Every year for Christmas, I always strive to buy gifts for others that are not only something thoughtful for the recipient, but also gives back to a good cause. I'm so over consumerism, and giving my money to major corporations, like Best Buy and stores in the mall. You think of the thousands of dollars people spend on Christmas gifts a year. If all that money provided gifts and doubled by helping charitable organizations, now wouldn't that portray the real meaning of Christmas! If you just do a little research, you can find tons of gifts like this. Tradeasone.com is one of my favorites! Here are a couple of ideas, right now, that you don't have to research:
My salon is teaming up with a wonderful organization, called Because Every Mother Matters and selling headbands for Africa. The headbands are sewn by Ugandan refugees that are trying to support their children. A portion of the proceeds goes to them, a portion of the proceeds goes towards building Ethiopian birthing centers to prevent maternal and infant mortality due to childbirth (which is a big contributor to the 147 million world wide orphan crisis) and part of the proceeds will help our adoption. These headbands are the cutest things and every woman, no matter what age, would love them!
To purchase the headbands online from me, just go to our "Donate" button in the right column of our blog and make a $15 donation. In the message box, type "HEADBAND" and I can mail them to you. I will try my best to get you the exact pattern you want.
The cutest headband model ever!
Another organization our family is teaming up with is, Just Love Coffee Roasters. This is an organization that sells delicious coffee from Africa. In Ethiopia, coffee, is the export that generates most of the countries income. When you buy their coffee, a portion of the profit goes to help build schools in Ethiopia for older orphaned children, and a portion of the proceeds goes toward our adoption. To buy the coffee, just click on the website above and it will take you to our family store. There are so many different kinds of coffee and who doesn't love coffee!
Make a difference this Christmas, or just buy one for yourself, and let's change the world, one person at a time!
I recently read the book, "Fields of the Fatherless" by C. Thomas Davis. Talk about discovering the joy through compassionate living Wow! That book is a straight pathway to the face of joy, love and Jesus. It made me think.
A lot of people have asked for "the reason" why we are adopting. That's always a hard question to answer in one brief statement. While there are too many reasons under the sun of why to adopt, there are a few that truly live inside me and are making this a reality for me. So here they are, and to truly answer the question. Joy. Just like every soon-to-be mother, and even the women who haven't become mother's yet but want to, we all share that unsettled feeling or that inner voice that can't be silenced of lacking a certain joy that can only be embraced through loving a child. There is nothing in this world that brings me more joy than to be a mother. I love looking into the eyes of my children and my husband, knowing that God made all of us and put us together as a family for a purpose. It's an impossible feeling to explain, but it's just one of those things that you just know. It's like when you meet your husband, or you embrace your calling . I know that God has brought another child into this world that belongs to our family. He just happens to be across the world. There will be no greater joy than the day he is united with us, and he is home where he belongs. He belongs with us.
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:5-6
Love. I believe that everyone in this world deserves someone to love them. It doesn't matter who that is or where they come from. We are all the same, and we all have the need to be loved. Not only do we have the need to be loved, we also all have the responsibility of loving one another. EVERY SINGLE PERSON must do their part in this lifetime of "loving one another". What are you doing in your life to show love to others? I challenge you to open your heart and mind to the idea of what it looks like in your own life to do your part and love.
There are a lot of people in this world who are truly helpless. They cannot do it on their own, whether they are homeless, orphaned, or just struggle with addicition. You, most likely, have experienced helplessness in your life. I know I have! I feel the need to love others at the very depths of my soul. Especially, the helpless. That feeling comes from deep within, and I wish I could take credit for that feeling that leads me to action, but I don't stir it up myself.
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
Jesus. I yearn to see the love of Christ. To catch a glimpse of what that looks like. When you see His glory and love, it's absolutely poetic and never enough. He reveals himself through His grace and blessings. Going through this adoption process has given me so many glimpses of Jesus already, so I know when I finally get to see my son face-to-face, it will be like looking at the face of Jesus.
"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepraed for you since the beginning of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needig clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of the brothers of mine, you did for me."
Yes, I have fears of adoption. We have considered everything from finances to worries of this child later on resenting us for taking him out of one culture to another to abandonment and attachment issues. The list could just go on. But, our hearts still triumph over all of that. We have decided that we will not let fear win over God's will for our life. We will not let another child suffer, because it makes us or other people uncomfortable. We know that after the actual adoption process comes the real journey, but there is a mighty God in control of everything, and it will turn out for His deliverance.
