Jesus said “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” - Mark 9:37

Monday, April 30, 2012

OUR HOME STUDY ARRIVED!!!!!!!!

After over 3 months,
I hold in my hand...
FOUR notarized copies
of the full 28 page
completed,
approved
HOME STUDY!!!!



Praise God!

Today is April 30th
and I have said for over a week now, that I just wanted April to end.
I have had a lot of turmoil in my life this month.

But it's ending on a good note...
our home study was approved April 24, 2012
It was completed April 19th

Now, I hired our wonderful social worker in January.
My first interview with said social worker was Jan 24, 2012.
This has been a tough first "TRIMESTER" of our paper pregnancy!


Well, so were all my biological pregnancies...
why would my adoption and paper pregnancy be any different?

And if you read my VERY LONG blog I last wrote, in the wee hours of last night,
you may have some understanding of what God has been doing in my heart and life.

But then again, it was 3:30 am when I finally hit publish
and since my blog post turned into a bible study and I haven't read it today...
haha
it may not make any sense.
lol

But tho I may not understand, all that God does and is doing,
I KNOW he has my best interests at heart...
and those of my family
and of Eli.

So I have Faith, Hope & Love
and shout praises from the roof tops...
We have a completed & approved
Home Study in hand!

Eli we are forging ahead towards China baby, hang on...



USCIS here comes our I-800A!!!!

Thank you Jesus! 

Sherry  :)


Hope and it's companions Faith & Love

Ok, so I haven't really gotten the hang of this blogging thing.

My posts maybe have not always be entertaining.

But if you'll bear thru this long one, if I can put it into understandable language...

I believe you will be encouraged as I was in prayer tonight.

In the last week I have been reminded of the words

Faith

Hope

Love

several times.
Our family made a trip to Austin, TX to take documents to be authenticated by the Secretary of State for our Dossier. So we turned the day into a field trip... 





 
On the way home we stopped at one of those nice big travel stops to potty. 
Hanging on the wall was some very nice wooden engraved and painted plaques.
Now, I do NOT normally buy stuff like this... mostly because I am cheap. lol
But this sign screamed "Buy me!"


and it now hangs in our living room.  :)
Then the next morning I was cleaning Eli's table off... that's a long table we have set up in our den with all the adoption folders, paperwork, fundraising stuff, his change collection can, etc. Anyway, there was a gift bag from my secret sister at church last Sun. I had taken a pretty picture out of it the day before, but did not realize there was something in the bottom of the bag.

Yep, more Faith, Hope and Love...


Coincidence? I think, not!

April has been a hard month for me. A lot of stresses and life junk have just gotten in my way. Not to say God has not still been working and blessing. Oh, he has!

We finally got the last of our background clearances. Our home study was finished and approved. We received pictures and an update on Eli.

You may remember a couple weeks ago a dear sweet fellow adoptive mom (named Dawn) blessed us by sending us pictures from her waiting daughter's birthday, which had Eli in several shots. Well that same mom is currently in China, in Eli's same city, adopting her daughter. Yay!

Well she very generously offered to take Eli small gifts from us when she went. So we created him a new photo book, wrote him a letter (which a sweet friend translated for us) and Dawn got him a drawing pad & colored pencils for us.






And we sent a Mother's Day card and gift to his foster mom.



Not sure if she will get it, but then not sure if Eli will get his gifts either. We are HOPING...

Well things in China haven't gone exactly as Dawn planned, but I found out tonight that she was able to give our gifts to the orphanage director who seemed sincere in planning to get them to Eli.

And also that Joy (Dawn's newly adopted daughter) and Eli are indeed friends. Yay! More praises!

So you see there has been plenty to praise God for in April.  But still life has gotten me down. I have let the enemy take one too many shots at me. And lately, I have walked around in a blinded stupor.

So now, I'd like to share somethings I got out of a bible study I did tonight.

There are many key terms and concepts like faith, hope, and love which we come across as we read the Word of God, but often these are just vague concepts for many people.

What is hope?

The world's idea of hope is “to wish for, or to desire much, but no assurance of getting your desire."

According to the Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible, the word “hope” is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.”

Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the object hoped for—the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both.

In the Bible, hope is never a static or passive thing. It is dynamic, active, directive and life sustaining.
Looking up Hope in the Bible will show that hope is not an escape from reality or from problems. It doesn’t leave us idle, or drifting. If our hope is godly and based on His promises, it will put us into gear. It will give us strength, courage, and boldness.

Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.

We need to HOPE in the Lord...

Let God take care of us,
and all the details of everything He has called us to...
including adopting orphans from China :)
and everything else this life and the devil throws at us.

We need to stop worrying about caring for ourselves, and trying to get where we think we're going.
Just trust the Lord to be there for us.

Think about it... 
If we don't have the hope that Christ has got us covered, then we'll be busy trying to save ourselves.

