Hello friends! I'm here with a little update on our family life, you've been wondering haven't you? Hahahaha!
As you all know if you follow me here or on Facebook, our family home burned down on Father's Day, June 19, 2016 (you know I just realized it was the 19th - a day that occurs a lot in my life (not that I am superstitious at all, but it's just funny!), my birthday is the 19th, we were engaged on the 19th and married on the 19th.). From that day forward we have been blessed in so many ways. Was it hard? Did we miss our house and all our "stuff"? Sure!! The stuff part, for me, wasn't nearly as hard as the loss of my house - it really was special to me. It was old, rambling, had a great attached barn and so much character. We bought the house just before we got married, went there on our wedding night and brought all of our children home from the hospital there. I thought that we would spend the rest of our days in that house, making changes and improvements as we went along. God had other plans and I am here to tell you that God's ways and plans are always best!
Immediately after the fire we began hearing from so many people horror stories of dealing with insurance companies. We were advised by some to hire a public adjuster, advised by others not to hire a public adjuster, to hire an attorney, and on and on. But from the beginning we really had a good feeling from our insurance company. They arranged for our family to move to a hotel the very next day. Though we were in 2 separate rooms, they were at least side by side and we had our own space without being a burden on nearby family. After a month, the insurance company secured a rental house and we moved into a house that is just 10 minutes from our property, is close to the school where our children attend band and chorus classes and although smaller than we are used to, has been very adequate for our family! The house was furnished by our insurance company which also provided all the household items we needed to live. We have been very comfortable here and are so thankful for how well we have been cared for.
Another thing that happened just after the fire . . . someone in our church told us about a big farm house and land that had been for sale for a few years in the same town as our church. It was very close so on our way home that day we drove by the property. One look was enough to convince us that it was beautiful, would be great for us, but we could never afford it! At the time we had no idea what our insurance settlement would be or even how the process would go. We did not have a clear understanding of how the policy was set up or what our options were so we drove away believing that was a closed door.
Over the next almost 6 months we have actively pursued rebuilding our house, that was the plan. It has never been a dream of mine to build a house - or live in new construction so it took me several months to get used the idea of not having my old home, but I actually began to get excited about the possibilities. We worked through several drafts of our "new" home, modeled after our original house. It was important to me that it closely resemble our old house and that it maintain the character we had loved for 16 years. As often happens, our dreams and plans outgrew our budget and we were forced to scale back and take another stab at plans. In the meantime, we encountered several problems with the town regarding building codes and setbacks. We were told that our house needed to be moved to comply with the code and so we spent thousands of dollars clearing the back half of our property to make this possible. When the plans were finally ready (or so we thought) we were told of another setback that we had to comply with and in our discussions with town officials we discovered that moving the house back was really not required after all! All that time and expense was unnecessary and lost. That was a major disappointment. There were other little things along the way that caused concern and stress but we thought it was all part of the process.
During all this time, we were still pursuing our adoption of Tessa. We were committed to bringing her home, wherever that was! Just about the time when our travel was approved by China and we were making plans to go get our daughter we decided to take a look around and see if there were any other housing options for our family. Would that house we had looked at 5 months earlier still available? Would the owner be willing to come down on the price, would our insurance settlement be available if we bought instead of rebuilt? A quick internet search revealed that the house was still on the market and that there was a scheduled open house the very next day - how fun!
At the open house the whole family fell in love with the house and property - completely in love! It still seemed a long shot and we had so many questions but we felt strongly that God was leading us in this direction - we at least had to ask the questions, do the research, see if it was possible! There had been another family looking at the property on the same day as us also and the next day we were told that they had made an offer on the house. I was leaving for China in just days, there was so much going on but we made the calls, checked into our insurance situation and made our own offer on the farm. With our offer, we sent a short write up about our family and our recent situation. Our offer was rejected which, honestly we expected since we had offered quite a bit less than the asking price. However, in the meantime, my husband was able to meet with another realtor who knew the property well, as well as a former owner. As they walked through the house and buildings they were able to explain to Jeff all the improvements that had been made in the last 10 years. He came away feeling much more confident about the condition of the property now having seen that not much work would be required at all! So just about the time I was boarding a plane bound for China we were submitting another offer and Jeff began corresponding with the owner of the house. This man had also had his share of hard experiences, of life changes and hard times and was particularly sympathetic to our circumstance. He kindly made a counter offer which was most generous in so many ways, but one we felt would not allow us to use the property to its full potential, so we made one last offer. On my third day in China (actually, it was about 2 a.m., that I received the text), Jeff let me know that our offer was accepted and pending some inspections and a formal appraisal which our insurance required and needed to approve, the property might be ours!
To shorten an already long story, I will say that the next month was filled with inspections (which proved very encouraging), more talks with our insurance company, an appraisal attempt, revision and resubmission and finally last week word that insurance had approved the appraisal and as long as the purchase price remained the same at closing, we would receive our full settlement amount towards the purchase of the property!
Friends, I have to tell you how incredibly humbled we have been by all of this!! To think that God would ever give us such a gift, such an amazing home and property - one with income potential, growth potential and almost every item on our "wish" list is almost incomprehensible! Because this is already long, I will save some of those details for a future post - it's amazing to see how God worked all things together and in doing so has blessed our family beyond measure! It's a perfect picture of how God loves his children - we don't deserve anything good and yet, He delights to bless us, sometimes for no other reason than "to the praise of His glorious grace!"
I'll end this post by introducing you to our new home - New Beginnings (tus nua) Farm. No, we didn't name it - the current owner chose the name when he bought the property. We feel that God definitely orchestrated that little piece for us! ;) We close on December 16th and although we will not move in right away (we are having the inside painted) we will be "camping out" there on Christmas Eve and will spend our first Christmas in our new home.
It's impossible to tell you how grateful, how thankful and how amazed we are! Through the dark and uncertain days we remained confident in the goodness of God, we knew that His plan was unfolding and we looked forward to see what would come of this. Why should we be amazed? God has shown His love time and time again, we simply need to trust and follow where He leads. He truly does bring Beauty From Ashes! Thank you friends for all the prayers you have offered on our behalf! Thank you for helping us and supporting us when we needed you most, thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to us during those early days! I'll post more as we get closer to and after the closing, please continue to pray that all goes smoothly and that the closing and transition goes well!
Here's to New Beginnings!