What blessings we have to report on!!! God is working financially through our adoption once again!
First, we need to thank an anonymous person from our church family. While I don't like not knowing, I will (try to) rest in joy from the gift! But thank you to that special person/people! Let me share with the rest of you our story of blessing! We received a BEAUTIFUL note - one of true encouragement, verses of truth, and inspiring words from friends! In the gift, this person left us 50 Bruster's (our local ice cream shop) coupon booklets that can be sold for $20 each. You do the math - yep, that was the same jaw-dropping reaction I had! A possible $1,000 towards our adoption! We are going to wait and sell these in the spring-time when its a little warmer out! We are grateful for you friend(s), whomever you are!!
Second, I had another friend at church ask if she could do a fundraiser for me! All she wants me to do is show up and have fun looking at jewelry and other accessories! She is taking care of the invites, the refreshments, the hosting, everything!!! This company with whom she is organizing a fundraiser with is Noonday - it is special to my heart because it was originally based off an adoption fundraiser. The jewelry is beautiful!! They also have other items such as handbags, headbands, scarves, etc. The items are made in different countries like Peru, Ethiopia, Haiti (yay!!), Rwanda, Ecuador, and various other countries. It is a great company that I am excited to learn even more about!
As you can see, the people from our church are have been so supportive us of along this journey. We are grateful for each and every prayer that goes up for our family as well. Thank you brothers and sisters of SAYSF Bible Church for your love and support! We cannot wait to introduce you to (more of) our children! wink, wink!
A third update is our Amazon link that people have been using! My goal was to get up to one plane ticket to bring a child home (around $300). We are almost there - we are currently at $245!!! How exciting! Thank you for taking the time to shop this way! A person close to me is hoping to get 2 tickets with this link! Keep up the shopping and if you have no clue what I am talking about - see earlier posts on this blog.
As far as news on the adoption front, we are a little over a month into our 6-8 month l.o.n.g, quiet wait! I pray daily for a gentle, quiet spirit in this time when I can pray for my future kids and all that they are dealing with on a daily basis and all that they will deal with when they finally come home! Join me in prayer, would you?!
It has been really quiet on the news of our adoption recently! Quite frustrating for a mama's heart, but I have determined to Be Still. I am not the "stillest" person in the world, so this is hard for me. However, that is a command from God. The same God who already knows how many hairs are on my children's head (Matt 10:30), the same God who knows when our file will be submitted to IBESR (Job 34:21), and the same God who will make things happen at exactly the right time (Act 1:7).
So as I was typing this - an email came in from our agency!!!
OUR DOSSIER WAS
TO IBESR TODAY!!!!!
Doesn't God have such a great sense of humor! Here I am trying to convince myself of His word and somewhat having a pity party for myself - and He gave me a spanking!! I must be STILL and listen to His leading and to His ways!! Uh - sorry God!!
So what does this big news mean?!! Well, now we wait (again!) 6-8 months for a formal referral from Haiti. This referral will have a picture and other important information included and we have 14 days to accept the referral and give our proposed travel dates for our 2-week bonding trip. Yikes - 2 weeks away from my kiddos here! We aren't sure yet what we are going to do with them for this amount of time, but ideas are flying through our minds. We are excited to let our minds get more serious about this step!
What I originally got on here to blog about was our news about our fundraising! We sold all 190 pizza cards in 2 1/2 weeks! That's amazing! Our kids rocked these cards!! Our kids had expressed raising funds to help with adoption from the very start (exactly a year ago, actually!). We told them all profits from these cards would totally be their contribution to the expenses. And they did it! They raised $3,050!! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! We are proud of them and can't wait to share with our Haitian children how their siblings helped bring them home!!
We are still praying for our matching grant through LifeSong as well as our Amazon link to use to raise funds. If you need any information about either of those, just let me know.
Thanks God for uplifting and encouraging news right when this mama needed it!!
We got a letter late last week that we have been awarded a grant for $500! Praise Jesus!! We are astounded at how quickly God has built our account back up, ready to pay the next upcoming installment.
We had a Chick Fil A spirit night and we received quite a bit of money for that easy fundraiser!! A huge thanks for those that were able to come out and eat some yummy chicken for us!! We had a blast doing it and look forward to doing another one this summer!!
