Its the most Wonderful time of the year!

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Just wanted to give a quick update. Christmas is drawing near and the waiting in anticipation and then celebration over the arrival of a baby boy is what this season is all about!! It is so neat to see how God has used our circumstances this year with our little girls to make the TRUE meaning of Christmas come alive for them!! They want to shout it out(one actually has on a few occasions) that Jesus’ birthday is almost here! That HE is the true reason for Christmas!!!

Process update:
We found out this past week that the province that Samuel is from is one that requires us to stay for 14 days instead of the normal 7. On top of the stay in province we also have to stay for the normal 7 days in southern china near the US Consulate. So we have been trying to wrap our mind around the logistics of being out of the country for over 3 weeks. But are now very glad we decided early on to bring our kids with us!!

We completed our second round of paperwork that needs to go to USCIS. We sent this out to our agency last week so they could review it, and they will send it on to USCIS for us this week.

It takes about two weeks to process through USCIS and they send the paperwork right on to the Visa center.

We will then apply for our visas! This is again about a two week process.

That is all sent back to China where they take about 4 weeks to process it. They will then give us travel clearance!!

We will travel 2-4 weeks after receiving clearance.

So that is about 12 weeks!!!

Yeah…so I had a little break down this week about all of that. It seems overwhelmingly close, and now we will be their for 21+ days, and I also realized we have NOTHING for baby Samuel! Dan made a list with me(because lists are good, and calming and lovely and organized) and listened to my bizarre mix of feeling that I have no time to get ready but it being such a LONG time to go until I hold my baby : )

Prayer:
1.We have been at peace through out this whole process. We have purposely sought it out. But, wow! it is so easy to move our eyes off of Jesus and on to the circumstance! Please continue to pray for us to keep our eyes on Him! It moves fast from here on out, lots of things need to be done from mounds of paperwork to getting a bunch of baby items again, to the logistics of being gone so long. But we don’t want to lose our focus on Christ. He is the giver of peace.

2.The logistics of being out of the country for 3 weeks, specifically in regards to time off from work for Dan and for Caleb who can not miss that much school, so he will be staying here. Pray for wisdom.

Financial update:

WE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep thats right EXCEEDED!!!!!!!

We needed $6000 to make our payment, and we ended up with about $6200

God has provided every single time, we have gotten exactly what we have needed on the day we needed it! But, oh wow! It NEVER gets old!!

GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Payments to our agency are DONE!! We are paid in full!!!

The next part of what we need is all travel. At $15,000-20,000 it is half of the adoption costs.

Travel fees: $3000/person This is for both international flights and in-country flights.

Hotel: 100/night for 21+ nights.

Food: Breakfast, lunch and dinner for 21 days……yeah..I dont even know

China fees: $6000. We take this with us and pay it directly to the orphanage once we are in China.

Prayer: We are not sure how we are going to go about raising this money at the moment, but at the end of the day, we are confident that God knows that we need it, and already knows exactly how it will be provided!!! Oh, and we have about $200 toward it, which happens to be about the amount of an in country flight for baby Samuel : )

So we have had several questions about giving and what do we need for baby Samuel, so here are the answers as best as we can for now : )

Donating airline miles or hotel points: We are checking with our travel agency to see if that is do able.

End of year tax deductible giving: We have a website for that! Here is the link : adopttogether.org/baby4herrs

A lot of businesses will do an end of year charitable giving match, some up to 150% can we accept that? Yes! We can! The site that we are doing our tax deductible giving though IS set up to accept that!!

As for what we need for the baby, most of the basics: onesies(9-12month size), socks, sleepers(12 month size), outfits(12 mo.), bottles, diapers, wipes, blankets.

Let me know if you have any further questions on any of that!

