Thursday, July 29, 2010

Praises and Prayer Requests: July 2010

I said I would update this list once a month so I better go ahead and do it. I feel like we have done a lot regarding adoption this month, but at the same time I don't feel like we have made huge progress in a month's time. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is how I feel today. We have been so thankful to see God's hand in the small things this month. I think He is just showing us how much He loves us and Mia Grace and that He cares about the details of our adoption. So without further ado, here are the things we are praising God for this month.

1. We have completed 3 out of 4 of our home study meetings. Things are going well and we are so thankful for our social worker. She is wonderful!
2. We learned that there is another couple who doesn't live too far away that is also adopting a girl from Rwanda. We plan to get together soon.
3. We have raised over $1500 this month from our photography fund raiser and have several already scheduled for next month.
4. Some of our friends told us that they would like to host a benefit for us this fall to raise money towards our adoption. I just have to say that we are so thankful for God's provision of friends. It has been a year since we moved back to Louisiana from Texas, and we are so thankful for new friendships. We love our friends!
5. On that same note, I am thanking God for Godly friends and family to talk to when I just need to process all that is going on and all that God has been teaching us so far in this journey.
6. We sent in our orientation packet and first big check to our adoption agency this week. The notary made a small mistake on our first international service agreement and we had to get another one. The agency sent a new one very quickly, but it ended up being for the wrong country. They sent us another one and were able to get it signed and send everything out as we were leaving town on Tuesday. Craziness and we haven't even started our dossier!

Prayer Requests
1. Pray that our orientation packet makes it safely and that we can get started on the dossier soon.
2. Pray that things continue to go well with our home study.
3. Pray for my patience. I really want everything to be done as quick as possible, so that we can get on the waiting list. On one hand we need to be diligent about completing things and use our time wisely. On the other hand I really just need to let go and trust that God is in control. I am not doing really well with this. I know that it will all happen in His timing and that His timing is perfect, but I have to tell myself this at least 10 times a day!
4. Pray for the boys especially Jaxon. He asks me every day when our baby is coming home. He wants to know how many minutes until she comes home. He prays that God will "let us go on our trip and bring back our baby." The boy wants a baby sister so badly! It really breaks my heart! It is so hard to see my children have to wait and try to understand what is going on, but I know that the Lord is working in their young lives and for this I am grateful.
5.Pray for Mia's birth mother. Of course I know nothing about her or her situation, but I know that she will not be able to raise her daughter. We know that every adoption story begins with a tragedy. We pray for her health, safety, and most importantly her salvation. We may never even know her name, but she is and will always be an important part of our lives.
6.Pray that we continue to see God in the small things; that we will not taken one thing that He gives us for granted.
7. There are a lot of families waiting to adopt children from Rwanda. I have read recently that things are moving very slowly. Please, pray that things will speed up and that children will be placed in their forever families.
8. Pray that we will continue to raise money to fund our adoption. We are still trying to figure out what fundraisers to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Monday, July 26, 2010

One Smile Closer :: the Turpin family

Justin was able to shoot some fun, family pics of the beautiful Turpin family last week. Max is a great big brother to little Kate and I am sure Kate will be a fabulous big sis to the baby girl on the way. Thank you, Turpin Family for helping us reach our goal.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

One Smile Closer Update

I wanted to give a little update on our photography fundraiser. So far we have raised $1800 for our adoption! Justin has been very busy taking and editing pictures. He is working hard and I am very proud of him! We have been so encouraged through this experience. It has been great to share our story and what God is doing in our lives. God has been so faithful to provide and we are thankful to everyone who has contributed to our adoption fund. Today Justin and I were talking about how amazing it is to see the Lord working in the little details. A few weeks ago we had to cancel several sessions for various reasons, bad weather, illness, etc. I know things like this happen, but it was a little discouraging to me. I decided to start praying before each session that things would go well and that God would be glorified. Last weekend we planned to travel 2 hours away to visit friends and take pictures. It rained on us much of the way and was very overcast the entire time. I kept praying that the rain would hold off until we were able to take the pics. The weather ended up being perfect for both sessions. The lighting was great and it wasn't too terribly hot, for July in Louisiana anyways. Less than 30 minutes after shooting the rain began to pour. Today we had another photo shoot that was overcast. We got a few drops of rain which was enough to cool things off a bit, but not enough to send us all inside. God is continually showing us that He is in this adoption process. He cares about the details and He is providing for us in amazing ways.
We have 6 photo sessions scheduled next week when we are in Texas. If you live in the DFW area and are interested in a photo session, please let us know. We still have a few spots open next week. We will be there July 28-31.

