Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Patience

Have patience, have patience, dont be in such a hurry - I can hear my mom singing this song to me when I was little :)

On Monday, Nate and I got our first set of fingerprints done (I couldn't help but feel like I did something wrong!) I had all the paperwork filled out already and all we had to do was throw everything in the mail.
However, I learned today (ya, I called them already) that it is going to take the FBI eight weeks to process those fingerprints for our background clearance (which is for our dossier). And all they have to do is stamp our form and mail it back.. what. the.world.
So it will be that long until we have our dossier (aka- application to Columbia) together and then we wait for people to look it over, translate,accept it and THEN we wait for a referral (which will take 6 months to 3 years itself).
We will just have to take this as a lesson in patience I guess and keep reminding ourselves to have faith in God's timing yet again :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are slowly moving along (note the update on the blog, the checklist of where we are in the process!) We have just one more home study to go next week and then we have to complete the dossier (all the paperwork needed for the actual application to the country/adoption house). I know we will get through it, but wow is it intimidating(the to do list)! Things we have to complete and get together before the home study & dossier are done include: fingerprinting (twice), psych evaluations, lost of forms, re-issuing of certificates, getting things notarized, etc. I am trying to remain calm, as my type A personality wants to get everything done in record-setting time and have it all done by next week-which is impossible, it usually takes a few months... So prayers for patience and constant reminders that God will make things happen when they are supposed to are appreciated :)

In the midst of everything, I cant help but stop to be thankful for it all! It is so obvious that God is walking through this with us. It is always hard to be thankful for rough stages in our lives, but looking back I wouldn't want things to have gone any other way :) We are so thankful for everyone's support and encouragement, we hope you all have a great thanksgiving holiday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Home Study Started!

Feels like we are off to a good start. We actually should have our home study wrapped up in the next few weeks! We have had one meeting already. Then I guess it takes around 6-12 weeks to get our dossier together (which is where the real paperwork, application process begins).
We have pretty much decided on Columbia, and because of our situation will be working with a private adoption house (some people have to work through the government organization directly, where the wait time can be around 3 years!) Our case worker said she has had people referred in as little as 6 months after their dossier, but she is checking on the number of applicants currently applying through Bethany to give us a better idea. Six months would be amazing, but we aren't going to let our hopes get up for that (at least not that high).
I have already warned Nate to be ready for me to turn into a paper-nazi. I want to hurry up with our paperwork so we can wait! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And we're off!

Our formal application has officially been approved! (we had just been waiting on the background check)  So now we are on to the next step: the home study.
We went to our first education seminar last night in Holland where we met our case worker. We are required to go through education/training through each of the three stages (home study, wait for a referral, and before travel). I believe during our home study we just need to complete some training online, but we want to get as much information as we can to try to prepare ourselves for the road ahead. Last night we talked about things adopted children wish their adoptive parents knew and then a group of women who were adopted internationally shared their stories and experiences. A common theme of the night was learning how to support your child while they grieve the loss of the life they left behind. While we know that adoption can be a beautiful thing, we know we need to prepare ourselves for the unique challenges it also brings.So far, we are extremely thankful for the support, encouragement, and all the information Bethany has given us!
We shared before that we were deciding between Columbia and Ethiopia (these were the two countries that we qualified for and we felt most comfortable with). We are strongly leaning towards Columbia, but I don't think we are quite ready to leave Ethiopia out of the picture- I think we are just waiting for that last push from God on where he wants us!

update: if you want to contribute to our adoption story, please send it to Harderwyk Ministries (1627 Lakewood Blvd, Holland MI 49424) with "Koster Adoption" in the memo line. We want to assure you none of it goes to us, but solely to the adoption costs. If there is more than we would need, they will forward any balance to a general adoption fund for other families.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adoption Announcement

We have learned that we will be unable to have children on our own at this time. Kara has been diagnosed with a disorder that would only allow us to get pregnant through medical intervention such as IVF. While we have absolutely nothing against this, we feel that God has been preparing and is leading us through a different path to grow our family at this time.

We are very excited to share that we are going to begin the process of international adoption through Bethany Christian Services. We had always talked about how we would like to have children of our own and then adopt a child. Through this journey so far, we have been reminded that God will ask us to wait for things we desire in order for Him to work in ways that we could never imagine. We know that any child God blesses us with is a true gift from him. We are very excited to begin this journey and welcome a long awaited child in our home.

We hope to adopt a child under the age of 18 months from either Columbia or Ethiopia. At this time, we are just beginning the process. We are expecting the home study and a final country-specific application to take us somewhere around six months or more to complete, and then we expect roughly a one-year wait to be matched to a child.
It is typical for an international adoption to cost somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000. Included in this total are our fees to Bethany, travel and stay in the country, translation of documents, immigration fees, fees to the orphanage, etc.

