to have this by mid-August, which would let us travel in November. After we get our LOA, we'll begin the private Facebook page where we'll be able to share much more information about Z.
-My friend, Gina. We'd love to travel together! As selfish as it is, I want our paperwork to stick together like glue so we can finish this great process together.
-Finances - the need hasn't changed, but the date has gotten closer. HE is always in control, and I'm still trusting that!

Thank you for going down this road with our family!!


An amazing heartbreak

Folks, last night I witnessed an amazing, heart wrenching, tear-jerking, jealousy invoking experience.

You see, this adoption world that I find myself in is so much more than I thought it would be. There are several dozens of other mamas out there going through the same parts of the process that we are, and thanks to social media, we have a place to connect, share, cry, rejoice, and bond on such a special level. Don't get me wrong, I call my Mama with every piece of new news there is. She gets excited with me, frustrated along side me, and she might get just as emotional as I get at times, but there's nothing like going along side another person who's walking in the same pair of shoes you are...which leads me to last night.

A friend named Stephanie, who happens to work at the same hospital I do, has also been going through this adoption process. Through a mutual friend and social media, she's graciously become one of my greatest sounding boards, giving me direction, advice, and words of experience (since she's BTDT: been there, done that!). She, along with her husband and one of her daughters, set off to bring her son home about two weeks ago. What an amazing journey they've had! I consider myself blessed to have been able to witness it with the perspective of another mama with a longing heart.

I might add that before the airport last night, Stephanie and I had never actually met in person! We'd chatted so many times in messages, but with the hustle and bustle of the life, we hadn't found a time to meet up.

Seeing their family come into the baggage area was pretty surreal. The joy in their faces, in the faces of their friends and family...it was overwhelming. The moment that I saw their son, I completely lost it. It escalated from a few tears to ugly crying in about 3.2 seconds. I thought I'd prepared myself pretty well, but the water works is hereditary (thanks, Mom). It was such a mixture of emotions, and one that I wasn't expecting to pop in there was jealousy. Seeing their family, mixed with the longing for Z in my heart, I couldn't help but want to be in their places. I wanted it to be November (or December...whenever it will happen) already. I wanted to be coming off of that plane completing my family.

It's amazing the bond and longing you can have for a child that you've not even met. I am willing to *literally* cross oceans to get to Z. I don't care if I'm in debt for the next twenty years, every penny is worth it...because he is worth it. I'm not sure that anyone's ever told him that he is worth it

So for now, I wait. I look (and look, and look again) at the same pictures of him every day, wondering if he's ok. Wondering if he's warm, or scared, or lonely, or afraid... 
but my comfort is in knowing that my God, the one who made you and me, is here with us, as well as holding Z in the palm of His hand. He's protecting him, comforting him, and preparing him for his forever family. That is where I find my peace. 


Canvases for Z!

Are you loving this new look!? I kind of did it on accident last night, but the page was in great need of a makeover, anyhow. 

As you may know, getting crafty is one of my favorite outlets. Give me a canvas, some paints, paper and other whatnots, and I'm in relaxation heaven. It clears my head. I could seriously get lost for hours working away on a canvas.
Recently, I made these two canvases with no real purpose for them, except to get some of my crazy out.

First of all, I'm the biggest critique of my own work. I hate the thought of something I made being rejected!
Second, how in the world do people price their own work?! Never again. I swear not to. Period.
That being said, I'm giving these another go. For any donation amount, one of these little ladies could be yours! I'm also up for doing customized pieces, if you have a specific color theme or look you're wanting.

Comment on this post if you're interested, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!


The closest thing

A few months ago, a friend and talented photographer volunteered to do a family photo shoot for images needed for our dossier. Somehow, I managed to not do a post about them!! Consider this my 'paper pregnancy brain', forgive the delay, and take a gander at her talent :)

All 5 of us. This is the closest thing we can get to a family picture right now.
There's a peace knowing that the next time we have pictures taken, Z will be right in there with us - in person, not in a picture!

Can you see Oakley? She snuck a clover bud in the picture. Typical Sissy!!

