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“For this child I prayed…” 1 Sam. 1:27

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A lot has happened since the last post…

Without further delay….allow me to share with you how Jesus has blessed our family.  We are adopting…FROM CHINA!  If you know our family and are familiar with all the crazy turns this adoption process has taken us, then I am sure you have some questions.   Before I explain, allow me to make a disclaimer:  “Blogs” kind of get on my nerves.  So…I have no real aspirations of keeping this going after we complete the process of adoption.   For the next few months I will be using this as a way to update our process…and specifically how Cindy, Chandler, Caroline and myself will be praying.  We would love for you to join us in prayer.

How did we get here?  Why China?

There is a simple answer to both: “Because the Word of God tells us to take care of widows and orphans”.   To do my best to ensure that this does not turn into a long post, allow me to share how we got here:

  • 2010 – we started exploring adoption to Ethiopia.   The door closed do to previous medical issues.
  • 2011 – we started exploring adoption to Uganda.  The country was starting to whisper rumors of a change in adoption law.  Our Social worker referred to this the country “shutting down” or “closing”.
  • 2011 – 2012 – we started working on adoption to Russia.  We sought adoption of Roman, and was paired with him by the Russian government.  We had completed our home study, international requirements and all clearances. All that was left was for us to travel to Russia.  As you know, this never happened.  Russia changed its laws and we were told no American would be adopting from Russia.
  • 2012-2013 – Cindy’s mother moved in with us.   She was diagnosed with Leukemia and we had the honor of having her live with us until October 2013.  Through the blood of Christ, Mrs. Huddleston  received her reward and is now healed of all sickness in the presence of our Savior…Thank You Jesus for your love.
  • 2013 – monthly phone calls with the State Department giving us and hundreds of other families updates on the developments withing the Russian government in regards to the status of US adoption.
  • 2013 – two families approached us at different times (not knowing each other) asking if we would pray about adopting via private adoption.  We assured them we would pray and asked for them to keep us updated.  We never heard back from them.
  • 2014 – We moved toward becoming foster parents.  We attended Alabama GPS training as mandated for foster families.  This process took 12 weeks.  We only needed the final home visit before being able to be certified foster parents.  We never heard back from DHR on the final home visit.  (We did get a call four days ago asking for an opportunity to schedule another home visit, we told them that we would pray about it as we are in the process of an adoption – we still plan on being foster parents).
  • 2014 – prior to beginning the process of adoption from China, Cindy and I were approached with an urgent need to prayerfully consider being adoptive parents for a child in need who is out of state.   After multiple conversations with the foster mom, we never heard back from the case worker.
  • then….things Changed.

through this process it was not uncommon for us to visit a website (Reece’s rainbow) on a regular basis.  On one visit to the site there was a new little boy listed as needing an adoptive home.   I was captivated.   I did not think much more about it.   A week later I saw His face on another child advocacy site.  I “screen shot” his pic and sent it to Cindy.  A week later, a friend asked if we had seen this “‘precious little boy’ from China who needs a home”…it was the same beautiful face.  Finally as Cindy and the kids were on a mission trip, I was looking on face book when I received a message that there was an American child in need of adoption…they listed that he had Down Syndrome.   I clicked the link and it redirected me back to the same beautiful Chinese face.

After spending much time in prayer with my family and seeking counsel from some close friends…we joyfully began the adoption process!

We did not want to share with anyone right away, we certainly know that this has been crazy.   However while we were on vacation, we received word that we had been officially paired with “Frankie” by the Chinese government.  We are thrilled!

So now you are caught up.  We are ready to go get him.   We hope to have our home study completed soon.  When this happens – things will move a little quicker.

 

Here are our prayer needs:

  • Pray for Roman.  We pray often for his adoption by a family who loves Jesus.
  • Pray for Frankie.  I pray that God will prepare his heart for our family.
  • Pray for a quick movement of paper work…lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of paper work ha ha.
  • Pray for our family.  That in this process of waiting, hoping, preparing….that we would in all things honor Jesus.

 

Here we go…

 

Frankie2

A Call For Faith…

Tuesday will be a day that my family will not forget.  I was sitting at the office and checked my email and twitter account when I noted a tweet from Russel Moore (I highly recommend following Him on Twitter).  It simply read: “Russian parliament to vote on banning US adoption”   My heart stopped.   I wish I would not have called Cindy with the “I can not believe what I am reading” tone in my voice.   Her heart broke.  I should have been with her when she found out.

Within hours we were asking for your intercession and found ourselves hanging on every web page, twitter report, waiting on email, facebook updates….anything….we simply wanted to hear.   We still want to hear.  Our adoption agency has sent out one email.  Basically they said, we will let you know when we hear something.  But as much as we wanted (and still want to) hear more from them…there is simply nothing to share at this time…  We are just waiting.

