ABBA Canada Grant

Hello, dear friends. We are so excited to announce that we have received a grant for our adoption through ABBA Canada.  They are graciously giving us $3500 which should mostly cover our final agency bill which will be coming up very soon. (Due as we accept our child’s proposal) We are so thrilled to partner with this amazing organization. Check them out!

We hope to write a detailed financial update post soon to let you know exactly where we’re at. We can tell you that God has provided just over $20,000 so far! We just have 1 final invoice from the orphanage itself coming up and our travel costs left. We are getting closer! In addition to the jewelry I’m currently selling, we’re gearing up for a big Lollycakes fundraiser for Mother’s Day.

Praise God for his continued provision! Please stay tuned for more info to come!kroekerfam

And Happy Easter from the Kroeker fam!

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Adoption Jewelry Earring Line

Introducing…my Adoption Jewelry EARRING line!

Many different styles to choose from in various silver, gunmetal and brass tones. And all the earring hooks are STERLING SILVER (yay for those of us with sensitive ears!) Limited stock available so get them while you can!

Earrings are $15/pair or 3 pairs for $40. They come nicely packaged as gifts, so grab a pair for a friend and treat yourself too! (And don’t forget that Mother’s day is coming, folks!) All profits go directly to help us bring baby Kroeker home from West Africa.

I can ship these anywhere in Canada (Just add $2 for postage please) To order, please visit my Adoption Jewelry facebook page and scroll through the photos to see what’s currently available. Please comment on the photo of the item you’d like to buy, or email me at melissakroeker(at)gmail(dot)com to place an order. (There’s also a few necklaces and bracelets left in stock on CLEARANCE for just $10.

Four Seats

We’ve been enjoying an early spring here on the coast and while two weeks of spring break is entirely too long a bit lengthy, I’m thankful it’s begun with nice warm sunny weather.

The kids and I rode our bikes to our favorite playground this week. We’ve been coming to this park regularly since we moved to town six year ago. It’s perfect for really little ones and has always been in close proximity to all the houses we’ve lived in. I noticed for the first time however, as my three piled on the teeter totter, that it has, most appropriately, an empty seat.

And I smiled, thought of our little one to come, and managed to snap a quick photo before they raced on to the next thing.

We’ve room for one more, in our hearts, around our dinner table, and even on the teeter totter at our favorite park.

Part One

Steve is preaching through Ezekiel right now at our church. It’s a wild and crazy book, and the sermon series has been a wild and crazy ride. Yesterday’s sermon covered the passage about the valley of dry bones where God does a crazy miracle and brings a really dead pile of bones back to life. God asks Zeke (I’m totally paraphrasing) “Do you think I can do it?” and Zeke says, “…well…only you know that, God…” Then God does it. He puts the bones back together, puts flesh on the bones and raises up an army out of a pile of old dry bones. Crazy. I don’t know if Ezekiel was expecting that, or believed it could happen. I certainly would have doubted. My prayers so often in this adoption process have echoed that of the man in Mark 9, “I believe – help my unbelief!” I believe in my heart that God can do things, but my head doubts it. I want to believe, but often I don’t, especially when things feel impossible. But, our God is the God of the impossible.

When we mailed in our citizenship part 1 application last November, getting it approved felt impossible. The government had just issued a visa ban on our child’s country, and we’d heard from many others how dealing with CIC was an absolute nightmare, that paperwork is more often lost than processed, and that it always takes months longer than expected. We were told to go into citizenship paperwork with extremely low expectations and that it would be the most frustrating part of the process.

Side note: “Part 1” is a process that confirms that one of us is a legal Canadian citizen and thus able to apply for citizenship for an adopted child. That’s is. Just confirming that we’re Canadian. Huge hassle. Lost paperwork. Totally normal… Did I mention we have valid passports, health cards, Nexus, have always paid our taxes etc….?

Three weeks after we mailed part 1 we received the confirmation that CIC had received it (YAY! – this is big in and of itself – nothing lost yet during its journey from one coast of Canada to the other.) The confirmation letter said it would take 14 weeks to process. This brought us to the week of valentines day.

So 14 weeks later we called CIC to check its progress. Our file number that they had given us, was not a valid file number. (I’m told this is standard practice!) They couldn’t tell us much except that it was likely “in process” and to call back in a few weeks. (Now the official processing time had increased to 24 months…eek!) We called back two weeks later and they weren’t entirely sure where our application was but the man on the phone would “write a letter” to look into things and hopefully speed up the process.

