Thursday, August 27, 2015


It is with deep sadness and a broken heart that we have decided to stop our adoption process. Throughout this process we have hit some bumps all of which we embraced and gave praise for, this weekend as a family we hit a pretty large bump that made it evident we needed to work on somethings, before we could add another child to our lives. We are still praising God for this journey we have learned a lot, and I am brokenhearted that it has ended this way but we know it is ultimately what is best for out family and for Henry. As we work towards bettering our family and getting stronger we pray that a new family for Henry is found soon and that God will give him the best and happiest life imaginable. We did not go on this journey by accident and we believe that God has an amazing plan for us, it just wasn't what we had imagined it would be.

We want to thank all of you from the deepest part of our hearts for your support and love through this process. We understand that many of you donated towards this adoption and we could not have made it this far without you, the money in our FSP will remain with Henry it is not in our bank accounts or some stash some where it is with him and we hope that it will inspire a new family to see him and choose him quickly. Other donations were used for parts of the process such as our homestudy, and official documents, I again want to clarify it is not just in our pockets. We also realize some of you who made donations may want your money back, we respect this. If you do please email us and we will do our best to get that money and get it to you.

We are grateful for your prayers, and for those I have already talked to today for your understanding and love. This is a hard time and it was an unbelievably hard decision. Please continue to pray for us through this hard time. I feel like I have let a lot of people down, including sweet Henry. One of the hardest parts about ending this is how publicly it must be done but we have been committed to honesty and transparency so here we are, raw and broken and we will probably need a lot of love and grace in the upcoming weeks as our hearts heal.

It is my sincere hope that our journey though not the best example will have opened one person's eyes and hearts towards adoption. We hope that you will continue to wear our shirts and talk about orphans.

Thanks again. We love and appreciate all of you.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

We are SUBMITTED!! Things are getting real!

    Last week on Facebook, I asked for prayers knowing that this could be a very big week for us, and as of Thursday we got our big news! We are submitted. To clarify what that means, we are now waiting for them to tell us when our appointment to receive Henry's file will be, in short we are waiting for them to say COME MEET HIM!!! The current average from date of submission to referral appointment is 4 weeks! Yes you read that right 4 weeks!!! Thank you for your prayers! This is the stage we have been waiting for as we do loads and loads of paperwork, as we wait for people to approve us. The finish line is near! As I say this I also want to mention that though this process has seemed long at times in the big picture it isn't long at all, we are blessed that the country we are adopting from is fairly quick. We know people who are adopting and their processes are much longer, families who are waiting to meet their child, families waiting to go back for the gotcha trip, and families waiting to be chosen. Adoption looks different for everyone and I want to encourage you to pray for those families too, those families whose days are extra long as they wait. Waiting is never easy.

I promised myself I would remain calm, that on Thursday (the day people are usually submitted) I would not check my phone more than normal. That didn't happen...I was a crazy lady refreshing and refreshing and when I finally saw the news I went crazy! I was so excited and then I panicked, I tried to think of every possible thing I needed to get done, every possible scenario for packing and travel, and then I paused and thought of the moment I get to meet my son, the moment that all of this crazy is worth it. That pause was so crucial, I paused and thanked God for all he has done for us on this journey, I paused and rejoiced. This has been a great journey, and as we approach this finish line, I am getting excited for the next leg of the race, the leg in which we learn what a new normal is and where there is one less orphan in this world. We had a lot of fun as a family this weekend doing small things to prepare for being a family of 4, even as I type that I get butterflies!
Griffin trying out his brother's newly decorated bed!
We could be in country in 4 weeks! BUT we still need some help! We are still quite a bit short on what we need to bring him home. We are so grateful for all of you who have given to our adoption and for those of you who have prayed for us. We are currently praying for financial mountains to be moved, if you would consider sharing out story with a friend or two that would mean everything. I am currently making loads of bow ties and taking as many photo clients as I can mentally handle but it so far is not enough we still need several thousand dollars. We are hoping that some grant money will come through, and we know God can do anything so we are once again trusting him and sharing our need with you. Thank you for following our story, thank you so much for your support through this crazy process! 
If you or anyone you know would like a bow tie, have them contact me :) I can special make them in many designs!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Just a few thoughts...(no fundraising talk, I promise)

