Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Is Why

One of the social workers from AGCI sent us a link to these videos, yesterday. They are from an orphanage in Rwanda. The almost 700 children in this particular orphanage are not currently available for adoption, because of lack of staff and funding to complete their paperwork. Our agency is hoping to partner with this orphanage in the future.

Many people ask us why we want to adopt from Africa. They want to know why we aren't adopting from here. When I watched these videos the words, "this is why" came to my mind. There are needs everywhere, but this is where God lead us.

I have always been a compassionate person, but I am learning that compassion without action is worthless. I don't want to just watch videos like this and be overwhelmed with sadness. I want to do something to make a difference. That is why I want to adopt. I want to change the life for one of these precious children.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

FBI Results and Other Answered Prayers

So, we still don't know where we stand with our adoption. Like I said, we should hear more sometime next week. I am really not that worried about it. I am choosing to stay positive and follow wherever the Lord leads us. Thank you to all of you who are praying for us. I can really feel the prayers and I am not just saying that. I truly woke up yesterday with a new peace in my heart and a more positive outlook on everything.

I just have to share a few of the prayers that we saw answered this week. First of all, our FBI results came back already!!!!!! We were told it could take up to 12 weeks for us to receive the results. Sometimes they can be unreadable and you have to resubmit which can be a pain. So, we prayed that they would come back quickly and not have to be redone and we received the results in exactly 2 weeks. I actually got Justin's the same day we received the news about the changes in Rwanda and mine came yesterday. So, that is one less thing to worry about. Thank you, Jesus! Oh, and in case you were wondering we had no arrest record found =)

We also added about $1100 to our adoption fund this week. I am completely humbled every time someone chooses to donate to help bring our daughter home. It brings tears to my eyes every single time. It is such a reminder that God is in this and that He is providing for us. We still have a long way to go as far as raising money, but we constantly see His provision and are confident that it will all come together in time.

For sometime now I have been burdened to pray for the people of Midgeprof (Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion) in Rwanda. They are responsible for all adoptions that happen in Rwanda. They review dossiers and match children with their new families. It has been a few months since any children from Rwanda have been matched with families. Many people have been waiting a long time (much longer than they expected) for a referral. My heart has been so broken for these families and especially for the babies and children waiting in orphanages. I felt God laying it on my heart to pray fervently for movement in Rwanda. I have been praying every time Rwanda entered my mind throughout the day.

It took me about a day to realize that the new changes regarding adoption in Rwanda is actually an answer to my prayers. I was too concerned with how it negatively affected me and how it would add months or even years to our adoption timeline. It may not seem like a good thing for us, but I believe that it is a good thing for Rwanda and for future adoptions. It will give them time to focus on the dossiers that are currently in the country. Hopefully referrals will be made soon and children will be placed in their forever families. This is an incredible answer to prayer.

We are hopeful and praying that we will hear positive news regarding our adoption sometime next week. I must admit I do not feel "one day closer" to our daughter. I actually feel farther away than I did when we began this journey, but I do feel like I am right where I should be. I feel very close to my heavenly Father and wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. " 1 Thes. 5:16-18

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ups and Downs of Adoption

In the adoption journey there are ups and downs and today was a down day for us. This morning I read that Rwanda would no longer be accepting dossiers as of August 31st. When I read it, my heart immediately sank. We are currently working on our dossier and there is no way humanly possible to get it finished and to Rwanda in 5 days. I immediately e-mailed my caseworker (it was too early to call).

I spent most of the day checking e-mail, waiting for the phone to ring, praying, and trying not to cry. Late this afternoon, I received a phone call from our social worker. She told me that what I had read was true. Rwanda is working to become a Hague accredited country. This is really a good thing for the country and for future adoptions. However, they are suspending acceptance of new dossiers right now, which does not look good for us or other families in the paperwork process of adopting from Rwanda.

We don't know how long the country will be closed, no one knows yet. We should hear something around August 31st.

For now all we can do is pray. Please join us in praying for the families affected by this change. Pray for the precious children of Rwanda who will have to wait even longer to be placed in families.

