Viaje de Amor en Ingles

(A Journey of Love)

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Caught in Traffic"

We have found great comfort in the community of others in the process of adoption with Honduras.  Alicia and I have been following blogs of others on this journey, and a recent post on the Anderson's blog resounded with us.  They spoke of this journey like being caught in traffic.  Alicia and I read this post together today and both agreed that this spoke for us!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


People continue to encourage us by asking us how the adoption is going?  You may ask how can THIS be an encouragement when all we have to say is the same thing...we are still waiting. tells us that we are still on people's minds and hearts.  We are encouraged that there are still people that are praying for us and our little one. 

We really were hoping that she would be home for Christmas at the beginning. Then we were hoping that we would at least know who she was and be preparing to go meet her before Christmas and now silence.  In the silence what can we do...PRAY!  Honduras is definitely going through changes with their structure in IHNFA-what is it you may ask-we have NO idea.  Is Unicef getting involved.  What does that mean for us?-again we have NO idea at this point.  All we can do is ask you all to continue to pray.
Yet, even though I have times of just my heart aching to know our little girl and get her out of whatever situation she is in I have peace.  Peace in knowing that My GOD is totally in control.  So what can we do?  Continue to lift our hearts cry up to God and continue to trust that HE know what HE is doing and in total control.

On a joyous note, a friend of Ariana's and her family have opened up their home for foster care and are caring for 2 little boys.  The desire of the mom's for years has been to adopt and yet never thought that they could.  In hearing our journey during the summer they started the process.  Please be praying for these friends that God would direct them in their journey as well.  What a blessing to see how God can use us to prick the heart of others.  I am so thankful for this journey and how GOD has drawn me closer to him and given me a new understanding of what it means to be adopted as HIS daughter.

he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- Eph 1:5

Praying that we will be able to say things are moving again soon!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When Rumors Are True

The week before thanksgiving, we began to read emails from contacts we have made that are connected with the adoption process with Honduras.  In these emails, we began to read that IHNFA was on strike for a second time this year, that corruption was discovered in the adoption process, and that adoptions in Honduras were completely stopped.  With the reading of each email our hearts became heavier.  Our agency had been told, and encouraged us with the news that we would have our referral before the end of the year.  We had told ourselves that we probably wouldn't hear anything until the spring, but we had our hopes up that we would at least know our little one before Christmas.  These rumors really put us into a tailspin, yet we wanted to wait for any official news.  Well, the official news came from our agency last week, and some of the rumors are true.  There was a second strike in IHNFA, there was corruption discovered in IHNFA, and the adoption process has been delayed, BUT not shut down.  We were told to expect a two month delay in receiving our referral.  Lord willing, we will receive information about our little one by the end of February.  Until then, we continue to wait and pray for her even though we do not know her.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Crowded Plane, Splitting Headache, and a Screaming Child

Last weekend, I had the privilege of traveling to Merida, Mexico to be part of the Ordination Recognition Service for Marcos Ramirez, the pastor of La Roca de Merida (our Bible Fellowship Church in Mexico).  We also celebrated the 18th Anniversary of the church and handled other denomination business while we were on the trip.  On Monday, our journey home began early with a drive from Merida to Cancun, followed by a flight from Cancun to Detroit, and after a brief layover, a flight from Detroit to Philadelphia.  This is where the combination of a crowded plane, a splitting headache, and a screaming child come together.  I was on the plane, the headache was mine, and the child was right behind me.  This is usually a formula that equals great frustration and a bad mood, but this time, the Lord was teaching me some lessons.  Lord willing, it will only be a few short months before we will travel to Honduras to bring our daughter home.  On that flight, I may be the one with the screaming child and maybe a headache at the same time.  This thought led me to have great empathy for the parents of this young boy.  With my head in my hands, I spent most of the flight praying for this family, and for others that I know that are struggling, I prayed for the adoption, and for fellow pilgrims on this adoption journey.  We continue to wait for further information about the adoption, yet in our waiting, we continue to pray, and thank the Lord for His grace and for His many blessings.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The next wait

Well, It if you notice on our cute caterpillar on the side that it has been 9 months since we started the process (when I dropped our application off at Living Hope).  In a "normal pregnancy" this would be "D" day.  It looks like our "D" day is still a ways off.

Yesterday we received an email saying that October 17 (which was the same day our dossier was dropped off for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to get the authentication done) we entered into IHNFA for our approval from Honduras but not only that we also now know that it should take between 1-2 months until we know if we need to do anything more or if we are approved.  In receiving the news later we are now 2 weeks into that countdown. 

Within the next half hour I saw an email come through from a discussion board that IHNFA is on work stoppage Nation wide -what does this mean...I have no idea if this will affect us.  A feeling of satan attacking me at that moment!  I immediately took time to pray that God would give me peace and I would continue to trust Him in all of this-Total peace! 

A short time then later, another group of emails and posts from others on this journey that have dossiers at IHNFA (with other agencies) are now being required to have their children in their home get blood tests done and others are needing to get further psychological testing done.  Will this affect idea, and yet again felt satan attacking me by causing me to get discouraged and doubt a bit.  Again I prayed for peace and the desire to continue to give it all over to Him.  Again... total peace.  I trust that God has His hands totally in this journey and that He will continue to carry us through and that He is caring for our little one until we can.  His love is so much greater that what we will be able to do for her or our children at home now.  What a lesson to learn.  I am in awe at how my relationship with my Lord and Savior has grown through this journey.

An though our desire was to have our little one home by Christmas, I totally trust and believe that God has a bigger plan for all of us through this.  I thank Him for giving this opportunity for our family and using it to grow us closer to Him.

This is also National Adoption month.  What a joy to be able to celebrate personally this month. Those of you who are watchin this journey with us we covet your prayers.  Please continue to be praying for our little one-we love you sweetie and we can't wait to be able to see your picture and then hold you in our arms!  Please pray that our daughter is being shown love, being kept warm and getting the food that she needs.  Pray also for the men and women that it is their job to work through the mountain of paperwork that is coming across their desks to approve.  Pray also for those workers that are caring for the many orphans of Honduras where there is so little as for the many orphans around the world.  Our prayer for all of you is that God would be using our journey to touch your heart.  We understand that not all are called to adopt, but through our journey, you would understand how God has used you through your support and encouragement for our family.  Reaching orphans is more that adopting but becoming aware of the need  and praying for these children, financially supporting orphans through many different ways and encouraging those that God has placed it on their hearts to adopt.  Thank you all for your faithfulness.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Final Review

Alicia grew up in Baldwinsville, NY, which is just north of Syracuse.  The trip from SE Pennsylvania to Balwinsville is about a 4 hour journey, depending on traffic, weather, and stops.  Throughout the years, we have made this trip many times, and through the years, I have found that there are certain points along the journey that have become milestones for me.  One significant point is the state fairgrounds.  As we pass that point, I know it will not be long before we pull into the drive at Alicia's parents home.  Before we were married, I made this trip alone on a few occasions, knowing that when I pulled into the drive, Alicia would be waiting for me.  Those state fairgrounds were always a welcome sight, knowing that it would not be long before I held "my girl" in my arms.

