About Us

We are Chris and Megan. First and foremost we love our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are daily humbled by His plan for our lives and love seeing what he does when we trust him. We have always wanted to adopt but had planned on having biological kids first. We felt God calling us to adoption first and after lots of prayer are excited to be starting our first adoption! We love the people and culture of Uganda and are excited to bring that culture into our family. We seek to honor God in our adoption and eventually in the way we raise our kids. We covet your prayers as this will be a long but exciting journey to our forever family!

Friday, December 4, 2015

We Received Another Grant!!

We are praying daily that "the" call comes but so far it's just been quiet. Friday evenings are especially hard as we know the soonest we could get the referral is the next Monday.

But, today's Friday afternoon is a little brighter!! At the end of school, when my kids were packing up to go home (all teachers know how crazy those few minutes are) I got a call from a grant organization.

They have approved us for a $4,000 grant!!

Hallelujah!

We are so grateful and excited for this extra financial help!!

Please pray we get our referral by Christmas, we wait with expectant hope...exactly what this season is all about!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall 2015 Auction

We have over 100 items listed in our auction this year. We are continually blown away and so blessed by each and every item and all the people who have stepped in to help in this way. You can check it out here https://www.facebook.com/groups/1435369746717958/

Bidding starts on Wednesday and goes until Saturday at 9PM PST. Get some Christmas shopping done early!!

Here are just a few of the items: Happy Bidding!!













Friday, September 18, 2015

Both Hands Project

This past weekend we had the amazing opportunity to live out James 1:27 through our Both Hands project. I've wanted to do a Both Hands project long before we began our adoption. It's such an amazing blending of caring for orphans and widows at the same time. JT's (the founder) story is amazing (https://vimeo.com/49870537), he's seen the power of blessing the orphan and the widow first hand. This same care goes into all projects under his organization. They were easy to get a hold of, quickly responded to calls or emails. We had numerous phone calls with JT himself, we felt cared for and supported all along the way.

We got to spend the day blessing sweet Greer. This amazing woman suddenly lost her beloved husband 3 years ago. We remember him as the man around Biola who wore the big straw hat. He cared so well for the students and faculty of Biola but was an even more amazing father and husband. He is so deeply missed!

It's not to late to sponsor our team, visit http://www.bothhands.org/project/negrete-5059 to financially partner with us and support our team!

Our team of 12 braved the hot weather to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Here is the video (for some reason the video doesn't have a picture but it does work!) and some pictures of our day together! Take a look!



Bathroom before painting...


Our mom's took the lead on painting the bathroom



Bathroom with a fresh coat or paint!



Fence before weatherproofing...


Weatherproofing the fence...


Fence after weatherproofing...


 Mowing and edging the lawn...


 Window frames before painting



Painting the window frames...



Windows after painting...




 Hanging the "winter's cottage" Ken wrote a poem for Greer about weathering life's season's together. He nicknamed their house the winter's cottage. Her grandkids helped her assemble to Legos "Winter's Cottage" Chris and Mike hung the shelf above her front door!



 We were so blessed by the opportunity to serve. We are so grateful this project was woven into our adoption story!



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We are #1!!!!

Friends, I'll keep it short and sweet but we are dancing around here. We're #1 on the wait list!! That means the next child/children approved for adoption that meet our parameters will be ours!! You hear that...ours, our son our daughter. We will be parents, a mama and papa! We are so so excited! Please be praying for us and our future kid(s) in the wait! Come on God, move mountains!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Puzzle is Complete

Look, isn't it beautiful!! We finished the puzzle 2 days ago. It's going to look amazing hanging in the kid room!

We can't wait to read all the names on the back with our future child/children. It's overwhelming to see all the people who donated in this way. We have been so blessed by so many who have supported us not only financially but in every way. We are so grateful for each and every one of you!!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Both Hands

Our Both Hands project 2 weeks from today, we've been busy preparing, getting donations, taking pictures and measurements to bless sweet Greer. We can't wait to tangibly bless her in this way!



We've assembled our team and spent multiple Saturdays at Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware and True Value seeking donations, we'd appreciate your prayers that these stores are willing to partner with us!

Our Both Hands page is up and running and we have our letter sending party tonight!! We've already seen God's blessing on our project in many ways. We had all our colored copy letters printed...600 of them for free! Two local shops agreed to split the cost. Both mentioned business is slow but were still happy to partner with us saving us hundreds of dollars in printing!

