If you don’t do Facebook, I’m sorry

IMG_20171012_151119The title says it all…its just so easy to do a quick post (or several) in a FB group than it is to keep up with a blog.  Therefore…I kept forgetting about the blog.  And I am so sorry.  If you only do Instagram or e-mail and you haven’t been up to date, I truly apologize.

To bring you up to speed, We went to Sierra Leone last October for court.  And it was successful!  Praise the Lord!  However, in that process we weren’t able to adopt little “Noah” …but that was for the best and the Lord has provided a new family for him.  We are watching their process as they fundraise and prepare to meet him and get this process  moving.

Next we sent in our orphan petition to the USCIS.  Then we got a pink letter…if you’ve never done anything like this a pink letter is no bueno.  They needed more info and thanks to our awesome immigration attorney we got it handled (after more money and paper trails and time).  They accepted it!  Yay!  That means we’re on to the next step…Embassy!

I just filled out a form online earlier this week for a visa application for “Tyler” and it has been received by the embassy officials.  That means we should be hearing soon about an exit interview.  Whew…you’re caught up!  On the adoption at least.

We have been trying to do some home improvements over the past months.  Some things are just way overdue (unsafe deck, overgrown outdoor areas, rotten siding, much needed outdoor paint) and others are necessities of adding another member to our house (closing in our den to make an extra bedroom, LOTS of moving and decluttering).  All of this plus so many extra adoption costs has just about done us in financially.  We can’t afford to pay people to come do most of these things and that means that Jason has to do most of it alone on his weekends off while still trying to hang out with me and the kids and go to church, etc.

I included all of that info so you would understand my reasons for what I’m gonna ask for next.  I don’t have the energy or time for a huge involved fundraiser, and most off-site things that others do for us can’t be scheduled in time for what we think might be an August trip (insert excited scream here!!).  So I am taking the advice of awesome friends and creating a GO Fund me page.  We have a paypal account and an FSP with Reeces Rainbow (which is tax deductible), but Go Fund Me is highly recognized and easily shareable so hopefully it will be more successful.

This is what I’m asking…once I have to Go Fund Me set up, I will share it here as well as on social media.  If every person would give $5 (JUST $5) and share it on your own page with a little note that you’d like to get at least 10 friends to give just $5, we would appreciate it so so so much!  Many hands make light work!  We can’t do this alone…but together we can do SO much!  I can’t wait to see how this turns out.  🙂

Also, prayers.  Pray for them to schedule and interview quickly and pray that our liason in Sierra Leone is available on that day and time to do the interview for us.  Also pray that if/when that happens that she is able to have all the info she needs and that the interview goes super well.  Pray that they will make decisions quickly and that God will provide all the money needed for that last trip ($7000-$8000 depending on flight prices) in plenty of time for us to be able to pay for all the arrangements.

Lastly, we need help getting some stuff done around here more quickly.  Would you be willing to come and fix something?  help paint the house?  Move some furniture to new rooms?  That would be great!!  Let me know!

Thank you all for the continued support…we are so very grateful.  We know that the Lord has blessed us with some great people!

Update:  We have a Go Fund Me page!  https://www.gofundme.com/waller-adoption-fund  Just copy and paste in your search bar or go to GO Fund Me and search Waller Adoption Fund.  Thanks y’all!

 

 

 

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I’m sorry my waiting has led to complacency

For those of you who are so precious that you actually read what I write, bless you.  And I’m sorry.  I have let the lack of stuff happening lead to a lack of blogging.  I’ve fretted, fussed, wandered around aimlessly and wrung my hands…and guess what?  It all accomplished nothing.

We have been holding out hope since my last post that we would have an important piece of paperwork any day now.  Well, ‘any day now’ turned into over 3 months and we’re still waiting.  I’m not worried.  Just a little anxious.  All of the ‘what ifs’ are constantly in my head.