But if we trust God to provide all we need, then we can be free to love...
Him
ourselves
our families
and our neighbor.

Thus Hope is the birthplace of self-sacrificing love.
When we allow God to satisfy us so much that we're free to love other people,
which is one of God's greatest commandments,

GOD is magnified...
GOD is glorified...
God is lifted on high.

And that's a calling I want to fullfill.

Faith

2 Cor. 5:7 "For we live by faith, not by sight."

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Hope

Romans 8:24 "But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?"

I Cor. 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

1 Thes. 1:3 "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."

Love

I Cor `2:4-8  " Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."



And if the above verses don't sound like this adventure to take a leap of FAITH to obey God and adopt a chinese orphan boy; HOPE you get approved, HOPE you get the money to do it and HOPE it's all gonna work out; and LOVE this boy as your own... already and no matter what...

I don't know what else it could be called other than...

FAITH

HOPE

LOVE

And right now,
as we eagerly wait for the mailman to deliver our completed home study
so we can in return send off our I-800A to USCIS;
and while we fundraise for $4,000 our agency requires before they submit our Dossier To China;
and while I pray Eli receives the photo book, letter and small gifts we sent him 

I have HOPE... and I am encouraged by things around me that God has been speaking thru.

Like tonight, at a church movie night, we fundraised $70. Praise the Lord!

Rom 8:25 "But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."

Lord I am waiting eagerly in FAITH that this adventure you called us to, and began, will happen;
and tho I can't see it, I trust you
I put my hope in you
that every detail will come together,
every penny needed will be there,
and I know that we have a LOVE in our hearts for Eli,
and I HOPE he will love us too,
in Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Today has been a good day...

First we got word that our Home Study is done, then we received gifts in the mail to help fundraise to bring our boy home, and then an UPDATE ON ELI WITH NEW PICS ARRIVED IN MY INBOX TONIGHT!!!


The update summary:
Since last update 4-5 mos ago- He gained 2 lbs, grew 1/2 " and one shoe size.
Update says- He studies hard and has been in progress. He can write up more than 50 Chinese characters. He can calculate addition and subtraction under 10. He loves to draw. He can take care of himself. In case of something he doesn't understand, he will get it quickly with a reminder. He is a healthy, smart and lively boy. He never spend unplanned money. He is great about language ability. He is a friendly and very lovely boy.







Someone said "What a thrill it must be for you to get pictures of your little boy!"

Well yes, it is very exciting! I RAN down the stairs when my phone notified me of the email. (lol) But it's also kinda hard to see him growing up and know we can't go get him yet...

I love his smile...



He was obviously enjoying whatever is going on. Wonder if he's opening one of our care packages?

Thank you Jesus for giving me this blessing! You knew exactly what I needed it this week...

In Faith,
Sherry & family

Hallelujah!

I just received an email that our Home Study is complete and will be ready for mailing on Monday.
Praise the Lord! This was a long grueling process. Praying for speedy mail and USCIS process...

And the other good news is we are sending a letter and photo book to Eli thru a fellow adoptive mom, who is leaving in 5 days to adopt her 9 yr old waiting daughter from the same orphanage. A friend here translated it for us, we had photo book printed, and Dawn will deliver them to the orphanage director there after she gets her daughter. Thank you Lord for blessings for our children!

祝福

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and support!
God bless,
Sherry & family

Monday, April 16, 2012

Starbucks Gift Basket Give Away Final

Praise the Lord for the $84 we raised with the Starbucks Gift Basket Give Away tonight.

Thank you to our oldest son Cory Patton for donating these gifts for us to fundraise with!

Thank you everyone who supported the fundraiser, but there can only be one winner and this time it is Teri Myers of Mansfield, TX! Woohoo! Congratulations Teri!

Steve got to do the honors this time.

The picture just doesn't do it justice.

and the winner is...

1 lb of Starbucks Komodo Dragon coffee & two 16 oz Komodo Dragon mugs

Teri Myers
 May God bless you all tenfold for the seed you've sewn.

Sincerely,
Sherry, Steve & family

Saturday, April 14, 2012

We need almost $6,000 in the next couple weeks

Lord Jesus please provide our needs to bring our son home, and please bless your seed sowers tenfold in jesus name, Amen!

We will need:
approx $300 for TX Secretary of State authentication
$975 for USCIS I-800A application and fingerprinting
approx $564 for authentication by US Dept of State & Chinese embassy in DC
$2,000 in agency fees due at home study approval
$1,200 in Country Liaison & Translation fees
$800 in CCCWA/BLAS fees & wiring fees to China

We just realized our STARBUCKS GIFT BASKET GIVE AWAY is scheduled to end tomorrow night!!!! Hoping we don't have to extend it. But at present we have barely collected any donations yet. So please, please, consider donating to get a chance at this great gift basket. We don't even have enough donations yet to warrent my son Cory Patton generous gift or to ship it to the winner...

