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!

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!

 

 

Save

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

 

Save

Save

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!

Why we aren’t worried…

Throughout our 3.5 years in the adoption process we have been asked many questions, but there is one that comes up over and over and I want to share a little of my heart about it.

Since we are adopting an “older” child people often ask (or assume) if we are concerned about all the baggage and trouble that can come with a child who already has life experiences, many of which are probably not positive.

The short answer is “no”.

We are not naive; we have heard and read many heartbreaking stories about all that has happened in adoptive households.  And we are human, so sometimes our hearts do begin to wonder and worry.

While in El Salvador a few weeks ago we met with the OPA social worker to update our home study.  She spent almost 3 hours with each of us for our interview.  But the first half was less of an interview and more of a monologue about her personal experience with adoption.  She has 11 kids; 6 adopted and 5 biological.  She told us horror story after horror story about the things she has lived and the things she didn’t know before.  At the end of it I was nearly in tears, and my heart was torn to pieces wondering if we really were doing the right thing.

But then…I picked up my Ebeneezer stone and began to remember.  I remembered all that God has done through this process to make this adoption possible.  The doors He has opened, and the way he has miraculously provided time and time again.  Like the time a big payment came and we didn’t have the money, but that same week we got an unexpected check with a tax refund we had no idea we were getting.  Or another time, the night before another big payment was due, a friend made a donation that was almost exactly what we still needed for that payment.  Or the time we got a call saying our agency had LOST THEIR LICENSE to process El Salvador (and other Hague country) adoptions, but within a week it had been re-instated.  I could go on with many more stories, confirmations big and small that God has kindly given us throughout this process, each time building our minuscule faith a little more.

And again I come back to that sweet chorus, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

So as we look at a file with the broken story of a little boy in need of a family to call his own, we will declare our God’s faithfulness and trust in His perfect plan as we begin to prepare our family and our home to bring home our son.

Friends, I encourage you to trust God to do the seemingly impossible things He is calling you to.  You will experience Him in a real and raw way, and you will see Him work firsthand to bring His great plan to fruition while using your imperfect but willing heart.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6

Adoption Update and our recent El Salvador visit

 

What a whirlwind this past month has been.  I have about 18 blog posts I should write but instead I’m going to try to cram it in to one for you!

Our El Salvador trip in April was a perfectly timed gift.  We got some much needed time with family and so much done for the adoption.  There were quite a few documents that the El Salvador Office of Adoptions (OPA) was requesting and would have taken months from the States; we were able to finish them in our two weeks there!  That did mean long hours and full days doing adoption paperwork and interviews, however we are so thankful that we were able to accomplish so much!  We were able to complete our dossier (to their standards) finally and move forward with the process!

The OPA board met two weeks ago today to formally review our dossier…

and you guys…

WE WERE APPROVED!!!!!!

While we didn’t have any reason to believe that we wouldn’t be, in the world of adoption nothing is a ‘given’.

Two days after that meeting, they met again to “assign” or match us with a child profile.  And you guys…

WE’VE BEEN MATCHED!

I don’t know how much I’m allowed to share just yet as nothing is formalized yet, so for now I will just tell you WE HAVE A SON.

A SON!

It feels so crazy yet so right to type that.  I’m practicing saying it out loud too!

While it is just beginning to sink in, we are trying to start wrapping our minds around what that means.  Things like re-arranging bedrooms, talking to the school, and beginning to prep Elise.

We still have about 6 months of paperwork ahead of us, but the end is FINALLY in sight.  At least it seems that way for now.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, prayers and support.  We would be so grateful if you would continue to partner with us in this process.

A few items to pray specifically for:

-favor and speedy approval of all paperwork with both governments

-continued financial provision (God has miraculously provided every step of the way…let us praise Him for that too!)

-for God to prepare our hearts and home to bring home our son

-for God to prepare our little guy to come to his new home and join our family

You’ll see a few photographs from our recent El Salvador trip here too.  Below are Josue’s grandparents…two of the kindest, strongest, most loving people I’ve ever met.  Papa Tobal is a pastor who has left an incredible legacy in ES…he’s like the Billy Graham of El Salvador.  I went a little out of control with pictures of and with them…because we don’t know how many more visits we will have with them.