Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Babysitter or Baby Sister?

Justin and I are going to a wedding this weekend. Justin is the photographer and I get to attend with both my children. I was talking to Jax about how he needed to be quiet and still during the wedding.

I asked him if he could be good or did he need to stay with a babysitter? He replied, " No, the babysitter can't come. She will cry and cry and want to drink her milk."

Umm, ok.

I think he was talking about a baby sister. This may give you an idea about how often we get babysitters, since my three and a half year old doesn't even know the meaning of the word.

Baby sitters and baby sisters are two things we are not familiar with in this house. Hopefully we will change the baby sister part soon. And quite honestly, I wouldn't mind getting a babysitter now and then either.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

5 Super Years

Five years ago today my first son was born and my life changed forever. I remember the first time I ever saw him, at 2:14 am, I thought he was the most perfect baby in the world. I fell in love instantly and my love for Sawyer continues to grow more everyday.

His first year was one of the best years of my life. I was finally a Mommy! I loved having a baby and was blessed with a very happy one.
He was the happiest, most social baby ever! He loved to wave at everyone we saw. Below is a picture of Sawyer when he turned one. This sweet picture was on his first birthday invitation. I love those two little teeth!

At his first birthday we were already expecting his little brother. The day after he turned 18 months he became a big brother.

He fit nicely into the role of big brother. Jax adores him and wants to be just like Sawyer. He always asks, "does Sawyer like this?" or "will Sawyer do this?" If the answer is yes, then he likes it too.

At two years of age Sawyer loved Sesame Street, especially Elmo. We decide to keep it "low key" and not throw a big party for his second birthday. We ended up having three smaller parties with three Sesame Street cakes. We quickly learned that "low key" was harder than one big party. Sawyer did enjoy the three cakes, though.

By the time he was 3, he had developed a love of big trucks, especially ones with sirens, so we had a fire truck party. His Daddy made these cool invitations!

He had a blast and loved it when everyone sang to him.

Last year Sawyer turned 4. He requested pancakes with syrup, whip cream, strawberries, and m&ms for his birthday breakfast. Breakfast is his favorite meal of the day especially when pancakes are involved.
We had a fun day with a geotrax train made by my Grandma.

Today my first baby turns 5 and he is still one of the happiest kids I know. His love for life is contagious. I am so proud to be his mom.

Happy Birthday Super Sawyer! We love you!

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Week In Review

This week I am linking up with my friend, Amy at Filled With Praise for my week in review. I will tell you my high, low, and lesson learned this week. Hop on over to Amy's blog if you want to join in on the fun.
Filled With Praise

My high of the week is that I am loving the wonderful Spring weather. We have spent lots of time outside this week. Also, our Spring Break starts today! Yay! We kicked off our break with a movie night. Nothing better than cuddling up with my boys, some popcorn, and m&ms.

My low of the week is that all of the beautiful things blooming are irritating my Sawyer's allergies. He has a really bad eye infection. He also had a reaction to the eye drops and his eyes got worse. Poor baby!
Look at those swollen eyes! I took him to the doctor today and he is now taking new antibiotic drops.
I really hope they work, because this teeny tiny bottle cost me $50 with insurance covering half the cost. I don't know what's in this stuff, but it better be good.

The lesson I learned this week is to just focus on Jesus. I have been worrying about some decisions that I need to make. I keep asking God for clarity and every time I just feel Him telling me to Just Look At Him! Stop focusing on everything else and fix my eyes on Jesus.

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good Stuff

I realized that I never shared some of the positive news about the situation in Ethiopia. I am so appreciative to all of you who have prayed for us, signed the petition, and encouraged us during this time of uncertainty. We received a positive e-mail last Thursday from AGCI. Here is some of what was mentioned in the e-mail. I put some of the words in bold print.

At this time, all Foreign Staff on the ground in Ethiopia are reporting that MOWA has completed their staffing changes and are now currently working at full capacity to complete those adoption cases currently re-scheduled or assigned a court appointment through the courts of Addis Ababa. Our staff believe this to be around 800 cases they are working at full force to complete with no restrictions on the number of cases processed each day. This is great news! We are thrilled to hear these drastic changes do not seem to be going into full effect.

We are also pleased to report that for new cases moving forward; it appears the original changes proposed by MOWA will not be implemented to the degree of 5 cases a day. At this time it is unknown whether or not MOWA will issue a formal statement regarding how they will process cases in the future, but from all discussions it will not be a drastic decrease from before. Through the continued work, meetings, and advocacy of many Foreign Staff members in Ethiopia, it appears any future changes within the case processing for MOWA will avoid sweeping and disproportionate alterations to the number of cases processed each day. Rather, the hope is that MOWA, Joint Council, Adoption Service Providers, the US Department of State and other NGO organizations can come together to support the government of Ethiopia in strengthening the process for ethical adoptions to continue while also improving the general social structures to assist with family preservation in Ethiopia.

I had a chance to talk with our case worked today and she was very positive. At this time we still don't know how the changes will affect our adoption. We don't know how long the wait will be and we really never did. We do know that there are many people and groups advocating for adoption and looking out for the best interest of the children of Ethiopia. The focus appears to be on making sure every adoption is ethical and not on the number of adoptions that are processed each day. This is good news and we really couldn't ask for anything else at this time.

