Monday, May 5, 2014

And the Countdown Begins!!

It hardly seems real that 2 weeks from right now we will be with our daughter, on the other side of the world, in the orphanage that she's called home for the past few years of her life! I canNOT wait to hold that angel close and let her know that she is LOVED!!! I have so many ideas and thoughts running through my mind of how our meeting will go, but I know that nothing can really prepare us for the moment they bring her thru those doors and we lay our eyes on our bundle of joy! I honestly could not be any more excited if I were giving birth two weeks from today! 

I'm choosing NOT to think about the fact that we only get 5 days with our sweet girl until we must leave our sweet girl behind and return home to finish the adoption proceedings. I know that's going to be the hardest thing we've ever had to do. I'm not looking forward to that at all, but I will also be glad to get this last part finished so Nova can come HOME!!!! 

Our flight will leave Friday morning and sometime Saturday we will arrive in Bulgaria! Monday morning we will go meet little miss Nova and we will get to visit with her for 5 days!! Help us pray for safe travels, minimal jet-lag, and a smooth visit with our girl! I can't wait to update you all when we get home!! :)  

Thank you all so much for the prayers and support you've shown!! We could never do this without all of you!! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Look What God Has Done!!!

Hi Everyone, I know I haven't posted in quite some time, and I'm sorry to keep you all hanging. We've been really busy getting our dossier prepared to send to Bulgaria, and guess what!! It's ON IT's WAY!! Once there, it will be translated and registered with the Minister of Justice and we will receive our referral and travel dates any time after that! I can't believe we are THIS close to meeting our little girl!!! :) 

Throughout this adoption journey we have seen God do GREAT things, more than we could ask or think. We've witnessed miracle after miracle. We've seen lives touched and hearts opened to the need of the orphan. Spencer and I have seen many things "grow" in our own life-- our love and commitment to each other and our faith and trust in the Lord, to name a couple. We have also been overwhelmed (over and over again)by the kindness of God's people.  

When we started this process and found out about the staggering financial need, we really did not know WHERE the money would come from. We knew we didn't have it lying around, we just knew that God told us to adopt and that He would provide the means by which to do so. With our tiny bit of faith, we took God at his word and trusted Him. It wasn't always easy and the devil REALLY likes to get you down (he HATES adoption, by the way!!) but little by little, the money came in at every step of the way. Exactly what we needed-- never more and never less. We rejoiced in the Lord as every bit came in.  SO many people have contributed in SO many ways. We've had people organizing fundraisers, we've sold t-shirts, we've had people send in donations, it has truly been amazing to watch God provide. 
(Over 200 people purchased a "Nova" shirt!)

On Saturday night (March 1) we had a special Southern Gospel Singing hosted by VictorySong with a very special guest, Bro. Archie Watkins! Our Pastor had sent letters to friends, family members, churches, and missionaries asking 200 people to send in $100 each to "Help Bring Nova Home". They were praying for $10,000 to be raised for Nova. The outpouring of love that flowed through God's people was AMAZING. The money poured in over a course of weeks from 6 continents, numerous countries, and MANY states! The goal of $10,000 was MET and EXCEEDED!!! When it was all said and done we were presented with a check of $25,000 to BRING NOVA HOME!! This amount is more than enough to cover the remaining fees to complete our adoption and take care of most of the travel! We have been SO blessed and we are SO excited to move on with this next part of the process!! Our God never ceases to amaze me with His goodness! 

PS- Even since the "big" check was written, we've had several hundred dollars come in making the total OVER $25,000! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

T-Shirt FUNdraiser!!!

Hi Everyone! 
We are now taking PRE-ORDERS for our "Bring Nova Home" tee shirts!!!
They are super cute, fit great, and of course are for a great cause! Please bear with us, as this will be our *first* order and it will take a little time to get everything sorted out! If you have mentioned that you would like to pre-order, please follow THIS LINK to get to our store where you can select your color and size. The prices will be $15 for hand delivery (locals) and $17 shipped! If you prefer to pay with a check, you may click the "Contact Us" button to place your order via e-mail (or facebook)!  Also, we will be glad to take orders in person for all you local folks! :) Finally, if you have ANY questions, please don't hesitate to ask!!  We so appreciate you all and your eagerness to help us get Nova home!! We pray the Lord will bless you all very much! :)  

Spencer and Steffani 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And...... We have a MATCH!!

