Monday, November 28, 2011

Adoption Update

Thank you sweet friends for still praying for us and asking us how it's going.  As of right now, we are still in the waiting process.  We had our biometrics appointment on Friday, 10/28.  On average, it takes 2-4 weeks to get the approval from USCIS after that, and then once we receive that, we get put on the wait list with our agency for our referral!!  We've been told the wait time is about 6 months to get our referral once we're on the wait list.  As you can imagine, we are very excited to get to that point!  To see the picture of our future son, and to know his background.

However, right now where we are is hard.  We have, a month later, still not received our approval.  We've been watching blogs of others adopting from Ug*nda, as well as friends adopting from other countries and it has been quick for them.  Some received their approval in 5 days!  Some did their biometrics after us and received their approval weeks ago, but still we wait.  I did not want to be the person that calls when nothing is wrong, but I had this fear that I got the letter, and somehow threw it away on accident.  So last Friday (11/25) I called our officer assigned to our case at USCIS.  I had left a message Tuesday, but never heard back.  I didn't really expect to get anyone, especially not our officer, but she answered the phone!  I waited patiently while she looked through our file and then was told "your case has not been approved yet, I will contact you if I need additional materials, etc."  Immediately I thought there was a reason it hadn't been approved.  So I asked, "is there something wrong that you can see?  Are we missing some of the paperwork or something?"  I was met with, "no, not at all, I've just been busy, I haven't gotten to your case yet."

It's weird, I actually felt relief after she said that, and I give God all the glory for that one!  In my previous life, I would have given her some words that would not have helped our case, and would have been angry or hurt!  But, at least I know where we stand, and I'm praying that my phone call was the prompting to get ours looked at :).  I'm also very happy I didn't toss out the paperwork we need!

So now we wait.  We've been praying and reading and learning and waiting, and it's been refining.  It's a nice, distracting time of year, so it keeps our minds busy.  We heard from our agency today on some changes at the embassy in Ug*nda and so we're also praying about those.  No one is quite sure what they mean for families in the process.  It might mean longer in country.  It might mean 2 trips instead of one.  So will you please pray for us?  So that our path continues to be made clear to us?

As far as fundraising goes, I thought I'd give totals from now on.  It's just too hard to keep up with the side totals I had (but I put them on our timeline page so I wouldn't forget how God and you all blew us away!).  So, estimated need per our agency is $24,666.50.  We're just going to go with that number, even though they had $0 in there for medical expenses.  In regards to our physicals, we've already had over $800 we've paid for doctor's visits (2 each) and lab work.  Love that insurance ;) (on a side note, I'm totally kidding, as much as I dislike ours (how much it is, what little it covers), we know we are BLESSED to even have medical coverage and the opportunity for every type of doctor we could possibly need at our fingertips!).

We've had some more donations, some more bead sales, some sales of items on craigslist, and 50% of my Juice in the City money, so our total raised to date is......drum roll............ $12,584.60!!!  That's just over 50% my friends, and the majority of that was collected in 2-3 months right after we started the process!  Every expense has been paid, we have money sitting in savings waiting on the next expenses. We will probably, after the new year, start with a new push for fundraising.  We still need (lots of!) money to travel.  And though we don't know when (or even try to guess as we wait on God's perfect timing for our family) that will be, it usually comes up quick.  They call and give you a weeks notice or so until your court date, so we'll need to have the funds ready and waiting.

Just wanted to thank you all for the support.  I love questions, they don't bother me, so please comment or shoot me an email if you have any.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Online Shopping Cash Back

So, it's "Cyber Monday" tomorrow.  I used to get all into it, well as much as our budget allows, but at this point I'm done with our little bit of shopping.  Now we're dreaming up ways to knock the socks off of some people we may not even know by giving big this season.

However, I did want to give all my readers (ha, all 2 of you?) some great ways to save even more money this season and all throughout the year!  I'm sure you've heard of some of these cash back sites, but I'm here to tell you I've used all 3 and they work!  I've, of course, included my referral links below for each site with a little information.  What I do when I know I'm going to make a purchase online is go to all three, search for the company I'm shopping with, and go with the one with the higher percentage :).

Some ideas of things I buy online all year long that I earn cash back on: Pet meds, razors, checks, vistaprint (hello cheap Christmas cards with cash back), department stores, printer ink, party supplies, photo books, gifts, etc.

So here you go.  #1 Mr. Rebates
Mr. Rebates
This site has a huge, easily searchable, selection of stores.  I love that they pay you in paypal.  All money earned from this one was easily sent to our adoption fund savings account!


If you love me, you'll click on my link and sign up.  I'm trying to earn some extra money for our adoption, and this is one easy way: by me referring my friends!  This one works just like Mr. Rebates.  I got 20% cash back on my snapfish purchases this weekend, for gifts I was already going to buy!! :)

Shop At Home:
ShopAtHome Banner
This one I sometimes forget about, but they have a current special.  Click on my link and sign up and you'll get $5 free just for doing so!

