Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Vacations

I don't take very many pictures with my camera anymore because I have run out of hands. It is hard to wear a camera around your neck and chase around 2 little boys. It is even harder to have both hands free to snap a picture. I also don't download to my computer very often. I want to be better about both of these things...but it's just so easy with an iPhone camera that I forget. Maybe someday...

I uploaded some pictures tonight and thought I'd share. Our summer was very busy but I managed to get a few pictures when grandparents were around.

 Those dimples!

 Fun time with Grandma

 Mid sneeze- Haha
 Matthew loved jumping off the benches...hence the multiple pictures.

 This kid is such a goof.

 We even got to see the train come hands were too full to get a picture with the camera though.
 Knight in his castle.

 King Andrew
 We even got to see a big tractor!

 After Grandma and Grandpa's we got to go to the beach!
 Lots of fun water time with Pops
 Children, water, and sand are not ideal for only about 5 total pictures. Haha
 Foggy camera because of the terrible humidity...but on July 5th the mayor and police chief were on the beach cleaning up firework trash. They were so kind to Matthew. He was SO excited!

These made me laugh...we tried to take passport pictures of the boys. Andrew was not so into it. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's In A Name?

Life never seems to slow down. I have very much recently experienced the sustaining of the Lord. I have had to surrender myself daily to not live in my own power. If I live in my own power then my to-do list doesn't come close to being finished, my children get yelled at... there is a reason He tells us to abide.
I don't care how many people read my blog. I do this so my mind doesn't explode with all that's going on. I did discover recently that you can see how many people have read a blog I said...not important to me-clearly since I just discovered this. Haha. I am so thankful though that according to my blog stats 915 people read about the faithfulness of the Lord in providing financially in the adoption of our son in my last post!! I can't imagine I know 915 personally that read about it- I pray that someone that didn't know Jesus got a glimpse of who He is!! update since the last post...
Sweet little boy has a name. Jonathan Jeffery (Ugandan name we can't share because of rules) Alexander!! (We also can't share any pictures on the internet which makes me feel like I'm going to explode!) Jonathan means God has given. I feel like there is VERY LITTLE explanation needed behind our choice of this name! Jeffery means peace. God has given us such peace through out this whole adoption process. When we have named our children we chose a biblical name for their first name. We choose ones with meanings that have applied to our situation, or we hope will define who they will become as they grow up. Matthew- gift of God- our first child. Andrew-strong, manly, brave- he is our brave one for sure. For a middle name we choose based on meaning or personal connection. Matthew Joseph is the 4th man in the Alexander family to have Joseph as a middle name. Andrew Caleb we chose because Caleb means faithful. We pray that our little man will be faithful. That he will be like Caleb in the Bible. That he will not fear the giants when all others do. We pray that he will be faithful to Jesus from an early age all through out his life. Jonathan Jeffery. We love the meaning, it is very applicable. We also love our dear friend Jeff. Jeff is a man of God. He is someone we want Jonathan to be like someday. He LOVES God. He loves people SO well. He is wise. He is discerning. He is hard working. He is compassionate. He is a good listener. He is a servant. He is sensitive to the Holy Spirit. There are so many things about Jeff that make this name so easy to give to our son. Jeff- we love you, we are thankful for you, and we can't wait for our little boy to know you too. May he follow your example as you follow Jesus' example.
We have completed our home study! Our social worker is AMAZINGLY wonderful. Another gift from the Lord. We get to work with her in all of our follow up visits for years after Jonathan comes home. I can't wait! That's how much we like her. Haha.
Now we are waiting for all the checking and revisions on the home study. As soon as we get the final copy (hopefully this week or next) we will attach it to our immigration pre-approval paperwork and expedite it! That will take probably about 4 weeks (pray for speed in that!). As soon as that is done we will have a court date set for us. When that is set we buy our tickets and FLY!! The boys have their passports. We are ready to go!! (Besides the whole packing thing-haha) From what I understand when we reach Kampala we are there for 2 days before we get to go meet Jonathan. Ugh... I already dread those two longest days of my life!! Pray for my continual learning of patience. I know that I have been fully given the Spirit. I know that a fruit of the Spirit is patience. I do not lack the full resource...just the discipline and surrendering. I had the chance to be driving somewhere alone today for a few minutes and I was praying out loud that God would continue to teach me faith and patience. That He would overwhelm me with HIS faithfulness, and that I would be found faithful.
