Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God Is Good......

We blogged last night about trying to sell tickets to our fundraiser and how we were hoping for a decent turnout to the event. We sent a large number of e-mails a few weeks ago, but things had been kind of quiet. We started wondering if anyone was going to show up and if anyone had even gotten the e-mails. Perhaps it was just a lack of faith on our part, but we needed some positive feedback letting us know that some people would show. As we began to reach out to a few people we started getting amazing feedback. We received e-mails from several church small group leaders telling us that they would approach their groups about helping, an attorney at Tony's work sent the invitation out to an entire organization encouraging support, a co-worker of our neighbor donated $100 immediately after reading our flyer. Several individuals from church confirmed that they were coming. Tony's boss at work also authorized him to sell tickets to some of the vendors that he works with which Tony was afraid would be considered a conflict of interest. We even found out by chance that a neighbor of ours from 4 years ago was passing out our flyers to all the teachers at Spring Branch Middle School. We hadn't talked to this neighbor in years, but quietly he was doing his part to help. All of this great news came in today! We are so encouraged right now. Yesterday we were hoping to be able to sell 100 tickets. Well today, we're raising the bar; 200 tickets! Thank you so much to all of you who are quietly working to help sell tickets even if we don't know about it. You are all such a blessing to us. God is so GOOD!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Selling Houses and Selling Tickets...

It's been a week since our last blog and the title of this post says it all. We put our house on the market this past weekend and have been working very hard to get everything in order. Moving furniture around, painting walls, and general clean-up. As we posted about last week, there is a beautiful foreclosure just down the street that would be perfect for our growing family. It seems unrealistic that we would sell our house quick enough to buy the foreclosure in this tough market, but we're trusting that God has something in store for us. The bottom line is that we need more space and adding onto the house just didn't seem feasible anymore.

We've also been working hard to sell tickets to our fundraiser on May 16. We have a lot of verbal commitments, but not a lot of actual sales. If we have 100 people at the event it will be a blessing. If we have 200 or so, it will be a miracle. Again, begin the poor salespeople that we are, we're really trusting in God to help bring the people. We've printed out flyers and sent e-mails and recruited some good friends to help sell tickets for us. We're down to the final stretch and trusting that the people will show.

As all of this is going on, we received a phone call from Laura's (our French exchange student) dad on Sunday morning. Due to the scare of the swine flu in North America, he wanted Laura on the next flight back to France. He thought that the French borders may be closed soon and wanted his daughter home as soon as possible. So Laura flew out yesterday morning and arrived in France earlier today. It was so hard for all of us to see her go with such short notice. She had become part of our family..... like one of our kids. We spend all Sunday night hanging out together and playing Rock Band (her favorite). But we were all crying as she walked through the security gates at the airport. Her dad says that he will send her back in a few weeks IF this swine flu stuff dies down.

It doesn't look good so far though. They just closed all of the schools in our school district for the next 2 weeks. I know that some states have been unaffected by the flu, but we're definitely feeling the impact here in Texas. The silver lining for this kids is that they have a free 2 week vacation. Sounds like we have a full workforce to keep the house clean as we try to sell. So we will keep selling tickets while we keep trying to sell our house. Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God Provides Through Others.....

So we did it! We finally started to actively solicit help to raise funds for the adoption of Elisa and Vanessa. We discovered very quickly that it is hard to ask people to contribute their hard-earned money to a cause that we decided to take on. As we've blogged about before, we decided to simply do one big fundraising event. It will be an Adoption Benefit/ fajita buffet at a very popular restaurant here in San Antonio. We purposely chose an event where people are not just donating money, but they are also getting something in return. In this case, that happens to be a full meal, music and fun for the family. Even with that, we've found it very difficult to ask people to attend. Even though we know we cannot possibly come up with $30K on our own when we started this adoption process, we were kind of hoping that "God would provide". In reality, we know that God WILL provide, but He often does so through other people.

Once again, we are realizing that this adoption is so much bigger than just getting the Elisa and Vanessa home. God is using this process to help the two of us become more responsible, more organized, more open, and certainly less prideful. We simply need the help of others to complete this adoption and that is something that is hard to admit. With that said, we have one month left until the fundraiser. After sending out e-mails to all of our friends within the last few days, we already have commitments to buy (or sponsor) 40-50 tickets. That's amazing! God is amazing! So we will set aside our pride and continue to trust in God to provide our needs through others. We will humbly accept the help that others are offering and will praise God for the many blessings (friends) He's placed in our lives........

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Planning For The Unthinkable......