Happy shopping

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Some days are hard, but still Praising my God

I've kept up my daily thankful posts on facebook, but haven't on the blog.  As much as I love Thanksgiving, and making it a year long outpouring of my gratefulness, this time of year is still hard.  11/18 marked the 12th anniversary of the Aggie bonfire collapse, that killed one of my very best friends, Miranda Adams at age 19.  What a great time we had together growing up, she is a joy in my heart still.  But it is still hard to think of who she would be now, would she have kids? I know she wouldn't, because this was God's plan for her short life, but it still hurts.

Then, my best friend, from the time I was 5 and fell asleep on her shoulder on the way to kindergarten, Trayce's mom had a heart attack last Monday.  She had a stroke Tuesday and was put on life support and was unresponsive.  She left this earth to be greeted by her eternal Father on Friday, 11/18.  Today was her funeral.  It was hard.  Brings back tons of memories of sweet Neva, of when my mom lost her mom (my sweet Mawmaw), of when Eric lost his dad, of the grief, especially trying to deal with it while your kids are also grieving and watching.

So that's where I am.  Still praising Jesus, loving music, His leading in our lives, and the fire he has lit within me.   Excited about seeing my extended family at Thanksgiving.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13 of a Thankful month

Today I am thankful for Kingsland Baptist Church.  It has been an amazing blessing in our lives over the past 6.5 years.  Our church family has challenged us, inspired us, and become family to us.  They've seen us through hardship, been there for us and prayed and encouraged us.  We've met some of the best friends of our lives here and have watched our children begin lifelong friendships as well.

I love that our pastor preaches the Word, each Sunday.  Our missions pastor is an inspiration each day.  We are constantly challenged to be the hands and feet of Jesus, every day.  To live out our life to the glory of God and no one else.  And for that I am thankful!!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 12 of a Thankful Month

Today I am thankful for a hubby who still wants to date me, even if I planned the date :).  I kept him in the dark until Thursday night, but I got a living social deal at a hotel in the galleria that included free valet, breakfast and a late checkout.  I worked it out for my mom to watch the kids and my neighbor friends to let the dogs out.  We had a lovely adult only dinner, had the worst, most uncomfortable bed in the history of hotel beds (but that's ok, we lived), slept semi-late, had breakfast, worked out, showered, did a little window shopping, secured outfits for all for our upcoming family photos, and got to talk.  It was wonderful, typically if/when we occasionally have a dinner alone for a quick date night, it's quick, and we catch up on the week and the kids, etc.  This time we had 24 hours and we didn't talk (ok, maybe a TINY bit) about the kids, but really got to date, enjoy each other and have a blast!!  We cracked up the whole weekend, Eric seriously makes this woman laugh!!  It was wonderful.  Thankful for my mom who watched the kids solo too!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 11 of a Thankful month

Today I am thankful for all the veterans who sacrifice to protect the freedoms I get to express in this great nation.  I'm thankful for my father-in law who served in the Navy, and each and every serviceman, and their family members, who sacrifice each day their gone.

Today is also a day to remember my cousin, Michael Harrison Gamble, who would have been 30 today!  We miss him every day.  He's been gone for over 6 years and it feels like just yesterday we were cheesing it up at Thanksgiving.  Miss you Mikey!!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 10 of a Thankful month

Today I'm thankful for emergency funds!!  Yesterday, Eric and Anna were headed somewhere while the bigs and I were at church.  I saw 3 missed calls from E and knew something was wrong.

While he was driving, he heard a pop (like a belt coming off) and it started overheating.  His coolant and battery light went on and his power steering went out!!

He was able to get it to a parking lot we could leave the car in overnight.  I went and picked him up and left the car where it was.  So thankful everyone was safe!  Thankful for friends who we could call and ask who to send our car to (our normal guy was out of town).  They also mentioned most insurance plans have free towing and I was able to call this morning and take advantage of that!!  We have already got our car back, and it was right at what they estimated.  As much as I always plan and save and want more than we have in our emergency fund, God has always been faithful and every unplanned expense is always there, accounted for, and for that I am thankful!

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Day 9 of a Thankful Month

Today I'm thankful for my second family.  Eric's mom and dad, Clara and Mike, accepted me from the beginning and I have felt the love of family again, how blessed am I!  I got another sister and a brother who love our family.
We sure do miss Mike.  Clara loves her Anna banana, and yes, that's an old bib of Micah mans :)

 They are very supportive and always loving.  Thanks for letting us in :).