We received our Papa John's pizza cards on Thursday and we had already sold enough to pay back the bill in less than 48 hours! It came within $10 of the total bill! God has such a humor sometimes!! He is showing me to let go and let God!! The boys went out on their bikes tonight (with Daddy, don't worry!) and sold another chunk so we are officially in the positive!! If you are interested in one of these awesome cards, let me know!! Every time you purchase a pizza, you get a second one free! It isn't just locally, and they are good for one year! (You should hear my H do his sales pitch, he's too stinkin cute when he does it!)
We stand in awe at how God is leading our journey! While the furthering of our package in Haiti seems so slow to us, we know that in His timing we will know and visit our children! We also covet your prayers for health for the kiddos, as well as provisions until we can bring them home!!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So much joy to share and be thankful for!!
This story starts about three weeks ago. We sent off one of our biggest payments for the adoption. This large payment was going to be paid to our orphanage which we thought was already decided. (However, we found out this morning that we will be using a different orphanage now because of various reasons.) This pretty much depleted our nest-egg of savings that we had put aside. We were feeling rather anxious as the account was near $0. We decided that August was going to be a Super-Super Saver month (you can ask later if you want to know what we do for those months!) so we knew that money would once again be trickling in. However, uneasiness, doubt, and worry were rampant in our hearts and minds.
Last week, as we were on vacation with Ryan's family, we got an exciting phone call! For Hudson's football team, we were supposed to sell 10 raffle tickets, however, we decided to take the easy way out and just buy them ourselves because of lack of time. Well, we won the grand prize of $1,000. Yes, you read that correctly - $1,000. We were so shocked as we forgot all about the drawings being held since we were out of town. We laughed at ourselves because we let the doubt crowd into our minds. We were (sadly) ashamed at our doubting and forgetting Who is in control of this whole journey!! We were once (AGAIN) reminded that God can work in any way for good!!
Then this week....yes, the story continues!! We got a phone call from one of our grant applications saying that we had been accepted for one of the Matching Grant opportunities. What a blessing once again! We are continually blessed by God. This grant (LifeSong) is a matching grant up to $2500. If you feel led to contribute to this grant - see details below.
We want to give God all the glory for leading us on this journey - He has never left our side and what joy He has given us these past few weeks as we wait to find out what children He has hand-picked for our family!! Please rejoice with us!!!
LifeSong Grant Information:
Please make checks payable to: Lifesong for Orphans
In the memo please note our name and Family Account Number (4780)
It tugs at my heart strings to look at these pictures! While none of these kids are able to be adopted, I still would take all of them home in a heart beat! We truly enjoyed our time in Haiti and cannot wait to go back and meet the children that God has picked out for our family. The children pictured above are well taken care of, loved on immensely, and being taught about God's love daily!
In other news - our adoption is well....moving along.....I guess! This journey is looonnnnggg folks, and I'm not gonna lie - sometimes discouraging. However, since I follow an omniscient God, He knows the path our family is to take and just how long it will take. We have been receiving good news that "things are moving" for Haiti. Our agency (again, let me give a shout out to AWAA!), really our Country Program Coordinator has asked other parents who already have their children to share a small part of their journey. While I am jealous (I know, I'm working on that!), I know that God's time for me will come. These families have been encouraging to me - and I don't even know them! I will continue to hang in there and wait for my appointed time!
We have received word on 3 of our 10 grants we have applied for and have unfortunately not gotten selected for them. Again, the devil is at work and throwing discouraging darts at me when I think about the cost of the next payment (the next one is the BIGGEST one!) It's a scary, scary number but I hold on to Philippians 4:19. The payment is no surprise to God and no surprise on how He's going to pull that number off in our bank account! So we are gearing up for more grant writing and thinking about possible fundraisers. So if you need me, I will be at the computer or copying machine applying for 7 more grants that we have learned about.
We would appreciate prayer on other financial areas - we are struggling with the fine line of staying out of debt, applying for interest free loans, etc for this journey. We are having difficulty distinguishing His will and having complete surrendering financially. So I guess I'm asking for loud and clear guidance as to where He wants us to go from here. We still have 7 grants out there that we are excited to hear about, so please keep praying for those as well!
My how life has raced ahead! I haven't blogged on progress lately, because honestly, I didn't think there was any progress being made. However, God was making progress and (once again) has corrected my attitude in waiting for His timing!
