Adoption Day!

What a relief it is to have made it to this day...Abby's officially a NEEDHAM! :) My mom made the comment that it doesn't feel any different because she has felt like ours since we saw her first picture...so true! But, to me who's done mountains of paperwork, this feels like a big relief! I was especially relieved to be able to complete her adoption without an attorney!

It was a very special day! The boys were excited to get out of school. Their dad told them it better be the ONLY time they ever have to go to court to appear before a judge. Josiah says, "What if I adopt some day?" OKAY...that would be awesome and you could go to court for that Josiah! I just LOVE his heart for orphans!

We were joined by Grandpa and Grandma and Scott's sister, Kitty. We went to Perkins to celebrate this special day! OUR ABBY OFFICIALLY ON PAPER!
Abigail Anjana Needham

 Proud Daddy and Big Brother!
 The judge wanted to hold Abby and she wasn't too happy about that (thus the serious look)!
 Scott's Sister
 Abby decided that she wanted to be a judge today and went running behind his desk. Good thing this judge had a great sense of humor! :)
Abby's Grandpa and Grandma (my parents) 


Elder Retreat 2011

This year I had the privilege of going back to the North Shore on our annual Elder Retreat for my church. I think this was my 8th retreat....4 as a Vision Board member and the first four from when I was on staff for youth and family ministries. It was BY FAR my FAVORITE retreat. Not just saying that cuz I was part of the planning team <wink> cuz I have planned them before. This was NOT a working retreat (which 6 of them have been), but a time for the leaders of the church to go to the "mountain top" and be in the presence of the Lord. And you know what...more "work" and more "vision" will come from this trip because of the time we spent WITH the Lord seeking HIM! We also had a ton of joy and laughter...unity is stronger than ever and I know that God's hand is upon our church. We are not taking that for granted and our speaker was INCREDIBLE in reminding us what we have and how to move forward seeking God's direction. He is originally from Ethiopia which stirs my heart for the Hosanna, Ethiopia mission that our church has started and I just love his anointing for equipping leaders. SO much more to say...I had a personal word from the Lord through Gemechis that blessed me in ways I am still processing! 

Here are some fun pictures: 

Our Lead Pastor Bill and our good friend, Kingdom Expansion Pastor Tim

 Our churches AMAZING worship leader, Chris. Wow...what a blessing to have him lead us in worship on the retreat. 
 To be able to worship at the lake this year was a desire of my heart. Lake Superior is still really cold this time of year and the weather is not always very nice. This year...while it was chilly, the sun was shining down on us and we were able to! It was such a gift to me! 

Love my VB friend, Jennifer

Gemechis...what a blessing this man of God is!

BEAUTIFUL scenery!

We had a golf theme to go along with what the Lord had showed us for the retreat. Fun and symbolic to have Pastor Bill "Tee it Up!"
This is the Vision Board...wish we would have taken a group picture with the Lead Pastor's Team too.
This is such a fun group! Part of the reason I love our church is the leadership team knows how to laugh and have a good time!
While I literally got a stone to always remember this moment with the Lord, I also took a picture. God met me in a powerful way by the lake on our personal free time. As I was seeking direction and vision for orphan ministry, I looked down at my bag and noticed the 3 words within "147"...Feed, Water, Meds. It was a moment that words can't explain.

While being away was so refreshing and wonderful, coming home to my boys and this adorable little girl was the best!! :)


Adoption Tax Credit Update

I am seriously bumming about this slow down in the gov't issuing the adoption tax credits. Has anyone gotten yours back this year? I think we need some serious prayer around this!

Here is the update I received from my social worker today:

Update on the Adoption Tax Credit

In the last few weeks, NACAC has gathered information about what’s happening with the adoption tax credit. Almost all of the parents we heard from had not yet received their adoption tax credit, although most have received their regular refund. We have also heard reports that the IRS is reviewing up to 90 percent of the adoption tax credit filings, although we do not know if this number is accurate.

A few families have reported to us that they received their refund with the adoption tax credit. Although this was a very small proportion of the people who responded to us, it is heartening to know that the credits are being paid.

For those who are experiencing delays, there are two different situations:
  • The IRS is informing families that the credit is under review and may take 45 to 90 days to process.
  • The IRS is requesting documentation of the adoption. In most cases, families sent the correct documentation with their return but it has somehow been separated. Please re-send the documentation, being sure to include your name and social security number on each page.
Unfortunately, the current IRS documentation notice says that everyone has to provide documentation of expenses. We are working closely with the IRS to correct this error. Families who adopt a U.S. child with special needs do not have to document expenses. We are recommending that you send a letter with your documentation explaining that expenses are not required for special needs adoption and that you have included documentation of the adoption and the child’s special needs. If you get another request for expenses, get the name and ID of the employee. If you share it with us, we can try to help the staff member better understand how the credit works.

If you haven’t received your regular refund, we recommend that you contact the IRS and ask why this part of your return has not been processed.

Anyone who feels like they are being treated unfairly or who has a financial hardship can consider contacting their taxpayer advocate.