A number of people have recently asked us about who would raise our children if Tony and I were to pass away. Wow! That's a question no one likes to think about, but a very appropriate one considering the fact that we will soon have 9 children. I can't imagine separating the kids is something were to happen to us. After all, Dylan, Christian and Haily had already been moved from home to home before we adopted them. Dylan lived with his great grandparents while Christian and Haily lived with their biological mother. Then, when CPS took them, Haily was placed in a shelter while Dylan and Christian went to a foster home. Now that they finally have stability in their life, I can't imagine having to separate any of the kids from one another.

Before we decided to adopt Elisa and Vanessa, we had agreed to leave our children with Tony's sister. We know she would be a wonderful mother to them and her husband a wonderful father, but we never really thought about adding two more children to the mix. If, God forbid, something were to happen to both Tony and I, would it be fair to ask one family to take in ALL 9 children? While we hate to think about such a thing happening, the only assurance we have that the kids will be taken care of is to plan it all out. So this week we plan to talk to Tony's sister and ask her the question. Could she..... would she be willing to raise all 9 of our children if something were to happen to the two of us? Not a fun thing to talk about, but we must plan for the unthinkable.......

Friday, April 17, 2009

Should We Stay or Should We Go?

Not just words to a song from the 90's. This is the question that we're struggling with regarding our house. Our current house is far too small for the 9 children that we will will have once Elisa and Vanessa come home, but the market really doesn't support us selling right now. We've thought about adding on, but that would probably only be a band aid and may make the house even harder to sell down the road. So we've been pretty content just waiting...... Just a few days ago, we stumbled upon a house that appears to be perfect for us. It's large enough for our entire family plus it has a garage apartment that Tony's mother could move in to. Even better, it is a foreclosure and is priced way under market value.

So our dilemma is, do we quickly put our house on the market and hope to get an offer before this foreclosure sells or do we try to find a more creative way to purchase/ lease the house? There is a possibility of having an investor buy the house and we could rent it from them after our house sells. Or...... do we just stay put? We're really seeking God's direction on this, because none of the options seem feasible, but we also know that God's ways are not our ways. The challenge is not following God, but discerning His voice and knowing what He's called us to do.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back 2 Blogging.....

It's been nearly a month since our last blog and we've received many questions about what's been going on. First of all, we would like to apologize for being such bad bloggers. With the adoption and work and the kiddos, it seems that we never have time to sit and write and when we do, we don't know where to start. But we'll get better! So here's what's been going on......

We went on vacation the last few weeks of March. For those who know us, we go on a cruise every year for our anniversary/ spring break. We usually go on a Carnival cruise, but this year we found "deal" on a new Italian cruise line out of Florida. When you have 7 kids, the words "kids sail free" get your attention and in this case, we saved a lot of money. But as the saying goes, "you get what you pay for". The ship was actually beautiful and the ports were wonderful. The only problem..... the service on the ship was horrible. Most people we spoke to could not speak English well enough for us to understand and when we did understand, they we flat out rude to us. We had incidents with the children's program, room service and ultimately with the cruise Director himself. While at port in Cozumel, Christian contracted some kid of dermatitis that turned into empantigo. The poor thing spent the last three days of the cruise in pain and embarrassed about the horrible rash all over the lower part of his face. So much for pictures...... In the end, it was good to get away as a family. We just know to stick with Carnival next year!

The adoption process is moving, but at a snails pace. We received a confirmation letter back from the USCIS office, but are still waiting on our home study. Once we receive that, we can send it the the USCIS office and wait for our fingerprint appointments. We're taking advantage of this lull by using the extra time to plan for our fundraiser lunch (or benefit). We're finalizing tickets and flyers this week and are going to engage anyone and everyone we know to help us sell tickets. The benefit will have all you can eat Mexican food at a very prominent restaurant in San Antonio, so we hope to have a good turn out. The key is getting the word out, so if any of you live in or around SA, we would love for you to help us spread the word. The benefit is from 10am-4pm on Saturday, May 16 at La Hacienda on Redland Rd. Adult tickets are $25, ages 13-17 are $15 and kids under 13 are free.

I would like to thank all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement. We're learning that this adoption journey is not just about getting Elisa and Vanessa home, but God is also using the journey to teach us invaluable lessons about patience, love, support, pride, and perseverance. In just the first few months of this journey, we've had several setbacks that could have made us question ourselves, but our faith in God us so much stronger than the circumstances around us. In the end, we will get the girls home where they belong and will have a wonderful story to share with those around us.