A lot of people have been asking me how things are going and where we are at in the process, I am so pleased to announce things are moving a long!! In my mind I thought we would be a little further along (okay, A LOT FURTHER) but I have come to reason and constantly remind myself that God's timing is perfect. For every hiccup we encounter I take a breath and realize that I am not in control.

We are currently waiting for approval from USCIS and we just found out that we have an agent who is very by the book and tends to take a while. When I heard this I thought two things #1 YAY AN AGENT! and #2 Ahhhhhh not someone else who takes a long time! After a moment of genuine pouting, I put on my happy face and prayed for our agent, knowing I could not do her job. Also it dawned on me every time something comes up, its God helping me recognize him and give HIM the glory. I am not in control and as much as I would like to be, I am SO glad that I am not.

We also chose to send over about 98% of our paperwork with our friend to our little boy's home country! This means that right now it is being translated so when we get approval we can move very quickly on submitting everything. A HUGE thank you to Natalie for taking our "paper baby" over for us and making sure it arrived quickly!

So now we wait!! We wait for approval from USCIS and for a couple other documents to be finished from other places, AND while we wait we pray and share out story. We love sharing our story not because we are amazing people but because these kids are amazing and deserve a voice! Derek and I are ordinary people,  as I have said many times, we just choose to keep saying yes. Adoption is hard but it is also beautiful. My friend Natalie (pictured above) just brought home two precious kiddos and I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful reminder of how God provides than when I saw the picture of her with her kiddos home. 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and for following our journey. Please keep us in your prayers as well as our little boy. We are so excited to continue this journey to bring him home!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

An Unusual Friendship

Now that I am back from my mission trip to Denver, I am ready to hit the ground running on our adoption. Last week was an amazing time away and time to refresh. I gained a lot of perspective and stood amazed as God changed hearts. 
Our team got back Saturday night and by Monday I had several adoption things to accomplish. I had to get something notarized and then send our FINISHED HOMESTUDY to USCIS...after an hour of  trying to figure out how to properly mail it, it was finally on the way. This was an amazing step! What does this mean? Well right now we are waiting to be assigned a new fingerprint appointment. When we get that we will head to Fargo to get reprinted (3rd time during this process) after that we wait for approval. Then we send our "paper baby" (lots of very specifically filled out papers) to our little man's country and wait for submission and travel dates. Things are rolling and we are getting more and more excited! 

With all of that being said, we still have quite a bit of money to raise which brings me to my next story. (Money yuck! I know, please stay with me!) This is the story of an unusual friend. A few weeks ago, while writing a youth talk on forgiveness, I ran across the story of a man who in 2006 committed a tragic crime in an Amish school house in Pennsylvania. I will not go into more detail on the man but through my research I came across the story of his wife, Marie, whose story was one of forgiveness and redemption. I was in awe of her and as I sat and watched her video. (video can be found here: I wanted to know more about this woman and where God had taken her life. So what did I do? Googled it of course! I found her blog (, and as I was reading I was quickly amazed at one entry in particular, she was adopting! More than that, she was adopting a child with special needs, I couldn't believe what I was reading. Marie and I had similar hearts for orphans. I decided that I would try and reach out to Marie. You see, during this process I have tried to reach out to people who have similar hearts and see if they would help advocate with us. As I reached out and barely held my breath on getting a reply (I have reached out to many people). I sent my initial email around noon and by that evening I received a response. I read it over and over again not believing that she actually wanted to help us; that she was willing to listen to our story. She even had a fundraising idea!!