In other good news, we had our first adoption fellowship meeting last weekend. Two other families from our area joined us at the park for fun and fellowship. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures, but it was so much fun. So far we have five families on our e-mail list and I am excited to see this group grow. If you live in North Louisiana and have adopted, are in the process of adopting, or just want to know more about adoption we would love for you to join our group. We plan to meet once a month to just hang out and get to know each other. It is nothing formal. I am so excited to meet other families in our area who share our heart for adoption.
These pics have nothing to do with my post, but I just had to throw in a couple of pics of my cuties. Sawyer thinks Kraft Mac and Cheese is good stuff! Too good to just use one fork. This kid cracks me up.

His little brother thinks eating popsicles and playing outside in this wonderful warm weather is good stuff. I have to agree with him.

Also, one more piece of good news that I have not shared on our blog yet is that Justin and I get to go on a mission trip this summer. We are going to the Dominican Republic with our church and I could not be more excited about it. I have not been on a mission trip since college, and I am so ready. God worked out all the details, including finances and my in-laws being able to keep the kiddos, so that we could both go. I really thought it would be impossible, but I forgot that nothing is impossible when God is involved. The trip will be in July so I will be sure to post all about it.

I hope your week is full of good stuff!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Super Sons!

My oldest son, Sawyer is turning 5 this month and has requested to have a superhero birthday party. My friend Amy who has an etsy shop, made them these adorable capes. Justin took some pictures for Sawyer's invitations and I just had to share them. They totally capture them in their natural state, just playing and being little boys.

I think this first one is my favorite. I love my boys!

I am having a bit of a hard time with the fact that Sawyer is turning 5. It sounds so old. He will always be my baby!

Jax is so silly. He did not want to be left out of his brother's birthday photo shoot.

Super S and Super J to the rescue!

I love my Super Sons!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We got an e-mail this week from our case worker with our official March numbers. I posted our unofficial numbers last time. For March our official numbers are 76 on the girls list and 32 on the siblings list. Our unofficial number is actually 72 or 71 for girls and probably 31 on the siblings list.

We still don't have any concrete news about how the changes with MOWA will affect our adoption. I have heard several things that sound like good news, but we really don't know much. We continue to trust God's timing.

As for our dog, Jasmine, we took her to a new vet for a third opinion. It seems that she did not actually hurt her leg. The vet thinks she has a ruptured disc in her back. We were given strict orders to have her rest for 3 weeks. She is confined to her crate except for to go potty outside. She is on heavy pain medication to keep her comfortable. We are hopeful that she will get better with time and rest. We love the new vet we saw today and are very happy we did not rush into surgery for her leg.

Jasmine is not my only patient this week. Jaxon is also feeling under the weather. Poor guy has been sick 4 times since January. Thankfully, he usually bounces back in a day or two. Having a sick kid reminds me of how blessed we are to live in a place where we can easily meet all of his medical needs. I can't help, but think about all the kids in the world who don't have a mommy and daddy to take care of them when they are sick. No mom to cuddle them all night when they feel bad or a dad to pick up popsicles and their favorite flavor of Gatorade. I have felt such an urge to pray for these children who wait for a family lately. My heart breaks for them and I pray the Lord will use our family to minister to the orphans of the world.

I hope Jax feels better soon and that the rest of us stay well. We have our first adoption fellowship for our area planned this weekend. I am so excited about it!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Roller Coaster of Emotions

Let me start by saying thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and the situation in Ethiopia. Thank you for your encouraging words and messages. We still don't know for sure how all of this will affect our adoption and the many orphans of Ethiopia. Basically, there are still a lot of unknowns.

Some moments I feel at complete peace and the next moment I am fighting away tears. In the midst of all of this our dog, Jasmine hurt herself on Wednesday. We found out she may need an expensive surgery and we are not sure what to do. We will take her to a vet on Monday for a third opinion. I know this may not seem like a big deal, but it just brought out so many emotions for me.

Our agency is doing their best to keep us informed and I am so thankful for all the people at AGCI. I can't even imagine what their week has been like. I am also so thankful for my AGCI family. I know without a doubt that I am not on this journey alone. We have been praying together from all over the country. We also have been rejoicing this week as several families have received referrals and court dates.

We have not heard from our case worker about our March numbers due to how busy they have been this week. However we do know our unofficial numbers are for a girl:
We moved 15 spots since last month, which is the most we have moved since getting on the list in December. We are very excited to finally be moving!
We have also moved at least 3 spots on the siblings list bringing our unofficial number for sibling to

With all of the uncertainties and unknowns I have been clinging to the One who is constant and always good. I have found comfort in His word and in His presence.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who lives in it." Psalm 24:1

"No one whose hope in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways , O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25: 3-5

My hope does not come from numbers or decisions made by government officials or in what emotion I may be feeling at the moment. My hope comes from the God of the universe who cares for me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Need Your Help

I haven't posted in a few days, because I have been processing some things the Lord is teaching me lately. For the last couple of weeks He has really been teaching me about trusting Him. Every sermon I listen to, Bible passage I read, song I listen to, I have heard the Lord tell me "trust me. Do not be afraid." I really didn't know why He was teaching me this, but I knew that I should listen. I have been giving the Lord all of my burdens and have been filled with great joy.

