Adoption Announcement Photoshoot

We are coming to the end of our homestudy (post coming soon about our experience) and when it is finalized (the 2nd week of January) we will be eligible to be matched to a birth parent and baby!

 

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It is our plan to send out a “We are hoping to Adopt” Announcement at the start of the year! This is to let our extended family and friends know about our adoption plans and to enable the people in our lives to support us, either through prayer, sharing our story, or financially through donations.

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We are praying for a baby to join this House Full of Pecks in 2016! We know that adoption is hard, that the process can take years, but we are staying positive and praying for God to bring our baby to us this year. That might sound crazy or naive, but we are stepping out in faith and trusting God’s plan for us. And as hopeful as we are for a baby in 2016, we are willing to wait as long as it takes for our baby!

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And what is an adoption announcement without a photoshoot?!?!? I met Kate this past summer when I drove her and a few other high school girls around Erie for the Amazing Race. This is an event for High School students who are part of our Church youth group, which I have been volunteering with since this summer.  It was a really fun afternoon and our team came in 2nd Place! Anyways, I have come to know Kate over this past semester at youth group and discovered she has a love for photography! She is so kind, has a great heart, and I knew she would be perfect to take our photos! And let me tell you what an awesome time we had!

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Kate made us feel really comfortable and was able to capture us and our personalities so well. She even managed to get a few of the four of us, despite Miss Bennett not co-operating! We would highly recommend her for any and all of your photoshoots and will definitely be using her for our photoshoots in the future! You can see more of her work on her website

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I am currently finishing up our adoption profile book that will be viewed by birth parents for a potential match! This journey has been so beautiful and has taught both of us about not only trusting in the Lord for his provision and timing, but to treasure this time of waiting as he prepares us to be parents. I spoke to someone recently who had adopted through our agency and they said one of the most helpful things I have heard in regards to waiting. It is not a question of “if” we will get a child, but a question of “when” our child will become ours completely.

 

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We are also praying for our future birth parents…that they will see how much we already love this child, and how humbled we are to get to partner with them to raise this baby. We pray for strength and courage as they make their adoption plan and for wisdom in choosing. We are two imperfect people, striving to live a life worthy of the children we will be given.

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Thank you for taking the time to look at our pictures and for following us in our journey. We are so grateful for your prayers and support! If you would like to receive an adoption announcement and to support us in our adoption journey, please connect with me on here or on Facebook.

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

Oh Me of Little Faith

Here is our family of four doing my first #fridayintroductions on instagram @housefullofpecks
Here is our family of four doing my first #fridayintroductions on Instagram @housefullofpecks

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I had decided on an adoption agency and had scheduled an appointment to meet with the director. I wanted to meet her in person and also give my husband a chance to own the decision as well by asking questions and hearing the answers straight from the agency. I had done all the research prior and had been the one to inform him of what I learned. So it was really great to finally decide and own the decision as a couple.

As this was our first face-to-face meeting with an adoption agency, I wanted to know exactly what questions I should ask before deciding to move forward with them. We live in a small(ish) town that has a great Facebook community where you can voice opinions, raise awareness, ask for help, share events and news, and give reviews. I had this deep desire to know and be apart of a community of families who had adopted, were adopting or are just looking into adoption who live near us. Connecting with people and doing life with them can be such a huge blessing, especially when you share something like adoption as a common thread. So I stepped out in faith and posted on this Facebook page hoping maybe one or two people would respond and want help me foster this community I was longing for.

{ Oh me of little faith }

The response I received on that Facebook post BLEW. ME. AWAY! Comment after comment from families who were in every stage of adoption, including adoptees! God saw my longing and he provided for me more than I could have asked or imagined. And to top it off, those who commented wanted the same thing…a community for families in our town who have/had/are going to adopt!

