Tuesday, December 31, 2013

London!

We made it to London!! Thankfully Levi slept much of the last flight and did fantastic (not hard to do when you sprawl out across three seats with your head propped on dad and your legs propped on mom - may as well have been in bed for him)! Us grown-ups didn't fair as well only sleeping an interrupted/restless two hours. This is just getting started though... The longer of the flights is still to come but we are hopeful for more shut eye. We found some medicine to help that along. :)

After just finishing a great breakfast we are headed to a little playground (free in the airport!!) for Levi to run off some energy.  Then, Bangalore!!!!



Monday, December 30, 2013

It's Time to Fly...

...That's what the email message from our airline said last night. You'd think being almost two years into this process the night before leaving we'd be sitting twiddling our thumbs with our bags packed neatly beside the door. Not so, dear friends. But finally this morning after being up some in the night with a very excited 3 year old, our bags are ready and the 8:45 p.m. departure seems to be a long time away. 

Our first short layover will be in London followed by another long flight to B*ngalore! By 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night we should be landing and getting our first glimpses of the city!

Watch our twitter feed for a picture or two in transit...and we'll update as soon as we can when we arrive! 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A VERY Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! We were up early opening gifts and discovering baby Jesus' arrival at the manger! Every gift is so much richer in his shadow. His story never loses it's luster. We're so thankful this morning. He has been so kind and faithful to us this year. Even taking us to through quiet, sorrowful valleys and growing us. 

A Christmas card that arrived at my parents says it perfectly--



The Word did not become a philosophy, a theory or a concept to be 
discussed, debated or pondered.

The Word became a person to be followed, enjoyed and loved! 

May your heart know him...enjoy him...and love him always!


We sing his praises this morning as we joyfully share the beginning of the fulfillment of his promise to us five years ago. Friday, R's passport arrived and come Monday, Dec. 30th we fly for Ind*a to get our girl of promise. And so FINALLY after waiting a long time to do so, we say Merry Christmas from the Tegen Four!



The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November

Everyone's asleep at our house on this cold night...except me. I thought I'd take a minute to update. Since last we shared, we've had a full month and a few family milestones have. In October Jason turned thirty. For months he'd been training and planning to welcome the big milestone in November with a friend at the Outer Banks Marathon. Levi and I didn't complain about getting to spend the weekend with friends at the beach for the event. 


Surprised with gummy bears 

Waiting on their daddies

Daddy S.
Daddy T. 
Finished!

Visiting the dunes
Meanwhile in Ind*a, our brown-eyed girl turned nine the beginning of November and had a special birthday celebration from us via the orphanage staff. We can't share pictures here yet (okay, maybe her arms at the top), but we can give some of the significant updates we've received in the month of November. After getting the official word that court is finished, receiving the court orders and the deed of adoption, we're experiencing what should be our final lull. Middle of the month the orphanage staff got in line for a passport appointment and the earliest appointment they could get was December 4th. From that appointment it could be anywhere from 15 or more days, with extra emphasis on the or more, to get the passport. We are so close...and so, so relieved after a number of things we've learned recently. While I won't share details here until I get a few things clarified, we've become increasingly aware of the slow down for international adoptions from Ind*a. There are some alarming decisions being made...and we are so, so thankful that we applied when we did and got an orphanage match with a referral all within a three month window. I'm so overwhelmingly thankful to be following God's lead in this process. Jason and I could never have made it to our precious girl apart from him.



The birthday celebrations continued well into November with a quick trip to Alabama to celebrate a cousin's 31st. In true Bekah fashion we celebrated with blingy purple cupcakes!


While there I also got to spend some sweet, quality time with family members I seldom get to see. It was one of the richest days I've had in a long, long time!



I drove back that evening making it for the next evening's annual Christmas tree search. We found the perfect centerpiece for the new pavilion but getting it back was a bit tricky. Much to Christmas Tree Man's chagrin we drove it home just like this...



Coming to the end of the month, we worked on sink repairs with our little doctor/handyman who was game to help fix the problem. 



He's been accomplishing a lot these days...and one of his biggest accomplishments won him his first trip to THE toy store. Out of all the toys in the whole place, we walked out with a motorized Henry train complete with snowplow. What else would do for a boy who no longer needs diapers or pull-ups for anything?!




We finished out this month with lots of family and friends. Dad and Mom are here with us and we've been enjoying every super moment! Life is good with fun grandparents!  





Now for some rest! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why So Much?

It's the inevitable question. That $35,000 total is SO much. What could it all possibly go for? Now over a year and a half into an international adoption, we have a good idea...and it's all pretty understandable. 

