This One’s Going to be Random…

I really should be washing the piles of dishes accumulating in my sink, but instead I chose to sit down, type out a few words, and drink some iced coffee from a mason jar.

iced coffee

I’m on day 3  of 6 of baby-sitting for a friend and I. AM. TIRED. My little friends are wonderful and great kids, but whoosh am I not used to that pace of life yet! Caring for a 2.5 & 14 month old is busy! Today as I was reading to one of the kiddos, I realized that the ages of G & M are almost identical to the ages of my friends’ kids (if their documentation is correct). Life will change dramatically when they come home and I can’t wait for it!

In two and a half weeks, the husband and I are hitting the road for two weeks to drive up to Northern California to visit wineries, friends, and enjoy time away. Any tips for long car rides? We like reading books to one another. On our last big road trip, we read almost three of the Harry Potter books. We may try to finish the series on the road, but we are open to other ideas.

Last week, I signed up for a blogging class for the month of July with Blogelina. Included in the class is a year of free web-hosting, so this site may be changing a lot in the near future. I’m really excited to see what God will do with this little blog. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for a new name. If you have any ideas, I’d love to throw them in the pot! My husband has been trying to have me sit down to do a day of brainstorming for the blog…maybe that will finally happen this week!

This past Saturday I had a small Thirty-One party to raise some funds for our adoption. Thank you to all who came and purchased some products! It was fun sharing with people our heart for adoption and even in the midst of the trials how God is changing our hearts and revealing to us more of His heart for orphans and families. Orphan care and sustainable living in third world countries has definitely been ruminating in our hearts lately. We’re looking forward to how God will continue to grow that passion and vision in our lives. This week I am finally picking up Orphan Justice: how to care for orphans beyond adoption by Johnny Carr. It should be a good read and I’m ready to learn more about how to love and care for the 98% of orphans who are never adopted or have families to call their own.

We still have A LOT of funds to raise for our adoption, but I’m pretty worn out from fundraising and I’m pretty sure my social media friends are tired of me saying stuff about it online. After the Thirty-One fundraiser, we’re taking a break from fundraising until we get back from vacation. If you’re interested in helping out during that time, there is a link on the upper right-hand corner (says donate now) that you can click and it will send you to our tax-deductible donation account. Other than that, we’d just appreciate your prayers for our girls, the process, and our funding.

This summer I’m re-reading a book called Bread & Wine with some friends and once a month we are going to get together for dinner and make some of the dishes in the book. I’m looking forward to cultivating community with women over the table and in homes. There is something special about sharing a meal and sharing your heart with women who have walked different journeys.

It’s really hot in Tucson now…like REALLY hot. I’m glad that I’ll be getting a break from it for 3 days while I’m on a quick trip to watch my brother play baseball in Iowa.

it's hot

One last random thought…this weekend I bought a new mop. And it’s awesome. That’s all.

Have a great week friends!

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Do You Like Bags? Do You Want to Help Bring Home Our Girls? {I Have Your Solution!}

31 logo

I’ve heard of the direct sales company, Thirty-One, for quite some time now. My mom LOVES their product (along with all of her teacher friends) and she would buy me product for Christmas, my birthday, or just because. I currently have a purse, a weekend bag, a utility tote, and TONS of stationary. I always enjoyed the product, but I became a believer after this Christmas when mom bought me a weekender bag. I’ve used that bag for every flight that I’ve taken since and it always fits in the overhead compartment with no problem, even though I stuff that thing to the max (and it hasn’t even shown a sign of wear or tear). And I love that I can personalize each bag I have with my name, initials, or a fun phrase! I know that many of my friends also use their product for diaper bags or toy organizers.

My Retro Metro Weekender Bag (even has a cool name)

My Retro Metro Weekender Bag (even has a cool name)

A few months ago, I was perusing the internet for  fundraisers Jason and I could do for our adoption. You can read about our story here and here. I came across a massive list of fundraising ideas and on that list a woman (Anne Little) was mentioned who is a Thirty-One consultant, but sends all of the proceeds she makes for her parties to adoptive families. Knowing how much my family and friends back home love Thirty-One products and knowing that it would be an easy way for them to get involved in bringing home our girls, I emailed Anne. We scheduled a 20 day Thirty-One party in June where all of the proceeds will go to bringing home Baby G & Baby M!

This Inside-Out Bag is super cute!

This Inside-Out Bag is super cute!