Even though we are very excited, we are also very anxious for the challenges ahead. We know prayer can be a powerful thing, and would humbly like to ask for your prayers above all else.  Prayers for this future child, their birth family, for those who will be caring for this child temporarily in their place, and for all orphans who deserve a loving home. We pray for God to continue to guide as well, help us to be patient, and that we may easily overcome any obstacles we may encounter.

We want to be very open regarding this process. If anyone has any specific questions, please free to contact us. We will also be sharing details and information as we gather it on this blog. We are looking forward to sharing this journey with you!


“ And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me” – Matthew 18:5

psst – We want to make a side note about the whole money issue (which is hard because we hate this part! But people have already asked…) Can we afford the costs of an adoption? No. Are we going to ask you for money? No. We don’t want anyone to feel obligated to help us financially as that is such a sensitive issue. If you do feel that you might want to help, we hope you pray about it first. Even though it would help us out, we know it will help a child even more. If you do decide to bless us financially, please please know that we are very thankful, extremely humbled, and pray that God will help us to use it wisely. We are currently working on a fund through our church for people to donate to instead of directly to us, so if you are interested- either let us know or we will post more information about it as we get it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Faith in God's Timing

God has been so good to us! Over the past year, he has been working in our hearts in ways that I never would have imagined. We have learned to trust and be patient - if we allow Him to take over our hearts, He will surround us with peace and a new understanding of His love. I am amazed with how he has transformed our hearts and lives so far - and there is more to come! ; )

Friday, November 4, 2011

25 Prayers for my Husband

I found this list (original from this blog) of things to pray for for your husband that I thought were great! I can remember learning how my parents and grandparents pray for all of us kids and grand kids often, and how great that feels. Knowing that someone is praying for you is such a great blessing. Here's to you hubby! :)
  1. that he continues to grow spiritually through the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, and quiet times. (Proverbs 4:23)
  2. that his relationship with God will bear much fruit in his life, and that he will be a man who seeks wisdom and understanding. (Proverbs 3:7, Psalm 112:1)
  3. that he would walk humbly with God, and would always be convicted quickly about any sin in his life. (Micah 6:8)
  4. that he will continue to grow as the leader of our family, and that God would be glorified in our marriage. (Ephesians 5:25-29)
  5. that he would have a teachable spirit and a servant’s heart, and that he will listen to God and desire to do His will. (Proverbs 15:33)
  6. that he would always look to the way of escape from any kind of temptation, and that he would rely on God to remain faithful to our marriage, and to God. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  7. that he would safeguard his heart against inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex, and this heart would pure and undivided in his commitment to me and to our marriage. (Proverbs 6:23-25)
  8. that he would continue to be able to provide for our family, and that he will not become discouraged by doing work he does not enjoy.
  9. that money would never become a source of discord in our family, and that we would be wise in handling finances and in stewardship. (Luke 16:13)
  10. that the words he speaks will build our family, and reflect a heart of love. (Proverbs 18:21)
  11. that our physical intimacy would be a positive reflection of selfless love. (Song of Solomon 7:10)
  12. that the men in his life would encourage his accountability before God, and that he would be a godly influence on his friends and coworkers. (Proverbs 13:20, 27:17)
  13. that he would choose healthy foods and activities, and honor God by taking the best possible care of his body as the tabernacle of God. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  14. for his strength — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. (Ephesians 3:16)
  15. for him to have wisdom and discernment in training/disciplining our children, and that You would enable him to love them unconditionally. (Ephesians 6:4)
  16. that he would always have an eternal perspective, and make the most of however much time he has in this life. (Ephesians 5:16)
  17. that he would always be a man of peace, who allows the Holy Spirit to lead his responses in all situations. (Romans 14:19)
  18. that he would have a balanced life in regards to work and play, and that he would submit his schedule to You. (Proverbs 16:9)
  19. for him to find favor with the Lord, but also with people he knows and interacts with. (Luke 2:52)
  20. that he would enjoy peace and refreshment in his relationship with the Lord. (Psalm 16:11)
  21. that he would always be courageous in his stand against evil and injustice, and that he will protect our family from Satan’s attacks. (Ephesians 6:13)
  22. that he would be a man of prayer, seeking God in purposeful ways. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  23. that he will serve God and others with pure motives, and that God would be glorified in everything he does. (Colossians 3:23-24)
  24. that he would offer all this dreams to the Lord, and pursue only those that bring God glory, and that count for eternity. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  25. that he will recognize the lies of the enemy in his life, and that he will always be guided by the Truth. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)