Finally!

Today Evangeline’s adoption was finalized! It’s been a long journey, and though we’ve been through many excitements, frustrations, mountains, and valleys, we are thankful for everything God orchestrated for our family. We are also very grateful for all the people who have helped, hosted, fed, prayed for, supported, and rejoiced with us.

Finalizaion 10

Birthday News

EJ Cinderella

Yesterday, we celebrated our sweet daughter’s third birthday! We cannot believe she is three, or that she is so funny, smart, creative, beautiful, and delightful. But she is, and we’re blessed!

dancing

Dance party!

Serving ice cream

Serving ice cream

Presents

Presents

As you can see from these pictures, she is very into princesses these days; particularly Disney’s Cinderella. We just had a small family party with her grandparents and our friends/neighbors Jordan & Carrie — the latter of which made her cake! It was awesome, by the way. We’ll have a bigger party with Ella’s friends for her half birthday (we like pool parties, which are difficult to pull off in the winter).

Image

Cinderella’s Carriage Cake – by Carrie

Ella finds her cake.

Ella finds her cake.

This kid is getting big. We mean that literally and generally. Kim noticed the other day that she is half her height. That’s kind of sad. She is also at the age to properly sing songs, quote shows, recognize characters, draw pictures, act out stories, make up games, make up songs, argue, compromise, get along with the cat, and talk about being a big sister.

Oh yeah – about that 🙂

You might’ve noticed quite a lull in adoption updates on this blog, but the wait is over. Before the party yesterday, our lawyer called to get things rolling on an adoption plan for our next kid! Woohoo! The truth is that we’ve had some “behind the scenes” stuff going on, but now some of it can be declassified.

We recently snuck out on a secret weekend trip to meet a brave young lady who has chosen life for her child. A couple of days after the visit, (on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which I think is significant) she contacted us to let us know she would like for us to parent the baby. We told her we would be honored, and that is an understatement.

We got connected with her through a friend, so it will be an independent adoption. However, our agency has been very helpful by giving what advice, answers, and referrals they can and they will still do our post-placement.

Thank you so much for all your support, excitement, and prayers for us on our journey so far! It was a wonderful gift to be able to tell EJ yesterday that the plan to bring home her new sibling is official. We can’t wait until that birthday!

Life’s Full of Surprises

Guess what this is?

Hint: sometimes when God tells you to invest in your city,

He means it literally.

Disclaimer: if we’ve already told you, you’re not eligible to guess 😉

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UPDATE: 

Our friend Tisra Fadely wins (all the way from India)! She was the first to guess on Facebook: “Are you building a HOUSE?!”

That’s right – we’re building a house in Spring Hill. If you’re surprised by that news, join the club. If you know us well, you might have heard us describe ourselves as “serial renters”. We like renting because:

  1. We don’t have to pay to fix things.
  2. We’re not too fond of owning expensive things.
  3. We are so not middle class, “American Dream” type people. We like simplicity.
  4. We like not being tied down so we’re free to pick up and go if (when) we get called to Haiti or something.

Beyond that, we’ve been sharing our rental house with friends for the past two years to save money and live more communally. That has been wonderful for this season in our lives. But evidently, God decided to take us into a new season. Earlier this year, our newlywed housemates decided to shop for a home of their own. We considered our dwelling options: we could find new housemates again or we could find another, smaller place to rent. The challenge with the first option is that we doubted that many other couples would enjoy living with our growing family. We’ve also been a bit frustrated with the interaction among neighbors on our street and with our property management firm. The latter option was not appealing since we assumed we’d have to spend much more on rent and utilities if we stayed anywhere within a reasonable distance of our church and the town we feel called to engage.  So we did our research to see what living on our own in Spring Hill would cost.

We found out that, with the current state of the housing market, an affordable mortgage payment for a decent house would be about the same as monthly rent for any place we could find (including apartments). About the time we were coming to terms with that reality, our housemates told us about a builder they had met with, so we decided to check them out. Lo and behold – we found that we could afford a brand new house within our budget. Not wanting to jump to conclusions, we decided to take a few days to pray, do more research, drive around the neighborhood, and seek advice. All we encountered were confirmations that this was the right choice.

Two particularly amazing things happened during that time.

One, we felt like the neighborhood was perfect for our family. There’s lots of open space, many families with children live there, it’s flat (good for running), there’s a nice pool, and it’s close to the Interstate, the express bus stop, and our favorite businesses. When I went to take pictures of the lot we were considering, I MET OUR NEIGHBORS. The men from across the street and next door came out to chat with me, and we talked for quite awhile.  I’ve been longing for a place where the neighbors are interested in community, so this was a huge sign for me.

Second, God spoke to me about our call. You might remember from a previous post that I find an adventurous life in a third-world country much more appealing than American suburbia. We both expect that one day we will end up living in Haiti, but for now that is apparently on hold. However, we  know that we are positioned here for a couple of main reasons: we qualify to adopt and we are called to be missionaries in Spring Hill. While I was meditating on that tension for a bit, God clarified that this is the mission for now and I should stop treating it like a waiting room. I had told Him that I understood and that I was committed to our call to invest in our city, but now He challenged me to “put my money where my mouth is”. My response: “Wow. But…but buying a house is such a big commitment. I mean, isn’t that pretty much ‘putting down roots’? I thought You wanted us to live radically on mission.”

But that’s it exactly. Maybe the “picket fence” deal is radical for us because we’re so uncomfortable with it. Still, through all our challenging and ambiguous adventures, God insists on spoiling us. We’ve had a great time sharing a house with friends. Now we’re having one built just for us, and that’s something we never would have chosen for ourselves – not at this point in our lives, anyway.

Well, needless to say, construction on the house has started. Most of the apprehension has been replaced with excitement. AND our neighbors friended us on Facebook, invited us for pool time and lemonade, and offered to send us pictures throughout the building progress (should be done in mid-to-late August).

Life’s full of surprises.

THANK YOU!

A gigantic THANK YOU to all who have helped us with our puzzle fundraiser and with raising the funds for our adoption in general. We are so excited to announce that our puzzle has been fully sponsored! Beyond that, we are also happy to announce that we are fully funded for the whole adoption as it stands now. God has provided for this adoption through our friends, family, and community and we want to let you know how grateful we are to each of you for being a part of this calling.

Home Study

We had our first home study visit today! Our case worker and her intern arrived this afternoon and we started off by introducing everyone and giving them a house tour. Through discussions with other adoptive families, we’d heard that the home study is really not a big deal; that we could expect for them to chat with us a bit to make sure we’re not weirdos, make sure we’ve got childproofing equipment, check our smoke detectors, see that our firearms are properly secured, and confirm that we have fire extinguishers. That was very true for our visit today. However, it was more enjoyable than I had expected. Our case workers are very friendly and they loved EJ. After the tour, we spent time lounging in the living room while they interviewed us (our family and our housemates) about our neighborhood, household dynamic, parenting practices and philosophy, church, community, work, aspirations, and plans. As she is shy, EJ took a while to warm up to them, but by the end of the visit she was a ham!

Next steps:

We have two more meetings with our case worker, and then we’ll create our family profile. After that – we wait!

 

-B