In a symbolic way, we just passed the fairgrounds in the adoption process.  Yesterday, we received word that our dossier is with IHNFA and has entered the final review and approval process.  We do not know the exact length of the journey yet before us, but we know that it should not be too much longer before we pull into the drive and hold "our girl" in our arms.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Connections, Tree's, School & Toys

It has been a great week.  We have been able to connect with a number of families that are with Living Hope and going to be adopting a child from Honduras.  What an encouragement.  Even though we knew there were quite a few, when we got the list and then connected with a number of the families through email it just made me smile.  The reality was even more evident.  IT is really weird... sometimes it seems so real that we are adopting and at other times it feels like we are just pretending, like it isn't really real.  Communicating now with these families makes it feel more real again as we are in this next waiting phase to hear if our paperwork has gone to IHNFA or not.  At the same time I have been following 2 families blogs that are both home and traveling home and to see the joy in these little faces with their new families-what an encouragement.

Last night while I was sitting with the girls Alexa was wondering on the world map (I know I have shown her before) where Honduras was and wanting to see where we will be flying on the whole map.  It is so neat to see each of the girls processing this journey in their own way.  It is hard to tell at times who is more excited about this.  Even voicing that if they have the choice on what trip they would choose to go on they have said "hands down, the second trip-they won't want to leave her".  Reality hit hearing them voice that, how hard it is going to be to leave her there and pray that the time we will be apart will go quick.

A really cool opportunity  to support Honduras and the children of Honduras was shared through another families blog that we wanted to pass onto those following our blog.  A toy company that started to help with unemployment and to build up the countries natural resources.  The companies name is Tegu.The money that comes in from the purchase of these incredible blocks goes to sending children to school or planting new trees in their rain forest.  With Christmas coming up this is a great thing for something new and creative.  Please check out this site and even if you are not able to purchase any of their block please send the link onto others.  This toy is a bit expensive but when you think what your money is helping to go towards, it is a great gift to the person you are giving it to as well as giving back.

Hoping soon that we will be able to say that our paperwork is at IHNFA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fellow Pilgrims on the Journey

We had the opportunity to have dinner with another family in the area that are adopting a little girl from Honduras.  I graduated from Souderton High School in 1989 with Dave, and it was a lot of fun to catch up and hear the journey that the Lord has brought each of us on since then.  It was a lot of fun to have our families together for the evening.  They are a few months behind us in the process...hopefully our stories were an encouragement rather than a discouragement.  They are in the process of pulling together all of their documents for their dossier.  I remember the overwhelming feeling that washed over me as I saw the check list for all that needed to be collected.  It is good to have a family on the same journey of adoption going through same agency to the same country.  Through good friends, we have been introduced to their cousin that is going through Living Hope to adopt from Honduras, and through a fellow pastor, we have spoken with another couple only a few miles away adopting from Honduras through Living Hope.  It has been encouraging to have fellow pilgrims on this adoption journey. 
Alicia spoke with our contact at Living Hope today and found out that eight families from Living Hope received word that their dossiers have been translated in Honduras.  They believe that within a month our dossier should be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and reviewed by IHNFA, which means that if all goes well, by Thanksgiving, we'll be ready to be matched up with a child.  We are still planning on getting our referral next spring, yet we'll rejoice if it is sooner.  It is good to know there are a number of families on this journey with us.  Fellow pilgrims on this journey!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Earlier today, I made the comment to Alicia that it seems there are a number of areas of life right now that are "in transition, and I just have to wait".  At church, we are hiring a new Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries, but he doesn't begin until November 1...waiting!  Yesterday, I sent in my last assignment for my doctoral work before beginning my dissertation, which I cannot begin until it is approved...waiting!  For the adoption, our paperwork continues to be in the process of being translated...waiting!  I gave blood this afternoon, and as I sat there waiting for a pint of blood to be drained from my arm...waiting...Alicia came in and held out her phone to show me an email from our agency.  The translation of our paperwork has been completed.  There is still nothing for us to do, but at least our waiting has entered another stage.
So what is the next step in the process?  With the translation complete, our paperwork has been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication, after which it will go to IHNFA for review.  IHNFA is the government agency of Honduras that oversees adoptions.  Once our dossier is reviewed and approved then we move to the stage of being matched up with a child.  We have not been given a timeline for all of this, and that is OK, since the timeline for translation was "2-3 weeks", so we were told in the middle of August when our paper work was sent to Honduras.  It is still our hope that we will know the identity of our daughter before Christmas, but there is a good possibility we may need to wait until the spring.  We are rejoicing in the fact that we now move to the next stage of waiting.  Thank you for patiently waiting with us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


This morning, I was asked by my Conference Pastor if I had any news about the adoption.  At first, I stood there as silent as this blog has been, then I shared with him that there is news but it is a bit confusing.  Our dossier went to Honduras in the middle of August to be translated.  That process was only supposed to take about two weeks, we are now up to almost a full two months.  We have found out through other blogs and our adoption agency that there was some restructuring in IHNFA (the Honduran agency responsible for overseeing adoptions).  We heard rumors of the director being removed from her position, we heard rumors of a strike of IHNFA employees, we heard about a number of employees being fired, and we heard of a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.  Some of these rumors are completely true, some are partially true, and some we just do not know.  We were told that we should expect the process to take a lot longer than originally expected, so as a family we prepared to need to wait until the spring for our referral.  A few days ago, Alicia found a blog of another family dated October 7.  They had sent their paperwork down, expecting two weeks for translation, and with the news coming out of Honduras, they were preparing for a long wait, only to learn that their paperwork was translated (in about 2-3 weeks) and moving on for review.  We are not sure why their paperwork was translated so quickly and ours remains in process, but we were encouraged that the process seems to still be moving.  Yesterday, we received an update from our agency saying that there is a new acting director for IHNFA and they are looking to move the adoption process along.  There are over 11,000 children in the process with IHNFA.  Our agency said that the families in process should receive a referral before the end of the year.  Lord willing, we will have a picture and information about our daughter before Christmas!  Thank you for your love, prayers and support!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Well, It seems as if the Lord continues to desire to mold and shape my mind and heart(Restructuring) in this wonderful, trying at times,  journey.