Marie Monville with Cindy Lambert has written a book:
"One Light Still Shines: My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting"

Not only did she write the book, she sent Derek and I 25 signed copies to sell and put towards out adoption!!!! Can you believe it! Her generosity is overwhelming! She also did a phone interview with me and may be blogging out story soon. I cannot put into words how much it means to me to have her support and love us in this way! 

So here is how this will work, if you want a copy of her book (hardcover) please send $20 (local), $25 (if you need me to ship it to you) to our paypal, once you have done this please email me the receipt and your address and I will either deliver it (meet you somewhere) or ship it to you. If we sell all the books we have the chance to make $500!! This would be incredible for us! 

Here is a description of the book:

My story is not about my past, but about your future,” says Marie Roberts Monville.
In the startling tragedy of the Amish schoolhouse shooting at Nickel Mines, one story has never been told; Marie Roberts Monville, the wife of the man who created such horror, tells her story for the very first time. It is a story of sorrow and destruction, but also one of majestic deliverance, unending compassion, breathtaking forgiveness, and grace-filled redemption.
Within a solitary moment, Marie Monville realized that life, as she knew it, was over. What she never anticipated was a tangible encounter with God reaching into her circumstances, through them rewriting all she believed about herself, her faith, and the God she thought she knew.One Light Still Shines reveals three love stories: the innocent love of a devoted wife for a husband in pain, the incomprehensible love of God in the aftermath of massacre and destruction, and the redemptive love of Christ, waiting to unfold in the life of every person who reads this book.
Marie's journey since that darkest of days has been invaded with light which shines through these pages into the darkest questions we all face--questions about our past, our value, our identity, and own powerlessness in this fallen world. Come face to face with the Power behind every answer―a love that begs to be received.

I know this post has been rather long, but thank you for those who have stuck with me! I will probably write more posts as we get closer to traveling and meeting our son. I also have a very unique fundraiser up my sleeve after we give this one some time, so stayed tuned! Thanks for taking this journey with us! We appreciate everyone's support and kind words.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

One BIG step closer and a few more mountains...

This is a long overdue post (SORRY)! I have debated many times what to write and I have even deleted a few saved drafts, the problem is I have so much to say and I want to say it well. I also want to share a clear picture of where we are so I am going to start with that. 

We have our Homestudy draft!!!!!! THIS IS HUGE! Now we have to edit it and send it back to be finalized. Once that is done we send it to USCIS for approval get finger printed one more time (sigh) AND wait for our approval. Once approved we send all of this to our little boy's country!!! This may seem like we aren't that close BUT WE ARE!! 

We recently added a thermometer to our blog to show everyone where we are financially and what we have paid/raised so far. I talked to some other adopting families and they said to be as transparent and detailed as possible so I am going to break down the cost and where we are. I know this may not interest some of you so hang with me, there is more to read at the bottom.

Cost Breakdown:

$15 Marriage certificates
$120 Passport (Kaylee)
$400 Homestudy Application Fee
$85 Homestudy Background Check
$125 Taylor Johnson Test
$500 Review Translation and Legalization Expenses
$50 Wire Fee
$400 Facilitation Services
$1800 Adoptive Family Assessment and Liaison Fee (1st half)
$85 Apostille CSP/POA
$1500 Adoptive Family Assessment (2nd half)
$890 i600a USCIS
$8500 Facilitation Fee
$350 Apostille Fee (Part of this has been paid)
$135 Adopted Child Medical
$325 Visa
$500 Passport for Child
$800 Travel to America (Child)
$2500 Plan Tickets adults
$500 In country travel Fees
$4200 In Country Living/other plane tickets

If you are still reading, thank you! I did that for two reasons: we want to be completely open with where the funds we are trying to raise are going AND I want people who may be interested in adopting to have an idea of what the money side looks like. When you see plane tickets and living expenses please understand this is not a vacation that we are asking for help with, this is a rescue mission. Yes, we will probably enjoy exploring the country and culture of our son, however our purpose and our heart is all about him and bringing him home. 