Our shop opened this past Saturday, on June 1st and will continue until June 19th. To shop go to this link https://www.mythirtyone.com/AnneLittle/, click “My Parties” and shop under “Wood Family Adoption Fundraiser”. The June special this month for Thirty-One is for every $35 spent, you can purchase a utility tote for $10!!!

A super fun color for the summer trips to the pool and beach! {there are lots of other print choices too if you don't like this one}

A super fun color for the summer trips to the pool and beach! {there are lots of other print choices too if you don’t like this one}

My goal is that in the next 14 days, we will raise $1250 for our adoption. Which means that $5000 of product will need to be sold! Would you consider shopping at Thirty-One, sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter, and praying for us and our little girls as we continue to raise funds to bring them home?

Thanks so much!! Happy Shopping!

{one more thing}

If you live in Tucson…stop by my house this Saturday (June 8th) from 1-3pm to eat some yummy food, order Thirty-One product, and hear more about our adoption story…you’d also get to see some cute pictures! 🙂 Email me at sarah.amelia.wood@gmail.com if you’d like to hang out!

I’m No Good at Resting

May is hours from being over and I’m army crawling across the finish line. I’ve been pretty silent here this month. It’s been hard to put two words together, much less 500 words (other than the 9 page cultural essay that I just mailed off to my adoption agency). My creativity juices were/are low and I was too tired and a little vulnerable to put myself out there this month.

There were many good things that happened this month. I went home for my brother’s graduation. We received the approval letter from USCIS that we had been waiting for so that we could officially announce our referral. We were able to pay for a third of our referral payment and we received new pictures of our beautiful baby girls!

All in that though, I’ve been struggling to keep my head above water emotionally. The day in and day out of the adoption process has been wearing on me (which means it’s been exhausting for my sweet husband too). I’ve found myself believing lies that I once struggled with, but thought I had overcome. I became overwhelmed with anxiety about whether or not we would be able to bring home our little girls. You see, these girls are our third referral. We lost two referrals (4 kids in total) in the months of February and April. I thought I had overcome the worry of losing* this referral as well, but when another hiccup (actually a rumor of a hiccup) surfaced, I was all kinds of crazy.

The truth is that my life isn’t about me. It’s not about what I deserve and how I think my life should play out. I’ve been so RICHLY blessed and I didn’t deserve any of it. God knows every detail of my life. Past. Present. Future.

He knows every detail of the children that He will place in our family. All He calls me to do is to walk obediently with him and to rest in His everlasting love.

I’m not good at resting. It’s become even more evident that I’m not good at it now that I stay home and supposedly have more time to rest. I’m starting to think that through this season, God is revealing something deeper about my drive to always be moving. When our baby girls come home, they will need a momma who is fully resting on the strength of the Lord and fully satisfied in Him so that they can grieve and transition and grow in our home.

refresh book

In a few hours Jason and I are headed away for a weekend of refreshment and connecting. We are both feeling frayed and a bit beat down. So when I heard that Jessi Connolly & Haley Morgan, the co-founders of the Influence Network, were releasing their book called ReFresh today, I snagged that thing like it was going out of style. I’ll be reading this book while we are sitting by the pool tomorrow…and then I will probably read it about 10 more times as I begin the process once again of finding my satisfaction in Jesus and not in all that I can do for myself, my husband, and others.

If you feel like you’ve lost yourself a little and are just plain, old tired, pick up this ebook. It’s $4.99 and I’m sure it will be worth every dollar. And they didn’t ask me to do this, I’m just telling you about it because I have come to love these ladies’ hearts and I know that they desire to encourage and equip all of us ladies to be women who walk in peace and fullness in Jesus.

 

*side-note: when I say losing, I mean that we weren’t able to pursue them for adoption anymore…not a death

Fundraising is Hard: AdoptTogether

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Fundraising is hard.

I’ve been fundraising in some sort of capacity since I was 18 years old. I fundraised to spend two summers in Colorado with a college ministry called the Navigators. I also fundraised for a missions trip to Namibia (South-west Africa) in college. Three years after graduation I went back into the fundraising world to raise support to go on full-time staff with the Navigators at the University of Northern Iowa.

Each time is was hard. Each time God provided more than enough.

As Jason and I start another season of fundraising, I am feeling a little anxious about asking others again. My heart continually reminds me of how much He has provided for us already in this adoption, but my head has a hard time wrapping my mind around the numbers. I have days when I completely believe that God will use His people to give two beautiful girls a home and then I have days of doubt and I fear the unknown.

On days that I doubt and fear, I remember this passage from Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” God has already given me all that I need in Christ and He will not leave me alone in this struggle, even though it feels so lonely at times.