We had another Both Hands family send us 200 envelopes and stuffing envelopes they had left over from their project. They sent it as their support for our project and saved us money as well!!



Today we went to Costco to buy the stamps for all the letters knowing this would be one of our biggest expenses. A couple weeks ago we got our year end dividend in the mail and we used a gift card we had received months ago and only had to pay for about 1/3 of the cost out of pocket. God knew three years ago when we originally signed up that this check, at the end of summer would help offset the cost of our project. And God knew we would get the gift card last Christmas and not know what to spend it on until today!


It's been such a blessing to see God work in the details of this project and our adoption! We'd appreciate your prayer as we prepare for and serve Ms. Greer!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Not An Update

Nothing has changed on the adoption front but we are hitting fundraising hard!

Just Love has updated their website and our profile. You can support us and enjoy yummy coffee at http://justlovecoffee.com/Beneficiary/Profile/2509

Our Both Hands project is in fully swing, you can check out our profile at
http://www.bothhands.org/project/negrete-5059

Other than that, we're still truckin along at #2 waiting for "the call". I have my sub plans all ready to go for referral day so I can jet off and be with Chris! Please Jesus let it be soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

#2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you tell we're a little excited around here. Like laugh and cry at the same time which sets off an asthma attack (true story).



WE ARE #2 ON THE WAIT LIST!!

WE EXPECT A REFERRAL IN 6 TO 12 MONTHS!!!

Wow, thank you Jesus, Praise God, we are going to be parents!!

After 18 months of discouraging news, setbacks, indefinite timelines, suspensions it doesn't seem real that we will probably become parents in 2016!!

When we left our first agency, we were #11 on the wait list with an indefinite timeline. When we first began talking with our current agency in March, we were told there we would be #4-5 on the wait list when we completed our dossier and wait time would be 12-18 months. They were able to make a couple matches in May and we've moved up to #2!!!

Please be praying for us, we are so excited and reality is setting in that our home will be filled with a little person (or persons). We are so grateful for God's sovereignty and provision, we are so excited to see this next phase play out!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seven Arrows!

The lovely Seven Arrows is hosting a flash sale for us today through Wednesday!! Head on over to Seven Arrows to Each necklace is $25 and they are gifting us $10 per necklace! We're so grateful for their support, it's been amazing to see complete strangers walk this road with us.

Our next fees will (hopefully) be travel and in country fees! We are still about $12,000 away from having those fees saved! We are so grateful for this flash sale to help chip away at that expense!






Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dossier...Done!

We officially completed our dossier this week! It was such a relief to send it off. (A Dosseir  is a collection of official documents about you and your family. Some of the required documents include birth certificates, criminal clearances, and home study. The documents sent to Uganda are reviewed by the government officials, judges, orphanage directors, and others who will evaluate your ability to be a good parent.)



Our Dossier included:
1.                       2 notarized copies of the Passport Data Page                                       
2.                       2 Certified copies of Marriage certificate                                    
3.                       2 Certified copies of birth certificates for each household member                                     
4.                       2 notarized copies of Employer letter(s)                              
5.                       2 notarized copies of State criminal clearance                                                        
6.                       2 notarized copies Physician's Statements (each spouse)                    
7.                       2 notarized Financial Statement from Bank                                                   
8.                       2 notarized copies of the  Home Study                                                
9.                2 notarized copies of Child Abuse Clearance                                                                      
10.                    2 notarized copies of your Pastoral Reference Letter 
11.                    2 notarized copies of your second reference                    
12.                    2 notarized copies Family letter petitioning  to take
                  guardianship to eventually adopt from Uganda                                       
13.                    2 notarized copies of the Power of Attorney                                                          
14.                    Photographs of the family (8-10 photos – Size 4x6)                  
                 (Tape photos to white paper and write a caption under/next to each photo)
15.                    2 notarized copies of I-171H (Immigration Approval)                               
16.                    Commitment letter to post placements/family                                
17.                    Commitment letter to post placements/agency                                   
18.                    2 Agency License (State & Hague)                                     

19.                    Statutory Application (sent after matching)              
                                      
          That checklist ruled my life for the past 4 weeks but it's done! We have sent it to our agency for review. Once complete we will be on the wait list! (Ps. Yes I cried when it was done, I'm told this is normal adoption hormones but, gosh, it feels good to be done!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Decisions...Decisions

Thank you for all the encouragement and prayers over the past few weeks. In our weakness so many have stood with us and prayed for us. We've been so blessed by the body of Christ wrapping around us.

