Our Family

Our Family

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Paperwork is Complete!

God is so good! My prayer since we started this journey in March was to finish the paperwork by the end of 2013, and God has proved faithful. We received our I-797 (clearance from US Customs & Immigration) today! Many of you know that the government shut down delayed our process a bit, but I should have known that God's timing will always prevail. Thank you for all your prayers and support; they have helped us reach our goal for 2013.

Now we will get all of the paperwork certified and send it off for translation, and then to the Colombian government. We have two big prayer requests as far as the paperwork goes in Colombia. Our doctor's clearance will expire Jan 29th, and our employer reference will expire Feb 19th. Please pray that the Colombian government will process our paperwork before those dates. The other request is that the Colombian government will approve all our documents the first time. There are times that paperwork has to be redone or clarified, and that extends the process considerably.

Our final news is that our website is up and running! Check it out at www.ouradoptionadventure.org. Wishing everyone a Happy New Years!
Allyson & Scott

Friday, December 13, 2013

Your Prayers are Working!

We received two important documents in this mail this week! God is so good to get these in before the holidays! First we received Scott's employer reference with the apostille (government certification). We've heard that CA can be picky about apostilling documents, so we feel very fortunate that ours worked the first time. Also, I've mentioned many times that we've been waiting for FBI clearance. I've been trying not to get my hopes up about getting the clearances before Christmas. When the government shut down they stopped processing fingerprints, so we knew they would be backed up. Normally the clearances take 6-8 weeks, and we just received ours today (only about 7 weeks)! So now we send those off to Washington, D.C. to get them apostilled by the federal government. Your prayers have been surely helping us!

The final document that we need prayers for is our I-797. We got more fingerprints done with the USCIS, and that is the last step before getting the I-797 clearance. We are hoping to get the document by the beginning of January.

Please also pray for our girl during this Christmas season. We have no idea if they do any type of celebration at the orphanage (it is a Catholic orphanage). Our main prayer is that she would have a full belly and know that her mommy and daddy love her. I won't be able to send anything to her until she is officially referred to us by the Colombian government.

My last bit of news is to save the date for February 8th. We are going to have an awesome Valentines Dinner fundraiser at our church (Momentum Eagles Landing). We are hosting a pick-a-prize auction, and will have childcare as well. The proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards our cost of travel to Colombia. Hopefully this will be our last fundraiser before going to get our girl! Please plan on coming to support us!

Merry Christmas from the Hamilton!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pictures & Fundraising

No forward progress to report in the paperwork department, but we are praying for FBI fingerprint clearance before December. We appreciate any prayers to speed that us!

Last Saturday we took pictures with our friend, Jordyn, who is an awesome photographer. She took some pictures for us to help us document this important part of our lives. Then she and Scott did portraits for several different families. She is especially awesome because she is donating half of the proceeds to the adoption! Here are some of our pictures:





Scott and I were looking through our funds after a convicting sermon on Sunday, and we just have to glorify God for all He has done in our adoption process. As of September 18th we had completely drained our funds that we had saved because we had to pay for our homestudy. Our next big payment will be when we submit our dossier, and we are praying that will be before the end of 2013. At times I felt like we would never be able to raise that money before Christmas, but God's timing is always right. We have currently raised all of the funds that we need for the dossier payment!!!! Next we will work on raising money for our attorney fees in Colombia, all our travel costs, and the cost of our post-adoption visits. I finally feel like our trip is in sight, still in the distance, but at least in sight. We cannot wait to meet our little girl! I can't wait to spend Christmas 2014 as a family of 3!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Making some progress!

Small steps...but any forward movement is encouraging! Yesterday we received Scott's employer reference in the mail, so now we can mail it back to CA to be apostilled. Then we also got our appointment from the USCIS to have our biometrics taken. This is the final step for USCIS clearance, which is one of the more lengthy steps. We are still waiting on fingerprint clearance from the FBI, so please pray that we will get that soon. After we get all of the clearances we can take all our paperwork to the state department in GA to have it apostilled, and then get it sent off for translation. We are praying to get that done before Christmas, but that deadline is quickly approaching.

Also, we have been doing well in our fundraisers. The tshirts have been ordered, so if you haven't paid we would appreciate a check anytime. You can message me on Facebook for our address. We should be able to get those distributed before Christmas (hopefully)! We have about $2000 left to raise before we can submit our dossier to Bethany, so we are also praying that we can get that raised so it doesn't hinder our progress. After that payment we will begin raising funds for travel, which we estimate to be around $10,000. We are planning a fundraiser for January, so I will post more info on that in the coming weeks.