One Smile Closer :: Ella and Addie

Justin has been staying busy taking and editing pictures for our photography fundraiser. It is such a blessing and we are so thankful for this opportunity. Justin took pics last week of two of the sweetest little girls I know. Big Sister Addie was in my Mother's Day Out class last year. She was such a joy to teach! Little Sister Ella is about to celebrate her first birthday. Seeing these girls decked out in pink makes me really excited to dress our little girl one day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One Smile Closer :: the Newton family

Justin was also able to take pics of the beautiful Newton family last weekend. Michael and Heather were friends of ours in college. This was the first time we were able to meet each others children. Their kids are adorable as you can tell. Our photography fundraiser is going really well. Thanks to the Newtons for bringing us closer to our adoption goal!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Smile Closer :: Ali Paige

We were able to travel to Shreveport last weekend to visit our friends, Mia and Ross, and their darling daughter. Ali turned 2 last week, and Justin was able to capture some pictures of her playing and just being an adorable 2 year old girl. She was so expressive and there were so many good shots, that it was really hard to choose which ones to put on the blog. She looks so much like her Mommy to me especially in this first one. Mia is the friend that we are naming our little sweetie after, so I am so happy that we were able to capture some pics or her little sweetie. Happy 2nd Birthday, Ali Paige! We love you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why adoption? Why Rwanda?

I told our story of how we decided to adopt here, but I thought I would elaborate a little as well as tell how we decided on Rwanda.
For us adoption is something we have always considered. I remember talking to Justin about it before we were married. Our stance was always that we were open and would be obedient if God ever called us to adopt. Believe me we have a list of reasons why we shouldn't adopt. We don't have all the money needed to fund our adoption. We have two young children at home who require all of our attention. We don't want to wait a year or more to bring our baby home. We worry about how a transracial adoption will be accepted in our small town. The list goes on and on. We all have reasons why we "can't" do what God calls us to do.
Phillipians 4:13 has always been one of my favorite verses. "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." Every time I doubt that I will be able to do what God is calling me to do He reminds me of this verse. He reminds me that I can't, but He can if I will just allow Him the opportunity.
I was looking back in my notes from the Adoption for Life conference we attended back in February. One of the speakers, Jed Medifind, said, " The world's pain will always overwhelm your sense of obligation and enthusiasm. Guilt, duty, and enthusiasm have a place, but they are not enough. We love because He first loved us." It is not enough for me to say I love the orphans. For me one way to show God's love is to adopt one of His children. After all, He adopted me as one of His.
I am not saying that I think everyone should adopt. I just know that this is what the Lord is calling us to do. This is just one of the ways we can "love one another."
When we first started seriously thinking about adoption we had no idea where to adopt from. I for one was overwhelmed with the needs of the world. We went to the conference praying that God would show us what country he was leading us to. At this point we were pretty sure that we would adopt internationally. We wanted to know what nation to adopt from and what agency to use. The conference was only 2 days, but we were praying that God would reveal to us during that time where to go.
We met a lot of people who had either recently adopted or were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. During the last session of the conference I looked at Justin and said, "I think our baby is in Africa." He looked right at me and said, "I do too." We left the conference with the intentions of adopting from Ethiopia. We were able to have breakfast with a couple who had adopted from Ethiopia using All God's Children International. We were able to learn a lot more about the agency and the Ethiopia program.
When we got home I contacted AGCI and filled out a pre application. We were told by the agency that we qualified to adopt from Ethiopia or Rwanda. Now, Rwanda had never even crossed my mind. I didn't know anyone who had adopted from there or that they even allowed adoptions. We found out that the Rwanda program is new to AGCI. No children from Rwanda have been adopted through AGCI, yet. In fact only 16 children were adopted from the entire country last year. We found out that there are an estimated 1 million orphans in Rwanda, so obviously there is a need. We prayed about it and we now know that our little girl is in Rwanda. There are pros and cons of adopting from a country that is new to adoption. We have been told over and over again "to be flexible." There are so many unknowns. This is not always easy for someone like me who likes to have a plan and hates surprises. That is not really a bad thing, though. It makes me rely on my heavenly Father and He knows everything. My prayer is that He receives all the glory through our journey.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beach Vacation

Last week we spent a few days in Orange Beach, Alabama. We had so much fun with our family, most of whom we don't get to see very often. I just wanted to post a few pics from our trip. I have a few more that I will post soon. Due to the oil spill we didn't spend much time on the beach. We spent most of our time at the pools at our condo, but of course I have no pics of that.

The last time Jax went to the beach he was just a baby, so I am sure he didn't remember it. He loved the sand! He wasn't so sure about the ocean water, which was fine with me since we didn't dress for swimming.
Sawyer also loved the sand, but he was also a big fan of the ocean. We just couldn't keep him out of it. He was soaking wet from head to toe by the time we left.
Me and my sweet hubby. We celebrated our 8th anniversary this past Tuesday. I am so thankful to have him in my life. He is the best husband to me and an incredible father to our boys and even baby Mia. I am thankful to have this compassionate and loving man to share my life with.
The beach boys: Justin, Akon, Jax, Uncle Jon, and Sawyer.
One group shot before we go hose Sawyer off and head to play putt-putt.
We had some yummy seafood at Doc's the first night of our trip.
This was the little boys first time riding go carts. The big boys appeared to be having more fun, but my little boys are still talking about it. They had a blast!
Team Bufkin trying our hand at a little putt-putt golf.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Girl

