Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Three Jobs

Matt here. With the prospect of bringing two children home (not just one), new questions have raised about our life. Because my salary with New Hope International is support-based, even with my part-time (12 hrs/week) job in the Asbury College Library Archives, we are going to need a lot more income to care for a family, especially because our current two-bedroom apartment living arrangement will not be sufficient for long. I had also been considering, at the urging of some people at the College, to pursue a graduate degree in library science at the Univ. of Kentucky, a terminal degree in the library field that would qualify me for faculty status and give me some stable career options. I was thinking of beginning next fall, but that would be more expense.

Last week the job of Office Manager opened at our local public library. I applied, interviewed, and was offered the job. This 38 hr/week job is a rather sudden and somewhat unexpected development. (An added benefit is that this job qualifies me to receive some significant financial assistance in the graduate degree program at UK.) To maintain my connection with Asbury, I hope to continue with my 12 hr/week job in the Archives. (That is only a 9-month job, so I will not have to work it during the summer.)

So what does this mean for my work at New Hope? It will be difficult, but I do intend to continue most of my work with New Hope for two reasons: (1) I do not yet feel released from this area of ministry, and (2) it will continue to provide a small additional income as we try to save for the adoption, larger living space, and grad school (not to mention the expense of supporting a growing family). I intend to continue my work with New Hope on nights and weekends at least through the end of the summer 2008, at which point we will reevaluate. There are many things going on at New Hope with which I am involved and that still demand my attention, so I will continue to do much of what I do now for NHIM, though perhaps at odd hours. Much of what I do with New Hope is increasingly done by email anyway, and I will be able to continue to monitor that wherever I am working. I will also be delegating more tasks to our student workers under my supervision. I feel that, though I will be pulled in more directions now, I still have valuable and crucial service to offer to that ministry.

So...three jobs...yikes. Pray for me that I will have strength and wisdom as I try, with God's help, to make this all work.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Latest Adoption News

The picture here at left is of Rosa and Carlos from when Amy was down in Guatemala in March 2006 with a mission team from Asbury. They are 10 and 5 in this shot.

Through phone conversations with our missionary friend (Steve English) and email conversations with the Guatemalan lawyer (Claudia), here is what we have learned today:

  • The kids' birthdays are June 13 (Rosa) and April 20 (Carlos).
  • La Senda (the children’s home we visit where Rosa and Carlos have lived for the last six years) has documented legal custody of both children.
  • Before Rosa and Carlos can be adopted, the Guatemalan central government adoption authority (the PGN) must make La Senda the legal representative for them (which would eliminate the mother’s legal representation and power over them).
  • The court resolution shows a different first name for Rosa’s mother than her birth certificate does. (We think one name is her mother and the other is an aunt.) Whichever of the two documents is incorrect must be amended.
  • Carlos does not have an official birth certificate, so one must be created.
  • The lawyer is strongly suggesting that we move ahead with DNA testing to confirm who the birth mother is (a common practice in Guatemalan adoption).
  • The lawyer is asking for a very high first payment for the DNA tests, doctor fees, and legal fees. We are in the process of trying to confirm if this is a reasonable request.
All of this is somewhat daunting and very unpredictable, but is necessary for the completion of this process. Much prayer is needed. This is by no means a “sure thing” yet.

The most crucial point is getting the legal representation transferred to the children’s home so they can adopt the kids to us. We believe this will happen, because the courts have previously recommended that Rosa and Carlos be made available for adoption, but as with any adoption we cannot guarantee a favorable ruling.

The second most crucial element is the current political situation concerning Guatemalan adoptions to the US. Though much has been said and debated, we haven’t found definitive answers on how this applies to our situation. We do know that we will be fighting through the bureaucracies of two governments to get these kids home.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What the Lawyer Said

We got an email from the lawyer in Guatemala yesterday (Monday). She did go to the courts on Friday to review Rosa and Carlos' papers. She found that there were no birth certificates for either child. However, Steve (the missionary) provided her with a copy of Rosa's birth certificate. She is going today to the municipality where Carlos was said to have been born to see what she can find. (This is all kind of puzzling, because these kids have been in the court system for six years.) So, that's the latest. Keep praying!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Our First Family Picture?

