Monday, January 25, 2016

One Month HOME

This Kid. He lived for 869 days without a mom and dad, without a home. 
 He was well taken care of in the orphanage, but nothing replaces having a home.  Nothing replaces having a place to belong. Nothing replaces having a family.
He's had a family for 43 days. For 43 days, we've tucked him in each night and promised to be there in the morning. For 43 days, we've fed, clothed, and kissed this little bundle of joy. For 43 days, Rhett has experienced a love that he'd never known before- the love of a family. 
Before adoption, I never fully realized the transforming power of family. Who knew that with love, a quiet, complaint 30 month old, could start to develop a voice and an opinion. Many times we take for grated the love that we get to share with one another. It's powerful stuff my friends. 

Tonight, Rhett fell asleep in my arms. I could probably count on my hands the amount of times he's fallen asleep in someones arms. For 869 days my baby soothed himself to sleep in a crib because that was his only option. No child should have that responsibility. No child should be unaware of what it's like to be soothed to sleep by someone else. But, with our love, and the love of his Heavenly Father, Rhett is learning to rest in our comfort. Tonight, for the first time, he laid on my chest and literally just stared at me with a smile on his face as his eyes opened and closed heavily, fighting sleep. It's amazing what 43 days in a family will do to the soul.  As I sat there with this kid I've literally been dreaming about since I was 16, my heart broke for the thousands of babies who may never know what it means to fall asleep in the arms of a mamma. I prayed for the Lord to send more mommies and daddies. These babies need us. 

Rhett's Gotcha Day was 43 days ago. We walked into his orphanage, and within 15 minutes, he was ours. 


For the first few days, he was quiet and extremely observant.  He never cried. Well, except during bath time. The sweet boy had never had a bath before, and it scared him to pieces. But, his brave soul mustered up the courage to start exploring the water, and within three days, bath time was his favorite thing in the world. Courage. This kid has so much courage. He was taken from an environment that he's been in since birth, and within a span of 10 days, traveled by car for over 4 hours, spent countless hours being carried around the city in a Tula, visited shops and restaurants, took his first steps, flew on three airplanes (spanning almost 24 hours of travel), ate new foods, had blood drawn, was immersed in a completely new language, and was even given some baths :) Through it all, he was and continues to be so brave. 

Each day he flourishes and grows. In 43 days, this kid has learned to say, "mom," "dada," and "hi." He signs for eat and more.  He dances with pure joy. He loves church. He tries new foods. He blows bubbles in the bathtub. He loves his Gigi, Gpa, MyMy, and Papi. He even started eating solid foods. 

This kid. He is my hero. Not only is he my son, but he's also my greatest teacher. He teaches me to slow down, to be in the moment, and to enjoy each day that I'm given. He also teaches me about God's fatherly love. If it wasn't for God's continual pursuit of Rhett, he wouldn't be with us today. The same is true for all of us. We all have the ability to have our own Gotcha Day with Christ. He adopts us into his Kingdom and we can flourish like never before as we rest in his arms of grace, love, and forgiveness. We are continually pursued by the King, and he longs for us all to have our Gotcha Day with him. Step out in faith and in courage and receive God's love as Rhett is learning to receive love. You will flourish and find purpose like you've never had before. 


*I'll post soon about our trip to Bulgaria and the endless ways that God continually provided through the adoption process!*








Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Risky Business

Check. Check. 1..2..3... Is this thing on? Okay! So this is my first blog post through this adventure and I feel like I should begin with a disclaimer. 

*Disclaimer* - In no way shape or form, should you expect my writing to be anywhere near as beautiful or as eloquent as my dear, sweet, articulate wife/best friend.