Plus, when I should be spending time with my kids or cleaning out clutter or planning our homeschool year or getting ready for tutoring at co-op……that’s right, I’m worrying, checking my phone, e-mailing our lawyer, wringing my hands.  What I should be doing is praying and waiting.  And living my life.  It’s hard though.  So prayer people, would you pray for my focus?  Pray that I would be able to accomplish the things I need to so that we can have a focused and productive school year.  Pray that I would spend time and enjoy my kids.

So that leads me to what’s next.  We are hoping to travel in October (as long as we eventually get that paperwork) and we would love it if you all would pray for financial provision for that trip and for childcare and help on this side as well. Both are important.  Having help with the kids while we’re gone is super important.  I can’t be fully there and engaging with our boys if I’m worried about how things are going here.

I have started a private facebook group where I can do quick updates (easier than long blog posts).  If you are on FB and would like to be part of it, just let me know and I can add you.  For those of you who are not on facebook, we have a big Lularoe fundraiser coming up next week.  There will three options to shop in person and there will be an option to shop online.  E-mail or FB message me for more info.  If we have a big enough turnout and our sales are enough, Lularoe will match the fundraising efforts!!

Thank you all so much for your support and prayers.  We are so very grateful!

 

Wait…and then wait a little more

Just wanted to post since I know It’s been forever.  These things just take so much time.  To update y’all we have completed our USCIS paperwork and turned it in. It was received and they have us coming in for biometrics next Friday (March 31st). Basically, they’re gonna fingerprint us to make sure we’re not federal criminals. 🙂 This is all in preparation for the US side of things.

We get to talk to the boys every other week, but it’s hard.  Tyler is always happy to see us and interacts.  There is just such a language barrier. Pray for a breakthrough there to our communication.  Also “Noah” is very subdued.  I know he doesn’t know what’s going on.  Plus he can’t hear or speak. I try signing to him, but my signing is limited and I honestly don’t know if he’s understanding any of it.  Just pray that his heart will soften a little and God would work to form a bit of a relationship there. 

Pray too as we decide when and where to move.  We know we will have to move, we’re just not sure about the right timing and location.  

We have an agency and a great lawyer here in the US, and We have a great lawyer in Sierra Leone.  Most of their fees are covered, which is a miracle! Right now a home equity line and taxes are helping us. The majority of the money we will be raising from now on will be for travel and random things that come up (visas, passports, random government fees). We definitely need all the support we can get.  I don’t think we’ll raise more than we need, but don’t worry…if we do it will still go to the boys.  They’ll have tons of doctors, dentists, therapists, etc. to see once they’re here. It will not be wasted!

Thanks again for every person who has supported us.  Whether through monetary gifts, prayer, encouragement or babysitting…its all important! We are so thankful!

I’m a bad blogger

I am so sorry y’all.  I’m just a bad blogger.  If it makes you feel any better, I’m generally drowning in life right now.  If it weren’t for Jesus, my awesome husband, understanding family, and praying friends…I’d likely be in much worse shape.

Anywho,  there are so many new things to mention, so I’ll try my best to remember them all.  First things first, the Lord is awesome and He is answering prayers!  Second, Tyler is getting to go to school! Before, he was taking classes at the center, but now he is actually getting to go with the rest of the kids to a school nearby.  You should have seen the smile on his face that first day!  Also, to cut costs and have more outside space, they  have moved the location of the center.  We haven’t heard much since they are still getting situated, but I hope that its been a positive move for them.

One of the biggest positives lately is that we are getting to have regular communication with Tyler.  We have a schedule set up for video calls every other week.  That has been such a blessing to us and I know to him as well.