As soon as we decided for sure that we were adopting a girl, I wanted to choose a name. The baby we are adopting is very real to me, just as real as my boys were during my pregnancies. It may take her a little longer to get here, but I love her and pray for her every day, so it only makes sense that we give her a name.
We will name our daughter Mia Grace. We may end up changing the middle name once we see her and learn her African name, but for now she is our Mia Grace.
The name Mia is significant to me for a few reasons. First of all, Justin was the one who first suggested it, and I immediately loved it. I have a very dear friend named Mia. She has been one of my best friends ever since we met during freshman orientation at Louisiana Tech. She has always been there to encourage me, pray for me, and challenge me in my faith.
So, like I said I loved the name, but wondered what it meant. I looked it up and found out that it meant "Mine". I instantly knew that was the name of our daughter. Our daughter who is an orphan, a child who has no parents, will someday be mine. She is my little girl! She belongs in our family and we love her already. She may not be born or even conceived yet. I may not even lay eyes on her for another year or more, but she is mine! She is Mia and Jesus knows who she is. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."Psalm 139:13
We chose the name Grace, because we know that it is only by the grace of God that we will be able to bring her home. I can't wait to hold her in my arms and call her mine.

Monday, July 12, 2010

One Smile Closer :: the Donohue family

Baby Isaac's Video

I have recently discovered many, awesome adoption blogs. It has been a great encouragement to me to read about people who have adopted or who are in the process of doing so. You can find links to many of these blogs on my sidebar.
I found Andrea's blog a few weeks ago and have been very encouraged by her words. Her writing is eloquent and honest. She just brought her Isaac home from Ethiopia and he is too cute for words. She posted a video of his adoption journey that I would like to share. Go on over to her blog to read some of her thoughts and watch this beautiful video.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One Smile Closer :: the Liable family

Justin was able to take pictures of my beautiful cousin, Meghan, last weekend. She is going to be a senior in high school this year. She has a beautiful smile and a beautiful heart for the Lord and His children. She is spending three weeks of her summer serving Him in the Ukraine. We hope you have a wonderful senior year, Meghan!

Child of My Heart

We have been asked many times if we are planning to adopt a boy or a girl. We have always answered that we weren't going to decide, we would let God decide. We really were fine with either gender. On one hand we would love to have a daughter, because we already have 2 sons. Our boys have been pretty much begging for a sister and I could use some pink in my life. On the other hand another boy would fit perfectly into our already testosterone heavy household. We have plenty of boy clothes and toys, and we just know what to do with boys.
For the last few weeks I have been getting up early to have my quiet time and walk around our neighborhood. I started walking because I just plain needed the exercise. It has turned into a time that I really look forward to. It is time for me to be alone with the Lord. It is also a time for me to think about and pray for our baby in Rwanda. I don't even know how to explain it, but somehow I feel that I am bonding with our baby and growing to love her more everyday. What started as a love for orphans and a desire to help children is turning into a great love of one child. A child that probably isn't born yet and may or may not be conceived yet. I have heard the term "born in my heart" quite a bit in the adoption world, and I now know and completely understand what that means.
When I was pregnant with my boys I connected with them as they grew inside me. I felt them move around inside me and loved them with all of my heart. Finding out they were boys and giving them names helped us to connect that much more, made it that much more real. Things are obviously different this time. But God is growing a love for my baby in my heart. He started by showing us where our child is. And last week He revealed to me that our baby is a girl. God showed me this during my prayer time, but I still wasn't sure. At first I felt that I was saying no to all of the little boys in Rwanda who are in need of and deserving of a loving family. God has since showed me that I am not called to save every baby in Rwanda. I am called to love my children and be their mother. The Lord is leading us to our baby girl.
We have pretty much decided on a name for our daughter, but I am not going to post it just yet. If you are praying with us, you can now pray for our daughter in Rwanda.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Next Step and T-Shirts

Last week we had our orientation call with our adoption agency (AGCI). The next step is to sign all of our orientation paper work and send it to AGCI along with our first check. We hope to do this in the next few days. Then we will get our begin our dossier paperwork and adoption training. I know how Justin and I will be spending our evenings for the next few months. We also had our first home study interview last week. We are so happy to start that process.

When we first started talking about adopting from Africa, Jon and Kelsey told us about their friends, Rusty and Elizabeth Rutledge. They are in the process of adopting two children from Rwanda. Kelsey wore one of their t-shirts one day and I loved it. I wrote Elizabeth to introduce myself and I told her that I loved their shirts. She wrote right back and told me that Kelsey told her about us and our intentions to adopt from Rwanda. She already had our t-shirts packaged up and ready to send to us.

The little dot represents Rwanda, where our children are waiting for us. They have a few more t-shirts available at a discounted price, so head on over and order one.