In our last post we mentioned we were given three options (switch countries, go on hold or stay active). We took time to pray, seek the wisdom of others who were less emotionally involved, talk with other Ugandan adopting/adoptive families, looked into other countries, had multiple phone calls and emails with our agency and prayed more. 

Ultimately, we don't feel like we're being called away from a Ugandan adoption. So that left us with two options with our agency: 1. go on hold or 2. stay active. Both of these options came with the reality that we would not be adopting any time soon so we began to look elsewhere.

We finally decided to switch agencies so we could stay in a Ugandan program. This was from when we sent in the application fee and initial documents and agreement. What you don't see is the tears behind the smiles. I especially struggled with going back to step one and starting again with a new agency.  I didn't even want to take the picture, I didn't feel like celebrating. At the same time, I want to remember this process in pictures. I'm praying this "application picture" is our last before we complete our adoption!


This also means we begin all the agency fees again. The only things that will transfer over are our I-600A clearance and our home study (please pray they don't make us pay more for an update). Miraculously we have almost the exact dollar amount saved compared with what is due in the next few weeks. We were also awarded a grant through Lifesong which will help to offset cost but we'll be continuing to fundraise as we clearly don't have thousands of dollars under our bed!

We ultimately switched to the agency who had completed our home study. Some of you may remember what a headache our home study process was but we are working with a different office and praying things go more smoothly. We chose them because they too are committed to ethical adoptions. We have sent in our first big payments and are working on getting all our paperwork switched over. This means a few weeks of monotonous paper chasing. 

In summary, we are on hold with our first agency but still actively involved in that process. We love our first agency and will complete an adoption through them at some point! We have a big opportunity we have asked to be part of which may happen this summer. Please pray for that! We will update with more details as things are sorted out and we see exactly what, if any, our role is. 

We are so grateful for all your prayer and support. Please continue bringing us before God. We have no idea what to expect or what the future holds for us and our adoption. This time around it is even more clear that we have no power over our situation and that is frustrating for me. We will continue pursuing a Ugandan adoption until we feel like God has closed every door or told us to stop!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Suspension

Where to start...so much has changed in 10 days.

In one sentence: our adoption is suspended. 

Oh the grief that comes with that sentence. Our hearts broke, sadness is rampant, so many questions arose.

Our agency

We scheduled a call with our coordinator for Monday, March 23 at 5 am. We wanted enough time to fully discuss what it meant and then have some time together to grieve and process before we went to work. Our coordinator was amazing, she let us grieve and validated our sadness, she definitely doesn't have an easy job.

We were given 3 options:
     1. Switch to another country
     2. Go on hold with the Uganda program (letting our paperwork expire which would save money)
     3. Stay active within the Uganda program (keeping paperwork up to date not knowing when the              program may become active again. )

Let me reiterate: We LOVE our agency. We have felt valued and protected by them every step of the way but this is not where we wanted to go. Suspension or Uganda closing international adoptions has always been a fear and now here it was staring us in the face.

We've spent the past 10 days praying we would know God's will in our adoption and that He would guide us in our decisions but many days He felt silent. I think part of it was where my heart was. I struggled with understanding His goodness in the corruption in Uganda. I struggled to see the God who sets orphans in families, protects the widow and the orphan and brings justice to the oppressed. I still don't see it clearly and don't know that I ever will.  But there is purpose in the struggle and the wait. Even when I can't hear His voice, He is still active and interceding for us.

We think we have made a decision but aren't quite ready to share yet. Will you pray for us? Pray for Uganda? Pray for ethical adoption agencies in Uganda?



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Grant Update

This has been a bittersweet week in our home. Last Saturday I got a call from my mom saying my grandma may not make it through the night. She was 91 and had been battling cancer for a year but suddenly took a turn. Over Christmas, I was able to spend time with her and I left knowing it would probably be the last time I saw her. We spent 5 days waiting for her to meet Jesus. Each day seemed like her last but she held on, saying goodbye to dear friends and family.

On Wednesday morning I got a call from Lifesong regarding our grant application. Before I could call back my dad text me, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. II Cor. 5:8-mom is with the Lord." I gave my students extra recess as I took some time to be alone and grieve and rejoice her passing.

