Little House Big Love bio picture
  • We are the Galans

    We are an engineer+artist, husband+wife that love one another deeply and seek wholeheartedly to serve Jesus with this one life we have been given. We believe that we are called to be His hands and feet here on earth, and one of the ways we want to do that is through adoption.

    This is where our adoption story begins...we are excited and we need your help. Your prayers and your support mean the world to us as we walk through the process of bringing home two children from El Salvador to be part of our family. Follow our story here and join us in this joyful adventure of adoption!

THE DAY HAS COME!

It is finally happening, you guys.  The call we’ve waited for, prepared for and prayed for…came today.  Our court date has been set, so on December 1, 2017 at 9:30 am we will stand before a judge who will (hopefully!) declare R (name to be shared soon) our son!  He will go home with us that day and we will spend the rest of the month in El Salvador getting to know him and finalizing all of the other paperwork with the US embassy for him to come home.

THEN HE WILL COME HOME!

We are overwhelmed and so excited as we wrap our minds around it all and do our best to prepare to be gone for at least a month!  It feels so surreal…after four and a half years, it felt like this day might never actually come.

Sunday we sang the song “Your Promises” at churchand the second verse says:

As I walk into the days to come
I will not forget what You have done

For you have supplied my every need
And Your presence is enough for me

I was reminded of ALL God has done in this adoption process.  Miracles great and small that He has graciously allowed us to experience.  We have felt the prayers of the saints, and seen them answered.  We have experienced selflessness, sacrifice, and an undeserved outpouring of love and support from all around.  We have seen the church BE the church in our lives and we have been changed.

We are so very aware that the coming year(s) will not be perfect or easy.  We know there will be more tears and more heart cries to the One who hears.  But we know…we KNOW that He is in control.  That His purpose is unshakeable.  That this was His work from the beginning and He brings every good work that He begins to completion.

If it hadn’t been for this long, painful, costly process, we would have missed out on seeing the depth of God’s heart for adoption and experiencing His faithfulness.  He has used these 4.5 years to prepare us…to teach us to trust Him, and to call on Him.  So as we look ahead at the days to come, we do not walk in fear, but in faith.


Just as you have walked with us through this process, we continue to ask for your prayers.  Specifically please pray for the following:

-miraculously fast processing times for our paperwork in ES; specifically to finish everything before Christmas

-favor with every person who touches our paperwork

-R as he process this immense life change and says goodbye to his life and home of 9 years

-healthy bonding between R and our family, specifically with Josue and I and our girls

-smooth travel & entry in immigration

-Elise and Lydia to be at peace as they process and grasp their new life with a big brother; also for healthy, happy sibling relationships to form

-peace amidst it all

-continued financial provision


We were able to purchase all of our flights today and we booked them trusting that we will be able to fly back to the US together on Christmas day!  As He always has, God provided a way for us to all fly direct both ways, and we were able to pay for a large portion of it with miles we have been saving.

We still have quite a few adoption related expenses coming up as we finalize everything in El Salvador and begin post-adoption visits back in the US.  We are immensely thankful for your support, and for those who would like to help in other ways, here are a few things that would help in a big way:

-(tax deductible) financial donation through our AdoptTogether site: https://adopttogether.org/families/?fundraiser=galanadoption

-help us find our last few things to get his room ready.  Currently we still need a small dresser, twin mattress cover, twin sheets, twin comforter, boys winter coat (size 10-12), boys sweaters (size 10-12), and warm weather shoes (size 8)!  If you have any of those items used we would be so thankful, or you can also see our “wishlist” over on Amazon!

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Adoption truly does take a village…thank you for being ours.

 

Supreme Court Assignment

This road of adoption has had no small share of bumps, seeming dead ends and surprises, but this is one we certainly didn’t expect.  Our dossier now sits before the Supreme Court of El Salvador.

We found all this out a few weeks ago from our lawyer in El Salvador.  In May a new set of laws went into effect that impact much of the adoption process in El Salvador.  We’ve been hearing about them for almost two years; the hopes are that these will streamline much of the process and cut much of the unnecessary red tape surrounding the process.

HOWEVER

one of the new provisions of the law was to create a new court that would see all cases regarding minors in foster and adoption cases; they would no longer be seen in family court.