She definitely went above and beyond!! The photos worked perfectly in our book. Be sure to head over to her Facebook page and leave her some love!!


When Updates...well, aren't.

This adopting thing is hard. Rewarding? Yes. Worth it? YES. There are a few lights that sustain you along the waiting journey, and child updates are one of those lights along the path. A new picture of your child, updated measurements, and some questions answered.
The papers at the top are our dossier that was sent to China.
The colored pictures, stuffed animal, photo book and coloring book are Z's transition items that he should be getting any day!

4 weeks ago, we submitted a short list of questions to Z's orphanage through our adoption agency. Updates usually take 2-4 weeks to come back, and yesterday, we received the answers we'd been waiting for.

Well, kind of.

Two of the questions we asked had something lost in translation on one end or the other, and the 'answers' made little sense. Our agency is getting clarification on those.

The updated measurements / weight did little good, seeming as multiple measurements were the same numbers we were given six months ago.

Onto some helpful news, we did find out that he is currently attending Kindergarten!! This is great news, because we're hoping he'll have a more natural transition to American schools if he's been exposed to that type of environment before. I'm not quite sure what's typically expected of Kindergarteners in the Chinese school systems, but the person writing this update seemed quite impressed that he could not only write his name (in Chinese characters), but he could also write 0-50, several simple characters, and was also able to write other school children's names, too.
He also chooses his own clothing and dresses himself, and can also make his bed (better than my kiddos here do!). He helps younger children around the orphanage in eating, dressing, and washing their faces.
We keep seeing how the Lord has hand picked our family for him, because his favorite animals are said to be chickens and ducks (check, and check!). They also mentioned pigs, but I think having two out of three favorites here at the house will suffice!

In Z's original file, the photos included were priceless. He was smiling, happy, and playing; he seemed really comfortable with the people around him. To be candid, I struggled a little bit yesterday looking at his updated photos. We were provided with three new photos that appear to have been taken this past Monday, and he looked so incredibly sad. In one picture, it even looks like he had just stopped (or was just about to start) crying...which made me cry.
I find it simply amazing how God has weaved him  into our hearts so early in this process to the point that we would do anything to get to him just to love him!!

With all of that being said, here is a new list of prayer requests:
  1. Prayers for Z.     In my heart I realize how hard this whole thing will be for him, and Dan and I, two strangers, are going to be the only ones there to comfort him. Pray for his courage, an open mind and a heart that's ready for a family.
  2. Prayers for paperwork: Our papers are in translation in China. After translation, they'll go to the match review process. These two steps can take 8-10 weeks. We're being bold in our faith and praying for 6-7 weeks. This would potentially put us traveling in November.
  3. Prayers for families: You guys, there are so many people going through this process right along side us right now. Thanks to Facebook groups, we've connected, bonded, and are truly in this together. I can already tell that some of these people will be friends for life. Specifically, a friend named Gina is on an identical timeline as us. Prayers not only for their little guy and his transition, but that our paperwork would stick together like glue through this process, so we could end up traveling together and finish this process we've started -- together!!
  4. Prayers for finances: Thanks to your help, we continue to make progress along the financial lines, but we still have a HUGE mountain ahead of us. Even if you're not able to physically or financially assist right now, please be sure to 'like' and 'share' our Facebook posts for fundraisers. The more people who 'like' and 'share' our posts, the more other people can see the events, too!
    We're planning on launching a T-shirt fundraiser very soon. These will be able to be shipped directly to you, so you can contribute no matter where you are! Keep an eye on BringingHomeZ for the latest on that.
The time will be coming very soon when we'll be making a private Facebook group for our travel. This is where I'll *finally* feel comfortable to share his real name, his pictures, and specific information about our travel plans. That group will be formed once we get our LOA (Letter of Approval) in 8-10 (or 6-7!) weeks.

Friends, THANK YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We've really seen what an amazing support group we have in this life by your prayers, your actions, and your presence. Thank you for being the Lord's hands and feet for us!!



