Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Wonder....

Just two nights ago we received the news from our social worker that our dossier is OOT!! WHOOHOO!! For those of you who do not know what this is…it means our dossier is Out Of Translation and into the review room as we await the LOA.  We were excited to find this out.  It actually means we are getting closer and closer to making that trip to go and bring Shepard home!!

As excited as I was to receive this news…I immediately began to get nervous because of how close we are to going.  Not because of what we’re doing…but more like…How in the WORLD are we going to do this? How in the world will all our expenses needed for the completion of the adoption and for our trip come in? Are we crazy?!?!

Before I go any further…I know I have friends and family members that may question why in the world we’re adopting.  We aren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination.  We live paycheck to paycheck…why in the WORLD do we want to bring another child  into our home…to have another mouth to feed…to have less room for everyone…to stretch our budget even more than its already stretched.  We’re not oblivious to these facts! We KNOW that it may seem crazy from the “world’s” perspective. But we know that we are called to care for the orphan.  This is a way we can do that…a way we can be God’s hands and feet of love and hope to a precious child who NEEDS love and hope.  Will we have to sacrifice a little more on a daily basis…yes.  But having eternal perspective and knowing that we are in this life to make a difference and in the light of eternity…this is a wonderful investment into the Kingdom of God. 

So now that I’ve addressed that we KNOW what we’re doing is God’s heart…even though we KNOW that it is…it doesn’t negate the fact that we see the natural…we see the need that is still there to finish the process of adoption.  In the “natural” eye…it looks absolutely crazy.  With every step closer to bringing Shepard home…we are equally excited and nervous.  Praying God….we KNOW you’ve called us to this…and we KNOW you’re leading us and we KNOW you are going to provide.  But we don’t SEE it with our natural eyes.  Our faith is being stretched daily…all the while we’re asking…are we crazy?!?!

Have you ever seen the movie “Evan Almighty”? This movie speaks so much to me.  It brings the story of Noah into a modern day setting and really helps you realize the step of faith Noah took.  He must have looked CRAZY to everyone around him.  Even HE must have said “ God…you ARE going to make this happen…right??!?”  I wonder if Noah ever got nervous if God was going to flood the land…or even if he would ever get that incredibly huge ark built! That was faith too. Have you seen how big the ark was?!? WOW!!

I also wonder if Abraham as he stepped out in faith to obey God to take his son Isaac to the altar, if he ever got nervous or wondered if God was going to come through.  He still stepped out and walked in faith…and kept moving forward and walked to obey.  But I wonder…did he ever experience nervousness of whether God was going to come through or not?!?

I don’t really KNOW what they felt…but I know what we feel.  I can only imagine that those two men must have felt the same human feelings that we feel when we step out in faith to obey.  It doesn’t always make sense…It doesn’t always look like the easiest or most realistic thing to do in our minds eye.  But those two men were men of great faith! They obeyed no matter WHAT they felt or no matter what others thought. They knew that God had given them a direction and HE was going to take care of it!!

We have a friend that says…”If it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill”.  I LOVE that! And that is totally what we trust in!! Do we know how this is all going to work out? Absolutely not.  But we know this journey of adoption is one that God has called our family to, and we would not dream of being disobedient to HIS calling and plan. 

We are excited about this journey…and even in the times when we wonder if God is ever going to come through…we are reminded of the great men and women in the Bible who were asked to do things that may have seemed CRAZY to everyone else.  But they obeyed.  We want to be people of obedience!! We don't want to look back on our life and just WISH we would have stepped out and done some of the things God puts on our heart.  In the meantime…we are people who are standing in faith as we walk in obedience!! We look forward to watch just how God is going to unfold His plan.  We just have to let Him lead us and mold us as we walk along this journey!

Sorry this was so long.  It has just been on my heart and I wanted to share.  Thank you all for your prayers, support and encouragement. It means so much to us!!
Mark & Buffi

Monday, January 28, 2013

While We're Waiting

Waiting on Paperwork:
We are still waiting to hear from China that we have received LOA (Letter of Acceptance).  This by FAR is the hardest part!! :( We have really been striving not to feel anxious over the waiting...but this is the time last time we were SO anxious.  Honestly...I had to start taking Nexium to prevent the terrible heart burn I was experiencing!! LOL! I've done all I can to focus on getting ready for the trip and spending time with our kids.  The closer we get though...the harder the wait.  We are on day 40 for our wait on LOA.  HOPEFULLY we'll get news soon regarding our paperwork progressing!!

Pray as we are waiting...that God prepares Shep's heart for the change that is coming.  Last time...Sadies foster family truly prepared her well.  We pray that his foster family this time will share with him over and over our photos so he'll be familiar with who we are and really know we're coming.  Bless his little heart...I KNOW it is going to be hard...but I also know that God loves him so much.  Our prayer is that through this "severing" and "grafting" time...that Shep's little heart is guarded and protected.  Thanks for praying with us for him!!

Prayer Need:
We just found out last week that we will need to wire $7000 to China to pay for medicals for Shepard, to pay for his visa and as an orphanage donation.  Please be in prayer with us for God's provision for this.  I'm not sure at what point we have to send this...but I do know its in the next month or two.  We are SO THANKFUL for God's provision up to this point and we know that God is so faithful that He will not leave us hanging!! :) Thanks for your continued prayers as we move forward in this process!!!

While we're waiting...I thought we'd show you this short video intro of our family!! It has a picture of Shepard and a short video of him too!! We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!! Hope you have a wonderful week!! Here's the on the link under the photo below to watch it!!

