I-800 Approval

Today, I called to check on our immigration approval. This was my second call - the first was on Monday when our very nice officer told me that it wasn't ready and to check back probably at the end of the week or first of next week. I was disappointed but resigned. :) Today when I called, I found out that we were actually approved on Tuesday! HOORAY!

The official letter arrived in the mail today. Unfortunately, it had an error that I immediately spotted. So, we called and e-mailed and our officer will fix it. Hopefully it won't delay us to much.

We are thankful for the continued movement forward - January travel is still looking very possible and we are praying for that!



I don't think I can fully express how much my heart was touched by the words shared by our two oldest on Thanksgiving. P was the second person to share what he was thankful for and he said, "I am thankful Emmarie is my sister." A few rounds later, C passionately talked about China and how thankful he was for Emmarie and that he can't wait to get her home.

My heart was so glad to hear the genuine concern and care (completely unprompted) for their new sister. They are so excited for her to be home and God definitely used them to lay adoption on our hearts again. C also shared that he wished he could, "Go in the blink of an eye and bring her home." Our boys have been troopers. They have faithfully prayed, dreamed big dreams, and eagerly waited to meet Emmarie. I can't wait to see all four of our kiddos together. Thank you God for showing us your way, growing our hearts, and providing for our family. Blessed.



Wow. That pretty much sums up how we are feeling right now. I was working on Thanksgiving baking this afternoon and paused to check my e-mail to find an e-mail from a grant organization. The subject line read, "Congratulations to the F Family from JSC Foundation." I opened the e-mail and was immediately overwhelmed. You see, they graciously awarded our family a very generous  grant for Emmarie's adoption! It was more than we had even dared to hope for and we certainly did not know if we would be selected for a grant at all!

We are just rejoicing! Grant applications are hard and intense and time consuming - filled with financial information, essays, personal questions, and in this case, an interview with our pastor, too (thank you, Michael!). Sometimes you wonder if it's worth it - especially when you know there have to be so many people applying! Well, we can definitely testify that it was worth it. We are so thankful to the JSC Foundation for their generosity and for their allowing us to share our heart and family with them. The organization was beyond kind in all of our communication with them.

Our hearts are overflowing with thankfulness. We feel so blessed and so humbled! We simply cannot believe that we are down to about $3,000 to have her adoption fully funded. AMAZING.



Funding Update

We wanted to give a thanksgiving update! We have been SO blessed through our garage sales, Pampered Chef, gifts from people, coffee sales, bracelets, and Purdue Concessions and are so thankful to have been able pay cash for all of our expenses to date - over $11,000! We also already have about $6,000 towards the remaining adoption fees and flights! WOW! So thankful! So that leaves about $8,000-10,000 to go! It's looking like travel will be in January sometime!

If you are interested in helping us, there are a few ways:

1) Village to Village - http://www.villagetovillageintl.com/the-falk-family-family-42.php - a tax deductible way to contribute.

2) Pampered Chef - http://pamperedchef.biz/alaina - I'm having a party through the rest of this month (closing November 30) if you need any Christmas gifts - just enter my name as host or click on this link http://pamperedchef.biz/alaina?page=host-search-results&showId=3914611! Things can be shipped to you or to me (if you live local)! I'm also happy to do catalog and cooking shows! My mom is also having a show on December 4 if any of you are local and would like to attend a show!

3) Thirty-One Gifts - November 27-December 8, we have a friend who is graciously doing a fundraiser for us! (Please wait until the 27th to put your order in but you can shop now!) All orders will arrive before Christmas - and again you can ship to me if you live local or ship to your address is you don't! https://www.mythirtyone.com/shop/catalog.aspx?eventId=E2476830&from=DIRECTLINK

We are so grateful. We knew what God was calling us to but really, really did not know how the financial end would work. We are so thankful for the extra income God has provided and for the love and support of family and friends through gifts, prayers, babysitting, working concessions and so much more. We are blown away! THANK YOU!

Seriously can't wait to get this sweet girl home! Love her so much already and look at this picture ALL the time! :)


Getting Ready

Yesterday, I spent some time working on Emmarie's room. I sorted through the baby toys we have and kept only the ones that I thought she might still enjoy - shape sorter, blocks, musical instruments etc., - the rest I passed on to my sister. We hung her light fixture and put down the rug. I sorted through her adorable clothes and made her bed. I still need to paint and move some furniture and get rid of some furniture but I made some progress!

It's so hard to imagine that we will have another little face around our table and in our lives. I'm so anxious to meet her - I've dreamed twice about the moment we meet and they were beautiful dreams. I know the reality is that it could be really hard as she meets strangers for the first time. While we don't know what exactly her needs will be, we are ready - we love her and we know she is ours! God made that crystal clear to us!

In these final weeks as a family of five, I treasure the moments while anticipating the future. I have a feeling that bringing Emmarie home might mellow some eager brothers - is that wishful thinking? Perhaps. :)

Some Prayer Requests for Us:
1) We have so much to do before the trip - especially around the house and prepping freezer meals. Pray for the time and energy!

2) We are still working towards having the full amount for the adoption. Pray that God will continue to provide. We have been SO BLESSED!

3) Leaving the boys for 2 weeks is going to be HARD. As we anticipate that, please pray that we will have peace. We are working towards giving the boys as much stability as possible during those two weeks. 

4) Pray for Emmarie - for health and safety and that God would be preparing all of us for each other. Meeting us and becoming a part of our family will change everything she knows. Pray for a smooth transition.



After a rough first part of the week and some really frustrating and discouraging things (not adoption related), I was settled in to have a great big pity party. Oh wait, the electric blanket and comfy spot on the couch as well as candy wrappers next to me are evidence enough that I had already started. :) I was enjoying the boys - Titus is sick with a fresh cold and we were all cuddling and watching a documentary - but I was feeling a little blue.

I checked my e-mail right around 6 and gasped. The letters we have been waiting for L-O-A were in the subject line of an e-mail from our adoption coordinator. HOORAY! We received our LOA - the document that officially approves us to adopt Emmarie! This is also the document that was taking an average of 90 some odd days for people on our timeline (with Pre-Approval AFTER Log-in).

Day 73 - our agency received it! This means (hopefully) 8-10 weeks until travel! We have several steps (and some more funding) before we get there but this was a big one and we are incredibly thankful! We appreciate continued prayers that the remaining paperwork will go smoothly and efficiently. We are rejoicing tonight! Shrieks and tears - from me, not Andrew - pretty sure he would want me to clarify that. :)