This picture is from a mission trip we took to La Senda back in 2005. In this picture Rosa is 9 and Carlos (not his normal photogenic self here) is 4. It was on this trip that we fell in love with these two and originally looked into adopting them. When it didn't work out, we figured it was not to be. But God had other plans!

We are anticipating an email tomorrow (Monday) from the attorney in Guatemala. We are hoping it will shed more light on what our process is going to look like (and how much it will cost?). Please be in prayer for two specific concerns: the timely completion of the logistical work and provision for the extensive financial cost of the adoption.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beautiful Rosa

The following pictures were taken when Amy was down in Guatemala with a team of Asbury girls in March 2006:




Pictures of Our Little Man

Here are some pictures of Carlos from this past July when we were down at the children's home in Guatemala.

He's a kisser...

...and a clown.

This was after he wanted a haircut "like Matt's."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Big Change of Plans

The Lord moves in mysterious ways. Anyone who has followed our adoption journey knows that we have been waiting, waiting, waiting, in our original plan of adopting a child from Uganda. Then a new door opened.

Two years ago we looked into adopting two Guatemalan siblings from the children's home where we have visited on four different occasions. At the time, it just didn't seem to be a possibility, but we said if that ever changed, we would still be open to it. There is a long story involved that we may get into later, but the short story is two weeks ago our missionary friend contacted us again and let us know that they were ready to move forward if we were still interested. So...

Rosa (11) and Carlos (6) will be coming from Guatemala to live with us. There is still a LOT to work out with paperwork, finances, and other logistics. We don't have a timeline yet, but we will keep you updated. Until then, enjoy these pictures of our kids....



Sunday, November 25, 2007

Need a Christmas Gift Idea?

How about a CD? It can be wrapped and put under the tree, or it's a perfect size for a stocking stuffer! It is an album of hymns that Matt recorded this year in Northern Ireland. The songlist is as follows: I Will Sing the Wondrous Story; I Want to Be Like Jesus/O to Be Like Thee; I'd Rather Have Jesus; Satisfied; Give Me a Holy Life; Just As I Am; Day by Day (duet w/ Amy); The Master Has Come; Fill Me Now; It Is Well; Nearer, Still Nearer; Wesley Medley (This Is Thy Will I Know/And Can I Yet Delay/Jesus Lover of My Soul). They are $10 each (plus shipping if needed). If you would like one, please contact me at kinnell01 "at" yahoo "dot" com. (You can listen to the YouTube promo below:)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mmmm...Good Pancakes

Yesterday was the pancake breakfast fundraiser kickoff for Amy's new adoption support organization, Hope for the Children. It was a smashing success, and they were able to raise some funds to get their ministry off the ground.

We were very excited to have a couple of men from the Lexington Herald-Leader come, and there is a great article in that paper this morning. (The picture posted here of Amy's friend Dawn and her family is from the article.) You can read it here: http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/234135.html. Amy is quoted, and it is well worth the read.

Pray with us that the Lord would continue to bless this new ministry that they may in turn bless adoptive families and promote adoption. We are particularly praying for opportunities to share in churches and church groups to encourage families to consider adoption.

Dawn, Katie, and Amy

Monday, November 12, 2007

Adoption Fundraiser

As noted below, a friend and I (Amy) have started a non-profit adoption ministry. Our purpose is two-fold. Our first purpose is to educate the Christian community about the orphan crisis in our world today and the need for adoptive families to help meet that need. Secondly, we want to raise funds to give grants to adoptive families in KY. This Saturday, we are having a pancake breakfast fundraiser from 7:30-9:30am at Applebee's on Harrodsburg Rd. in Lexington. Tickets are $5 and are available ahead of time through me or at the door. Please help us spread the word about this opportunity to help adoptive families. We are also looking for opportunities to speak to church groups, Sunday school classes, MOPS groups, etc. so let me know if you can help us out in this area. Thanks so much!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Martian Child

Amy here-we just got home from seeing the movie Martian Child. It's about a widower who adopts a child who thinks he is a martian because he doesn't fit in on the earth. I don't want to ruin the story, but let me just say I LOVED IT! I thought the movie showed the ups and downs of adoption very accurately, and for once the adoptive parent was portrayed as a real person who was just trying to love a hurting child. I did forget to take any Kleenexes into the theater with me, so Matt had fun laughing at me blubbering through the end of the movie. But he said he enjoyed it too, so it's not a total chick flick. Go See It!