Now on to really big news….We are adding to our family even more!  There was another sweet boy who had a place in my heart even before our trip.  He’s around 4 years old, and Eli and I got to meet him while we were in Sierra Leone.  His smile and laugh were just as infectious as Tyler’s. 🙂  I just kept thinking about him more and more.  I knew his sponsors/family were heartbroken about the turn of events at the end of the year and I knew I didn’t want him to be without a family through no fault of his own (or theirs).  Fuller agreed!  His name has to be secret, but his sponsor name is “Noah”.  I know that is confusing since we already a Noah in our family, but bear with us.  I will try to be clear when talking about “Noah” so you will all know which one. 🙂

Noah is deaf which will be a challenge since I’m the only one in our immediate family who speaks any sign language.  However, the kids are eager to learn so that is a good thing.  My parents and brothers all know how to sign since my brother Robert has been deaf since birth.  My awesome sister in law, Susan, is a very talented interpreter for the deaf and I know she will give me all the help she can.  My nephew, Avery, is also deaf, so Noah will not feel alone I hope.robert-and-susan

 

So, after all that info, what can you pray for?  Well, pray for Tyler and Noah that they will be healthy and safe and that they will have peace in their lives.  Noah can’t really communicate with anyone there (at least when I visited) and I know that has to be hard on him and all those around them.  Pray that God would fill that loneliness.

Also pray for us as we continue in this journey.  Pray for guidance and good stewardship on the US side as we choose a new primary provider.  Pray for our decision on whether or not to go ahead and try to move.   Also, just for daily strength for our family.  That we would grow closer and rely more on each other so when we bring these boys home, they would be joining an already tight knit group who will welcome them in with open arms.  Our kids are all on board and so excited, but being excited and actually living out day-to-day life with two new members are two very different things.

Thanks to all of you who have asked how we were and asked about the process and how thing were going.  We feel so loved!  Also, many thanks to those of you who continue to pray for us …it is so needed.  Be on the lookout for another t-shirt fundraiser in the coming months, as well as another yard sale.  We will also do another Boston Butt sale this spring for sure.  Love you all!

What just happened here?

So, I know it’s been too long.   Once we got home from our first trip I was trying to catch up.  Then there wasn’t much going on.  Then the weekend before Thanksgiving things came to a screeching halt.  I knew for three weeks I needed to post about what was going on, but I just didn’t know how.  I always want it to sound nice.  Well thought out.  Put together.  And I just couldn’t think or put coherent thoughts together. Plus there were so many unknowns.

So now I’m finally ready to try to help you understand a little bit about what is going on.  I still have to be very careful…I don’t want to endanger our situation.  No missteps.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving we got an update e-mail basically saying that our agency had been instructed to hand over control of the children at the center where Tyler lives to a non-governmental agency from Sierra Leone.  We were floored.   What followed was a week of not knowing, guessing, wondering and blaming.  So now, there are going to be some changes.  It’s almost like starting from scratch.  There were lots of miscommunications and half-truths.  But God is making a way.

It’s hard to be across an ocean and a day and half away from part of your family with no sure way of checking on them or talking to them.  No person that you are for sure is not corrupted in some way.  No one you can trust.  Except for my Jesus.  In this situation I was so thankful for fellow parents who understood and for my Savior.  He was there when no one else was.  He listened when I couldn’t talk to anyone else.  He comforted what no one else could comfort.  He let me cry out to him when I had no words to pray.  Wow.

I can’t share details unless I talk to you in person, which I am glad to do.  Just know that we covet your prayers.  They are essential.  God is the only way we will make it through this and He is the only one who can bring about a favorable outcome.  We desperately want to be able to move on and bring our son home.  Even more so, we want God’s will to be done.  We want His name to be glorified.

As we move forward and make some changes, please pray for us to clearly see and know what God’s will is.  Pray for him to lead our every step.  Pray for the right decisions to be made both by us and by the government and other officials involved.  Pray for peace for our family and comfort for Tyler.  Pray that he continues to know that we love him and that God loves him more than we ever can. (For that I am so grateful!)

I’m not sure how long the road is ahead of us,or how many bumps we will encounter, but I do know that we are on the right path.

There and back again…

So our first trip to Africa is in the books. What a crazy roller coaster of emotions! From the long and tiring plane rides to the overwhelming joy of meeting Tyler for the first time, it was quite the adventure.

