Saturday, May 29, 2010

House vs. Home?


House vs. Home

I was talking with a friend the other day. He mentioned that he was teaching his children the difference between a house and a home. There is a big difference, and the Lord continues to teach me more and more about that. A house is just a building. A roof and walls. But a home, a home is where God's design for a family exists. It is where the parents raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is where the family plays, learns, and grows. The home can be anything or anywhere. I suppose it could even be mobile -but the family is there. I did spend so much time away from my family while working toward a worthless goal, that my home was just a house. I have seen, as I allow the Lord to teach me and grow me as a father, that I do have a home. I have an incredible wife, six beautiful boys here with me, and two beautiful daughters waiting to come home.

Progress Update

We should be picking up our completed home study first thing this coming week. We'll get a copy overnighted to immigration and pray hard that the immigration paperwork happens smoothly and quickly. The dossier is printed and waiting to be notarized and will need the immigration paperwork with it in order to be complete. We are still praying for an August travel date (or sooner :) ). The sooner the better for me and I'm sure the girls, but always in the Lord's will and timing.

Once we have the home study in hand, we will also apply for grants to help with the adoption expenses. We are praying the the Lord will provide funds.

We did look at the van I had mentioned before and will be buying it. The family that is selling it is being very kind to us and Lord willing, we will transfer the title this coming week and then take it to the shop to have some needed repair work done on it.

If you have been praying for our family and our adoption process, please keep doing so. All your prayers are appreciated and needed. As always, you are welcome to donate to our adoption through the God's Waiting Children website (http://www.godswaitingchildren.com) or by sending a check to God's Waiting Children. In either case, put "Fontes adoption" in the memo/comment section. You can send us a check directly if you would like.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fellowship and Progress

We had a great time of fellowship last night with some friends (three families were represented last night) who hosted when we did and are pursuing adoption as well. Actually, we are all pursuing sibling sets! It was awesome to hear how our Almighty God has worked in each of our lives to protect, provide, direct, and to use us for His purposes. A big thanks to the Hughes family for having us over! It is so good for us as believers to look back at all of His handy work in our lives, sort of a modern day stacking up of stones. We have many, many stone piles to look back on.

I think the biggest reminder that Sheri and I took away from last night's fellowship was that NOTHING is a surprise to God. He knows exactly what is going to happen and nothing, nothing can stand in the way of His plans (notice I said His plans, not my plans). There is nothing I can do to mess up His plans either. I love our Lord!

I was also reminded that none of us can do this on our own. It is His calling, and His provision that will bring our children home, and the Lord has the ability and authority to choose any method He wants to provide for each of us. In our weakness, He is made strong.

We had the fourth home study interview/visit on Thursday and it went well. We should be done (if the Lord wills) in the first week in June and be able to send a copy in to meet up with our already sent I-600a to immigration! Pray that the I-600a will be processed very quickly. The Lord has moved things along very quickly so far! He is deserving of ALL the glory!

We are still praying for an August travel date. Not only would that bring the girls home soon, but it would really work the best for my employer. A fall or winter travel date will be tough to do, but the Lord knows how it will all work out.

We are looking for a van that we can all fit in once the girls come home. We looked at one at local used car lot but it had a few issues and we just could not afford the lowest price the sales person would take for the van. We have another option that we will check into today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Interview(s)

We had our first interview for the home study and believe it went well. In discussing the time line I was starting to get concerned that the rest of the interviews would be stretched out but as it turned out, the next two interviews were scheduled for the next day! We are praying that the home visit will be able to be scheduled sometime this coming week and Lord willing (I mean that) the report will be done in the first week of June. That is just awesome! Please keep praying.

I know it may not be realistic, but we have picked a week in August to start praying for as our travel time. Humanly speaking, I don't see it happening that quickly, but we will pray the Lord's will in it. He has made everything else move quickly for us so far. To God be the glory. We are anxious to travel and bring the girls home.

Our immigration paperwork was received and now it's just the wait game. The home study will have to be sent in to complete the immigration paperwork anyway, but we are praying by sending in the rest of it first it will speed things up.

I must say that we have been very blessed by so, so many people lately. You know who you are. We are blessed to be working with God's Waiting Children not only for the hosting, but for the adoption. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are certainly caring for us.

