Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Friends

This morning I got to do the best thing ever. I got to go see a fully notarized and authenticated complete Rwandan dossier! I know, awesome, right! There is a small little group of us here in Austin that are adopting independently from Rwanda, and Emily won the dossier race. She was kind enough to invite everyone over to look at it before she sends it away to Washington and then to Kigali, never to be seen again. And not only that, she made lists of her table of contents for us to take home - a million thanks to her!
In this adoption journey, you need people to walk beside you. When we started, I'll be honest, I heard that advice and I despaired a bit. We have amazing friends, amazing friends who are adoptive parents, who are even currently in the process of adopting now, that share our heart for adoption and can relate to so many aspects of this journey. But its different when you have an agency walking next to you checking your p's and q's, making sure all your documents are in order, that all your i's are dotted and so on. Doing this independently is scary. Let me tell you how unbelievable it is to have this group of families seem to fall out of the sky and into our laps four months into our process. It is such a gift to have a group to turn to just to ask questions like "uh, did you include this statement in your dossier, and if so, did you get it authenticated or just notarized, etc..." Not to mention that the value of our kids being able to play together and share a common cultural background and appearance also can not be overstated. For now I am excited to have met a few of the women in this group, and I look forward to meeting the rest of the couples (there are six of us, including me and Jonathan). We have a no-kids-allowed dinner scheduled on March 6th so that we can all properly meet and get to know one another in person.
And I have finally decided on the home study. We are going to use Bonita, the independent social worker. I just feel like its going to be okay. So now I can move forward on getting the forms ready for that, and we can be on our way. Phew. Feels good to type that out loud.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Future and A Hope

Today Jonathan and I got to go to an adoption conference put on by a church here in town called A Future and A Hope Adoption Conference. It breathed renewal into me in so many ways. The keynote speaker spoke a message that was honest and true, and whenever a speaker does that, the message is powerful to me. I cried during his message, and I don't usually cry. Then Aaron Ivey blessed us with playing his song, Amos Story, about his and his wife's journey to bring their son, Amos, and their daughter, Story, home from Haiti (I believe I mentioned them in a previous blog). As Aaron played that song, I started crying again. I think I have just been so emotional lately. It feels like we have been on pause lately with our adoption. I hate pause. I am a proactive, move forward, get things done, doer. I don't like the waiting or patience that God sometimes requires of me, and seems to be requiring more of me lately as we sort through some opportunities that have come our way. But today was so amazing. It was so fun to be around like-minded people, to not have to try to justify a decision, to just be understood. And to see our little Austin Rwanda group together for the first time - that was just cool!
As the speaker was expounding on the nature of both vertical and horizontal adoption, a passage from "Adopted for Life" by Russell Moore came to mind. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. The discussion topic entails that adoption and redemption are entwined; that even creation waits and is groaning under the chains that hold it down. It longs to be free. It longs to be "adopted out" and set into the kingdom of God. Here's how Moore puts it, he says it much better than I do:

"You see that's the whole story of redemption. The universe was meant to be a home- where the image-bearers of God rule and serve under their Father. It was all to be ours. The primeval insurrection in the garden, though, turned the universe into an orphanage - the heirs were gone, done in by their appetites. A serpent now holds the cosmos in captivity, driving along the deposed rulers as his slaves. The whole universe is now an orphanage.
But then there's Jesus.
When we were still orphans, Christ became a substitute orphan for us. Though he was a son, he took on the humiliation of a slave and the horror of death (Phil. 2:6-8). Jesus walked to that far country with us, even to the depths of the hog pen that we'd made our home, and hung on a tree abandoned by his Father in our place."

I love that passage so much because it just makes so much sense to me. Orphanages are no more natural and make no more sense to me than most things in this world. Earlier this week a crazy man flew a single engine plane into an IRS building about a mile and half from our house. The world is broken and the evidence is all around. I love the image of Jesus walking to that far off land. We as adoptive parents often travel to far off countries, endure long plane rides and bad food. How little we have to complain about. How short-sighted my perspective often is.

To everyone asking us "what's happening with our adoption?" we are just stuck trying to decide who to do our homestudy with. There are two agencies familiar with Rwandan dossiers in or around Austin that we would be comfortable using, or we have the option for a much lower cost (as in half as much) to use an independent social worker to complete the homestudy. She does not have experience with Rwanda, other than doing two other couple's reports adopting from Rwanda that we know. I would ordinarily save money without thinking twice about it, but for some reason I am thinking twice about it and I don't know why. Cost is a real issue for us, however, so I am sort of in this limbo state and I just can not seem to make a decision for the life of me. Thoughts and/or advice are always appreciated! So that's where we're at - hope to be somewhere else next time you ask. Progress is always my goal.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

We've Got Coffee!!

Our "Coffee Store" is now up and running. Simply click on the Just Love Coffee icon at the top right corner of our blog and it will take you directly to our coffee storefront. There you will find a wide variety of fair trade coffees in all roasts and blends, as well as espressos and even some apparel. There are usually some featured coffees on the page, but there are many more on the left hand panel. We get a portion of everything ordered from our page, and then we get to use all that money for our adoption costs - hooray! So, in conclusion, you guys get awesome fair trade coffees, and we get some help in bringing those beautiful kids home - everybody wins!
So, if you don't mind, think big. Does your office order coffee? Maybe your office could order from us every once in while (or all the time, that would be fine too). Do people you know like coffee (probably huh? most people do..), maybe they would like our coffee. They probably would. Our coffee is really good. Better than the coffee they are already drinking. Better than the coffee you are already drinking. Uh-oh. You better buy some coffee from us too, quick. Do those same people you know that drink coffee also work in an office that orders coffee? You see where I'm going with this...
And you don't always have to direct them to this blog to get them to our store. Here is our store web address - feel free to hand this baby out to anyone you know who has the slightest hint of coffee breath.
So, cheers! Cheers to drinking lots and lots of our coffee.