In this crazy season where we can count on one hand the number of adoption steps that we still need to take to bring our niños home, I have been horrible about updating the blog!  Mostly because I am 110% overwhelmed by our colossal pre-travel to-do list!  Like grown-up mommy meltdown overwhelmed. But regardless of how unprepared our home is for 7 people to live it right now, those kids are coming home soon!  And it doesn't feel like real life at all!

Our applications for the kids were received by US Immigration on September 6. We were told the turn around time for approval is typically 30 days. We have friends who got their approval in 25 days. How many days does that give us to paint, move furniture, finish minor remodeling of bathrooms, and overcome the all-consuming hoarder pile that has become our 3rd bedroom?  I'm afraid to count. 

But ready or not, here they come!  That approval could come back at the end of this month or at the beginning of October. And as soon as we have that approval, we get ready to go!  You do the math!  I already did it, and there are not enough hours in the day to do what I need to get done!

But in the midst of the chaos, beautiful things are still happening...thank you, Jesus.  Because if they weren't, I might just curl up in a ball and hide in that hoarder pile.  On Friday (the 13th, no less), our sweet kiddos found out that they are getting a family!  They know!  We didn't get a lot of details about their reactions to the news, but we did get one sentence: "They responded well to the pictures of their parents, and they are so happy!"  We'll take it!  Now we are waiting (rather impatiently) to get their contact info because we are supposed to start calling them and talking to them while we wait for travel approval!  And let me tell you, there is no Spanish app in the world that can prepare us for that!  What do you even say to 3 children who don't know you at all?!  "Hi, I'm your mamí?"  We are total strangers to them, and although we feel like we know them from the 29 pages of their history, we really don't.  Even though they've taken up space in our hearts for the past year, they are strangers to us as well.  This is the first of a lifetime of interactions!  I don't know how to start to cultivate a parent-child relationship over the phone in another language!

And even if we somehow figure out how to start..what to say... there's the whole language thing...  I am terrified that my Spanish skills are not going to be enough over the phone!  For one thing, Ticos speak really quickly.  For another, our oldest has some speech and language issues.  He's going to get so sick of me asking him to "repite por favor."  And rumor has it our little girly-girl is a little chatterbox!  I keep picturing her with rapid-fire Spanish sentences flying out of her mouth while my brain is still processing her first phrase.  Oh my.  "Mas despacio, por favor!"  And as for the little guy, well, I'll be happy if we can get him to say, "Hola."  So you can add that to your extensive prayer list for the Tiptons.  Once we have their phone number, I'm sure I will start losing sleep over that first interaction.

Dear family, and I say family because those of you who have been faithfully reading this and praying for us and giving us stuff and money have become our family, keep praying!  The enemy is working hard to distract us right now.  He's working hard to keep us from feeling peace.  We desperately need your prayers, so please, don't stop!