After two weeks of being on the move, we are finally back in the game! God has been doing so many wonderful things in our lives over the last two weeks, so bear with me if this post is a little longer than usual.
Two weeks ago today, we left Birmingham to head down to Honduras for 7 days. My family has been working with a children's home in Honduras since 2002, and we always love getting to spend time with our sweet Honduran family. This year, we did a pretty intense Bible study of the book of James with the older boys and girls and the girls from a special project called Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd). The focus of the study was on persevering through trials and having actions in our lives that match up with the faith we claim to have. I always get a little nervous going into these Bible studies, mostly because the entire thing is in Spanish, and I get worried that I will not know all the right words or that someone will ask a question that I do not completely understand. God is so good, though, and He was definitely right there in the room with us, smashing the language barrier and allowing some true learning and understanding to take place. I know that we are the ones going down to do the teaching, but I am always so blown away and truly humbled by what the Lord teaches me in the midst of me trying to teach others. We really tried to focus on the truth and importance of the Gospel and what Christ did for each of us on the cross, because that is the first step that we have to take before we can even begin have a relationship with God and understand what He asks of us. While preparing the study, God revealed more of His beautiful self to me, and I am trying now to live in the light of what I have learned. Spending time in the Word with our precious Honduran sisters was such a beautiful thing and an incredible picture of God's goodness and love for all the people in this world. He loves each of us, no matter our origin, language or circumstance. He loves us, loves you, just as you are.
We also had a construction project going on during our week in Honduras. And when I say "we," I mean the super strong menfolk in our group. The construction project took place at another one of the children's home projects called Misericordia (Mercy House), a home for girls with special needs. As you can imagine, it is rather warm and toasty down in Honduras, and in the summer, it is alost too hot to even be outside. So, the assignment for the week was to build an outdoor shaded area for the girls to play in while still being protected from the sun. To help make the area even more welcoming and calming, the ladies from our group painted the walls with flowers and trees. It was a lot of hard work (mostly for the men), but the end result was beautiful, and the Misericordia girls absolutely loved it.
It was an incredible week, and I know that the Lord moved in a lot of people's hearts as His Word was shared with the children He loves so much. Scripture promises us that when God's Word goes out, it never comes back empty, and this week was a perfect picture of that truth. Here are some more photos of some of God's most beautiful creation and most precious children.
So as you can see, it was a quite a busy week! We got back to the U.S. on Saturday, July 28. Adam, Bob and LC left the next morning to head back to Alabama, and I stayed down in Florida with the fam for a few more days. It was so good to spend extra time with my family, especially because I probably won't be seeing them again until November. On Monday, we ran some errands and spent some time at my mom's store. I was also able to catch up with Leslie, my high school Bible study leader and one of my favorite people on the planet. Then, on Tuesday, mom, Christina and I packed it up and headed over to the West coast...of Florida. We spent a few days on Marco Island soaking up the sun, swimming, gathering seashells and parasailing...well, Christina and I went parasailing; Mother Dearest refused. Behold the photographic evidence of our adventure.
So after all of that, I finally arrived home last night and got right back to work on adoption stuff. Our social worker had completed our home study while we were gone, so when we got back to Florida from Honduras, we printed it out and reviewed it. Then we sent in our corrections, which were made right away, and today I dropped off our accuracy confirmation (a document which states that we approve of our home study) along with our second agency payment to Lifeline. This morning, I filled out our I600A form and sent it to our Ethiopia program representative for review; she got back to me right away that it looked good. So, hopefully on Monday I will be able to pick up the official notarized copy of our home study and we can file with immigration. Yikes! Once we do that, we wait to be cleared and then we can send our dossier off to Ethiopia. Wahoooooo!
In the midst of all of this end-of-paperwork excitement, we received an email from the Ethiopia program director for our agency that the wait time has increased from 6-9 months to 11-12 months. Obviously, this is not the kind of news we want to get, and, at first, it was a little tough. I think mostly because we were so close to being a waiting family and then to get the news that the wait will be even longer...well, that is just hard. But then I realized that, though it doesn't feel like it at all right now, nothing has actually changed. We are still going to be parents to the child that God has had planned for us all along. It's not like God is sitting up in heaven going, "Oh no! The Ethiopia program is growing. That really messes things up!" No, no. Thankfully, graciously, this has been part of God's plan all along; it is just new to us.
Still, we would ask for your prayers as we begin the true waiting process. We are about to enter into a time where there will not be any more forms to fill out or interviews to be done. And while this is somewhat of a relief, it also means that there will be absolutely nothing more we can do to get ourselves closer to our sweet little one. So, please, please pray for us, that God would use this time in our lives to grow our faith and trust in Him and that our sweet babe would be safe until we can get there.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5