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Friday, June 28, 2013

Michigan Law!

Well, I could have simply deleted my recent "Can" You Help blog post and not address the fact that it's illegal to cash in cans in Michigan from other states, but the goal of this blog is to be as honest and transparent as possible. So... to read more on the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law, please go here:


Thank goodness that a good friend read our blog yesterday and informed us of the bottle deposit law which states that it is illegal to take cans from other states and cash them in Michigan. Apparently there is a surcharge on these items in Michigan, which results in the generous 10 cent refund, with the goal to encourage recycling in this state. There is considerable amount of abuse of this state funding, as people from other states are attempting to cash in their cans (some with much success). Now that we are aware of it, it makes complete sense!

So, we have to laugh a little at ourselves, given that we were about to be one of these individuals (without being consciously aware of course!) It honestly is not our attention to recruit those we love to crime, for the sake of our adoption! All joking aside, we would like everyone to know that it is a serious crime to overlook the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law. Our previous blog post on cashing cans was before we were aware of this. Spread the word to others who may not be familiar that this law exists.

As for our aluminum can collecting, we found a recycling place in West Chicago that gives 65 cents per pound for aluminum cans. One pound of aluminum is roughly about 25-30 cans. As you can imagine, it's going to take a substantial amount of cans to even equal a low amount. With that being said, we have decided to withdrawal from our can collecting idea. We feel that there are other unique ways that we can put our energy in for fund raising, that requires less effort and more of a return.

If anyone has been collecting cans and/or scrap, we will be happy to take it off your hands, as we will cash in everything that we currently have in our garage. However for future reference, we will no longer be collecting. Although our can/metal collecting was short lived, we want to thank everyone for their efforts in collecting and such willingness to help!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Difficult Decisions


"For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12

Matt and I have been faced with the daunting task of filling out the very heart wrenching form known as the "Adoption Health-Checklist." I felt compelled to blog about this part, because it is one of many not so glamorous aspects of adoption, that we are really struggling with. If we were to have biological children, and our child was born with a cleft palate, club foot, or even Down Syndrome.. we would love and cherish them in-spite of those imperfections, and probably even more because of them. At the same time, Matt and I don't necessarily feel that we have been called to care for a "special needs" child at this time. There is a separate program within our agency that is designated for special needs children. We keep reminding ourselves, that everyone has a specific calling and although it may not be ours, there are other couples out there who adopt with those specifics in mind.

Dealing with the weight of these questions to mark "accept" or "not accept", leaves my heart feeling disheartened and powerless to make such a decision. When I decided to blog about this, I was hoping to have a clear answer from God, some divinely appointed advice to make the decision easy. Well, that didn't happen.. at least not as of yet. After much prayer with Matt, and speaking to God this morning and meditating on his Word, here's what I do know: 
The greatest and most comforting reality.. no matter what we put on this form, is that God is sovereign and has already chosen our child for us.

Nothing we put on that form can thwart his way or plans for us, as we are not in control of any of this. And as we have said from the beginning, we do not have any of the emotional or financial resources for this adoption. Without him, we are helpless to fulfill this calling. John Piper said, "that God does not lead us to something, that he won't provide for." Our God is not a God to orchestrate plans and then simply say, "see ya at the end, good luck!" He goes before us each step of the way. "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

This road of adoption is a challenging one. But anything rewarding or worth having, is never an easy road. (Matthew 7:13-14) We know that God will not simply remove the difficulties, but we know that he will grant his grace to get through it. He doesn't lift hardships.. but he does part the way in between.

I want to close with a quote by Jon Bloom from his title Not By Sight, (chapter 13 "Do Not Be Afraid"  Jehoshaphat and Fear) :

"The reason God orchestrated Jehoshaphat's predicament is the same as his design in the tribulations and crises in our lives; He wants us to increasingly find freedom from fear. You see, real freedom is not liberty to do what we want or the absence of distress. Real freedom is the deep-seated confidence that God really will provide everything we need. The person who believes this is the freest of all persons on earth, because no matter what situation he finds himself in, he has nothing in fear. But the only way for sinners like us, with a bent toward unbelief in God, to find this kind of freedom is by experiencing repeatedly God's delivering power and his faithfulness. That's why we are "to count it all joy... when we meet trials of various kinds" (James 1:2). These trails are making us free."

We do not need to be afraid of any hurdle throughout this adoption process, we need only to trust that He will go before us and grant wisdom each step of the way.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Can" You Help?

 For those of you that may not know, we are collecting aluminum cans, bottles (with MI on them) and any kind of scrap metal. We thought that this was a creative way to begin fund raising for our adoption, by asking people to set aside what they would have otherwise recycled or thrown away.

Things to remember when collecting:

-Do not crush cans, as the bar code needs to be scanned
-Please rinse cans, if you are able.. (it avoids a sticky mess in the bag)
-All glass/plastic bottles need to have the MI stamp on them
-Mostly any metal can be scrapped, the heavier, the better

Because Chicago only gives per lb. for aluminum and Michigan gives 10 cents per can, we plan to cash in the cans in Michigan. Our good friend's parents live in MI and are willing to take cans when they make sporadic trips to visit them. We are so grateful for the family of God and their willingness to help in any way they can. It will take a substantial amount of cans and/or metal, so this will be over a period of time. We are not really sure how beneficial this will turn out to be for us, but we figure.. what do we have to lose besides garage space?!

**The picture above is an organized metal scrap extravaganza for discarded items from work. Special thanks to Carlos, Rob, Saidy and Hector for all their hard work.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On Course..


 I've wrestled with where to begin in this first post.. so much, that I've put it off for so long, that even more time has passed on things that we could share. So I've decided I will begin as if each person that is reading this is a friend who has some vague idea of how we got here and where we are at in the process. I'm just going to start with the most recent events and hopefully build off of that as time goes on.

Let me just first say the sole reason for this blog.. adoption. Matt and I officially began the adoption process at the beginning of this year, but God had been working in our hearts long before that. The name Cascading Grace, conveys the vision of God adopting us into the family of God and the doctrine of adoption carrying over in our life, as we seek to adopt a child of our own. Matt and I have been radically transformed in our thinking by this doctrine and we feel blessed that God has called us to such a "high calling." Adoption is not Plan B for us, but rather it has been knitted in our hearts as Plan A. Although we have not been able to have biological children, we feel that adoption is by no means God's second best for us, but His perfect will and plan from the beginning!

God has revealed much in our hearts throughout this process and also much about who He is. This road has not always been an easy one, but the fruit and reward that we are already getting a small peripheral glance of, by far outweighs any adversity. (Romans 8:18) We hope that this blog will not only serve as a stage for our testimony and a ultimately the display of God's glory, but also a practical place that family and friends can stay up to date on whats happening with our adoption.

With that being said, here is where we are at with things..

-Just had our first in-person adoptive training class yesterday in the city. We have our next and last in-person training class this Sunday the 30th. In the meantime, we are completing our online adoptive training classes. Once these are all done, the certificates will be sent to our social worker, who will then be able to begin the process of officially closing our home study.

-We received our PA child abuse clearance in the mail, and our social worker is awaiting the finger printing results. These also will be essential in closing the home study as well.

-We are starting our profile that will be shown to prospective birth mothers. This will include pictures, back ground, our lifestyle and any thing else that we would like the birth mother/parents to read. As soon as this book is completed, and our home study is officially closed (Lord willing at the beginning of July), we will then be able to be shown to any birth families.

-We can also apply for the Abba fund, which is a matching grant program through our church, once we have the completed home study.

I hope I didn't ramble on too much for my first post! But, I had to start somewhere.. so there we go.