Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dossier mailed off!!

Well, we have finally gotten to the point where we have finished all of the paperwork for our dossier (which is all of the required documents for Honduras)!  It has been a slightly frustrating few days since we completed our home study.  Once we received our paperwork from Homeland Security clearing us to adopt internationally (a big step that was finished sooner than expected!  Praise God!), we thought we had everything pretty much finished to where we could get the Secretary of the State of Mississippi to "apostille" our paperwork (which pretty much means they had to notarize the notaries.  I know it sounds redundant.......because it is; but it's part of the process).  However, we found out that we had to have certain documents apostilled in two other states, which took an overnight mail shipment and a flight to Austin, TX to complete.  We finished that and had been having issues with getting one document notarized the proper way, but we got it done and are praying that it will be sufficient.  We then received an email stating that Honduras wanted two identical sets of photos instead of just one (basically a scrap book that shows pictures of us, our family, and where we live).  So, we got up with Ashley, who did our other one and did an awesome job!  We asked her if she could do it ASAP, and she knocked it out in one day!  So thankful for her help on that!  The last thing that came up was the Secretary of the State of Missisippi informed us that some of our documents had to have a certain wording on them or she would not be able to apostille them.  So, we had to take those documents and get them notarized........again.  Amanda looked at me one night when I had gotten particularly frustrated and said, "This adoption stuff ain't for the faint of heart."  Ha!  She was right.  There are so many forces of evil that are fighting against us; and they will continue to do so.  Satan wants us to give up.  He does not want a child to be brought into a loving, godly home.  There is a child/ren that God has picked out for us.  He has called us to this and He will be faithful to provide.  We rest in the great I Am.  Jesus fights for us, our child/ren, and for the people who will be impacted by this adoption.  "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31b!

So, after journeying through the few setbacks we were able to finally get everything together.  We mailed everything off to our adoption agency Friday (November 25, 2011).  They will have to process it and double check everything to make sure it's exactly how the Honduran government wants it, and they then send it off to Honduras. 

Once it gets to Honduras they have to translate and process the documents through their departments.  This is an official statement from our family coordinator at America World Adoption Agency about that process, "It is currently taking two weeks, minimally, for dossiers to be fully translated and legalized after they arrive in Honduras. It may, occasionally, take longer if the individual who is reviewing the translations for legalization is absent from the office. There is quite a review process that the dossier goes through at IHNFA (the governmental body in Honduras that specifically deals with processing requests for adoption) before it is assigned a number so it will be up to 1 or 1 ½ months before each family receives an assigned number."  During that time if there is any paperwork that needs to be redone that is when we would have to do it; so it could take longer if problems arise.  We will pray that everything goes smoothly, but that God's will and timing be done.

That's pretty much where we are right now.  Kind of in another in-between place where we have done all that we can do besides wait for more progress.  So much of this journey is out of our control, which causes us to take comfort in the Holy Spirit and to trust in God.  One truth that has been helping me get through the moments of fear and uncertainty is something that Dr. Russell Moore wrote about in "Adopted for Life".  He spoke of the part of the adoption journey before we have our child/ren.  Instead of looking at it like it's a chore to be done, we need to look at it for what it is.  Service for the King.  All we are doing is stepping out in faith.  Our reasons for adopting should not be primarily to have children of our own, or as charity, or for any other reason than the gospel.  Our primary goal is to share the gospel of Jesus, and to make disciples of all nations.  We also desire to raise a child in the ways of the Lord so that they may be a man or woman after God's own heart.  We believe that our obedience to the call of adoption is a small step in that direction.  Glory to God for the work He has done and the work He has yet to do!

In Christ,

Love God.  Love others.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Home Study complete!!

We haven't posted a blog in awhile because there really hasn't been much going on besides waiting and praying. But now...we are very excited to have finished our home study!  We've been walking through the necessary steps to complete it - such as being interviewed by our social worker, completing forms, collecting information and documents, and meeting other requirements.  We completed the requirements over a month ago and have been waiting while our social worker organized all of those things into a very-detailed final report.  This is a huge step forward, and we're so thankful to God for taking us this far.  He has been faithful to meet our spiritual and financial needs so far and we know that He will continue be faithful to walk us through the rest of this journey. 

