So much has happened over the past few days that I can barely keep up with what I’ve updated you on.
Our home study went really well on Saturday. As expected, I cleaned too well and stressed too much, but we are thankful for a successful visit.
I posted this on Facebook as I waited for the home study case worker to arrive:
Spending the morning cleaning the house to prove I’m a good parent/housewife so the home study case worker will like us only to turn around and feed the family junk fast food so we don’t dirty the kitchen.
Our SC background checks are in process (I know because the checks I mailed to pay for the back ground checks cleared).
Once our agency receives those, they’ll have everything they need for the rough draft our of home study. We may have that in hand by the middle of next week.
Once we go over it with a fine tooth comb to make sure it accurately represents us and that there are no spelling errors, we will approve it. They’ll make any changes and a week or so later, we’ll have our final draft!
Regarding our living arrangements while we’re in Virginia:
This has been the biggest unknown to me so far. I have to plan logistically for a family of six to get across the country and I have to have a place for us to stay while we’re there. This is a hard enough task for six people going on a normal vacation situation. It became exponentially more difficult when considering bringing a newborn “home” from the hospital, and not knowing when that newborn might make her appearance.
The day after Thanksgiving I did some research and came up with two viable options for locations that both met three basic necessities: kitchen, laundry facilities, and a separate room for Matt, me, and baby. Something about having a newborn in the same room with the bigs during her first few nights trying to figure out life in the outside world did not sound like a good idea, which is why I really wanted to have a separate room.
1. Pay $419/week for the ability to change our dates BUT run the risk that the condos aren’t available when we need them. (Consolation prize is that the dates can be used at any point during 2016.)
2. Pay $369/week but we have to lock our dates. $50 cheaper but if baby comes early and we don’t need these dates, we’re out. (Cancellation fee/return amounts vary depending on how close to the date we cancel.)
The consensus on Facebook was that option 1 was best. My gut said the same thing, and then two people suggested AirBnb.com. Saturday evening I found a few places that might work and messaged the hosts. Sunday morning just before church I got an offer: $1000 for three weeks! I was really excited and when I got to church I shared my excitement with my friend, Breanna. I asked her to pray that day as I made a big decision especially since the Black Friday deal in option 1 was going to expire soon.
I also asked another friend to specifically pray for me to find a great place for my family to stay while there.
After lunch I sent my crew to rest and spent more time searching around. I found a few other places and feverishly sent out messages including our reasons for requesting flexibility.
One of the places I really liked I didn’t expect to get because I was asking for a 50% discount AND flexibility in the dates. I was clear in the message that I completely understood if it wasn’t possible, but that I really did want to try to stay there.
The host wrote back, agreed to my price and told me that she’s excited for us and very flexible with the dates. Not only can we move our dates to the left or right by up to three weeks if we need to, we can extend (as long as there’s availability) at the same 50% off rate!
I needed a woman’s eyes and thought-processes so I ran down to Breanna’s to have her check it out. She was as excited as I was and we both felt that it answered every single prayer we had prayed regarding our housing while in Virginia!
One more time I showed it to Matt and I booked it!
We got a fully furnished town-home in a great neighborhood for three weeks for $1200! As a bonus, it’s a skateboard-friendly neighborhood! (The streets are smooth and new and it has a cul-de-sac.)
The peace I felt all day yesterday knowing we have a place to stay starting three days before baby is due is quite surprising. I honestly didn’t realize how concerned about this I was.
Breanna’s husband was the chaplain who shared the message Sunday and he made three great points that applied perfectly to me and our situation:
When Mary was approached by the angels and told that she was to conceive the Messiah, never having slept with a man, she had three responses:
- She was humbled – she didn’t expect this, anticipate it, or even feel like she deserved it. (Regarding this adoption, I am humbled to have been chosen, by God and by the birth mother to raise this baby girl. I don’t deserve it and I do not take it lightly.)
- She was practical – She asked practical questions. “How can this be?” The chaplain’s point was that God is not afraid of our questions: “How?” “Why?” (And in light of this adoption, “How do I get my family settled for three weeks?” “Where do we stay?” “What if baby comes early?” God is okay with the fact that I had questions regarding the “how and why” of logistically getting everything done.)
- She was willing – She said, “Let it be.” She probably didn’t fully understand everything but she trusted God and agreed to His plan. Obedience. That’s what I believe He’s after, because in obedience to His plan we live a life of abundance on this earth. (Matt and I don’t understand everything, nor do we know everything that will take place over the next few weeks, but we say with enthusiasm, “Let it be!”)
So there’s our update! We’ve completed our end of the requirements for the home study and have spent hours studying homes in Virginia! Now we’re just excited and eager to bring our little girl to our home!
To see where we are on our fundraising goal, click HERE. We are over halfway and have one more major $2500 hurdle facing us. It’s the Interstate Compact agreement, which will allow us to bring baby back to Texas without being accused of kidnapping. That never looks good on one’s record. For anyone interested or curious I’ll share exactly where the funds have gone so far. We have been blessed to have the donations cover every single step of the way thus far. God has been so good to us! Thank you to all who have helped financially and in your prayers. It’s obvious how the financial gifts have helped, and I believe the prayers have made everything move so smoothly!