Called Upon the Water

Oakley wasn't feeling too well yesterday morning, so we missed going to church this Palm Sunday. It seems that it whether or not I attended a service, God had a message to get to me, and I heard it, loud and clear.

Our adoption social worker keeps Sunday office hours, it seems. We got an email yesterday from her with a rough draft of our home study. Keep in mind, I was expecting it by today, but it still caught me off guard. It's almost like I have dual angels on my shoulders, one shouting and dancing with each step in progress (because progress is good! Getting closer to having Z home!!), and the other angel menacingly whispering that each step means that money, our biggest obstacle in this journey, will be due that much sooner. As I was thinking about the upcoming deadlines, I started to think about Matthew 14.

I've already addressed Matthew 14 previously in our adoption process (loaves and fishes, remember?), but the Lord drew me to the next few verses today:
The disciples were in a boat, and in the mist of the morning, Jesus walked toward them, standing on the water. The guys thought He was a ghost, and they kind of freaked out a bit, but Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter (the brave little soul) said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” Jesus said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, there went the faith, and he started to sink, crying out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Without even going into Peter's story, I feel like there are a few things we can tell about him from this:
 -He loves and follows Jesus: The loaves and fishes thing happened at dinner the night before. Jesus sent the disciples onto the boat while He sent the crowd away (bellies full, no less!). Jesus didn't come to them on the water until sunrise the next morning, meaning they waited all night on the boat for his return. I sure wouldn't wait all night on a boat for something I wasn't passionate about!
 -He trusts Jesus: Thinking Jesus was a ghost, they were probably wondering if they stood better chances going overboard or confronting the spirit. When Peter questions Him, he wants the impossible proved to know it is Him. I mean, who else could enable him to walk on water?? When Jesus says, "Come," it doesn't say that Peter hesitated and thought about it for a minute, or waited for Jesus to get closer to get a better look at the figure of Him; he stepped out the boat. Confident in who Jesus was, he stepped out of the boat, just as if he were getting out of bed in the morning, or standing up from a chair and walking across the room. That. Takes. Trust.

So this is where things get interesting. Here's Jesus, in all the morning mist, hair glistening, I'm sure, standing on the water, and then there's Peter, making his way towards Him. Putting myself in Peter's shoes (or possibly lack thereof), I get it! You're taking a literal huge step of faith, this Jesus knows, and you think you're fully trusting Him! Eyes locked on Him, you take step after step closer to Him...and then comes the wind. Peter saw the wind, or the strength of the wind, and became frightened. He took his eyes off the prize of Jesus. He lost focus of his goal, and started to sink. He let the strength of the wind, which Jesus made, in and through, sway him. When it was calm, it was easy. It's when his faith was tested that he wavered.

As Jesus does, he was teaching Peter, and us...He is teaching me, a lesson. 

Right now, folks, I feel like I'm in the boat. I'm Peter, being a good disciple of Jesus, waiting for Him to return. Our family is responding in obedience to God's call on our lives for adoption. We've said yes, and we're waiting in the boat.
I look into the dawn, and I'm scared of what I see, until I recognize that it's Jesus. Wanting to be sure, ask if I can trust Him, and of course, He says, "Come." We looked into the eyes of a little boy who is a world away, and knew he was our son. 
But Lord, are you sure? We can't afford adoption. Jesus said, "Come."

"You of little faith, why did you doubt?" Though Jesus has given us no reason to doubt His promises, our minds are full of BUT JESUS....BUT WHAT IF.... all the while, He asks, "Why do you doubt?"

I know the path to where He's calling us won't be without wind. I fully expect the wind. So far, our 'wind' is people telling me that my choices don't make a any sense. Our 'wind' is someone telling me that this will never work, and we'll never get the support we need to make this happen. 

But let me tell you, we're keeping our eyes on Jesus. We're keeping our focus on the One who's called us to this task. When Peter faltered and called for help, Jesus immediately caught him, and immediately, He'll catch us. Through the seas of paperwork, the mountains of waiting, and the winds of finances, He will immediately come to our aid.

