Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh the blessings...

Many of you know about our relationship with Helga and Susan - it's not been the greatest. They're constantly giving us problems and we're constantly spending money on them. Oh, you don't know who Helga and Susan are? Allow me to introduce you: Helga is our 2001 Chrysler Town & Country minivan and Susan is our 2002 Oldsmobile Alero. What? You don't name your vehicles. Oh…. well - we're the weirdo's that do! Lol. I had a Ford Focus named Darth Vader because a girl so accurately pointed out that it looked like Vader's helmet (Yes, I'm proud to be a geek!) and KC's jeep was named Grave Digger. We. Are. Those. People. Haha.

But the boys love calling the van Helga. Last night our good friends Tiny and Celetha came over so Tiny could help us look at the Alero/Susan. We spent a lot last fall ($2000+) to get it back up and running and then she started leaking oil. Bad. Well, life happens and we never got around to taking her back in. Then, last July the A/C went out in the T&C/Helga. We thought it was fixed last summer and again this spring when we took it in. No luck as it was a bigger problem than they thought. Cost? About $1200. Ouch. This is in addition to the 800+ we already spent on Helga this spring .

So Tiny comes over to check out Susan and the whole time KC and I are praying that it's just something small. A loose oil cap KC says. Tiny gets the hood popped and they crank the car up on the jack. After a few minutes they figure it out - the seal on the oil cap is loose. PRAISE. GOD! Cost? About 2 bucks. *commence happy tears* Now, she's been sitting in the drive for some 8 months now, so we had to jump her last night and again this morning. But I've gone out to start her and haven't had any problems. If Susan doesn't start again, we'll need a new battery. But I'll take it! If all we have to do to her is replace the battery and get new tires. I'm one happy camper.

And what about Helga you may ask? Well, she'll be like new on Monday. KC got paid this week and we've decided to fix the A/C in the van. These cars are paid for. We want to keep them for another few years. I know that money isn't going to the adoption account (neither has his last paycheck - car repairs), but God will provide. We still haven't gotten our home study approved. That's a WHOLE 'nother long post. :-/

I'm just amazed at God. Even when everything seems to be going wrong with the adoption, we still get blessed with things like having a friend who will help with car issues, KC working at a job that he can make enough on one check to take care of expensive car repairs, and a God that helps calm my spirit when I feel like I'm about to burst. A God that is faithful no matter what. So my hope? It's in Him. Better days are ahead. <3

P.S! Don't forget about our Ordinary Hero fundraiser. Check out the link on the left side of my blog. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Be an Ordinary Hero

Be an ordinary hero! How you may ask? By purchasing an item from the Ordinary Hero store to help "Change the world for one". That one? In our case, it's Effie. Through Ordinary Hero, we'll receive 40% of all clothing and accessories sold and for some of the items sold under Donations for Children in Need. As long as it says 'Affiliate Receives Credit', we get credit for it. Just choose Sandra Collins under Affiliate Name when you check out. Easy as pie!

Their shirts are pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Wanna help out but don't really want a tee plastered with a country or the word 'adoption'? They have some awesome tees that simply say "Change the world for one". Below are a few cool samples.

They have styles for men, women, and kids! Even if you don't want a tshirt, you can still donate to kids in need and help us out. Just 2 examples in the pictures above are purchasing Bibles in Amharic or buying blankets for children in need. There are a lot of ways to help out - more than just us.

Please help us spread the word to family and friends. Thanks SO much to all of you for your continued support. We are getting SO much closer to finishing this. Can't wait to hold my dear Effie in my arms. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated just as much.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello again!

I promise today's post will be positive, peppy, and uplifting!  Haha. I've been a bit of a Negative Nancy lately, and if you know me you know that's completely out of character. The good news is, we're possibly days away from our home study being approved. Well, I guess it technically is but they needed one more piece of information from us - from me to be exact. Today at 3:00pm, I will be having my very first therapy session EVER. Our agency feels that it would be pro-active for me to be evaluated by a therapist for our USCIS paperwork that we will be sending in - hopefully in the next week or two.

What for you may ask? My dad. A lot of you know him, so I don't need to go into detail. But my dad was an alcoholic - many times an angry one. So, they just want to make sure (I guess) that I'm not still holding on to any issues. And I can tell you with 200% certainty, I'm not. I've forgiven my dad. I've asked for healing. I've let go of my bitterness, anger, and resentment. And I've asked God to replace those things with His good and His glory. I love my Dad. First sign I've gotten over it, I'm calling him Dad instead of Valentin. Second sign, I said I love him and I mean it. Truly mean it. We're working on patching things up - my sisters and brother too. Trying to mend our relationship to what a father/child relationship should have been all along. Am I worried about the session today - a little. Haha. I've never spilled my guts to anyone 'cept God. And if she thinks I still have residual issues, we'll have to set up more sessions before she can write a positive evaluation. I don't want to lie, but I want them to know that I've forgiven my Dad. I also want them to know that just because he was an angry, verbally abusive alcoholic doesn't mean that I am. Nor does it mean I treat my boys that way nor will I treat Effie that way.