There, now that we got that out of the way, hello sweet family and friends! Out of the 28 years of my life, I must say that this is by far the most exciting year of them all (however, 1993 was a close second with the release of Power Rangers. It was pretty epic). This year, I was able to see a group of people come together for one purpose and one purpose alone: to give a little boy who was abandoned right at birth a forever home and a forever family to love on him forever. To be honest with you, when Maggie and I first began this process, I was quite nervous about it. What if we can't raise enough money for this in time? What if we get really attatched to him and they take him away? What if I'm just too good of a dad and I make all other dads jealous of my dad skills? #dadisinthehouse! Okay, so maybe that last one wasn't a real one but it could happen! Anyways, it didn't take long for Jesus to teach me that I can't live in fear and anxiety. For me, it is easier to give into fear and anxiety than it is to trust and surrender it all to the Lord above. Even with my shortcomings, I was shown time and time again who is truly in charge. I'm not in charge. The individuals dealing with our adoption are not in charge. God is truly in charge. It is almost comical how much in charge He is than what we give him credit for in our daily lives. 

Throughout this process, my faith has been worn down and built back up much stronger than what it was before I laid eyes on Rhett's picture. God is good people and if He places a dream or a vision on your heart, go for it! Since Maggie and I have seen first hand the power of prayer, it makes us want to live a riskier life. I guess I should have done my pre-writing first before I started writing like I always tell my students because I'm wanting to just ramble on now but I will slow myself down. God has been placing this post on my heart for the past couple of days and I believe the purpose of this is to let you know that Jesus loves you and wants you to trust Him. He wants you to trust Him with the little things and the big things. I'm not saying I'm great at this but stepping out in faith to adopt Rhett was not only life changing for him but more so for Maggie and me. 

As many of you know, on December 3rd we received word that we would be picking up our beautiful son on December 14th and bringing him home on December 23rd. Maggie and I were told time and time again that the likelihood of us bringing Rhett home before Christmas was impossible. Well ladies and gentleman, like I said, God is in control and still answers prayers. What's your dream? What has God laid on your heart to accomplish for Him? Please ask yourself that question and wait for a response. I promise you, it will be worth more than you know

Michael (aka the dad)

P.S. Words cannot express how thankful I am for all of you and the support and prayers you have give us. I am overcome with thankfulness for our family and friends, loving coworkers, and a multitude of others who have stepped out in faith with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Grateful in the Midst of Waiting

We passed court two weeks ago today :) We have been anxiously awaiting travel dates to go back to Bulgaria and scoop up our little guy for good.

I don't even know where to begin.  I apologize that it's been so long since I've written. At this point, I struggle to know what to write. Essentially, we are just in awe, and purely grateful for this journey we are on to adopt Rhett. It has been over three months since we met our little bundle of joy, and we are dying to go back and snatch him up for good! I would be lying if I said this process hasn't been hard. It has been somewhat unbearable at times. But, so so worth it. Rhett is joining a forever family. The dream that was planted on my heart over ten years ago is becoming a reality. 

We were given the opportunity to travel and meet our son at the end of August. Many people have asked us if trip one was what we expected. Honestly, we had very few expectations for the trip. I had never traveled out of the country before this little excursion. In addition, we had NO clue how Rhett would react to us, etc. Our time with Rhett was truly better than we could have ever dreamed. 

When we arrived in Bulgaria, we experienced some culture shock and a few moments of, "We are here, in Bulgaria, to meet our son- WHAT?!" On our first day, we found his orphanage (5 min walk away) and prayed as we walked around the building. It was extremely surreal to realize that our son was only a couple hundred feet away from us and we would be meeting him in less than 24 hours. Michael and I talked a lot about what it looks like to have an "uncomfortable" faith. Before this whole experience, I don't think either of us had been in a situation where we were truly needing to depend on God to the point where it made us uncomfortable. We've started to realize that we now crave the uncomfortable. We crave God stretching us to new limits and multiplying our faith as we watch him provide and pave the way.  When Michael and I got married, I was stuck in a cycle of chronic anxiety that tormented me for years. I truly believe that a lot of my anxiety, though related to health issues, etc., was also directly related in my inability to really surrender to God's will for my life and TRUST that he really does go before us, protect us, and provide for our every need. As I look back, I see that God was shaping me for the incredible adventures ahead.  I used to become so anxious about "not knowing the future" and now God is teaching me that it's a lot better to not know the future. Is it difficult to not know? Of course. But, He has gone before Us. You. Me.  Why do I every worry? Even as I write this, I struggle with the constant battle of contentment and fighting my lack of patience in wanting travel dates. The struggle is real, but my God is gracious. Praise Him for loving us even as we go back and forth, falling and getting back up again. He is our source of peace. 

