Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Adoption Crisis

Well, it happened.  A major adoption crisis.  Every adoption story I've read has at least one major crisis.  And we've hit our first.  Our agency has closed the Ghana adoption program, due to ethical concerns.  We had become concerned with rumors of widespread unethical practices among Ghana adoptions, and decided that we would wait it out and trust our agency.  After just a few weeks of waiting, our agency decided to close the program.  We are so glad that we are working with an agency that has the integrity to stand up to these concerns.

So, what now??

We have decided to join a pilot program with our agency, Generations, in the country of Cameroon.  Cameroon is also in West Africa, and has just over 1 million orphans.  Generations is working with Shaping Destiny, and we have already started the process of changing things over to Cameroon.  This does set us back quite a bit in our timeline, however.  It's almost like starting over.  We must complete a home study update, and file a change with USCIS before our dossier will be ready to submit to Cameroon.  Hopefully, neither of these will take very long to complete.  Although the general process seems to go much more smoothly in Cameroon, it is still a pilot there are always unknowns.  Our biggest wait will be for a referral, not because there is a long list, but because the attorney in Cameroon can only work with a certain number of cases at a time.  So now, it's back to paper-chasing for me, and more waiting.  We know that whatever happens, God is in control.  He knows where our daughter is, who she is, and when she will join our family.  Please keep praying for us!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A New Fundraiser...and a LOT of love!

My mom has made us some AMAZING quilts to help raise funds for our adoption! They are high quality fabric and batting. They are machine quilted...with lots of love for our new daughter. We're still deciding how we're going to proceed with them as far as fundraising is concerned (auction, outright sale, etc). Please, offer your advice, and your comments on the quilts. I'd love Mama to see what everyone has to say about them! Also, share them with your quilt loving friends...

More details to come...


Monday, August 26, 2013

A Satisfying feeling

Today, I feel accomplished.  And it's still early!  We completed our Both Hands project on Saturday!  It was such a blessing to serve Ms. Wilma this week.  Please continue to pray for her as she continues to serve children in the Foster Care System.  So far, we have raised close to $2000 through our Both Hands project.  You can still donate here.  When our video is complete, I will definitely be uploading it and sending it out!  I can't wait to see it myself!  I have also completed all of our grant applications!  HUGE victory here!  There is so much paperwork involved in applying for grants, and I am so glad that I'm done with it, for now.  There are a few more grants that we can apply for after we receive our referral, if necessary.  So, right now, we are truly in the WORST phase of adoption, so far.  The waiting.  I'm pretty sure, my "worst adoption phase" will change, when we're waiting and we actually know who she is, but for now, we are just waiting to find out all about her.  Please pray for her with us, that she is being protected and cared for at this time.  All of our paperwork is complete for now, we have no other applications to work on, just fundraising, and waiting.  So, if you haven't checked out our fundraising merchandise, please check it out!  We've got tees, Just Love Coffee (and I have some at home, in stock!), Compelled Designs Jewelry, Merchandise from Uganda (paper bead necklaces, sling bags, wall art, beaded bracelets, nativity), and Apparent Project bracelets (paper bead bracelets from Haiti).  Check out the photos on our facebook page for details.  Also...COMING SOON...we will be hosting an online auction for a couple of quilts, made by my amazing mom, Nancy Swor!  We hope to do this in time for Christmas, so be on the lookout!  I know they will be amazing.  We will also add other items to the auction, so let us know if you'd like to donate something.  Thanks for supporting us and praying for us as we continue our journey!  Be sure to "like" our facebook page...and post and comment on it!  When other people see your comments (not just likes), it brings more and more people to our page, and more and more people will follow our journey, support us, and pray for us!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Getting Excited!

It has been whirlwind of a few months!  Besides life in general and the busyness of summer, we have been preparing for our Both Hands project.  We are so blessed to be able to participate in this project, and are excited to help Ms. Wilma out on August 24.  We had our Envelope Stuffing Party last night, and are getting all of our letters ready to send out.  The turnout was not what we had hoped, but we are praying, and have faith, that God is already working on the people who will receive our letters.  I have a fear that it will become a "One Hand" project...lots of people wanting to do the work on project day, but not willing to do the prep work that will benefit the orphan.  However, I'm reminded of our VBS verse from last week:

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.  2 Timothy 1:7

We have been blessed in the last few weeks with a one time grant of $1000.  Our adoption agency has already received this money, so it's sitting in our account, waiting until the next fee is due.  Praising God for that!  We're still waiting on another grant application (Show Hope)...we won't find out about that one until October.  

We received some hopeful news from our adoption agency last week about the climate of adoption in Ghana.  We're still in a wait and see mode, but we are the 6th family on the waiting list!  As soon as referrals are ready, it won't be long until we know who our precious princess is.  

In the meantime, we're working on fundraising, gathering supplies for project day, and praying for God's blessings.  If you'd like to contribute to our Both Hands fund, please use the link above.  Please pray with us!

We've added a facebook page, please like our page here!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Like us on Facebook

We've started a new facebook page, dedicated to our adoption.  Like our page to stay current on adoption news!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lots of Adoption News...

There has been some action on the adoption front...besides just "paper-chasing"!  Here's what's been going on lately:

May 6: Received our finalized copies of the Home Study

May 7: Mailed i600A to USCIS (for US Immigration to approve us as an adoptive family and assign a biometrics appointment.)

May 8: Submitted application to Both Hands for a fundraising project

May 8: Submitted grant application to SBC Pastor's Adoption Fund (received approval on 5/20 for $500 grant upon child referral!)

May 9: USCIS receives our application

May 13: USCIS issues "Notice of Action"...they've received our application, and forwarded it for an appointment assignment

May 13: "Adoption Alert" issued: The government of Ghana has issued a temporary suspension on all international adoptions.

May 15: Submitted application to Show Hope for adoption grant.

May 23: Received biometrics appointment notification for June 12.  Sarah will be in Uganda, so we must reschedule...appointment planned for June 20 or 21.

May 24: Received photos of our Africa pottery necklaces, designed just for us by Compelled Designs!  We can't wait to get them in!  We'll be selling them for $24 each, plus $3 shipping, if necessary.

May 24: Received official approval as a Both Hands family!  We are so excited to be able to help a local widow, while raising funds for our adoption.  If you would like to be part of our work/planning team, let me know as soon as possible.  There is room for everyone, and we'll have a variety of projects that anyone can do!  Check out the following video, that shows the heart of Both Hands.

BOTH HANDS FOUNDATION from michael sydenstricker on Vimeo.

As far as the temporary suspension of adoptions from Ghana...We're in a wait and see pattern.  We were kind of caught in an in between stage, so we're just in a holding pattern to see what happens in Ghana over the next few weeks/months.  The United States is still processing things on this end, so we continue, pray, and will see what happens.

As always, we covet your prayers.  Please pray for the children of Ghana, that their best interest will be at the heart of any new legislation/rules.  We will soon begin the fundraising efforts through our Both Hands project, and we appreciate prayers that God would bless those efforts, as well as bring our team together for the project.  Please, let us know if you would like to be involved!