We have been very blessed by personal donations thus far. We are hoping to get a matching grant, which people can donate to for our travel costs. We will post more info about donations after December 15th.

Thank you for your support and prayers!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My latest project...

For months since we started the adoption I looked forward to the day when we would know the child that we were adopting. Ever since we got approved for our little girl I have been envisioning the projects I wanted to do before she came home. One was to create a special "lovey" to send to her in Colombia. It is recommended to send the child a soft toy that they can bond with in the orphanage. Then when your child leaves she will always have that "lovey" that smells like the place she has always called home. It is a good way to bridge the gap.

My sweet friend Joy suggested I make a rag doll. My great-grandmother made me a rag doll that I still have, and our sweet girl shares a name with my great-grandma. I knew it would be perfect to sew my girl a similar doll. I ended up hand stitching and embroidering the doll, so it was a sweet time to focus on our daughter, and pray her her.

I finally finished sewing her dress today. It was made from a night gown that was made by my great-grandma, and I had enough material to make a matching dress for our girl. I can't wait to see her in it!
 The finished dolly!
 My rag doll, the new doll, and matching dress. 

I'm hoping maybe we can send the doll for Christmas, but we are still trying to figure out how to make that happen.

Other good news is that our check has cleared the USCIS, so we should be getting our fingerprint appointment soon. We are waiting on USCIS clearance, FBI fingerprint clearance, and our employer reference. Then we will get everything apostilled. Getting closer to the end of the paperwork! Hooray!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nursery Projects!

This week I decided to start on some of the nursery projects I have been planning. We are very fortunate that the only furniture we have to buy is a crib. A while back I painted my great-grandmother's sewing cabinet, and that will work as a changing station. This week I decided to paint our glider, a book shelf, and a mini rocking chair. They are not completely finished but here are some pictures of the progress. The glider is mine from when I was a baby! It's in great shape, but I wanted to update it.




I will post completed pictures soon! We are almost ready to order shirts, so please let me know if you would still like one. You can comment on the blog, or message me on Facebook. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Nursery Time!

Ever since we started on this journey I have dreamed of what our sweet child's room would look like. Would it need a crib or a bed? Will it be boy or girl or neutral?

Well it is time for the fun to begin! Now that we know we will have a little girl, who will still need a crib I can start planning in earnest. Coming up with ideas is so much easier with Pinterest, and I have fallen in love with a grey/bright color nursery on there. Sadly we cannot paint (rental house), so we are trying to incorporate lots of color any other way. I have officially made my first purchase for the room, and this is what we are going to center the decor around...
It came yesterday, and I love it! Now off to IKEA to find some matching accessories. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Will the paperwork ever end?

We are in the midst of the "paperwork" stage of the dossier now! Plus we are applying for as many grants as possible, and it seems that each application requires the same questions with just enough variation that I have to rewrite them all! But we are excited to be making progress each day, and hope to get several grant applications mailed off today. We did our FBI fingerprints last week, and have our doctor's visits next week. Please keep praying that our clearances will go quickly, and smoothly.

Some exciting news is that our Bethany representative is visiting the orphanage where our little girl is today. We are going to get some updated pictures and videos, and we got the chance to send some questions for the representative to ask. I wanted to know what size she is wearing, so I can start looking at all those cute girl clothes! In case you are wondering we are not allowed to post any pictures of our little girl until she is legally adopted, which will happen in Colombia.

I mentioned on Facebook that our goal for selling shirts is 200, which will bring in over $1000 for the adoption. Please keep spreading the word!

Thanks for all your support and prayers!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shop on Amazon and help us earn adoption money!!


We are doing a new fundraiser where we advertise products for Amazon. The more products we successfully adversities the more we make for promoting them. So use the links we provide to purchase items and you will be helping fund our adoption! If you have specific items you want to buy just email me, and I will put up a link. My email is allyson.hamilton88@gmail.com The item is the same price, we just get paid for the advertisement.

Right now Amazon has a promotion where we can earn $6 for anyone who tries out a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. If you have not used this feature yet it is awesome! Just use this link : Amazon Prime Trial. If you don't want to pay for the membership just cancel at the end of the month. Thanks for your support, and let us know any special requests!
You get:

  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items
  • No minimum order size
  • Unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video
  • A Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library

Monday, October 14, 2013

The best news yet!

