Thursday, January 26, 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

Trip to Poland and Updates!

So much to update!

The first and best news is that .... we just got back from Poland yesterday.  We were able to visit the kids to celebrate Christmas!!!!  We are so grateful to the orphanage director for allowing the visit and for Adoption Airfare for providing us with humanitarian airfare to make it all possible!  The kids were able to stay with us in an apartment for four nights :).

Other than being very sick the entire trip, we had a wonderful time!

The girls were finally qualified for international adoption right before Christmas!  We are currently waiting for all of their official documents from the adoption center so that we can have them translated and then send them to USCIS (US immigration).  This will begin the process for their visas and citizenship.  Once this step is complete, we will only be waiting for the Ministry (government) in Poland to approve our documents and then for the judge to set our bonding period and court date.  It sounds simple BUT it's probably going to take about six more months :(.  Although we are praying for quicker!!

Our next BIG news is that we received two BIG donations while we were gone and only have $3,698 left to raise!!!!!!  That is out of a total of $39,814 estimated by our agency for the adoption process/fees.  AMAZING!  Friends, we have paid ourselves and/or raised a total of over $36,000 in the last six months!!!!!!  God is SO good!  I have an interview tomorrow morning to hopefully bring in some additional income as well.  Next up, we have to start preparing for the 5ish weeks that Justin will have to take off of work for our travel to Poland as well as the possibility that the judge could require the entire family to travel (this would add about $6500 in additional expenses that we haven't planned for because we would need to purchase additional airfare, a larger apartment, extra taxis / public transportation fares, etc.). We don't *think* that this will happen because all of the kids have already bonded well and they are old enough to share that experience with the judge BUT it is part of their law and they could require it. We won't know until the very last moment when we receive our approval to travel so we need to be prepared.

Some things you can pray for:
-That our kids would know, without a doubt, that they are loved. That they will be well-cared for, happy, and healthy. That they will begin to develop a deeper trust in the Lord and that they will feel His strength and provision as they wait.
-That the orphanage director will allow the children to use their tablets (we brought them Kindles) to learn English and to communicate with us, we are still waiting to find out
-That we would receive the kids' documents quickly from the adoption center in Poland so that we can move on to the next step
-That the remaining steps in the process go as quickly as possible
-That the Ministry will approve an expedite to hopefully make our case go a little faster
-That the judge will look favorably on all of the bonding that we've done with the kids and make our time / process in Poland as easy / simple / quick as possible
-The the judge will not require Anna, Levi, Amelia, and Claire to travel .... many of you probably remember how hard all of the public transportation was on Claire / Amelia's immune systems, they were each hospitalized for a week last year in Poland
-That we would be able to find someone to stay with Anna, Levi, Amelia, and Claire while we travel (about 2 weeks) until one of us can return
-The remainder of our funding
-Financial provision for Justin's time off of work and favor at his job so that he can return without any issues or demotions after our travel

Donation options / explanations: -- Completely tax-deductible in any amount (!!), we can use this money once we have approval to travel and they pay our adoption fees directly (3% PayPal fee taken out of donations, can mail a check so that there's no fee) -- Not tax deductible, we can access this money at any time for current adoption expenses (3% PayPal fee taken out of donations)
OR you can mail a check directly to our adoption agency (An Open Door Adoption Agency), donations over $250 are tax-deductible (no fee).

I have two fundraisers planned for January and will be announcing them soon!!!!

Whew!  What a Mighty God we serve!!!!  2017 is going to be quite a year for our family.  Thank you for cheering us on and for keeping us in your prayers <3!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

They are [Finally!] Qualified for Adoption!

We submitted our application to adopt our kids on August 2, the day after they returned to Poland.  We already had our dossier (all of our documents) ready so we just knew that the process would go quickly and the kids would be home by Christmas!  To our surprise, we found out that only Przemek was qualified for adoption and that we could either adopt him immediately or wait for the girls to also be qualified.  Of course, we chose to wait.

