Saturday, June 29, 2013

Want to match our girls?

They have their cups labeled, lemonade made, and the sweetest smiles on their faces! Our girls are all set to do their Saturday lemonade stand! Grandma and Poppie are here for a visit, but they didn't want to skip this Saturday.  Eden said it's too hot not to have a lemonade stand! There drive and excitement is inspiring! Will you help make this day even better for them? Who wants to match their efforts today? Will you consider financially matching what they make? As always, ALL proceeds go directly to Charlotte!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lemonade Please!

Our girls are 6 1/2 and almost 5 years old.  They are old enough to understand what we are doing and where their new sister is coming from (the boys are only 3 and 1 1/2 - they don't quite get what is happening yet).  We have a desire to include them in the process as much as possible.  We strongly believe it will teach them lessons that will last a lifetime.  Hence, the lemonade stand...

When we did our first lemonade stand I thought it would be amazing if we could bring in $50.  I thought the girls would be so proud of that and really feel like they are a part of the team bringing their sister home.  Well, to my amazement, the first lemonade stand brought in $105! We were shocked! We were able to share our story with many people who were amazed and excited.  On each cup I had placed a label with a link back to our blog so people could follow our journey.  We were so encouraged by how excited people genuinely were for our family! Seeing the girls excitement, Nana stocked the girls up with new lemonade pitchers, lemonade, Kool Aid, and sugar.  The girls couldn't wait to get back out there!

Fast forward to the next Saturday.  Another sunny day, another smiling lemonade stand staff.  This Saturday we were again amazed! We made $156! We truly are humbled! We had people stopping two or three times because our lemonade was "soooo good!". The girls were so proud!

Yesterday was a hot, humid day.  After dinner the girls asked if they could set up a quick stand.  We said, "sure!" Their first two customers gave us $61! We couldn't believe it! God is certainly blessing our styrofoam cups of lemonade!

When we first started this I knew fundraising was something we needed to do, but I honestly struggled with it.  We were the ones wanting to adopt yet we were asking others to help us.  It took some praying and processing through this with The Lord for me to feel more excited about it.  That would be a whole other blog post, but I'll try and quickly summarize some of my thoughts.  I know I've said it before, but we believe that all Christians are called to take care of orphans and widows (James 1:27).  We also believe that looks differently for different people.  One way it may look is people being willing to use their own personal resources to help another family provide a loving home.  It's certainly not the only way, just one specific example.  Through our little lemonade stand on our front lawn we have seen first hand how excited people are to share their resources with a special child! 

Another blessing we have experienced is helping people see the possibilities for them to adopt in their own lives. We've all heard of other people adopting internationally, but if you were like us, we had a strong desire to adopt but didn't see it possible - strictly from a financial stand point.  The awareness this little lemonade stand is raising is amazing! We are hoping to inspire others to step out in faith and commit to bringing home a child in need! I can't tell you the shock on people's face when we tell them our story.  It's not a shock of disbelief that there are babies who need rescuing or even a shock that we have 4 biological children and are still pursuing an adoption (that doesn't seem to bother anyone! It actually seems to make them more excited! This came as a huge shock to me!).  They are truly shocked that they get to meet and talk to a family going through the process.  It is just something people read about or hear of t.v. not something many people often get to have conversations about and ask their questions.  It has been wonderful to be able to explain how other families can get more information regarding the adoption process and how this is our way of living out the Great Commission in our home and how we are stepping out in complete faith trusting God for the big unknown! We are prayerful that The Lord is always glorified during this process! It is nothing of our own doing - all His!!

Thank you for all your support!

Prayer Request:
-Continue to pray that our home study can be done within the next couple of weeks
-Please pray our passports show up very soon
-Please continue to pray for our financial needs.  We have a very large check to write any day now and still need to raise some funds for it.  Large donations or small donations all add up! 
-Pray for our sweet Charlie Jo!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

YOU did it!

Y'all amaze me! In just 2 short days and with only 5 GENEROUS donations we have met and exceeded that $1,000 mark!  Woohoo! And as promised her name will be...

Charlotte Josephine

We plan on calling her Charlie Jo.  We chose Charlotte because of its meaning.  Charlotte means "free (wo)man".  We thought this name was very fitting for our sweet girl and how we want nothing more than to free her from a life of being in institutions! As far as Josephine goes, I had a great grandmother whose name was Josephine. We also liked the meaning; it means "God will increase". And, my mom, sister, and niece all have the middle name Jo.  Lots of good things behind her name!

Now, with all that said, as the mommy, keep in mind I do reserve the right at any time to change her name! ;-) We may hold her for the first time and the name just doesn't seem right.  Or, we may learn her actual full name and LOVE IT!  There's no telling! But, for right now, we are pretty set on Charlie Jo and think it is the perfect name for that sweet girlie! 

