Updates!

It’s been such an exciting few weeks sharing our adoption news with everyone!  The support we’ve received helps us to know that we have lots of people that will help us through the hard times as well as rejoice with us during the exciting times.

So what’s happening now?  We are working on our home study application. I’ve started reading some books to understand and prepare for the potential situations from which our new little one will come.  Praying for him not knowing if he has even been born yet. God knows his story and one day we will too.  

I’ve been updating sections of the blog– you can now follow via Bloglovin.  Also see the new About and Our Adoption pages at the top.

I have had such overwhelming support of the Amy’s Evolving Closets fundraiser! My friend Lynda made this great logo!

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I’ve added a link in the sidebar—> to the Facebook page and the Instagram account.  I’m excited to share that we have already raised over $1,000 this year!  It has been such a blessing not to mention something I enjoy doing!

I hope to keep this page updated to let people into our process, especially the ones that have been supporting us but do not know personally!  Also feel free to ask me any questions; I’m an open book about most things :) 

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Follow the blog on Bloglovin

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April 5, 2014 · 11:54 am

How We Arrived Here- Why Burundi?

I’ll be writing a lot more to catalog our journey and I wanted to start today by giving a lot of background on how exactly we got to the place of starting our adoption from Burundi.

To go way back, if you don’t know us, Joel and I met in high school.  I’d say we quickly knew that this was it.  We dated for 5.5 years and were married in 2004.

Somewhere in there we talked about how many kids we wanted (2) and also how if we were unable to have children we would adopt rather than using medical intervention.  Neither of us had much interest in sinking tons of money or emotion into fighting infertility that way.  In time we didn’t have to cross that bridge as we were blessed with the birth of our two sons, Nate and Cole, within 21 months.

Last fall it became clear that adoption for us wasn’t “if” but rather “when.”

When you start looking at adoption it can be overwhelming to say the least.  Domestic, International, What age child would you prefer, where do you qualify, how long will it take….

For us we knew a few things for certain-

We want an ethical adoption. A child that truly needs a home and that bringing him into our home happens in an ethical manner.

We did not desire a baby, but we would like him to fall into birth order (i.e. younger than Cole)

Ideally we could complete the adoption in 2-3 years. (This would capitalize on the “Lover Years” (years in which they are more compassionate) in our older boys-ages 5-8 as described in the book Wild Things–another takeaway from dotMom!)

 

We started with Africa because that is where we had always talked about adopting from.  There is a great need and while many adoptive couples/families would like a child that looks like them, having a racially diverse family just isn’t an issue for us.

The first agency we met with works in Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa and a few other countries that are currently closed.  As we had this meeting the outlook in both Ethiopia and Uganda was beginning to look bleak.  Along with wait times of 3-4 years the governments in these countries are unstable.

Next we moved on to talking with agencies that work in Congo.

Let me stop here for a second to say that even though Joel and I feel strongly called to adoption we agreed that we would not pursue this past the point of it seeming like a good idea for the stability of our family.  While ultimately this will change our family forever in many positive ways, it is also not without a good bit of sacrifice as well.

So, in speaking with an agency regarding Congo I began to really understand how adoption can go very wrong, very fast.  Specifically in Congo they are currently not issuing “exit letters” for families that have in every other way completed their adoption.  Meaning that they have been matched with a child, paid all the fees, traveled to the country and are waiting on a piece of paper to return home.  Some families are just having to walk away with broken hearts AND also out a significant amount of money.

That is not the level of sacrifice that our family is willing to take on.

It was then that I understood the importance, from our perspective, of working with a Hague country.  You can read about the Hague Convention here, but essentially it means that the country will have a central authority in place for the handling of adoptions and that they will follow certain procedures to ensure that children are in fact eligible for adoption.  This leaves less room for corruption, anything that in any way might resemble child trafficking and very unlikely that our adoption would fail due to the system.

So the obvious next question was- are there any Hague countries in Africa?

There are a few.  Some are currently closed, some didn’t fit the things we were looking for.  Burundi seemed like a good place to start.

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Burundi- A very tiny, beautiful, landlocked country in south central Africa.