Watch the trailer here:

News from Uganda

There was some very good news out of Uganda this week. Ten children (from the orphanage where we are adopting from) whose adoptions had been on hold since April had their rulings released by the judge, and their adopting families are traveling back to Uganda this weekend. We are praying that all the final details go smoothly, and they can come home with their kids.

So what does this mean for us? We don't really know for sure. We haven't been able to get a straight answer on how far down the list we are. However, what we are pretty sure of is that our adoption was not going anywhere while these families were on hold, and we have renewed hope for our process. Keep praying!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hope for the Children is born

Amy here, I don't write often because I try not to write unless I have something important to say. Well, the Lord has finally given me something important to share with you all. A few years ago, I did a home study for Jason and Dawn Seamands. They adopted a wonderful little girl, Hannah, from China. Little did I know that God would bring Dawn back into my life less then a year ago. Dawn approached me a few months ago about an idea the Lord had given her to start an adoption ministry to challange other Christians to adopt and to raise money to give grants to those families in KY who are adopting. I thought it was a great idea so we began to meet and talk about what this ministry may look like. After months of planning, it's all come together in the last month or so. We've brought another mom on board, Katie Bodager who along with her husband Greg is in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Together, the Lord has given us the vision and a plan for Hope for the Children. We have come under the umbrella of New Hope International Ministries so we are now able to offer tax deductible receipts to those who wish to donate to the cause. Our main goal right now is to share about the need for Christians to be involved in adoption so we are open to speaking in Sunday School classes, at churches, to women's groups, etc. If you have an opportunity for us to share our stories, please e-mail adoptionhope "at" gmail.com. We have lots of ideas and I'll keep you all posted as things progress.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fall Break

Today we took advantage of the beautiful weather and Asbury's Fall Break to go down to Red River Gorge with Amy's cousin, D.J. It was a gorgeous day - not too hot, not too cold, beautiful blue October sky. The trees were not as colorful as most years due to the severe drought we've been in, but it was still very nice.

Amy and D.J. in front of Nada Tunnel
Matt on the swinging bridge on Sheltowee Trace

Crescent Rock

Matt & Amy on top of Chimney Top Rock

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A House Divided


Today Amy's Giants played Matt's 49ers...a little friendly rivalry. Giants won. (Matt says "booo.")

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Dream Continues

Okay, nobody else may care, but all long-suffering Kentucky football fans (like the one pictured at left) know what I'm talking about. One of my friends asked me today, "I thought the biggest UK win of your life was a few weeks ago?" It was, but this past weekend eclipsed even the victory over the Evil Horde from the West (Louisville). The first win over a #1-ranked team since 1964 and our first-ever appearance in the BCS standings (#7). It could all come crashing down with the Florida coming to town this weekend, but who cares - ESPN College Gameday will be in Lexington...for a football game.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Congratulations, Kerry & Tim!

On Saturday we celebrated a wedding in Lexington with our friend Kerry and her new husband Tim. Kerry is a friend of ours from college who still lives in the area. Amy was a bridesmaid in the wedding, and Matt sang a couple of solos. Below is a picture of us from the reception on the 15th floor of the Chase Tower in downtown Lexington. We wish them all the happiness in the world.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Believe in Top 10 Rankings

So let's take a break from the adoption stagnation to relish in a rare opportunity for me. The last time the Kentucky football team was ranked in the Top 10 was 1977...the same year my parents were married...two years before I was born. This afternoon I find that my Wildcats are ranked #8 in the nation.

Now, to appreciate this, you have to understand the long-suffering life of the UK football fan. The first game I ever listened to on the radio, Florida scored with :28 left to beat the Cats 24-20. (The last time Kentucky beat Florida I was ten.) Amy and I were present at a game where LSU scored with :08 left to win and the next year we watched on TV as LSU scored on a 70-yard hail mary as time expired to win again. The next year we were present again when Kentucky blew a 21-3 Fourth Quarter lead against Florida, who we still have not beaten since I was ten. In college I went in to take a standardized test with UK leading Tennessee 21-0 only to come out an find that we had lost 35-31. (UK hasn't beaten Tennessee since I was five.) I have sworn for years that Commonwealth Stadium is built on an Indian burial ground. In the 1993 Peach Bowl UK's top defensive player made an interception at the goal line to win the game, only to fumble it as he tried to run it back...Clemson scored and we lost 14-13. (Until last year Kentucky hadn't won a bowl game since I was five.)