Well this past week has been a roller coaster in many ways. We traveled up to Virginia for me to take a Master's course at Liberty. We were able to see Scott's family, and stay with his brother and sister-in-law. We got to celebrate our niece's first birthday, and his grandma's 90th birthday. The course that I took was my first "live" counseling course. I had to be a counselor and client throughout the week, which was very emotionally draining. Wednesday and Thursday I was at the school for 13 hours total because we had to videotape counseling after class. I got home Thursday night only to find out that my hard drive was full, and none of the videos had recorded. We redid the the videos Friday, and I finally was done around 4:00pm. When I got home I got an email that said "Good news for the weekend!".

Our Colombian worker had been in Haiti all week, so I did not expect to hear from her. We were waiting to hear back from the orphanage about a letter of intent that we had submitted for a 2.5 year old girl. On Friday we found out we had been accepted!!! At this time we are not going to share lots of personal information about her because we are still working to get government clearance, etc. We are super excited though because we can really start making concrete plans. I can start on her nursery, and possibly sew her some clothes. All of the fun mommy stuff! :) We already have her first hair clip, made by my sweet friend Joy. Our timeline is not definite yet, but we hope to travel in 2014 to pick her up.




Other than our paperwork we still have a lot of fundraising to do, so we are still praying for the Lord's provision. We have been blessed by some donations in the past weeks, and picked up our sample shirts from Black Ink today. We will be taking orders this week, so I will put all the specifics about sizes and prices on the blog soon. We also hope to have our website up soon, and we will have online ordering available there.
Don't forget about our coffee fundraiser as well: Just Love Coffee

Thank you for all your support! Let's bring our little girl home!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fundraising so far...

A big thank you to everyone who has already purchased coffee! They send us a check at the end of each month, so we already have our first check headed our way. 
Just click this link, Hamilton Coffee, and put in your order. They will make great Christmas gifts!

Also, coming soon we will have our adoption T-shirts for sale. They are going to be super comfy, soft shirts from Bella Canvas. Black Ink printing has been very generous, so we will make a good amount of proceeds from these shirts! Be looking on the blog and Facebook for more information about ordering in the next few weeks.


Chick Fil A calendars just came out, and we are going to be selling them! There are also great Christmas gifts. More details coming soon!

Monday, September 23, 2013

First Fundraising Venture


Well no time like now to start fundraising! Early on in our process I learned about this awesome coffee company called Just Love Coffee Roasters who support family adoptions. We have our own personal link that you can purchase coffee through, and some of the proceeds will go towards our adoption. Their coffee is fair trade, and you can read more about their mission on their website. If you love coffee then please consider purchasing through our link! If you don't drink coffee then any of their merchandise would make great Christmas gifts, and it's never too early to start Christmas shopping! 

Our personal link to purchase from is: https://justlovecoffee.com/about/beneficiary/hamiltonadoptionadventure/

Here is the amount that we receive from each purchase:
13oz. Coffees (non-small lot): $5
8oz. Coffee (non-small lot): $3.50
10-count Single-Serve Cups: $2.50
Tastes of Africa (4) 8oz. Sampler: $7
Tour of The World (4) 8oz. Sampler: $7
Coffee Cupper's (11) 8oz. Sampler: $19
Jamaica Blue Mountain (small lot): 4oz. ($3)  13oz. ($9)
Special Blend–I Love Mom: $5
Special Blend–Pinky Beans (Available in October only): $0
T-Shirts: $5
Sale T-Shirts: $3
Sale Hoodie: $4
Beanie: $3
Hat: $3
Stoneware Mug: $2
16oz. Steel Tumbler: $2
Aeropress: $5
Aeropress Microfilters: $.25
Coffee Scoop: $1
Chemex Brewer: $3
Chemex Filters: $0
LaMarzocco Espresso Machine: $0


Thank you in advance to everyone who makes a purchase! You are helping us bring home our Colombian child! 

Home Study Approval!!!

