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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.