Before we started our adoption Jason and I often talked about the amount of money it would require. It was money we didn't have and being a couple committed to stay away from debt if at all possible, we had a lot to consider. I always loved Jason's responses. Do you know how much people pay for cars and boats and vacations and ... ? And then he'd remind me of the dented, hand-me-down minivan we've chosen to drive. If there might ever be a reason for debt, the welfare of a child, I'd say, would be one of them. And so we were prepared, if it came to it, that we would borrow a small amount of money from family to bring our daughter of promise home. We were asked how we planned to make it happen. Our plan began and ended with God providing. Sounds like a crazy plan, huh?! That in no way means our knees didn't knock or that our sleep wasn't broken up with the struggles to trust and not worry and with the constant calculating wondering how we could help it all happen.

At the beginning of the year we found out we'd been awarded a matching grant from Family Christian Bookstore's The James Fund. (Thank you James Fund and Cousin Bekah for recommending us!) Every dollar up to $3000 would be matched. We were amazed when a family showed up a day or so after we found out (we hadn't even told them) and brought us a check for $1,000. The other two families had already shared that they wanted to each give us $1000 so just as the grant was given so were the matching funds! Between extra work for both of us, generous donations and larger-than-we-have-ever-received tax returns, we arrived at May 2013 with a miracle. In one year and one month, small provisions totaled to a big one when we realized we were totally funded with not one penny borrowed. Still, we are in awe. 

But, what do all of those funds go for, exactly? Could it really cost $35,000 to bring one child into a family? Good questions! One of the top reasons we chose our agency, America World, was because of their clear, calculated spreadsheet of financial expectations. And really, the money goes for exactly what you might think it would. A lot of hands touching a LOT of papers and getting paid a lot, in some cases, to do so. Here's the breakdown:


APPLICATION & DOSSIER BUILDING
Application Fee
$300
1st Installment of Program Fee
$2,200
Home Study (varies by state)
$1,200 - $2,500
Home Study Visit Travel Fees (these fees, if any, are assesed by home study agency)
$0 - $150
Adoptive Parent Hague Training (2 adults)
$140 - $200
Documents/Background Checks/Misc (Varies by state and number of states previously lived in.)
$100 - $1,000
USCIS Application + Fingerprinting Fees (2 adults)
$890
Notarization & Apostille (varies by state)
$150 - $250
DOSSIER SUBMISSION & WAITING
2nd Installment of Program Fee
$2,200
Post Adoption Report Deposit (Fully refundable if all post adoption reports are submitted on time.)
$2,000
Adopting An Older Child - Online Training (2 adults; required for families adopting children age four and older)
$70
Dossier Service Fee
$1,075
1st Installment of International Program Fee
$3,500
REFERRAL & TRAVEL
3rd Installment of Program Fee
$2,200
Airfare (2 adults; prices vary by season of travel and departure location.)
$2,400 - $4,000
Airfare (1 child; prices will vary by season, location, and ticket type [lap pass or child seat])
$250 - $1,000
Visa (2 adults)
$152
2nd Installment of International Program Fee (1 child)
$5,000
Visa/Embassy Fee
$230
In-Country Travel (2 adults; varies by season of travel) ••
$3,800 - $5,100
International Specialist Consultation
$100 - $400
POST ADOPTION
Post Adoption Administration Fee
$750
Post Adoption Visits (Varies by state; cost determined by home study agency.)
$800 - $1,600
Post Adoption Visit Travel Fees (These fees, if any, are determined by home study agency.)
$0 - $400
Post Adoption Report Refund
(Refunded in installments if, and only if, each report is submitted on time.)
($2,000)
In-State Adoption (Process and cost varies by state.)
$300 - $1,200
TOTAL 
$27,807 - $36,367



                              






                         {source }












The beauty of these numbers is that expenses are broken up over the course of a family's one to two, and sometimes three, year adoption process. The only large sum we encountered was at the time of referral acceptance. And...we didn't have it. Then, our daughter's official papers were delayed a whole month before arriving stateside allowing us an additional month to pray in the funding. And, just as the papers came, so had the funding! In November 2012 through God's provision we wrote the largest check to date. 


I recently wrote in my journal that coincidence is a great thief of God's glory in believers' lives. So often we pray for things and the answers come so ordinarily that we dismiss them instead of calling them for what they are. Haven't we learned from history that God's greatest works often come without much fanfare? In a year and a half Jason and I watched the $15,000+ we had to put on the table grow by $20,000. I'm still flabbergasted by that number and can't put my finger on how everything came in just when we needed it, where we needed it. So I'm calling it for what I know it is-- a total miracle. What we lacked and couldn't produce on our own, He provided. 

Perhaps it seems like too much for one child? We come back often to where we started. Of all the things we spend money on - the gadgets, entertainment, and conveniences - some are large purchases, many are smaller...but few are even close to being as significant and purposeful as investing in a child's life and future. We're honored actually to let God's money flow through our hands in this great calling.