Where We Stand

We got our home study approval today! That means that our HS is court approved and complete. We are officially done with our HS and can now submit it to USCIS for our immigration approval. Once USCIS receives our HS, they will send us an appointment for FBI fingerprinting. After our FBI prints are done, we wait for USCIS to approve us to adopt internationally and send us a Favorable Determination Letter (FDL). That will be the last piece of the puzzle for our dossier, (huge stack of apostilled papers that in no way adequately conveys the faith, stress, love, sweat and tears that went into them!). Once our dossier is complete, we send it to the boys’ country and wait for an appointment to meet with the government officials to review files on available children. Once we have that appointment, we book our flights and head to meet our boys!!!! This is happening crazy fast! It was SO SLOW for SO LONG and now we are at breakneck speed.

Here’s the scary part, we are half-way funded. I know I said that a while back and we’ve had some fundraisers since then. What happened is that our costs went up when we added sweet Murray. He was supposed to have a $2800 grant available, but due to circumstances outside of RR or our control, he does not. We now have the full $5,000 fee to adopt him along with Shawn. It’s ok, because we know that the Lord called us to both boys and we know that he is always faithful. He will provide and has every step of the way. The plan it all out, play it safe, gotta go over everything a million times side of me wants to panic! BUT, I am choosing to BE STILL and TRUST. I know who He is and He is more than capable of providing everything we need to bring Shawn and Murray home. Right now, we need a total of $13,050 to be fully funded. I do have some fundraisers and photo gigs coming up that should help, but you can bet I’ll be filling out every grant application I can qualify for. ūüôā

Here’s all of¬†our current fundraisers to bring our boys home! Here’s the link to our t-shirt fundraiser through bonfirefunds:¬†https://www.bonfirefunds.com/warren-family-adoption-1. I designed the shirts. Hope you like them! All orders must be placed by November 4th. We still have 16 shirts to go before they’ll print our order.

Back finished tee Front Finished tee

We also have a Norwex fundraiser going on. This is being hosted by our sweet friend that adopted her daughter from Shawn and Murray’s orphanage earlier this year. If you’re worried about dousing your house and body in tons of chemicals, Norwex is something you have to check out! I’ve created a FB group for this fundraiser and our friend is posting lots of helpful videos and information on the products. She’s also great at answering any questions you might have. You can check it out here:¬†https://www.facebook.com/groups/836971076354914/. Here is the link you need to use to order for our party:¬†http://www.norwex.biz/PublicStore/event/571282/default.aspx. This fundraiser ends October 28th. All of our friend’s commission will go to our adoption fund!

Shawn and Murray Norwex Fundraiser

I have an Etsy Store that you can order from at any time. Please visit me at Project823. Here’s the link:¬†https://www.etsy.com/shop/Project823. I have jewelry, custom photo jewelry, wall art, baby stats posters and tree stump tables for sale. Items from my shop are pictured below. 100% of all Project823 sales go toward our adoption.

Copper stump Faith Charms Ombre Stump Photo jewelry Skeleton Key Necklace IMG_9562

Aspen leaf Lisa's stumpTurquoise stump

Noah Baby Print

Finally, if you don’t need any of these items and you feel led to help bring our boys home, you can always donate to our Reece’s Rainbow Fund. The link is in the sidebar of my blog and I’ll post it here as well.¬†http://reecesrainbow.org/74704/sponsorwarren-2. All of the funds will be made available to us when we travel. All donations into this fund are tax deductible for you.:)

Let me close by saying how much we appreciate each and every one of you!! You have no idea how many tears we cry when we’ve had a bad week or day, and one of you sends us encouragement or support. We are so very humbled by your generosity and by your desire to help two boys you’ve never met become precious members of our family. It blows me away each and every time someone gives so that Shawn and Murray’s futures will be filled with hope, and more importantly, with love. We could not do this without you. God is using you mightily in our lives. He is teaching us what it means to have FAITH and to ABIDE in Him. He is teaching me that whatever circumstance I find myself in, He is watching my reaction. Will I trust Him or will I trust in my own feeble strength and ability. Will I drown in worry or be still, knowing that He who called me is faithful. He has provided through you, encouraged us through you. Thank you for being willing vessels to pour out His love in our lives. We love you all!