Another passage that I remember as I am asking people to once again support Jason and I in our adoption is that everything under the heavens already belongs to God and when we give, we are just giving Him back what was His. King David says in 1 Chronicles 29: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you…. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.”

So here I am, asking you to prayerfully consider helping Jason & I complete the fundraising process. In the next three months, we will need to cover the cost of $20,000 for foreign fees and interim care for our sweet girls. After that all that we will have left is travel fees and our final payment to our agency. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us? We will need small donations and big donations, so anything will help. Please don’t think that your $10 or $20 donation is a drop in the hat, it speaks volumes to me as a mommy-to-be that people are behind us. (We won’t say no to big donations either, though :))

The benefit of this season of fundraising is that we finally have a tax-deductible option for you to give!! We have partnered with a great organization called AdoptTogether and they are willing to host us on their website. You can go to our website page HERE to read our story and donate*. You can donate using your debit or credit card instantly on the website (there is an option to give an extra percentage to the organization, but that is not required) or you can send a check to them with Jason and Sarah Wood in the memo and on the envelope at

AdoptTogether
251 W. Central Ave #278
Springboro, OH 45066

Thank you for your investment of prayer, finances and support in our family and God’s Kingdom purposes. We are so grateful for the friends, family and community God has given us. We could not be on this journey without you!

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(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.)

AND WE ARE HAVING….

Girls!!

Those sweet hands will be holding ours soon!

Those sweet hands will be holding ours soon!

We have been holding this in for almost 6 weeks now! After we received our 171H letter in the mail last week-a huge wave of relief swept over me! We can now let the world know that we will be a mommy and daddy to two beautiful girls!

It was a hard road to get to this point. And it’s still a long road ahead of us. Right now, though, we are celebrating the gift God has given us in the hope that our daughters will be home with us soon. I was able to share the news with my family this weekend and finally show off their darling faces. I won’t be able to share pictures on social media until they come home for security reasons. 

The girls are roughly 2 & 1 years old. Here on the blog we will call them baby G & baby M. Our hope is that they will be home by this time next year. I know that for many of you that seems like a long time, but the reasons behind it are necessary and important.

Right now here are our most important prayer requests:

  • Pray for Baby G & M’s health and safety during the time they are in foster care
  • Pray for a quick court process this summer so that we can become their legal guardians in Africa
  • Pray that God will provide the remaining $20,000 for acceptance of this referral (we have a tax deductible way for you to give now…stay tuned for more info on Friday)
  • Pray that Jason and I would continue to rest in the peace of God as we wait to unite our family

Piecing our Family Together

When we said yes to adoption 7 months ago, we had no idea how God was going to provide the funds we needed to adopt but we knew that He would. We didn’t even think we would have been adopting two children from Africa!! God has revealed Himself to us in so many beautiful ways during our journey and we look forward to how He will continue to provide for our financial and emotional needs. Our international adoption of two children will be roughly $65,000 and in the past two months we have raised almost $15,000! We are blown away by the generosity of our family, community, and strangers! We have experienced the truth that God does provide for His children.

We are nearing the a phase in our adoption process where will need to have available a large sum of money to accept our referral (it’s coming!). In the next three to four months, Jason and I will be working hard to raise that money, apply for grants, and save to make the payment. We are trusting that God will continue to help us and provide the necessary funds to help bring home our children.

One of the fun fundraisers that we are doing over the next month is our puzzle fundraiser! I mentioned in a previous post that we would be kicking this off at our rummage sale and it was a huge success! It allowed us to talk more about our adoption and our heart for orphans.

My friend over at SheDoesJustice designed this adorable print for her daughter and allowed me to use it as well for our adoption. I have access to both the pink and blue print 🙂

africa adoption--pink-puzzle

Here are the details!

1. Each piece of the puzzle is a $10 dollar donation. Our puzzle is 1008 pieces! When every piece has a name on the back, we will have raised $10,080!! That amount will be roughly 1/3 of our next payment!

2. For every piece of the puzzle that you purchase, I will put your name on the back of the piece. We will be purchasing a double-sided frame so that when all the pieces are put together our children will be able to see the names of the people who helped bring them home! We hope to hang this in their bedroom as a reminder of the God’s faithfulness in bringing them to our home.

3. To contribute to the puzzle fundraiser, use the PayPal link on the upper-right hand side of the blog or just click this link (a small processing fee is taken out of each donation). Or you can send a check directly to us. If you want to send a check, please email me at sarah.amelia.wood@gmail.com for our mailing address.

