April 29, 2012

A Little Bit Funky

Wanted to share this special gift made for us...

So as you know, we are almost at our adoption fundraising goal and wanted to share an awesome fundraiser that was so graciously and uniquely created for our adoption.

Artist Crystal Johnson, from Charlottesville and the designer / artist for the website A Little Bit Funky, created a unique and one-of-a-kind piece of artwork for Chris and I.  She is one of the MOST talented and creative designers I've seen recently.

A few months ago, she asked us what our favorite verse was and said she would create something that we could sell to raise money.  Crystal shared that she wanted us to be the first family that she helped support through her artwork.  Needless to say, we were floored by her generous and so special gift.

If you love Africa or just love the print, we are selling a 8x10 photo print for $20 (price includes shipping and print/packaging costs), or $15 if hand delivered.  People have asked how to pay:

You can donate on our Paypal button, but make sure your address is updated so we can send you a print.  Or if you want to send a check, you can email me directly at aprilannhoffman@gmail.com and I can email you our address. 

Framed so you could see what it looks like. 
As we finish up this fundraising, we wanted to share some fun news that we are hoping to travel to Uganda on a Missions Trip this summer.  We have really thought and prayed long about how we could be using this "waiting" period to its fullest, and we feel like God is calling us to travel this summer.  We want to know more about Uganda, see some orphanages first-hand, maybe visit some clinics or visit some villages, and just experience the Ugandan people!  Both Chris and I don't want our first trip to Uganda to be when we adopt - and nor do we want it to be our last.

Please pray that if God wants for us to go, that He will help make all the pieces fit in place.  

Oh and be sure to check out the website A Little Bit Funky or check out Crystal's work on Etsy... http://www.etsy.com/shop/littlebitfunky

April & Chris

April 22, 2012

Finally some progress!!!

sorry for my lack in writing lately...

Here are a few updates to share, and then I'll share some of our thoughts...

1.  We FINALLY finished our home study and received our paperwork 3 weeks ago. 

2. On Easter Weekend, we mailed our 1-600A (application to adopt overseas) to the U.S. Immigration office (USCIS). 

3. TODAY, we received our notice from USCIS giving us a date to get our Biometrics Fingerprinting done.  (YIPPEE!!)

4. We've completed 10 hours of parent training (we think all parents should do this training!)

5.  We've written nearly 152 thank you cards (still counting) for those who've supported us both through acts of service and financial support (and if you haven't received a card - we haven't forgotten you!) 

Upcoming Steps:
Once that is complete, we will get an approval letter from Immigration to ADOPT! From that point, we will get put on a waitlist with our adoption agency. The wait time is estimated to be about 7 - 9 months.  But as we have learned, nothing in adoption is set in stone!

so time for some other thoughts...

We've had some ups and downs with the actual adoption process the past few months (somewhat the reason for my lack of communication).  About 2 months ago, our adoption agency informed us that we may be waiting "indefinitely" for a sibling group to come through our orphanage.  our orphanage has children ages 3 and under.  As some of you know, this was extremely disheartening for Chris and I.  We've had our hearts set on adopting 2 children and feel that is where the Lord is leading us.  So to get that news was a blow.  Our adoption agency also recently changed their policy to not allow families to adopt 2 unrelated children, which was not the case at the beginning when we started this process. 

MORE changes...

Ugandan Courts are now putting in place a "Heritage Trip", where families need to bring their adopted child back to Uganda every 5 years!   Um...yes!  I'm sure your thinking "What in the world!" well that's what we thought at first.  But, after getting an explanation as to the "why",  it makes a lot more sense. they want their children to know the country they came from and the government wants to be sure that their children are well taken care of.  Chris is the optimist in this family, so he encouraged me that this gives us a great opportunity to share the culture with our children and for us to potentially make some lifelong connections with Uganda.  So for now, we're not going to stress about this - but trust that God already knows our needs for this part of the adoption.

So after having some curveballs thrown our way,  and much prayer and discussions, we knew what we should do...we decided to stay with our agency and follow the course!  We felt God brought us to Generations for a purpose, and until He shows us otherwise, we know that we need to trust Him. God has provided for us thus far, and there is no doubt in our minds that He will fulfill what He started.  We are going to trust that if He desires us to adopt 2 children, that it will happen.  For now, we will be placed on the wait list for 1 or 2 children.

I've had many mixed emotions of this "waiting" period. recently as I read my Bible, I read about Hannah and the struggles she had with infertility.  She prayed "Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life..." and later on, God remembered her - blessing her with a son. Hannah named him "Samuel" - I looked up the meaning behind the name Samuel (it's my friend's son's name)- and found it means "God Heard".  how amazing is that!  

How many times do we need to be retold that God hears us? I know that I need continual reminders and to see Him answering prayers.  I've been so uplifted by God's faithfulness with many of my friends, answering prayers of those who've struggled with infertility, just as I have, and those who have been dealing with miscarriages.  He has heard their cries - blessing many of them with the gift of life or the path of adoption. for those still waiting... God hears!

I know that Chris and my time to be parents WILL come --our "blessings" will be coming in a different way, from over 8,000 miles away - so we choose to wait for these little ones...as patiently as we can!

A friend shared some wisdom with me the other day (something I've heard many, many times before- but this time it sunk in) She said "Having kids really does change the marriage, not bad, just different - enjoy this time with Chris!"  Great advice!  I could look at this "waiting period" as unfair as I watch others grow their families, or I can choose to turn this time into something good and a gift from the Lord.  so I choose the latter -

This weekend, Chris and I attended a marriage seminar to hear Pastor Mark Driscoll share insight on how to keep your marriage real!  our marriage is important to us - Chris and I both realized that we'd been putting other things at times before each other - so we are going to work on enjoying this time we've been given to deepen our marriage and our friendship. 

The waiting can be hard -  it's hard to keep the excitement of the adoption fresh and new, but God reminds us of our future family in subtle ways...
Charleston Wedding 2012
Last weekend Chris and I returned to Charleston for a friend's wedding - as we drove down, we reminisced about our last car ride to Charleston, not too long ago, and the very same drive ...when we made the decision to adopt.  It is crazy to think how far we've come since that last life-changing trip.

Today as we walked into the seminar, our friends pointed out a missions fundraiser table.  guess where the missions team was going??  yup ...Uganda!  We spoke with the guys there and learned more about our future "second home".  How cool is it to have those special moments - connected with others that have the same passion as ourselves?

We took this as a subtle reminder from God that He knows the emotions we're feeling - He knows the very real fears, and He wants to remind us that He is walking beside us.

Thank you for walking with us as well! 

April & Chris