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FRIDAY!

Just got placed with our home study coordinator and our first home study is THIS Friday!!! I’m so glad we chose a company who is so fast! We’ll have 3 more interviews after today’s phone consultation—the 2nd being this Friday. Off to work on my “to do” list I posted earlier today. (And of course edit a gazillon sessions that are in waiting!) Wow…after this week we should have a lot of fun pictures to share…physicals, fingerprinting and our home study!

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Anonymous - September 10, 2009 - 12:15 pm

Wow so awesome that you are adopting! You are using AGCI also! We adopted our son Samuel from China through them! They are so great!!!! I am now praying about Ethiopia with them! I have fallen in love with the two curly haired boys who are called the precious brothers! They are so neat! They are all so cute and need homes! I would take them all if I could! Well I keep waiting on God also! I have also watched the Lucy LAne video many times nad cried through it! It also has been used by God to put Ethiopia on my heart as well! So neat how God works!!!

God BLess, Heidi
schafbuch_3@msn.com

Whew! Our paperwork officially begins this week!

The application to AGCI (adoption agency)and AAA Partners (home study agency) are in. Just got off the phone with AAA and our paperwork menu is before us. I eat paperwork for breakfast—the wait for our child is going to be what gets me! OK…so our homestudy paperwork is just the appetizer. Here’s what we’ll be doing this week (on top of ballet, soccer, preschool, editing portraits and of course working with Frank’s new skills of clapping and waving ‘bye-bye’…video of that to follow;):

1. Date with Roswell City to get fingerprints (too bad they just want mine and Richard’s b/c Laney and Parker would love to do this one…I think I’ll take them with us and let them join in the fun too…wonder if our home study agency will think that’s as cute as we do!)

2. Mail fingerprints to FBI and contact FBI for background checks.

3. Bake cookies for the people I’m asking to write reference letters for us;). Just kidding…but maybe I’m not;). I will beg these lucky four to mail those in asap:). Come on people–I’m going for a record breaking home study time completion here;)

4. Fill out retention letter, child safety agreement, more agreements, more agreements and more agreements.

5. Make doctor appointments for a family date to the doctor…PHYSICALS for EVERYONE! Richard will be so excited;)! Frank even has to have one!

6. Fill out financial statements and ask Richard’s boss for a raise. Just kidding. This momma will be quitting her photography business when #4 arrives:)

7. Complete 10 page parent personal profile. Everything from how the hubby and I handle disagreements, what our wedding was like, what were our favorite things to do as children, and of course the answer to my question I answered last post ‘why ethiopia’…I’m guessing they want more than ‘why not?’

OK…so that’s it for this week:). Off to make doc appointments and start this weeks paperwork! I’ll try to take a few pictures of our physical and fingerprinting fun!!!

XOXO,

Andrea

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loveisspokenhere - September 8, 2009 - 11:35 am

fun stuff!! make sure you take pictures! it is fun to document everything…and it will be so cool to look back and how much the kids have changed throughout the process!!

Adam and Christie - September 10, 2009 - 7:21 am

what an exciting time with so much to do! 🙂 we are also adoption through agci and are #4 on the boys list right now. i am excited to find your blog and follow along on your journey!

Why Ethiopia? Why Now?

This “Why Ethiopia”question is one we have already gotten a lot of–and one we fully expect and anticipate answering many times during our lives. My answer is really a question right back: Why not? The simplicity of it all is that we love children, our biological children desire this as much as we do, and we feel it is our responsibility as Christians to love these children deeply as they were our own…so much so, even bringing one (or two eventually) to live with us forever.

In just a month’s time, I have gotten much encouragement in our step of faith to follow God in our choosing to adopt. How thankful I am for those who stand with us and behind us! I have also already gotten some resistance–and surprisingly some comments from other believers who I look up to…but even for these I am thankful. I am reminded that I must keep my eyes on the cross–on what God is calling us to–and to not look to man or worry about what man thinks.

Our love to orphans should show no boundaries. I feel we should love them whole heartedly as we love our own. We should not only give our money and time–but also our hearts. To love them as Jesus calls us to requires sacrifice–maybe some of us will feel led to sacrifice to the point of lifestyle change by giving sacrificially so they may live until they are grafted in a forever family; some may be called to family change through adoption or others may change to the point of moving across the world to serve the orphan (www.kissesfromkate.blogspot.com) But one thing we must remember, is that when we follow Jesus wholeheartedly we will no longer be living as the world lives and our lives will look different–and thus, not everyone will agree with us…even some who call themselves Christians.