There are only a handful of agencies that Burundi has agreed to work with and I believe the agency we are using is the only one actively working there now.  I spoke with the agency and program directors as they laid out the process for me (which at this point I was very familiar with after going through this talk with 4 other agencies.)  Quickly one detail stood out and is different from the process in every other country I had heard about.

We will travel to Burundi, hand deliver our dossier (paperwork) and meet with the Central Authority before we are matched with a child.

In most other countries you complete your paperwork, send it to the country and wait.  Your paperwork gets put in a stack with all the others and you’re kind of just a number in a line. Once you are matched you can accept the referral and then you would travel for court dates and to bring them home.

This difference in Burundi is what really sealed the deal for us and allowed us to view our adoption journey as a two-part process.

We’re calling part one our “mission trip.”  We will prepare our paperwork and then we will GO to Africa!  We hope to be able to take some funds to help purchase some things for the orphanages when we get there.  We will meet with the Central Authority, orphanages, see the country, meet their people and show how we are truly interested in giving a loving home to one of their children.

We pray that ultimately our trip will result in part two- being matched with a child and then bringing him home.

It has brought us so much peace in knowing that in all of this there will be something done for good.  We WILL go to Burundi and make some kind of impact, however small.  We are accepting that while we believe that bringing a child into our family is what we have been called to do, it may not actually happen.  Or it might not happen in the way that we expect. But for now this is how we have discerned our path and are thrilled to begin!

 

 

 

 

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On My Heart

It’s been crickets around here for the last six months.  The holidays, birthdays and life in general have kept me busy.

And one big thing has been on my heart and mind every day.  I’m excited to finally share it with the world. (If you know me you know that keeping secrets is not a virtue of mine.)

We are adopting!

As I was driving to DotMom thoughts about adoption popped into my head.  I thought, “Oh, that’s silly.” and kept driving.  And then nearly every single speaker proceeded to speak in some way about adoption.  And I straight up ugly cried at Jen Hatmaker’s adoption video.  And I thought this is crazy, but this is my call.

Returning home that Sunday was exciting and terrifying.  I told Joel that I had an amazing weekend.  Then I hugged him tight, took a deep breath and said “and I think maybe we’re supposed to adopt.”

I didn’t ask him about it for weeks.  I knew he needed to be 100% on board and I wasn’t the one to sell it to him.  He had to feel the call too.

Finally I broached the subject.  He said he’s felt like we should be doing more.  More to honor God, to sacrifice and give of ourselves.  I’ve felt it too.

This is the mission to which we’ve been called.  A mission to love with our whole hearts.  We couldn’t be more thrilled.

For the past several months we’ve been talking with agencies trying to determine what country is the best fit for our family.

Our son (yes, son!) is in Burundi.

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We are now beginning the process of paperwork, praying, interviews, paperwork, check writing and more paperwork that will bring him home.

I am looking forward to returning to blogging as we navigate this journey and will covet your prayers, comments and questions along the way!

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My favorite quotes from #dotmom13

A few weeks ago I had a weekend away; what I like to call a “momcation.”  I’ve been taking at least a weekend away for the past 2 years.  Sometimes it’s by myself and sometimes with a friend.  This time I traveled to Chattanooga, TN to attend dotMom.

I really went out on a limb with this one.  I basically signed up because I’m a Jen Hatmaker fangirl (I met her) and I shared a hotel room with some girl I met on the internet (turns out she is lovely ;) )

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My expectations for the weekend were pretty low.  I’d be in the same room with Jen.  I’d hear a few pointers on how to handle my boys and juggle everything else going on in my life. I’d get two nights sleep in a hotel, eat few meals that I didn’t cook and hoped that Elizabeth and I got along ok.

I DID NOT expect to be so encouraged.  I DID NOT expect to come away feeling like all the pressure I put on myself is pretty silly in the eyes of God.  I DID NOT expect to feel like God was speaking to my heart.  But all these things did happen.

I find myself thinking about the things I heard almost daily and wanted to share some of the quotes that have stuck with me.

Vicki Courtney

“Pinterest is a woman’s filing system for her fairy tale.”

“Claim happily ever after in the just now moments of our lives.”

“God says ‘Show them me and it will be enough.’”

Jen Hatmaker

“Respond to parenting with humility and authenticity, not control and power.”

“How we live for Jesus means more that what we say.”

“God does His best work in reality.”

