Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our Secret's Out!

It was so wonderful to finally tell all of our family and friends. The kids have been dying to scream it from the rooftops, and it makes it more official now that we've received so many well wishes! It's going to be a crazy journey and we look forward to honoring God with each step of it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Sibling Point of View

I learned a couple of years ago that I could trust Brooklyn to keep a good secret! So, when Jason and I decided to obey our Call to Adoption, we first brought Brooklyn into the circle of prayer and confirmation time! The Sunday we prayed with Arnita and cemented our decision to adopt, I was talking with Brooklyn in the bathroom before church. She was jabbering away in her usual adorable chatter, and said, "O.K., so mom, are we adopting or not adopting?" To which I replied, "I don't know, Brooklyn. We just have to know it's God's will. There are a lot of things that have to fall into place right, and if God's not going before us making them happen, it could get really ugly. So, I believe we are being called to this by Him, but right now daddy and I are just praying to KNOW that this is His will for our family, and we would really appreciate you praying too."

So we rushed off to church and afterward when we got home she says, "Guess what our lesson was about this morning?" "Praying the Will of God!"

After school the next day she came into my office and said, "O.K. I've been praying for two days and I don't know if I'm really hearing God or just hearing my own thoughts that I want to hear. So I've given up, and now I'm praying that you and daddy will just hear Him really clearly." So I asked her, well, what do you think you're hearing. And she said, "All I'm hearing is that yes we should, but since that's what I really want, I don't know if that's God too." We then had a lengthy conversation about deciphering the Holy Spirit speaking to you, and then when I told her daddy and I had applied, she just started jumping up and down and going silly crazy!

When we told Nathan he exclaimed, "We're getting an Ethiopian boy!" extremely loud, and Corban ran around whooping and slapping his rear end like an Indian Warrior. (not that I know whether or not they slapped their rear ends in their dancing)

Our First Family Prayer Time after Application Approval

Once we told the boys, I was thrilled to sit down and pray over the situation as a family. Here's a portion of what each prayed.

Lord, Thank you for our awesome family and how much fun we have. Please help it be the same when our new brother or brothers come. And please give us the ability to get the cars and a house and pay for all of the stuff for the adoption. - Brooklyn age 10

Thank you for the little dude coming next year and please keep him safe and healthy and be getting lots of hugs. Thank you for our family. - Nathan age 7

Thank you for dying on the cross and shedding your blood for our sins. Thank you for helping me pour out my heart to you. Lord, help all those who don't believe you, make them believe in you. Thank you for everyone you created, and thank you for all the stuff you created. Please protect my brother in Ethiopia from any accidents and help him get lots of love and all the food he needs to eat. Thanks for loving us God, I love you. - Corban age 5 (and yes, I cry a lot at bedtime prayers, because he prays like this a lot!)