Progress is being made and we didn't even know it! Our Dossier (the package that goes to Haiti) was submitted in late April. We had a few more documents to get certified and authenticated so we waited, and waited, and waited. I am learning this adoption journey is all about patience!
So we got an email this week stating that our Dossier was out of translation!!!! Say what??!!! We didn't even know it had been sent so we were very excited about this. In that same email we got directions to call our main contact (who is by far the BEST EVER!!!) from our agency concerning the next step. So don't you know, we were on that phone faster than anything!!!
That brings us to today - a very exciting day in the Batchelor house - yes, we are leaving another teaser out there. But until details have been made firmer, our lips remained sealed!! Just know that your prayers are being heard by our Almighty Planner! We will share more details when we can! Pray hard for us the next several days as decisions will be made and our lives will be changed forever!
On a side note - we are going to Haiti (completely separate of the adoption) for a mission trip. We leave this week and couldn't be more excited! It's funny to know that I will actually be in the same country as my kiddos here soon - no, I don't know them by name yet, but somehow I will be closer to them and hopefully they can feel their mama's love even stronger! God, please protect my kiddos and let them feel your love even though I can't hold them in my arms for awhile!
So we have been busy filling out, completing necessary forms, receiving reference letters, and pretty much living and breathing Grant Applications the last several months. All in all, we have exhausted our list and have applied for 10 different grants all ranging in different denominations of money. Hours and hours we have poured over these things and then send them off with a hands-on prayer! We are excited to see how God is going to work through these grants!!!
However, as I was dropping off grants #7, #8, and #9 at the post office I was blessed by God's humor. Our post office workers are nice, a little gruff, but nice. I was determined as I walked into the PO this time, that I was going to get a smile from the worker today! It was my turn in line and I walked to the counter to lay the grant envelopes down. He weighed them all individually and I was working my magic to get that man to smile! No smiles...
My total price came in at $7.77. At this time the PO worker looks directly at me - am I going to get a smile now, an encouraging word, a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g??!! Nope, but I did get a little humor! He says (as he has his hands on all three of my envelopes), "Wow, 777 you must be mailing some lucky things today, better go play the lottery!"
Oh Mr. Post-Office-Man-Who-Never-Smiles, if you only knew what was in those envelopes! However, I don't need luck because My God is bigger than luck! I feel that was God's way of saying, "Relax Jen, I got this money thing all worked out!" I love the way God works!!
On a side note - we have about 6 more grants to apply for once we get our USCIS finished and get a referral of our kiddos!
Our huge announcement for the month - our Dossier is complete!!!
I will be mailing the huge, official, ever-so-important documents off tomorrow to our agency for their review. We are anticipating no problems and they will send it to get translated!
We are still waiting on our USCIS approval and letter telling us where to get fingerprinted (again!). This is a another very important step that we will be glad to get done and over with!
I think that is all for the update now! We are making steps to bring our children home! Thanks to all those who have listened to my woes, exciting announcements, and frustrations! We are blessed to have many friends and family that support us in prayers!!
We are still busy sending out grant applications! Our list of possibilities at this time are starting to get smaller. Once we get our referral (YAY!) we can send out some more. Thanks for all the encouraging words!!
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
While we are extremelygrateful for these grants - they are TONS of work! Not difficult work, just tedious work, work that must be done in utter silence for my brain to function. Hours and hours spent at the computer reading qualifications, order of paperwork, and question upon question of our beliefs, proof of income via tax returns (some needing all pages, some needing just the first two pages), etc. Hours spent.....
I just sent in our 4th application. I am currently working on a 13-page application and had to take a break. Sometimes I feel like I get into the rut of filling in the spaces and trying to get the best wording to really portray our family and the request that we are making. Here lately as deadlines get closer to some of them I am forgetting to do what is important..... and pray over these applications. Pray that even if we do not get selected to receive a grant that the money will go to a family that really needs that final push to get their child/ren home. Pray for the board members that give up their time and make efforts to pour over these applications and listen to God's leading. As well as give thanks in my prayers that God has generous people out in this world to give money when they can to a good cause!