 

We just want to say again what a huge blessing you all are to us! We have not gone a single week with out a note of encouragement, a reminder that we are being prayed for, or even a hug in celebration of a milestone we hit!! We are truly blessed!! One big step closer!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

The Herrs

 

Fundraising again

Well we are back at fundraising again!  With the holidays approaching we decided to do some craft fairs.  Well, I actually thought DAN would be the “we” as he has all those mad woodworking skills…..as it turns out it takes a whole lot of time to produce fine wood crafts! So I thought I would make some chalkboard signs….turns out chalkboards are expensive, and my handwriting is TERRIBLE! So Dan suggested we just make our own chalkboards, and I find some good templates or stencils…or someone who has some handwriting skills…: ) He of course knew what was needed to make a chalkboard(because that is somehow intuitive??) got the supplies, cut them all out, painted about half of them….and I did the rest : )

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Oh, and he did end up using those mad woodworking skills, and  made some beautiful wood cutting boards!

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Then my grandma who is really good at sewing(I know a lot of you have seen the girls dresses) offered to make some super cute backpack/doll carriers. They fit American Girl dolls(15-18in). Plus a lot of doll stuff!!

And my sister takes old pallets and makes wooden wall art, in her spare time(that she is not raising boys and homeschooling in : ))She is giving me some of those as well. And she has good handwriting…..

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In addition to what has been made all the items you see, except for the wooden wall art, are able to be made special order and shipped.  Everything will fit in a flat rate shipping envelope. So if you see anything you would like e-mail me, or leave a comment.  We would be more than happy to get it to you by Christmas!

Well we are off to our first craft fair next week!  Our goal is to raise enough to cover our next payment. That is about 6,000.00  I look at the 20-30 items we were able to make or have had so graciously given to us and I know that the sale of those items will not get us to our goal.  But am actually excited! I have no idea how God is going to do it, but I know He will!

Psalms 50:9-11

I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine

In Him

The Herrs

 

Are we almost there yet???

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Are we almost there yet???  I think that is the most common phrase spoken on road trips with these two!  Our usual reply is “Well, we are closer than the last time you asked! ” I think I may have beat them in the number of times one can ask that question and not be considered annoying, along this adoption journey : )  So it is with a lot of excitement that our agency was able to say this week: “Well, you are closer than the last time you asked!”

That is because OUR DOSSIER WAS SENT TO CHINA THIS WEEK!!!! It will take about 2-3 weeks for it to be logged in , but once that happens we can begin to look at files of children and move toward being matched!!!!  We are so ready to put a little face to our mound of paperwork!!

Things begin to move more quickly from this point on which is super exciting! We know that these last few months are just going to fly by! So with the bulk of our payments just around the corner we have again began to switch into fundraising mode! We have a few schuduled, but will probably add something before the holidays. We have a few ideas cooking : )

Here is a brief overview of where we are at financially and what our goal in fundraising is:

2nd Agency fee(includes visa cost) 4,500.00 Due Nov. 15th

2nd China fee 1,500.00 Due Jan 1st.

Travel approx. 10,000.00

Our goal for these next few fundraisers is to raise our 2nd agency fee and the 2nd China fee.
TOTAL 6,000.00

We are also working with our agency to be able to receive tax deductible donations for those who are looking for an end of year business write off

Our costs to date 10,000.00(Home study, 1st Agency fees, 1st China fees)
Amount raised to date 8,000.00

I can not even put into words the amount of gratitude that we have for you all!! I am simply blown away! We are currently debt free!

SO about the fundraisers…..We are going to do some craft shows! This is exciting to me as we are getting to do them with some of our good friends who are also adopting!

The first one is Friday Nov 3rd from 5-7 and Sat. Nov 4th from 9-3 at Cedar Valley Christian School in the gymnasium.
The second one is the Rockwell Cedar Rapids, Winter Craft & Vendor Market, Kirkwood Training & Outreach on December 10th from 9-3
3375 Armar Drive, Marion

We will be selling cutting boards hand made by Dan, and we have had some wall art donated, as well as a few beautiful quilts! **WE ARE TAKING MORE DONATIONS!! Anything hand made by all of you crafty people!! So if you have anything you would like to donate **let me know and we can come and pick it up from you** These shows are geared toward items that would sell well for Christmas presents.

Please pray for us as each step forward has seemed to bring some sort of chaos to our home. Yet the peace we have felt has been greater than the chaos. I have been reminded recently, twice just today of Hebrews 12:1-2a

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders

and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
We have such a great group of prayer warriors around us! Encouraging us to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and just run the race He has given! Keep your prayers coming! We are one step closer!