Hooray!! We found out today that our home study has been approved!!!! This is what we've been waiting for all summer, so we are super excited. Now we send it with out I800A form to the USCIS, and that begins our dossier process. I am just super excited that we can get moving again. But now we are also hitting the reality of fundraising. I am going to start looking at different options, but we have tentatively planned on selling tshirts, and coffee through companies that support individual adoptions. So be looking for more info on the blog in the following months...think Christmas gifts :). We also hope to get a matching grant, but all of this will take lots of applications. Time to get to work! I am going to try to put a graph on here to show how we're progressing, but I have to nail down some of our figures first. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for a speedy approval...it worked!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Some good news!

Well we received two pieces of good news today! I drove to Roswell to pick up our finished psychological reports, and then to Alpharetta to drop them off. Gotta love 400 traffic at rush hour! Our homestudy has been waiting on those reports and Scott's CPS clearance from VA. As I was leaving to pick up the reports I got a message from our case worker that the clearance had come in today. Thank you Lord! So now we just wait for Bethany's approval at the state level (almost done), then from the global office, and then from the USCIS. So prayers are appreciated that all the approvals will go smoothly and quickly!

The other news is that we finally decided to have medical records reviewed for another child. This is a significant expense so we've been praying about it all summer. We feel like we should take a step in this direction, even though dealing with medical issues can be scary. We feel like the Lord is asking us to trust and have faith. So now we wait to hear back from the International Adoption doctor. If we feel like we can handle the child's medical issues then we put in a letter of intent saying that at the end of our dossier we intend to adopt this specific child. Choosing off the waiting list is a bit different than making a referral, so we have really been taking time to make any decisions. Also, we won't necessarily post any information about any child that we choose for two reasons. 1. They are still not legally our child. 2. We've been given the wise advice to not advertise all of his or her medical needs. Once the information is shared you can't get it back.

It's so good to finally make some progress! Thank you for all your prayers!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Culture of Adoption

I am taking a class on multicultural counseling, and we had to do a cultural immersion project. We got to choose the culture, so I asked if I could study the culture of adoption. Obviously, I was super excited when my professor responded that she thought that was a great idea that had not been done before. We had to read some professional literature and internet sources on our culture, and write a summary of our findings. Reading and writing gave me a new perspective on the culture of adoption, and I wanted to share it:


            I chose to study the culture of adoption. My husband and I are adopting internationally, and I would love to learn more about adoption as a whole. I have found that once we started our adoption a new culture emerged in my worldview. I am now connected with families all over the nation. The culture of adoption is special because it is not defined by ethnicity, but combines many ethnicities to make new families. Currently the number of adoptions has declined severely over the past decade (Samuel Goldwyn Films & Jutunen, 2012). Part of the Hague treaty that was enacted in 2005 involves stricter guidelines that countries must follow to be approved for adoption with the United States (Samuel Goldwyn Films & Jutunen, 2012). Many countries are not complying with the strict standards, and the United States is closing down countries that may not be entirely corrupt. The Hague treaty was put in place to protect children, but not it has created a situation where fewer children are finding homes. Guatemala has been closed for many years, and is now building super orphanages that can hold over 700 children (Samuel Goldwyn Films & Jutunen, 2012).
 Part of the problem is that a lot of the literature on adoption focuses on the difficulties such as attachment disorders, academic issues and behavior problems. These issues are a real part of adoption, but they are not the only part. Once one becomes part of the adoption community, and sees adoptive families first hand he or she can see the joyous part of adoption. Adopted children may face many more difficulties, but they also achieve many victories. To be part of the adoption culture means to celebrate these victories along with other families, and to hope to see the same joy in your own family one day. I have learned that adoption culture means being an advocate, not just for the child that you want to adopt, but for all orphans. James 1:27 calls us to be part of this culture in saying, “ Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

References:
Samuel Goldwyn Films, & Jutunen, C. (2012). Stuck [DVD]. Available from www.stuckdocumentary.com

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fulfillment in the waiting...