The orphanage director compiled the girls' files and sent them to the regional adoption center BUT it took the regional adoption center almost two full months to schedule the meeting :(.  The meeting was finally held on 9/29 and the girls are now qualified for domestic adoption.  In order for them to be qualified for international adoption, they must be listed in Poland for a minimum of 52 days so that they can show the courts that an attempt was made to find a family in Poland for the girls before qualifying them to be adopted internationally (Przemek has already completed this step).  The girls' documents are being sent to Warsaw this week and we hope that they will be entered into the database quickly so that our 52 day wait can begin.  The national adoption center in Warsaw already has our application and has officially matched us with Przemek.  His file is on hold from all other agencies while we wait for the girls to also be qualified and, at that time, they will match us with all three of the kids and we can continue on with the process (there is about 3-4 months worth of steps left after this step is complete).

Although we are devastated that this happened to the girls .... it gives me goosebumps to think that, at 14/15 years old, if we had not applied to adopt them, no one would have ever known that they were not qualified to be adopted (the orphanage director didn't even know). The girls never would have been given the opportunity to find a family simply because someone along the way decided not to file the paperwork. God brought us together!

The qualification process has delayed the adoption by almost four months already. We are, of course, praying for a miracle but, it looks like our kids will not be home until Spring :(.

Being apart from our kids is HARD! We appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and support more than you can know.

We have already paid and/or raised over $24,000!!!  We have just over $15,000 left to go, for a spring homecoming, this works out to between $3,000-4,000 needed per month!  If you have a fundraising idea or need that we can help meet, please let us know.

And I know it is far-reaching and would involve "moving a mountain" .... but will you please keep praying for a Christmas miracle?  Our hearts just can't fathom spending Christmas apart from FOUR of our beloved children.  THANK YOU friends!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


We received an anonymous donation today and the funds to pay our next agency fee are covered!!!!!! This means that our dossier (many, many certified documents) will be submitted to Poland THIS WEEK without any delay. We are blown away by God's goodness and the generosity of our family, friends, and even strangers <3!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

They Know!!!!!

Today, we got to tell the kids that we are adopting them!!!!!!!!!  It was magical.  They said that they were "jumping for joy" and sent us about 1000 heart and smile emojis <3.

Before today, we were strictly forbidden from saying anything about adoption because the officials in Poland want families to be far enough along in the process that there is certainty that everything will work out.  The kids have been asking us if we would adopt them, even apologizing for things as if they thought that we hadn't mentioned adoption because they disappointed us somehow... it has been heartbreaking.  Yesterday, we got the "okay" to tell them and then we had to wait patiently for them to get online... I hardly slept ;).  We wrote and re-wrote our announcement about 300 times and had it proofread by our facilitator so that it would be perfect.  These last 18 days have been hard knowing how heartbroken they were. We are so so so happy that the kids are finally going to bed tonight with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts!!!!  

Because our dossier was completed so recently for Amelia's adoption, we were able to "re-use" everything! This is wonderful because the process is moving quickly but it leaves us with very little time to come up with the needed finances. Currently, we are working as quickly as possible to raise $9,145 so that we can submit our dossier (certified documents) to Poland. We have $2,600 left to go and then those documents will be translated and submitted.  Other than frantically fundraising, we just get to wait while our documents go through the process of being approved by all of the necessary agencies.  We expect to be traveling in 4-5 months to bring our kids home :).

Thank you for supporting us and for continuing to cover us all in prayer!

Monday, August 15, 2016

LuLaRoe Fundraiser

Just in time for back to school shopping, join us for a LuLaRoe party! Our generous host, Andrea, is donating 100% of her commission to the Howell family to help bring their kids home from Poland.

LuLaRoe: where style meets comfort.  Although, famous for their "buttery" soft and fashionable leggings, LuLaRoe also carries beautiful (and comfortable!!) tops and dresses for girls and women, as well as items for men.

Join the party here:  The sale will start on August 22nd at 5pm PDT and over 700 items will be posted for sale!  In the meantime, we will play some games and have some giveaways!!!  Please join the party now and help us spread the word.

Thank you for supporting the Howell family!