The girls we hosted have not received our letters yet, and we have not received the letter they said they sent. Takes a long time to get letters from here to there. We are trying to write one every week to let them know we love them and miss miss them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First Interview Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be our first home study interview. I bit nervous, but I know it is all in His hands. I pray that we are able to schedule the other home study interviews in short order and get that step completed. Our paperwork is coming along, despite the fact that we ordered the required marriage licenses from the wrong county, so we didn't get them yet. It was over 16 years ago, who remembered that we got the license in one county but were married in a different one?

I am still seeking the Lord's leading as far as mission trips go. I did hear an encouraging and convicting sermon on the radio today. The short of it is that when someone asks who you work for, you should have plenty of evidence to back up the answer "I am employed by the Lord Jesus Christ." I'm certain I fail that one frequently.

An example: there has been a homeless man that I see now and then at an intersection I pass through frequently. His sign reads "homeless family, please help" (or something similar). I have thought about stopping to talk to him but always seemed to be in a hurry, or at least that is what I have told myself. The times that I decided I would stop if I saw him, he was not there. Several weeks ago I was driving to church with N (one of the girls we hosted) in the car. She saw him and kind of asked what his deal was. I explained with the few Russian words I knew that he was homeless. Her expression changed quickly to one of sadness. She wanted me to stop, but we were already late for church. All this talk about being Christ followers and I blew the chance to back it up, to line up my actions with my faith. Can you believe that? On the WAY to church and I didn't stop. Well, that weighed heavy on me.

I saw that man yesterday. I stopped. His name is Dave and his wife died from cancer last year. He stated that he, his daughter, and his one year old granddaughter live in a tent by the freeway. He said he had a bad back and was not able to work. "Who is gonna hire a 50 year old man with a bad back?" He asked. Now I don't know his whole story, or if he made any of it up, but he genuinely cried when he spoke of his wife. He is lost and in pain. I prayed for him right there, and will still pray for him. I gave him what little cash I had with me at the time, and my heart goes out to him. If you think about it, pray for Dave and his family.

Still missing the girls and am praying for them.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Another inch closer

Praise to my Lord for having our passports already arrive! It only took 11 days and we did not pay for expedited service! Now we have the passport numbers to put on the forms in the dossier that require it and we have our birth certificate copies that we need. God is awesome!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Waiting

Paperwork wise, we are playing the waiting game as we need our passport numbers for most of the dossier and we don't expect those back for awhile. I pray we can complete the home study interviews quickly and get all that done and over with. Once the home study is completed we can apply for grants to help fund the adoption and maybe not have to use all the house fund.

Still waiting to see where the Lord will lead in regards to a missions trip. I'll keep looking around and see if He is pointing me in any specific direction and/or timing.

So tonight after dinner I asked the boys to tell me what the Gospel was. I was a bit surprised when I got a bunch of blank stares and "I don't know" answers. Our 7 year old did finally pipe up and give a pretty good answer, but I had been praying that we have taught them all well enough that they each could have provided some sort of an answer. I guess I have been failing in getting the message across to them. I'll be working each night this week on explaining the Gospel to our boys. I could use some prayer in speaking clearly and concisely, without it sounding like a lecture. I pray for the day when each of my children proclaims Christ as their Saviour and takes the step of obedience in baptism.

Spent almost all afternoon and evening working on my online flight instructor renewal course and then did some of the Rosetta Stone Russian course as well. Be glad when the renewal course is done so that I can spend more time with family and less time in front of the computer.

I am still praying for God's hand to move our adoption process along very quickly. His will over ours though. Since He can hold the universe together, I know He know's best how to direct our steps and the timing of it all.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Another bite down!

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! We made some more progress today. Did yet another set of fingerprints, had another doctor appointment and had more blood work done, dropped off some more completed forms, picked up a completed form, and somewhere in there we breathed a bit.

We have our first home study interview scheduled for next Thursday. Please be praying for that. We are putting together our dossier (thus all the above mentioned errands) and have something important to tell anyone who is even kind of thinking about international adoption - GET YOUR PASSPORTS! Make sure that you have certified copies of your birth certificates and marriage licenses as well. You may need a certified copy of your marriage license that is no older than 6 months when the dossier is submitted.

We will have a booth at the Flatlander's Day Parade this Saturday in the Madera Ranchos to help advertise the good work that God's Waiting Children is doing, and to let people know what we are doing. I pray that the Lord will use us to get the word out about the need of orphans around the world.

Thank you again for your prayers.