Now I am not a leader of any sort…I have always seen myself as just another sheep in a huge flock. I saw a need that I was hoping someone else could fill for me…but instead it was so clear that I could fill that need for myself and others. So I created a Facebook group for us…an online community for support, encouragement, and wisdom and a safe place to share our fears and worries. I also met someone who is moving to our town this summer and wants to co-lead the group with me….to make it more than just an online community. We have not met yet, but I am so excited to see how God can use the two of us in this amazing town for all of these awesome adoptive families. These families who are an inspiration to me and who have done what may seem impossible to others. They have opened their homes to those who were homeless, given families to those who were without families, and loved those who were once unloved and unwanted.

In any and every circumstance,
I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
{Philippians 4:12-13}

As I approach this exciting new chapter of my life and step out in faith, I will hold onto those words of truth. Will and I have been blessed in abundance and have struggled through needs. In each trial and blessing we can only hold onto the strength we have received in faith through Jesus. I know I can do this because he has been there with me in all things.

How are you supported in your community? I would love to hear of encouragements, ideas and what has helped you most.

Ashley xoxo

Endless Paperwork

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Taking our First Steps….Fingerprints for Background Checks

I have had more than my fair share of paperwork over the years. I went to a Catholic College prep high school for my Freshmen and Sophomore years. After two terrible years of mean girls and rich kids and skirt measuring in the hallway, I decided to finish high school through independent study. It was one of the best decisions I have made in life so far. Yes I missed out on more high school dances, and football games, but I was able to work with a small group of like-minded kids who also did not fit in with the status quo. It gave me the freedom to start classes at the local community college and through one english class my fate was changed forever.

One of my best friends and I took a lot of classes together. She was two years older than me but most of her friends had gone away to college. I had a reputation of speaking my mind which made me not so popular with most girls (hence me leaving my high school) and so after a viewing of Pride and Prejudice we became fast friends. We were taking an english class at Saddleback Community College when we heard about their study abroad program in England. Now my friend had already done a semester studying in Spain and was totally up for another one. I, an avid reader and lover of literature, had always dreamt of visiting the places where my favorite authors had lived and wrote their novels. One little problem…my friend was actually in college and I was a 17 year old still in high school with a curfew.

Well my clever friend did all the research it took to make sure I would be able to go and then asked my parents for me one evening when she was over having dinner with my family. And for some crazy reason…THEY SAID YES!

Now while the adventures that followed are worth a novel in themselves…I find myself at the original point to which I am writing. Paperwork. That started the first ever visa filing that I would undergo. So much paperwork for a three month study abroad program. Little did I know that I would later on complete the paperwork for 5 visas in total.

Now I don’t know about you, but if you have ever filled out a visa application, you know how much work is involved. You have to get the right pictures (no smiling) and you have to get forms notarized, and make sure there are no errors. Background checks and proof of residency and bank statements. We had to overnight an affidavit signed by my dad in California for one visa. I missed spending our first Christmas married with my family in California because of visa delays. I also had to go to the American Embassy for my hubby’s visa to get my tax returns filed….that was a trip!

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Giddy over getting our fingerprints taken

The hardest visa I applied for was my fiance visa to move to England and get married. I had to provide statements of my relationship with Will with a timeline and photographs as evidence of our love and commitment. Everything had to line up perfectly…Will got a job which meant he could sign for our rental agreement which gave us a place to live (and was required for my visa to be granted). But with all the freak outs and last minute scares and forms being filed left right and center…everything always came together. I got my visas and Will got his greencard to move here. We trusted God and did everything by the book…and its by his grace and strength that we are here today.

So while I am sitting here feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and forms and background checks we have to file, I can remember that we have done this before….. And through this whole adoption adventure, I can hold onto this truth:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”
-Proverbs 3:5-6

We are going to do everything by the book when it comes to filling our paperwork and we are going to trust God that he will open the doors that need opening and close the ones that need to be shut.

{Stepping out in active faith and trusting God no matter the outcome}

How did you get through all the crazy paperwork? Are you, like me, already feeling overwhelmed? I would love to hear your thoughts, struggles, and encouragements as you went through (or are also going through) this stage in the adoption process.

Ashley xoxo