Friday, August 31, 2012

Quick Takes: How will this change things for Peter?


We've gotten that question a lot in the past week since officially announcing our move to Maine.   People find out that we're moving, and almost immediately, the  next question is, "How will this change things for bringing Peter home?"    We expected that - it's a natural, logical question!    I've been meaning to write this blog post all week, but time just got away from me.  So, instead, for today's quick takes, here's your answer!  ;-)


The very first thing that we did when this job opportunity was placed in front of Mike was call our social worker.   We were positive that if this was going to negatively impact our bringing Peter home, it wasn't from God, and it wasn't going to be our decision.    After laying down the job details for our agency, walking through the scenarios, and discussing all possibilities for our family, we decided to move forward with accepting the position.


It will have some influence on our entire journey.   God definitely provided, though, in more ways than one.   How will this change things?   For starters, we will have to complete an update to our home study.    We know God had a hand in this, though, by how our original home study took place.   Remember when I talked about our discernment process with even starting our adoption journey?  About how we didn't want to have to get certified in one state, only to move to another and have to meet new requirements?  That's the whole reason we wanted until we moved to AZ to begin the process of bringing Peter home.  

Well, guess what?   We're doing just that - starting the process in one state and ending it in another.  Ironic, isn't it?   It is....until you realize that the state we had our original home study done in (AZ) is one of the hardest, longest home study processes in the country.   Our home study was "heard" in court here, and signed off by a judge, which delays the process.   What it does provide, though, is an excellent final copy, one that our new home state will accept, almost at face-value.    The update paperwork mostly is just related to our new change of address (and home) and new job/medical information.


Again, God was looking out for us.   We lived in our house in Maine for 4 years....and are moving right back into it.   We were the first/original owners of that house - it's brand new.   What does this mean?   It means that we have house plans, we have specifics about all details of the house, all things that our new home study agency in Maine will need to know.    Knowing so much about our future homestead makes all of this update paperwork incredibly easy........and it's already completed.  All that's left is a walk-through of our Maine house, which can be done as soon as we move in.  This means our paperwork shall be completed, and the update finished, within a week of our move.


There will be a slight cost increase to our overall cost, due to this move.   This is one negative, but one that we are confidant God will provide for.   The homestudy update paperwork may be all done, but the cost increase still needs to be accounted for.   Now, more than ever, our puzzle fundraiser is incredibly important to our adoption journey.   Follow the tab at the top of this blog for the "Macbook giveaway" to learn more about this fundraiser, and how you can help.  I'll also be adjusting the thermometer on the side of the blog to reflect our new costs.


Timeline-wise, we're expecting this to not have much of an effect on Peter's homecoming.   The homestudy agency is expediting our update, which is amazing, and with all those factors I talked about above working in our favour for speed/efficiency, we're expecting the delay to be only a couple of weeks.   Our agency is cautiously optimistic, though, that our change in information with the new job, the new medical benefits, the community aspect, decreasing our financial responsibilities from maintaining two houses to just one, will all be a huge positive in the eyes of Peter's government.   We are all praying that our slight delay with the update will be counter-balanced with an increased speed from Peter's government, as they see our updated information.


What will this job change mean for Peter once he is home?   Honestly, this was the deciding factor in taking the job position.    This job will provide us with many benefits, that before were just kind of a dream.   How so, you may be wondering?   Besides a slight pay increase, we will also be provided with medical benefits that are more tailored to Peter's health needs.   We will be moving back into an area where we have multiple ties to both the adoptive community and the children's cancer community.    We will be moving back to a location that is much closer to our extended family and will allow for them to be actively involved in caring for Peter.    Mike will be home more - going from a demanding call schedule to one that will require less than half of his current call time.   We will be going back to a church community that we love and are very active within.

We absolutely love our community here in AZ, and we are so grateful for their support so far on this journey, and are incredibly sad that Peter won't be coming home to them.  (At first, that is.  He WILL be visiting to meet all of our friends here, that's for sure!!)   However, when we looked at the overall picture, and prayed about it, we knew, without a doubt, that this was what God was calling us be.


