Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home Study Saturday!!! Wow...

The picture below is what a COMPLETED home study packet looks like!  It has everything from notarized birth certificates for all three of us, to police clearances, to 10 pages questionnaires, to our house's floor plan.  Plus some other crazy, but necessary documents.  It was not really enjoyable putting that packet together, but it felt GREAT to put it in our social worker's mailbox yesterday.  GREAT!!!
She let us know that she got the goods and asked if we could do the "long study" Saturday.  Josh is off (yes, another miracle), so we agreed.  That means that Saturday at 2:00pm, we will meet the woman who can determine whether or not we are able to adopt.  Of course, that makes me nervous...who wouldn't be???  But, when I freak out...I tell myself that this is not up to us.  God put us on this journey and he will see us through.  So, please pray for us.  Pray that she understands who we are and how we got to this place. Pray that she is having a good day!  That her coffee maker works for her Saturday morning...if she is anything like me, of course.  Now that I think about it...pray that my coffee maker does too!  :)
I think that there will be a few meetings, so I am not really sure when this will be over and we can move on to the I 600 A, but that will be our  next step.  Each step costs a little under $1000.00.We haven't saved or raised enough for both yet, so hopefully, by the time this is over we will have enough for both!!!
Already through this journey, I have learned so much - we all have!  God is really stirring something up inside of us.  I came to Josh yesterday and asked him if he felt something crazy going on in his heart...and he agreed.  I know we can't adopt all 147 million orphans out there...but I sure want to love them all.  It's like our eyes have been opened to a world of orphans out there...and I will never be the same.  I want our child home with us ASAP.  I also can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the future beyond bringing our little one home.  Now, if I could just remember:  GOD HAS PERFECT TIMING.  He is never late - only right on time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gaining ground!

Good morning friends and family! We are finally putting a dent in the paperwork for our home study. We have a few crucial things left to do, but it is good to feel that we are getting somewhere. We hope to have it finished on Tuesday after our physicals are completed. After we turn it in, we should be able to schedule the home study and we will let everyone know when it is so you can start the prayers! We also heard back from our lawyer in Uganda, who gave us some referrals for babies homes. She is just so awesome...we ask her if she has any recommendations, and she replies with 5 of, the contact person, email, and phone numbers. She is such a blessing!!! Please pray that we follow the path God has for us. That we see the path he wants us to take clearly.
We would also like to say that we are so humbled by the support we have gotten from everyone. There have been so many moments where we have needed to hear what you have said to us. When I see our friends and families in their Africa or cross heart just warms. It is hard to explain, but it really feels like we are getting closer to our child every time we talk to you about him/her. To know that you are there for us and supporting us helps give us hope.
The picture above is of our close friends Elise and Grace Bain and our Gracie. They were playing in a sprinkler and we just had to take a pic. How beautiful are they???

Friday, July 16, 2010

Now we're getting somewhere!

We have learned over the past couple weeks that adopting from Uganda is different from adopting anywhere else. I am sure that most countries are different, but I found myself longing to find someone who has successfully adopted from Uganda shortly into this process. Thanks to the blog world, I have found that. And thanks to God orchestrating new friendships, we have made some progress.
First, we have received word back from our lawyer in Uganda. She is "our lawyer" now! Woo hoo! She comes highly recommended by others and is seemingly a pretty amazing Christian woman. We are so thankful to have found her and that she has agreed to take us on. Please pray that we develop a relationship with her that pleases God. We hope that she will be able to "meet" us and discover who we are from afar. And that she will like us too!!! ;)
Our second bit of great news is that we have found someone to do our home study! We heard of this lady from a new friend who I met through the newly developing adoption ministry at FBC McKinney(please pray for this ministry too!). We are prayerful that this is the right person to do this study. A home study, for those of you who don't know, is a BIG DEAL. Please pray that it goes well. That is goes flawlessly. That God is in control of it - and that we are not.
I took a look at our FIRST round of paperwork this evening and - though I told myself it wouldn't happen - I got REALLY overwhelmed. It will be OK though. Mom asked me how to eat an elephant. I told her one bite at a time.
So, here we go! One bite at a time. One step at a time. One day at a time. This is how we try to live our lives anyway! Right???
As far as any other news on the Willis front...We are all doing great! Gracie is over that little stomach virus. Thank the Lord! I am GETTING over that little stomach virus. And Josh has been working 48 hour shifts to make up for our vacation time away, so hopefully he won't have to worry about the little stomach virus!

Little Miss Gracie sporting her new shades!

Couldn't let this moment pass after a meeting! God is good!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Process Update...well kind of...