Very exciting news! we received our dossier adoption planner through email today. Now the paperwork really begins. We also have to sign up for our adoption parenting classes as well. We're still waiting on some of our homestudy paperwork to come in, so that we can schedule our home visits. They said that it will take up to 12 weeks to get it in, so hopefully, it will take less. The ball has officially begun rolling. Fun, fun stuff ahead and it's a beautiful day outside! Life is good. God is good.
Today I've never been happier to write and mail off a BIG check!! Yes, we finally got to mail off our IAP form and first agency fee. God is good.
And yes, Stella decided to document the paperwork process with her fabulous photography work!
I'm a little on the quirky side when it comes to some things. Having a bit of a type-A personality, I love organizing, sorting, and absolutely love filling out paperwork! Even when I was little and your elementary sent you home with a ton of paperwork for your parents to fill out on the first day of school, I always begged my mother to let me fill out all of mine and BOTH my brothers' as well. It's such a soothing thing for me. (I know, quirky, right!?!) It's the little things that God does, like giving me the love of paperwork, that makes me know I was made for this process!
"For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so
that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
It has been a joyful week at the Michael house. I feel God's presence inside of our home just working inside of us, and wrapping His arms of love and joy around all of us. He's really preparing our hearts for this precious little man who will, hopefully soon, be joining our family. Amidst all the craziness in our lives right now, He is the one who creates this peace inside of us, and is carrying us through.
So what's next...
Now that our IAP form is mailed out, we will be hearing from our agency, hopefully tomorrow, and they will provide us with our adoption planner (pretty much, a BIG checklist of everything we need for our dossier.) We are working everyday to finish up the paperwork on our homestudy to finish that. Tomorrow we are going to get fingerprinted and send off for our last document we need to send off for our homestudy paperwork. The estimated completion time for that will be around 6-12 weeks. Please pray, that all of the records I have sent off for will arrive back to us safely and in a timely manner to keep this process smooth and in His timing.
Again, thanks so much to everyone who has been involved with our journey thus far. NONE of this would have been possible if it weren't for all of you. There's nothing more beautiful than seeing a community of people coming together to bring Him glory.
Please keep praying for our legal situation as well. It's still dragging on, and somedays still gets the best of me. I pray every morning for God to just keep pointing my mind forward, to what's ahead, and to not look behind on the past and the situations that I cannot change. It's a daily battle, but He is faithful.
Great is Your faithfulness! Great is Your faithfulness!
Morning by morning, new mercies I see. All I have needed YOUR hand hath provided.
Our online fundraiser is coming to an end and we're thrilled that we get to complete our homestudy! Just one step closer to getting our little boy. A big THANK YOU to Clare Holmes for hosting the online fundraiser. God really knows how to orchestrate His body of believers to bring His will into fruition. Please go and order yours or someone elses little one a custom shirt. If you can't do that, check out all the prizes that are being raffled off. There's everything from delicious munchies to jewelry to professional photography sessions. Here's the link to read about the fundraiser details.
Also, to place an order, become a fan of "Cherry Limeade" on facebook and message her to let her know what you want to order or how many raffle tickets you want to purchase.
A little background on how this fundraiser started--Clare is an old family friend from forever ago, and we had reconnected through facebook. She had messaged me and told me about her business, Cherry Limeade, and she had been praying for an opportunity to use her business for His glory. That's when she came across my blog and that's how this fundraiser came about. Clare, you rock!!!!!!!!!!
I think I've realized just how big and powerful God's presence is. He's moving in our lives in such a big way and we feel such great joy! This weekend I got to be a part of the Together For Adoption Conference in Austin, and got to meet and connect with a lot of great people. WOW, what an encouragement the conference was for us! It really provided healing with the lawsuit and just allowed me to focus on what I feel, running through my veins. If you've ever been pregnant/or have wanted to be pregnant, you understand that overpowering feeling of having a hole in your heart that only a child will fill! Guess what, adopting a child feels the same way! So, we decided to finally finish up our preliminary paperwork and FINALLY MOVE FORWARD amidst this crazy lawsuit! I love the way He loves us!
So, here's what we need right now-- A LOT of prayer!!!!!
Please pray for our finances. it's still unknown how much money we will have to settle on with the lawsuit and we're praying that He will provide the funds we cannot provide. We are completely trusting God that He will guide us in the right path financially.
Another prayer request for my prayer warriors: I'm having a surgical procedure done Friday on an irregular mole that I've had on my arm for a while, and finally went to the doctor. Please pray that everything goes well and that the test come back negative for cancer. Also, pray for a speedy recovery so that I can get back to work as soon as possible!!
"Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." Hebrews 12:12-13