Friday, March 17, 2017

A Really Big Update



Valentine's Day was extra sweet for us this year. We finally received our referral, which means we are officially matched to our precious child!

NOTE: Due to the sensitive nature of international adoption, we are not able to share/post pictures or any identifiable information about our child. For those of you who have pictures or know information about our child, we kindly request your support and consideration by not sharing any pictures or identifiable information about our child.


Because we are not able to share photos or information online, we decided to share the good news by having an Adoption Reveal Party with several of our closest friends and family on March 4th. 


Our parents came up that weekend - yes, we made them wait until they got here to know anything about our little one! We decided to do a private reveal with them the night before the party and took them to an Ethiopian restaurant in Cary right after sharing pictures with them. They were SO surprised -- they really believed we were going to make them wait until the Reveal Party to find out! :) 
Our family celebration at Awaze. (Left to right: Joseph; Laura;  Laura's Mom, Rina; Laura's Dad, Jeff; Joseph's Dad, Lee; and Joseph's Mom, Cathy)

The Reveal Party was the following night. It was such a sweet time to gather and celebrate with so many of you who have walked this wild journey with us. 


These two ladies are rock stars! Deb (left) and Ellen (right) organized the party, decorated, and ran the whole show. They are incredible!! We felt so honored by all of the work these ladies (and many others) did for us - we are truly so grateful!
Check out their handiwork! It was beautiful - nicer than some wedding receptions, to be completely honest. :)
The room filled with friends, family, and lots of little kiddos. :)
We ate some yummy Mexican food from Moe's, thanks to Joseph's parents, Lee and Cathy for providing the dinner!
 
Ellen made this beautiful wood art of Africa for the party where we asked people to guess boy or girl by placing either a pink or blue push pin on the wood. You can't see the push pins in this picture, but it was super cute. :)


After we unwrapped our gift (the picture) people came up to take a closer look.  Yes, there were lots of sweet tears.
"Look how cute?!"


Lots of sweet embraces!


Take your time - the picture is adorbs!

My friend, Lauren Brown, deserves a lot of credit for taking these sweet pictures and helping us remember the day. This is Laura and her Dad - daddys&daughters is a sweet thing. 
And Laura and her mom - she was Team Pink, if you couldn't tell. ;) 


 We owe a huge thanks to several people for helping out, members of our small group (who are truly some of the most self-less people we know), and other members from our church who graciously gave up a Saturday afternoon/evening to help make it a memorable time. 


The Process

Now that we've been matched we are working through the process to bring our little one home. Right now, we are estimating 6-12months, but praying we have our little one home by October -- and we would love for all of you to join us in that prayer. 

We will be fundraising once again to help cover our travel expenses. By God's grace, we have been able to cover all of the adoption fees to this point -- the next big thing is travel, and we cannot wait! :)

One thing is certain - we have seen the Lord answer many, many prayers in this journey. While we have a long road ahead, we are anticipating many, many more answered prayers along the way. He's a good, good Father - we know this to be true. 

Now, we can't share any details about our little one, but I will say is this: we have lots of baby dolls and pink tutus in our future. :) 

#PrayBabyThigpenHome





Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September 27th - Not Just Another Day

To some, September 27th is just another day on the calendar. Perhaps it's a special day, like an anniversary or birthday. Or maybe it's a solemn day of memorial. For us, September 27th is somewhat of a combination: another day on the calendar, an anniversary, and a sobering reminder of a desire unfulfilled.

Three years ago today we officially began the process to adopt from Ethiopia. Three years, and we are still waiting.

Reflections

As I reflect on these years of waiting, I think of all the craziness we've endured - even things I haven't been able to share on this blog. The excitement and thrills, the valleys and lows, none of which have been experienced in vain.

Doubt

There have been many times along the way that we began to doubt whether or not we made the right choice. Unfortunately, there have been times when others have caused us to doubt by asking questions like, "Well, when is enough enough?" and "Maybe you should consider another option that's easier?" Until the Lord calls us to move, we remain faithful to His plan.

However, I am learning that His plan is like growing a vineyard: planting a fruitful vine in earthy, rocky soil and cultivating it for years before it yields its best fruit. But, what we desire is immediate gratification. Like water, we choose the path of least resistance.

