100% Fully Funded!!!

Jeremy and I are excited to announce that we have reached our goal of $20,000 and are 100% fully funded for our adoption of Baby Santee!!!

We want to thank all of you who have prayed, encouraged, supported and of course given to help us reach our goal.  It is very humbling and we truly feel grateful for all of you!  YOU ROCK!!

We would continue to ask for your prayers as we still have an uncharted course ahead of us that will be emotionally challenging.

Blessings,

Amanda

GIANT ONLINE FIST BUMP MY FRIENDS!!!!

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Adoption, Our First Choice

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If you’re new to my blog, my husband and I are in the process of adopting a domestic infant through Bethany Christian Services.  All of our paperwork and home study visits are complete.  We’ve been eagerly awaiting our home study report for six weeks, and we’re excited that our case worker says it’s very nearly done.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how many conversations I have on a regular basis about our adoption.  It really is unbelievable how many people have gone out of their way to encourage us and join our journey.  We’ve been showered with prayer, stories, advise, support, and questions from almost every direction.  Up to this point I’ve shared about our planning and fundraising here on my blog, but I haven’t shared a lot about what’s going on in my heart and the thoughts I have swirling around in my head.  So, over the next couple of days I’m going to share some of what we’ve walked through.

First, Jeremy and I encounter an extraordinary number of questions and testimonies about infertility.  We’re finding that almost everyone who hears that we’re adopting assumes that we must be unable to conceive a child biologically.  I approach this subject with the deepest respect for all of the families who have or are struggling with infertility.  You’ve poured your hearts out to us and shared your stories as a means of encouraging us, and we’re so grateful.  Despite the tears you shed while you shared about your journey, what we heard in your story and what we were encouraged by in your testimony, was your faith, perseverance, gratitude, joy, and LOVE.  Oh how you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the blessings of children you were gifted with through the miracle of adoption.  We see the heart of Jesus in each of you, and it’s beautiful.

So, here’s my heart’s journey toward motherhood, our journey toward Baby Santee…  When Jeremy and I were married, we were purposeful to hold off on growing our family while we grew in our relationship.  We’ve been blessed to travel the world and grow together.  We have a strong relationship, and Jeremy is my best friend.

As 2012 came to a close, a new desire grew in my heart.  I took note of Scripture that spoke of the blessing of children.  I saw my husband in a new light, noting how he’d make a wonderful father.  At that time, Jeremy questioned whether he was ready for us to have children.  I prayed.

In January of 2013, my mother-in-law passed away.  Despite the grief we felt, we had hope and gratitude knowing she was in heaven.  God ushered in a time of healing for Jeremy.  Then, one day Jeremy reminded me of a promise God had given him in the past– the story of which I’ll save for another day- and Jeremy was ready.

We ushered in the seventh year of our marriage.  It was as though one chapter was coming to an end and the excitement of a new chapter grew steadily.  It was time to grow our family.

Being the planners that we are, we had a whole check list of things we wanted to accomplish in the seventh year of our marriage before our new adventure began.  Let’s be honest here, I got out a giant sticky note and wrote out, TO THE MONTH, what the next five years of our life would hold.  Hahahaha  [Insert one big “Oh, bless your heart.”  I know I had it coming]  Call it hubris or responsible planning, but whatever the notion was, it wasn’t from the mouth of God.  He had something in store, but it would look different than what the sticky note suggested.

That Winter we began to, you know, [giant hand quotes] TRY.  I typed that sentence out a billion different ways, and every one of them made me blush.  In the Spring of 2015 we embarked on a romantic and adventurous escape to Italy, where we spent a couple weeks driving from Venice to Sorrento, spending time in multiple cities along the way.  We thought for sure that’s where baby Santee would be conceived.  In fact, a couple months later, we felt almost certain that we were pregnant.

When we thought we were pregnant after returning from Italy, my heart was SO FULL OF JOY.  I tested several times a day waiting for one of the tests to tell me what I thought I knew, but I was wrong.  It turns out international travel throws off the body’s normal routine.  When my body caught up, disappointment crept in and my heart hurt.  It ‘s the first and only time I’ve grieved in our journey, and it was really hard on both of us.

Pausing a moment in our story, I’ve been asked by SO MANY PEOPLE if it hurts to see others with pregnancies and little ones, or if it’s hard to hostess baby showers, which if you know me you know I LOVE to do.  I know your hearts, so I know your questions come from a place of love.  It doesn’t hurt.  It brings me joy!  Though I have many hang-ups I can list, I’m grateful that I’ve never been plagued by jealousy and envy– by the grace of God no doubt.  I LOVE celebrating with others!!  EVERY SINGLE BIRTH is a miracle from GOD and an excellent reason to throw a party!!