The first two legs of our trip were pretty uneventful, other than the fact that I can’t sleep very well on a plane. 😦 By the time we reached Paris, I just wanted a real bathroom and some decent food.  Well, the bathrooms were in the basement practically and there was no family restroom like in Birmingham or Atlanta so I just waited outside for Eli.  We only had a couple of options for food.  One looked decent.  Eli was being super picky so he chose pasta which had to be heated and then he still didn’t eat it.  I chose a bacon and cheese quiche…yum!  It did not disappoint.  And for Micah’s sake we had to try Macarons (she’s obsessed with anything French and American Girl “Grace”).  They were disgusting…well, at least these prepackaged ones were.  25Euros and lots of wasted food later, we headed to wait for our flight.  If the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and the staff from AirFrance were all I had to base my opinion of France on…I would never visit France. Never.


 

When we got to Freetown, Sierra Leone, we circled in the air for an hour because of a storm that prevented us from landing.  Finally we were rerouted to Guinea where we waited about 3 hours before we finally headed back to Sierra Leone to land and make our way to the sea coach and our hotel.  We checked into our  hotel, took a much needed shower and then fell into bed around 3:15 a.m. local time.

 

Needless to say we missed the church service with the kids the next morning…we were just too tired. However, the greeting I received was one of the best ever!  Out of nowhere “Mom! mom!” and then a crushing hug!  Even in my sleep deprived state…that was more than Awesome!!  I wish I had a picture of that.

 

The next few days we had visits, shared meals, and spent time at the beautiful beaches.  The food there was fabulous, the people, even better.  So warm and full of joy.  We got a chance to visit a market there to buy some locally made things.  What an experience!  I was so thankful for Paul, our guide and driver for his help with conversions, advice, and lots of interpreting.  And thanks to our travel companions, Jeff and Shauna, for their help too since they’d been in a situation like this before.  They got some great deals!

 

Paul was awesome!
You know one of the worst parts?  The roads.  We visited some beautiful beaches, but in order to get there, we had to traverse some wicked roads!  Well, Paul traversed those roads…did I say how thankful I was for Paul?  I did?  Well, let me say it again.  No amount of thanks would be enough!  He is the man!

 

I so enjoyed getting to meet some of the kids there and learning their personalities.  There are so many wonderful people there.  Most of all, I enjoyed meeting our sweet Tyler.  He has such a kind heart.  He was always thinking of others.  Saving his food to take back to someone.  Sharing his snack. Taking turns with games on the cell phone.  I was just in awe of how God blessed us with such a sweet soul.  I could definitely tell that God was in this place.  I could feel the prayers that people were praying.  The one time I got really down,  I asked for prayer…and got it.  And it made a HUGE difference.  This whole process is growing my faith and I beyond excited to get to experience it but also to share it with so many of you.  I am just floored by the amount of support you have shown, whether through financial giving, or through prayers or words of encouragement.  It’s all so important.  And because of you and your support, we were able to meet sweet Tyler.  That is huge y’all.  Huge.

 

On our last day, we went and spent some time with the kids.  When it was time to go, Tyler wouldn’t hug me.  THat was weird and unexpected since he had gotten much more open since we got there.  I just kept trying.  Saidu (the center director) told me that he was upset and that it was difficult for him to handle.  I just felt hopeless and kept telling him that I loved him and that I was sorry I had to go.  He was sobbing. I could feel him shaking.  It was the worst feeling ever.  I could do nothing to comfort him.

 

So here we are.  Home, but missing something ( or someone).  We have stacks of paperwork to finish and  Immigration hurdles to clear. But I definitely have a renewed sense of urgency.  I know him.  I know he is over there wondering if I will ever come back for him, or if all the hugs, food and gifts were just empty promises.  Well, you all are my witnesses.  They were not empty promises.  We will work to finish paperwork and raise funds to bring this boy home as quickly as his government will allow.   And what can you do? Pray.  Pray for Tyler.  For his sweet heart that I know is lonely and hurting.  For the health of the kids there.  For the caretakers that work with the kids.  For the process and all the hoops we have to jump through.  Just pray.  It is so huge and God hears you.

 

Trip #1!!!