There also seems to be some Restructuring in Honduras as well.  On reading some other blogs of families going through this journey as well I understood some of what seems to be silence.  Honduras, according to our agency, has been at a stop for a short time.  They celebrated their Independence about 2 weeks ago and then the restructuring. This restructuring is finished and now should be moving forward from here.

I was finding myself doubting a little even though I knew it was foolish doubt since I trust in God's timing (God's Restructuring-reminding me to fully give all of this over to him and not cling to any of this).  As I said to the girls-just think if it had been our control over things - we would have been down there and then we would  find ourselves stuck and just having to wait there for people to finalize our paperwork.  We continue to pray that as we feel that we are ready, that God would continue to be faithful in teaching us patience.  We pray also that God would be bringing into our daughters life people to care for her, clothes to keep her warm and health as we wait to receive word about her, not knowing even if she is born.

As Ariana even put it, remembering about a dream I had early on (about a pregnant woman struggling with the inner battle of whether to give birth to her child-2 different nights)  "Wouldn't it be cool to find out that it really was about our sister's mom and that you has been able to pray for her".  For those of you that are our "Blog stalkers" :), which we are thankful for all of you, please continue to pray that we would have patience and that we would continue to give God all the glory through all of this!  What an awesome God we serve!  and we are so thankful that He has directed us in this journey.

Please also pray for Living Hope as they Restructure a little as the person that we have been working with is going to be moving.  She has been such a wonderful help to us, and we look forward to the wonderful help that the agency will be as we continue on our journey.  We will miss you Aimee!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Sound of Crickets

Last night, a cricket was on the porch and all you could hear was the chirping of the I opened the door to take the dog out before bed, the cricket went silent.  After I walked out into the darkness and stood there in the silence, the chirping began again, and as I allowed my ears to focus more, I could hear a concert of sound made by the fingers of God.  What a beautiful sound, too often my mind, my heart and my life are far too busy to listen to the concert.  In many ways it feels like our adoption process was chirping right along and then the door opened and everything went silent.  Friends and family have asked what the timeline is for us, and we stand there in the darkness hearing nothing, we've no answers to give.  Our paperwork continues to be in the process of being translated...silence.  I am straining to hear the concert of God in the midst of the silent night because I know there is a concert to be heard. 

In the midst of the silence, God set up a meeting for us with a guy I knew from High School, who "just happens" to also be in the process of adopting a child from Honduras.  We are looking forward to having our families get together as we travel this journey.  We rejoice with friends that just returned from China with their daughter.  We receive a letter from the little girl we support through World Vision and she writes about how much she is learning in church and school.  We watch people in our church and community take seriously the call to help their neighbor.

Can you hear it?  I am starting to hear the concert.  It is loud and it is beautiful.  Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Submitting to the Lord's Timing

Over the past few days, we have had a number of people ask us when we are going to Honduras to get our daughter.  We have only one answer - We don't know.  Out dossier is in the process of being translated, and the hope is that it will be completed in the next week or so.  Once the translating process is done, then it goes to the department that will review our dossier and match us up with a child.  There is a possibility that this process will go quickly and we'll receive our daughters information in the next month or so.  Then we make travel arrangements for our first trip.  That would be awesome...Alicia spoke with our Adoption agency today and it seems that our social worker is trying to lower our expectations.  We were told that it could take up to the six months that Honduras has given as their limit, and the six month clock does not begin until the translation is completed, which means we may need to wait until next March. 

This past Sunday, I preached a message from James 4:13-17 and our need to submit our plans to the Lord's will.  I have been going back over this passage of Scripture and my own sermon in my mind as we need to wait on the Lord's timing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Bit More Info

Our Adoption Agency sends out a weekly update on Honduras.  Last week, we gained some new information about what will take place when we travel on our first trip.  Our paperwork is about a week and a half to two weeks into the process of being translated.  Lord willing, the translation process will be completed by the end of this week or sometime next week, then everything gets handed over to IHNFA (The Honduran National Institute of Families and Children) for final review, approval and referral.  It is hard to believe we are this far along, and yet we know that we need to patiently wait since this process may take a few more months.  Once we receive our daughter's information and work with our agency to set up our travel, then Alicia and I will make the first trip.  We have been informed that on the first day in Honduras, we will meet with IHNFA for an interview with IHNFA staff.  We will each also need to undergo an additional psychological evaluation - here come those ink blots again (how do you say "pizza" in Spanish?).  On day 2, we will go with our agencies lawyer to Honduran Family Court to file the adoption petition.  On day 3, we will get to meet our daughter.  The remainder of our trip will be sightseeing (possibly with our daughter if the orphanage allows it) and other outings.  The paperwork completed on our first trip will take a few weeks to be processed, then we will make our second trip to bring our daughter home.

Another tid bit of information that we received is that September 10 is Dia del Nino, or Children's Day.  On this day, children receive presents and candy.  Some neighborhoods even have pinatas out for the children.  We have been celebrating Dia de la hija (Day of the daughter) for the past 11 years.  This day consists of presents and candy for one of our children.  Alexa calls it her birthday - now she has to share her special day with all of the children of Honduras. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Seven Months and Waiting

With the beginning of September upon us, we have hit the seven month mark in the adoption process.  Yesterday, we received word that our paperwork has been received by the appropriate people in Honduras and the process of translation has begun.  I took a few minutes the other day to think about all that has been done in these seven months.  We have spent a lot of time compiling our dossier, which is a packet of detailed information about us, birth certificates, marriage license, pictures, medical exams, bank statements, full financial documentation, home studies, and much more including...a psychological evaluation.  By God's grace we were able to raise the necessary funding to complete the adoption.  Friends gave a gift early on that kept us moving along, then there was the Thirty-One party and the Yard Sale, In June, we worked on Sandie Gehman's home as a project of the Both Hands Foundation.  We received a generous grant from Show Hope, and Alicia has been able to raise quite a bit through her quilting .  We were able to get a no-interest loan through the Minister's Assistance Fund at our church, which by God's grace, we will be able to start paying this back before the end of the year.  Now we sit and wait for our paperwork to be translated and approved, and for a child to be chosen for us.  Now and then, we watch a video from Honduras - being reminded again and again of the need for people to reach out and help.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to be part of God's plan to reach out to the orphans in Honduras.  In our weekly update from our Adoption Agency today, we found out that we there are now five families who have sent off completed Dossiers to Honduras.  This is very encouraging to know that there are others at the same point of the journey.  Please continue to pray for us.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The wait continues