We have had a few successful fundraisers and we are so grateful to everyone who has helped us get this far. We have a few more things up our sleeves but will wait just a little while to launch those. For those of you who are curious Trivia Night raised....$842!!! We were thrilled! All glory to God! How incredibly he provides! It was such a fun night with some AMAZING people! I also had a stranger, who is now a friend, reach out to me and offer to fundraise for us until we leave. WOW! I was speechless! She runs you should check it out! 

The other day I was feeling really discouraged as we were waiting for our homestudy draft and received another "you need to hurry" email (there is nothing that makes you feel more helpless, trust me). As I did math over and over again I was overwhelmed, BUT God is awesome and he shows up! He shows up in having me teach my youth group a lesson on trusting him, a lesson on staying out of the boat and a lesson on him working things out for our good. I just laugh as I study to teach things things and realize they are for me as much as anyone. He shows up in complete strangers committing to help us raise money and making new friends, he shows up ALL THE TIME! How dare I doubt ever, but I do, I am sad to say, I do. When that happens I take a deep breath and remind myself to stay out of the boat and to trust harder. Whatever you are going through I just want to encourage you to stay strong and to keep climbing out of the boat and trying again, he will always be there to reach out when we start to sink. He has our best interest in mind always even when we don't understand. 

Thank you for your support and encouragement as we are getting ever so close to meeting our little boy. Please pray that these mountains continue to move and that God continues to show us the way on this wild journey.

Oh and one more picture of our boy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I could just BURST!

Last night after our fundraiser while Derek and I were driving out to his parent's to pick up Griffin we talked about the night and how awesome our night was. We were driving out there with a grocery bag of money on my lap but it wasn't the money we were talking about. We exchanged stories about our friends, family and even sweet strangers . You see, last night was about SO SO MUCH more than the money, it was about community, it was about support. I got to experience the sweet sincerity of children as I went to clear some plates and 3 siblings, excited exclaimed the amount of money they had in the jar and as one child handed me the tip jar and said "here are the tips for Henry" I almost cried, right there in front of a family of strangers, I almost broke down. It was a beautiful moment I will cherish forever.

As I worked (and sweated) along side another couple who is adopting as well, it really hit me that this journey is so much more than I expected in so many ways. Has this journey been a breeze? Nope. Haha NOPE! Have there been moments where I thought I was going break? Yes, and I can guarantee there will be more of those moments. Has it brought my husband and I closer? YES!! Has it pushed me (sometimes not so gently) towards the loving arms of Jesus? YES YES! Has it opened doors to new friendships? YES. Has it helped me see things in a whole new way? YES. You see, this journey is dynamic and every day is different but today I am rejoicing in what God is doing and what he has done, we are working hard on bringing our boy home but we are not taking one single blessing for granted along the way. 

You are probably wondering how much we made last night...after all that rambling I would be too! DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!!    >>>> We made $716.89 and a tooth (yes somehow a tooth made it into our bag, we laughed and cringed) in tips<<<<<< We will know more about how much we made from the buffet at a later time and I will share that number BUT $716.89!!! I am so grateful! Grateful for every last penny! Thank you all so much for coming out and eating, and a HUGE thank you for all of you who helped us clean tables, clean the restaurant and for those of you who prayed for last night! It was an amazing night! 

On the tip jars last night and the slips Derek handed out we advertised Trivia Night, so I am going to take a moment and explain what that is all about.

On May 30th from 6-10pm at Bismarck Baptist Church we are going to have Trivia Night. What this is, is 3 rounds and 40 questions on VARIOUS topics to test your knowledge. It is at our church but it is not church related trivia. The night is being run by Wild Trivia Tours and they do an awesome job! The cost for trivia is $25 a person or if you establish a team it will be $250 a team of 10-15 people. You do not have to have a team to come! Come as an individual and we can make a team :) This would be a great DATE NIGHT IDEA! Trivia is age 18 and up so find a sitter and join us! This could also be a great event to invite a bunch of co-workers to! Create two teams and compete among yourselves!

