Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Doubt, Faith and Gracie!

Sitting in the Chicago airport watching flight after flight get canceled, I could feel my blood pressure start to rise and my attitude start to change, for the worse!  Just a few short hours before we had boarded a plane from Haiti headed home and were eager to hold our two boys in our arms and love on them.  We had just spent the past 4 days loving on our "hopefully" future daughter and saying goodbye had been tough.  Spending those fours days completely devoted to her and loving on her had been one of the most incredible experiences I have ever been a part of but saying goodbye was quickly becoming more devastating as we sat and waited for our last of three flights home.  Just one hour separated us from our boys, our bed and a schedule that would help keep us busy with the last week of school.  We needed to get home and quick!
Our time in Haiti had been amazing.  Filled will love, reassurance we were on the right track, confirmation that our "faith" in God had led us to this point and some blessed time with others on the same exact journey.  At one point I sat around the pool talking with another adoptive dad about our faith and how doubt still creeps in.  We decided it was okay to have that doubt, to a certain degree, because God truly wants to rock our world in those times.  We sat and told story after story of how doubt had shown its nasty face and then God swooped in and showed us exactly how in control He really was!  It was some of the best moments with complete strangers I can ever remember. 
Then our trip home began.  Coming off of an extremely emotional goodbye our day in the air started to unravel...
Let me give you an example of just how much God was in control even though I doubted him!!...
~In the Miami airport I was quickly stopped going through TSA because I had packed a brick from the Creche(orphanage).  It was a cool reminder of where these kids are coming from.  Apparently on an x-ray it looks a lot like another type of brick that is NOT allowed in the USA!  All was well though and I got to keep my brick!
~Once to our gate in Miami our plane was delayed.  Great!! Our connection in Chicago was shortly after landing and this was making it look improbable.  On top of that a message came from our agency asking for Passport photos.  So we quickly downloaded a passport photo app on the Ipad and took our pictures right in the middle of a busy terminal.  Done!  The delay had given us time to breath and take care of this pretty major task! Still doubting though...
~Once in Chicago we booked it to our departure gate and were greeted by a plane that was still waiting for its crew.  An hour passed, then another.  Our chance of leaving on time was shot and it was now 10:30pm.  The crew finally arrived but to a plane with no power, we waited for the power to be restored and boarded.  Upon boarding we notified that the air conditioning was out and we would now have to exit the plane and wait for word on the next steps.  The next steps came at 1:30am when we were told we were not flying home that day, given hotel and meal vouchers and sent on our way. 
We would have to take the following day off of work without pay and I was NOT happy about that.  Our profession really dings us when we take days off like this and just thinking about that got my heart racing!
~We slept well that night, knowing we didn't leave for home until 3:15 the next day.  However we were woken by a phone call from our agency again.  They needed a picture of our actual passports immediately as they were presenting our paperwork to Haiti for approval.  I quickly sent picture after picture until we got ones that looked good and we packed and headed for the airport. 
~At the airport we killed time eating and just hanging out and waited for our flight to board.  Boarding time came and our flight was delayed...another air conditioner problem.  Fumes shot from my ears and tears ran down Annes cheeks.  It was more than we could handle and that doubt crept in big time.  Why is this happening and what is God trying to say.  This whole time I kept getting messages from my mom saying things like, "God just doesn't want you on that plane at this time, keep the faith".  Shortly after the last message like that we boarded a new plane and were ready to head home!

~~Sitting on that last plane, ready to fly home our lives changed forever and our faith in God truly became reality again!  Just as the pilot asked for electronics to be turned off we checked our emails, text messages and of course Facebook one last time.  Right there in our Facebook messages was an update to our adoption families that the Peters family had been approved by Haiti to adopt Gracie Marie!!  We shouted, scaring everyone on the plane, and cried!  It was the perfect end to a day filled with doubt.  God came through in one of those perfect moments like He always does!  I can just picture his belly laugh, shaking his head and saying, "You crazy kids, you make me laugh, I told you it was going to be okay.  Look at this beautiful little girl and enjoy!"

Amazing.  A quick recap on our flight home went like this.  The delay in Miami allowed us time to get our passport photos in.  The cancellation in Chicago put us in a hotel and made us cancel work for the following day.  Not being at worked allowed us to be in a hotel room, with our passports at the exact time we needed to be sending them to Haiti.  If we would have been at work we would not have had those documents.  If we would not have had those documents to send we WOULD NOT have gotten in to the Haitian system called IBESR. 
And finally if we would have been on time for our flight home we would not have found out about our acceptance until we got home to Sioux Falls.  That would have been fine but with God's perfect timing we were able to spend the entire flight reflecting on Gracie, God's beautiful orchestration of this all and soaking up His ability to renew or strength and faith! 
So with great excitment we are able to say that we are expecting a baby girl.  Gracie Marie is 18 months old, 16 pounds and amazingly beautiful!!
Because of our doubt AND our faith we are able to be constantly amazed at how REAL and TANGIBLE and EVER PRESENT God really is.  He is here Hallelujah, He is here Amen!