We know that this is not a surprise to God. He is in control and I am resting in the promise that He can turn all things good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of School

Sawyer's first day of school was yesterday. He is going to pre-k at our local public school. It is 5 days a week from 8-5. When we first moved here and I found out about the pre-k, I thought there was no way I would be sending to Sawyer to school all day when he was only 4. As the months passed, I began to entertain the idea of sending him. Then, I was able to meet Mrs. Book, Sawyer's pre-k teacher. She was so wonderful and completely reassured me that Sawyer would love it and that she would take good care of him. So, I decided to enroll him in Pre-K. He has been talking about it all summer and yesterday was the big day!Sunday night I read the boys "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn. It's a book about a little raccoon who has to leave his mama to go to school. It is the sweetest little book and perfect for kids (or mommies) with separation anxiety.
We read it the night before school and of course I boo-hooed at the end. Good thing I had my brave 4 year old there to reassure me. I know it's pitiful, but he was telling me that it was going to be ok and that he would be home every day right after school. I am just so proud of him and love him so much. It's hard to have to let go of your little ones, even if it's just for a few hours a day.
Sawyer requested that daddy make him pancakes for breakfast on the first day, so pancakes it was. We also found out that all of the pre-k kids eat breakfast together every morning. Sawyer told me he ate cereal in the cafeteria. When I picked him up yesterday, he said, "Mom, guess what? A kid in the cafeteria got chocolate milk and put it in his cereal. It looked pretty good." It's good to know he is learning new things at school.
Jax really wanted to be in the back to school pics, so here are my big boys. I love these guys to pieces, but I really miss having a baby in the house.
Silly Sawyer showing off his backpack.
The whole family took Sawyer to school on the first day. Of course we had to take a picture of him with both proud parents. He was begging us to stop with the pics at this point. He was so ready to go inside and start his day.
Daddy was documenting our every step. Too bad he didn't have the good camera.
He went right on in and sat on the rug.
I had to tell him to come back and give me one last hug. I also kissed his "Kissing Hand."
And the best part was NO TEARS from Sawyer or mommy. I started to tear up just a bit when I walked out of the classroom, but I held it together. Jax was pretty sad that we were leaving his big brother. He wanted to stay at school with him. We start MDO aka "little school" on Sept. 7, so I think he will feel better once he has is own class. Sawyer reported that he had a great first day and that he got to be the line leader. It just doesn't get much better than that! He was an exhausted, but happy boy when he got home.

One Smile Closer :: Kelee Wish

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh How He Loves Us

I just want to share a little way that my Heavenly Father encouraged me this week. One of my favorite songs is "How He Loves Us" by David Crowder. Every time it comes on in the car my boys sing it at the top of their lungs. I usually join them as I wipe the tears from my eyes. I love hearing my little ones worship their creator. Well, this song is just going through my head as I think about how God showed me His love this week.

I have been a little down this week. Maybe it's because my youngest was sick at the beginning of the week or maybe because my oldest is about to start pre-k. Maybe it's because our car is broken again and it looks like we are going to have to buy a new, used car. Maybe it's because I already love my Mia Grace, so much and it breaks my heart to think that it will be another year or more before we even see a picture of her. I am sure it is a combination of all these things that made me decide to throw a fabulous little pity-party for myself. I started to worry about how we would pay for this adoption and a new, used car. I started to worry about how we will ever raise the money that we need. I even tried to invite my husband to my little party, but he politely declined or he just reminded me how silly I was being. I am so glad God gave him to me to keep me grounded. All this to say, I was discouraged and I prayed to God asking Him to encourage me and show me that He was in control.

So, on the day of my great pity-party, I checked the mail and found an envelope from our old insurance company. Inside the envelope was a check for $640. Apparently it was a reimbursement check. We were not expecting it at all and when I told Justin he said we probably should have received it a long time ago. Obviously we hadn't missed it, and God knew that I needed to receive it that day. He knew I needed encouragement on that day. As parents we all know when our kids need a little extra encouragement, a little extra love, or snuggles. Well, my Heavenly Father new that I needed a little extra encouragement on that day. He didn't have to give it to me. I certainly didn't deserve it, but He chose to because He loves us. Oh, How He Loves Us! It was just a reminder to me that He is in control. He wants to put children into families and He will provide a way for Mia to come to ours.