Many have asked us, “Why did Russia do this?”  Below is an excerpt from an article written by Simon Shuster with Time Magazine”

world.time.com 2012-12-21 19:52:16

As a result, the Lower House of the Russian Government voted (Twice) to ban US adoption from Russia.   Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of the Duma’s foreign-affairs committee said “These parents adopt children to get extra welfare benefits, to get money, or they just began to hate this child. It doesn’t matter. There needs to be justice. It is a nationwide consensus. That is why we initiated this.”

There have been other comments…some hurt too much and cause too much anger for me to re-post.  There have been some from fellow Americans who simply say…”We are glad this is happening, because we should focus on adopting American children, stating we (adoptive parents) should be ashamed for ignoring the problem (children needing a home) here at home.”     This has been a very intense season of Spiritual battles for our family and hundreds like us.

We read one report, that stated:  Putin said yesterday that the ban on adoptions couldn’t take effect immediately because a treaty between Russia and the U.S. regulating the process requires a year’s notice to withdraw.   We began to hope.  But we were told today that courts could “unofficially” impose this immediately by simply canceling court dates.   We heard of this being the case today with one family in Russia awaiting a court date, but it was canceled and now this family is awaiting direction.

So what now?  We wait.  For now it appears that hope is the hands of Russia’s president.  As for me and my home…no president holds our hope in his hands.  We wait on Jesus.  We hope in the Lamb of God.

This is not an attack on adoption alone.  This is much bigger.  It is bigger than my family.  It is bigger than parents… this is bigger than children in need.  This is an attack on the gospel.  It is an attack on the Glory of Christ and movement behind this effort is much bigger than any government.  We are in the middle of a historic spiritual battle…please pray.

We pray.  We hope.  We wait on Jesus.   As more is made available to us…we will pass it on.   Our family has moments when everything thing feels overwhelming…then there are moments of complete peace.  Our faith is not based on mood or peace.  We trust Jesus.   We are desperate for Him…if our son comes home, it will be because our God moved men….governments.   The comforting news is, our God is able.

Pray for our Son.

Ellison

Not really a set back but…

So let me begin by saying that Cindy and I are grateful to have been introduced to a group of other parents adopting from the same “region” we are adopting from.  I have been reading anything and everything I can about the weather, hotel stays, court expectations, paper work, and a world of eye opening / realistic expectations.   The past few days have been eye opening…and sobering.

 

Our agency at one time…shared that the process often takes 9-12 months.  Of course Cindy and I heard “9 months” ha ha.   This along with the rather fast pace that we have experienced things so far led us to believe that nine months would put us into late spring…or early summer.

 

We then learned that the courts that address adoption in our region, take the summer off!   So there is a possibility that at the end of May our efforts could be put aside till the Fall.  Ouch.

 

We were told at one point that while the courts expect adoptive parents to make three trips to the region that they often wave the final trip for many special needs children.  However…two weeks ago there was a law passed that the third trip will not be waved.  (insert deep dramatic sigh)

 

again…not set backs…just…you know…

 

It is hard to put into words how much Cindy and I (and our kids) have fallen in love with this little boy.   We love him…and we are ready for him to come home.  Please pray for endurance.

 

I am not sure how effective posting prayer requests have been…but if you have been reading and praying for my family, please pray for us as we move forward.  Pray for open doors and for grace.

 

Your friendship and encouragement mean more than you know.

 

Impact A Child’s World…by Christmas Shopping!

My friends Adam and Laura Swann are in the process of adopting.  They have a great website…

I will be doing my shopping here…I hope you join me!

 

CLICK HERE FOR GIFT IDEAS FROM THE SWANN FAMILY!

Drum Roll Please….

There has been so much happening in the past few weeks.  Rather than writing an elaborate post, I will make this very simple.

 

1.  We have completed our Home Study!  It is being reviewed, so please pray for this process.  I hope that there are little to no revisions that need to be made.

2.  Our son is no longer listed on the Reese’s Rainbow website as a child who needs to be adopted, rather He has been unofficially paired with our family!

3.  For pastor appreciate day, our church gave us a plane ticket to Russia!  We are grateful to be part of such a sweet church family.  However, I am not sure how to take the big bold print that reads: “ONE WAY TICKET”

4.  We have completed our i6oo form.  (I think that is what it is called….it is times like this I am rejoicing that my wife is a social worker and can do most of this in her sleep)

 

Now…this is why I am writing this blog post.  We would like to introduce you to our little boy!  I am still unable to post His name, so the link I am providing you has his name listed as “Ellison”.   This will be how we refer to him until we have been officially paired with him by his local government.  If you would like to know his real name so that you can pray for him by name, message me and I will gladly share his name with you.

If you would like to see him…go to this link!  ELLISON!

