We have Travel Dates!

Friends I apologize that I have not updated between us getting officially matched and now but everything has been moving so quickly!

The kids received our video and watched it multiple times! Our oldest daughter kept telling everyone ‘I have a mommy and a daddy”. We think they are receiving everything well. We have been able to skype with them twice. The first time it was just us and the second time Stella joined us. For the first one we expected to talk with our therapist first and then our kiddos would come in. Altho to our surprise we logged on and there they were!!! We were in shock, we did not expect that at all. It took me awhile to really form words, I think I was just so in shock. This is something that we have been moving towards for seven years and then all the sudden there they are on the other side of a video and we are able to talk with them. It took me awhile to not be in shock! I will share a sweet moment from our first skype with them. One thing we have been told about our little boy was that he may be hesitant to males at first because of their history. So I was prepared for that, after all I have wanted a boy for awhile now so I’m ready for it ;). Towards the end of the skype their therapist gave them glitter glue to paint with, which if you know Ish’s hate for glitter your laughing now, and our little boy was painting with it. Then he looks up to the screen and says “look Papi” (what he calls Ish), it was one of the sweetest things to see that from the beginning he wants Ish to see what he is doing. Stella was very nervous to skype with them but she warmed up and by the end they were holding their stickers up to the screen and getting so excited that they had matching stickers! We get to skype with them once a week so we are praying that each of our bonds continue to grow over that time.

As for our travel to go get these sweet babies, well it is coming very very soon!! We will fly out to Colombia on April 28th. Thats right April, as in this month!! We are feeling pretty much every emotion right now as we process this and prepare! We have been taking as much family time as we can get to prepare for this transition. The Lord has been so so faithful to lead us here and walk hand in hand with us each step of the way! Even tho we know that we will have hard days and really sweet days with these new family members, the Lord has continued to remind us that this is what He has called our family to and for us to keep taking each step forward.

We will most likely be in Colombia for four weeks. As I said we will fly in on April 28th. On the 29th we will have a day to get settled in, go to the grocery store and get anything we might need. Then on the 30th we get our kiddos! This day is called Encuentro Day. After that we are technically considered foster parents of them until we are able to go to court. We will have a bonding period with them until May 7th and then we go to an area called La Mesa to wait for our court date. Once we have our court date and everything is official we will be able to show you pictures and tell you their names! Then we will go back to Bogota to get the last documents we will need to fly back to the U.S.

As for our funding we are fully funded! We have been so blown away to see all the ways the Lord has worked in our funding. For everyone that has given, donated items, hosted shows or prayed over us during this time I do not have words to express how grateful we are. The support that was given to us by the committees that approve the grants that we were awarded was unreal. I did not expect to have such a connection with so many people that were awarding us grants and that has been such an added blessing! We are just so overwhelmed and relieved!

A word that the Lord gave to me in January was that He, the Lord, was going to finish what He started. So I have just been taking each step forward knowing that He was going to finish it. He would do it! The scripture I continued to remember was Ephesians 3:20-21. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think…

Make sure you are following @stellassiblings on Instagram for updates during this next month!

We are OFFICIALLY MATCHED!

Alright friends as most of you know we were matched early in our process of getting home study approved with little M and little G. We know a lot of you were praying for Ish’s birth certificate to come back from New York and our I800 to come back and they both came in a couple of weeks ago! So thank you for joining us in praying them to Alabama!! So we submitted all of our information to the orphanage in Colombia where the kids are and we found out on February 13th that we had been officially matched with little M and little G! We had been told that it could take weeks if they came back with questions on our home study or psych evaluation. So I had prepared myself for that. Instead of that we received the call from Ferrah, our social worker, that it was official! Tears flowed down my face as we talked to her, I am not sure if I will ever forget that phone call. What we have worked so hard for was actually happening. This has been a dream of ours for so long, and because of our process we have been guarded for a long time as well. So to be able to let that guard down and let myself feel those emotions that came with that phone call were so relieving.

After the phone call we were waiting on an official letter to come from the orphanage before we could tell anyone and move forward on more paperwork. That letter came in last week! Part of the matching process is to get gifts together for the kids to send to them and a photo album. So they should be receiving their gifts from us this week. When they do receive them they will find out about us for the first time and that they now have a forever family! Unfortunately because of the process and to protect them we can not post pictures. We will be able to post pictures once we are in country and they are legally our children. We have gotten the question a lot if we are going to keep their names. We are going to do that, but again we can not publish those until it is legal. Our daughter has a middle name so we will keep her entire name but our son does not so we will give him a middle name.