I’m so excited! And nervous! And a little nauseous.  I already miss my husband and kids, but I’m so thankful that I have people looking out for them this week.  I’m feeling all the feels!  The best part:  on Sunday morning we get to meet sweet Tyler!!! 

As we travel, please pray for safety and good health.  Also pray for God to go ahead and prepare T’ s heart for meeting us.  Pray that he will start to bond with both Eli and me.

We are so thankful for all of you who have given both financially and of your time, and most importantly, those who have pray continuously for us.  It is because of our wonderful God and all of you that we were able to make it to this point.  

Win an Instant Pot!!

We have a lot of money to raise in a short amount of time. So here’s our next fundraising project:  Instant Pot raffle!

If you don’t know much about the instant pot you need to check it out. My friends rave about it. If you’re a busy person with a family you need to cook for you need one of these!  

Tickets are $5 each for a chance to win this awesome price.  This is for a 6 qt pot like the one pictured. To order tickets make a donation to our family sponsorship page on Reeces Rainbow and then tell me how many tickets you bought. 

TYLER for the Waller family — AL

Thanks y’all!!! 

So Adoption is expensive

But so worth it!  I hear that a lot and I totally believe it.  However, it doesn’t stop me from worrying a little.  okay maybe I did worry a lot.  And then I got to be okay and all trusting God and stuff.  And then I fell off the wagon and started worrying again.  It’s a cycle really.  If it weren’t for some awesome people with great ideas and the gift of prayer and encouragement, I would be down in some serious emotional dumps.  And you know who sent all those friends and gave them their gifts?  God.  And you know who called us to adopt? God.  And you know who created everything and is so much bigger than anything I can even fathom, including $45,000 in adoption expenses?  Yep, God.

I say that here because I need to be constantly reminded myself.  It takes great faith to do a lot of things.  It takes great faith just to get through normal everyday life, but sometimes we forget that.  Sometimes it takes something huge and unknown for us to realize we need to have great faith and relinquish all control.  I know it did for me.

So as you sit, drive, shower, eat…really anytime you can spare a thought, pray for us.  Pray for our faith to be strengthened. Pray for God to mightily provide for our needs and the needs of this adoption.  And if you feel led, give.  Many hands make light work.  And many small amounts can make one big amount.  God will provide, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want me to ask. 🙂

We have several immediate needs in order to be able to travel on October 21st.  The first is our agency fee.  Our first agency fee is $5275.  That must be paid before we can travel.  In addition to that we have to buy plane tickets which are around $1400 per ticket, Hotel-$140 per night for 5 nights=$700, Travel in country (from airport and then around the area) is approximately $1100 and food costs for two while we’re there ($500+).  So as you can see…its alot.  If you are able and would like to give to cover a specific thing, please let me know.  If you want to get together with a group and provide something, that is great!  We now have a Family Sponsorship Page set up with Reeces Rainbow where you can give a tax deductible gift and then you can let me know what it’s for.  Here’s the link for that:  http://reecesrainbow.org/112550/sponsorwaller

Thank you all so much for your support!  It means so much to us!

 

 

 

I know it’s cliche, but…

I need to let it go.  Whether it’s Elsa or Megan Trainor or James Bay, it sounds funny or cliche every time!  $10,000 is a lot of money.  And one month is a short amount of time.  But God called and He is faithful.  I know He is teaching us and stretching us.  I know He is trying to get me to let Him be in control.  He is so patient. 

And here’s the thing, no matter how far he sends us or how much it costs, he’s still right there.  God didn’t call us to go anywhere alone.  He goes with us. His love surrounds us. He knew where we were going before we did and how much we would need. Nothing surprises Him.

And then as I think about all the fears I have and all the things that are going on, my thoughts go to that precious boy. How great his fears must be. How lonely he must have felt and how desperately he wants to have a family. And my fears and hesitations and worries seem trivial. 

God is so much greater than my little world and my anxiety. He is the father of all nations, the creator of heaven and earth.  I think he can handle passports and money and travel expenses like a boss and still watch over and protect our sweet “T”.  Thank you Father for who you are.