And if that wasn't enough, I received another encouraging surprise today. I entered a giveaway on Andrea's blog the other day and her sweet little boy picked my name out of a hat to win an awesome t-shirt. The Dockery family is selling these t-shirts to support their adoption of a child from Ethiopia. I really love these shirts and am so happy to win one. I was so happy, that I decided to buy some for Justin and the boys, too. I will post pics when we get them. If you want one I don't think it's too late to go to their blog and try to win one or you could buy one and help them raise money to bring home their baby.

"I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49:15-16

I am so thankful that my Lord has not forgotten me. I am thankful that He loves to give good gifts to His children.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Smile Closer :: the Anderson family

The Andersons are another fun Texas family that Justin had the pleasure of taking pictures of when we were there for a visit. They were good sports on this very hot July morning in Texas. The little boys were ready to go to McDonalds, but we were able to capture a few sweet smiles. Thank you, Andersons, for supporting us and helping us reach our goal to bring home our baby girl!

Meet The Teacher Day

Today was meet the teacher day at Sawyer's school. He is starting pre-k on Monday. We know his teacher, because she is a member of our church. When I told Sawyer we were going to meet the teacher he said, "but I already met her." The plan was for all 4 of us to go, but Jax has been sick all week so Daddy stayed home with him.Here I am with my big preschool boy. I just can't believe he is big enough to start school.
Jax really wanted me to take his picture, too! Here he is saying pre-K! He doesn't look like he is sick, does he? I think he is finally feeling better.
Here is Sawyer with his teacher, Mrs. Book. We already love her and are looking forward to a great year.
Sawyer had fun exploring his new classroom.
He loved the reading loft.
His classroom looks like so much fun. Maybe, I will stay and play all day. I actually got through the morning without crying. I did start to tear up once, but I held it in. Hopefully, I can hold it in on the first day. I know he will love it and that makes me so happy, but I will miss that boy so much!
He spotted the hat with his name on it right away.
Mrs. Book gave all of the kids a cowboy boot to decorate. As soon as Sawyer got home he got out the crayons and the stickers, so he could decorate his boot. I hope he will always be this enthusiastic about doing his homework. Look how hard he is concentrating!
Jax wanted to work too. He wants to do whatever big brother is doing. He keeps saying that he wants to go to school, too. I know he will really miss Sawyer, but we will have fun together.
Here is Sawyer with his very first homework assignment. He is so proud! Here's to a great school year.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Getting Started

I had our dossier run through call last Thursday with our case worker, Kiersten. It was nice to finally "meet" her. She gave me a detailed description of everything we need to do in the next couple of weeks. It was overwhelming, but not as overwhelming as it could have been. She broke things down for us and let us know what we need to focus on first. It is a lot to do, but I don't think it will be too bad. Maybe I am being naive. Kiersten will call at least once every 2 weeks while we are in the paperwork stage of the adoption. It is nice to have someone with us every step of the way.

Justin was off work Friday, so we ran a bunch of much needed errands. We got our fingerprints and passport applications in the mail. I also ordered certified copies of our birth certificates and marriage license. We also finally got Louisiana licenses. We have been here a year, so it was about time. We made copies of lots of papers that our home study coordinator needs and I plan to drop those off at her office on Monday. We also took our dog to get shots just to make sure she is up to date on everything. Everyone in the house is doing there part, including Jasmine the dog.

The next thing we really need to focus on is our adoption education. We have some on line education courses to complete as well as a pretty thick workbook with a lot of blanks to complete and turn in. I have decided that we need to start putting the boys to bed earlier, so we can have time to work on this stuff. They have been staying up late during the summer, but school starts for Sawyer in one week (sniff, sniff), so they probably need to get used to getting in bed a little earlier.

We were told that the dossier takes on average 3-4 months to complete. I would love to have everything completed by November. We will do our best to reach that goal, but much of it is out of our hands. We are trusting the Lord to guide us through this stage of our adoption.

Friday, August 13, 2010

One Smile Closer :: Kate Taylor

Kate is another cutie that Justin got to take pics of while we were in Texas. She is the daughter or our good friends, Phil and Teresa. We were going to take pictures of Kate earlier in the summer when they came to Louisiana to visit us, but she had an allergic reaction to her medicine and was covered in hives. This time she was hive free and feeling good, so Justin got lots of cute shots of her having fun.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fun Giveaway

We were able to meet Troy and Amber Lucht and their sweet little boy, Silas the last time we were in Murfreesboro visiting Jon and Kelsey. They adopted Silas from Ethiopia and were able to answer a lot of questions we had about adoption. They even told us all about their awesome adoption agency, All God's Children International, which we just so happens to be the agency we chose to use for our adoption.