“If our children are following our example, how will they look in 10-15 years?”

Chrystal Evans Hurst

“Figure things out for your season of life.”

David Thomas

“Know the girl moms!  They will know everything that is going on!”

I also heard Angela Thomas speak twice, but I didn’t take any notes.  I will tell you that she is hilarious!

I hope one or a few of these quotes are encouraging to you.  I REALLY want to attend next year as well- it’s September 19-20 in Nashville!

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Fiscal Friday- The 7 Experiment Bible Study!!!!

I am so excited to finally be linking up with Katie, Christina and Natalie for Fiscal Friday.  I have so many ideas I want to share about #fiscalresponsibility, but I’m going to tackle a big one first.

When it comes to being fiscally responsible, I can’t do it on my own.

Y’all, I’ve tried it and for me (as my husband can attest) I have no self control when it comes to spending….especially in the area of THINGS.

Sure, it’s easy to ignore debt for a little while.  You know, while your busy trying to make your life look perfect.

It’s been a journey for me over the past few years to frankly, get over myself.  And daily I’m learning to let go of certain areas of my life that in the end don’t matter a bit.  Jesus was clear-“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV

A catalyst on my journey was reading Seven by Jen Hatmaker.  The perspective I gained inspired me to pack up my old blog (the one that I spent a lot of time on trying to make my life look perfect.  You know the type.)  It helped me see myself for who I really was- someone who was living beyond her means, gluttonous, wasteful, media-obsessed and stressed.  I am truly blessed and rich, yet I often saw myself as never being good enough.  I was not living the life God intended for me and it’s still a daily struggle.

I’m going to be bold and venture to say that a few of you out there might now exactly what I’m talking about.  For others maybe there is one particular area of life that really has a hold on you.  I think everyone will agree that the EXCESS in our lives often feels more like a burden than a blessing.

The Fiscal Friday bloggers and I are going to examine these areas of our life by completing The 7 Experiment Bible Study.   Starting November 3rd and running until the end of the year, each week will focus on one area of excess- Food, Clothing, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending and Stress.  I think it will be obvious how the excess in these areas negatively affects our budgets and our hearts.  I know I really need to take a step back an refocus on these areas in my life.

Now for the best part-

We would love for you to join us!  I have set up a closed Facebook group to serve as a way for us to communicate during the study.  Leave a comment or email me (amyevolving at gmail dot com) your email address and I will add you to the group.  Once you are in the group feel free to invite other friends as well- the more the merrier!

I hope we will all be blessed by this study and the support we can gain from one another when we are brave enough to say that we can’t do it on our own.  We need Jesus to help us stay the course.

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Thrifty Finds for me and you!

I’ve always loved a good deal.  Sorting through things to find a gem? It’s a fun high.

After reading Jen Hatmaker’s Seven I felt very convicted about having SO. MUCH. STUFF. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  It will rock your world.)

I already bought a lot of things secondhand, but now I was even more convinced it was the right thing for me to look for secondhand options before buying something new.  For me this includes thrift and consignment shops as well as Ebay (self proclaimed addict here!)

Personally, I can spend a good 2 hours in a thrift shop.  I’ll look at EVERYTHING.  Books, housewares, shoes, kids clothes, my clothes….there are few things I wouldn’t buy from a thrift shop.   Here are some of my recent home decorating finds-

Cute kids room art- $2/each!

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Guest room print- $3

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Fun kids room accessory- $3.50

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Clothes can be a little more difficult, but if you shop often you can compile a great wardrobe!

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A Kelly’s Kids jon jon for $3 and a J. Crew wool sweater found in July!  Thrifting requires to buy all seasons all year!

My boys’ clothes are almost exclusively from thrift stores and consignment sales.

Because I’m always looking I find some great things that are not in our sizes or are girls clothes.  I recently decided to open an online shop, Amy’s Evolving Closets, to  bring amazing thrift finds to others.

My customers may live in areas where there aren’t great secondhand shopping options or don’t have the time or patience to “dig” like I do.

You can find my shop on Facebook and Instagram.

I’m also looking forward to volunteering at a local thrift shop through my church in a few weeks and with my Junior League’s Attic Sale in November!  Thrifting for great causes is even more fun.

How do you thrift shop?

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