It's really amazing how nearly two months of your life can pass so quickly and so slowly at the same time. So much has happened in the time since my last post and I can't wait to share with you what all the Lord has done!! So, here goes! :-D

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, our *wonderful* adoption consultant sent me the photo of a beautiful young girl and said she thought we would be interested in getting more information about her.  I mentioned it to Spencer, and we both thought she was adorable.  But, she was older than our home study was originally written for and after becoming so easily attached to the last little girl we saw a picture of, we were trying hard to guard our hearts. I messaged our consultant and told her that she didn't quite meet the parameters that we had specified, but thanked her for thinking of us. She replied by saying that she knew the girl was older than we had requested, but she decided to send us her file anyway. (Right here I will say that I thank the Lord for the people He's let us work with during this process!!) That encouraged us to really, really pray about pursuing her and making her a part of our family. After a couple of days, we both KNEW that THIS little girl needed to be ours! 

So, off went an e-mail to our consultant and we got back her complete medical file along with more information about her. We also knew that we needed to work quickly, because there were more people who would want her if we didn't.  

In a whirlwind few weeks, we had completed and notarized the necessary application paperwork and sent pictures to Bulgaria of us and our home. And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more, for what seemed like an eternity we waited. In reality it wasn't quite that long and in the mean time, we were able to take her file to a pediatrician in town that has dealt with other internationally adopted children. We got a good prognosis based on what he could tell by her report and then we waited some more.   If you've never experienced anything like this, you probably won't understand the agony that comes with knowing that one person, a government official on the other side of the world (who doesn't know a thing about you besides the few pages of information they have before them) is making a decision that will impact your life F O R E V E R.  The wait is exhausting. It's draining. And nerve wrecking. Even though we had a peace that it was in the Lord's hands, it still really does a toll on your emotions.  

We went out of town for Christmas thinking that we wouldn't hear any results until after the New Year, and tried to put it out of our minds as much as we could. Finally, on Friday morning, we opened up the e-mail that we had waited to see for so many weeks!! It began with "I have wonderful news for your family!" and that was that! Our application for our little girl had been accepted and she was officially "put on hold" for us to adopt!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

We now have 6 months to complete the necessary paperwork for our dossier and submit that to the MOJ in Bulgaria, but we should make it well before the 6 month deadline. All we are really waiting on is our I-800a which is an application to immigration, and that will, Lord willing, come within 60 days of submitting. (It can take more or less depending on a lot of factors.) If all goes well, we will be travelling to bring our little girl home by Fall of this year! We, naturally, are praying that it all happens as quickly as possible and that she won't have to spend one more day without her parents than is absolutely necessary. 

Please, help us pray that the rest of this process will go smoothly and quickly and that God will use our story to encourage and inspire other people to adopt. 

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers!! They are not taken for granted! 
Steff <3

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


"Looking back over my life, I realize that my parents were the two most influential people in my life. They shaped, molded, and equipped me to be the person I am today. Without them, there is really no telling where I would be. They have taught me the importance of my relationship with Christ, and it is through Him I have found peace and strength to face this life."  -A small excerpt from the end of my autobiography.

 As I summarized my life in the form of a small book, I really mulled it over and got down to the nitty-gritty of what made me-- me. By the time I was finished writing, I realized there were a handful of people in my life that really had the power to influence me, for the good or the bad. Thankfully, at the top of that list were my parents

The two of them showed me over and over what it means to be a Christian, how to deal with life, problems, good times, and bad times. They showed the power of love, commitment, and overcoming. They were my biggest inspiration, and my best friends. They were the people that made me feel safe and made our home a happy place to be--the place everyone always wanted to be. They encouraged me, guided me, taught me valuable lessons, and made me be all that I could be. They encouraged me to live for JESUS, to give him everything, and to trust HIM with my life.  And then, I realized-- at the end of this (crazy, emotional, hard, and amazing) adoption journey, I am going to be that person- a parent, a Mother--to my own child. I will be one of the two most important people in a little person's life. I am going to be their life teacher, their role model, the one that equips them for life. And THAT is not something I take lightly. I'm truly humbled by and thankful for the task God has called Spencer and me to do!

Do you know how many orphans there are in the world? 

If I told you 153 MILLION, would that number blow you away like it did me?

Did you know that's roughly equivalent to half of the population of the USA.

That is 153,000,000 tiny faces, personalities,and hearts, and SOULS, that have no one to care for them. They have no one to tuck them in at night, to shower them with hugs and kisses, to take them for ice cream when they make a good grade. No Mommies or Daddies to wash and bandage their boo-boo's, or to help them with homework, or to tell them about JESUS. One hundred and fifty-three million orphans. 