I will stop and say right here and now - that we are not worried about the money side of these adoptions! While we are adopting up to three precious children and our cost almost triples, we have no reason to doubt. Let me clarify - the number is very scary when we have to fill in that blank on the grant application of Total Cost of Adoptions $________!!! But there is no possible way that we can doubt how God has provided thus far. When we started on this journey, I'm not going to lie - that number scared the skin off of me - but now I am looking forward to seeing how God is going to make that money appear. Because I know He will!
While it has been mainly my job to find and organize all materials for these grants, Ryan has been a gem!! I left him a post-it note with 4 or 5 copies to make, answers to fill in, or documents to scan in last weekend while I was out of town and my honey came through! God has blessed our team efforts and while we do things in COMPLETE OPPOSITE ways - we are accomplishing our goals!
I also want to thank those that have agreed to help us out. Many of you have been willing to be a reference for a grant or fill out a questionnaire on us. We know this takes time and efforts on your parts to do this for our journey. We give thanks for you and couldn't do this without our friends! (Sorry family, you don't count on this one, because we can use you all as references!) Let me also shout out to our awesome agency and program director! She has done so much for us and I feel like we are the only family she has since she gets back to us so promptly and efficiently! Guidance, kind words, and encouragement help this process go smoother!!
So I'm heading back to my paperwork refreshed and renewed after a time of prayer! Lord help me to not loose sight of your plan and your design of how this journey looks! Let me be faithful in EVERYTHING. Amen!
We have been waiting to announce this part of our adoption journey for so long!!! We sent in our USCIS form today!!! This is a big form (which means big money attached to it, of course!) but God has already provided those funds!! We are over the moon excited about this big step!
What's next? Yep, I'm kinda wondering that one too! We are currently in the process of doing many things. We have sent off many, many documents to 5 different states (thank you Navy!) to get documents certified. We have received all but one of those back. Then we wait for our USCIS form to be returned and do more fingerprinting. After this gets done, we do a lot of waiting.
Waiting for news on our referral of kiddos,
Waiting for our documents to be translated,
Waiting for God's perfect timing in meeting our kiddos!
All we know right now is that we have butterflies about getting closer to our children. From a mama's heart, I simply can't wait and I tear up every time I think about them and what they might be doing today. I am so incredibly thankful for a God that knows all those things and is taking care of my children today and will forever be in His hands!
We have started applying for grants. In fact, we got so excited about being done with the home study (most grants make you wait to be done with that step!) that we applied for one last night. We are still standing firm in the fact that God will take care of the necessary funds!
I think that's about it for now. This last month has been a trial for us emotionally - we know there are many more waits coming our way, but we are rejoicing this week in making this big step - REJOICE WITH US!!!
So today's post isn't all jolly and upbeat as the previous ones have been. This post is mainly to get things off my chest. My frustrations, my envies, my agenda. See, all these things I KNOW God has under control, but sometimes I start to go to the other side and start to take them back into my own hands. Sometimes I struggle with this daily! Today I am struggling with our Social Worker. She is an extremely nice woman and we are glad she has done all that she has.... up until this point. Without going into the depressing details, we have been at this stage for over a month! We were hoping to be Homestudy Complete by the end of February! Well, today is that day and no report has been completed.
We got an email update from our agency (whom we LOVE by the way!) and they send out timelines on other families. My first mistake was reading this email, but the excitement got the better of me. One family (ONLY ONE!) started and ended their process in 11 months. That's right, 11 months! Most are taking up to 2 years. Well, little Miss Competitive here, wanted that same time frame and that is not the time frame God has for our family. I let my agenda get in the way and my emotions came to an explosion today when I found out not even all our interviews have been conducted! Sigh!
I was quickly reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 where God states there is a time for everything. God knows the exact date that my kids in Haiti will indeed become mine. Yes, I am anxious. Yes, we are doing everything we can to speed up this process. Yes, I am worried about their well-being until I can get them into my own arms. But all this does nothing to help my kids get home faster. In Ecc. 3, I am reminded that God already knows all this timing-business. Even if the Social Worker takes longer than what we think she should. I am thankful for a God that is Omniscient. I am thankful for a God that knows my worries and anxieties and puts people into contact with me that reminds me of that. I am thankful for His Word that I can have at my fingertips to know all these things about Him.
So instead of being all mopey, depressed, and anxious - I am going to try to salvage my day and look at the fact that I serve a God who is Omniscient!
So to keep everyone updated on the latest happenings.
