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Archive for January, 2009

One really great thing happened this week–one of the miracles we are praying for! We were really hoping that we wouldn’t need to pay for a storage unit for all of our stuff, and we have been asking God to provide a place where we could keep everything together–in a safe, weatherproof area–for up to a year–for free. That’s not asking for a lot, is it? We knew it would be a long shot, another miracle in our long list of miracles. Well, earlier this week a friend of a friend offered to let us store our stuff in his basement, for as long as we want, for free. Wow! Thank you, Brian, and thank you, God! This will help us SOOOOO much. It’s so cool to see God come through even in the so-called “smaller things”. Not paying for storage each month will help free up more money for us as we pay to rent a place in Nairobi while still paying for some of our mortgage here in Michigan.

More big news. . . we finally heard from our agency about how much money we need to send them with our dossier. We’ve been waiting for this answer for over three weeks. They left a message on our phone, and the news was quite discouraging. They said we owed them $13,901 when we mail them our dossier. That is $6,000 more than we expected! Instead of freaking out, G and I prayed about it and encouraged each other in faith that it wouldn’t really be that much money. We weren’t sure if they remembered our matching grant, so I called to get more clarification. After a couple of conversations, more clarification, and a bit of tweaking on their part to accept our grant, we now only need to send them $7,901 at this time. They will use our grant to cover most of the next payment that we need to send them. This is still a bit more money than we thought, but expenses have gone up and adopting two children obviously costs a bit more. Because of four VERY generous friends, we were given $2,500 in the past two weeks. Isn’t this cool–these recent gifts combined with what we already have is almost EXACTLY the amount we need to send with our dossier. I LOVE it! God provides exactly what we need exactly when we need it! Being in the situation, having to trust God to work out all the details, being helpless to do much on our own, having to rely solely on God’s provision is a very scary and oh-so-exciting place to be. We’ve had some hours where we are almost out of faith, but most of the time we look at what God has already done and have faith to keep walking on, even though we don’t know how we’re going to afford the next step. We have enough for this step, and that’s all we need today.

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some adjustments


(Don’t worry, this isn’t how she’s usually buckled in the car. This is M’s idea of how an astronaut might be buckled.)

I noticed recently that K needed her car seat adjusted. I’ve tried several times to adjust it in the car, but it never quite worked the way I wanted. Today I brought it inside to get to the straps a bit better, and soon M and K were playing astronaut and spaceship. Of course it was M’s idea, but K was a very willing participant.

Some other adjustments are happening around here. Each day when M gets home from school, we play a new game called “What’s Different?” She looks around the house and tries to see what little nook or closet that I’ve packed up that day. G and I are trying to take full advantage of my mom being here for a few weeks. We sort and declutter and pack anytime we have a few minutes to spare. Speaking of packing, I feel a bit like Abraham. Remember how God told him, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” He packed up everything without knowing where he was going or when he would get there. This is the first time I’ve packed without knowing where I was going. Obviously we know we are going to Kenya, but we don’t know where we will stay or how long we will be gone. We are confident God will work out the details even though there are still a LOT of unknowns.

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it’s here . . .hurray!

Can you tell what this is?

Look a little closer.

Our dossier has arrived, just when we were promised! It has all the official stamps from the Department of State and the Kenyan Embassy and is ready to be sent to our agency with a big check. Uh . . .that’s the problem. We still don’t know how much money we need to send them! Because we started this adventure two years ago (and had to take a detour because of our precious K), the fees have increased. Also, we are asking for siblings, so that increases things as well. I called to ask them for a new amount over two weeks ago. They are still working on it! We should hear ANY minute now what our new total is and keep this ball rolling.

While G and I were looking through everything last night and making sure that every paper was there and stamped, we noticed that Condoleezza Rice herself signed a few of our documents! It wasn’t even a stamp–it was really her signature. Someone else signed most of them, but it’s fun that someone who is quite well known had a small part in our adoption.