I feel like I am experiencing a few symptoms of pregnancy. I feel like I'm gaining weight... probably because I snack...because I just am so anxious to go meet my little man! I've had to be proactive about snack food removal and discipline in not restocking when I grocery shop. I now eat hummus and guacamole for a snack. Who have I become?! I don't sleep well AT ALL!! I think about anything possible...seriously...anything that could happen or that we need to prepare for concerning our travel to Uganda. I think about what Jonathan is doing at that moment (it is day there while I'm supposed to be sleeping). I pray that the Lord would have him to find favor in the eyes of the care takers at his babies home. That he would receive the care he needs. Then my heart is broken thinking that if God answers that prayer with a yes that that caretaker will have such a connection with our little boy...and I do not look forward to witnessing that goodbye. I cry even now typing about it. I want to be sensitive to everyone in the whole situation. For the past few months that Jonathan has been alive these people have cared for him. Newborns are takes heart and soul to care for them. I am being hit with the fact that someone else potentially has their heart and soul invested in this little man too. I then try to remind myself that children were created for family- not for institutional care no matter how loving it may be. Sorry if this is rambling to you- there are new things I think of every day that have to be dealt with in my heart.
I also lay awake at night thinking about what our bonding will be like. Will it be easy? Will it take a long time? How will the boys do with the transition? How will Andrew (momma's boy) do when I am to be constantly holding/carrying Jonathan to bond with him? I lay in bed with my eyes closed and Jonathan's little face is burned in my mind. His big brown eyes. His little afro. His PERFECT lips. His wide nose. His little folded hands that I can only see half of in the ONLY picture I have of him. The blue blanket that he is laying on. Trying to figure out what the pictures are on the little outfit he's wearing. Wondering what his ears look like...I can't even see them in the picture. Wondering what is going through his mind. Trying to stare into those huge eyes and read them. Crying because I miss with the strangest ache someone that I have NEVER even met. I think about all of the problems he could possibly come into contact with as he grows up. What comments will hurt his little heart? How can I protect him from those? How am I going to explain racism? How am I going to explain his past that I know so very little about? Praying that his understanding of the Gospel will be deep and rich because of the story he has been given. That his life will be a testimony of that. Wishing I could send a message that an infant would understand that MOMMY IS COMING!! I'm telling you...between all of these thoughts and two little boys that now share a room and Matthew who doesn't want the sun to beat him up I am not getting much sleep! :) I feel like I am living as fully as I can in Jacksonville while a huge part of me lives so far away.
One last thing before I go to bed. I think both boys are asleep and I need to take up kid bed times so I can hopefully be a little more rested. Haha.
THANK YOU!! I wish there was some way to type every single persons name that has been such a blessing to our hearts. The encouragement we have experienced is overwhelming. People asking about our little boy means so much. It's nice to know others are thinking of him too. People praying for him and us is such a gift. People that have given time, money, effort, emotion and loss of sleep to figure out different parts of this adoption with us, and even just to listen to us. The story that God is weaving together for HIS Jonathan is something I can't wait for our little boy to hear. I do know though that he will never know like this momma's heart does how much of a blessing you all have been. I can't wait for all of you to know him. To meet the little boy you have already sacrificially loved. Thank you for caring for the orphan. Thank you for caring for the parents that are trying to make sure there is one less orphan. Thank you for playing your part in obedience to God's command to care for the least of these. I'm blessed by you. Just like in 2 Timothy 1:3- "I always remember you in my prayers day and night. And in these prayers I thank God for YOU."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Never have I ever...

July 15th- we hear that investigations are being done on a few children.
July 30th- find out the investigations being done for our family are on a boy under 5 months old.
August 2nd- get a referral for the most adorable little boy!!
On Friday I had a doctors appointment with Andrew. I had Adam take Matthew to a Power Up Club (PUC) in San Marco area. On my way home from the appointment I checked my email on my phone (at a stop light!) and almost screamed (had Andrew not been asleep in the back I would've)! We had an official referral. With a picture and everything!! (We can't share the picture on any social media etc until he is officially ours. You can ask me to see the picture next time you see me though!!) I drove as fast as I could (mostly safe) to the Power Up Club. I couldn't wait any extra time to show Adam. I drove up. Threw my phone with the picture on it at him and started crying. Apparently I'm not so smooth with new baby news. 2 out of 3 times now I've basically just freaked out in a drive way and left Adam to figure out what I was talking about. Haha. He was SO excited. Then we called Matthew over (Andrew is still asleep in the car) to show him his new baby brother. The host of the PUC had her camera out and got the most amazing pictures that we will treasure forever. Please forgive my Michael Jackson crying face...I was a little overwhelmed. :) This was Matthew's reaction to seeing a picture of his new baby brother.