When Kentucky hired Rich Brooks, I was skeptical, but after a couple of years, even though UK fans were hollering for him to be fired ("Ditch Rich" bumper stickers), I was starting to believe. Then last year we won the Music City Bowl, and now we have won 10 of the last 11, snapping a 10-year losing streak to Georgia and a 4-year losing streak to Louisville in the process. We have a record-breaking Heisman trophy candidate at quarterback in Andre' Woodson. And we're 5-0 and ranked #8 in the nation.

So you can see why I'm taking time to relish in my team's good fortune. However, the season is far from over...we have a murderer's row coming up against South Carolina (Kentucky has never beaten a Spurrier-coached team), LSU (#1 in the nation), and Florida (who we still haven't beaten since I was ten). Then we finish the season with Georgia and Tennessee (who we still haven't beaten since I was five). But this is a year for breaking streaks. And I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Adoption Update: On Hold

So, the word we're getting from Uganda is that things are on hold right now. Basically, it has to do with wording. The Ugandan courts want the adoption orders to read one way, but the U.S. Embassy wants the orders to read another way.

Here is what we have been told: the Ugandan government does want the children to be adopted to the U.S. There are meetings going on between judiciaries, embassies, government ministers, and passport officials, to iron out the differences and come up with a policy concerning adoption rulings.

Here is what you can pray for: pray for the five families (adopting from the same home we are) who are currently waiting - they know their children, have met them, and are unable to bring them home until these things are worked out; pray that the talks among all involved parties will be resolved quickly and efficiently; pray for our son, whoever he may be; pray for patience for the families waiting for their rulings, the families waiting for their court dates, and the families waiting for their referrals (that would be us); pray for all the children who are waiting for homes and loving families, in Uganda and around the world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Matt in Concert

Matt did his first solo concert on Sunday night at New Hope Community Church in New Washington, Indiana. This little country church is where New Hope International Ministries began, and they have faithfully supported Matt financially and prayerfully while he has worked for NHIM. It was a great time for us as both sets of our parents were able to be there as well. Matt's dad contributed some piano, and the night went really well. Matt was a little nervous (okay, more than a little), but his voice held up and we all made it through. It was especially good for us to be able to thank the congregation in person for all their support. Here's hoping that this is the first of many such opportunities.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Crazy Video

I didn't see anything like this when I was in Africa. This may be the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Stick with it to the end...it's a happy ending I promise.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ahhh! A Month Between Posts!

Yeah...sooooo...it's been a while. That's primarily because nothing of interest has been happening in our lives other than jumping back into the daily grind of work. Asbury College is back in session, the students are on campus again, and Wilmore is bustling again.

We are excited that Amy's cousin D.J. is a freshman this year at Asbury. We've never had relatives in state other than Matt's parents and sister, so it's fun having other kinfolk around.

Matt is going to be doing his first solo concert next Sunday night at a church in southern Indiana - the church where New Hope International, the ministry he works for, got its start. The church has supported Matt's ministry financially for a couple of years, and we are excited to visit with them and show our appreciation for their support.

No news on the adoption front. We are still waiting to be matched with a child. Sometimes it's hard to remember that we're actually doing this, because there has been so much waiting with no visible result. But God knows better than we do, and we are content.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

O Canada

A couple of men from the camp took Prof Lauter and me up to the Candian border today during our afternoon down time. There is a little park there between the border crossings called the "Peace Arch Park". There is a huge white arch there commemorating the friendship between the U.S. and Canada. The rest of the park is a garden of amazing flowers.

