"I will not leave you as orphans..." - John 14:18

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Evidence of Grace - The Garage Sale

Sitting here, both Travis and I are exhausted, speechless, humbled, and feel so unbelievably blessed!!

When we began our adoption journey last September, we prayed for financial provision for our adoption.  And as many of you know, we've been taking donations for our adoption fundraising garage sale since April.  All the while, we've prayed for God's will to be done and for the donations to come if the garage is how He wanted to provide.  

Well...they came!  A big THANK YOU to all of you who donated!!  Steadily our garage and our home began to fill up with the outpouring of generosity by friends, family, strangers, and our church family at Living Stones.  We have been humbled by the response, which is such evidence of God's grace, yet over the last few weeks or so, Travis and I would look at each other and ask how are we going to be able to pull this off??  The logistics of getting everything outside, alone, seemed impossible.  Yet, we knew, all the while, that God would make it happen, for He is faithful!

Let me take a moment to shed light a bit on how the whole thing pulled together...  Travis and I woke up at 3:30am on Saturday not expecting any help until about 6am, but a friend, Scott Peterson, showed up at 4am to help us get the stuff out!  Many others showed up bright and early to help as well, Alena Yancy and her son Evan, T Grant, Nicole Kelleher, Taylor Laack, my mom and Travis' parents!!  Without these early risers, we would have never been able to get it all out to sell...and they continued to stay to help throughout the day!  Additionally, a friend of mine from church, Nikki Fuller, was our indispensable sales clerk!  Thank you Nikki!  

We had friends/family (Mom, Sue, Sarah, Kim, Jenny, Nicole, Shawna) baking (for the bake sale), sorting, organizing, selling...all by the grace of God!  What's more, is that our neighbors were more than  gracious and allowed us to block their driveways and take up the entire cul-de-sac.  Additionally, one of our neighbors, Mary Hicks, cooked an authentic Mexican lunch for Travis and I as well as all of our helpers on Saturday!!  And we had many unexpected friends show up to help and support us in so many ways...  Thank you all!!!

It went from this...
Our living room the week before!

...to this (in 3 hours)!!!
Looking down our driveway...
Saturday - Day 1
As you can see, it was no exaggeration to say that we were having a HUGE garage sale!!  We knew we had a lot of donations, but once we got everything out, it was hard to imagine just HOW it all fit into our home! 

But what a weekend!

Hanging out with friends/family/neighbors...lots of shoppers...TONS of love and support from those around us...many generous hearts who simply came by to donate money...kids playing with friends, running a lemonade stand/bake sale, running through the sprinklers, eating popsicles... All in all a successful weekend.  

Not only that, but our prayers have been answered!!  $4155!!!  What a blessing!!  We are speechless! 

So...we sit here, in awe of God's grace and His faithfulness to answer prayers, and we praise Him, for none of this would have been possible apart from Him and His ability to use others (our friends/family/neighbors) to bless us!  Thank you to all of you who helped make this possible!!  We love you!

And now we rest...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Garage Sale Time!! June 25-26

Oh my...

And there's much more...

It's finally here! 

Our HUGE adoption fundraising garage sale is coming up this weekend, June 25th and 26th, from 7am to 3pm!

It’ll be at our house 1727 Back Country Court in Reno, NV (Double Diamond).

We have been blessed with so many donations!! So, we have a bit of everything:
Baby/Children items
Sporting goods
Household items
DVDs/ CDs/VHS/Records
And so much more!

Additionally, our girls will be hosting a bake sale/lemonade stand!  Oh so cute!

None of this would have been possible without all the love and support we have been given!  A big thank you to all of you who donated and helped us along the way! What a blessing you have been!  

We've got a busy week ahead of us.  And now, we prepare...

Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June Waitlist Numbers

It's that time again...

Here they are:

April - 93
May - 81
June - 81

April - 73
May - 64
June - 62

April - 41
May - 34
June - 35 (due to other families changing the parameters of the child they'll adopt)

To read more about what these numbers mean, click here.  

Another month down, and that much closer to the day we bring home our new child(ren)!!  Oh, how we long for that day!! 

Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers!

Here's a short exert from a recent update from our agency pertaining to our wait...  
Last month we also assured you we would be keeping you posted on the movement with our AGCI cases as we wait and watch for possible changes.  Below are a few quick snapshots of the program to help keep you in the loop.

Current Wait Times:
As we shared with you all last month, we are preparing families at this time for a wait time of up to 18 months.  Our most recently placed families with parameters of all age ranges waited about 12 months to be referred. A great deal of the extension on this timeline is attributed to the unknown timelines we may see with the court process moving forward and then also the additional follow up investigation and detail poured into every child’s process before they are able to be referred to their forever family and begin the official adoption process.
Court Update:
·         We had 21 AGCI cases approved at court in the second half of May. 
·         14 of these approved court cases were submitted prior to the March 8, 2011 deadline     set by MOWA.  7 of these approved court cases were submitted after the March 8, 2011 deadline.
·         We were assigned 7 new court appointments during the last few weeks of May.
·         We currently have one court case pending the MOWA approval letter.  Please note that this delay is not abnormal for us. We have had many cases in our program’s history where the letter from the ministry was not available on the originally scheduled court date. Of course, we will keep you updated if we start to experience abnormal timelines with this sort of delay.
·         We continue to hear that MOWA has implemented their new policy of reviewing 5 cases a day, but are still waiting and watching to see how this may impact cases, if this policy will remain in effect, if so for how long, and to what degree our cases will be delayed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adoption Testimony