So, in a little bit more than a nutshell, that's what came to me, in one instant, while curled up on the couch with my little girl. I am by no means cut out to be a preacher or professional writer (that much might already be evident), but I hope that, by getting these thoughts out there, our focus will stay straight, and our travel will come quickly.


It's Not About the Number.

It used to always be about the number.

The scale was the boss of me. It determined what I ate, and more importantly, what I didn't eat. I don't have to greatest track record of getting fit in a healthy way, I'll be the first to admit that.

My New Year's resolution for 2014 was to get back into shape, the right way. I began attending trampoline aerobics, which is AWESOME. Going to a group class has not only given me accountability, but I've made some great friends in the process, too! In the first six months, full of hard work and dedication, I managed to loose 30 pounds, which I'm extremely proud of.

The next six months, I continued to change...I could tell in the way my clothes fit, for sure. The dreaded scale, however, didn't budge. For six months. Talk about throwing the stupid thing out the window!!!

I'm obviously not looking for a quick pop-a-pill fix, but I knew I needed to switch things up somewhere. Looking at my meals, I'm quite the snacker. Eating small meals through the day is great, but I ate three typical meals, with several snacks in between. Mostly chocolate snacks...

Enter CocoaLean.

So I start my morning with a CocoaLean tablet (shaped like a vitamin, tastes like chocolate. I'll take it.), followed by my normal breakfast. Instead of packing a baggie of sugary cereal or pretzels (or both), I chew one or two CocoaLean chews between meals (think chewy chocolate caramel type), and one more tablet before lunch.

I'm still on my trampoline class kick, still eating pretty healthy meals, but I'm also over my dreaded scale plateau! I'm snacking less, and not missing it at all.

If you're see me around, ask me for a chew! They're usually in my pocket at all times! Check them out here, too.

#CompleteNutrition #SuccessStartsHere


Handwritten Forward Fundraiser

Here's our first fundraiser! 
We're teaming up with the amazing talent at Handwritten Forward
They'll be donating 25% of all sales through 2/18/15 to Bringing Home Z.

We'd love for you to head over and check out more of their stuff! You're sure to be impressed!!

Thank you in advance!!


How You Can Help!

Since the last adoption update, there hasn't been much new adoption wise to write about. We've completed our first of three home study visits, which brought a whole new stack of papers to sift through. Certificates have been requested, forms are being filled out, and each evening I find myself typing away, trying to make it a few steps up the mountain that lies ahead of us.

We've made a dedicated Facebook page that you can check out here.

Several of you have been asking what type of help we need right now, and I'm finally ready to update you on our needs:

   -Prayer. Always first and foremost, we need prayer. Prayers for the process of paperwork to be completed and returned to us in a timely manner, prayers of patience, prayers of continued blind faith...we need prayers. Please also be in prayer about Z's medical condition. We're hoping to receive some updated information on his special needs in the next few weeks, and, of course, would love the best news possible! There will be a post forthcoming regarding exactly how God made him physically special when the time presents itself.

  We're currently scheduling every manner of fundraisers we can think of, including Scrapbooking Crops, a 5k walk/run / family 1 mile, a benefit dinner/silent auction (all both in Kentucky and in Ohio, possibly), and several more, as they come. Keep an eye out here and on our Facebook page for updates and dates, once they're set

You amazing folks have also inquired about direct donations. We've set up an account at our Credit Union specifically for bringing home Z, and there are several ways to access it:

 - Paypal: Look up on the upper left hand side of this blog. See the 'donate' button? That's one choice! There's the option for a one time donation, or monthly donations, if you happen to feel called to that.

 - Check: You can send a check directly to the Credit Union.
On the 'Payment To' line, write: Erin Bullock / Adoption Fund.
It can be mailed to:
Bullock Adoption Fund 
c/o Kentucky Employees Credit Union 
100 Moore Drive 
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

 - Us: If you're local, or happen to have our address, you can give it or mail it directly to us.