His is peace indeed. We felt shielded by the Holy Spirit during our entire trip to meet our son. Our first moment with him was pure love at first sight. I think I said, "He's perfect" like 50 times! We were allowed two visits per day Monday-Thursday and one visit Friday morning. During every visit with Rhett, there was a sacredness and beauty that could only be described as Gods hand and hedge of protection. Rhett is beautiful. We are in awe, complete awe, that we have the privilege to be his parents. Each day, pieces of his little personality would come out. At first, he was very quiet and reserved. Little by little, he started making more sounds and letting his personality shine. This kid. My heart. Ugh. We are so in love. God prepared his heart for us and our hearts for him.

God continues to give us peace as we wait. We could have never imagined the pain we'd experience through waiting. But, this waiting has also allowed us to experience an intimacy with God that we hadn't before. I continue to find complete comfort and peace in the fact that God IS Rhett's father. When I miss his smell and his goofy little tongue, I know that God is with him and knows every single hair on his head. When all I can do is cry because I miss him so badly, I know that God cares for my son deeply and longs for him to have a family. When I grieve about the fact that I didn't know my son for the first two and a half years of his life, I know that God has known him since before birth. Rhett is fearfully and wonderfully made. I am blessed to have an intimate relationship with my God, and he also has an intimate relationship with my son. It's sort of mind blowing. A song that continues to speak to my heart lately is "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin:

I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased 
And that I'm never alone

You're a Good, Good Father

It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am

I've seen many searching for answers far and wide

But I know we're all searching
For answers only you can provide
Cause you know just what we need
Before we, we say a word

 You're a Good, Good Father

It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father

And I'm loved by you

You are perfect in all of your ways

Perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

God is Rhett's good, good father. How beautiful that He chose us to be Rhett's parents. It is truly a humbling gift. Waiting is hard stuff. I am the worst at waiting (sorry Nancy). But, in this waiting I am learning about God's patience, his deep love, and his perfect plans that don't always make sense in the moment. I would wait all over again if I had to. Rhett is worth the wait :) Soon my baby, we will have you in our arms forever!





Sunday, July 26, 2015

Good News!

FINALLY! We have lots of good news :) Here is a snippet of what we have been up to for the past month :)

On June 15th, our last piece of paperwork was sent to our son's country.  Once the dossier is sent, you have to wait for it to be translated and then submitted. Once the dossier is submitted, you have to get verbal approval and written approval. Then, you get travel dates. At the beginning of July, we were under the impression that our dossier was still being translated, and we were praying for it to be submitted. On July 3rd, we received an e-mail that our dossier was not only submitted, but that we also had verbal approval!! We jumped a whole step forward! The last thing that we needed was to receive the written approval. This step can take a few weeks. However, we got written approval on July 15, only 12 days after verbal. As you can see, things were moving FAST- a lot faster than we expected. On July 20th, we received travel dates for the week of August 23-29th.  Though we had been praying for dates to be almost a month sooner, we have complete peace in God's timeline :) Many people have asked if we get to bring our son home on this trip. Unfortunately, the answer is no. We will wait another 4-6 months after the first trip until we can bring him home. During this time more paperwork is completed and the adoption will be finalized. Thank you everyone for your prayers!!! We are SOOOOO excited to meet our son. I keep dreaming about him every night :)



In preparation for our trip, we have been gathering some toys and books for us to play with and read to our son while we visit him each day.  We are also going to throw him a little belated b-day party (hence the balloons). 


We will also be bringing some clothes in different sizes so that we can get a better idea of where he is size wise. I can't wait to dress the little guy!!