I overheard a recent opinion about our adoption that truthfully caught me off guard but how thankful I was to hear it so early in the process. It was said that we should take care of our own children first before we adopt. This was puzzling to hear from a believer–but I have to say that we truly already believe the children in Ethiopia that God has set apart for us are OURS…and we are actually trying to take care of our “own” children first by persuing them now whole-heartedly…to rescue them from the dying and to graft them forevermore into THEIR/OUR family! We also feel we are taking care of our biological children by persuing this with them and not allowing ourselves to get too comfortable in our world. They are getting to see firsthand the gospel of Christ–a tranformation from orphan to son/daughter forever. How thankful I am that God didn’t take care of His own flesh “first” or wait until life seemed perfect and peaceful to persue us. How thankful I am that He made sacrifices and chose to rescue the dying…even at the very expense of his own flesh, His Son. How thankful I am that I am no longer an orphan because He was willing to fight for me at any cost. These children are our OWN. We love them already, and we are willing to fight for them because they are OURS.

The UN now estimates 6 million orphans in Ethiopia alone and approxiamately 132 million worldwide. So while we can’t rescue them all–we can rescue one. And now is as good of a time as any. We are not promised tomorrow, so today is really the best time for us to begin. Mother Theresa said it well–if you can’t feed 100, then feed 1. And it is our prayer that God will use this one to one day make a difference in the lives of many. When looking at those numbers the question to ask is not “why” but more obviously “why not”. And to that question we were left with no answers…and joyfully the paperwork has begun. Help us all Lord to love beyond borders, to show no boundaries and to love orphans as they are our own. Call us Lord deeply into your heart…and help us to love sacrificially as you do.

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Beautiful Mess - September 6, 2009 - 12:20 pm

Wow-I saw that video yesterday–so crazy.

Go and LOVE BIG! No regrets!

Thank you for being an encourgement to me!

Kristi J - September 6, 2009 - 1:55 pm

What an amazing post!! You are a gifted writer and the Lord will use that to inspire others and to bring more of His children home…because His children are OUR children!! Praise God! You will move mountains with your adoption and children will find homes that never dreamed of having their own families JUST because you said YES to God's calling!! So happy for you guys, kristi

The Young Family - September 7, 2009 - 6:11 am

Thank you Krisit! How thankful we will always be for the inspiration and encouragement we have gotten from you, your family and Lucy Lane!!! Thank you for following Him and sharing your love of Lucy Lane with with the world! I can't wait to meet our little one…ahhh—it feels like we have so far to go!

Amy - September 7, 2009 - 9:15 pm

Nice to "meet" you! Nice to meet yet another AGCI family in the early stages of adoption! We are about 2 months into the process and working on our home study and dossier right now.

Adopted for Life…carried in my heart for always

When I became a believer, I began praying for a life of adventure. I prayed that He would help me live a life of no regrets, no retreats and no reserves. My husband didn’t quite know what he was getting into when he married me that’s for sure–but I do want to live this life differently…and that is one area that Richard and I both whole heartedly are passionate about. Oh that God would spare us of living “the American Dream”…and instead let us live His dream—His will—for our lives. We know that will look different. It may look radical. And it won’t be easy. But we are His…children of the Heavenly Father and we want to live this short life for Him.

When I was in college, I led a weekly middle school ministry. Every Wednesday night I’d meet with about 10 middle schoolers, and one I especially connected with–Amber. Amber was in the Foster Care system, and being cared for in the home of a single dad, I quickly became the motherly figure in her life. College life became less of a highlight to me, and I spent many days with these girls–specifically Amber. It was then I was knew in my faith and I would pray desperately for a heart like His. Funny how He was already answering that prayer and immediately brought an orphan my way.

Years later, now a mommy of three–my husband and I continued to grow in our love of children and especially the orphan. Almost three years ago, we encountered a new ministry in Africa and little did we know what God had in store. Before we knew it, we were helping start an organization supported from Roswell by a handful of friends in Zambia/Africa called Wiphan Care Ministries. God used Wiphan to take us deeper into the heart of the orphan as Wiphan today supports 450 orphans and 150 widows. On a trip to Zambia in 2007, Richard and I found ourselves sitting in an orphanage asking a million questions and trying to figure out if Zambia could ever be an open country for adopting. How we got to that orphanage/adoption center I don’t know…well, I think I remember crying the night before and begging my husband to just go and check it out with me…which was NOT on our original Wiphan agenda. God had begun to call our hearts to adopting from Africa but 2 years (and another baby) would come before he would bring the first steps of our actual adoption to begin.