With that, I’ll share that God healed the pain of that moment in our journey and we moved on.  We’re in a great place in life– happy, surrounded by family and friends, having fun together, enjoying our jobs, etc.

Last year we experienced another loss in our family when my brother-in-law passed away.  Once again we grieved, we rejoiced knowing Bill was a believer, and we took in every ounce of goodness from a really hard time and thanked God for it.  During our stay in Oklahoma we spent time with family, and it was good.  It was another season of growing and understanding our roots.  It was lovely even in the most unlovely scenario.

Last Fall, I began to experience something like a stirring in my heart, like a call to attention and a hint that I needed to listen and see what God was doing.  I remember very clearly the EXACT moment when I heard and I saw.  I was photographing a Christian concert and the band was sharing about their ministry caring for the needs of orphans.  Missions ministry is one of our greatest passions individually and as a couple, so of course my attention was focused and my heart was touched, but this time it was a little different.  I could hardly keep up with wiping the tears from my face so I could continue to capture images, when I finally gave up and just listened.  It was so simple, so clear.  Psalm 27:10 from the mouth of a child just broke my heart.  Scriptural confirmations didn’t stop there.

Jesus says if you love me, feed my lambs.  If you love me, take care of my sheep.  There is was.  The moment my heart ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT KNEW that I would have a child born to me from the womb of another.  He or she would be mine and every ounce of love, excitement, hope, pride, and joy I could possibly feel flooded in.  When I scanned across the sanctuary to find sight of my husband, I found him, tears running down his face.  That’s when we understood what God willed for us– adoption.

So that, my friends, is why we’re adopting.  We’re certain that God has a specific child, or children, already in mind for us– the child, or children, we were quite literally created to have.

We’ve received so many suggestions in terms of fertility treatments, quick and cheap surgical options, hormone recommendations, etc. from loving individuals who want the best for us.  I’ve personally experienced a number of super awkward moments with random people who assume we’re adopting out of desperation– including an insurance salesman pointing at me and saying, “I bet you’re thinking, ‘what’s wrong with me God, why can’t I make a baby?'” and a lady saying I could write my own “why mommy’s belly doesn’t work” book.

Here’s the thing…  We honestly don’t know whether or not we can conceive a child, but we DO know that we’re supposed to adopt FIRST.

Adoption is our first choice, not our last resort.

I don’t know what every stage of our journey will look like, but I can tell you this…  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In Him,

Amanda

 

Psalm 127, New International Version (NIV)

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

 

Psalm 27:10, New International Version (NIV)
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.

 

John 21:15-17, New International Version (NIV)

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep…

Santee Adoption Fundraising Garage Sale!!

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!  God is good, and so are the people of this community!!!  The Santee Adoption Fundraising Garage Sale was a great success!!!!  Thank you so much everyone!!!

As we sat with our family and friends and counted each dollar raised, it was as if the funds were multiplying right there in front of our eyes.  I was literally speechless as we calculated the total and spoke the outcome.  God is good.

As we all sat around our kitchen table, red faced from the sun and blissfully exhausted, I really could not find the words to share what I was feeling.  I stared at my husband, and searched for words.  I came up empty.  I am in awe.

Every single donated item from the hearts of friends and homes of strangers found new homes, and we were blessed.  Stacie had the brilliant idea to post on Facebook that every item remaining in the last hour of our garage sale was free to anyone who in need.  Together, Adam, Katrina, Stacie, my dad and mom, Jeremy, and I helped people load everything up.  Almost everything cleared out.  The fabulous breakfast burritos Adam and Katrina made had sold out early in the day, and almost all of their baked goods were gone as well.  Stacie brought delicious drinks to accompany the yummy food, and everyone loved it!  Everything was so, so, perfect.

We didn’t price most of our garage sale items, yet everyone was so generous and loving.  Some people even stopped by just to share their adoption stories with us, because they had seen our ads in the local paper and online.  All day long was packed full of stories from those who were adopted themselves, those who had adopted, and even one who had placed their daughter up for adoption over forty years ago.  There were lots of tears, lots of smiles, lots of prayer and encouragement.  What a day.  What a God who cares for our every need.  It’s so, so, SO COOL when He asks you to trust Him and then you experience the fulfillment of His promises.

On that note, I’m ready to collapse into bed with my husband and rest.

Thank you again to everyone who played a part in this wonderful day.  We appreciate you, and we’re grateful for your support.

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Above: Kicking the Day Off

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Above: The Dream Team

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Above: Wrapping the Day Up

Home Study Week & Fundraising Garage Sale!!