So what does this all mean for travel? This means that we are working on paperwork and once that is finalized and we are fully funded we will travel to get them! This could happen in as soon as 8 weeks! We will get to skype with little M and little G. So we are anticipating that soon! I think that will be very surreal.

We do ask that you pray for some things specifically during this time. First we ask that you pray for their hearts as they are about to receive the news that they have a forever family. Pray that the Lord would prepare their hearts to receive this information. Pray that the Lord would help them to process as they will transition soon from the orphanage where they have made friends with the children there. We also ask that you would pray for our funding to come in. We are still waiting to receive the call as to whether we have received some of the grants we have applied for. We have currently received two grants and then the matching grant from the Tim Tebow Foundation. Please join us in praying that more would come in to help with our funding and if you feel led to donate or share this information we would be grateful. We are over halfway paid on our agency fees but there is still a rather large financial need as far as travel and the fees we will have as we are in country to process everything legally for them to be able to travel home with us.

As always thank you for joining us in little M and little G’s story of becoming a Pruitt!

Below is a picture from last week when we dropped off the gifts for little M and little G to our social worker Ferrah

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Matching Grant!

Hello all we wanted to let you know that we have been approved for a matching grant from the Tim Tebow Adoption Fund! This will be administered by Lifesong for Orphans. They will match up to $4500 so anything that is given will be DOUBLED! We are more than halfway funded so any amount you can give will be so appreciated! Please know what a huge role you are playing in our daughter and sons story by giving! Another thing you can do is to help us spread the word to anyone that may be led to give, so we ask that you feel free to share our matching grant page on your social media. All of our donations will now go through this link. We are getting so so close to bringing them home to their forever home!!

Here is the link for the page: https://mystory.lifesongfororphans.org/stories/bringing-stellas-siblings-home/ or you can click through the button for the Matching Grant on our donation page of this website.

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Nesting in the Waiting

Amber here jumping on to check in with you all about where we are and what we are doing in the waiting. As you know from the blog post before this we received Ismael’s birth certificate from New York, which we thought was a final document to move us forward. What we did not realize when we received that was that it still had to be sent back to New York to apostille the birth certificate. Because I was born in Alabama our social worker was able to take care of all of that for me. So New York has been quite the headache. As soon as we found out about that extra step we overnighted the document. Only for it to come back to us because someone signed something wrong. So we then overnighted the document again and have tracking on it. It has made it to the final office in New York and then should be sent straight to our agency. We are praying this is it and everything will come back correct…would you join us in that? If it does not Ismael will fly to New York and hand deliver it to each office.

We are also waiting on a form called the I-800 to be approved and sent back to our agency to move forward.

Once both of these are in their hands and translated to Spanish it will go before the orphanage and then we can be officially matched with little G and little M! Then we should know more of an idea of when we will travel.

So as we wait we continue to pray that these forms that are beyond our control will get into the right hands and move quickly. We know the adoption process is not clean cut and there are always things that arise but we are also trusting that the Lord is preparing us during this time.

We did start nesting so that we will be ready to receive little G and little M. We were able to get another twin bed for little M as she will share a room with Stella. We are still working on little G’s room. We currently have Stella’s old crib converted to a toddler bed until we can get a better solution for him, but we do have everything else for his room.

As Stella’s room has now converted into a room to share she is starting to process what it will be like to share her things and what it will look like to welcome her little brother and sister. Stella can be an emotional child at times so we have been talking thru what the change may look like for her. I imagine it will be pretty drastic to go from being the only child to being one of three, and the middle child at that. We are calling her our “first middle child”. Would you join us in praying for her heart as she starts to process what this transition will be like?

We have an interview tonight for a grant so would you also join in praying with us for that interview? We are not fully funded so we are praying as we have applied for all the grants that we can as of now that some of those would start coming in. If you do feel led or know of someone that would feel led to give financially we do still need funds to be fully funded. You can visit the donate page to find out ways to partner with us financially.

We are grateful for each of you as you join us in continuing to bring stellassiblings home!

Below you will see a picture of the girls new room that they will share!

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Updates on where we are in the process...

Hello friends! Amber here jumping on to update you on where we are in the process! When we started this website we were in the middle of finishing our home study! Your home study is one of the first steps in the process and is quite the process but understandably so! Our agency conducted our home study. During the home study we were provided with lots of resources to gain education in adopting children and then specifically to siblings. Our social worker met with us often and even visited our home just to spend time getting to know our family. When going into the home study we knew it would be a process but it is hard to not become overwhelmed with all that has to be completed in order to be approved. By the end of the process I was so thankful for all that they asked us to do. It truly made me trust our agency that they were looking out for what is best for the children as well as our family. There was nothing we did that felt like we were just trying to check something off, I truly felt like Lifeline was doing everything they could to educate and prepare our family. Once everything was finished and approved we received the approved copy of our study in November.