Doubt + faith= Gracie!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wish List

Here we are!  In the final stretch before our first ever visit to Haiti.  We will be leaving Wednesday night and coming back soon after on Sunday night.  A great trip, but much too quick.  We will be meeting the children at Giving Hope Rescue Mission and taking part in lots of fun activities.  They will be having birthday celebrations, time on the beach with the kids and just a lot of loving on all of these special little folks!
Since this is our first time traveling to Haiti we are excited but also nervous.  There are a lot of people that have helped coach us through this maiden voyage and yet the uncertainty of it all still leaves a knot in my stomach.  Maybe it's nerves but more it is probably just straight up Excitement for what God has in store. 
We have asked you all for a lot of prayers and support and we thank you immensely for that!  Without you we certainly would not be at this point in the journey and we owe you all more than we could ever repay!
Dancing with the Staff was a great time and a big success!  Our current garage sale is going great and it is fun to share our story with so many strangers!  And the pure randomness of God providing is unbelievable!!
It is all crazy!!

But like I said we are leaving on the 15th and are wrapping our heads around the trip.  One thing that we keep hearing and getting are requests from the orphanage in regards to their needs.  Unlike us they do not have the luxury of running down the street to a Target or WalMart.  If they need something they generally have to ask someone to bring it with when they visit.  And we are taking this opportunity to ask for them!!
This time it is ALL ABOUT the people that take care of these incredible kids!
We are filling four large suitcases with supplies and other requests from the missionaries and the children.  If you have any desire to drop off any of the items listed below please let us know as soon as possible so we can pack things in the best possible way!! We hope to have our big bags packed Monday night so we can enjoy our boys on Tuesday night!

Some of the items requested:

Soccer balls
Balls can be used or new and we will flatten then before we go

Beef Jerky
Fruit Snacks
Dried Fruit
Prepackaged snack foods that won't melt
Hard Candies

Baby Formula-Up and Up- Found at Target
Baby wipes

Clothespins- wooden
Snake for a toilet- This one should be new, ha

Thank you and God Bless!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dancing, Garages and the Internet!

Wow!  What an amazing few weeks we have had!  The support from our community, family, friends and even some outstanding strangers has left us in shock!  We set a goal a few weeks ago with the help of an anonymous donors matching funds and by the time the smoke cleared (from my sweet dance moves) we reached our goal.  We are completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from all of you!  Turning in our payment to VOTO was an unbelievable feeling!  To know that we are that much further along in the process truly makes this feel just a little more real! 
Before I go on though we need to thank some people...The staff and students of Brandon Valley for thinking of us and supporting us with Dancing With The Staff!  It was a blast!  Thank you to the many people that supported us with our matching funds drive and especially to our Anonymous Donor!! What a blessing you are! And a big thank you to the many people that have stood beside us on this journey and watched it unfold in only ways that God could think up!
Now down to some exciting stuff and updates!  In just two short weeks Anne and I will be traveling to Montrouis, Haiti to visit the Giving Hope Rescue Mission (Facebook Like them).  We will have an opportunity to meet the children and staff and get to spend some very special time with them!!  It will be an amazing time for us and one that will provide some out of this world experiences I am sure.  If I had time to write a book I would tell you about all of the unbelievable things that have happened to make this trip a reality and why we are so excited for it!  Please stop by or give a call for the details if you are interested!  We won't disappoint you, promise!
Along with that we are praying that our paperwork will miraculously make it into the doors of the Haiti Offices!  It is an up and down time for them but we have high expectations that God has got this one taken care of also! 
Once we make it into IBESR we will be "official" and the games begin!!  That is when we start the next phase of this crazy journey and put even more Faith in God to do his thing! 
It may sound crazy but our fundraising is going to be an ongoing thing for a little while yet.  There are fees all throughout this process and although we have covered a huge percentage of them already we are trying to be prepared for anything that Haiti may throw at us.  Between future payments, travel costs and "closing fees" we expect we will need around $4,000 to $6,000.  And with the every lingering possibility of a certain young boy becoming available we need to be prepared as well.  We have a start but also have a few super simple ways for you to help if you are interested.  Check them out below...
Garage Sale- May 9-11- Our garage is quickly filling up but if you have any items just laying around you would like to get rid of please let us know!  We will be having a free will garage sale with the hopes that people will support our mission.  The boys will also be selling popcorn and lemonade which they are pumped about!  And a good friend of ours has given us some golf accessories to sell so please come check things out also.  Our address is 1612 River Oak Ave in Brandon.
Pure Charity- This may be the easiest way in the world to help out!  Do you enjoy shopping?  How about shopping online?  Then we have got the ticket for you!!!!  When you register with Pure Charity the businesses that you order from online donate a portion of your purchase to the charity of your choice.  We have have set up a link to the right-----> that will take you to our site.  You simply sign up, choose to follow our fundraiser and then when you make purchases those businesses donate a small amount.  Old Navy, Gap, Best Buy, Verizon, Nike, Walmart, Home Depot, Target...You name it and it is probably on there.  You really don't have to do anything other than register.  It is that easy and you get to feel even better about your shopping experience!  If you have any questions please let us know.  But also please SHARE our page with your friends, family and facebook world!! Together we can shop our way to Haiti!!
God Bless!