The Crazy Roots

The Crazy Roots July 2010

Our Three Biological Children Feb 2009

Our Family Blog Can Be Found Here

Our Paper Pregnancy

  1. Apply to America World. 02-16-09
  2. Wait for Approval. Received 02-27-09
  3. Return Adoption Agreement and First Payment. 03-02-09
  4. Wait for Homestudy Contact. 03-18-09
  5. Dossier Documents arrive from AWAA. 03-12-09
  6. Wait for Homestudy Documents to arrive. 03-18-09
  8. Obtain Copies of Birth Certificates done
  9. Obtain Copy of Marriage License done
  10. Apply for Passports $702.70 07-03-09
  11. Request and Notarize Letters of Employment done
  12. Home Study Application done
  13. Autobiographies Completed done
  14. Criminal Background Checks
  15. ResidentialHistory done
  16. Statement of Faith done
  17. Medical Examinations for Each Member of the Family done
  18. Fire Protection Inspection 4/20/09
  19. Environmental Health Inspection 5-31-09
  20. Copies of Tax Returns done
  21. Pet Vaccination Verifications done
  22. Current Financial Statements done
  23. Create Floor Plan of the Home done
  24. Photo Session of the House done
  25. Home Study Reference Forms done - finally! :)
  26. Homestudy Interview 1 5-30-09
  27. Homestudy Interview 2 5-31-09
  28. Homestudy Interview 3 6-7-09
  29. Gina Hague Training Complete $87.50 5-30-09
  30. Jason Hague Training $87.50 6-4-09
  31. Reference Letter A 07-02-09
  32. Reference Letter B 07-12-09
  33. Reference Letter C 07-15-09
  34. Final Copy of Homestudy 07-01-09
  35. Receive Passports 07-11-09
  36. Criminal Background Check Jason $20.00 07-06-09
  37. Criminal Background Check Gina $25.00 07-06-09
  38. Send USCIS I-600A Application $860.00 07-06-09
  39. Receipt for I-600A arrives from USCIS office 07-10-09
  40. Family Photos Taken 07-12-09
  41. Mail off for State Certification of Docs 07-13-09
  42. Receive State Certification Documents 07-17-09
  43. Receive Fingerprint Appointments 07-23-09
  44. Complete Fingerprint Appointments 08-14-09
  45. Receive I-171H 08-25-09
  46. Mail Dossier to AWAA 08-25-09
  47. OFFICIALLY DTE 09-04-09
  48. Receive 4 year old Girl Referral 09-23-09
  49. Referral Nullified 09-24-09
  50. Sadness, Questions, Tears 09-24-09
  51. Peace, Resolve, Ready to Wait Again 09-25-09
  52. Receive Sibling Referrals 09-29-09
  53. Receive over and above and accept referral 10-06-09
  54. Receive Schedule of Court Date 10-29-09
  55. First Court Date - Failed - 12-01-09
  56. Pass Court 12-08-09
  57. Receive Tentative Travel Dates (TTD) 12-09-09
  58. Confirm Post Court Paperwork Complete 12-18-09
  59. Receive Confirmed Travel Dates 12-18-09
  60. Travel to Ethiopia 01-10-10
  61. Meet our Children 01-18-10
  62. Pick up our Children 01-19-10
  63. Arrive Home and Begin our New Crazy Life 01-23-10
  64. File for Re-Adoption in the State of Texas $308.00 07-14-10
  65. Court Appearance to Validate Adoption in U.S. 07-29-10

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our Decision to Adopt

God is so good. One day you can be sitting in church, completely satisfied with your life, your family, your marriage. You have the perfect number of kids, your feeling like life is truly complete, and then woosh. The Holy Spirit falls on you afresh, and everything turns upside down! Oh Beautiful Moment.

For Jason and I there had always been a heart for adoption in our lives. We understood the importance of taking care of God's children, how every child deserves the love of a family, and the chance to grow up in a Christ centered home. But, it was always something we believed God had for others. We were too strapped to even consider it anyway.

On December 15, 2008, Jason and I paid off our last consumer debt bill, and were, except for the mortgage, debt free. It was as if God was sitting on His throne, just waiting for us to be free of the bondage, tapping His fingers in anticipation, because from the moment we did that, we've been on a roller coaster of adventure!

As I look back over the last several months, I can now see the quickening in my Spirit whenever I saw little black children out and about. Stories of African refugees and orphanages began filling up my path. A visiting orphanage director at my Grandmother's Retirement Home, a program on tv, an email, a happened upon blog or two. . . And the funny thing was, whenever I mentioned these things to Jason he didn't freak out or shoot down the discussions, knowing full well where they were leading. . .

