Friday, September 23, 2011

Photo for Freedom

This website and blog are a must.
It is a site a blog started by a photographer names Tom. He has dedicated his time to help stop trafficking and exploitation of children in the fishing villages of the Volta region. 
If you have a chance please take some time to read and educate yourself on a bit of what is going on there. 
His award winning photography does an amazing job of capturing the joys and tragedies, the beauty and sadness that are a part of Ghana, specifically the Volta region. It is very overwhelming to read. 
Tom had a chance to travel around the region with a man named Joseph Brabi who is John Bull's right hand man (John Bull is the man featured with his wife on the video in this post). The ministry the Lord has given them in Ghana is amazing and their website is wonderful. What he and his wife do is a beautiful picture of Christ-City of Refuge- another must.
The experiences Tom writes about in his blog are very real and tragic. 
He writes "These were the most difficult pictures I have ever taken.  I felt ashamed being a visitor and having the option to leave Ada." 
 But then he said, "Looking back now I’m glad I took the photographs and witness what I did while in Ghana.  The photos taken at Ada and Ada Kope are the strongest work for the coming exhibition.  The best tool for us to stop the atrocity that is modern day slavery is to bring it to the public eye and to support organizations like YGAP and CORM.  Unless we put slavery into light it will continue to fester in the darkness. 
Here are a few of the photos:

In the midst of the hardships of Ghana there is beauty. The photos of the children playing and the little girl with the pot on her head. 
And there is hope in Ghana at places like City of Refuge with John Bull, Stacy, Joseph Brabi and his wife Theresa (pictured below). People who have the love of God in their heart, who love the children that God brings to them! 
And one day, if the Lord wills, He will bring us a child to love and care for!

Photo for freedom also has a Facebook page

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Homestudy Application 90% done!!!

This Adoption Application is CRAAAAAAAZY!!!!!
We already sent 1 application in and now we have 2 more almost done that we are sending in.

1. Initial application to agency in Texas that will take care of overall adoption.
2. Our application to our local Homestudy Agency here in Illinois.
3. Finishing touches on our application to the Agency in Texas now that we are approved.

Here is a picture of MOST of the stack of paperwork we had to do.
It has things like:
Criminal conviction history
Physicals for each person in our family
Legal agreements
Our Financial Situation
Our at least 5 page long Autobiography's we had to write
pictures of our drivers licences
Finger prints
Notarized Documents
and MORE!
 Addressed envelopes ready to send after we do the last 3 things hopefully this week! 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray that we can get this all finished up so we can send it this week and get our Homestudy started.

An about 3 month process that our case worker will come into our home and see our family life, living situation and confirm that we are a family fit to adopt a child.
THEN we get matched with our CHILD!!!

We have raised just over $2000 so far! 
We have quite a ways to go to meet the approx. $25,000 we need and the car the Lord will provide, but people have blessed us SOOO much with their hearts to give. We have been blown away already. 
And we haven't even been matched with our child yet!

I just want to thank each person that has already contributed to this journey our family is on!

Fundraisers working on for the future
1. A Tumblr that will have t-shirts to purchase and updates on the adoption 
(it may take over this blog, but i will keep you posted on that)
2. I really want to make bracelets to sell, I got the idea one night and I am super excited about it. They are are more then just bracelets and I will explain more in the future!
 (it is more for awareness then fundraising)
3. There are grants that we are going to look into and apply for!

Oh my, what has happened over the last few weeks since our last post.
1. Josh met with a gentlemen that introduced him to 2 people who have adopted and he came home so refreshed. This application process has been tedious and overwhelming at times. Juggling our regular busy schedule with work, the kids school, church and ballet we are busy. It's not just filling our papers, there are appointments to schedule and show up to, autobiographies to write and paperwork to search for and copy. It can be discouraging.
But after this meeting Josh had one comment that was said that really put some wind in our sails, "When I think about all the paperwork, time and $ that goes into getting your child home I remember that it is nothing compared to what Jesus did to adopt us into His family."
It was an amazing reminder to give us thankfulness for what Christ has done for us and perseverance to push thru all the tedious things that need to get done!
2. I went to our church's mom's group for the Adoption session. There was a speaker who was going to share her story of adoption and another speaker who was a case worker for the mom's who place their children up for adoption.  I was excited to hear what they had to share and glean any advice they had. The first gal shared about her Inter-country adoption of a newborn baby boy and who was a different race and had some amazing things to share. Alot of her story was very different then what ours will be in that hers was Inter-country and ours is International, her son was a newborn and our will be over 2 years old. But there were a few things she faced and spoke about that were things I was curious to see how she handled. One was dealing with people who had a hard time with her having a child of a different race. She also shared about how she dealt with telling her son about being adopted. There were some things she said her and her husband did that made me think and wonder what we would do. She has an open adoption so the mom can be involved if she wants to. So she tells her son that he has 2 moms and they speak of his other mom quite a bit. She isn't involved right now, they don't know where she is so that sparks other conversations as well.
My mind started whirling of concerns I have been having already and what she had said only made me have more questions! How will we help our new son to feel a part of our family? How will we talk to him about where he came from? Will he believe that we love him as our own son? How will he know he belongs? What about people around us and their questions/comments, how will they effect him? What is the best way to handle it?
After the 2 speakers I totally had more questions then answers. Our leader Janel got up and her husband who is adopted was hanging out in the back of the room. She decided to have him come up and share. And oh my, I was so encouraged.
He shared things like.....
- His parents told him that he was hand picked. They were very specific that they wanted a boy from an irish catholic home. They chose him because of who he was. And he actually was a bit conceited about it, telling other kids that his parents picked him!
-That made me excited about the specifics the Lord has laid on our hearts! The more specific the more we can tell him he is exactly what our family prayed for. 
-His parents told him "You belong where you are loved". I LOVE THAT!
-While he was talking I started thinking about telling him, "God chose you for us and chose us for you. Your are CHOSEN."

I was so encouraged. It was like a breath of fresh air. I totally had a picture in my head of walking him up to the school door (when he is ready) and introducing him as my son kissing him on the head and sending him on his way. Now don't get me wrong I know there will be hard times, as there is with every son or daughter. I know that there will be fears, anxieties and frustrations. But there will also be more love, more laughter, more hugs and kisses!

3. Then just to top all of this off. I was talking to my mom after the Mom's Group and was sharing with her all the things I just shared with you. Now mind you when I first told my family they were fearful about the concept of adoption. About the seriousness of it, the many things that we would face and how it would effect Elly, Lucy and Atticus. 
After I finished telling her all of this my mom said, "Well since, I was there for the week after the birth of Elly, Lucy and Atticus I would love to be there for the week after he comes into our family."
I can not tell you how much this blessed me. I got all choked up and was so happy:) The most beautiful gift I have gotten so far on this journey or adoption. 

God is good!

Lemonade stand 2

So the season for lemonade stands is ending. Onto the next endeavor to raise some $. I have a few ideas up my sleeve. Ideas for bracelets to sell are brewing in my mind. More about that later.
The girls made a total of $120!! I am so proud of them and people were so kind a generous in our neighborhood. We had a lot of fun doing it and the girls joy and excitement to help bring their brother home blessed me so much!!
This is the homemade sign the girls 100% made themselves. Words all all totally their idea!

They did little performances:)
I wish I had videotaped these!
Lemonade stand- SUCCESS! 
Onto our next endeavor soon:)