I hope that answers some of the questions/concerns that I know are popping up in everyone's mind.   This was not a decision that we made lightly, and we made sure that Peter's journey to his forever home was not going to be negatively impacted.    If that was the case, we would not be moving at all.

Please continue to pray for us - the move is coming up in less than a month now, and we are starting to hit "crunch" time with packing and arranging details.   I may not be blogging as frequently until we get to our house in Maine, but I will try to post updates as they come.   Please continue to pray that we receive matching approval in the next little bit, and that we can continue to move on towards our little boy as quickly as possible!

If you can, please also share or spread the word about our Macbook giveaway!   It's been so fun to be able to put the puzzle together and watch Peter's support community grow.   The puzzle will be such an amazing addition to his new room!!


Don't forget to visit Jen for more Quick Takes!  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quick a month....

Thanks again to Jen for hosting!  Once again....a picture heavy quick takes.   Sorry.  
You'll understand by the end. 


Once upon a time, there was a cute little house.....


...owned by a cute little family....


...with three adorable little boys....


The family loved this little house, and put a lot of time into making it their very own home.


But the time came when the cute little family had to leave their beloved home and travel 3000 miles across the country to a new home.   They packed up their belongings and headed out for the next adventure.


And they fell in love with their new home - the natural beauty, the community, the vibrancy.  They truly enjoyed their new home, creating friendships that will last a lifetime.    


But something began to stir within the heart of this cute little family, and they began to feel that they weren't quite finished with their journey just yet.    In time, it became very clear to our little family:  God was calling them to take what they had learned from the amazing community in their new home and share it.   He was calling them to witness to His love in a new place...........or a new familiar place.

....and with that, the little family knew.   They were being called home.  

And so they'll head a month.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Puzzle update!!

Thank you all for sharing, for donating, for spreading the word and helping us reach our goal of bringing Peter home.

I thought it was time for a little update as to the puzzle creation....

We currently sit at 128 puzzle pieces spoken for.  28 more and this awesome hat will be going home with one of you guys.  Let's keep this party going!  

As a refresher, this is where we last left the puzzle update with you guys:

104 pieces claimed at the last update

And after some quiet time with Dad, putting more pieces together....

We are happy to report that we now have 128 pieces of Peter's puzzle put together and waiting for our little boy when he comes home!

Thank you all for your support.  Don't forget, you can get in on the puzzle fun (and possibly get a Macbook Air in return!) by following this link, or clicking on the tab at the top of our blog.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quick Takes - Birthday Edition!

Thanks to Jen for hosting!

Today marks our biggest rascal's 8th birthday!   I can't believe that it's been eight years since he first made his appearance (It really hasn't been that long, has it?!?!), but he's very insistent that he is EIGHT now, not seven.    Of course, he must be right, or so he tells me.   In honour of his birthday, today's quick takes will be a trip down memory pictures!


Welcome to the world, Rascal #1!!  Still one of my favourite "fresh-out-of-the-oven" pictures!!


Rascal #1 with his namesake, Mike's grandpa, "Gigi"


A happy family of our favourite restaurant in Northern MI (Leg's Inn)


I kind of miss that hair, not going to lie.....


Playing around with his new little brother....


With his first girlfriend....they were so alike, these two rascals....


From this past winter.....still a silly boy!

Happy birthday, Rascal #1!   You are an amazingly talented, intelligent, compassionate little man and we are grateful for every day we get to spend with you!

We love you!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Quick Takes!

As always, thanks to Jen for hosting!!


Puzzle catch up!

We're still stuck at 104 puzzle pieces at the moment - can you help sponsor another one?

Don't forget, there are tons of things we're giving away during this puzzle fundraiser.   First and foremost, a Macbook Air!