Now with a 5 year old, almost 4 year old and a soon-to-be 1 year old it seems from the world’s standards probably crazy for us to think about adoption. I guess even if we decided to have a 4th biological child some people would think we were crazy. And if you asked me 6 months ago I would have told you that we were going to have a fourth…but the more we thought about it—with 143 million orphans in mind—trying to have another just didn’t make sense. When we dreamed about adoption in our minds we would always “wait” until our three kiddos were older so we could “devote our time to our adopted child”. Our hearts were still being prepared. They were not ready as we were still seperating the two. If we tried for a fourth biologically then we wanted to have one right away–be done with diapers all at once and let the kids grow up together. Why should it be any different if our fourth is born in our hearts through adoption instead?

After reading “Adopted for Life”, I began to really grasp the beauty of adoption and the Gospel. Before accepting Jesus as my Savior, I was an orphan. I lived my own way and truly–I was lost…and lonesome. When I prayed to receive Christ and He adopted me as His daughter, I not only became His–but I also became a heir of His throne. I am really, really His! He is my Father, and no longer can I live like an orphan. How beautiful the gospel is and there is no more beautiful picture of God’s love for us than the miracle of adoption here on Earth. There is a fourth child of mine our there. He will be ours. He will be a part of our family.We want him now, so he can grow up with his brothers and sister. And so he can experience our love, our home and a life with our family. This is the same thing God offers to us. He longs to rescue those who have not yet been adopted. He wants each of us quickly…so we can experience life with Him and with our other brothers and sisters. This is the miracle of adoption.

We know that some will support our journey. We know others will not agree with our adopting from Africa. We know that there is need all over the world and even our own country–and we also have held our hands open and asked the Lord to lead us wherever He desires. Time and time again, He has led us to Africa and now specifically to Ethiopia. We also know we have to keep our eyes focused on God and follow where He leads our hearts…and leave the rest to Him.

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Kristi J - August 20, 2009 - 8:51 am

oh…that is so beautifully written..Wow..what a story you're going to have to tell!! Praising God for your Godly heart that is listening to His calling on your life!! What joy this child will bring to your life!! Congrats on your decision to adopt!!

Andrea - September 1, 2009 - 9:04 am

Hello,
Found your blog on Katie's and just wanted to say that it's funny what God will do with you when you let him. Having just brought home our 4th child. Second adopted one. We have an almost 20 yr old as well as 16 yr old bio children… so people weren't all that supportive of us.
God's not so worried about that ;o)
Prayers for your newest addition, whomever they may be.
Andrea

Shannon Holden - September 3, 2009 - 3:26 pm

Andrea & Richard,
It has been so wonderful to see this growing in your hearts this year, and oh, how blessed your family will be when God brings you together at last! Our love, prayers, and support are with you on every step of this journey. I am so excited to see where it leads you. Love you!
Shannon

Alisha G. Robertson - September 3, 2009 - 4:50 pm

Such a wonderful video of little Lucy. I am so excited to watch your journey unfold, I know it will be wonderful and inspiring. Hugs to you my friend.
Alisha

Dee - September 4, 2009 - 12:49 pm

wow, thank you for sharing this intimate posting of you and your family's journey to finally all be together ! We are with you in prayer for sure! Reading this brought moments of smiles and tears of thankfulness that your hearts are so open to God's leading. absoluteley beautiful. Can't wait for more updates on the journey!!

Lu - September 4, 2009 - 1:40 pm

Sweet Andrea,
What a beautiful way to describe the calling in your heart for adoption. My goodness, any precious child would be unbelievably blessed to be welcomed into your gracious home. Matt and I are praying for the little one, wherever he or she may be right now! As yall are carrying him in your hearts, we will certainly be carrying him in our prayers. What an amazing testimony, Andrea! Love you!
Lucy

Lu - September 7, 2009 - 6:39 pm

Andrea- I was so excited about what I read that I had to share it with my mom! She couldn't quite figure out how to post her comment so she asked me to do it.

Precious Andrea and Richard,
Your family is so deeply imbedded in my heart, I love you all so much it hurts sometimes!! I count it a privilege to be a part of your extended family and now I can join you in praying and loving(ahead of time) the baby God plans to be in our family! I can't wait to see this unfold. The other familiy's story and your blog has been read through tears and my heart is so full that I only wish I were a few years younger, to consider this for us! How I am inspired with your obedience to this call God put in your heart years ago. From what you've told me, He is confirming it by placing that vision in the hearts of your children even…Wow, He is so good! We love you all so much and join you in prayer and desire!
Love, Lesa

Erica - September 8, 2009 - 10:37 am

Absolutely beautiful posts. I've enjoyed reading through your blog. I found you through my sweet friend Angie. I'm excited to follow along on your journey and I too love this book.

Kim - September 10, 2009 - 12:14 am

This is a simply beautiful post. Found your blog via Kristi's post. So excited about getting to know your precious family and following your journey to your 4th blessing!
Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,
Kim