Affirmation

On the road of tumultuous doubt, the Lord in His kindness has provided His affirmation along the way through others who have spoken the truth of God's Word to us, who have labored alongside us in prayer and fasting, and who have supported us financially in ways we never expected. Every time one of these things happens, it's like the Lord whispers to us, "I have you right where I want you. So, be faithful." His reminders are always timely; He knows our fickle hearts.

So, Be Faithful

We have a good, good Father. Our good Abba has not, is not, and will not abandon us. We have a child in Ethiopia, waiting in an orphanage, who cannot make a plea to the Lord for help, but we can. The Lord intercedes for us, the Spirit groans on our behalf, because a good father cares for his children when they cannot care for themselves.

Many times these three years when we have looked to the other side and seen the plush green grass, our hearts have been unreliable and tempted to abandon this call. But Jesus demands our faithfulness, so we will continue to till our earthy, rocky soil and water our vineyard with patience and hope.

The Process

Today, we will be mailing a request to be re-fingerprinted for the third time (we have been fingerprinted more than 3 times, however this will be the third time by this particular department of the government). It seems silly to me that fingerprints expire, nevertheless, this is the process. I pray this is the last time we have to do this before we bring our baby home!

How You can Pray

Pray that the Lord would move this mountain that is hindering our child's paperwork from being signed for approval to be referred. Pray that we would continue to relentlessly pursue our little one, and that the Lord would give us wisdom and discernment in the process.

Thank you for continuing to pray!

"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:25


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Long Overdue Update

Many of you have asked us how things are going with our adoption in person, through texts, emails, and Facebook messages, so for those of you we've already talked to, this will not be any new information. However, we felt it was time to let everyone know where we are and what's going on.

On November 18th of last year, we were notified by our placing agency that they would be closing their doors effective December 30th, 2015. After a year and a half of waiting on a "waiting family" list, this was the exact opposite of the news we were expecting to receive. After all, we had been told just a month before that we could get our referral at any time.

We were devastated.
Heartbroken.
And quite honestly, we really didn't know how to cope with the news.

We immediately reached out to some friends for wisdom, guidance, and prayers. Should we stay with our main agency and change to the other placing agency they partnered with and hope (once again) for the best? Should we change country programs entirely? Should we switch to a completely different agency? Or was the Lord closing the door on adoption?

The same feelings of loss and hurt that we felt after our miscarriage eerily welled up from the deepest parts of our hearts as we tried desperately to navigate our way through the wake of this announcement. Twenty-four hours later, we found ourselves on the phone with a woman from an entirely different agency, and the Lord gave us our answer.

We began the process of updating our home study and applying to this new agency at the same time. All along the way, we have felt a steady conviction that the Lord has called us specifically to adopt from Ethiopia -- removing ourselves from the process of adopting from Ethiopia was not an option.

By the beginning of January, our home study was updated and we were ready to receive our referral, but.... yes, there always seems to be a big "but" in our story... the process slowed significantly in Ethiopia right around that same time and has remained slow since. We ended up having to completely re-do our dossier, although it's painstaking, our little one is worth it. Our dossier is done. And once again, we are waiting.

We have been encouraged, and we would like to encourage you that during this season of waiting that we would know exactly on whom we wait. Not Ethiopia. Not an agency or government officials. But -- we wait on the Lord. We know His plans are perfect. His plans are good to those who love Him and are called by Him. His purposes will not be thwarted. And not one millisecond of our waiting will be wasted.

When I share our story to someone who's never heard it before, I hear how often our plans have been changed; I hear those statements, "Things were moving, but... We were ready for our referral, but... We got our paperwork done, but..." and I think to myself, "it's been a long journey."

But...
The Lord, in His kindness reminds me of those major "but" statements in scripture on which my entire hope depends...

"And such were some of you (sinners). But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." I Cor. 6:11

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" Romans 8:15

"...But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ -- by grace you have been saved -- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7

The glory of God shines through each conjunction. His glory is not diminished or tainted by the conjunctions in our story either. No one, no thing, no circumstance can steal His glory, and I believe He is and will be glorified in our waiting, in our altered plans, and in our crazy "but" circumstances.

How can you help?
Pray.
Pray with us that we would faithfully, and obediently wait only on the Lord.

Us parasailing. :) Oh, the things you can see when your perspective changes...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Peace : A state in which there is no war or fighting. (Merriam-Webster)

It's been a while since we've lasted given an update, and I have to say that there are reasons why we haven't been able to. I would love to be able to explain in detail the reasons we've been so silent...one day I will.