Camp is going pretty well. I lead the congregational singing and sing a solo in every evening service (and three services on Sunday), and the Bible study I am teaching is during the morning session at 10am. We are two lessons into the Bible study, and it seems to be going well. The people are interested, and we are having a good time looking at the compound forms of the name Yahweh in Scripture. Scroll down below to see some of the beautiful flowers we saw up at the border park:











Thursday, August 2, 2007

On the Road Again

I (Matt) will be headed out early tomorrow morning to the Northwest Washington Holiness Association Camp Meeting in Ferndale, WA. It's 20 miles from the Canadian border. Prof Lauter is the evangelist for the camp, and I am the song evangelist and Bible teacher. Prof volunteered me for this, so if I throw up all over my shoes, I'm blaming it on him.

This will be the farthest west I've ever been, and I'm interested to see another part of the country. It's supposed to be 95 degrees all week in Kentucky, and I'm not sad about leaving that behind. Interestingly enough, with all my missions travels, I have only flown twice within the U.S. not attached to an international flight - both of them were to Washington, D.C. Now I make my third completely domestic flight, and it is to Washington state. Coincidence? Perhaps I am developing an obsessive compulsion.

Anyway, I would appreciate prayers, particularly for the Bible study that I'm leading. I've never done anything like it before (except Wed. night Bible study at church, but I won't be in High Bridge anymore, Toto), and I'm feeling a little apprehensive. There are five sessions, Monday-Friday of next week, and we'll be looking at the compound or hyphenated forms of the name Yahweh (Yahweh Yireh, Yahweh Shalom, Yahweh Rapha, etc.). I hope these folks know what they got themselves into inviting these two hillbillies from Eastern Kentucky out to minister to them. (I wonder if they'll let me bring my snakes on the plane? Wasn't that a movie....)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Adoption Update

We received an update recently from the adoption coordinator at the children's home in Uganda. We have been told that we still have a wait ahead of us, because we are down the waiting list. However, there is good news that more and more guardianship orders (in Uganda, we will be given guardianship over our son, then we bring him to the U.S. to be adopted) are being granted and at a faster rate. That means that once we are matched with a child, they expect our process should go through much faster than the original estimate of 8-9 months after match. We're not sure exactly what that means as far as time, but basically all things are on hold until we are matched with a child.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Victor

When people ask me why I left teaching to come work at New Hope, the answer is Victor. When I was a junior at Asbury College, Prof. Lauter preached a message during Great Commission Congress in which he challenged all of us present to participate in at least one international mission trip while we were in college. I decided I would make that happen, and in January of 2001 I went to Guatemala with a New Hope team. It was my first time to leave the U.S., and I was excited to experience another culture and serve God however I could among the Guatemalans.

Just shortly before that service where I decided in my heart to make a mission trip before I graduated from Asbury, Steve and Pam English were in the early stages of opening La Senda Children’s Home in Guatemala. They received a call from a hospital begging them to come and take in a little boy who had been born there, abandoned, taken in by a Guatemalan family, and then abandoned again by them when he was found to need surgery because of hydrocephalus (water on the brain). After initially turning down the boy, Steve and Pam decided God wanted them to take him in, and they agreed to pay for the $200 surgery that would install a shunt to carry the water from Victor’s brain down to his abdomen, something he would live with for the rest of his life.

A year later, Victor did not relate well to others except Pam. He did not play with other children or visitors. That was when our mission team arrived at La Senda. For some reason, very slowly, Victor began to take a liking to me. Before the trip was over, he was clinging to me all the time. He would lay on my chest and smack the sides of my cheeks and make a clucking sound with his tongue. He and I grew very close that week, and I learned more about God’s love through that little boy than I had in a thousand sermons. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of God’s love and amazing grace, and I was changed forever.

In January 2002 I returned to La Senda with another New Hope team and we were amazed to find out that one day Victor’s shunt had dried up because he had been completely healed of his hydrocephalus. The doctor said that was the first time he had ever heard of a shunt being removed from a hydrocephalic patient. What an amazing miracle!

When Prof. Lauter called me and asked if I might have any interest in coming to manage the New Hope office, it was my experience with Victor that came to mind. I wanted to have a part in making possible for others what had happened in my life through a week in Guatemala. During my first year at New Hope I led another team to La Senda and met a five-year-old Victor who was talking up a storm and running around playing soccer. Last week we went to La Senda again with a team from our church, and it was so fun to see Victor growing into a little young man – rambunctious, intelligent, loving, ornery, joking. God’s going to do something with that boy, just wait and see. Of course, He already has.