When we get to 156 puzzle pieces, this awesome hat will be given away to someone:

As an added bonus, if we can get there by this Saturday, August 4th, at midnight MST, we'll give a $25 gift certificate to away with the hat!  Spread the word!


Another fun fundraiser is going on this month:  Nickels for Nico

Look at this face.

He's stolen Kara's heart, and she is working tirelessly to help find him a forever family.   Let's help her by participating in her change drive this month!


Look at this opportunity.  Oliver, one of the very first orphans we rallied for, has an opportunity for a $2000 matching grant.  We have two weeks to get there - can you help spread the word?


Don't forget about Weighing Malcolm Home!  Our friends Charles and Eli are working hard to bring their adorable son, Malcolm, home as quickly as possible.   Their current fundraiser has the potential to not only get him home sooner, but to really make a huge positive impact on their whole family.  How?   By supporting Charles in losing weight!  Sponsor a pound of weightloss and help TWO family members - Charles AND Malcolm!


One more fundraiser link-up for today:   Remember Justin?  He's coming home to the Stout family, and while Meg has been working tirelessly to help raise funds for OTHER orphans on their journey home.....she's asked for very little for themselves.  

In appreciation for Meg's work, an Etsy Shop (Rae's Gifts) is stepping forward and donating 20% of all sales for the month of August.  Let's show Meg how much we appreciate her advocacy and share the love!


Last but not least, Kara and I are working on organizing a joint yard sale to benefit both Peter and Nico.   It's going to be soon - we both want to get this done quickly!   If you have anything you'd like to donate, please contact me here.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Puzzle update (with pictures!) and another giveaway!

**Don't forget that you can get in on the puzzle fun, and possibly walk away with a Macbook Air, either through the tab at the top of the blog or here!!**

Well, I managed to clean out our school stuff from the schoolroom and make a safe place to store Peter's puzzle after getting back from our vacation.   With that accomplished, the boys and I started in on putting together the puzzle pieces that had already been taken for.   I'd expected it to take a good amount of time (after all, we had 104 puzzle pieces to put together of a puzzle that is quite tricky!), but the boys were so excited to get started with Peter's puzzle that we were finished in less than an hour!    The 3 year old merely cheered us on, but the 6 and 8 year olds were totally into putting together the puzzle.  They did most of the work!

Here are some pictures of our fun, and the artwork for Peter's room (as it stands right now).  Thank you all for your support - you are making this happen!!!

Rascal #2 showing off the "before" puzzle

Getting off to a good start

Working so hard (and well) together!

Rascal #3 cheering on #1 and #2

Stopping for the moment - 104 puzzle pieces put together!

Where we stand right now.....104 pieces spoken for,  446 left to go!

Thank you all for your support so far.  We are sooooo excited to get this put together, framed, and hanging in Peter's room.   Knowing that we will be fully funded at that point, too, is extremely exciting and reassuring.

You can help us get there!   Check out our Macbook Air giveaway tab at the top of the blog (or go here) to find out how.  

We currently stand at 104 puzzle pieces spoken for.  As an added incentive, for every 78 puzzle pieces that are claimed, we're giving away one of these awesome handcrafted hats to one of you who shares the giveaway or donates for a puzzle piece.  

We've already given away one hat.....can we give away another by this weekend?

If we can get to 156 puzzle pieces (so 52 more need to be claimed) this hat will go home to one of you:

Isn't it awesome?  It fits all of my kiddos (and they all have big heads), so it'll fit a youth or an adult with a small head.  

As an added incentive, if we can get to 156 puzzle pieces by this Saturday, August 4th, at midnight MST, we'll throw in a $25 gift certificate to with the hat.   You could end up with this awesome hat AND a meal out, on us, as a thank you!

Let's start sharing and spreading the word.  Don't forget to comment on the Macbook giveaway post, so I can make sure you are included in the giveaway.   Facebook it - tweet it - email it to friends - shout it from the rooftop...whatever you can do to spread the word!  

Help us get this puzzle put together and bring Peter home!