I was also asked why we were not keeping the name Treva.  Treva is not her actual name.  It is an alias used to protect her identity.  Her country of origin takes great pride in protecting the identities of their children.  Even if I did know her actual name I wouldn't be able to tell you.

Now, as far as our fundraising sites go, we will still need to keep it listed as Treva.  We will stick with the "Team Treva" theme.  She will always be listed on Reece's Rainbow as Treva so to avoid confusion we will keep everything else the same.  Avoid confusion?? Not sure I'm actually doing that! Anyone else confused?? Hopefully once we get home for good we will all be able to call her by only one name...her own name...complete with the last name Scott!


Prayer Requests:
-I sent off our I-600a to the United State Citizenship and Imigration Services today.  The process working with them can be lengthy. Please pray that it will go miraculously fast!
-I had my physical today and Dave has his in a few days.  Please pray that the doctors fill out the forms correctly and the there aren't any issues with them.  
-Keep praying for our sweetheart!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And her name will be...

Yesterday we started a fun little challenge over on the Reece's Rainbow Facebook group.  If we received 10 new donations or if our total amount given was at or above $1000 we would reveal our daughters name! Four generous donations later and we have more than doubled our previous amount!! We are just shy of the $1000 mark! I am so humbled! Thank you for joining Team Treva! That sweet little girl has so many people loving and supporting her.

So, who is going to send our fundraising thermometer to $1000 or higher?? We can't wait to share her name with y'all!



Monday, June 17, 2013

Feel Free...

Feel free to....
  • Say CONGRATS! We are excited and we want you to be excited too!
  • Be concerned with how everything will turn out in the end.  We would be lying if we didn't say we were a little concerned, too! There are a lot of unknowns and things that could go wrong. Everyone has heard an adoption horror story or two!  Just like a pregnancy, I won't breathe a true sigh of relief until I have her in my arms at home! However, we are not afraid!
"They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD." Psalm 112:7
  • Ask us how things are going! We want to talk about this with you.  We want to be an open book in this process.  Please ask any questions you might be thinking!
  • Pray for us! Pray for us a lot! We need it.  Our kids need it.  Treva REALLY needs it!
  • Share our story with others.  Please don't feel like you need to ask our permission. If you know someone who might be interested, please give them our information or link them right here to our blog!
  • Enjoy this picture of the 5 people who mean the world to me! Knowing that Treva is going to have this family surrounding her, loving her, and teaching her is what keeps me going - late nights and all! We are so blessed!

Prayer Requests:
-Keep praying for our Home Study
-Pray our passports will get here soon! There is a big chunk of paperwork I am unable to complete without our passports.
-Pray for Treva - pray specifically for protection in regards to her heart and how it's functioning. 


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why fundraise...

Recently a couple of people have likened the cost of international adoptions to child trafficking.  At first I was able to just brush it off, but the more I thought about it the more it bothered me.  I'm going to do my best to explain the costs and why it is NOTHING close to child trafficking.  Quite frankly, the costs are high to avoid such a tragedy!  It is also important to note that a large percentage of the money spent stays right here in the United States.  We are absolutely not just handing another country $25,000 in exchange for one for their orphans!

Social Worker Application Fee $500

Passport Renewals $220

Home Study Fee $3500 (this is VERY high compared to the national average.  There is no competition in this area.  We had only one choice in Grand Forks!)

Reece's Rainbow Voice of Hope Fund $250 

Reece's Rainbow Application Fee $25 

USCIS Fees $890

Marriage Certificates $35 

State Police Clearance $30  

Various Postage $200

Apostille Fees $450 (When we started I had no idea what this meant.  Basically, almost everything needs to be notarized.  Then, before we send it off to the country we have to send it to the office of the Secretary of State of ND to be verified.  In ND, they charge us $10 a document to be authenticated.)

Travel to Europe $2500 (2 adults rt is about $1250 per persn)

Adoption Fees $9000 

Donation to Orphanage (required) $0 (included in your facilitation fees)

Travel in Country $500

child's Medical Appt for Visa $110

child's Visa Application $230

child's Passport and Expedition Fees $600 

Living in Europe for 5 weeks $3500

Travel to America $800

Travel Items $250 

Emergency Fund $1000 

Estimate for 1 child $24,590

As you can see, adoptions are really expensive!  So does that mean only the wealthy are called to adopt?  We don’t think so! We do know that God has called us to adopt!  We cling to the truth of this verse:

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27 NLT

We don’t think that everyone has been called to adopt, but we do believe that God’s word is clear about caring for orphans (and widows).  We’re fundraising to give others an opportunity to give as they feel led, according to their conviction and experience the blessing that comes with caring for one of His own.  Also, we simply could not afford the expense of adoption.  We are convicted that God called us to step out in faith, knowing full well that our finances could not sustain such a high cost.  If you feel led to give, we would be ever grateful, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.  We know not everyone will be called to give financially.  We need prayers, encouragement, love, and occasional help with our other kiddos!  No matter what your decision, that is between you and God, just as our decision to make a step of faith was and is. If you do feel led to give to our adoption, on the left hand column of this blog are three different ways to give. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about what they all exactly are and how they benefit us!  Thank you to everyone who has already supported us in so many amazing ways!