 That face is PRICELESS



 Hug for Mommy

 Kiss for Mommy...he's not sure why I am crying about such good news. 

Us and our newest addition

Like I said... these pictures are perfection! So we couldn't stop staring at his picture all afternoon. We went to Power Surge that night and showed anyone that would care to see our picture...our new pride and joy! People were SO kind. The reactions of friends and family were such encouragement to our hearts. I wish someone would've video taped everyone. This little boy is already so loved. 

We got to show a few more people Sunday at church which was fun too. We had been telling people when they asked us when we would get to go get him that we had to raise our money first and would be working on that first thing Monday morning. That night Adam's family had us over for dinner and a time to pray for our new little boy. I'm so grateful to have married such a phenomenal family. We petitioned the Lord for His care of our son, and His provision to bring Him home.

Sunday we wrote our letter to send out to friends and family telling them of our journey, sharing our needs, and asking if they would partner with us to bring this little boy home and place him forever in a family. We printed and folded our letters Monday morning (August 5). I shared with Adam that I really felt peace that the Lord was going to provide for this huge need ($30,000) over the next two months before we can travel. God has been so faithful to us through out this whole process. He has rushed things along faster than we could've ever dreamed. This is HIS plan and we have seen that so clearly.

We received word from someone Monday morning at 11:40 that they would match dollar for dollar anything we raised in August up to $15,000. We cried. If we raised $15,000 in August then we were already half way done with just that matching promise. 

We came home from a morning out and I addressed about 10 envelopes and then it was time to put the boys down for nap. I left everything on the table and we all went upstairs. After the boys were down we started cleaning our disaster of a bedroom for our home study this week. As we were cleaning at  3:30 Adam got a phone call. Someone that we had met that day (we hadn't shared our need but I guess someone else had) wanted to give us a large amount of money. We cried again. 

At 3:50 my phone rang. Someone wanted to give money to help us bring our little boy home. It was a large amount of money. It was the remaining amount we needed. In 4 hours God had provided $30,000. Adam and I cried for about an hour on the floor of our bedroom. I've cried many times in the past 24 hours. 

Our God is big. He is powerful. He is faithful. He is provider. He is the one that cares for the orphans. I had studied in my Bible study last week the verse Isaiah 65:24. Adam texted me that verse today. The ways I have seen God, and learned more about who HE is in this process has been more blessing than I every could've dreamed experiencing. The verse says, "And it will come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear." God knew on Sunday night as we prayed what was going to happen the next day. He knew when we took a step of faith in September to start this journey what Monday would hold for us. He knows what the rest of this journey before we hold our son in our arms is going to be like. God doesn't need to prove anything to us, but He has. 

As I sobbed, literally sobbed, awful sounds, snot, tears...after getting the money news I kept looking at the picture of my little boy. I kept tracing his perfect features with my finger. We love him. We have loved him since we first thought about adopting and whoever the Lord would provide for our family. We loved him when we heard there was an investigation being done on a little boy. We loved him when we received his picture. We love him now knowing that as soon as our last paperwork is done we are on a plane and headed to hold him tight. What I am so in awe of is how much our church, family, random strangers have showed their love for this little one. For the gracious way in which God has shown me tangibly that HE loves this little boy. I have had to trust all along that the Lord is providing for him as we are so far away, but this blew me out of the water. God does not want this little one to be an orphan. He does not want him out of family. And HE is making a way to end all of those things. We are just the abundantly blessed ones HE is using to be a family for this baby. All of this makes me so excited to see what the Lord does with this little life He has orchestrated so beautifully to save. 

Our home study is tomorrow and Thursday. I wouldn't have dared guess that all of this would have taken place between the time I scheduled our home study and now. As soon as our home study is done we send in some paperwork and wait to get an appointment for finger printing. When all of that is cleared we apply for a court date and then FLY! I didn't sleep much last night knowing that soon I will hold my son. 

I am thankful that God has written this story in such a way that ONLY HE can receive glory for it. I want anyone who hears this story to recognize that it is nothing other than God moving. I hope that you will take a moment and thank the Lord in prayer with us for His continued provision. Never have I ever experienced something like this...ever.