"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." -Romans 5:1-5
I was reading my bible & journaling last night and read through this passage. It reminded me just how thankful that I am that God is taking Brandon & me through the journey He is in our lives. There is truly no better place to be than in God's will. Whether I like it or not, or think I have better plans or timing, I want to be only in His will.
Anyway, it really has been forever since I have written on here. Life has been a little crazy and truthfully not much has changed over the past months with the adoption process. But I will fill you all in on life and what not over the past few months.
In June, we decided that Brandon would take as job as the new sophomore bible teacher at Northwest Christian School starting in August. This decision was actually pretty hard to make. There were great things with either staying at the church or going to the school. Trying to decide between two good things is not always easy and we'd be happy at either place. Ultimately we chose for Brandon to go to Northwest.
We "graduated" from ministry at Palmcroft with our senior class at the end of July. We were so blessed by our church family as we stepped down from leadership and we are glad to still be apart of the church body there, just in a new way.
New teachers reported to school, August 2nd, and Brandon has been on the go ever since. He is teaching four classes of sophomore bible (the gospels & Acts), two classes of MMI (computers), and assistant coaching cross country.
I feel as though this has been quite the adjustment for me, stepping out of ministry with Brandon. I really feel called into ministry and I "adjusted" my life and job to fit into being available for youth ministry for all these years. I don't ever regret that but now, no longer being in full-time (pastor's wife) ministry, reminds me that I have a college degree and am just a barista at Starbucks. But again, God has humbled me and reminded me (which He does often) that my identity is not in an occupation or being "defined" by something or having kids or being married to Brandon, etc. My identity is in Christ alone and my Christian ministry is everywhere. Every part of life, I need to be living Jesus and loving others! And through this leaving leading youth ministry with Brandon, I am excited for the what new ministry opportunities that God has in store.
What all this transition has to do with adoption... Well, we are still finishing up on the last like two things we need for the final paper work. There are about 5 or so documents that have to do with Brandon's job in our paperwork. We were waiting to get an approval from the U.S. government (the i-171h form) and were hoping to get all our paperwork in before Brandon switched jobs so we could get on the wait list, than go back and change what we needed. We waited and waited for this i-171h and it never seemed to come. Brandon got into his first week or so of starting school and we didn't have the i-171h, it was looking like we weren't going to be able to sneak in the paperwork. I was so discouraged. This paperwork process has taken a whole lot longer than I ever thought it was going to take and now we were going to be taking like 5 steps back and having to redo multiple documents to finally get on the wait list. It felt so far away!
I finally emailed my adoption agency family coordinator to fill her in on what was going on. I was so discouraged writing the email. It was such a defeated sounding email. As I was writing it, I again was reminded that the whole process of having kids is not in our hands and not in our timing. I got an email back from my coordinator and immediately couldn't help but cry. God had answered my prayers and healed my discouragement. First of all, she said that we had been approved by the government in June and should have gotten our i-171h document that we needed. I was pretty sure we hadn't gotten it but that was such a relief to know that. Secondly, she said that we wouldn't have to change any of our documents except for our updated health and life insurance policies! Praise God! We do NOT have to go back and change our financial statement, Brandon's letter of employment, home study and i-171h form! Since our home study and i-171h were already finalized, we don't have to update any of that stuff for about 18 months when those need to be renewed! Such an answer to prayer and weight off our shoulders!
That afternoon, I got out all of our adoption paperwork and got everything in order. Brandon is getting a new life insurance policy and that is the only thing that is the last thing we need to complete our dossier. While I was cleaning up all the paperwork, I found the i-171h form! We received it! Apparently through all the craziness of the summer, we got the form and didn't really realize it. Again, another answer to prayer!!
So, long story short, everything is set to go except for the life insurance policy (which we are hoping to get finished up this next week). Than we can officially submit our dossier and get on the wait list! Wow!
It's been encouraging to know and think about all of you that are praying and thinking of us. We are excited for what God has in store for our lives. Brandon and I are truly trying to make the most of every moment of our lives. If we have kids or no kids, we are happy to be living and walking where God wants us.
Oh and the wonderful Karen McMahon is putting on a Premier Designs Jewelry show to help us raise money for our adoption! All of the proceeds will go to our adoption. The show will be on September 13th @ 6:30pm. Karen will be having the show at her house. If you can't attend but would still like to buy something, let me know and we can put in an order for you :) Thank you all again!! (Check out the flyer below or check out the facebook event)