Things are moving much faster than we ever anticipated at the beginning of this journey, which is SUCH A BLESSING to getting Z home ASAP! With that speedy of a process, we're also looking at raising funds faster than we had planned. I am trying my very best (and praying when I'm not at my best) to remember that God has called us to this process, and He's handling every step of the way, including these finances!!

Thank you all for your continued support. We'll be starting our first fundraiser with Handwritten Forward tomorrow, so watch for posts on our Facebook page!!


Family of Five

After a weekend of prayers, paperwork, research, and typing, a meeting was held this morning to determine the placement of Z in our family. I usually don't mind the fact that our agency is on the West coast, but when their meeting is held 'in the morning', that means mid-afternoon, and when we'll hear something 'by the end of the day', that means around our dinner time.

Well, we've had dinner, and now we also have some new news!!

It was decided (by some obviously very intelligent folks) that Z would, in fact, be a great fit for our family!

In other words,
Family of Five!!

     ...I'm still letting that sink in...     ....it's not quite there yet...

I can't even begin to explain the GOODNESS of our God!!! I love the big picture perspective that the Lord's providing me through all of this. He's so at work through every part of this that it's undeniable.

We were also informed that typically it is a requirement for pre-matched families (that's us) to utilize the Dossier Preparation Service provided by the agency (to the tune of $600). However, not surprisingly, they said we weren't typical...
   ...they don't even know the extent of that statement yet...
They were using this weekend as a test of our dedication and paperwork capabilities, and we passed! They're letting us bypass the DPS requirement and complete all of the Dossier paperwork ourselves, saving the $600!! Here's to keeping organized and on top of things...

Current prayer requests:
1) Z's transition. I know it won't be for quite a while yet, but it's going to be difficult.
2) Finances. They double checked on today's phone call that we would have the finances in order to see this to the end, and the line went somewhat silent when I said that the Lord had it all in His plan. lol! Please be prayerfully considering if you're being called to help us. I'll be letting you know more about this very soon.
3) Paperwork. There will be A LOT of it. A ton. Possibly literally. Prayers for organization have never been more needed.

Thank you all already for all of the support you've shown. The only reason I can have patience through this whole experience is because I can't wait to see the Lord has in store for us every day. If you're ever doubting Him in your life, just give me a call. I'll tell you what He's done for us!!


A DeeplyRooted Update: We're Adopting!


A few weeks ago, these meant absolutely nothing to me. Now? They're life-changing.


Hubby says that I'm more transparent than I seem to believe. If you've been watching my Facebook wall over the last few weeks, I'm sure you've guessed, but...

First, I'll apologize to anyone who sees me on a daily basis. The select few people who have already been briefed on this subject are surely regretting their place, because this is all I can manage to talk about. My mother and sister have been getting 7am phone calls, because I just can't contain myself.

Second, I know what you're most likely thinking: we've lost it. Eeh, I guess you're right...but let me bring you to church for a minute and tell you what the Lord has done here.