Four days later, this arrived in the mail…

cicpart1Part 1 has been approved. Just like that. It came in a timely fashion and didn’t hold us up. I was absolutely shocked. I was prepared for it to be delayed, lost or misplaced. I was prepared for it to come back rejected because of the our child’s country. I assumed we’d have our child’s referral first and be waiting on this crazy document to go ahead. I was not prepared for it to come back randomly approved! What little faith I have. Our God is the God of the impossible and this felt impossible to me.

And it was one more confirmation from the Lord that he’s leading and guiding us through this process. That he will provide all that we need just when we need it.

In the Waiting

I’ve been wanting to write a post for a while now as an update, but I couldn’t think of anything exciting or positive to say. We’re just waiting. We may be waiting for a while.

Not very newsworthy.

I feel like I should always be “up” when talking about the adoption. People are “so excited” for us. And that’s awesome. We’re so excited too. But sometimes there’s not a lot to be excited about.

Sometimes it’s hard.

We fully knew the journey would be full of ups and downs. The last few weeks have been a down for me. We’ve done all we can do, and now we wait. I’m sure most people would be surprised to find out that we’re roughly 3/4 of the way through the adoption process, and we’re only now at the point where we’re actually waiting for our child’s referral. We’ve spent months and months doing paperwork, reading and researching, regularly meeting with a social worker and completing a home study, wrestling with Canadian citizenship and Immigration, doing medical checks and getting immunizations for travel, and fundraising – without a face or a name. We know there’s a child the orphanage has for us, the child’s paperwork is all ready to go, but we’re all carefully following Hague rules which don’t allow us to know anything about the child until it officially goes from government to government and eventually down to us.This is what we’re waiting on right now.

I get it. It makes sense. It helps protect against child trafficking and that’s important. I understand. I’ve always been a rule follower. But still.

Sometimes rules suck.

Steve pointed out that when I was pregnant with our babies we at least knew how old they would be when they were born. We don’t know how old our child will be, whether we’ll need a crib or a bed, highchair or babygates…This makes the incredible nesting urges I’ve had recently, hard.

Baby showers are really hard. Seeing pregnant women is hard. Knowing they’re obviously expecting and the world knows it, it’s hard. Not having anything exciting happening in our process right now and thus not having anyone asking how it’s going anymore, is hard.

Since by the grace of God I’ve had the privilege of being pregnant before, I equate this stage with starting the third trimester. I’m tired of the process, and restless and bored and yet still have a ways to go. It’s a hurry-up-and-wait feeling. And it’s no fun. I do however have an amazing friend who keeps me grounded, reminds me of God’s promises, sends encouraging texts, listens to me rant, and prays all the time for us. (So thankful for you, buddy!)

All this to say, yes, adopting is exciting. But it’s also really really hard. And we aren’t even home with our child yet when the really hard begins. Being a mama in waiting is hard. But God is good. And walking this exciting but heartwrenching path is a blessing.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mightly rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Ps 62: 5-8)

Arrived!

We got notification this morning that our dossier has arrived safely and quickly to the officials in country. Praising God this morning for his provision! We are one big step closer to bringing our little one home.

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Would you please be praying that our Canadian Citizenship application Part 1 is approved quickly? We are waiting on that right now. We were told when we applied it would take 14 weeks, and that brings us to this week. We’ve heard what a nightmare CIC can be to deal with and we’ve heard about so many families whose Part 1 was lost, or that they waited 8, 10 or even 12 months for this approval. Please join us in praying that we are approved any day now and that Canadian citizenship doesn’t end up causing delays. Thanks, dear friends!

Happy Dance

dossier mapWe’re celebrating lots this week with our official notification that our dossier left the BC Ministry’s office on Monday. (Celebrating = a big dance party with Jeremy, followed by taking Eva and Noah out for donuts after school.) Our agency gave us the courier tracking number for the package and it’s been so fun already to track its progress. The last notification we received is that it left Los Angeles at 2:01am this morning. Wonder where it’s headed next! With a package whose contents are as all-the-documents-about-our-entire-life-that-will-allow-us-to-adopt-a-child it’s really great to be able to keep tabs on it like this! (I wish I could have decorated it with bright washi tape to made it beautiful and then laid our hands on it to pray over it – but it goes straight from our agency to the government and then onward.) This precious package plays a big role in adding to our family. If only the many hands that will handle it could know of its great importance to us.