While I was down with a broken ankle in January a friend called and asked me to design a blog for her upcoming trip to Ghana. I looked through the pictures, prayed over the project, watched the video links, and felt a true passion to helping in any way I could. Then, on January 31, 2009 I sat in church, holding my adopted niece Adiah, and listening to a life changing sermon on the Holy Spirit Baptism, and my heart was beginning to call out for another child, or two. The Holy Spirit woke Jason up in the middle of the night and instructed him to go back and listen to the sermon as well (he had been on a date with our daughter Sat night) and so the next morning we went back to church to listen to the service again, and that's when I knew. I heard God call me Ghana, during a discussion of the Holy Spirit baptism of Abram and Sarai where God added His breath, the letter h, to their lives. For Sarai he removed the I, for Abram, duplicated the A, and for my name it went from Gina to Ghana. At first I took this as an instruction to go to Ghana to adopt, but after a lot of research and prayer, realized God was just opening my Spirit up to the idea of an African Adoption through that moment, and felt His call to Ethiopia.

A couple of days later I was having lunch with my sister in law and we were ready to leave the restaurant, when I just knew I was supposed to ask her, "So when are you adopting again?" She instantly began crying, shocked that I would ask, but the Holy Spirit had already told me beforehand we would do this together, but I was convinced she would never go through it again after the tiring transition she had experienced with Adiah and the move to Midlothian. (Both wonderful, amazing blessings, yet life changing nonetheless!)

As we talked about God's confirmations, and the doubts and fears we had both taken to Him on the subject, a strange peace just feel completely on me. I got in my car and I just begun telling Him I didn't know when was the right time, I knew He wanted me to impact the world through this, but I was concerned about our income, our small cars, our small house. . . and I just kept asking for a sign to know it was time to move. I turned on the radio, which I NEVER have on in the car, I'm a quiet freak when I'm alone, and the song was,
What Are You Waiting For
by Natalie Grant.
Sometimes I get that overwhelming feeling
So sad those faces on tv
If I tried to make a difference would it help anyway
But then I stop and to myself I say
So you wanna change the world
What are you waiting for
You say you're gonna start right now
What are you waiting for
It only takes once voice
So come on now and shout it out
Give a little more
What are you waiting for
Sometimes I feel a little helpless
Seems like I can't do a thing
But anything is possible just you wait and see
Good things happen if you just believe
Someday somehow
Gonna take that step
Cause time is ticking away
Right here right now
Before it's too late
Gonna face tomorrow today
I called Jason at work and let him know I would be looking into adoptions on the Internet when I got home, and he got excited with me. When I got home, Amy had already sent me several with information about Ghana and other African Nations.
But, Jason and I were nervous, this is a big deal to trust God to provide financially for the adoption, two cars, and a bigger house. We were still praying earnestly for an answer on Sunday morning. Every time I would try and open my mouth to sing during worship, the Holy Spirit would say, "Quiet!" and I would have to stop and I just stood there weeping and watching the most beautiful picture of Christ lifting me up toward heaven. It was a beautiful scene, a gift from my Father of confirmation that He would provide, lift, educate, and deliver. When the prayer call came at the close of the service, the side door opened and Arnita Taylor walked in the sanctuary to join the alter ministry team. It was my final confirmation. Arnita is one of those women I love dearly. I've been bible study sisters with her since I was pregnant with Nathan and I hadn't seen her in almost three years, we were both at a different church back then, and running into people at a church as large as ours isn't common. She's a beautiful African American woman, and I knew she was there to answer some of the questions I had about being capable of having a bi-racial family. It was a perfect God appointment.
The next morning Jason called me when I woke up and asked me when I was going to apply, and I got on the computer and did it. The entire time I kept arguing with God about finances, almost daring Him that He was going to have to come through, and I was now EXPECTING it with urgency. The next morning on Tuesday, Jason got a call from a prospective employer offering him a new position with an increase in salary this year equal to the cost of the adoption! Praise the LORD!
Just had a God moment while typing these memories out. . . went back to look up the words of Natalie Grant's song on the Internet to paste in here, and read the words for the first time! I didn't know it was even about a response to seeing faces on tv! I came in on it that day after the first couple of lines! How cool is that! What a GOD thing!