For some MORE good news... We are around the fully funded mark! We met (and exceeded) our goal of $20,000!!! THANK YOU!!! For those of you who are curious, any money that goes over our goal will go towards medical costs or unexpected travel costs, etc. Again, it is very hard to actually give an exact cost for the adoption. But, we know that most of it is pretty much funded! Yippie!!! We honestly cannot thank you enough for all of your generosity, support, prayers, and love. This boy has so many people who love him already :) 

Speaking of our boy... I know I said we would be announcing his name on the next post. However, we actually might announce it when we are in country with him, since that will be very soon!!!            (I know a lot of you already know his name, hah)

***If you would like to follow our journey while we are visiting our son, please find me on Facebook, as we will have a private Facebook group!***

THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Saying "YES"

I apologize that it has been a few weeks since our last update :) We were working hard to get the Barn Dance Fundraiser organized. We are truly humbled with the amount of donations, support, and love that our friends, family, and community showed us with for the fundraiser. We had close to 40 different auction items and 30 different raffle items that were ALL donated to help with the fundraiser!! Michael and I cannot thank you enough for all of your help in bringing our son home. 

When we said "YES" to God's call to adopt in February, we literally couldn't have even imagined how God was going to open the floodgates of provision and support. Our hearts are overwhelmed as we watch God's plan unfold. Daily we talk about how saying "YES" to something so unknown and unplanned is the absolute BEST thing we have ever done. We have seen God provide in ways we couldn't imagine and we have been connected with so many amazing people. Our marriage is stronger, our faith is stronger, and we pray bolder prayers than we ever have before. Our passion for adoption and the fatherless has grown tenfold. Overall, this adoption has been a crazy awesome lesson in trusting and surrendering to God's call to our lives. HIS plan is more amazing than anything we could ever dream for our family.  Michael and I spent some time during our anniversary dinner last week discussing our lives and the direction we are headed. Both of us are filled with so much joy as we want to continue saying "YES" to whatever God calls us to. We want to raise our children to remember that God's plan may not always seem "safe" but it is SO good. 

What is God calling you to say "YES" to? What is holding you back? GO! Say "YES"! Your life will forever be changed and your faith will increase more than you can imagine! 

Whew, can you tell I am passionate about this!? Anyways, thank you again for the overwhelming support and love. God is using each and every one of you in mighty ways. For those of you who would like some updates, here is where we are in the process:

On Monday our i800a approval (basically the US saying we have pre-approval to adopt from another country) was sent to the adoption country where all of our other dossier paperwork is waiting. Our dossier must be translated and then submitted. Upon submission, we wait for a verbal and written approval, which will then allow us to get travel dates for trip one. Will you partner with us in praying that we can travel at the end of July/beginning of August?  On paper, this doesn't really seem possible.  However, throughout this whole process, God has shown us that he is in the business of making the impossible, possible. There are a few reasons why we would love to travel at this time: 
1. It would fall near his birthday (and who doesn't want to celebrate their son's birthday with them?!)
2. It would be ALOT easier for our jobs
3. Uhhh we want to meet him!!! haha

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, GENEROSITY, ENCOURAGEMENT, LOVE, TIME, EFFORT, & PRAYERS!!! YOU ARE BRINGING AN ORPHAN HOME!!! 

Stay tuned....we will be announcing his new name on the next blog post! 



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 13th Barn Dance and Silent Auction Fundraising Event




We would  LOVE to have you join us at our huge fundraising event!!! Please come for a night of fun!

The evening will include dancing, food, drinks, raffles, silent & live auctions! ALL proceeds will go towards bringing our son home! 


WHEN: June 13th 6pm-10pm
WHERE: 17313 Cherry Tree Road, Noblesville, IN 46062
COST: $10 per adult & $5 per child
QUESTIONS? E-mail mmperry611@gmail.