Today, we sent off our home study report, along with a letter of approval from DHS and an application to USCIS, to Homeland Security, who has to approve our bringing home a child from Honduras.  Once they recieve our request and process it, they will notify us of a time and place to be fingerprinted...again and then send back our approval to move forward.  This process will take anywhere from 1-3 months.  After that the Secretary of the State of Mississippi has to approve the paperwork, and then we'll be able to send all of it off to Honduras!  After that we just have to wait (and pray!).  We also received word today about a financial grant that was approved for us from our church.  It is so encouraging to know that our church is behind us and supporting us in every way throughout this process.

While being so excited about moving from one stage of our journey to another, today we received an email today from our adoption agency saying that the employees of the main governmental body in Honduras that processes adoptions (IHNFA) are on strike.  The IHNFA will also be investigated in the coming months, and some of the government employees will be replaced.  Please pray that this issue will be resolved quickly, and that we will still be able to continue the process toward adopting from Honduras.

It truly is a journey filled with ups and downs, unknowns, and trials, but God is allowing us to develop a deeper relationship with Him through teaching us patience and trust.  It helps to remember that God has called us to this, and ultimately we know that He is in control.

Thanks so much for your continued support and prayers!

In Christ,
Clint and Amanda

Love God. Love others.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home Study and Building Our Dossier!

Well, we have just recently started the most time-consuming parts of the adoption process.  Going through the home study and gathering the proper paperwork for the dossier (which is a file that contains detailed records about us) that we are going to be sending to the government officials in Honduras.  There is so much information everyone wants that it can become overwhelming (i.e. interviews, financial checks, background checks, psychological evaluations, home visits, medical physicals, etc.).  We're taking it one step at a time and are beginning to see progress.

Throughout this we are also gearing up for a second mission trip to Guatamala with the Jackson Prep girl's basketball team at the end of July!  It has taken a deeper significance to us knowing that our child will be coming out of that area.  Hopefully we'll be able to visit an orphanage while we are there!

We are continuing to see God's hand at work in this process.  He is teaching us to trust Him in EVERY area of our life.

In Christ,


Love God.  Love others.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our adoption into God's family!

One of the amazing truths that God has recently set upon my heart is how we, as Christ followers, have been adopted into God's family as sons and daughters through what Jesus has done and by the power of the Holy Spirit!  This truth is so deep and wonderful that there is no way that we will be able to plumb its depths in this lifetime.  We are loved by God!  What did God see in us that caused Him to look our way?  As I take an honest look inside myself I realize that there is nothing about me that would cause God to love me.  It is only because of the love within Himself.  And oh how great that love is!  The following verses are beautiful reminders of where we stand with God in Christ.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." (Galatians 4:4-7)

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15)

"In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ," (Ephesians 1:4-5)

As I try to take in this picture of God's love and our adoption through Christ I can't help but parallel it with earthly adoptions.  There is nothing good that our child will have done to earn our approval or our love.  Our love for our child is already there; made manifest by the Holy Spirit.  Put simply, any genuine love in us is put there by God.  Amanda and I have now been called to share that love through adoption.  Thank God for the work He has done!

As we walk through this journey of life my prayer is that we, as followers of Christ, never forget our identity in Jesus as a son or daughter of God.  We were made new for the purpose of good works, and by God's grace we are walking through what He has called us to do.  Whatever that might be!

Love God. Love others.

In Christ,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

You may say I'm a dreamer...

Well, we continue to receive God's assurance that we are on the right path in this journey.  I know people have differing views on the relevance of dreams, but I kind of wanted to go on record in mentioning this dream that I had Tuesday night (May 3, 2011).  I'm not one who dreams a lot so this was very interesting to me.

It was very simple but encouraging.  I remember a small Hispanic boy walking up, sitting in my lap, and me knowing that this was our adopted child.  The number 7 kept running through my mind, and, in the dream, I obviously thought that was the age of our child.  After I woke up, however, I remembered that 7 is a number that is used to symbolize perfection in the Bible.  So, it could have been the age of the child or just a way to symbolize that the adoption had been completed.  For me it just made me more confident that we were right in our decision to go with Honduras and that God would see us through the adoption process all the way to completion!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Great song!

Amanda and I love this song.  It's a concise statement of our beliefs, and it's really fun to sing along with! Lol.  Enjoy!

The City Harmonic "Manifesto"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Honduras?

God has indeed led us to Honduras but not before some praying and waiting!  Once we narrowed our choices down to three countries (Ethiopia, Bulgaria, and Honduras) we felt kind of stuck, as I mentioned before.  We knew that this was the moment where we would have to come to a decision about the country because we had come to the point where we couldn't move forward without having a specific destination in mind.