   Well, it has been 1 week since our paperwork went to Honduras.  It is amazing how fast the week went.  I thought for sure that it would feel like forever.  I talked with the founder yesterday and he said that it should have arrived.  We will see how long it takes to translate, it is amazing how God has put a peace on my heart to be patient-something that can be very difficult for me.  It helps that the business of getting ready for school is here.  Last night I was out with Ariana and asked her what she was most excited about and what she was most nervous about getting her little sister.  "Getting her little sister...and... getting her little sister."  She said that she already has decided that when she gets to meet her she is going to get down on her level and plans to hand her a toy.  She said that "she thinks it will be hardest to wait patiently for when she is willing to come to her".
  Getting to read about friends of ours getting their daughter this week in China has been that time of reality to think about what it will possibly be like and gets the bug going a little more.
   Little one, I am continually praying that God will be preparing your heart to join with our crazy family...that you are having people show you love.....that you have food to eat...that you have clothes to keep you warm...that you will see God's love for you and that we will be able to teach you about Jesus and how he died on the cross for you!  Your daddy and I as well as your sisters love you so much even though we still don't know who you are.  It is amazing to me to have such love for someone we haven't even met.  How much greater our heavenly father loves you- you have been "fearfully and wonderfully made"...  Ps. 139:14
   We are looking forward to the day that we get to hold you in our arms and be united as the family that God had planned from the beginning of time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Paperwork Goes International

According to our plans, this post would have been on our blog almost two months ago.  Along the way, our plans have changed due to the additional psychological evaluation and longer than anticipated process for approval in the US.  But we have received word from Living Hope Adoption Agency that our dossier is being sent to Honduras today.  Once it arrives in Honduras, it needs to be translated, which is anticipated to take a few weeks, and we simply wait for that day when we receive our "referral".  Referral sounds so clinical...let me step aside from the official terminology.  We now wait for the picture of the little girl that the Lord has set aside to be a member of the Crossgrove family (sorry, I had to take a moment to regain my composure.  So I don't get emotional again and get the keyboard wet, I'll use the technical term for the rest of this post).  We do not know how long the wait will be.  The original timeline said that this phase would be no longer than six months, and could be shorter.  So giving one month for translation, the earliest we could anticipate receiving our "referral" by the end of September.  Allowing for the full six months, the latest we should be waiting would be February of 2012.  Once we receive our referral, then the travel plans will be made and Alicia and I will make the first trip.  We also learned the Living Hope anticipates sending three more dossiers in the next two weeks, so with the two families ahead of us and three right behind us, there is a good chance we will not have to travel alone.  We'll see!  I am learning a very practical lesson about the passage of Scripture that I will be preaching in just a two weeks - James 4:13-15

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

The Lord continues to teach us patience and dependence!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Friend's Journey

As we wait for our dossier to be finalized and sent to Honduras, we rejoice with friends of our that left today for China.  Nate & Jen began the process of adopting a little girl from China and received their travel approval about a month ago.  Today is the day that begins the next big step in the adoption process.  Travel!  Please pray for Nate & Jen as they travel, for their two boys at home as mom and dad are away, and for little Hayley as she meets her new parents for the first time.  Check out their blog if you want to read about their adoption journey.  Please continue to pray for us as we wait for our paperwork to travel and have been warned to expect things to go slower than we originally expected.  We still hope to travel before the end of the year, but we need to patiently wait and see.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting some more

Well, Today I was enjoying a beautiful day on the beach on LBI and received and email from our Agency.  She said there was another hold-up.  She was getting our dossier ready yesterday to send to Honduras and she noticed that our approval from the consulate in New Your had been sent in English-she found out it needs to be in Spanish.  Can't it just be translated with the rest of our paperwork?!?  Well, they need to get one now in Spanish so we wait some more.  Ariana reminded me again "Remember mommy, the reason it is taking so long is that it is going to go fast once there".  I am beginning to wonder.  Not too much though.  I still am at rest with our waiting and I know that is only from GOD!  Please continue to be in prayer for that peace for our whole family!  We continue to pray that God is preparing her little heart for the tremendous changes that are going to take place in her little life.  Hopefully we will have great news to share soon!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Back From New York

Our paperwork has returned from New York, and is now back in the hands of Living Hope Adoption Agency.  The agency is waiting for some completed paperwork of their own that needs to accompany our dossier to Honduras.  The hope is that mid-week next week, our dossier will begin the journey to Honduras.  This is a bit later than we were hoping, but this is just a reminder that we need to wait on God's timing for each stage of this process.  This morning at Men's Bible Study, I was asked for an update, and I had no news to share.  One of the men at the table began the old saying, "No news is..." and he paused...waiting for me to say "...good news!"  Instead, I quickly repeated the beginning of the statement, "No news is..." and concluded with "...annoying!"  I really need to grow in this whole thing called patience, and trust in God's timing, and wisdom, and...Lord help me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Don't Want to Get Out of Bed

We have no new updates on the adoption to share this week, but I wanted to share a bit about the day.  Have you ever had one of those days that you lay in bed knowing what was waiting for you as soon as you pulled back the covers and stepped out of you said to yourself, "I don't want to get out of bed!"  That was me this morning.  We have had such a busy summer that the gardens have been overrun by weeds.  I decided before going to bed last night that I would surprise Alicia in the morning by weeding the garden for her.  The problem with this is that I really hate weeding.  There is one thing I hate more than weeding...I hate going to the dentist (my apologies to my friends in the dental field).  The significance of this is that I had an appointment to go to the dentist this afternoon to have the cap on my front tooth replaced.  I broke my front tooth when I was Jr. High by going down the slide into a pool head first (Note to children and immature adults - going down the slide head first can be dangerous).  I pulled myself out of bed, the weeding got done, and then there was the dentist.  He put that needle into my upper lip to make everything numb.  He drills off the old piece, gets rid of a bit of a cavity and then they put on a new filling.  I left the dentist and began prep for the first night of teen week.  My upper lip was still numb, and felt like Bill Cosby in "Himself" not able to talk clearly.  The day ended with a great night of teen week.  We had a great group of teens and adults that had a great time playing games together tonight...I am glad that I got out bed this morning.  Good Night!

By the way, here is the video of Bill Cosby talking about the dentist:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Just Hangin' Out in NY

We talked with our contact at Living Hope Adoption Agency today hoping for good news on the progress of our dossier.  The news wasn't what we were hoping for.  She said that our dossier was still in New York.  She told us that the Honduran contact in New York is very thorough in his review of each dossier, so we are hoping the dossier travels back down I-95 by mid-week next week.  Living Hope is waiting for some of their paperwork to be finalized that needs to go with our dossier, so we were told that it will probably be at least two weeks before our paperwork goes to Honduras.  We are just being reminded that all things will be completed in God's timing.  We are just reminded of the passage in James 4

(James 4:13-17) 13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as you journey with us.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New York, New York!