Auction Items: 
7days/7nights stay at Mylin Villa in Estero, FL
Professional Photo Shoot by Tricia Forman Photography
Bob & Tom Experience
Golf Round for 2 at Prairie View
Boutique Outfit from Pretty Cute Things
1hr Massage from Tracy Rupp
1hr Massage from Shrout Chiropractic
4 Sets of 5-STAR Dance lesson packages
1 Week of Private Swim Lessons at Mylin Swim School
Essential Oil & Diffuser
Golf Analysis by Golf Tech
Hair Salon Basket with product and service
Month of Yoga
Mary Kay Basket
Week of Horse Back Riding Lessons
5 Archery Lessons
AH Collection Girls Night Out
1hr Evening Cruise with wine/cheese for 4 people on Eagle Creek Reservoir
 Signed Picture of Jeff Saturday
Ningxia Red Chrome Collection Kit 
Jewelry
2 Pairs of Designer Sunglasses
Kate Spade Purse
***MORE ITEMS TO COME


Raffle Items:
$25 Biaggi's Gift Card
1 Dozen Cake Pops
$20 Delaney's Gift Card
Butler's Nursery Hanging Basket
2 $25 Whole Foods Gift Gards
2 $25 McKenzie River Pizza Gift Card
Homemade Pies & Cheesecake
2 Car Wash King Booklets
$50 Beauty Brands Gift Card
$50 Noah's Animal Hospital Gift Card
Pink Children's Suit Case
Blue Children's Suit Case
Hand-drawn portrait from Jane Zeronik
Signed Picture of Jeff Saturday
***MORE ITEMS TO COME


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Making Progress!

Here are some updates for everyone!!!

1. The Garage Sale was a HUGE success! We were able to raise almost $1,400 towards the cost of our adoption. Thank you to everyone who donated items & tables, sorted items, and shopped! We still have an entire garage full of stuff, so we plan on having another sale this summer :) For a few days we felt like hoarders! It was amazing how much stuff was donated to help us out!


Michael & my dad organizing the garage (the entire driveway was covered with stuff)
Our garage was packed full. We also filled our neighbors garage with stuff, too!
My mom helped sort clothes
This is basically what our whole house looked like!
Boone just laid in the piles of stuff (I'm sorry, we really love our cat...)
These are our church friends, Laura & her hubby Jason. They bought an entire car full of stuff!!

I am kicking myself that I didn't take more pictures of everyone who was involved in the process. For everyone who helped out & came to the sale, THANK YOU!

2. Shelley, the AMAZING go to person from our adoption agency, contacted me last weekend and let me know that all of our apostilled documents made their way safely to her. She sent everything in to our adoption country to be translated.

3. Our USCIS application was received. We are waiting on Biometrics dates (fingerprints) and then it should be a few weeks (maybe more) until we get the pre-immigration approval. Once we get the approval, we will send it in and our entire Dossier will be submitted. Then....we wait.
____________________________________________
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!


We are having a HUGE Barn Dance/Silent Auction for our adoption fundraising. The raffle prizes and silent auction items are AWESOME. Come on out for a night of fun! 

WHEN: June 13 6pm - 10pm
COST: $10 per adult and $3 per child
WHERE: 17313 Cherry Tree Road, Noblesville, IN 46062
NEED MORE INFO?: E-mail me at mmperry611@gmail.com 

*Find me on Facebook and I can add you to the event. We have more details posted.*
______________________________________________
PRAYER REQUESTS:

1. Please continue to pray for a quick timeline for our adoption. We would LOVE to be able to travel on trip one at the end of July/beginning of August. We recognize that this may not look possible on paper, but God is capable of anything :) We trust his timing. 

2. Please continue to pray for our fundraising! 

3. Most of all, please pray for our son-  may he be held, loved, nurtured, and comforted. May he know deep down that his mommy, daddy, family, friends, and even strangers are fighting hard to bring him home. 

4. Pray for the many many children who do not have forever homes yet. Pray that families will feel led to adopt!!

God continues to amaze us with his provision and the people he is bringing in our path. We met some amazing neighbors during our garage sale. Many of them had personal stories of adoption and were quick to donate to the cause. We are truly humbled by the generosity of our friends, family, and even complete strangers. All glory goes to God! We pray that our adoption story can bring people to know God personally. Some may think this is a crazy journey- but we wouldn't want it any other way. It has been amazing how God has shown us that if we just say "YES" to his call, he will guide our every step. Our trust and faith have grown exponentially throughout these past three months.