4. We would be so grateful if you would spread the word about this fundraiser! Below you will find a simple 140 character description of our fundraiser that you can copy and paste for your Facebook, Twitter account, or Blog!

Help piece together the Wood’s Adoption! With every $10 a puzzle piece will have your name on it! Go to http://wp.me/p1PdiA-aJ to donate!

This fundraiser will continue until May 31st! We thank you in advance for partnering with us!

Our God Satisfies…not food

I didn’t want to write a post today, but I had committed to blogging about Whole30 on Wednesday. And it’s Wednesday and we are 10 days into our Whole30 program. I would be lying if I said that this was easy. It’s been hard, but hard in ways I didn’t expect. Black coffee-no problem! No pastries-no biggie! Wine-eh a little harder! The rest of this post will speak into a little of our eating over the week, but mainly how God satisfied our souls in the midst of pain and struggle.

Last Tuesday (note-one day into our month-long challenge) I received a call from our agency regarding our adoption. I can’t go into details, but I can say that the bottom dropped out from underneath me. The plans that Jason and I were making about our future family came to a complete stop and changed course that day. I was broken. I was hurting and I was confused. I remember attempting to read the scripture passage from my #shereadstruth study for the day and fought God in the words that King David was saying. 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” It was hard to believe those words for my life at that moment because I didn’t see the good in what had happened.

But I knew that in God’s sovereignty, He had given me that text for that very day to remind me that His love endures and that He is always good, even so my heart struggled to believe it. But I knew that the only One who could handle my devastation and brokenness was my Abba Father. He was near and He did care. I knew that going to my crutches of food and tv were not going to heal my heart. So I spent all day crying out to Him, the one who “puts my tears in His bottle (psalm 56)”. The next day I sent out an email to our friends and family who knew our situation and asked them to pray for healing, for understanding and for just plain, old energy to organize and run the massive rummage sale we were having on Saturday.

Thursday morning we both woke up with a peace that passed any of our own understanding. We knew that God was using the prayers of our community to hold us together. We were still bone-tired and hurting, but we had hope. We had hope that God would use what happened in our adoption story for His glory and for our good. God began to gently turn my face towards His grace and mercy and reminded me that He did not leave me alone in this and that He was not surprised. My prayer began to be that this hurdle would be a testimony of God’s faithfulness in our lives and that I would be quick to point to Jesus in our story.

The day of our rummage sale was a miracle day. God used that day to do a great work on my heart in showing me how Great of a God he is. We had so many friends come to our house at 6 am to help start moving the piles and piles of “stuff” in our house. (And they were all gracious towards me as I had a minor meltdown at 7 am! Thankfully that was my only one) By 7:30 we had buyers in the parking lot and for the next 9 hours we had a steady stream of people rummaging through our items. So many of our church friends came out to help and to donate. I realized even more that day how blessed Jason and I are to be a part of the Revolution church community.

What blew me away was the generosity of strangers! If their total came to be $5 they would give $10 or $20 extra! Some people didn’t want to buy anything but they gave us $20 anyway. Strangers were interested in our story and were encouraged by what God was doing in our lives. It’s hard for me to put into words how I felt that day and for the days after. We know that God moved mightily on Saturday because when we totaled up our sales, we had brought in over $3000! At church on Sunday a friend told me that could only be a God thing because people don’t make $3K at garage sales! I agreed.

The last few days have been a bit of a fog as I’m still tired from the sale and the clean up from the weekend. I was journaling this morning and began to think about all the things God has revealed to me about Himself in these past 10 days. These are my top Three:

1. Our God Satisfies… Nothing and No one  could have met me in the pain that I experienced as intimately and uniquely as the comfort that Jesus gave me those first few days. His comfort and His love never ceases to fill my heart. Food only satisfies for a brief moment and then guilt comes. There is no guilt in the satisfaction of God.

2. Jesus dwells in my story. At church on Sunday, Josh laid out how Jesus entered into history to save us and to meet us where we are. He knew this would happen and He knows how my story will end. I can trust Him.

3. When trouble happens in life, you have to seek out community. If I would have kept what happened from our closest friends and family I think my heart would still be broken and the sin of bitterness would have crept in. By asking people to pray for us, it allowed others to intercede for us when we didn’t have the strength or the words.

I know this post is a little longer than normal, so thanks for hanging with me on this one! If you were wondering, we were able to eat on the Whole30 program the entire time with only one minor hiccup because of poor planning. God’s grace was sufficient.