So, when the family court judge got our he (or she?) said it didn’t belong there and sent it to the newly formed children’s court.  Where the next judge saw the date on our dossier and said that since it was finalized before the creation of the new court, it did not belong there.  And so began a game of hot potato with our adoption case…that is only awaiting a court date.  Since neither judge accepted the case, it has now landed in the Supreme Court of El Salvador along with 8 others, awaiting the court’s decision to assign the case to one of the prior courts to see our case.  Another case already received their decision, so we are hoping that ours will follow quickly!

Thanks for your continued prayers and support!

 

 

Almost There! (June Update)

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated here.  I have two excuses: life is crazy busy (but whose isn’t?) and there haven’t been many changes.

In January we found out that our dossier had been sent from the US Embassy in El Salvador (and thus the NVC – National Visa Center) back to the OPA (Office of Adoptions in ES), meaning that the US side was done(!!!) and our little man’s visa pre-approved.

Upon receiving that, OPA had to do their own set of revisions, check-ups, changes (I really have no idea), and they handed it off to our lawyer in early May.  She then had to do her own set of changes, preparations etc (again, I have no clue) and she will delivered it to the court at the end of May!!!  Once the court receives it, they will review that monstrous stack of papers and set a court date!

Our lawyer tells us that it can take up to 6 months for that to happen but generally it takes around 2 months.  Yesterday she said she checked in at the court and that they told her they would have news for her *this week*!  Once the date is set, the court notifies us and usually gives a two week notice.  As in, we have to be ready to travel at pretty much any time.  So we could pretty much be called any day now to go bring home our kiddo!

To be honest, my heart is idling somewhere between “OHMYGOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE WE ARE SO CLOSE!!!” and “meh, this will happen someday but we’ve had so many delays that I shouldn’t actually expect it to be this summer.”

It’s hard feeling like we are eternally in limbo, waiting to make any big life decisions until he comes home.  However, if I could change it, I’m not sure I would go back and make the process any shorter.  Because through every valley of frustration and doubt, God brought us to new levels of trust and allowed us to see and experience His hand and His faithfulness in ways that I never imagined.  I believe that so much of this process has been to prepare us for the next season of our life when our son is home (and probably other things too).

We continue to ask you to partner with us in prayer.  That he would prepare our son for our family, and that He would also prepare the four of us his arrival as well.  Pray that God would continue to give us favor with all the government officials that will touch our paperwork and that he would indeed come home this summer so we can have some family bonding time before starting school.  Pray also that we can resolve our water-under-the-floors issue before travel time comes (long story, probably big repair, includes his room).

We are also (finally) starting to think about the real life aspect of bringing him home…getting a bed, preparing a room, getting him clothes and preparing for school (SCHOOL?!).

If you (or any friends of yours) have any extra bonus miles, a twin bed, or boy clothes (probably around size 7-9) around, we would joyfully receive them as we prepare for our little guy to come home!  I don’t even know what else 8 year old boys need but clothes and a bed seem like a good start!

Thanks for your continued prayers and support through this process.  We anxiously await the day when we get to share our HOMECOMING with you all!

Let’s all pray I have an exciting update here in a few weeks rather than another 6 months! 🙂

 

This ^^^ was our Valentine’s Card (photo by Amanda of Authentic Portrait) and the photo below is from Easter!

 

 

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Merry Christmas! (and an update!)

Merry Christmas, dear ones!

This time last year we were home for a quiet Christmas snuggling our 9 day old Lydia.  At the end of a lazy day of gift opening and napping my mom snapped this quick picture of us in front of the tree. (I have loved looking at this little time stamp throughout the year! 🙂

I remember thinking as she took it, this will be our last Christmas without our other kid(s)! …I was so certain!

Yet God had other plans, and that’s ok too.  While my heart so desperately longs to bring home our son, to watch him play on the floor with his sisters or decorate Christmas cookies with us, I will continue to trust that our kind, loving Father knows best.  And that He WILL bring this adoption to completion in his own timing.

Since I haven’t done an awesome job of posting regularly, there are updates to be shared!