Please keep praying about affordable housing for us in Nairobi. Some very good friends of ours are renting our condo while we are gone (Thanks, guys! That helps a LOT), but we still have some of our mortgage to cover as well as whatever it costs us to live in Nairobi. We’re asking God to provide something by the end of January. Whether we have an answer or not, we need to book plane tickets around then, so please keep us in your prayers!

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pastorized!

Our church has a new missions pastor. He is very passionate about God’s heart for the needs of the world, and he’s really gifted in introducing others to those needs and how they can use their careers and their interests to make a lasting difference. He’s also a really fun guy to hang out with. You know, the kind of guy you’d like to have over to watch a movie or play games. Oh, the stories he tells. He’s seen a lot of very sad things and even more really amazing things in Africa, and he loves to tell all about them. He’s a really great guy, and he’s just the right man to lead our church in making a lasting difference in the needs of the world. AND . . . the best part of all . . . I get to be married to him! I never thought G would consider being a pastor. He’s such a casual, “regular” guy. He never wants others to elevate him or set him apart for what he does for a living, not to mention being a pastor is a LOT of responsibility. After a lot, I do mean a lot, of soul-searching, G agreed to being considered for the new missions pastor of our church. So, on Sunday, he was officially ordained. Just don’t call him Pastor Graig. I’m sure he will roll his eyes and say, “Hey, just call me G”.

We enjoyed spending time with our friends and family that came from out of town on very snowy roads to celebrate with us.

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Seems like forever since I’ve posted. Life has been quite crazy. K got sick, AGAIN. Right after the last post, she caught the cough/cold that M brought home from school. I knew right away that she was going to get really sick. It sounded and looked like what happened with her in the fall where I thought she was going to have to be admitted to the hospital. The cough and cold quickly settled deep into her lungs. We took her to the doctor twice, had a few terrible nights of very little sleep, and dug out the nebulizer for breathing treatments. As soon as she started feeling better, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder and couldn’t pick up anything, much less carry a crabby baby around. My mom came just in time. She’s going to be staying with us for a few weeks while we start to pack up and move out. She’s helped a LOT with the recent illnesses.

We have a cozy condo this weekend. We’re really excited that G’s parents and sister have joined us for a special weekend (more about that soon), but that means we all have to be on our best behavior while 8 people are crammed into a condo meant for two or three. Good thing we all get along so well. Good practice for when we bring another two children into our home.

Since K has started feeling better, she seems to be exploding with new things. She’s standing up by herself several times a day. Sometimes she lasts for several seconds, other times it’s only for a couple of seconds. Three days ago she learned to say “all done” very clearly, yesterday she learned to say “hot”, and today she decided to add “eye” to her quickly expanding vocabulary. She really does use them in context, too. It’s amazing to me how many words she’s really trying to say. If she keeps this up, we might have TWO very chatty girls in our house.

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Well, we’ve made another leap. After much research and multiple visits to the Little Seedling, we are now using cloth diapers. I NEVER thought I’d use them. I remember what my mom did when my brother was in cloth diapers. No. Thank. You.

Then we started having to pay for diapers.
Then I started to care about pollution and landfills.
Then I decided there are other ways I could be “green” and save the planet.
Then one of my friends started using cloth diapers.
Then I asked her to teach me how.
Then we researched more.
Then we realized how much money we would save in Kenya where diapers are imported and of course cost even more money than in the US.

So, we did it. We spent the amount of money that it would cost for about five months of diapers, and in theory, we should never need to buy diapers again. We made the purchase right before we did all our holiday traveling and right before we all got sick. We tried the diapers for one day before we left. It was terrible. Leaks every time. I deeply regretted making the switch. We switched back to disposable for the time we were gone and used them until we were all better and able to handle trying again. The second day we tried was also terrible. More leaks. We kept using disposable at night since we weren’t doing so well during the day. By day three we figured out what we were doing wrong, and it’s really been GREAT since then. Believe it or not, we actually like them, and we love that we don’t need to buy any more diapers ever again (well, not nearly as often–we will probably use disposables for church and when we travel in the car or on a plane on long trips). We’re even using the cloth ones at night with much success. Woo, hoo! It’s not even gross, which I fully expected it to be. Now we’re saving the planet, saving money, and K’s pants stay up better.