Because we have submitted a letter of intent for a sibling pair we have been trying to do everything quickly. So our social worker has had us working on our dossier while our home study was being finished. The dossier is essentially a collection of documents for the US and Colombia to review in order to know that we will provide a good home for this sibling pair.

As some of you know one key thing that we have been waiting on for awhile was Ismael’s certified birth certificate copy from New York. When I went to get mine, because I was born in Alabama, it took about fifteen minutes to receive my certified copy. So this has been very frustrating. Although we are thankful that our process has been pretty seamless up until this point, we know that is not necessarily always true in international adoptions.

We already had an appointment for our adoption scheduled for this Thursday so we were planning on going by our agency to drop everything that was left for our dossier besides Ismael’s copy of his birth certificate. Then on Monday I went to get our mail and there it was an envelope addressed from New York to Ismael. I knew it was it! So praise the Lord when we walk in Thursday we should have everything that is left to turn in for our dossier.

Our agency will then submit all of this information to Colombia. Once Colombia has it we will just be waiting on them for the next steps. So that is where we currently are! This is right where our agency has been preparing us to be at this point of the process.

For now we are just waiting and applying for grants. Thank you to all who have sent in support! We have agency fees that we have to pay along the way. Because of your support each time we have to pay a fee we are able to. So with grateful hearts, thank you for the ways that you are continuing to bless our little growing family!

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Where it all began...

Ismael and I have always wanted to adopt. Even when we were dating it was something that we discussed that was a big desire for both of us. We really thought we would adopt before we had a biological child. A few years into our marriage we were in the process of getting approved to be foster parents and we got pregnant with Stella. Because of that we put fostering on hold. I had also wanted to adopt from Haiti for some time and had spent time researching that thru talking with agencies and we both traveled there. In the midst of having Stella, putting foster care on hold and researching adopting from Haiti we had started to do mission work in the Dominican Republic with our youth ministry. Our mission work was thru a group called Filter of Hope in which we installed water filters for families giving them clean water and also using it as an open door to share the gospel.

During our time in the Dominican Republic we always spent a day working in an orphanage with the kids. We all served with different age groups and I always helped with the babies and toddlers. Our first year we were there I was working in the baby room as well as one of the girls that I invest in that was in our youth group at the time. The girl that I was investing in was holding a baby that had just recently come to the orphanage. She was tiny and sweet and we all fell in love with her. The next year when we went back to that same orphanage I was looking for that same little girl to see how she had grown. During my time there I learned a lot about her story and spent more time with her one on one. I also found out that she was Haitian. I left the orphanage that day with a feeling that never left me. I knew that I wanted to have a further conversation with the director about this little girl. Ismael and I have a very close relationship with the director so she was more than happy to have a conversation with us about the possibility of adopting this little girl. Ismael and I spent time researching the possibilities of how we could adopt her knowing that it is harder to adopt from the Dominican. As we got further into the process I decided to contact Lifeline Children Services, an agency in Birmingham, AL. The director of the Latin America program was so helpful to us in walking along side us to figure out the possibility of adopting her. As she researched this with her lawyer and the central authority in the Dominican we realized there was a possibility we could do this but there would be a lot at stake for our family. There was a possibility that we would spend years living in the Dominican and would only get guardianship of her. So knowing that we decided to put the adoption of her on hold and pray that things would change with the process in the Dominican.

In the meantime we were having conversations with our social worker about going ahead with our home study and pursuing children from another area within Latin America. As we talked thru the different countries we felt like Colombia was the best fit for our family. Colombia has a big need for people to adopt sibling groups and children with special needs. So we decided to get approved for a sibling group of 2. As we were in the process of getting approved thru home study we were made aware of a brother and sister that was available for adoption in Colombia. We took a week to read their files and then moved forward in submitting a letter of intent for them. So their file is currently on lock. We do still have to technically go thru an official matching process with them. Once that is done we can start communicating with them.

When we originally started this process we mentally prepared ourselves that this would take a year or two. But as you can see this process has happened a lot quicker than we ever imagined. We have been in shock and so thankful! As long as we are funded and everything goes as planned we could possibly travel to go get them in the Spring of 2019!

This does not mean that we have given up on the little girl in the Dominican. If and when the process changes there we will pursue adopting her. We do know that this may not change but we are praying that it does.

I know that is a lot of information but we wanted to make sure you knew all the details of our journey to adoption. It has not been a short one and there have been many speed bumps. In saying that we are so thankful for where we are in the process and are trying to enjoy each step of the way to Stella’s Siblings. Please pray for our family as we get closer and closer to bringing Stella’s Siblings home!