After I gathered myself, I called Lifesong back knowing the call would hold encouraging news.  We have been awarded a $4,000 direct grant!! What a huge blessing from the Lord! We are so grateful for this gift and how much closer it brings us to our forever family.

We have also been selected to participate in a Both Hands project which we will complete this summer. We will be gathering a team to bless a widow while raising funds to bring our orphan(s) home! I've wanted to do a Both Hands project since before we began our adoption. They operate off of the verse James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." You can watch more of the story of how Both Hands came about here.

Thanks for walking this long journey with us!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Staying the Course

Many of you saw my intagram post rejoicing as we passed the 1 year mark on our adoption journey but anticipated a possibly difficult call the next day from our case worker.



Then many of you saw the instagram post pleading for prayer as our hearts broke hearing new news.

Here's a brief synopsis of what we heard...



To go into more depth, there is a panel that has been established in Uganda. Their main job is to find permanent homes within Uganda. This panel works at the local and national level. There are 19 children's homes willing to work with the panel to first and foremost find kids permanent homes within Uganda. There are some who sit on this panel who are in favor of international adoption and there are many who are not in favor of international adoption. Our agency had worked with 5 children's homes: 1 is fully working with the panel, 2 are extremely cautious and going to use the panel as a last resort and 2 are unwilling to work with the panel at this time. (There is massive level of distrust in the government as they have been very corrupt: we do believe they are truly trying to do what is best for the child in this case.) That leaves our agency working with only 1 home who will fully submit to the guidelines of the panel. Our chances of adopting just decreased by 80%. Of the children in this home, the panel will probably only allow "older" children and children with "special needs" to be internationally adopted. The significant distrust of this panel have left international adoptions through our agency in a standstill with no timeline or even a estimate on a timeline

The panel's main job is to place children with Ugandan families or reunite them with their biological family. The absolute last resort is international adoption.

We had few options:

               1. Switch to another agency (there aren't many we trust and which we feel are honoring                            Uganda with their adoptions)
               2. Switch programs to another country our agency works with
               3. Leave adoption all together, Uganda is just too risky
               4. Stay with our agency and stay in the Uganda program knowing there is no guarantees and                    no timeline and the continued possibility that international adoptions will close                                    completely.

This left us with was aching hearts and questions on what do we do? We spent the day praying individually and then talking together about what this looks like for us and our family. I spent hours looking at other countries within our agency, other agencies with international programs only to quickly close out the page not feeling like it was right. I saw countless faces on "waiting" child lists and still didn't feel they were meant to be part of our family.

Throughout the day, I repeatedly heard God telling me to "stay the course" and to "be still" (Exodus 14:14). When we were talking Chris said, "I feel God is telling us to 'stay the course'" It was powerful to know that God was speaking the same thing to us individually. We decided that night to stick with the Uganda program but wanted to take a few more days to pray and seek wisdom from family and friends.

We are staying the course, whatever twists and turns, mountains and valleys, storms and calm seas. We aren't walking away, choosing another country or giving up on adoption all together. We have no idea when or if our family will grow through a Ugandan adoption but we are pursuing it until all doors slam closed.

We want to let our child/children know that we fought everything to bring them home, that seemingly insurmountable circumstances didn't send us fleeing, that we fought with everything in us and didn't walk away. So we are staying the course, this road may be many many years long but until God calls us away, we are sticking to it. At this point we don't know what each new day will hold but we feel confident we are called adopt from Uganda.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Paper Pregnant!

We've spent a few days in Phoenix with family  which was agonizing not knowing if our I-600 A was sitting in the mail box. Chris went home yesterday and it had arrived!!

As of today we are officially paper pregnant!! 

We emailed it off to our adoption agency and they emailed back and we are #11 on the wait list.

#11

This number can fluctuate a bit depending on what family is best fit for the child/children. Things may quiet down a bit as we enter into a season of waiting. The only thing we are going to need to do between now and accepting a referral is to keep our home study, biometrics and I-600a current...none of which needs to be done in the next 18 months. We will keep updating as we move up the wait list but we would love prayer as we prepare to bring our child home!

We have also set up an adopt together account. Any money donated to here will go directly to our agency and adoption expenses. It is also tax deductible!

You can also follow our journey in pictures through Instagram at slowly_by_slowly (there is also a link is on the right side of this page)