We had our first Homestudy visit on Sunday morning - early! But our social worker was really nice and we felt comfortable with her from the beginning! God is good!
We sat down and talked for a little less than an hour. Questions like,
"What do you children think about adopting?"
"Is your extended family and church family supportive in your decision to adopt?"
"How will the room arrangements be done?"
"What are your fears and concerns?"
"What books are you reading to prepare?"
Some of the questions we were able to answer together as a couple, and some we answered individually. The children did fabulously well playing upstairs as we answered the questions. In fact, one question she asked was if they always get along so well? Uh, well, do we have to answer that one?!
Then she walked through the house. This was my most anticipated and anxious time. As a co-director and co-manager of our house, I was nervous to see if all our hard work was going to measure up. I felt like I was going to puke, just to be honest! But, no puke was spewed, so all was spared from that embarrassing moment! It was about 5 minutes and I was hoping for her to get on her hands and knees to look under beds (usually a scary place in our house!) and open some cabinets to see how organized we were trying to be! Nope, none of that - so I guess she felt confident that our house was ready for more kiddos!
The next step is to wait and schedule our individual interviews and then have Grady possibly answer some questions. We are hoping to schedule that meeting sometime this week. It will be at a mutual location instead of our house, so the pressure is all off to keep living in a glass house! Phew - we couldn't pull that off for too long, that's for sure!!
After we do those interviews, we will wait for her report. One step closer to completing this long adoption journey, one step closer to knowing them by name like my Lord does, and one step closer to bringing them home to our family!
These last few weeks I have been rather impatient, to tell the truth! Our paperwork has been done for 3 weeks and still no call for the Homestudy. Waiting, and more waiting. Feeling like we were wasting time that my children could be coming home. However, in all of this waiting, God has been teaching me that there is a reason for all of this waiting. God is growing me in so many ways it's impossible to share all of it. As I look back at what I considered "time wasted" I saw that I wasn't relying on His timing. I was wanting to take control of it again. I am constantly reminded that, "He's got this!"
In my Sunday School class we are studying James. As we were reading through some verses, a particular couple of verses caught my eye and made me stop right in my tracks. Now, I've read these verses before, in fact they are even underlined in my Bible, however, they took a new meaning when I read them yesterday.
James 4:7-8 - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
I HAVE to give this whole adoption journey over to God. I was letting the devil start to get a foothold and make me impatient and rather anxious. I cannot run this show and be in control. Control is one of my biggest issues that I know God is pruning. It is not easy, but I know that as He prunes, I will become closer to Him and more like what He wants Jenny Batchelor to be!
For those that have been following our blog (I know, that means about 3 of you - one being my own mother!) let me announce more ways that God is showing His hand in this! Amazing, just amazing!!
First, we had the fund raiser of the Pizza Cards - which by the way, thanks to all who participated! We had a fabulous turnout and have very few left!!! We made a great deal of money which we told the kids would be their donation since they were doing the majority of the sales. During the SAME month in which we had great sales from Pizza Cards, we were also given 2 sizeable donations that MATCHED what our kids made in pizza sales! God price-matched us for a second time! He did it again! Amazing!
So this month was another what we are calling "Super Saver" month in which we all commit as a family to save and cut-back a bit on our regular budget. So we are saving $xxx this month and GUESS WHAT?!! God did it AGAIN! He priced-matched us with another donation relatively close to what our "Super Saver" comes out to be!
Friends, my eyes tear up at what God is doing in this process! We have stepped out in faith, and God is holding our hands! It's an amazing feeling to know that you are right where God asked you to be.
We have exciting news that we can't quite share yet - but God is at work in a whole other area of our adoption. We are doing back flips waiting to hear the end result! Sorry for the teaser, but I specifically ask you to pray for this mama's heart. Pray for calmness, pray for peace until decisions are made, and pray that I will rest in His hand that He is extending to me!
God is good - all the time!
So Christmas is done, the New Year has been rung in, and thus begins the year of waiting!
We are really close to being paperwork-complete for our homestudy and will begin our interviews with a Social Worker. Then we can finally say we are complete with that large section of the adoption process.
In the process of it all, God has been displaying to us that He is in control of all of this and that this is the right direction for our family. We anxiously are awaiting to see whom will join our family and to finally give them names and call them our brothers/sisters! Many exciting times ahead, however, lots of waiting!