Well we are still waiting for our psych eval results and Scott's clearance from Virginia Child Protection Services to complete our home study. Our case worker hopes that the home study will take about 2 weeks for approval, so for now we just wait. So I decided to put myself out there and find some babysitting jobs. I was debating with finding a part time job, but I didn't want to commit to a position and then have to leave in less than a year to travel to Colombia (hopefully!). Through some connections at church my name was given to a lady who needed someone to watch her 10 month old 2 days a week. Perfect! And she is going to drop him off at my house. It will be like a crash course on parenting. I am super excited about the job, and bringing in a little more money for the adoption. The Lord knew I needed some distraction during the wait and He provided. So now I get to make a little money and learn how to be a mommy (except for the sleep deprivation part). Thank you Lord for your provision!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Trust

Trust seems to be a common theme in my life right now. My church is doing a series on trust, trust comes up in prayer time, and discussions with friends. Obviously, adoption is a journey based on trust. For us the decision to adopt was easy. We knew we were being called to adopt (rather than become pregnant with) our first born. Then we had to select an agency, and Bethany was a natural fit. It is a nation-wide agency with lots of resources, but the office in Atlanta give a small agency atmosphere. Choosing Colombia was easy, staying with Colombia took some trust when they changed the age availability, but we have always felt a peace about adopting from Colombia (and we have looked at ALL our options). We are now "done" with our home study, but still waiting on last minute forms to be sent in so we can be approved. We have to be approved to really start our dossier, so for now I am learning to trust during the down time. 

During this time the only tangible thing I can do is pray, but that is hard for me because I want to pray for a specific child. I want to KNOW my baby, even if I can't be with her right now. (I say baby loosely say we may get an older child, but he or she will always be my baby.) I don't know if God is calling me to trust and wait for a child to be referred, or trust that he will provide for the medical needs of a child on the waiting list. No matter what child we get there are going to be difficult times. I thought at first that putting together the dossier would be the hardest part, but now I realize that becoming a parent is the hardest part. But also the most rewarding part. I know there are circumstances where more than one option could be 'right', and God gives us the intelligence to choose. I don't know if that is the situation here, or if God will absolutely reveal to me who our child is. So many babies on the waiting list need a home, it's hard not to choose all of them. If you have any divine wisdom for me then let's go get coffee. 

On another note I am reading the book The 7 Experiment, so I am excited to see how God will grow my life through that. I may just blog about some of those lessons from time to time.

Thank you for reading, and as always for praying. If you have any questions feel free to ask!
God Bless,
Allyson

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Psychological Evaluation

Monday we went up to Roswell and had our psychological evaluation, mostly to make sure we're not crazy. It went very well, and the therapist (who adopted her two children internationally) had really great tips for integrating a child into our home. We also had to take a personality test that was 567 questions long. Super exhausting! The results should be back in two weeks. This is the last part of our home study, so then we can really start making progress on our dossier. We originally thought the eval would be part of the dossier, or we would have done it soon. Just another speed bump! The best part of the day was eating lunch at the Flying Biscuit...and I ate way too much. See how Scott has one plate, and I have three...that is not the norm.
In other adoption news...we adopted a new puppy about a week ago! Her name is Kona and she is the cutest thing ever. Coalie loves her, even though Kona likes to jump on her.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Beginning the dossier...

So we begin Phase 2 of the paperwork...the famous dossier packet. Except if you are not involved in the adoption world then it's not really famous to you. The reason that it is famous is because it is a lot of work, and the work has to be done very carefully. Once our home-study is officially approved we can really get going, but today we officially began our dossier preparation with a conference call. We love that our agency has someone to guide us through all the steps, and answer even my most detailed questions. 
We have to get our fingerprints done again, which we had a good laugh about because to do that we have to go to our local tobacco shop. Always a fun time. Especially because there is a sign that says tobacco customers always get priority over customers getting fingerprints done. My original goal to finish the dossier was six months, but I am hoping I can get it done even more quickly. The agency told us that there was a family who got it done in two weeks! But a lot of the process depends on how long the FBI takes to process your fingerprints. I am just excited that we are finally moving into this phase. Just one step closer to our child! 
It is a weird reality to know that (most likely) our child is already living somewhere in Colombia. I just pray that he or she is receiving good care, and the rest I leave in God's hands. I can't wait to actually find out who our child is, and start decorating his or her room. We have some furniture in there, but I have held off on actually decorating. Just one more thing to look forward to!
We appreciate your prayers for an expedient dossier process without any major road blocks or governmental changes in Colombia. I will try to keep everyone updated as we complete each step. (I think there is almost 30!)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ask, Seek, Knock


We are in a series at church called Jesus Said. It is a really great series that concentrates on the words of our Savior. This week our message was given by Brad Sinclair and he talked about the Ask, Seek, Knock passage. I have always thought this passage was pretty simple, but Brad really challenged my mind set. He said that we often ask of the Lord, then we sometimes seek Him, but do we really even knock. We need to be persistent in bringing our requests to the Lord; we need to knock on His door.