In Him
The Herrs

UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!!

Hi All,
Just wanted to give an overall update, it has been awhile!! Our summer has been filled with time with good friends

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Family Fun and Movie Night Fundraisers

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And garage sales!!

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To help bring our little one home!!

So here is where we are now that summer is winding down:

Paperwork and Immigration,
We are off to USCIS on Tuesday to get our fingerprints! Last update I was hoping to get an appointment date, THE NEXT DAY we did!! We have go to Des Moines to get them, and we also have lots of paperwork that needs to be state certified, in Des Moines….so we got all of that in order this past week, we will just take it with us and get it done while we are there! Perfect timing! After the fingerprinting we should receive our approval in month and that is the last piece of paper we need to be able to send off our packet to China! Things are starting to move…..

Prayer requests:
Continued peace, and trust in Gods perfect timing.

Fundraising/financial:
Up to this point, because of the generosity of you all, we have had what we need for the bills that have come in. Our goal over the summer was to make enough to cover the first part of our payment to our agency. We knew it was going to be a big lump, and we knew that our paperwork would not be sent to China until it was paid. After the two movie nights and the back to school garage sale we are about 1,000.00 short of being able to make that first payment. We are humbly asking, if you would consider giving. It would be a direct donation to our agency in our name. It would go directly to this bill, any extra would just be rolled over into our next bill. It is tax deductible.
Here is the information to do that:
Make checks payable to ATWA

Send the check to:

Across the World Adoption Agency
399 Taylor Boulevard, Suite 102

Pleasant Hill, California 94523

Put our name in the memo

Attach a note to the check stating that it is for Daniel and Nicole Herrs adoption, and stating that you want a receipt then include the e-mail address that you want the receipt mailed to.

Prayer requests:
Trusting in God for the financial part of this adoption. Psalms 50:7-15. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills……
Travel:
So I know we had mentioned earlier that we would like all our kids to come with us, as a homeland visit for Mai Li and to be able to visit her orphanage with her whole family. Well we are beginning to move forward with that. We are going to start the passport process for our kiddos in the next few weeks. Things are starting to move!!!

So our big question here is: Does anybody know, or know somebody that knows, if can we accept donations of airline miles?? And if so, would you/they be willing to help us figure out how all of that works?
Prayer requests:
We are ALL able to go.
Bring Grandma with us?
Travel paperwork for our kids is straight forward

Again we are so grateful to everyone who has supported us in prayer and financially through this journey so far. We appreciate it!

 

Remember the Good

We have been going through pictures lately, backing them up, transferring them to a safer online location, so just in case something happens to our computer, and somehow our lockbox is hacked into and the photo CD is destroyed, we have ONE more place that our pictures are safe! It is really the only thing we own that we have a back up for…and then a back up for our back up! I know isn’t really about the pictures at all, its about the memory. A reminder of good times, sweet little ones, and life changing events, that we just don’t want to ever forget.IMG_6262

(Calebs first beach trip as a big brother, first picture I ever looked at of him where he looks like a “big kid” to me, not a little boy…)

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(Oh, for the love of everything cute and baby, this one just makes me melt every time!! She still has that sweet smile that matches her sweet heart!!)

AdoptionDay!!!!  She is so beautiful!

(Mai Lis adoption day….on the shelf in the background are the clothes she came to us in as an orphan, but now she was our daughter!)

 

We could……well we actually did spend hours looking though several of the pictures, just remembering the good!

We are told to “hold on tightly to what is good”(Rom. 12:9) So just wanted to give an update on the good that has marked this process.

We are done with our home study, although it may be awhile before it is all written up, we completed the last of the paperwork for it today!!

Our T-shirt fundraiser is over, and the t-shirts are being made!

Our first financial goal was to pay for our home study, and I am happy to say

WE MET OUR GOAL!!!

We are fully funded for our home study! Woo Hooo!!!

We are so grateful to everyone that gave, donated to the sale, and purchased t-shirts!!

We are on to our next financial goal, which is our first payment to the agency that will actually place the child with us. A couple of  good things about this are that

#1 We can now take tax deductible/charitable donations- contact me if you want to know how.