Our dossier made its way back from Harrisburg to Living Hope agency.  Today it began its journey up I-95 to New York.  New York is the final stop before our paperwork goes to Honduras.  In one sense it is hard to have to just wait, yet at the same time it is good to know that things are moving along.  Lord willing our dossier will return to Living Hope agency early next week and then it is off to Honduras.  Once it arrives in Honduras, the six month clock begins - we will receive our referral within six months.  We know that we are among the first three families sending dossiers to Honduras, so we need to be ready for all kinds of "hiccups" in this process.  We are still hoping to travel before the end of the year.  Alicia and I are sporting sore shoulders because of immunizations - one in each shoulder (typhoid and Hep-A).  Now that Ariana and Alexa are planning to travel with us on the second trip, Ariana is hoping that her childhood immunizations will be good enough...she does not want to get a shot.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trouble with comments?

A friend of ours said that she tried to post a comment to one of our posts and was not able to do so.  We checked our settings and it looks like there should not be a problem with posting comments.  Please try to post a comment so we can see if it works.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Updates in the Mail

We returned home from a week of ministry at Pinebrook Bible Conference to receive two pieces of news in the mail.  Via email, we learned that the process for finalizing the adoption in the country of Honduras will be about six weeks.  This would require us to stay in the country for the entire time, or take two trips.  Alicia and I just spent about an hour estimating the finances of these two options.  For the two of us to stay in the country for the entire time would cost us about $6000 more than taking two trips and taking Ariana and Alexa with us for the second trip.  So, it looks like we will take one trip for about 5 days to meet our daughter and go through the initial interviews and do all of the necessary paperwork to finalize the adoption and for our daughter's US citizenship.  A few weeks later, the four of us would go for 5-7 days to finalize the process, and bring her home.  With estimated food and other expenses, this is about $4500 more than the original estimate that we were given.  We are still waiting for our paperwork to go to New York then to Honduras, but at least we now have a clearer picture of what the travel process will look like when it is time to travel.

Another piece of news that we received in the mail was from a grant request we had submitted to Show Hope.  We were informed that we have received a grant, which will be a huge help with the travel expenses.  It has been awesome to trust God through this process as the details seem to change regularly, so does His provision.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Both Hands Goal is Reached

We have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity of so many that have given to the Both Hands project to help with our adoption costs.  When we began planning for the Both Hands project, we needed to raise about $19,000 to cover the "anticipated costs" of the adoption.  We were able to get a no-interest loan for $10,000 to help pay for the dossier fee which was due in mid-June.  As we set a goal for the Both Hands project, I recommended that we set a goal of $5000, but Alicia said that we would need about $9000 to $10,000 for traveling to Honduras and covering all of the fees for finalizing the adoption.  We set the goal at $10,000.  I did not believe that we would come close to reaching that goal.  We received an email yesterday informing us that we have received $10,782 toward our Both Hands project.  The great thing about this is that now we are completely ready to travel, and any more money that is donated to the project will help us pay back the $10,000 loan.  If you did not get a chance to view the video from our project, check out the post entitled "Both Hands - The Video".  For all of you that have been praying for us, and for those that have given time and money to help us - THANK YOU!

fundraising ideas

Friday, July 15, 2011

On To Harrisburg

We found out that there was a bit of a delay as our Psychological Evaluation was completed and reviewed by the government officials in Honduras.  As one of the first few families in this new process with Honduras, we know that we need to be flexible, but at times it gets a bit frustrating when our plans change.  We continue to pray that we would patiently wait upon the Lord and trust His timing.  Since our Psych eval. was the first one completed, we became the test case for the process.  There were some aspects of the evaluation that needed to be adjusted, and our agency worked with our psychiatrist to make the necessary changes.  Honduras approved our evaluations, and now our agency has an outline for what they are specifically looking for in Honduras.  With the approval from Honduras regarding our psych evaluation, our dossier was finalized by our agency and today it made the journey by courier (now, I need a linguist to answer why dossier is pronounced dos-ee-ey and courier is pronounced kur-ee-er.  Why isn't courier pronounced kur-ee-ey?  Next time you see a courier call him a kur-ee-ey and see how he responds..)  Anyway, our dos-ee-ey went by kur-ee-ey to Harrisburg today.  It should spend about a week in Harrisburg, then to New York, then to Honduras.  It has about a two week road trip before going international.  We are excited that things continue to move along.  thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Both Hands - The Video

Dave Peters, a friend of one of the team members on our Both Hands Project, pulled his video team together to capture the Both Hands Project and put together a great video.

Thank You, Dave and Team!

If you want to make a donation to help us with the cost of our adoption, visit our donation page.  Donations will be accepted up til Aug 16, 2011.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Both Hands - Before and After

We are finally able to get some before and after pictures from the Both Hands Project posted on the blog.  Here is a sampling of work that our team was able to complete at Sandie's home on Saturday, June 25th.

With a Fresh coat of Paint


The gardens were all freshened up


After - There is a bit more to be done in this powder room, but we were able to get a lot done.  Sandie's nephew is going to finish this room.

The Office before

The office with a new paint job and a new ceiling fan

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Time Stood Still

Have you ever been so engrossed in some task that it seemed that time stood still?  I returned to the office this afternoon and began studying the Scriptures.  I read through the end of the book of James a few times, and began to put together the outline of sermons for the remainder of this sermon series that I am preaching through.  I received word that a woman who had been part of our church died suddenly today.  Her sister and her mother are still members of our church, so part of my day was spent talking and praying with the Mom.  She shared that even though her children are grown and their children are grown, it is still difficult when your daughter dies...yet, she said with daughter had recognized that she was a sinner and needed the forgiveness that only Jesus gives.  She said to me a few times, "She was ready, and that is the important thing to remember, she was ready!"  We prayed together and I left that conversation more encouraged then when I began.  I returned to my study in the book of James.  My study was good, and it felt like time was standing still.

After a while, I realized that part of the reason that time felt like it was standing still was because my watch had stopped around 1pm.  So literally, every time I looked at my watch, time was standing still. 

Just a quick update on the adoption...we received an update on the donations made to the Both Hands project, and the total amount given so far is $7709.54.  We are truly humbled by the generosity of our team, and everyone that has given financially.  THANK YOU!