Did you also know that if just 7% of the Christians in the world adopted one child there would be NO ORPHANS left in the world?  

Did you ALSO know, that YOU could be part of that 7%. You can make a difference in the life of a child who has no one else to care for them, to love them, to teach them about Jesus? YOU can change the world by adopting, or at least your world, and the world of the child you will be giving a home to. And if you do, you won't regret it. You will just be blessed.  

I am so thankful that God has blessed Spencer and me with this wonderful gift of adoption and I can't WAIT to get our little one home forever!


PS- If you liked this post, please share it with someone. Help raise adoption awareness! 

Happy Adoption Month! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Great Garland Exchange!

Happy Wednesday Y'all! 

I am SO excited to share that I am participating in Angie's Great Garland Exchange! I would love for you crafty folks to join me!  It's super easy and she has lots of inspiration there to guide you! PLUS, the entry fee is only $5 which goes directly to their adoption fund!

They are trying to meet a goal of $1,000 and I'd love to be able to help. Not to mention, November is Orphan Awareness Month, and what a great way to show your support! Also not to mention, she has not ONE, but TWO snazzy give away's going on! 

Y'all know I'm all about helping out other adoptive parents, so y'all scoot on over to 
Raised From The Water and sign up! :) 
xoxo, Steff

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Long (Overdue) Post

Well, last week brought a lot of progress on the adoption front!

First, we completed our home study! I shall insert a happy dance and a big "Hallelujah" right here! We could not have been blessed with a more smooth process. We are truly thankful for all of the "adoption people" the Lord has placed in our lives. Our social worker was amazing, and so sweet. I'm looking forward to her being a part of our family for the next few years! :) As she left, she told us "Next time I see you guys, I will be coming to visit you and your baby!". That made it very real that we are making PROGRESS!  

Our next step (once we get our home study officially approved) will be to mail off an $890 check and apply to USCIS (for immigration)!! We already have a lot of the documents prepared for our dossier, and we will just have to mail them to Atlanta to be apostilled. So, I really feel like we're making good time!  

A couple of weeks ago, Spencer and I found a little girl on the waiting child list, and fell in love with her little picture. We prayed and really sought God's will about making Anika a part of our family. We, naturally, got very excited and really thought she could be "the one". The more we found out about her, the more we realized the Lord was closing the doors. Her special needs were found to be a lot more severe than we first realized, and while it was the most heartbreaking thing ever to say "no" to her, we also knew that we are not capable of giving her the care that she needs and deserves.  We are praying every day that the Lord will send this little angel a family who can give her the home and environment she needs to thrive!

Will you help us pray for Anika!?  

While it is hard to fall in love with a child and then realize you can't go get her, I don't feel like it was a wasted experience. It has really made Spencer and me pray and talk about what special needs we feel called to accept. We don't want to be too "picky" and miss out on the child God has for us, but we also want to know our limitations and make an informed decision.
Our agency wants us to fill out a "comfort level" sheet, which is basically 3 pages of medical conditions we will be willing to accept, consider, or refuse. We really desire your prayers as we make these decisions, it is a lot harder than it sounds!  We may even make an appointment with a pediatrician to learn more about some of the conditions that are on the comfort level sheet. We just really want to be sensitive to the Lord and make the right choices!  I will add here that I'm SO glad for the Holy Spirit that lives and dwells in me (and Spencer) and we aren't left to decide these things on our own. The peace that He gives still amazes me every day and I can't imagine going through life without the comfort of knowing Him. It's such a reassuring thought to know that He knows the end from the beginning, and He is working everything out for our good and His glory!  And like our Pastor preached tonight, the best stories come from the times of brokeness in our lives and everything we go through in life is so we can help others who are going through the same things.  

In other news, we've had quite a few more generous donations to our adoption fund. I'm amazed to watch God send in the funds to start our family, but after all this time, WHY would I doubt Him!? He is too good to us! We have a few more FUNdraising ideas and I'll be sharing more details with you soon! We're going to do a "baby bottle drive" soon. Maybe in the month of November if I can get everything together in time! You'll be able to pick up an empty baby bottle, take it home and fill it with change, then return it to the drop box! You don't even have to roll the change!  VictorySong will also be hosting a benefit sing coming up after the first of the year, it's going to be a super fun time! They will be making a program and selling ads, so if you are interested in that-- feel free to message me, I can get you in touch with the right people! 
 We truly are so blessed with the most amazing people that care about us and getting our sweet angel home!  Many thanks to you all for the love, prayers, and support!!