In September, while Josue and I were out of the country (eeek!) he got a call from our immigration officer that the last set of paperwork (per their request for more details after our I-800 was submitted)  was missing a few things. (sidenote; they were all things we had actually already sent but somehow papers often disppear into the abyss at USCIS ;). This man was a total answer to prayer, because at USCIS, the case officer is supposed to immediately deny any form sent with insufficient information the second time.  So when our papers hit his desk, instead of putting an ugly red “denied” stamp and moving on, he called us.  And told us that if we could send those things over as quickly as possible he would move forward as if it had all arrived together.  Praise Jesus for answering our prayers for favor with government officials…y’all that is one very real way your prayers have impacted this process.

Soon after everything had been sent, we received an approval from USCIS, and in October the National Visa Center sent us a notice that our paperwork had been passed on to the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador.  That’s a big deal!  That means on the U.S. side everything has been approved for this to move forward!

Once our case is in El Salvador, the Embassy compiles another packed of our paperwork (surprise, more papers!) called the Article 5 and sends it over to OPA (Office of Adoptions in the El Salvador government).  Once OPA receives the completed Article 5 they double check everything and set us a court / interview date …

AND THEN WE TRAVEL TO EL SALVADOR!

Last week the embassy reached out to me for a few bits of paperwork they were missing to complete the Art 5, so we worked on that this week and were able to get that sent.  They told us that once they have everything it should take them less than a week to send it to OPA.  Once OPA receives it, it can be anywhere from 4 (not likely) to 12 months to get a court date.

quick interlude for a family photo update 😉

Oh, another big hiccup to update you about…!  In August we received notice that our adoption agency had lost their license.  It was hard, stressful news, especially since it came one week after we had pulled together and sent them our final payment.  In following months we waited for more details as we transitioned to a new agency.  It finally came to light that they would not be transferring any money to the new agency and that we would need to come up with it again to pay the new agency.

We waited for six weeks and, to be honest, I struggled with God as to why he allowed this to happen.  It came at time that for us, financially, was different than any other.  Our former “safety net” had been removed and we couldn’t see a way that we would be able to make the payment.  I could sense even then that it was no coincidence that God allowed us to be in this position.  We’ve been down this road enough times, and have seen God use these situations over and over to teach us about who He is and his heart for adoption.

And like He always does, over Thanksgiving He provided.  A dear friend gave us an incredibly unexpected donation that covered most of the payment.  Glory to God.

There have been so many tears and prayers throughout this process, and God has been filling our catalog of His faithfulness one story at a time.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and financially through this journey…it brings me to my knees in gratitude to the Father.  Please continue to join us in prayer…

Praises:

-Praise God for providing for the most recent payment

-Praise God for that immigration officer who helped us

-Praise God for His perfect plan and faithful hand throughout this process

Prayers:

-continued favor with US and ES governments

-speedy processing of paperwork

-continued financial provision

-that God would prepare our family and our son for one another

-that God would be glorified in this adoption story

 

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Happy Birthday to my boy, and a BIG prayer request

Today is our boy’s 8th birthday, and I so wish we could be with him to celebrate!   I am thankful that this is *hopefully* the last birthday he won’t be with us.  I don’t know what his first 8 birthdays have held, but his next 8 will be smothered in hugs, full of homemade pancakes and spent doing things he loves.

In other news, we got an e-mail last Friday afternoon that has us reeling a bit.  Our adoption agency has lost their Hague Accreditation  (more details about what that is in the link), which means that they can no longer process our adoption.  Sigh.  It isn’t surprising; they have been slow and unresponsive for months, however it is frustrating, especially at this point in the process.

The agency said in the e-mail that they would be calling us this week with the details of what that means, so we still don’t know much.  What we do know, is that we will be transferred to another agency for the remainder of our process.  We don’t know if there will be more expenses incurred (likely), and if so, how much they will be.  Just a few weeks ago we paid our last big payment.  It was intimidating, but also a relief not to see any more large 4 digit numbers looming.

Would you pray with us this week and this month for a smooth transition?  Also that our payments can be transferred over without any additional fees?  And of course, for continued favor and speed for our paperwork as it goes through governments.

As our last post mentioned…we trust in God, and we know He has every detail under His control.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6

I keep coming back to this verse throughout our adoption process…God promises to complete what he began, and this adoption has been His since the beginning so we trust in His timing and process!