Full Disclosure

I have an enemy and he has declared war. I have been in the trenches and the past few days the battle has left me worn and weary. It has been constant and,¬†it seems, from every direction. I know the Lord is good and He has sent encouragement and support when I desperately needed it. The past few weeks, the battle has landed in the heart of my family. It struck right where it hurts. For whatever reason, all of the post-adoption “issues”¬†have reared their ugly heads and come crashing in this week. I can’t help but think this is preparation for what lies ahead…

Life after adoption…much has been written about it and by WAY¬†better moms than me. But for the sake of my sanity, I need a place to dump all of this. Life after adoption is not all sweet pictures, smiles and the world made right. It is not always love at first sight or even love in the first year. It can be so hard. Afterall, adoption is born out of loss. This loss is so deep and wide that I feel like we could all drown in it at times. It permeates every nook and cranny and colors the world for the child caught in it’s wake. For the past 6 years we have loved and wrestled with this child. It has been an all out battle for his heart. Just when I think we have torn down a wall, he quickly slaps up another, bigger one. There is nothing quite like parenting a child with little or no attachment to you. They have no sense of right or wrong, no ability to have empathy,¬†they lie. They¬†seemingly have¬†no ability to learn from past experience, no desire to please their parents, they push¬†us away and manipulate¬†us¬†to get what they¬†want. The worst has been seeing my child cuddle up to every stranger or extended family member, flash them the sweetest smile and beg for these people¬†to take him¬†home. And worse yet, these people fall for it hook, line and sinker. It’s not personal, we are learning this, but it stings all the same. It is a battle for their hearts, for their future, and it is intense. I am learning that this has brought every weakness I have, every flaw into the light of day and it is ugly. I am not the mom I wanted so desperately to be and I am not enough for my child. I am broken, he is broken and together we are a mess.

I look at my daughter, the tiny girl who tried to claw my eyes out those first few days together. The girl who held so much grief in her little baby body that it broke my heart. I didn’t think she would ever heal and I felt like I had ruined her life. She was loved and cared for by a sweet woman that I’ll never get to know. Her foster mom taught her to trust, taught her what love was and how to form a healthy¬†attachment to her caregiver. I wish I could find her and hug the daylights out of her! That precious woman gave my girl such a gift! I couldn’t possibly appreciate it properly at the time. When I look at my girl and how attached she is to us, I know it is because of the love this woman poured into her life those first two years. Our son did not have this. The alarms should’ve sounded when he clung to me, a complete stranger, when we returned to the government office to sign adoption papers. His familiar caregivers were there and he wanted nothing to do with them. He refused to be put down, I even had to hold him for his visa photo. Instead of alarm, I felt needed. I felt giddy with relief at how smoothly this was going. Stupid girl. Over the next few days and subsequent years, experience would tell me how stupid I was to think that was a good thing. I am learning just how deep this wound goes and¬†experiencing firsthand the¬†destruction that follows.

For the sake of full disclosure, I want you to know what real life is like post-adoption. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it is the best thing I’ve ever done. It is allowing God to reveal my brokenness, to force me to my knees in search of Him. It is knowing that I am not enough, that I am not redeeming anyone, HE IS! It is getting a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father is like and knowing how deeply I need Him. I am broken, I push him away, I lie, I manipulate, I refuse to learn, I am calloused and I run away from Him more than I’d like to admit. But God, he pursues me with an unfailing love. He lays down His life for me. He is the Good Shepherd, the Gate¬†who puts himself between me and danger. He pursues me all of the days of my life because He is love and He loves me. He calls me to abide in Him and He will love this sweet boy through me. I fail, but He never fails.

My sweet, broken boy…how I wish I could’ve been there for you those first years. There to hold you, nurse you, rock you and kiss you. There to sing into your ear when you were restless, kiss your hurt knees, tuck you into a warm bed and there to answer when you cried. I wish I could’ve been there to smile back at you, to clap loudly when you took your first steps and to gush over you like you were the best, cutest and smartest baby ever born. Every kid deserves that. It breaks my heart that some never get that, that MY baby didn’t get that. You are worth the fight, worth the wait and worth every hard day it takes to bring your walls down.