House Hunting

This week is packed to the brim with home study appointments and preparation for our fundraising garage sale.  We have back to back appointments with our case worker from Bethany Christian Services Monday through Wednesday.

I have to admit that I’m a little nervous for our home study appointments.  I’m not really sure why.  I think it’s just the unknown that has my mind racing along in high gear.  I’m somewhat of a private person and a bit introverted at times.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LIVE FOR hosting guests and getting to know others.  I love talking to new friends about their lives and passions.  Building relationships is important to me, and I’m of a firm belief that it takes a real commitment to truly get to know someone.  It’s hard for me to imagine that in three days, or ten hours really, someone will know me so deeply that they can adequately document my life in a report as significant as this one.  Does that make sense?  I don’t want to talk too much, but I don’t want to leave anything out or forget something either.  There is peace knowing that God will lead the conversation, and our case worker is a pro at this.

Monday will be our home walk through, where our case worker goes through each room and area of our property.  Tuesday will be our one on one appointments in which our case worker will meet for a couple hours with each of us separately.  Wednesday she’ll interview us together.

I’ve read numerous blogs discussing how to prepare for home studies, but at the end of the day I’m trying to remind myself that all we need to do is trust God and be ourselves.  Our home is always ready to receive guests at any moment, so there’s no need to fuss over our house.  My husband and I have been married for nine years, and relationship is strong.  Most importantly, I trust the Lord wholeheartedly with my past, present, and future—after all, everything I have is His.

I decided to take leave time from my eight to five on Thursday and Friday to prepare for our fundraising garage sale.  We have a LOT to get done very quickly.  A few weeks ago we posted this flyer on a variety of social media sites, and we couldn’t believe the response we received.

BLOG Adoption Garage Sale COLLECTION Flyer

We have been blessed abundantly with an outpouring of love by way of encouragement, prayer, tables to set everything on, prep work, donated items to sell (stacked to the top of our garage), food to sell, and a team of friends and family who are available on the big day for set up, sale, and tear down.  It’s overwhelming in the most AWESOME way!!  God is good.

Stay tuned for updates!!  I’m excited to share as our process continues.

Blessings,

Amanda

12 Days!! Counting Down to Home Study Appointments

We are SO excited to share that our adoption home study begins in TWELVE days!!  We’re ecstatic to be moving forward in our journey toward Baby Santee!!  We have back to back sessions the week of June 15th.  Following our sessions, our lovely caseworker will prepare our home study report and then we’re officially in waiting!!  Happy dance!!!  Thank you for joining our journey.  Your support means so much to us!!

Blessings!!

Amanda

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Happy 9th Anniversary My Love

Nine years ago today I woke up twitterpated with the thought that by the day’s end, I would be Mrs. Santee, the adoring wife of the handsome Jeremy Santee. I spent the morning in prayer with my Heavenly Father, overcome with gratitude for the grand blessing he was bestowing upon me. Then, I waltzed through the day preparing to be wed with a level of peace that I can only describe as a gift of stillness from the Lord that allowed me to take in every single moment with pure joy.

As I joined with family and friends to prepare the beautiful historic train depot for our celebration to come, every smile and laugh brought me so much joy. Every single hug and kiss I received ushered me one step closer to my groom.

By early afternoon, I was enjoying a relaxing time of pampering as my hair and nails were tended to. Later I met my mom and bridesmaids back in our suite to get dressed for the big event. From that point forward, everything seemed to move at a much faster pace. My family and bridal party met at Lion’s Park for professional photos. Jeremy’s family and groomsmen had finished their portion of photos before we arrived.

Soon we were at our church and guests were arriving. The gals were in the church office waiting for music to queue our entrance. All of my family had come in to love on me. It was very special that my dad, mom, brother, Grandma Sue and Aunt Patti were all in attendance. The time came when the wedding party started their walk into the sanctuary.  I poked my head out to see where we were at in the processional. It was a memorable moment that I’ll cherish forever when my dad met me at the door and said, “it’s just you and me now.” He helped me fix my veil and the lace train on my dress, and he began a slow and steady walk into the sanctuary and down the aisle where he would finally deliver me to my strikingly handsome fiancé.

I was SO, FULL, OF, JOY!!

Our moms joined together to light our unity candles, and then our Pastor greeted our guests and prayed to open our ceremony. My brother-in-law performed the ceremony wonderfully, and we had the honor of my sister-in-law gracing us with her beautiful singing voice. On that day the Gospel was shared with everyone in attendance. Jeremy and I knelt to pray together, and we were united as husband and wife. Our Lord was exalted, and it was a glorious day.

From that moment forward, there was a whole lot of greeting, hugging, kissing, photos, dancing, laughing, photos dancing, kissing, photos, kissing, laughing, kissing, kissing, kissing, kissing. Ha ha, I digress.