I've felt the call to adoption since I was 12 or 13. I can't remember what caused the initial spark (because I can't really remember what I ate for dinner, let alone almost 20 years ago...), but it was something planted deep down in there to stay rooted all this time. Fast forward to the pre-marriage dating season when Dan and I were getting to know each other, and this subject was discussed and agreed upon. Some day, we'll adopt. Some day...which catches you up to about 4 weeks ago.
The seed that was planted so long ago had finally started to sprout, and I just couldn't get the adoption thought out of my head. The Lord was stirring in me, and unlike in years past, I just couldn't move past it this time. I started perusing the websites of various agencies, just to have enough background information on hand for when I brought this all up to Dan. I scoured the internet for agency reviews, inquired with friends and acquaintances who might have some valuable input, and kept coming back to one agency that just felt right.
As I started to dig into each page of their website, I came across their Special Focus children. These kids are those who have multiple minor special needs, a more involved health condition or medical history, or are older. I started to click right on past this section, because special needs or older children were just going to be something that we couldn't handle. Curiosity (and the Holy Spirit's nudge) got the best of me, and there I went, age group by age group, child by child, looking at each child's profile. The 0-4 age group had some cuties, that's for sure. The 10+ age group had some handsome fellas and beautiful young ladies, but there was something about that 5-10 age group that I was drawn to: they were my kids' age (W is 6, and O will be 5 in less than 2 weeks).
I was scrolling along, checking out each precious face, when I saw him (for the sake of a name, let's call him Z). I'm pretty sure I gasped when I saw him. Charming smile, dancing eyes, seemingly infectious laugh... I read his profile, re-read his profile... that kid!!! What was it about that face that I couldn't get over? The next evening, as I was perusing yet again, I found myself back at his profile, reading more into one smiling picture than humanly possible. I had to tell Dan about him. He was just too special not to.
After almost 12 years of marriage, I'm pretty sure *nothing* I say truly surprises Dan anymore. When I brought up adoption again (as I had been known to over the years), and showed him this little man's face, I think he realized I was a bit more serious this time. Two weeks had passed, and I was still reading Z's 8 sentence profile several times a day. I finally decided that it would be a disservice to our family (and to Z) to not click the button that requested more information on him.
The request led to webinars on adoption, crunching (and recrunching) of financial numbers, and finally, an email back to the agency to say that Z was still in our thoughts and prayers. Now adoption agencies get files on children for a set duration, and then the files are sent to the next agency if the children aren't yet placed. The response to our email was that Z's designation of this agency was being pulled in 10 days. 10 days. If this was something we were serious about, if Z was someone we were serious about, we had to move, and move quickly. Dan and I prayed about it (again), thought about it, and stared at each other blankly for a few minutes before we decided that this. was. right.
Application in, emails flying, consultations with physicians from across the country, forms being signed and notarized, and the Lord was in the midst of all of it. You see, every time I'd stop and think that this was crazy, and that we have no business adding to our family right now, I was reassured beyond doubt. Each time I'd question that this was actually the time that God wanted us to move forward with adoption, I'd hear the right song on the radio, or read the right Bible verse to calm any of my trepidations: 
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. Brothers and sisters, pray for us."   -Thessalonians 5:16-25

 Now the scariest part wasn't that there would be another child running around our craziness, or that they might have medical concerns, but it was the financial aspect of the adoption. I don't know about you, but we sure don't have thousands and thousands of dollars just sitting around waiting to be spent. In my head, I know that. I also know, however, that when the Lord calls you to something, HE'S GOT IT. He calls you to it to trust Him, not just in the idea, but in the execution. All you have to do is say YES, and He'll handle the rest (yes, even the $$ rest).

So that's where we are!  Trusting. Believing. Praying. Wondering. We'll find out very soon if it will be likely that little Z will be joining our family. Crazy, huh?

Oh I'm sorry, did I hear something? Did you say you wanted to know how to help us?? How generous of you!

Here's what we need.

1) Prayer. Sound cliche? My apologies, but that's what we need. First and foremost. Prayer got us here, and it'll get us through the next year...and next 20, 50...and beyond. 

2) Financial. So we don't have the roughly $37,000 it will take to bring our child home. I'm not ashamed to admit that. I bet you don't have it in your rainy day fund, either...but you might have just a little bit. While this isn't everyone's possibility, if 37 people could give $1,000, it's done. Or just sign up to buy some of our chicken and duck eggs. $500/dozen. (lol!!!!)

3) Fundraisers. We're planning on having a ton of them. These are going to be a great way to support us a bit here and there all along the way.

4) A little more prayer. Let the funds that we do have be stretched beyond what we can fathom. Loaves and fishes here, people.

Stay tuned for more updates. My mercy, I'm sure you'll be bombarded with them as this story continues to be written. I'll leave you with the lyrics to a song that has come across the radio and just the right time, several times:

Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe

That You gave me the stars put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I've never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It's way beyond me
It's way beyond

Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin' on You
I'm leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin' it all for the plans You got

Is it so crazy to believe

You take me to the place where I know I need You
Straight to the depths that I can't handle on my own

And the Lord I know, I know I need You
So take me to Your great …
Take me to Your great unknown

-Toby Mac, Great Unknown