I ask many things for our adoption, and we often seek out the Lord's guidance. I am not sure if I have ever truly 'knocked' though. I think I'm a little scared to knock. I'm afraid I will be persistent with what I want, but it is not what the Lord wants. So I sit back and wait for a 'sign'. I do not actively knock on the door to see what the Lord has for me. I think it has something to do with a lack of faith. I'm afraid to ask for specifics, and then trust that the Lord will make it happen. I want to control the situation (how surprising to those who know me).

So I've been challenged to knock on the door of the Lord for what we want in our adoption. I'm telling to all of you, so I have someone to hold me to it.

1. Debt-free adoption. This is kinda a big deal because adoption costs more than both of our cars combined. We have been debt-free our whole marriage, and I believe, with the Lord's help, we can continue to be debt-free. It means we will have to trust on the Lord to provide, and apply for as many grants as we can get. I'm not very good at accepting help from other people, so this will truly stretch me.

2. Our specific child. I've been very nervous to put any type of limitation on the child that we want because I feel like we have the resources to meet needs of a variety of children. We are open to medical needs, siblings or a school age child (up to 6). From there I have a hard time narrowing down any specifics. I still struggle with saying we "can't/won't" take a certain disability, age, etc. I don't want to limit what the Lord can do through us. But I feel like we need to start making decisions about what we can truly handle. We need to start knocking on the door for the specific child. Please pray wisdom for us as we make these decisions because it is heart-breaking.

I know this isn't just my typical info post, but this is a little glimpse of what goes on in my head daily as we continue this journey. I have been so encouraged by everyone who says they read our blog. It is very humbling to know that so many people are praying on our behalf. Please feel free to comment on the blog, or the Facebook link. It is super encouraging, and I love answering any questions.

If you are at all interested in information about how to begin adoption please let me know. We feel very passionately that more people could adopt if they knew how to begin.

God Bless,
Allyson

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homestudy Update

It's been a while since our last update, but we have finished our home study! Our final visit with our social worker was last week, when she came out to our house. It will take her about a month to write our home study; it's super detailed. Then we will move onto our dossier. It is even more paperwork than the home study, and lots of government forms to fill out. We hope to get it finished within six months (it takes some people a year or more). Once our dossier is finished, translated into Spanish and approved by the Colombian government we will wait for a referral.

At this point we would not be referred to a child under the age of 6, due to some changes by the Colombian government. We are looking at children on the waiting list in hopes to speed up the process some. Most of these children are on the list because they have medical needs or are part of a sibling group. We are open to both possibilities; we are spending a lot of time in prayer over what needs we could meet for a child. You can be praying that the Lord gives us wisdom about how much we can do. Once our homestudy is written we will begin fundraising. We have been saving my salary all year to help cover the costs, but that will only be a portion. We are so appreciative to anyone who has already donated to us. We will probably make a tshirt, sell some fair-trade coffee, and apply for grants to help raise some more support. All the details will be put on this blog. Since I'm not working next year my job is going to be fundraising (as well as getting my Masters). If anyone has any ideas for fundraising please let us know!

Thank you again for all your support and prayers! Please feel free to comment if you have any questions about our journey.
~Allyson

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Life Update

Well, a lot has happened since the last time I blogged which is why it has been so long. We decided to move out of our previous rental in McDonough, and find a house in Locust Grove. We were feeling like we needed to be out of the city before committing to live in the house for the next several years. We were a bit hasty in finding our first house, but we knew more specifics about what we wanted this time. Once we do our home visit in June we don't want to change addresses again for awhile. Our new home is a really nice 4 bedroom in a county subdivision.

In adoption news we did our joint interview yesterday (we did separate interviews a few weeks ago). It was an easy interview, and we got to answer some fun questions. We told about how we met, and how Scott proposed. It was fun to relive those memories, especially from both of our viewpoints. We are trying to finish up things in our house, so it will be ready for our home visit in June. We got our physicals scheduled, and now we have to plan a time to get fingerprinted.

We hope to get all this wrapped up in June, and start on our dossier. We have our fingers crossed that we can finish that by the fall!

My birthday is tomorrow, and my parents got me (and Scott) an awesome new grill. We had dinner at the pool with my grandparents (and they got us some grill tools). We are all ready to have a summer cookout party! Tomorrow we are looking forward to going to dinner with our friends from college.  We also saw a mom and little baby deer in the backyard, and found a cool walking trail. I am already loving summer!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Currently...