They even put up with us crazies :) 

God bless the Newsomes!
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Day 8 of a Thankful month

Today is a day I'm thankful for rest, even in the busy times.  I am thankful for my calling to be a stay-at-home mom.  We had a busy field trip yesterday and we were all exhausted already from the time change.  Today was a day that after we dropped Micah at preschool and had a music lesson, we got to rest.  It was a leisurely day with no real goals.  We had lunch, Anna took a great restful nap that totally changed her mood and Cara and I got our school work done in record time.  We were able to pack our Operation Christmas Child boxes and really pray over each one.  We were able to stay home, get laundry done and really connect over books and prayer.  I love days like this.  I'm also thankful that Eric is getting a break for a few weeks from his after school sectional schedule and he's getting home earlier.  More family time!!  Can't beat that!

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Day 7 of a Thankful Month

Today I am thankful for food.  We have SO MUCH here in the states!  It's an abundance while other nations go hungry.  Statistics are numbing.  Most of the time they beat us into not doing anything because we're scared that one person can't change anything.  But doing one thing changes something.  God can't be pleased with us if today, TODAY 21,000 people died of starvation.  An easily preventable situation.  It breaks my heart.  

Titus 3:14 says "Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives."  It doesn't say that God wants us to think about doing something.  It says we must devote ourselves to doing good.  I think feeding those without food is good.  

So what are some ways we can help?  So glad you asked!  Here are a few:

World Visions Catalog

Sponsor a Child with Compassion

Sponsor a Child with 60Feet.  A little about their mission: "At the turn of the 20th century, Winston Churchill described Uganda as “the Pearl of Africa”. He was illustrating the beauty of the land. Indeed, in this lush African country, there is no shortage of water. Yet much of the water in Uganda is polluted. Experts tell us, often less than 60 feet down, they find crystal clear, clean water that changes these peoples’ lives forever.
Less than sixty feet below the dusty little feet of these orphans is the purest water they could ever drink…waiting for the children… just out of their reach."  
Kirabo Seeds - a friend of mine started this and they are devoted to the needs of orphans.

Lord--thank you for what we've been given.  Help guide our hearts  as to what we can do to make a difference in this life with what we've been given.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Day 6 of a Thankful month & Orphan Sunday

**I'm going to preface this post saying it's all over the place** :)

Today, this Orphan Sunday, I am thankful for the call to adopt and for our future son.  I am thankful for the peace God has given us in this journey thus far.  And I am thankful, yes grateful, for the pain we are sure to endure in this process.  You see  Romans 5:1-6 says 

"1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. " 

So many things I love in these verses.  We are justified by faith.  He gave us access to His lavished grace.  Our suffering isn't just suffering, it produces endurance, character and hope.  We are ungodly, but Christ died for us! What an undeserved blessing.  

I attended a women's conference at our church this weekend and it was great.  I've been struggling in my daily walk with what we can do in the waiting, and the speaker, Jen Hatmaker, gave us some great ideas.  She spoke filled with the Spirit and had some great words.  One thing she said, I've been praying for, it has been reiterated in some blogs I've read, and now in a new book I've started, Primal.  So the question is, "Does my heart break for what breaks God's?"  I've been praying for leadership in this and God is answering my prayer. I don't have it figured out yet, but I do know that this is where He wants me.  He is pretty clear in His word what breaks his heart.  

Isaiah 58:9-10 "Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. "

Psalm 68:5-6a "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6 God settles the solitary in a home;"  

Deut 10:18 "He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing."

Psalm 10:17-18 " O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more."

Psalm 82:3 " Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute"

Is 1:16-17 "Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. "  

Now, what am I doing in the waiting?  Am I focusing on things of this world, or furthering God's Kingdom?  They are not the same.  Because in the end, that is all that matters.   If I come to the end of my life and stand before my Maker and He asks what I did to further His kingdom, what will my answer be?  I'm praying for the fire to re-ignite in me.  It better not be "I was too busy," "but you blessed me so much, I thought I was doing it right, " "I just didn't see the souls of man to be worth more than my time spent on ________, ___________ or ________."  How tragic that would be.  

I think my heart is where I spend my money and my time.  So we are seeking exactly what that is for our family.  And it's good.  It's good to have tension and seeking God's face.

If you are wanting to get involved in Ugandan adoption, here is the link to many blogs who are raising funds and need prayer in the 'after the airport' life, as well as those like us who are in the waiting part of the process.  

Here's a great site to get involved with as well.

For now, a little piece of my heart is in Uganda, waiting, praying, loving, interceding, learning to serve, choosing joy, claiming faith, pursuing wholeness for our future child.

None of this will be easy.  Adoption is filled with trauma.  If there was no trauma, there would be no need for adoption.  Parents die, children are abandoned, infants are tossed out.  This breaks God's heart.  God, we are crying out for the oppressed!!  Help us show them your love.  And a God who hears my prayers, this is what I am thankful for.

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Day 5 of a Thankful Month

Today I am thankful for Godly parents leading me down the path I'm on. They chose life and chose to bring me to church and introduce me to my almighty Savior at a young age, and for that I am eternally grateful. They also make pretty awesome grandparents! :) I love you Yaya and Papa!

Yaya & Jack
Papa tickling Anna

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