So......we prayed for leading and direction from the Holy Spirit and waited.

As I look back I realize that we actually lived out James 1:5-8.  We prayed for help with choosing a country and waited expectantly for the answer to that prayer.  The first thing that we turned to was the fact that our hearts were indeed drawn to Central America because of the mission trip from the summer of 2010, that we could speak some Spanish, and the close location.  However, we had a friend randomly mention Ethiopia, and the country that we drew out of the hat was....wait for it....Bulgaria!  It seemed as if we were getting conflicting signals, but God evetually began to narrow it down for us. 

A couple of things happened, all within a week's time, that we felt were confirmations from God of which direction He wanted us to go in.  Amanda read a story on Pinelake's website about a lady in Morton, MS that really had a heart for Hispanic children in her area and showed that by serving them in various ways.  Also, two of our regular weekly television shows had plots that included first-time and one-time only characters from Central American countries.  The thing that gave me closure in our decision for Honduras happened at work when I noticed a package of cigars a co-worker had that was labeled as having been made in Honduras.  If that wasn't enough we later found out that America World's Honduras adoption program, which is fairly new, was started in January 2011; the very month that God called us to adopt!  God is amazing and faithful!

Monday, May 2, 2011

First steps!

       There's so many things that have happened since we first stepped out in obedience to God's call for us to adopt back in January.  We will try to post every step in this process and attempt to convey the very present sense that we already have of God leading us.

       As soon as we knew that we wanted to adopt we kind of felt lost among all the information and in looking at the big picture of where we were; wondering how in the world we were going to complete this journey.  It was so overwhelming, but God is helping us take one step at a time.  Some of the first things we did were research different adoption agencies, talk to pastors at our church, and gather information from friends that have been through or are in the middle of the adoption process.  Through these things we were able to gain a better understanding of the comprehensive process which affects several areas (i.e. emotional, spiritual, financial, and legal).  We have already found that we will have to lean hard into God through this.

       Our first decision we had to make was to either go with intercountry or domestic adoption.  Amanda initially felt drawn to intercountry and I to domestic.  Amanda had a heart for Central America because of the mission trip that we took in the summer of 2010.  My rationale was that there are so many children here domestically that need a good home.  However, we came together in prayer and asked God to lead us in the direction that HE wanted us to go.  There wasn't one specific incident other than my heart really began to be drawn towards intercountry adoption.  So, once our decision was intercountry adoption we had to focus on what country and adoption agency we were going with.

We continued in prayer for God to lead us to the specific country.  We were able to eliminate several countries right away because they all have specific guidelines with regard to age, years of marriage, the age of children available, income, and, believe it or not, body mass index!  Lol.  Through that process we came out with three countries; Ethiopia, Honduras, and Bulgaria.  At this point we kind of felt stuck because we had to make a decision on the country before we could move forward with anything else.  Throughout this time we looked for confirmation from God for a direction.  At one point we even took things into our own hands and drew the name of a country out of a hat!  We were patient, albeit begrudgingly at times : ), but eventually God lead us to Honduras!!  There were a few interesting events that led to that decision, and we'll share that in another post.

We then chose an agency (America World Adoption Agency AWAA), filled out their application, and are now about to begin the home study.

We continue to be grateful for God's leading, and thank you for your support and prayers!

In Christ,

Love God.  Love others.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How we got here...

We would like to share about how God is beginning to move in and through us...
       Our desire to begin a family has been extremely strong over the past 3 and a half years.  So far, we have not conceived.  During this season, in late 2009, I approached Amanda about considering adoption.  She was completely closed off to the idea, so I respected her feelings, but we both continued to have an increasing desire to start a family.  

        Throughout the 2010 year, God was working in each of us individually, as well as both of us collectively to show us how He wanted us to begin a family.  That summer, Amanda and I led her basketball team on a basketball mission trip to Guatemala and El Salvador.  One of the experiences that we had there was visiting an orphanage in San Salvador.  Spending time with the children in the orphanage, sharing God's love with them, and seeing the need to care for orphans were all instrumental in God revealing His call to us, but we didn't fully realize it at that time.  In mid-January 2011, I approached Amanda again about the idea of adoption; and she told me that she had been thinking about it and had actually in recent days begun researching adoption agencies and processes.  The very next Sunday, the message at church was specifically about caring for orphans.  It was at this point that God's call for us to adopt was confirmed! 

In Christ,

Love God.  Love others.