I haven't posted in awhile just because life has become so busy. Our next step was originally our home visit, but we have decided to move to a different location before we do that. So today we get to go in for our individual interviews. I thought I would be really nervous about this part but I'm not. Just another confirmation that the Lord is guiding us.

I've been trying to complete all the paperwork for the homestudy, but we have a few tasks we still have to do like see our doctor, get our fingerprints done, etc. We need to make time to do it, but life has been crazy lately. My sister graduates from high school on Friday, so we are all gearing up for that. We also have Water Day and Field Day at school this week, so lots of fun going on.

We feel more and more confirmation about our decision to adopt. Our pastor gave a sermon on adoption yesterday, and I told Scott that it was a good thing we listened to the Lord's call back in October because that message was very convicting! It is hard to imagine all the orphans who are not receiving good care. It breaks my heart, and I hope we can continue to help the situation. I know that even if you are not personally called to adoption you can still lift up the children worldwide in your daily prayers, or possibly get involved with a Compassion child. We sponsor a little girl, but I'll save more details for a different post.

I'll try to post how the interviews go this afternoon. Scott has kindly agreed to let me go first. :) As always we appreciate your prayers.
Blessings,
Allyson


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Home Study began!

Today we had our first home study meeting with our adoption counselor. We had a chance to meet her in December, so it wasn't as nerve racking today. We had a great time talking to her, and went over our home study packet. It is a bit of paperwork, but not too bad. I feel like being a teacher (and coach) has prepared my to keep all the paperwork organized. The home study is a lot of reading and signing, but the real paperwork will begin with the dossier. Normally paperwork isn't very exciting, but right now I'm just happy to take the next step towards meeting our child. (We don't actually have a referral for a child, but he/she is always on our hearts and minds.) It doesn't hurt to be filling out the paperwork in Starbucks.

Tonight we're headed back to the Bethany office for a dinner with other adoptive families. We get to hear families speak on the waiting process, and we get two hours of adoption credit. We're excited to meet more people involved in the adoption community. What a great day!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stuck

We had an opportunity to see a wonderful documentary last week entitled Stuck. Our friends, Joy and Gabe, asked us if we would be interested in seeing a documentary on adoption. "Of course" was our reaction. We had a great dinner at Eats first, and then went to see the film at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. It is a wonderful film that will make you tear up multiple times, but it also shows some of the harsh realities of the world of adoption and children that are institutionalized. It highlights 3 families that all ran into problems while completing their adoption process. I can't say that it was super encouraging, but it was very eye-opening. The film, Stuck, is.corresponding with a movement called Both Ends Burning. Please check out their website at www.bothendsburning.org. I think the movement is awesome because their end goal is to provide homes for the 18 million orphans in the world.

In our own personal news we will have our first home study interview on Tuesday, and we get to attend a dinner at Bethany for parents in the adoption process. I'm excited to hear other people's stories, and get to be part of the adoption community. Our interview will be at the Bethany offices as well. We don't have a date for the 'home inspection' part of the home study yet. We are excited to be moving forward!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Overwhelmed

I knew in following the Lord's call to adoption we would be blessed in ways that we could not anticipate. Last night I was overwhelmed with blessings from the Lord. I have coached a  team of wonderful cheerleaders for the last 3 years, and last night was my time to say goodbye to them. It was bittersweet because I hate to leave my girls, but I look forward to the next step in our lives. We had a wonderful banquet of chinese food, and a time for the girls to be awarded for their accomplishments this year. Then it was time for me to thank those who have done so much for me over the years. And then the awards ceremony was supposed to be over, hopefully with only a little crying because once I get going its hard to stop.

But I didn't know the wonderful surprise the girls had prepared for me...they raised a gift of $550 towards our adoption. I was completely overwhelmed. This gift touched me so deeply. Not only was it nice to be recognized for the last 3 years, but it was like the team was giving me their blessing to move into our next stage of life with adoption. I will always have the sweet memory of my precious team helping me raise money to bring our first child home. Thank you girls (and parents) for all that you have done for me. I love dearly and will miss seeing you daily next year. I know the Lord will continue to bestow his blessings on you as a team.

In other news we can start our home study process as early as next week! We just have to set up a time to start our first interview. I'm super excited!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We've applied!

