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Month 2: Where we stand

November, already. We just elected a president. Ski season officially starts this weekend. The first quarter of school is about to end. I’m planning my Thanksgiving Menu.

In Adoption news, things are rolling down the track. In the past few weeks, we have signed our way through a small mountain of paperwork. I know this is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more to come. We have signed a contract with the adoption agency. The packet is currently sitting on a shelf above my desk awaiting a check to be attached and the whole thing dropped in the mail. Our homestudy application was approved, and the contract to start our Homestudy is sitting next to the agency contract, also awaiting a check. Catching onto a theme here? Yep, FINANCES. My favorite. But in all honesty, I am so encouraged how God has grown us and continues to provide in this area. It’s daunting, for sure. But so, so good to see things that were such a huge struggle and adoption would have been far more an impossibility just a year ago, but through God’s grace and providence, actually possible now.

It’s a huge area of growth for us, but we have a plan and resources and things are falling into place. So yes, the reality is hitting as some of the bigger payments are coming due. But we are able to work hard and are re-structuring finances to be able to pay for them. That has taken a bit more thought and patience and prep-work than I would like. I desire for things to move along quick, quick, quick, but thankfully I have a wise and prudent husband who is putting a lot of time, thought, and energy into our finances to make the adoption stuff feasible. This last week we re-worked our budget, expenses, health insurance coverage and life insurance with our financial advisor. She was awesome! We were able to switch life insurance companies, so we both get about twice as much coverage for nearly half the monthly cost we were paying. The downside was I had to pee in a cup and get a blood draw. We also evaluated health coverage plans and sought help navigating how to account for a 4th child who will need more regular medical care and prescriptions than we currently need. We also worked with our CPA to reconfigure how my business, Natalie G. Photography, can start paying myself from my business (which I have never done before) and provide a stipend from the profit I earned through running a series of special adoption mini sessions over a few weekends. All in all, I earned about $1700 towards our adoption expenses from these mini sessions in 2 weekends, which is nearly the exact amount we need to pay for our homestudy. Matt also got a very long overdue invoice paid, which is just about exactly what we need to cover the agency fee payment. Plus, with the Adoption Tax Credit, we will be able to claim those full amounts as a credit on our 2013 tax return when our adoption is completed, so that money we have earned will continue to benefit our family. People have begun shopping via our Amazon Link, and we just broke our first $100 earned through that. It might be small, but it’s a start!!

And there is so many more opportunities to come this month! We just got our FIG fund set up and will be launching a fundraiser Monday the 12th (stay tuned!).

God is providing through many different means. We are so encouraged! Just a few weeks ago we confronted with some hard conversation and push-back to our adopting based on the premise it is going to be expensive, hard and have long term effects to our finances. At first my reaction was like, DUH, of course we know that. But the more I thought through it, prayed on it, and dialogued with Matt, the more I realized it wasn’t just about money. How we use money is a reflection of what is the state of our hearts. It’s easy to say we trust God… until we are challenged to get uncomfortable. They say the last thing to get redeemed is your wallet. If we reduce ourselves to being mere cultural Christians, we want both our God and our Money to serve us. Truth is that we serve God with our money. It’s all His anyways. The bigger questions are- how much of what God provides us do we choose to keep? and, how is God asking us to give and live out the gospel in how we love, in whom we serve, and how we spend His money?

It’s not a question of hesitation because of how much it will cost. THIS IS OUR CHILD. What if it were cancer? or a genetic birth defect? or an accident? or the insurance agency decides not to cover 100%? YOU WOULD DO WHAT IT TAKES, right? Why would there be an assumption it would be different with an adopted child? Yes, she is not in our family…. yet. But, it’s worth pondering as this exposes how we view how God’s sovereignty works. It shows us how we can be hypocritical in making our own ‘if… then’ rules or keeping ourselves within our own resources & power. Thankfully God’s grace for us has no contingencies. It will be hard, expensive and have long term effects.

Then yesterday, I read this in a daily devotional:

Christ will lead you into many situations that will seem impossible, but don’t try to avoid them. Stay in the middle of them, for that is where you will experience God. The key difference between what appears to be impossible to us and what is actually possible is a word from our Master! Faith accepts His divine command and steps out in a direction that only God can complete. If you only attempt things that you know are possible with the visible resources you possess, those around you will not see God at work. You will be the one who receives the credit for a job well done, but God will have no part in it. Take inventory of your life and the decisions you are presently facing. Have you received a word from the Master that awaits your next step of faith? If you will proceed with what He has told you, no matter how incredible it might seem, you will experience the joy of seeing your Lord perform a miracle, and so will those around you.

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