We’re updating our dining room chalkboard map with our dossier’s current location as well as keeping a “days waiting” chart where the kids can put a mark each day until we receive our referral. Hopefully I’ve left enough room on the chalkboard…! Thanks for your prayers everyone!

****Update Feb 19th: It went to Leipzig, Germany then Brussels, Belgium then Lagos, Nigeria, then Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. It’s getting close!

A good mail day

It’s dark and dreary here today. Rain has poured down at times. It’s not a day mail delivery workers particularly enjoy. I heard our noisy mailbox lid slam shut, meaning some mail had just been left, but it was an hour or two later before I got around to checking it.

Can I just admit that the sight of a Manilla envelop takes my breath away? I love them. They mean progress. They mean things are happening. Yet I find it ironic that they carry such important things in such plain clothes. I’d doodle vines and flowers and cover them all in washi tape if I had my way…

This package actually arrived quite damp and slightly opened at one end. But inside was tangible proof that we are moving forward, that God has done amazing things to bring us to this point.
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Today we received a copy of our dossier. A thick volume of documents, notarized with signatures and seals everywhere and in two languages – never has a document been so precious. Months and months of hard work, tedious forms, hundreds of emails and many phone calls have finally resulted in a beautiful pile of papers.

Would you please join me in praying over our dossier? Ours is just a copy – the real package is on it’s way to Guinea. So many things could go wrong, it could be lost, misplaced, set aside for many months. Please join us in praying it arrives safely, gets into the right hands properly and is reviewed by the Guinea Central Authority in a timely matter. Once they review and approve it, they’ll send our child’s proposal through the government, to our agency, then to us. We are getting closer to a face and a name!

Deep breath. One big step closer to our little one.

En Francais

Our dossier is complete! It’s officially translated, notarized and ready to go! Our agency now sends it to the BC Ministry of Child and Family Development who will courier it to the Guinea Central Authority in Conakry. Within a week or two we should get word that it’s en route to Africa. [happy dance!]

While we’ve had some bumps and wrinkles along the way, overall we are amazed at how smooth and quick things have gone up until this point. We would appreciate your joining us in prayer over our dossier. This package of documents, photos, references, medical forms, certificates, letters and our home study is really our entire life in a manilla envelope, being fed-exed across the globe. This is the part where things can get lost, misplaced, and go terribly wrong. Please pray it is sent quickly, arrives safely and is looked at in a timely manner, and that we get a child proposal soon after. This stage of government to government communication can happen over a matter of weeks or many, many, many months. Please pray for God’s hand on this part of the process, as well as for patience for us as we wait for details and photos of our child. Thank you!

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Here’s to 2015!

Happy New Year! We had a quiet New Year’s celebration that included take-out, movies and board games and in recent years that seems to suit us just fine. After a feeling a little sad over Christmas, I welcomed New Years, trusting and hoping that 2015 will be the year that little one joins our family.

I’ve had this song playing in my head on repeat pretty much all of Christmas break. Partly because Mac Powell’s voice is so deep and emotional and rich, but partly because the chorus puts to words the aches in my heart. I’ve tried so hard to carry on as usual, but my heart is heavy knowing someone is missing. I’ve been pregnant before on Christmas, and enjoyed the kicks and movements and fun anticipation of baby-to-come, but this year, the sense that baby-to-come is already out there and not with us and missing out, was often in the back of my mind.

It’s a wild ride, this adoption journey. There are moments of such excitement, anticipation and joy, and moments of heartache and longing, as well as moments of sheer terror, of panic and what-are-we-getting-ourselves-into? But, over all of it, is such a clear, firm, reassuring sense that God is in this. God has called us to this, and there is a little one out there who will someday be part of our family. It’s a crazy faith ride, trusting God more than ever before. And that’s exactly where we want to be. Trusting God, not relying on ourselves. Giving all we have to follow him in where he’s leading. We are privileged to be on this journey, to be in a place of relying on God, to have our hearts stretched and our faith grow.

There’s a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for her momma’s arms at an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are
But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine
It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home
Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas

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