We have taken our first official step, and completed our adoption contract. After lots of prayer we have decided to go with Bethany with their Colombia program. We have decided that we are open to adopting a child a bit older than preschool age, around early elementary age. There is also a possibility that we could adopt a child off the waiting list or a sibling group. We don't know where this journey will lead us, but we feel like this is the way that God is leading us. We are excited about pressing forward, and will be preparing for our home study in the next month. If anyone has any fundraising ideas for us please feel free to share! We have been saving my salary since the beginning of the year, so we have part of our funds raised, but we will start fundraising in earnest after our home study completed. Thanks for being part of our journey!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Speed Bump

Well we officially turned in our formal application with Bethany last Monday, March 25th. Tuesday we ran into a little speed bump. I knew these moments would come with the adventure of adoption, I just didn't anticipate them happening so quickly. I received a phone call from the international office in Michigan. She let us know that we had been approved on a state level, and things were looking good at the international level. Except...Colombia is no longer adopting out children under the age of 5. She asked if we were open to a 5 year old, but I knew that was a decision that I needed to make with Scott. I asked if there were any other countries that we would be eligible for and she said we would be a good fit for Ethiopia or Bulgaria. So time to do some more research.

I was frustrated because I could have been doing research on these countries during the time we were waiting to apply. We also thought about looking into domestic adoption of a hispanic child, or looking up options with different agencies. We are still in the process of choosing what is best for us, but we have decided pretty firmly on international adoption. We know that the Lord is working in our hearts to be open to the child that is right for us, but we want to be fully prepared for whichever option we decide. We are still praying are researching, but plan to make a decision this week. Easter weekend was a good time for reflection on the Lord's sacrifice, and how we can honor Him with the adoption process. As always we appreciate prayers for the next step of the process.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The beginning of a journey...

Well this is an entirely new direction for our blog. We are going to share our journey through the process of adoption. Here is how our story began...

When Scott and I were thinking about getting married we discussed what we wanted our family to look like someday. We both have been on overseas missions trips, and loved the experience. We were both open to the idea of adoption...after we had a few kids of our own.

Fast forward two years later...our church is offering a missions trip to Haiti. I don't really want to go to Haiti because they don't speak Spanish, and I don't like the idea of not being able to communicate at all. But we didn't have any other opportunities to serve over seas in 2012, and we felt like the Lord was really calling us to go. We joined a team from our church that was going to do evangelism and medical work. Neither of us have any medical training, but we were willing to help wherever we were needed.

While we were in Haiti Scott was great with the medical team. He did triage for all the patients, and was really good at it. I, on the other hand, felt kind of useless. I couldn't help with medical procedures, I couldn't talk to or understand the people speaking Creole. What I did do though was hold babies. The Haitians love for Americans to hold their babies, and I was more than happy to do it. I knew that it was my opportunity to show a little of God's love to these precious children, and just pray over them. The more babies I held the more it just felt 'right'.

Scott and I knew we wanted to wait several years before trying to have children, but I felt like the Lord was creating in me the heart of a mother. At the same time I did not want to bring another child into the world after seeing what those children had to live through every day. God was really working in my heart, but I did not know where He was leading me. I just kept praying that God would do something 'big' in me after returning from Haiti. I even felt like He might call Scott and I to go overseas. I would love to go overseas and work with orphans someday, if the Lord calls us to that.

So that is where I was at when we returned to Haiti. The next Sunday at church (Scott was already in Dubai on business) our pastor preached a sermon called "If you can't do it for all, just do it for one." And I thought so if I can't take care of all the orphans does that mean I should just take care of one? And then our pastor said, "For some of you that might mean adoption", and it just hit me. I felt like that statement was spoken just to me. But I wanted to make sure Scott was feeling the same because I wanted him to lead in a big decision like this. When he returned to Dubai we talked about Haiti, and what it had done for us. We talked about adoption, and it felt like we were right in the center of God's will. What an awesome feeling that is.

In December we went to an informational meeting with Bethany Christian Services, and were super excited to get all the information. The only disappointment is that one of us had to be 25.

Fast forward to March 23rd...Scott turns 25! So we have finally submitted our formal application for adoption. I have done some reading, and I know it's not always an easy road to travel. We know the Lord is guiding us, and has some awesome things to teach us along the way. I hope you enjoy sharing this journey with us! We appreciate your prayers, and we begin the process.

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