Meet Our Family

Saturday, January 26, 2013

One Step Closer...

Look what we finally got in the mail!!! YAY!!! We all 5 have our passports now!! So we're ready to go whenever our paperwork is ready for us to come!! It's just a small step closer...but it is a step none the less!! 

We are all excited!! Thanks everyone for your continued prayers!! We SO need them, and they mean a ton to us! We will update you as soon as we have more info!! We'll be in touch soon. Blessings!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Care Package & Travel Meeting

Well...just since yesterday we've had a little bit of info come our way!! YAY!!

We got an email from our social worker telling us that we will be having a "travel meeting" in Birmingham on February 8th.  We were so excited and surprised to get the news about our travel meeting.  (It means we're getting even closer to going!!) This meeting we will get all the details we need for preparation for travel.  We will find out all we need to bring, things we need to do prior to travel...thoughts on travel arrangements...all kinds of VERY useful information.  It was so valuable for us last time.  We even met families that we would be traveling with for the first time!! :) These families are SO DEAR to us to this day!! We'll always feel a close connection with them!!! So we cannot wait to meet some of the families we may travel with this time!! Excited!!

We also got an email tonight that our care package has arrived in China.  Lily, Lifeline's liaison in China, has received the package and will make sure it gets to Shepard.  Hopefully Shepard will get it very soon!! OH how we hope he likes what we sent him and more than anything...we pray that he feels a connection with us by looking at all our photos we sent.  Its our first connection with him.  Thank you Lord for helping there to be a connection.

Ok...thats it for now!!! As soon as we get more...we will make sure and let you all know!!! Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Patience in the Process

We are still over here waiting.  Waiting to hear if Shepard has gotten our care package...waiting for our paperwork to go through and move forward. Waiting for continual provision for the rest of the adoption process...Waiting, waiting, waiting.  It is a huge, necessary part of the adoption process.

Our goal has been to focus on where we are right now...and enjoy every minute we can with our 3 children we already have.  Life will change a lot and we've been building memories and special moments together before we become a family of six.  It has been wonderful to have these special times together.  Our need for patience in the process is becoming more realized to us though.  We know it will be time for our trip to China before we know it...and we so look forward to this special little boy that God is sending us to, and him to us.  We are praying that God is preparing all of our hearts for this union.

We don't really have much news now.  We are on day 32 of our wait for our LOA.  The average wait for the LOA is 60-90 days.  Some waits are shorter...some waits are longer.  Our wait for LOA for Sadie went 130 days. was tough knowing we were so far past the "average" wait times.  But we made it and we were all fine.  We promise to keep everyone updated as we get information on each step of the process.

From looking at timelines...we could go anywhere between April and June.  We hope it is closer to April. Our travel agent told us that the closer we get to May and June our travel expenses could double.  SO....we don't want those $1500 airline tickets to double! ;) We want them to stay as low as possible.  It is all in God's timing.  If we go in June...and prices are double...we know God will provide.  It is just another faith building opportunity for us.

We found out from some other families who are travelling that there has been some blocking of social media sites in China. This would effect Facebook posts while we are there...and it may effect how we get blog information out to everyone.  If you definitely know you want to keep up with us while we are in sure and sign up on the right side of our blog to receive our updates through email.  I may need to email a friend all our updates to post for us while we're gone.  I want to be sure that you all know how things are going and know how to pray.  We need and appreciate all the prayers SO MUCH!!

Our Give 5 Campaign is going well.  It was so amazing to see that in just one week you all helped bring in over $1000 to go toward our adoption expenses.  This is AWESOME...and SUCH a faith builder for all of us.  Thank you for continuing to keep this in your prayers!! What God calls you to...he'll provide for!! We trust HIM!! :)

Thats it for now!! We just want to be sure and keep you all updated.  Please do let us know if you have questions or if there is any info you would like us to provide!! We look forward to having more wonderful news for everyone!! We'll connect again soon!
Mark & Buffi

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Give 5 - Change A Life!!!

We are SO grateful to fellow adoptive parents, Jessica and Adam Walker from Georgia, who have helped us set up a fundraising page to help us raise money for the rest of our adoption expenses.  What a blessing this has been and we pray it is effective in helping us raise the rest of what is needed for bringing Shepard home!! We'd love for you to take a look at the site!! Below is the logo for it and you can see it here!!
The link Address is:
By the way...if you are a small business owner or a home based business owner and need a've gotta contact them!! They're GREAT!!! You can access their business site here: Sideways8.

Thank you all who have continued to pray and encourage us on this journey!! It is finally 2013...It is getting closer and closer every day to us being able to go and bring him home!! We are praying daily for him. That God would prepare his heart for us to come to him and bring him home.

We just mailed him a care package with a few items in them.  We sent a photo album full of pictures of our family so he would know who we are.  We also sent a cute stuffed animal, a soft fleece blanket, some candy, a snowman cup, a harmonica, a recorder, a slinky, some match box cars, crayons, activity book, um....thats all I can remember.  Here are a couple of pics we sent to him!! :)

fun little cup to drink from!

Cute, soft stuffed dog!!
We couldn't resist this shirt...we thought what it said was GREAT!
 We promise to keep you all posted as we get information...and things to pray for.  We're still just playing the waiting game!! :) But we SO appreciate everyone's prayers and support!! We will be in touch soon!!! Blessings!
Mark & Buffi