Monday, July 4, 2011


There really isn't much to update with regard to the adoption.  We are waiting to hear that our dossier has begun the finalization process here in the US, we haven't received any updates from Lifesong regarding donations to the Both Hands project, we are waiting to hear from Show Hope to see if we have been approved for a grant, we continue to be amazed at the love and support that friends and family have given us.  We are in the midst of another waiting period, and we continue to trust the Lord to lead us.  Our prayer is still that we will be able to travel before the end of the year, and pick up our little girl. 

As today marks the 235th year since the signing of the declaration of independence, I have been thinking about this great country.  I have recently thought about the process of issues, petitions, and disagreements that brought our forefathers to the point that on July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution of independence, and two days later signed the Declaration of Independence.  Have you ever taken the time to read the list of reasons our forefathers gave for declaring our independence from the King of England.  Have you ever pondered the struggle that these men had in making this decision.  Many of these men were devout Christians that wrestled with the command of Scripture (especially Romans 13 and submitting to all human authorities) and the fact that the King would not listen to them.  Yesterday, I preached a sermon on James 1:19-21, in which Scripture commands us to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry".  How different would history have been if the King had taken this counsel, and listened?  Regardless, I am thankful that our forefathers persisted and when necessary took the bold steps necessary to lead this country to independence.  In case you haven't read the Declaration of Independence recently, I have included it in this post.  Enjoy the reading, then pause to thank the Lord for our leaders in the past and pray for our leaders in the present!

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Both Hands - A Great Day!

At 8am this morning, 23 people descended upon Sandie's home to do an assortment of jobs.  We cleaned out gutters, painted her office, did a ton of painting outside, gardening, put wainscoting in a bathroom, hung a ceiling fan and installed a light in the bathroom.  It was a very tiring day, and it is amazing how much we were able to accomplish in one day.  Alicia and I are so thankful to our team of volunteers for giving their day.  I don't have much to say about the day, other than it was amazing opportunity to work together to accomplish a lot of work.  Alicia and I also want to thank David Peters, who brought his video equipment to capture the day in video.  He spent the day behind the camera and will be putting together a brief video with highlights from the day.  We will post the video in a few days.  Check out a few pictures from the day.

All of the team members signed a shirt for our daughter.

Check out or letter, or donate at our Both Hands page!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dossier On the Way

The psychologist completed the evaluation, and has passed it on to Living Hope Adoption Agency.  They have the rest of our dossier, and so now the finalization process begins, and the paperwork begins its journey to Honduras.  The psychologist sent us a copy of the evaluation, which was interesting to read through.  As I thought would be the case, Alicia passed with flying colors.  I passed, but as politely as could be the doctor implied that I am just not "normal".  I could have told him that without spending $1400, and filling out a bunch of questionnaires.  I do find it interesting that the opinion of a psychologist that interacted with us for 3 1/2 hours and studied our responses to a series of questionnaires is given more weight by governing bodies than the references of people that have known us for over 15 years.

Tomorrow is the Both Hands Project at Sandie Gehman's home.  We are looking forward to jumping in and getting a lot of little jobs done around her home.  We have been greatly humbled by the generosity of our friends that are giving up their Saturday to help us as we serve a friend of ours.  We have also been blown away by the generosity of friends, family and those who are sponsoring members of our team.  Our goal for the Both Hands project was to raise $10,000 to cover some of the expenses for our adoption.  We called Lifesong for Orphans and found out that the total amount donated so far to the Both Hands Project is $6823.89.  It would be great to go well beyond our goal so that more expenses can be covered than we had planned for this project to cover.  It has been amazing to see the way that God has provided for us so far.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Both Hands Project, A Few Days Early

A member of our Both Hands Project Team, Justin Buso is not able to help out this coming Saturday, but he took some time out of his work schedule to go to Sandie's and trim out some of her trees.  Justin owns his own business, Buso Tree and Landscaping.  The weather worked out well for Justin and his helper, Mark Freeborn, who also donated his time and the use of his bucket truck.  We wanted to publicly thank Justin and Mark for taking the time to do this work.  It is greatly appreciated!  We are looking forward to this Saturday as the rest of our team will descend on Sandie's home to do a lot of painting, some gardening, and many other odd jobs.  We'll have pictures and updates next week.  To see the list of business sponsors for this project, scroll down the blog page.  Go to the Both Hands page, if you want to read more about this project, or sponsor our team as we extend one hand to help a widow, and the other hand to help an orphan.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hammock and a Phils Game

After the worship service ended yesterday, there were a number of Dads that greeted me.  The greeting was a firm handshake, the greeting of "Happy Father's Day", and then the question, "So what are you doing this afternoon?"  For me the answer was a big question.  The girls had something planned but they were keeping it a surprise.  I simply would answer, "I don't know the girls are keeping it a surprise, but I hope it involves a hammock and the Phils game."  Ariana and Alexa planned a meal for me - Bar B Que ribs, Macaroni and Cheese, Fries, and salad, with peanut butter & chocolate cake for dessert.  They did a great job with the meal.  Afterward, we enjoyed some family game time - they even let me win.  I did have the opportunity to watch the end of the Phillies game - at least I had the opportunity to win a game, which is more than I can say for the Phils.  As the girls cleaned up from dinner, I hung the hammock between two trees, closed my eyes, and woke up two hours later when Alicia asked me if I was just planning to stay outside all night.  I enjoyed the afternoon, and I was pretty excited that it included a hammock and the Phils game.

My prayer as I continue on this journey called life, is that I would continue to grow in Christ-likeness, and that I would understand more and more what it means to love my wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25).  I pray that my girls will grow in their love for God, and their desire to be like Christ in all ways.  I have found it interesting that I have a lot of the fears and doubts that I experienced anticipated fatherhood when I was waiting for the birth of my first child.  I have grow used to being the father of two young women in their early teens - how will I do as the father of a little one again?  May the Lord give me the wisdom and the grace to walk this journey again.

To all the dads out there who read this post - Happy Father's Day! (even if it is a day late)  Fix your eyes on our Heavenly Father, follow Him and let your children follow you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All "Psych"-ed Out

Yesterday was our Psychological Evaluation.  We drove to Doylestown first thing in the morning yesterday to begin the evaluation.  The psychologist greeted us and was very nice.  The interview began, and that portion was somewhat brief.  Then came the questionnaires.  Alicia went to a separate office to begin answering a series of questionnaires, and I began working on my pile in the other office.  The first few were simple...done in a few minutes and nothing too out of the ordinary.  Then came the multi-page series of questions that seemed incredibly repetitive and somewhat depressing.  The final questionnaire was a 567 question SAT style evaluation.  It took me almost an hour and a half to work my way through this series of ten questions asked 56 different ways.  I am still seeing dots drawn with a number two pencil when I close my eyes.  All in all, it was a somewhat painless process, and the psychologist is trying to expedite the process for us.  All of our paperwork is waiting for this completed evaluation.