It's not been easy coming out from that dark shadow. Not wanting to be like him. Not liking to drink alcohol often because I know that like any destructive habit, it could control me. I may have broken that curse, but that doesn't mean that I can throw 'em back like it's no body's business and I'll be safe. That's not how it works. But with God, I can make sure that doesn't happen.

I love my Dad. God knows he's made a lot of mistakes in his life. But he's paying for them now. But because of those consequences, we're able to see him, talk to him, write him. We know that whatever the outcome, we'll have a better relationship with him than we've ever had.

So, say a prayer for me today at 3pm if you don't mind. I know it's going to work out for the best. Despite all of these delays, I've had this surreal peace in my spirit. I hate delays, but I'm confident it's for the best. Effie's waiting. Being loved and watched over by God. Nothing I can do will speed up the process.
I need to find joy in my journey.

"In the deepest, darkest moments of our lives, we need to affirm
what is TRUE: We are loved, there is a greater plan,
and God is still in control."

P.S. Some good news is, we only have 3 things left before we have our completed Dossier! Those will be *prayerfully* completed this weekend. At least it'll be ready to go in no time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free Fall

I was hoping to have a nice update on the home study before posting again…. but we're still hitting a few snags. I'm not going to lie; my heart aches as I write this post. Every delay, every hiccup, every setback, every lull... it hurts. We don't have a home study approval, we don't have a referral, we don't have a travel date - but we have this intense love for our daughter. And every holdup puts the distance between us that much further. As I fight the urge to curl up in the fetal position and sob, I know I need to be strong. I knew going into this that it would take every ounce of my strength to make it through. I always thought I had the utmost faith in God and what He had planned, but this process has put that faith to the test.

As I'm typing this, I can see God standing behind me telling me it's okay. Telling me to trust Him. Like that game you'd play where someone stood behind you and you'd stiffen up and fall into their arms. No control. Once you fall back, there's nothing you can do. Close your eyes, relish in the exhilaration surging through you as you wonder if you'll be caught in their trusting arms or fall hard on the harsh ground. 
Can I do it? Can I just allow myself to release this control and fall into His strong arms? Can I push my fear aside? Can I trust that He knows what He's doing? That He has Effie safe in His arms even though she's not in mine? "Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils" -Isaiah 2:22
{Yes, I'm crying in case you were wondering}

{The truth is, I did nothing. I didn’t live well or believe well or stay strong in my faith. I laid with my face on the floor in the darkness and just let the small, inextinguishable flame of truth do what it is meant for. No one will write my name in history books as a woman of great faith nor will I pen studies giving guidance on overcoming adversity. They’ll simply reference an ancient text and see where in one life, it was true: For where I am weak, He is strong}

I will give Him my all even though it may be nothing. I feel wrung out, dry, empty. But I'm still clinging to Him - working to relinquish it all. Because a plan in my hands is just that, a plan. But a plan in His hands is a PROMISE. He will not fail me, I may lose faith in Him but He never loses faith in me. He cannot deny who He is (2 Tim. 2:13). And yet…. He still delights in me. adores me. loves me. Just waiting for me to allow Him to calm the storm inside.

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. -Isaiah 41:10


Monday, June 4, 2012

Short Update

*sigh* We are currently still waiting on our home study to be approved. Our agency needed more information from the VA for KC. They need evaluations from the psychologist on the severity of his PTSD. So, we've been waiting a few weeks on that. They wanted a new evaluation from a new psychologist, but that could take months. So we're trying to see what we can do with what they have: a report stating that KC does not have severe PTSD and that he is perfectly capable of adopting a child. This has been incredibly trying. On one hand we completely understand that they are just doing their job to protect these children and make sure they are adopted into a safe environment. But on the other hand, it just feels like we are having to do SO much extra because "the wording is off" on some of the reports from the VA and such.

I've really been trying my best to trust God through all of this - especially these last few weeks. Faithfulness. I'm trying to keep my chin up and march on. But this entire process has just been fought from day one. And I'm just so tired. I know a lot of you have battles that you've fought or are still fighting and you've had those moments where you just want to throw your hands up in defeat. I've had more than my share of those days. It seems like there have been more these last 3 weeks. Poor KC has had his hands full with me.  ;) 

I've been praying profusely about it. It's one of those you-know-it'll-all-be-okay-but-for-the-moment-you-can't-see-the-forest-for-all-the-trees sorta thing. And I feel like an absolute heel for doubting Him because I know I'll look back and think 'Oh! That's why!'. But, that's part of life. I can tell you this though, it's times like this that push me closer to Him. Maybe not at the start, but it does. And He always has a way of showing me that He's thinking of me. For example, I opened up Facebook this morning and saw someone post this verse:

“Is it not my family God has chosen?
    Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me.
His agreement is arranged and guaranteed in every detail.
    He will ensure my safety and success."
-2 Samuel 23:5

 So please keep us all in your prayers as we continue in this journey to bring sweet Effie home.  © 
{I've added just a few of our family pictures from this month}

Feetsies! This banner reads FAMILY in Amharic. Love this one.

A few of my favs: KC and I, Caedmon and Oliver.