Prayer Requests:
-Continue to pray our home study will be completed FAST.
-Pray for financial blessings
-Pray for Treva's health while she waits to come home.

PRAISE!! Last time I asked you to pray for the mountain of paperwork we wanted to complete in a single day.  It was a late night, but we did it!!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A baby update...

We received a very rare update on Treva today.  We knew from the start that she was small and petite, but from the picture we were not exactly sure just how small.  We received word today that she (at close to 14months) is the size of a newborn.  It is guessed that her weight is less then 10 lbs! It's making this all seem that much more urgent to get her home as fast as humanly possible! We don't know if she is small from neglect or due to medical issues or both.  We likely won't find out those answers until we arrive in country and visit her.  Please be praying that she will stay healthy until we can bring her home!

Early this week I "met" another adoptive mom on Facebook.  She shared a few pictures of her son.  With permission, I am passing this on to you!

When her son was brought to the orphanage
When they finally had their son 2 1/2 years later

Six months being home and loved!

Please stop by her blog and read all the amazing stories from their journey and pass on some love and encouragement to her!

Our sense of urgency is real and needed.  These children need out as fast as possible.  I want more than anything to jump on a plane tomorrow and go get her.  I know that's just not possible.  I will continue to do the next right thing and work as fast as possible on my end.  I will trust that the Lord will do the same for all other parties involved! Today, as I sit here worrying about my little girl, I am so thankful I have a BIG God who knows all the details! It's Him my heart is resting upon!

Prayer Requests:
-Please pray for Treva's health and growth
-Pray we can miraculously complete all the home study documents tonight to get that rolling!
-Pray we can receive the quickest approval ever seen! :)
-Pray people will be lead to donate financially as this is happening quickly! (I will blog more about costs soon so you have an idea what it goes for!)

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Process...

Our sweet angel we are working so hard to hold!

We have been truly amazed at the support we are receiving from those around us! We need you all to keep rallying around us! This is going to be a long and chaotic process.  But, take a look at that sweet face - it will be worth EVERY SECOND!!

Many of you have asked what the process is like so I am going to do my best to explain.  Now, keep in mind this is still new to me and there are a lot of unknowns for us.  So, please forgive me if I misspeak about a process! We are definitely learning as we go!

After finding our angel, our first step was to officially commit to her.  We had a series of forms we needed to fill out and submit quickly.  During this process we needed to keep our plans relatively quiet.  The country we are adopting from is unique among most countries.  Most countries allow adoptive parents to place a "hold" on a child they are intending to adopt.  Meaning, they will no longer be available for other families to adopt.  Our country does NOT allow this.  What happens is a letter of intent is sent notifying them that they've identified an adoptive family, but this by no means is a 100% guarantee.  Now, it is very, very unlikely that another family would be identified and get their paperwork finalized faster than we can, but it could happen.  She could also, at any time, enter their local foster care system or be adopted by someone locally.  Again, these scenarios are very unlikely, but they're still there.  So, to put it mildly, adopting from this country is a HUGE leap of faith.  One we have complete confidence in making! 

Now, if absolute worst case scenario were to occur and we lost our babe, we would still proceed with an adoption from this country.  We would complete what is called a blind referral.  Basically, when we arrive in country they would present us with 3 kids who we would qualify to adopt and we can choose from those.  Now, the chance of this actually happening are so slim, but we wanted to be upfront with everyone. If you have already donated to our adoption or are considering it, please know that any money you give WILL be applied to the adoption! If we tragically are unable to adopt Treva it would transfer to a new child.  But, like I said, the chances are very slim this will happen.  We are certainly not dwelling on the "what ifs" but daily thinking about what we know is truth at this moment! I've been clinging to this passage:

   Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true...think about such things. (Philippians 4:6-8 NIV)

Now, our next step is to complete our home study by a local agency.  I just spoke with the social worker today and we should have the paperwork in hand by tomorrow afternoon!  I am so afraid of this process.  I just feel like they are coming into my home to judge me as a wife and a mother.  I'm not sure why I'm so scared.  I've done foster care home studies twice and it wasn't a big deal, but I am so anxious this time.  I basically feel like if they don't like me or how I mother they can put a complete stop to our adoption.  I've talked to the social worker about my fears and she has been so understanding, but boy will I be glad when this process is over and all has been approved!