Earlier this week, we received our approval from USCIS, so that step is complete.  Alicia is planning to take our dossier to Living Hope Adoption Agency today, so that when the psychologist sends the completed evaluation to them, the dossier is ready to begin the authentication process. 

Our Both Hands Project continues to come together.  We have had two more companies sponsor the project:  Ace Hardware has provided us with some supplies, and Buso Landscaping is providing some services.  Friends and family of our team has already donated over $1700.  We have been blown away by everyone's generosity, and so thankful for all of the support.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Newest Info

Well, the other day I got an email from our social worker that I saw as I had called her about our I-600A approval.  As we were talking she said "yes, i sent an email, please don't shoot the messenger".  That got me worried.  As I got off the phone I opened the email to find we have two more hurdles to overcome.  More pictures of the  house (you might be thinking, "no big deal"- we probably have about 30 pictures we are sending) and now we have to get psychological evaluations done for both Andy & I.  We have to now wait to send our dossier to Living Hope until we have that completed-this all being said that we should receive our letter from USCIS this next week and we would have been able to send our dossier at that time.

If that was not discouraging enough, i called an agency that we referred to us...about $1600 later we will have what we need.  They are however being very accommodating to the point that we have our appointment this next Wednesday which is amazing in my opinion since I know it can be difficult to get in to see a psychologist quickly.  I had to step back last night and remind myself that if this had been on the print-out originally for what we had to do we probably would not have even questioned it.  Not that we really questioned it, just were a bit discouraged. 

All this being said, please be praying for the appointment to go well, and that the estimated time that we were told it would take on the Psychologist's end would go quicker so it might not cost so much.  I trust that God will truly provide all that we need to make this happen and are firmly believing that God just wants to fully show us that this is only happening because of Him, not by anything that we could ever do on our own!

Please also be in prayer for our little one still waiting in Honduras.  Pray that she is getting the care that she needs, that she is getting attention and that she is receiving love from her caregivers.  Pray also that the Lord is at work in her heart to prepare her to join into our family!  Looking forward to the day that I can hold her in my arms and welcome her home!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Just for fun!

This video has nothing to do with our adoption, but as we met tonight to put together letters for the Both Hands Project, Derek Coyle made me aware of this video.  Enjoy!!

A New Step

We thought we had finished all of the process work needed to complete our dossier.  We thought we were ready to send everything off to our agency and then to Honduras as soon as approval came from USCIS.  Today brought us a new hurdle to jump in the dossier process.  This is one of the problems with being one of the first few families in a new program with a foreign country.  The Honduran government has added the requirement of a series of pictures to be added to the dossier - no problem, we can do that quickly.  Also, they are requiring that all prospective adopting parents undergo a thorough psychological evaluation.  We received some referrals from our agency, so now it is just a matter of making an appointment and getting this evaluation added to our dossier. 

We did get some good news...we received our first report of donations made to Lifesong for Orphans for the Both Hands Project.  So far, friends and family have donated $1076.92.  Thank you to all who have given of themselves to help us with the expenses of our adoption.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Still Waiting!

On Wednesday, May 25, Alicia and I made the journey to NE Philadelphia to have our fingerprints done for the approval process with US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Every day since then we wait for the mail to come, hoping that the letter of approval would come from USCIS.  We are still waiting...the rest of the dossier packet is ready to go, so as soon as USCIS approval comes off goes the paperwork.  We thank the Lord for His grace, and for His patience with us.  We also thank the Lord for so many friends that have been praying for us, and regularly ask us how things are going - Thank You!

The Both Hands project is coming together.  We have a team of friends and family that have volunteered to be part of the team.  We are preparing for June 25th (the project date) and beginning to pull together supplies and other details.  Our team members are sending out their sponsor letters and we have been encouraged by some local companies that are getting involved by posting fliers at their location or making a donation to the project.  Recently, Nyce Shirts in Harleysville, Advanced Chiropractic & Spine Center in Souderton, Diddens Greenhouse in Hatfield and Main Street Java in Souderton.  If you aren't sure what the Both Hands Project is all about, you can read our letter at the Both Hands site.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home Depot gives Support

As we continue to plan for our Both Hands project, we have a small list of jobs to do at Sandie's home - painting, a ceiling fan, renovating a powder room...  As we considered the costs of supplies, we decided to write a brief letter and go to the Home Depot near Sandie's house.  I spoke with one of the managers of the store, while Alicia and Ariana were on a completely different mission - selecting paint for the nursery.  After I explained the project to the store manager and sheepishly asked if Home Depot would be willing to help, she said that they thought it was a great idea and wanted to help us out.  Home Depot provided us with $100 towards supplies and she gave me her card saying that when/if we need more support, give her a call.  This was such an encouragement to us as we continue organizing this project.  Our team is coming together - we have over 20 people committed to helping with the work on Sandie's home.  We have a team "foreman" who met with Sandie and went through her home to figure out a list of projects.  We sent out our personal letter to friends and family.  We have our "Kick-off" meeting scheduled for this Tuesday evening to meet with our team and pray together.  We are really looking forward to working hard to help and encourage Sandie.  Thank you for your prayers and support.

By the way - the color for the nursery will be a light pink!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One Step Closer

It is so awesome to see God's hand at work.  In the past 24 hours we received our loan check for our Dossier to be able to be sent to Honduras & moved one step closer for our approval!  I was more excited to get that than I ever thought I could be.  Again, it is like God is saying "see, all you have to do is trust me...I will provide!"

Our Biometrics(fingerprints) were completed today and now we just wait again!  We are praying that these results come as fast as the other results came and yet I continue to trust in God's timing.

This week, we hosted two team members from Life Action (a conference that we had at our church) and had such a wonderful time with Sarah & Rachel.   A vision of what our life will be like in about 10 years.  Rachel is so much like Alexa & Sarah, much like Ariana.  What a blessing it was for our family.  To be able to share this brief time with two wonderful Godly young women, I truly believe was such a gift for our girls as well as both Andy & I.  We will miss having them around and yet gave us a glimpse of what our life is yet to come.

It amazes me to have this feeling of love for this little girl that we can only imagine in our hearts and minds.  We can't wait to get the news of who she is and what her little personality is like.  I know that God is wrapping His loving arms around her even at this moment and trust that the time will come in His time that we will be able to wrap our loving arms around her.

Lifesong for Orphans

As mentioned in previous posts, we are working under the Both Hands Foundation in cooperation with Lifesong for Orphans.  We will be partnering with Lifesong through the use of our blog to be advocates for orphans.  Now and then, we will post a blog from Lifesong which will be a reminder to us of the need for us to reach out in love to those who need a home and a family.