We often feel like we're fighting an uphill battle on this journey. We were faced with what seemed like an impossible obstacle recently, but we have been amazed to see the Lord work wonders in the midst of uncertainty.

We are still waiting for our referral from Ethiopia. We are praying with persistence that the Lord will continue to work mightily on our behalf as He has done all along. This journey has sometimes been one filled with self-doubt mingled with great hope. We are hoping. We are waiting. We are praying.

Our greatest need right now is for people to pray specifically for *peace.* If you are willing, please  pray for *peace* over our adoption from Ethiopia.

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. 

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; 
for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 

and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:24-28

Friday, July 17, 2015

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

The Lord is so gracious!

Well, we have a new number - feel free to ask us about that! I have been overwhelmed the last few weeks by the way the Lord has provided for us. People have been prompted to pray for us at times without us or anyone else asking for it. I've received several messages from people that they're just thinking about us and praying for peace, patience, and also praying that our wait will end soon. And we've also had a few people send financial support through our PayPal link on our blog - which has truly been a blessing! The closer we get to receiving our referral, the closer we need to be to having fully raised our funds. More fundraising to come! ;)

So, THANK YOU to those of you who are supporting us in this crazy adoption journey. We hope the wait will be over soon so we can post pictures of our little one, but in the meantime, pictures of us will have to suffice. :)

Last month we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary - grace upon grace, y'all! It has been an amazing 5 years filled with lots of laughter, fun, tears, sorrow, happiness, hard work, sadness, hugs and kisses, "I'm sorry's" and "I love you's," rejoicing, grieving, and waiting...but most importantly, faith, hope, and love! So, we took a trip to NYC to celebrate in style. ;)



Wall Street, NYC

Before our fancy dinner at Marc Forgone


Waiting to see Wicked!

I really wanted to yell, "KEVIN!" as we walked by, but thought that might draw unwanted attention. :)

When it rains in NY and you're walking everywhere, just stop in Macy's on 34th and buy some rain boots. :)

Still waiting for our little Thigpen...with great anticipation!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Long, Overdue Update

Time for an update! A lot has happened since our last post. We still can't post our waitlist number on social media, but we have seen some movement! Please feel free to message us and ask what our new number is. :)

FUNDRAISING


Pancake Fundraiser, Crestview, FL

In March our wonderful parents, Lee & Cathy Thigpen and Jeff & Rina Childers, hosted an incredible pancake breakfast fundraiser! We had so many people come out to show support; it was overwhelming and wonderful. If you were able to come and support us - THANK YOU!!!
We were able to raise $5,410 at this fundraiser alone!!

Yard Sale, Raleigh, NC

We recently had a yard sale at our home in Raleigh where we were able to raise $305.22!
We always like having yard sales as it gives us a chance to meet more of our neighbors and share our story. :)

We have more fundraisers in mind, so I'll be posting soon about those!
**Watch our Fundraising Thermometer Grow on the right-hand side of this page!**

Update

We recently had a little bit of a scare after the U.S. Department of State put out an alert about the adoption process in different regions of Ethiopia; however, we've been in touch with our agency and have confirmed that adoptions are still being processed - the process is just a little different (and a little longer) in some of these regions.

No matter what, the process is long. September will officially be 2 years since we began the process to adopt - a long time, I know!! I wish I could tell you it won't be much longer now, but we just don't know that for sure. We continue to pray for movement on the waiting list - and the Lord has been answering those prayers, no doubt! Nevertheless, we're still waiting.

In August we will begin updating our paperwork to keep it current, and to keep it from expiring while we're in the waiting process. At least we've had a break from that for a while! :)

Your prayers are always appreciated as we continue to wait and fundraise! Please don't hesitate to ask us about our adoption. I've had friends recently say "I don't mean to bother you about it," after asking how the process is going, but even if there's no news or change, we don't mind sharing! It means so much to know that people are thinking about and praying for us and our little one. :)



Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Number!

Hi Friends! Well, we have a new number and we're really excited about the movement, however, we have been strongly advised to no longer post our waiting list number on social media. If you would like to know our number, please feel free to reach out to us privately.

Most importantly, please continue to pray over the in-country process, for the families who are currently going through the referral process, and for us as we continue to wait and seek the Lord's wisdom.


The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. 
Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! 
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:3-6