1 lb. Starbucks Komodo Dragon Coffee and two 16 oz. Komodo Dragon Starbucks Mugs


$2 Donation = 1 chance or $5 Donation = 3 chances

You can donate using the Chip-In button to the right of page or paypal donations to adventure4eli@gmail.com (note please consider that paypal takes @ $1 for each transaction)


We also have another Give Away drawing date TBA...

Ativa Mini HD DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA

$149 Value
2.5" LCD screen, full 1080p HD, 128MB internal memory, SD slot, 5MP still image

$5 Donation = 1 chance; or $20 Donation = 5 chances

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Much Needed Surprise

So this was my facebook post this am:

"What is on your mind" FB shows on status updates... Well Eli & China is what's on my mind as we await our finalized homestudy, so we can send off our I-800 A to USCIS. Praying for speedy process. We're trying Eli, mommy & daddy are trying...

See we have kinda had a hard week emotionally... just the waiting... We are 64 days away from our LID deadline of June 15th. (sigh) I haven't slept well and I have had Eli, and China, and orphans weighing heavy on my mind.

Then I open my email this am and there is a message from a fellow adoptive mom who's daughter is also in Xi'an. She asked if she could send me her daughters 36 pictures of her birthday party in China, that they just got, for us to look through to see if Eli is in any of them...

Can you.. well YES!!! PLEASE DO!!!  :-)

Zoe, Levi and I went through the entire first file and no sighting of Eli...
Kinda bummed, but with hope, we opened the next file ...
and there he was!

I just want to kiss those rosey red cheeks!

Singing and clapping in celebration

Happy 9th Birthday Joy and little boy! 

waiting for cake...

So we were blessed by receiving some new pictures of Eli & by a new found friendship.
Thanks Dawn Clark! Please go check out their adoption jouney for Joy: http://www.joyfromtheeast.blogspot.com/

This pic makes my heart smile... to see him laughing and having fun with friends. :)
And this boy is also in Eli's birthday party pictures too.

While I'm waiting...

Blessings,
Sherry & family

Friday, April 6, 2012

Quick Update

Just signing on to give a quick summary update since I haven't posted much lately.

Our Louisiana background clearances finally arrived... yesterday! Hallelujah! Thank you for all those that prayed specifically for this. It has been two months of waiting, but they are here.

Apparently God's timing is everything, because the lack of clearances was holding up our home study... and well this week Steve was promoted to Department Manager at work. In fact today was his first offical day in his new position. If that wasn't enough to praise God about, the VA completed Steve's paperwork and increased his retirement income as a US Military Veteran. So we had two major changes to our family's financial status that required three important documents to be re-done. If this had happened after our home study was complete and our I-800A application sent to USCIS, we may have incurred some trouble, delays and/or more costs/fees. As it is, the timing was just right and our home study should be in the review process at the first of the week. Now to pray for speedy reviews and an even faster USCIS process, once we send off our I-800A.

And while we were waiting on our home study, we sent off our birth certificates and marriage license to be authenticated by the respective secretary of states. Trying to get our Dossier (important documents)vready to send off ASAP because China's CCCWA gave us until June 15th to have our Dossier LID (Log In Date). And I have to be honest, I am really concerned we may not make that deadline. We need a couple miracles in Jesus name.

In addition to paperwork miracles, we still need financial miracles. Tho Steve's income has now increased, it won't arrive over night and we have upcoming financial needs to process these paperwork milestones. So continued prayer is much appreciated.

We do still have three Give Aways going on: Starbucks Gift Basket, Mini HD Video Camera &a  Hand Painted Boston Terrier Purse. See blog below for details...

Thank you all again and hope to bring you more good news very soon. We continue to be awe struck by God and His plans and purposes in this whole Adventure 4 Eli. What wonderful testimonies we will have to share with him about how God brought him into our family. Zoe and I were just talking in the van toda,y how next Easter we will get to share decorating & hunting eggs with Eli which will include the Ressurection story with our wonderful family tradition of Ressurection Eggs. Can't wait! :)

Happy Easter everyone & Prasie to the King of Kings, Lord of lords and Savior to us all!

In Christ's Love,
Sherry & family

Give Away Winner

Sorry for the delay in posting... It's been kinda crazy couple of weeks. Trying this blog post with my Android phone.
We raised $69 in our Crate Pad Give Away! Thank you Mollie Smith of Bunny Foo Foo Exclusives for the beautiful Donated crate pad.
We drew the winning ticket at the Ft. Worth Dog Show and are pleased to announce Melissa Schramme is the new proud owner of the lovely crate pad.
Thank you everyone for your support.
We still have a digital camera & Starbucks gift basket to Give Away. Plus the gorgeous hand painted Boston Terrier purse.
Happy Good Friday,
Sherry & family