The following testimony is an amazing example of why God calls us to adopt!  What an amazing story!  Enjoy!
My name is Ivanca Fox, and I am currently a student at the Teen Mania Honors Academy in Garden Valley, Texas. I was born in Bulgaria and put into a state-run orphanage as an infant. I do not know the reason why I was put into an orphanage at birth. Possibly it was based on an economic need at that time in my country. I remember a woman, who I believe to be my birth mother, coming to visit me in my childhood years. So I did have parents, though I have no memory of my biological father. I remember some very mixed feelings as a child, and my memories of the orphanage are not all good. I remember times of getting in trouble for various things, mostly for stealing food, and being severely punished. But I had good friends and we stuck together. Maybe that is how we survived the hardships.
My life began to change on the day I was adopted by an American family a few days before my 12th birthday. I remember being confused when my new parents came to pick me up. No one at the orphanage really told me I finally had a family that loved me. When my new family arrived to take me to my new home in Arizona, I was dressed in new clothes. My orphanage director told me to go with them so I did, even though I was sure I was being kidnapped. I did not speak English and they spoke no Bulgarian, so it was hard to communicate. But they treated me with so much kindness, something I had never experienced before. For the first time I was given all I wanted to eat and didn’t have to worry about having enough food for the next day. Our first few days together when we were still in Bulgaria, we had an interpreter to help us communicate. I was assured over and over again that I now had a family and they loved me, and that we were going to a real home in Arizona. Yet, even with the promise of a new life, when we left Bulgaria for America, I still felt lost. All I had known was fear and uncertainty. I did not know what love really was or understand why a family would even want me. I don’t remember ever being hugged those first years of my life. I only knew that now all my friends were gone and I was going to a new place to live with a family I really didn’t know.
Despite all the heartache and hardships I experienced as an orphan, one thing I do remember is feeling like I always had hope. I would dream every day to live in a house and have a family like other kids I would see at school or in the village. I was happy for them, even though I felt like it might not happen for me. I tried to look past the hopelessness of the moment and believe that somehow what I hoped for would appear. I prayed that my friends and I would be all right, and eventually find the life we all longed for. As I boarded the plane for America, I was full of so much fear that I didn’t realize God was giving me all that I had hoped and dreamed for—I was on my way to a better life.
My new family was a Christian family and I was deeply loved. I know now that the hope I had as a child in that understaffed and underfunded orphanage in Bulgaria had come true for me.
Although I had some difficulties adjusting to my new life, I came to realize very soon that I was going to be all right. My new family wrapped their arms around my heart and just kept on loving me through every challenge I faced. I had plenty of food, a nice room, nice clothes, everything I could ever hope for. The hope I had while in the orphanage carried me through. My whole life was wrapped up in that hope. I believe the Lord gave me that hope even before I knew about Him, and He let that hope be my support. It was what I leaned on every day.
I ended up attending both a Christian and public school, graduated from high school, and successfully completed dental assistant school in my new hometown of Mesa, Arizona. I am currently enrolled in the Teen Mania Honors Academy in Garden Valley, Texas, and I love it. God had to open a lot of doors to make it possible for me to attend this school, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to do so. I will graduate at the end of this year.
I have been blessed beyond measure. I was adopted, loved, and cared for by my wonderful family, and came to love the Lord. My desire now is to be able to help other orphaned children around the world in any way that I can. My heart is in missions work and I would love to use my dental skills to help others. I may even go back and work in my birth country to help the children who still live as orphans, the life I once lived. I want to share with orphaned children the same hope I held onto. Maybe their hope will take them in a different direction then the way God led me, but without hope, they have nothing. They need to know that God promises a special kind of hope to an orphan. It was His signature of hope written in my heart that gave me the life I have today.
My favorite scripture is one almost everyone knows—John 3:16. I love this verse because it shares the reason why He sent His son into this world, so we all could be adopted into His family. Maybe it’s because I understand what it is like to live separated from a family, and the joy that comes in being welcomed home into a new one. So my personalized version of this beloved scripture goes like this:
“This is how much God so greatly loved and dearly prized Ivanca Fox: that He gave up and personally sent His only Son into the world. This is why: so He could reach beyond my orphanage door and give me the opportunity to believe in, trust in, cling to, and rely on Him. To give me the faith and hope I needed to find my way home so that I would never feel lost again. He came to help me, give me an earthly family, and then welcome me into His eternal family forever.”
His Signature of Hope is inscribed deep in my heart, forever.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


We've reached a whole new level...
And you should see the garage!

I just returned home from two more pick-ups, and there's stuff EVERYWHERE!  Thanks to Darla Gallew and MOPS!!  What a blessing!

Travis competed in the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey yesterday and today, which is an over-night 178 mile relay race, and he's exhausted!  When I returned home with a trailer and car full of donations, all he wanted to do was sleep, but he lovingly helped unload everything.  Poor guy!  Thanks Trav!!

And now we organize...

After this huge donation, both Travis and I realized just how much help we're going to need the weekend of our garage sale, so we'll be calling on friends and family for all the help we can get (friends and family - beware)!

We've prayed for provision, and He is delivering!!