Good afternoon friends! I thought it might be a good time to touch base! We would LOVE to say that we are getting somewhere fast, but that just wouldn't be the truth! From what I am hearing...that is quite normal though.
We originally wanted to adopt from the orphanage Josh was at - Sanyu babies home (, but they are not currently accepting applications. So, we figured that God was telling us our child may be at a different orphanage (or babies home). The administrator of Sanyu told us about Nsambya (wish I had a website for them). We are waiting to hear back from their administrator. We are not sure if we should use an agency or not. Uganda is quite different from pretty much anywhere else you adopt from. Most of the orphanages that we have found, prefer to work directly with a lawyer in Uganda and not with an agency. That makes the price MUCH cheaper, but leaves for so much to figure out. We did, however, find what seems to be an amazing agency out of Amarillo - Little Miracles. And, we are looking into using them for the American part of the adoption maybe. They put us in touch with an amazing family from around the panhandle who are currently adopting from Ethiopia. They are giving us hope and advice, which is a blessing.
We also found a blog from a lady whose name is Grace (funny, huh?). She lives in Uganda, is from the U.S., and has adopted two children while there. Her blog has been so inspiring. And we have been emailing back and forth. She has recommended a lawyer for us and we are looking into her and...waiting to hear back from her.
We also have added International phone services to our plan...much cheaper than paying by the minute!
Grace also mentioned a little boy, Amos, to us. He is 18 - 20 months, like I mentioned, we are TRYING to stay open minded to what God leads us to. I immediately (mom instinct) thought - Is this our son??? Could this be our child??? And Josh quickly told me not to get my hopes I came off of the cloud I was on. He is right...this is going to be a long process. But, we looked into Amos. He is currently only available for adoption by Ugandan couples. Which is OK. We want the child God has for us. God has a plan for us. And he has a plan for Amos.
We have been so comforted and blessed by so many people who have given their support, prayers, and love to us while we are starting this process. And we thank you so much for it. We are looking forward to figuring out where we plant our foot for our next step and trust that God will reveal it to us.
I did update the blog with some more pics of shirts (new designs!), hats, totes, and potholders. Please let me know if you are interested. We have raised our first $1000.00!!! It is including some that we already had saved, but we re getting somewhere and we thank everyone who has helped us get to this milestone! Only 24,000.00 to go, right? :)
Please, more than anything, continue to pray for us! We need it and appreciate it more than we can explain!!! Thank you so much for joining us on this journey. I look forward to the day I get to post pics of our family of 4 on here!!! For now, I will leave you with a pic of Gracie and her new baby. Such a beautiful sight!!! She is still saying that she wants a sister (whom she has named "Ellie"), but she now will also accept BOTH a brother AND sister. HA!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Big News Is Out!

The blog web address has probably given it all away, huh??? Yes, we are adopting! It is going to be a long journey, and we would love to have as many friends and family with us every step of the I will be blogging about our process - start to finish! Please feel free to invite others to join us - the more the merrier!!!
Let me begin with what got us started on this journey...hang in there...I'll try to keep most of my posts short and sweet, but this one, I think, deserves some detail.

Josh and I had Gracie about 3 and a half years ago. She is, to us, the perfect example of God's grace. She is a handful, but we refuse to let a day pass where we don't appreciate what an incredible blessing she is. She is FULL OF LIFE!
Shortly into our pregnancy with her, we realized that it was going to be a tough one. From marginal cord insertion, to a new found blood clotting disease for me, to high blood pressure and bedrest, to an early arrival...Gracie made it clear that she would not go about things the easy way. By the time she arrived at 5 lbs even...we were all a little on edge. But she was here! And she was healthy - despite a few minor set backs.
Josh and I quickly decided that pregnancy was not for us and that we would adopt the next time around - and so he got a vasectomy. We talked about it casually but always put it off because it was so expensive. Josh was adimate about adopting within our own country but domestic adoption was just too expensive and risky. About a year and a half ago...we started talking about it more seriously and so the prayers began. We just asked God for his clear direction for our family...and we waited. And waited...and waited...for about a year. About 6 months ago, Josh mentioned that he wanted to revisit talking with doctors about trying to get pregnant. I was very hesitant to say the least, but after lots of prayer, I realized that fear was what was making me hesitant. And FEAR IS NOT OF GOD, so we went. We went to my OB/GYN and my hematologist and they told us that "pregnancy is risky". ALL of them...and that they could not tell us whether or not to go forward and try. I should also mention that we have miscarried since we had Gracie...and of course that was in the back of both of our minds during this process. We decided that we would pray on it while Josh was gone and maybe go forward with the vasectomy reversal when he returned. Josh went to Uganda with our church, First Baptist McKinney, on a medical mission trip for the 2nd time for 12 days. I couldn't help but feel that God had something different for us.... Then, on June 10th it all changed. Josh was at an orphanage in Uganda...I was journaling during my quiet time...actually praying for Josh when he called. When he told me that he felt lead to adopt from Uganda...I was blown away. I felt the exact same thing...that God was clearly leading us to adopt from Uganda. So, the process started that day!
Since that day...there have already been ups and downs. We found out that the orphanage we originally wanted to adopt from is not currently accepting applications. We also found out (only an estimate at this point) how much it will cost to adopt...and it is A LOT - between $10,000 and $20,000 possibly. The good news is that Uganda, though it is one of the most difficult to adopt from, it is also one of the cheapest. Praise the Lord for that!!! We were also able to share our news with most of our friend and family members and were happy to see how supportive they were. Some people may not understand where we are coming from, but that is ok. We know, without a doubt, that God has called us to do this. My cousin reminded me of a verse that I memorized when we miscarried. It took on new meaning now:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14
God created OUR child in another woman's womb. And he knew exactly what he was doing when he did it too. I just find that to be beautifully overwhelming..and miraculous...and awesome!!!
We are so excited to be on this journey. Gracie is even on board! When we asked her if she wanted a sister or brother one day...she quickly replied that she wanted a sister. She has named her...and even is sharing now to get ready for her. Now, we are not sure if we will get a boy or girl yet, but anyone who knows Gracie knows that she has a mind of her own!
Thank you for joining us on this journey. More than anything, we would greatly appreciate your prayers. I will post specific prayer requests along the way. I know that your time is valuable and these days...there is just not enough of it. So, thank you so much for reading the blog and following along with us. If you have an inspriational word or verse, please don't hesitate to post it. If you are able to help out financially please let me know - we are trying to raise all of the funds we need. We are selling t-shirts, pot holders, and a few tote bags - let me know if you would like one! I know that there will be so many ups and downs. We are on a long journey...but it is GOD'S JOURNEY and his word tells us that he has great plans for us - so I know we are all in good hands!
Thanks again. And please stay tuned for our next update!