Visiting Lalibela

Visiting Lalibela

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The picture above

I absolutely LOVE how Alissa Ferullo ( captured our kids in the picture at the top of the blog. It shows several really neat things:

1. My kids love to laugh and love to laugh together.

2. Look at their feet!! That just makes me smile...Gavin always points out how they are all the same on the bottom.

3. These kids are all OUR kids. They may look different or come from different wombs, but thankfully, they are all still OUR kids. It may take a few months to feel like a real family after adoption, but by the Grace of God, we DO!! We are a family and love each other immensely.

4. If you only knew some of the heartache Gavin has suffered in his life- this picture is amazing. He is truly as happy as this picture shows everyday. God redeemed him by orchestrating his addition into our family. His smile is infectious and he doesn't care who he spreads it to!

5. Finally, it shows how we all feel about adoption-- WE LOVE IT!! We can't wait to grow our family again and use Alissa to capture the fun family moments. Thank you so much Alissa. We smile everyday at the wonderful pictures you have blessed us with!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So, what's next?

I've been asked by a couple of people about where we are in our new adoption process. We are in what's called the paperchase. Our intial paperwork will be mailed overnight to America World tonight, which will allow us to be assigned a family coordinator. In the meantime, we are also filling out paperwork for our homestudy, through Catholic Charities of North Dakota. Thankfully, we will be able to use the same social worker, who did Gavin's post placement visit in December and is helping with his readoption here (He is our son, the readoption process just allows us to get a US birth certificate for him and changes his citizenship from permanent residetnt to US citizen).

We hope to have our homestudy visits in March and have our paperchase finished by the end of March. Then, if our SW approves us for the number of children we HOPE to adopt, we will be able to view their file, accept their referral, wait for approval from Homeland Security, apply for a court date, pass court, then TRAVEL...WHEW!!

We are praying for everything to be finished quickly, as USCIS (Homeland Security) is backlogged from the crisis in Haiti. We know our paperwork there can be there for awhile..The other thing we hope is to have everything to Ethiopia so we can get a court date before August. Courts close from August to October. If we don't get everything done and a court date before August, it means months more in waiting for these children. We would appreciate any and all prayers toward this end.

Finally, the Sweeney Family loves hand-me-downs. If you're going through old clothes and want to give them to a family who will use them, we will hope to have children in all shapes and sizes to wear them. We would appreciate all good hand-me-downs, including 2 more good bikes.

On non-adoption related news: I took Kael to see his cardiologist yesterday, because he had been experiencing alot of leg pains (this is his typical pattern of needing intervention)...Praise God!! His aorta is so wide open and heart functioning so well, that Dr. Wiggins doesn't need to see him until he's adult sized!! He thinks the leg pain may be coming from the Vit. D supplements we're all on to combat the lack of sunshine here. We hope that is the fix he needs. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Here we go again!!!

We've been so excited to share this news with everyone. When we got back from Ethiopia last year,with Gavin, we really thought our family was complete. We had no idea that God had other plans and by having Mike, Elli, Janika and Kael meet a young boy in Ethiopia last year, that our best laid plans were completely turned upside down. This young boy changed their lives and all of our hearts. We've been praying for several young children to find their forever families, since we returned. Around December, our kids started saying to us, "We have room for more." "We have this huge house for a reason." We found pictures of kids that they were praying for (and had personally met) on our refrigerator with the words PRAY around them. Oh, to have the faith of a child!!

In January, my heart started to open to the idea..about 2 weeks later, Mike's did too. We contacted our agency about initiating the process again and heard today that we've been officially accepted back into the Ethiopia program. This is an answered prayer for us, as the kids we want to bring home have been waiting a long time for a family..We hope to be that family. We won't know, until our home study is completed if we are the right family for them, but we really hope to be.

This time around, we have complete peace about the process even though it's a complete leap of faith for us. You see, last year, we splurged and took all of our kids with us to Ethiopia, thinking it would be a once in a lifetime trip. Little did we know at the time, that God wanted our kids to be there to be our encouragement to return. So, now we need to come up with the adoption expenses again and God is already meeting us there. International adoption is expensive, VERY expensive, but when we look at Gavin and count the cost, we know it is worth it. Our attitude about the costs has changed as our hearts have become open to more children. Last year, we didn't ask anyone for help with our expenses. This year, in order to bring these children home in a short amount of time, we have to humble ourselves and let everyone know our need. Let me assure you, we have the money to raise them, it's the upfront costs that are steep, especially since we made this trip less than one year ago. We are willing to work hard for the expenses, as a family.

If 300 people would donate $100 each, the adoption expenses would be covered. That sounds pretty simple, when it's broken down like that. Here's everyone's opportunity to be involved and help us bring our children home!! This money truly goes to give these children a hope and a future.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Red Hots

Mike and I love to hear Janika and Elli sing for us. Mike dubbs them the "Red Hots." They sing regularly at church, with Jani playing lead guitar for the Praise Team. This a perfect song for Valentine's Day and for adoption, when the road often seems so long, but when you decide to just give your love to a child, the mountains become small.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love the smile!!

Gavin has a million dollar smile!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I am encouraged

Over the past two weeks, I have seen many, many families step back into this adoption game for ROUND 2. It's interesting to me, that those who have gone before us or even with us WANT to go back and yet people who haven't adopted are the ones who usually question you when you decide to bring more children into your home. The ones who have been there and are going back are encouraging to us!! They have looked into the eyes of children who are ACHING for a family and are willing to provide that love. I am so blessed to be a part of such a caring, community..the members of our YG who are living their faith in the most tangible way..loving on orphans in their distress. (Truth is- the ones who have already done it know how blessed they are by having a new child)

We look forward to following each of their adventures..We're praying for you too, Dale and Kristi, as you emark on your journey to your girls. We love you and your family and can't wait to see you all together!!!