OCA Mission Moments from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.
They sat in the studio with an expectant glow as they spoke about their children they had yet to meet, but who they claimed as their very own...

Josh: "As unbelievers, we are aliens.  We are strangers.  We are separated from God.  But God has come in and adopted us, through Christ, to be in His family."
Jenn: "And we're just so thrilled that our family can be a picture of that to the world!  And just like we would never question our true son-ship to God the Father, it's been an encouragement to us to think about, we really don't have to question whether these kids are our true children... cause they are!"
When Josh and Jenn Philpot felt God's nudging toward adoption they weren't sure where they would get the money.  They received a matching grant through the Orphan Care Alliance (OCA), turning the $6,000 they had raised into $10,000, and making it possible for them to bring home not just one child but two!

OCA is a multi-church alliance in the Louisville/Southern Indiana area.  Adoption funding is just one part of their ministry.  Their many outreaches include recruiting and training foster parents, mentoring local foster children, assistance for local churches in launching orphan ministries, international orphan care, and more!  They are also a part of Lifesong's Outside the Walls Network, which connects churches to serve orphans more powerfully together than they could on their own.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Orphan and the Widow

There has not been a lot happening in the process of the adoption - we are still waiting for the preliminary approval from USCIS.  At the same time, we have been working on the Both Hands project, which we mentioned in a previous post.  We are building a team to work on a widow's home, and each team member will send out sponsor letters to raise funds that will go toward our adoption.  We have written a letter that explains our project.  You can find our letter on our donation page on the Both Hands site.

Please pray for us, Sandie (the widow we will be serving) and our team as we prepare for our project date on June 25th.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Great Yard Sale

What a day!  I am exhausted!

I woke up around 5am and tried to will myself back to sleep for another 30 minutes.As I lay there contemplating the fact that our friends and family had been very generous with offering items for the yard sale.  We had a basement, living room and dining room full, there were items in our sitting room and a few in the barn.  Needless to say, this fact moved me to get out of bed.  It wasn't long until Alicia was up and we began the process of setting up for the yard sale.  My brother, Mike, and my nephew, Zachary arrived around 6am to help carry everything out.  It was one trip after one point Zachary commented that there seemed to be no end to all of the stuff.  Our friend, Kim showed up shortly after that and Alexa also joined us.  We ended up with twelve tables filled with items and much more. 

Our first shopper showed up at 6:30, only an hour and a half before the sale actually was scheduled to begin.  It was about this time that the first light mist arrived, so we ran and grabbed towels and sheets and covered what we could.  The good thing was the shoppers were consistent and continued non-stop until 12:30.  The rain was light, it came and went and ended by mid-morning.  There were times that traffic in the driveway looked like the Schuykill Expressway during rush hour. 

Things we expected to sell are back in the basement, and other items went quickly.  One of my favorite moments of the day was allowing the kids to sell some video games.  We were given two televisions, and we had a handful of old atari video games programed into joysticks.  These were sitting on a table and no one was even looking at them.  I ran an extension cord to the table and allowed Alexa and my nephews to play the games.  Within minutes we sold the games and one of the televisions.  At one points it seems the kids would start playing a game and someone would buy it before they could finish the game.  We started breaking down the yard sale around 2pm.  Once everything was packed up and the yard was was empty once again, we sat down to total up the sales of the day...when all was totaled, the yard sale brought in almost $900.  We thank the Lord for such a great provision, and we thank our very generous family and friends for donations of items, money and time.

Here are some more pictures from the day:
Joseph Enjoying Breakfast!

What else do you do with ski poles!

Time to clean up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ready for the Yard Sale

Last Sunday was Mother's Day.  After church, the girls and I made dinner for Alicia and then did all of the clean up which allowed Alicia to enjoy a restful afternoon.  She found herself making a dress for Ariana for school and then she was able to enjoy a gift that Marcos and Maria Luisa brought for us.

As we look forward to the yard sale this Saturday, I do not think we are going to have much opportunity to use the hammock.  We have received many donations from friends and family towards the yard sale - clothing, books, bikes, collectables, children's toys and games, furniture, etc.  Everything that has come so far has collected in our basement, and has moved into the dining room and living room.

It looks like the Lord is going to give us great weather on Saturday, so we are hoping that all of the items that have been donated find a new home.  I am looking forward to a good day on Saturday and gaining back our living space. 

Thank you to all who have donated items - Please pray for a great day on Saturday and many opportunities to share about our adoption and how God brought us to this decision.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Approved for Both Hands Project

Once our Home Study was completed, we completed the application process for two adoption grants.  One was with Show Hope (Shaohannah's Hope) and the other was with Lifesong for Orphans.  We received an email from Show Hope yesterday letting us know that they received our application and will review it by the end of June.  We should hear back from them the first week of July.  We also heard from Lifesong yesterday...they called to let us know that we have been approved to be part of the Both Hands project.  There is a great video on their site which explains the Both Hands project.  In James 1:27 we read, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  In the full context of Scripture, we can understand this passage.  The Bible tells us, and from our own experience we know, that we are sinners.  In other words, we have turned away from God and rebelled against God.  In His holiness, God is unable to have a relationship with sinners, and in His justice He must deal appropriately with our sin.  Therefore, in our sin, we face an eternity separated from God under His judgment.  In His love and mercy, God sent His Son Jesus Christ who lived a pure life, and died in our place on the cross.  God chose to place our sin upon Jesus Christ, so that the penalty of our sin was taken care of in Christ.  Jesus died and was buried, but on the third day, he was raised from the dead.  Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus conquered sin and death.  Everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ alone receive the forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life.  Through Christ we are free to know God, love God and love forever in God's awesome presence.  Faith in Christ is the only way to have a right relationship with God.  The outflow of a right relationship with God is a desire to do that which brings Him glory and live according to His word.  James rights that we bring glory by caring for orphans and widows.  This is where the Both Hands project comes into play.

We are seeking to care for orphans through adoption and working with Living Hope Adoption Agency, which works to care for orphans in the countries of China and Honduras.  This is "one hand", with the "other hand" we are planning to care for a widow.  We will select a widow that needs work on her home, and we will set up a day that a number of us will work on her home.  We will gather a number of our friends to work on her home as well.  All of the participants working on the widows home will send out sponsor letters to their friends and family.  Those who want to sponsor the team members, will send their financial support to Lifesong for Orphans.  This will fund our adoption account and be a big help for us through this process.

We will share more details as they come together.  Please pray for us, for the widow that we will serve, and for our daughter in Honduras.