#2 Because of #1, we already have our first fundraiser lined up! Chick-fil-a is going to donate 10% of their sales from their Lindale Mall location to us on June 21st from 5-8pm!!!

We are thankful to everyone who has blessed us so far in this journey!! We are one step closer to our little one!!!!!!

 

 

Choosing Joy

 

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About a year ago I realized that somewhere between raising kids, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, being a taxi service and just doing life, I had lost my joy. All of these things were exactly what I wanted to be doing, I really, really enjoy being a mom! Homeschooling is fun, cooking is….. Ok not really my cup of tea, but cleaning is relaxing and running my kids to practices and classes means I get to watch them grow and do something they enjoy. But yet I was still wondering where was the joy??

So at the beginning of the school year I set out to do my own study on joy. Now that it is the end of the school year, and summer vacation has “officially” come to the Herr house, I thought I would sit down and see what I had learned. And as I sat down to do that I realized, somewhere, in this last year, I had not “found” my joy, but rather I had learned that it has to be chosen. I realized that my joy was never really lost, I had just gotten in to a habit of choosing to look at my circumstances, choosing to listen to my doubts and choosing to be moved by my fears. I don’t know if anybody else struggles with that or not, but I thought I would share a bit of what I have learned, and I hope that it is an encouragement!

Heb 10:23 Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]

1 Thess. 5:24 He who calls you is faithful and He will surely do it.

If I hold on the confession of my hope with out wavering, and am filled with the conviction that He who promised is faithful, then I am free to let God do His job and I can do mine, which is to choose joy.

Funny thing about this is, I can not even begin to count the number of times I have said to Mai Li, “Trust me to do my job, and you do yours! The more you try to do my job, the less you can do yours, and that never ends with you being happy” Its so easy for me to see in someone else….

1 Thess. 5:16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

No season or suffering can prohibit joy, because it is not of this world, it is of the Holy Spirit. To crippling circumstances that try to demand the right to rule, this joy is the banging of the gavel:”Motion denied”.  Joy is the gravity defying grace to know that what we see is not all there is, and doom is not our destiny. Unceasing rejoicing is like a song on constant replay that sings ” I know my God will be faithful. I know He will turn this out well. I know what my God has promised. I know that He can not fail.” Joy throws the heavy cloak of hopelessness on the floor and pulls the “splendid clothes” (Is. 61:3) from the closet. It says what we bear need not be what we wear.(Excerpt from Children of the Day by Beth Moore)

When I choose joy it puts me on the hunt for Gods goodness right here in the middle of life and whatever difficulties it brings. It shifts my focus.

I don’t know what this road that we are on now, with this adoption, is going to look like. I know its not going to be easy, because adoption is always a battle. But I also know that I am going to trust God to do His job, so that I am freed up to do mine. I CHOOSE joy.

 

If you would like to donate you can do that right from this site. See top right corner.

If you are interested in participating in our current fundraiser: We are selling t-shirts! Click on the link below to get to the ordering page.

http://thejourneytojillian.blogspot.com/2016/05/baby-4-herr-t-shirt-fundraiser.html

A Garage full of blessings!!

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Our sale is done!! A day early!! Because we sold out of things to sell!! We are really happy, excited and quite honestly shocked about that, but more than that we are overwhelmingly

Humbled.

It could not have happened if it had not been for others.

Others who donated, and donated some really good things! Some of them I know, but some of them I don’t even know! People who heard about what we were doing and just gave their stuff to us.

Others came to the sale, found out what it was for, and even though they didn’t find anything to buy, they hugged me, encouraged me and gave.

Others that I do know and came on purpose. On purpose to support us, to give to us, to buy stuff and to make sure that we didn’t need any more things to sell!

And still others who open their home, to allow us to have our sale in their driveway, make us food, and overpay us for bake sale items!

Humbled.

And then we counted what we had made. We were expecting an average or a little above as far as earnings. So for us that would be 300-400 dollars, but God is BIG. Sometimes I forget that as I form my little expectations. He didn’t just double that, or triple that, but He QUADRUPLED that!!  1306.00 to be exact….

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We can not adequate thank everyone who helped or contributed in some way, but we are so very grateful! We could not have done it with out your generosity!