Look at K go! She’s just started walking behind her shopping cart. She’s so proud of herself.

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a campout and big news

About three weeks ago, we had our annual Christmas Campout. It’s actually a camp “in”. We blow up an air mattress, watch a Christmas movie, eat popcorn and sleep in the living room. We started this tradition last year, and K slept in her car seat in the living room with us. This year we decided that she should stay upstairs in her crib because we didn’t feel like lugging the pack-n-play up from the basement, and we didn’t want the movie to keep her awake. Sometime during the night she woke up crying. I think G brought her downstairs (She came down somehow). She slept with us on the mattress for a bit. At one point I was awake enough to realize that she had just rolled off the edge. It was about a 6 inch drop, and she just curled up in a ball and went right back to sleep on the carpet. In my partially awake state of mind I decided to let her keep sleeping there since she seemed to be comfortable. (Now that I’m awake, I clearly see that this wasn’t the best decision.) Sometime later-I have no idea how much later—I felt her crawling back onto the mattress with me. She slept there the rest of the night. Must have been comfy because we all overslept Sunday morning. I’m SO glad she decided to crawl to the mattress during the night instead of over to the un-gated stairs or to some other dangerous situation. Next year we will confine her to the pack-n-play to be on the safe side, but next year we might have so many air mattress that we spill over into the dining area. Why?

Drum roll, please . . . . . .

We are going to ask our adoption agency for TWO Kenyan children. Yep, we’ve made the decision. We both agree. We’re already taking this huge leap of faith by doing something that we can’t afford and dragging our family halfway around the world to a third world country for up to a year. Why not trust God for a little bit more and ask for siblings. We’ve been approved to adopt two (we have no idea how we were approved, but we were), so after MUCH prayer, Scripture searching, and asking for input from others who have adopted, we’re leaping a little farther into the unknown. I waffle back and forth all the time about how I FEEL about this decision. I know it’s the right choice (in fact, I’m the one who was pulling for two instead of one), but I’m scared. Really scared. Maybe terrified. And also, really excited.

I can’t WAIT to meet our girls, cuddle with them, memorize their faces, play with their hair, learn their personalities, their likes and dislikes, their favorite color and favorite foods, but I’m scared that I can’t be a great mom to four kids. I’m doing OK with two. I love it, but just having two is overwhelming sometimes. How can I meet the needs of ALL four kids, half of whom have likely had some very difficult things already happen to them in their brief lives, all of whom will likely have multiple issues as we are all adjusting to each other in someone else’s home? The truth is clear. We can’t meet all their needs. Good thing we know Who can.

This year, 2009, may be the most difficult and the most rewarding of our lives. G and I are very excited to be in this place, but we know it’s also going to be tough. This situation has brought us to our knees in complete reliance on God and His provision for us along this journey, and that is not going to stop in a few short months. In fact it will probably intensify our need to stay deeply connected to our faithful Friend. It’s so amazing that even though God calls us to challenging circumstances and scary situations, He is right there with us each step of the way.

OK, enough preaching.

So, currently our dossier is in Washington DC. It is in the very final stages of authentication, and we should receive it back in our mailbox before the 20th. We will then send it to our agency (with a big payment, yikes!), and they will do one final check before sending it to Kenya. Then we wait. It usually takes about 8 weeks to get a referral (pictures and health information about your children). It’s getting really close, now. We still need a LOT of things to fall into place, but we’re confident that they will. Our goals for January are to decide what we are going to do about M’s schooling while we are there and also to do our VERY best to find a place to live in Nairobi. We have a few people that we know who are willing to help us with this. Please pray that the perfect place at the perfect price will be found quickly. That would really ease some stress in our lives.

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