Check out the link below to find out more and to RSVP.


We are getting SO SO CLOSE! We are just waiting and praying for our Home Study report to be completed, we have to redo 2 papers and then get our fingerprints finished! After all of that we wait for USCIS approval and then we can send our papers to be submitted! Our hope and prayer is that we can travel to meet our boy in August, it is coming fast! We are getting so so excited, I dream of the day we get to meet him, the day we can tell him who we are and show him that he is loved. Waiting is hard but as we wait we are preparing our hearts,our home and trying to learn some sign language :)  Last weekend we got some toddler bedding from a rummage sale and my heart was soaring at the idea of our little man sleeping in a bed covered safely in that bedding...getting so close....

Thank you for taking the time to read ALL of that and thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. We are blessed!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Adoption...the good, the bad, and powerful words!

I have been meaning to update for quite a while, but as you know life is fast. I was trying to come up with what to say about where we are at and I feel like I could talk endlessly. So I decided to break it down for you.

The GOOD...first of all God is good (HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT)! Now more adoption specific goodness. We have made huge strides in the mountains of paperwork we need to complete, and by complete I mean fill out, get notarized and then get apostilled (fancy state stamp). Sometimes I feel like I have signed my name hundreds of times, but that is just how it goes. We are also making HUGE strides in our homestudy and it has actually been a lot of fun hashing out different aspects of our adoption with a third party, who really seems to want the best for us and our new boy. I have my individual meeting tomorrow and we have one more couples meeting, and then we will be DONE! We just have some classes to take and of course papers to get in and we should be able to submit our homestudy real SOON! I cannot even express how exciting that is!

The Bad...I will not dwell on the bad for very long, its really not in my personality to even focus on it a little but it exists and therefore should be mentioned for a moment...we had paperwork ruined a week or so ago that ended up spiraling me into a weepy mess. I don't think I have ever in my life left a library feeling so sad (yes actually crying). We were set up to knock 20+ documents off our check list and I watched as a notary messed them up in pretty much every way she could of thought possible. I was so mad I couldn't even speak (and for those of you who know me speechlessness isn't something that comes naturally). I quickly saved as many documents as I could (she hadn't touched) and we left. I cried, Derek encouraged, defeat set in. I am sad to say that for a few hours I let the bad consume me.
It is really funny that paperwork can send me into such a funk, but its actually not that uncommon in the adoption world. Paperwork is so important. While I was in my funk, I reached out to our adoption online community and they reassured me that I was normal (HA, who would have thought!) So we pressed on!

I will not give any more air time to the bad, its undeserving and a time vortex. Instead I will tell you about something that has been on my heart lately. There is a song, "Oceans" by Hillsong United, I cannot even tell you how many times this summer/fall at different events I have sang this song, I have prayed this song and it hit me recently how powerful and somewhat terrifying following through on those words have been.
They go:

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"

I was reminded this week, by another mom who had previously adopted, about this song, and it hit me, this is still my battle cry. These words are still my prayer. I am not sure why God has called us at this time to adopt. It is hard, it is scary and it is for sure HIS timing. He has called us to uncharted waters and he will guide us. I have to remind myself of this all the time, when I look at the goal of about $16000 and wonder where this money is going to come from, or when I am feeling stretched to my very core by my current sweet boy, or when paperwork is destroyed. I have to lean in, we have to lean in. God has a plan and he has shown us over and over that he has us in his hands but in our nature we question, we cry out we get ruffled. We are human. Looking back, knowing what I know now, would I have skipped this song? Would I have said the words with any less meaning? No. I am excited about what God is doing in my family and even in the middle of moments of fear he is present and loving and he is worthy of all the sacrifice and struggle. He after all is so GOOD! 

So friends be encouraged, whatever is going on in your life, whatever ocean, whatever storm, keep looking up and if you think of us pray. Keep praying we need it :) also if you feel lead to give financially, feel free we can use every penny!