Troy and Amber are currently in the process of adopting Silas' sister, also from Ethiopia. They are selling these beautiful Ugandan Magazine necklaces to help raise money for the adoption. Go on over to find out how you can win one. While, you are there I am sure you will want to buy a few as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finger Prints and Eye Exams

This morning I had two main things on my to do list; go to the eye doctor and get our fingerprints done for our FBI background check. Justin was off work this morning, so he and the boys dropped me off at my eye doctor appointment and then went across the street to buy a few groceries.

I had never been to the eye doctor until a few months ago. I started having blurry vision and wasn't sure what was going on, so my doctor referred me to an ophthalmologist. He discovered that I had inflammation of my eyes as well as fluid on my eyes. I had to have a steroid injection in my eye. Yes, a shot in my eyeball! He ordered for my family doctor to give me several blood tests, and they all came back normal. My eye started doing much better after the shot, but my doctor still wants to watch it to make sure it doesn't get any worse. Today he could see that I still have inflammation on my right eye, but no fluid. He said he could give me another shot today, but he didn't think it would be necessary. So, as you can probably guess I opted out on the shot in the eye. If the doctor doesn't think it's necessary, then neither do I. We are really praying that God will heal my eyes completely. We can not find a cause for the inflammation and there really is no treatment besides the occasional steroid shot when it gets bad. I don't think it is a coincidence that this all started right as we began the adoption process, so we are praying hard that is goes away just as quickly as it came.

Anyway, Justin has to drive after my appointments, because I can't see well when my eyes are dilated. I don't know if it affects everyone this way, but I can not see anything close up. I could not even see any of the numbers or keys on my phone when I was trying to call Justin. I was a little nervous about going to the sheriff's office for our fingerprinting with my limited sight. We had to park on the street and walk in the Bright son to the court house annex. I realized that maybe I should invest in a pair of better sunglasses than the $5 ones I purchased from a vendor on Bourbon Street.

The fingerprinting was actually a fun experience. Everyone was really nice and helpful. The guy who did my fingerprints laughed with me (or maybe at me) as I explained that he would just have to take my hand and place it where it needed to go, because I couldn't see a thing. It turns out thats what you have to do anyway, so it was perfect. I tried to take a picture of Justin getting his finger prints done, but I couldn't tell until now just how bad of a pic it was.
Oh, well! I was determined to document this event. We are planning to send these off tomorrow to West Virginia. It can take up to 13 weeks to get the results back, but we are praying it doesn't take that long. It is also possible that the prints could be unreadable meaning that we would have to do it all over again. Please, pray with us that this doesn't happen and that we will have the results back soon.
The boys found the candy jar as soon as we walked into the office. They sat down and quietly ate their candy while Justin and I had our fingerprints taken. When the officer finished he gave the boys police badges. They were so proud!
We will also be mailing information tomorrow to get our passports renewed. We were happy to discover that we can both renew them through the mail. It is always nice to check things off the to do list. Thursday I have our dossier run through call with our new case worker. I am looking forward to "meeting" her and about learning the best way to tackle the dossier. There is a lot to do, but everyday that passes and everything we check off our list gets us "one day closer" to bringing home our little girl.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Best

I just have to brag on my husband right now. He really is the best husband and daddy in the world. This afternoon I went to lay down with Jax during his nap and ended up sleeping for over an hour. I never take naps, so it was pretty nice. When I woke up and came into the living room, I saw this on the breakfast room table.I looked at Justin and said, "What is on our table?" He told me to go check it out. It was a sweet Thank you card and two outfits for Mia. He got it just to tell me thanks for being a good mommy to our boys and for getting things ready for the adoption. It was so sweet of him! I love the little outfits for our girl. Jax liked them too and wanted to hold on to them for a few minutes. He kept saying, "Mia will like her clothes." He also said her favorite color will be pink. I hope so!!!!!

Of course, we have no idea what size she will be wearing when she comes home or even what season it will be, so I have refrained from buying any clothes just yet, but what a sweet gift from Daddy. I bet it won't take long for Mia to have him wrapped around her little finger.We all love our little girl so much already!