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for our friends Jason and Lauren Ayres.  God is doing great things in their family as they prepare to adopt two beautiful children!  Find Lauren on Facebook for more information about their journey!
  • Pray for our friends Adam and Laura Swann.  They are adopting from Africa and have a great opportunity to purchase amazing gifts that help in this process.  For more information click HERE.
  • Please pray for our next round of paper work…While we look forward to Christmas, for adoptive families it is an intimidating deadline as many governments shut down for weeks at a time.  Please pray for our paper work to be processed without delay!
  • Pray for our son.  The four of us want him home as soon as possible.  His room is ready…now we just need him to get here!
  • Pray for the faith and endurance necessary for this process.  IT IS EXHAUSTING!  Cindy is a champ!  Caroline and Chandler have also worked hard.  God has blessed me with such a special family.

FINALLY…If you are going to purchase Christmas gifts for teachers, Sunday School Teachers, CO-Workers etc.  Please consider purchasing items from those who are raising money for their adoption.  If you would like some links I will gladly help…This helps in more ways than you could imagine.

Home study…check!

Monday we had our last home study meeting.  You might not see the big deal in this statement…but when you lack the ability to do the basics in home maintenance, then these words become more of a sense of great poetry or a beautiful song…(insert dramatic comparison here)  Knowing a social worker was coming to “look at our home” and “interview our children”  awakened something in my wife that I have never seen….it was a vision….a determination….I was afraid.

 

Cindy is a very easy going lady, but she quickly developed a “to do” list that has yet to be paralleled.  This was (in my opinion) the mother of all “To Do” lists…it was the collision between Christmas preparation and the horrible season of trying to sale a house…knowing that an agent wants to show the house at anytime.  I cringe thinking about it.  To any other person this is not a big deal but it is in this torrent of request vs expectations… that the “to do” list becomes a wife made accusation to your inability of basic manhood.  I am horrible at the basics.  Can I read Greek?  Yes.  Can I read Hebrew? Yes…a little.  Can I install a ceiling fan…yes, with much fasting and prayer.

 

There was a lot of action on Monday.  The paint in the baby’s room was barely dry, the patch on my son’s ceiling (don’t ask) seemed to have doubled in size over night…as if the patch itself was allergic to my effort…nay…mere suggestion that I did not need help in its repair.   The floors cleaned, shrubs trimmed, bathroom painted, bedroom suit delivered.  As I look back on it, all this work was almost for naught as my son decided to visit the facilities in his bedroom prior to the walk through…I was tired, but that was definitely not the smell of fresh paint.  But then, after what felt like weeks of preparation…it was over.  The meeting concluded, Cindy made our home look and feel amazing (she always does) and our kids, they shined.   The home study is complete!

 

While the “TO DO” list was completed…I am not sure what was more exciting, the completion of all the stuff we had to do or the fact that our home study is OVER!!!  We are thrilled!  But now reality is starting to set in.  We are just getting started.  We have such a long ways to go.

 

Please don’t stop praying for us.   Pray for our son…and I can’t wait for you to be able to pray for Him by name.  Cindy is asleep on the couch, I want to make sure she is ready for that announcement.

 

Please pray that as we move forward to work on the dossier, that we will be able to work at an appropriate pace.  We are ready to bring him home.  Thank You Jesus, that you are allowing us to travel this road.

 

We love you guys…more information soon.

Rick

 

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for the dossier (think of a home study on steroids)  This is A LOT of work.
  • Pray for the health of our little boy.
  • Pray for the care he is receiving.
  • Pray for his development…

Thank You Jesus

I plan on the title to this post to be repeated throughout the next several months and years.  Today we got an email that informed us we received the first grant for our adoption!!!!  This is great news because it is the only grant we could apply for prior to our home-study being completed.  When we complete our home-study (October) we will be able to apply for more grants.   This news came on the same day that we received our passports.  As Cindy said, “today has been a good ‘adoption’ day”.  For those of you who have adopted or who are in the middle of this process you understand what a “good adoption day” is all about.

 

I just wanted to let you guys know that we are so thankful that you are praying for our family.   I am very humbled that God would allow our family the privilege of opening our home to our new Son.  Thank you for praying.

 

Just a note…I believe we have decided on a name!  I would love to share it with you but it involves his “Real” name.   We know our son by two names.  His birth name and the name in which we first met him, we call it his American name (this was the name on his file at the American agency).  His Aunt Stephanie (Cindy’s former office mate) will be glad to know our decision :)  As soon as we are able to share this information, and a picture, I assure you we will!

 

Just wanted to share this great news.  Thanks again for praying!

 

Updated Prayer Needs:

  1. Cindy’s finger prints have another “glitch”.  They are referring to her second set of prints because the first set was unreadable.  Please pray that her prints are good and readable. 
  2. Children with Down Syndrome have multiple physical needs.  They often have some form of heart defect or cardio need.  Please be praying for a healthy heart.  Children with Down Syndrome are also more likely to have leukemia.  Please be praying for his complete health.
  3. We still have unmentioned prayer requests.  Please pray for these needs.
  4. Pray for his nurturing.

 

Thanks again.  We love you guys!

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