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Nine years ago today was one of my favorite days with my husband. Even so, God has allowed for our love, our time together, and our memories to sweeten over time. We’ve shared years learning more about love, respect, grace, adoration, forgiveness, understanding, loyalty, patience, communication, etc. My love for this mighty man of God has grown, stretched, and multiplied over the years as God continues to keep us and bless us.

Today, again, I am full of joy.

Happy anniversary my love.

In Him,

Mrs. Santee

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First Fishing Trip of the Season

It was a great day at the lake for our first fishing trip of the season. We drove up to Curt Gowdy State Park for some fresh air and Spring scenery.  We caught two fish and enjoyed sightseeing.  My feisty fish hung around long enough for a selfie, and then he escaped.  Cheeky little bugger.  It was a fun day!!  I can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit.  I’m looking forward to many more days in the mountains.

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I hope you’re having a great Spring!

Blessings,

Amanda

Adoption Fundraiser… A Piece of the Puzzle

Our Journey to Bring Baby Santee Home

Update:  You’ve helped us raise over a QUARTER of our adoption fundraising goal!  We hit $5,100!!  God is SO good!!

Every person who donates to our adoption joins us in our journey.  You become a piece of our puzzle. 

Here’s what we’re doing:
  • We have selected a 1000 piece puzzle; each puzzle piece symbolizing someone helping us bring Baby Santee home.
  • Each puzzle piece is a minimum donation of $10.
  • You may choose to be one piece of the puzzle or several pieces of the puzzle.
  • Your name will be written on the back of each piece you represent!
After the puzzle is completed, we will frame the puzzle and hang it in our son’s or daughter’s room. This will be a wonderful keepsake to see all the people who helped bring Baby Santee home!

YOU will be a part of completing our puzzle!

Map
We discovered this fundraising idea following the adoption journey of another sweet couple.  Though we’ve never met, we can feel the words they share so deeply in our own hearts.  “These people loved you before they knew you,” they post in anticipation of sharing the names on the puzzle pieces with their child.  How precious.
So, if we sell ALL 1000 pieces, that will raise $10,000! That’s 50% of our adoption!! 
We would be so grateful and honored if you would join us in this journey to bring Baby Santee home! To claim a puzzle piece, just click on the GoFundMe link below.  If you’d like more than one puzzle piece– you rock!  We’ll keep you posted on the process!
***If you’ve already donated toward our adoption, THANK YOU.  You have pieces with your name on them!!***

We know some of you might be wondering about the financial part of adoption, and we believe in being totally transparent with everything.  Here is a list of just some of the costs:

Formal Application Fee: $500 (PAID)
Adoptive Home Study Fee: $2,500 (PAID)
Pre-Placement Services Fee: $5,000 (Partially Raised)
Placement Fee: $11,000
Post-Placement Services Fee: $1,000 

 

EVERY donation helps!!  Thank you so much for your support!!Gratefully,
Jeremy & Amanda
Santee Adoption Announcement 2 WebSm

Writer’s Cramp

Oh. My. Goodness.  We’re finally done with all of our adoption paperwork.  Between our applications, medical forms, insurance forms, personal references, pastoral references, employer forms, financial documents, fingerprints, background checks, etc., we’ve submitted nearly EIGHTY pages of documentation.

It’s amazing how much introspection takes places during the paperwork portion of adoption.  It feels so foreign to spend so much time focusing on detailing our lives for others to review.  There are also so many questions we had to pray about and answer that most expectant parents wouldn’t even have to consider in the beginning.  I’m confident that it will all be beneficial in the long run.

With that said, I can’t write or type another word.  Goodnight friends.

Blessings,

Amanda

Outpouring

Last night we had a fantastic time at Outpouring, a fundraising event for Bethany Christian Services!  We loved hearing from several great speakers who shared their family’s adoption story.  Birth parents, adopted children, and adopting families were all represented beautifully through stories, photos, and music.  We couldn’t help but feel a little emotional throughout the event.

Bethany Christian Services is such a great organization to be a part of, and we’re quickly realizing that everyone who plugs into their work becomes part of one big loving family. We’d also like to share a specific praise about our adoption counselor, Kellie.  She has the biggest heart, and her passion for adoption is so evident when you get to hear her personal adoption story.  Check out the link below for more information about Bethany Christian Services.

http://www.bethany.org

On that note, we want to thank all of you for the support you’re pouring into us. We can’t tell you how grateful we are.  If you’ve been following our fundraising efforts, you’ll notice that we continually edit our end goal as it decreases and God provides!!  Thank you for your love, prayer, and generosity!

Blessings to you!

P31 Working Girl