At the end of January, we finished our interviews for our home study. To review, the home study is a REALLY big stack of papers that tell adoption agencies or attorneys that we are approved as adoptive parents. Anything you would ever want to know about Steve or myself is contained in that bundle of papers :) During February our caseworker, Penny, worked on writing up the home study and compiling information. The home study was sent in to be reviewed and approved on March 1st. While we are waiting to hear about our home study, which feels like FOREVER, we are working on filling out applications for grants. There are a lot of grants available to adoptive families and are granted in 2 ways:
1. A grant that is given in the amount of $100-$15,000 or more
2. A matching grant where the organization will match what money is donated or given to us for our adoption up to a predetermined amount.
This is another part of the adoption process that uses up a lot of paper...I mean A LOT!! We are really thankful that these organizations exist to make adoption a more attainable thing to normal families with normal amounts of money. Of course we know that God is really the one who will supply what we need on this path to find Nora.
We are also figuring out what agencies we want to work with, pray that we will have clarity when we are researching, again we are thankful for our consultant Leah and Christian Adoption Consultants for the wisdom they offer in this area. They have supplied us with a list of trusted and ethical agencies and attorneys to work with and Leah can help us navigate the best approach. We will choose multiple agencies to present to which can help cut the wait time down.
Leah worked really hard on creating a profile book about our family while we were in the interview process for the home study. This book will be shown to birth moms with the agencies we choose to work with. It's a really complete picture of what our story is and what life is like in our family. I think I had a HUGE smile on my face when she sent the first draft to us....it's beautiful and something I will always cherish.
Reid has really fallen in love with his little sister even more since we finished painting her room. It was so nice to finally paint the room as it still kind of felt like the previous owners house in that room :) The boys love to play in there and talk about Nora.
While we were out grocery shopping the other day Reid found the perfect dress to buy with money from his piggy bank for Nora. He has had his eye on any dress with a tutu for about a month or so, and we finally found the right one in the right price point. He bought her this beautiful, very girly, dress for $3 He was beaming for hours after that. We got back to Mormor & Papa G's house and Reid could not wait to show Papa G what he bought for Nora. He ran to the play room and said "Look what I got Papa G! Remember, I'm going to have a little sister?!?! Well I got her this dress!!" He showed the dress to Steve with the same excitement. :)
Not all parts of this adoption have been easy. Steve and I are learning a lot about patience, trust and patience and trust and more trust....It's a really stretching time emotionally, but I'm thankful that we are being asked to grow in this way. This song really spoke to our hearts in a big way. Search for "It is well" by Bethel music on youtube, it won't be wasted time.
"Far be it from me to not believe. Even when my eyes can't see.
And this mountain that's in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea.
Through it all, through it all, My eyes are on You. Through it all, through it all, It is well.
So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name."
While working on the applications for grants we are also going to organize a fundraiser that will happen at our church. I'm thinking it may have something to do with pancakes....but we will keep you informed. I really wish I was more consistent at blogging to keep you all in the loop, but life with three boys is....well.....pretty crazy. So I will try to update again soon but until then, we just would ask that you would join us in praying for wisdom and peace for our family and also for Nora and her birth mom. Pray for peace, safety and that if her birth mom does not know Jesus that she may know him through this process. It's quite amazing that we Martins love people we don't even know yet, much like when you're pregnant with a biological baby...I don't know about Steve...but I feel like I am "paper pregnant" a common expression in adoption. :)