We are also applying for our passports to get those on the way to us.  After that, your guess is about as good as mine as to what we will need to do.  I'm so thankful we have amazing support from our Reece's Rainbow facilitation team and they will walk us through each and every step from here on out!

Once everything is submitted and approved we will get a travel date from the country.  We may have a week's notice to plan or a month's.  There is no way of knowing.  Dave and I will then travel to country for about 2 1/2 weeks.  I'm not exactly sure what will happen at that time.  I do know we will get to spend time with our baby.  We will then come back to the US for about 10-14 days.  I will then head back to the country for another 1-2 weeks to finalize the adoption and bring our sweet girl home! Dave really, really wants to come the second leg of the journey too, but we felt it was more important for him to be home with our other 4 kids and he will need to get back to work.  I'm hoping my mom will be able to join me on the second trip so I won't have to be completely alone!  While both Dave and I are gone we will be relying so heavily on our family to take care of our other kiddos.  It is going to be tough on all of them, but I am so thankfully to have such a supportive and encouraging family to help us out!

Please, if you have any questions or what clarification on the process don't hesitate to ask! We want to be an open book through this journey and will do our best to answer questions! Thanks again for all your early support and encouragement.  Keep rallying with us!

Prayer Requests:
-Pray our home study can be completed in record time.  They typically take 6-8 weeks and even up to 12 weeks.  We are praying for 4 weeks until completion!
-Pray that my heart will settle about the home study process
-Pray for fundraising ideas and opportunities to present themself.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Our journey to adopt...

I don't even know where to start with this blog post.  I've attempted to start blogging several times but always came up short.  Well, the journey we are on now needs to be told.  Our daughter needs her story told!  Let me back it up for a bit...

Before I met Dave, I was in the process of adopting a very special little girl.  After we met and quickly were married we had hoped to adopt her together.  Unfortunately that people who made the big bucks and the big decisions didn't think we wanted to adopt such a special child right at the beginning of our marriage.  Now, that is months of heartache in a couple sentences, but in the end, we lost our sweet girl! 

From that point on, we knew we would one day adopt.  It wasn't something we dwelled on or even talked much about.  We went on with our daily lives and waited on the Lord's leading.  We decided to become foster parents and for 4 years had a number of kids ranging from newborn to 17 come through the doors of our home.  Some stayed for weeks and others stayed for 12+ months.  There were a couple we wanted to adopt as our own, but for a variety of reasons those didn't come to fruition either.  We never grew bitter.  Each disappointment only solidified our hearts desire to adopt.  

This spring that Lord really started to move in my heart about adoption again.  Specifically in regards to adopting a child with special needs.  I would search the internet occasionally to learn more about the process.  During one of those times, I came upon a website called Reece's Rainbow.  It is an organization that specializes in placing orphans with special needs.  I looked through the pages and pages of kids and kept coming back to a sweet little girl.  After a few days of not being able to get her out of my mind I talked to Dave about it.  I showed him the picture and we discussed it briefly and then went on about the day.  The next day I mentioned to him that I couldn't get her out of my mind.  I told him that she was the first thing I thought of in the morning and the last thing before bed.  He said he was right there with me.  We went ahead to gathered some more information and asked a lot of questions to the New Family Liaison.  It was a Thursday evening and we had been talking and praying about it a lot.  We decided to wait the weekend and really pray hard and make a final decision on Monday.  Well, Friday morning came.  Dave's alarm went off and he turned to me and woke me up and said "we can't wait until Monday, submit the papers TODAY! Do it this morning!" Now, my husband is an amazing leader and is very strong in his convictions, but it is completely out of character for him to speak with such certainty and with such seriousness.  I said ok (but secretly I was still doubting his conviction and was terrified myself).  I wrote the email that I needed to write to get the official commitment started, but before I pushed send I called him one more time at work.  His convictions were even stronger than early in the morning.  I sent that email and we official committed to our daughter!

Please continue to pray for us and our family!  Over the next little bit I will share more about the process, our hearts in it, and just our day to day lives.  I'm not exactly sure where this blog will go or what it will look like on a day to day basis.  I'm sure it will be ever evolving, just like me! But, I will end each post with a few specific prayer requests.  We just as that as you finish reading please offer up a quick prayer for our family!

Prayer Requests:
-Pray for Treva's safety and health until we can get her home
-Pray our home study can be completed quickly and without issues
-Pray for people who are willing to join our team to bring Treva home to a family and out of a life destined to be lived in institutions!