Another step closer!

Today we traversed the long and smelly road to El Paso to have our fingerprints taken (we're getting good at this!). After we located the plain little building in El Paso and filled out a short form (I'm so thankful now for those!), we waited for a few minutes before we had our fingerprints taken - digitally. I felt world-class. I mean, fingerprints, yeah. No big deal. But digital fingerprints? We're officially in the fingerprinting big leagues!

We took the kids with us, of course (because all fingerprinting aficionados do this - it's good for them to be cultured), and after we were done we visited a nearby park. I don't think there's anything as fun as a new park for our kids, unless it's a new park with their dad around to show them the ropes.

After we'd worked up an appetite, we all piled into Dustin's Back-to-the-Future car and drove to a Korean restaurant we'd found online before we left home. It was delicious, and since there were very few people to serve, our waitress struck up a conversation with us about all things Korean food. When she learned we were adopting from Korea and would be traveling there, she gave us all sorts of interesting things to try, on the house! Even the kids were excited to see what Korean water, kimchi, and Korean dumplings tasted like. Afterwards, they all decided we should make going to Korea a family trip. They'd better start saving up their allowance!

The kids sampling kimchi noodle soup. Their varying degrees of chopstick success can be measured by two indicators: the amount of noodles on their chopsticks, and the expressions on their faces.
Dustin treated us all to Krispy Kreme as a way to end the day.
If you want a glimpse into how hilarious our life is, watch the video below.
(And no, this behavior was not due entirely to the sugar - it's a pretty common phenomenon.)
It's been quite a week, and I'm so excited to be able to share how God's been at work while we've been waiting for and leaning on Him!

On February 3 we got a phone call from Lifesong, whose mission is to bring joy and hope to orphans. We knew, because they had called the week before, that we were going to get word soon on the application we sent in. At the end of December, we finished all the paperwork, prayed over a large manila envelope, and sent it in to Lifesong, asking if they would allow us to do a Both Hands project, and if they would consider us for a matching grant.

When the phone rang that day, Dustin answered, and it only took a few seconds for the grin to spread across his face. Standing across the room, I knew.

We have officially been accepted by Lifesong to receive a matching grant for our adoption, and to work with Both Hands!

So now, let the work begin! We're praying that God will lead us as we put together a team of people who will wrap around us in this adoption, and asking that He will make our efforts successful. We are blessed to serve Lourdes Banegas in this project as we work on giving her house a "face lift" with a team of volunteers in April. Until that day, our team will be helping us send out sponsorship letters to everyone they can think of. It's sort of like a sponsored 5k: the donated money (tax-deductible, thanks to Lifesong!) all goes to our adoption fund, except instead of running or golfing, we're serving a widow. A beautiful way to live out James 1:27.

_While we were still standing amazed at how God delights in equipping us to do His work, we received an email just three days later from our adoption agency. Our sweet case manager let us know that she had a referral she'd like to send our way. As she watched God working to provide for our adoption expenses, she felt that she might have the information for our son in her hands. So, with our blessing (and jaws dropping, hearts pounding, hands and feet tingling), she emailed us the name, age, medical information, history, and photos of the sweet little orphan boy we hope to soon see face to face and call our own.

Getting the referral was a little surreal - a lot like seeing a first ultrasound. It's amazing to look at your baby's face for the first time. And I love that he's sitting in a little throne to get his picture taken. Our little prince!

And while we can't spread the pictures of his charming face on the internet, we had to show you something...

Our little guy on his Korean kid throne...
World, meet little ____ Leonard's feet. We think they're adorable.

If you would like to make a donation to support our adoption, your gift will be doubled up to $3000. 100% of your donations (up to the full amount of the adoption still owed) will go directly to our adoption account. Send your check with Preference: Leonard, Dustin #2570  written in the memo line to:
Lifesong for Orphans
PO Box 40/ 202 N. Ford St.
Gridley, IL 61744

Please leave any questions in the Comments section.

Thank you!