Last Thursday I posted about loving where I am now and being in complete peace. I even shared with Justin about what God was teaching me about trust and letting go of my fears. I told him that I had no idea what it meant, but that I was sure there was a reason for it.

Well, Friday afternoon I read an article that said Ethiopian adoptions would be reduced by 90%. Noone really no what this means yet for Ethiopian adoption, but it would severely slow things down. I can't even imagine how many years it would be before we received a referral and then how many years after that until we could bring our daughter home. It could mean that the children who are in orphanages now would grow up there. Many of you know that we started in the Rwanda program and in August they stopped accepting dossiers, so we switched to the Ethiopia program. That was not a fun time in my life and i don't wish to relive it.

I have been praying all weekend. I continue to have an urgency to pray for the orphans in Ethiopia, but I do not feel worried. I have seen God's hand all over our adoption journey thus far. I completely trust Him.

With that being said, I ask you all to please pray for the families and children who are waiting. Please pray for the government of Ethiopia as they make decisions that will affect millions.

Today our agency sent us a link to this call to the action. Please pray, sign the petition, and pass it along to everyone you can.

JCICS Call to Action

March 8, 2011

Joint Council: Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children

What You Can Do:

1) Sign the petition to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi – and pass it on!

2) Have you adopted from Ethiopia? Please send us up to 3 photos and 50 words or less with what you would like the Ministry to know about your child – we’ll compile the information and send a book to the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs. Send your photos and stories to advocate@jointcouncil.org bySunday, March 12, 2011 to be included. Please note that sending photos and stories gives Joint Council unrestricted right to use the information you provide.

3) Share…Please send this Call to Action to family members, other adoptive parents, and everyone you know! Post, forward and share your adoption stories via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Make sure you include us in your posts so we can all hear your stories! Here’s links to our pages: Facebook,Twitter and our our blog.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Loving Where I Am

Yesterday morning, bright and early, we made the drive over to the federal building in Jackson for our USCIS fingerprinting appointment. I don't have any pics, because cameras were not allowed. We were both in and out in about 10 minutes. I have to say this was by far the easiest step in our adoption process so far. I don't have any crazy stories about this appointment. We just went in, were fingerprinted, and left.

Now we wait for our Favorable Determination Letter (FDL). This is the last piece of paperwork we need to be completely "referral ready." Most agencies require this paperwork to be submitted with our dossier. Our agency did not at the time we submitted ours, so we are already on the wait list. Our agency changed it's policy to include the FDL with dossier just a few short weeks after we were put on the wait list.

We had a fun day at the Jackson zoo. The weather was perfect and we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves. We really did have the train to ourselves.

It was wonderful to be able to just spend the entire day together, just us and the animals. The boys spotted this Africa sign and we had to take our picture with it. Every time the boys see the shape of Africa, they point it out and say "That's where our baby is." There is never a day that we don't think about our little girl, but I can honestly say that I love where we are in our journey right now. Of course if someone told me that tomorrow I could jump on a plane and bring our daughter home, I would be ecstatic. If we could skip the wait, I would be all over it. That being said, God has given me a peace about the wait.

I am so thankful for this time with Justin and our boys. I know our lives will drastically change when we add a baby girl to the mix. While I will welcome those changes when the time is right, I am truly joyful with our little family. I will be honest. I didn't feel this way a month ago. I was sad and longing for our baby. Then, I discovered a little secret. When I focus on our baby and think about what we don't have right now, I become filled with sadness. When I focus on the Lord and His goodness, I become filled with joy. I know, it is not very profound, but it has made all the difference in my life. When I focus on the Lord, He shows me the many blessings in my life.

So, I am loving where I am right now and today we had a crazy day! To celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday at school, we dressed in our craziest clothes. Jax picked out his entire outfit and Sawyer helped me choose my outfit.

It's fun dressing crazy! The kids in my class were so cute!!! We made green eggs and ham for snack. Jax had at least three helpings of green eggs. His favorite food is scrambled eggs and his favorite color is green, so he was in heaven.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Please Pray for our Friends

I have some friends who really need your prayers right now. Justin and I went to college with James and Stephanie. We reconnected through facebook and the blog world when we found out that they were adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. There adoption experience has been rough, to say the least.

They were first matched with a 6 month old baby girl in September of 2010. They knew this little girl had some medical issues, but didn't know how bad it was. They had the agonizing decision to make as to whether to continue on with the adoption. After much prayer and many tears they decided to not continue with this adoption knowing there was a good chance she may not live long enough for them to bring her home. Baby "D" passed away a couple of weeks later.

They were put back on the top of the waiting list and have been patiently waiting for another referral. They received the referral for a healthy 8 month old baby girl two weeks ago. They were told by their caseworker that she was the chubbiest Ethiopian baby she had ever seen. The medical reports looked great! They were excited and hopeful, as any new parent would be.

Yesterday they received a phone call with unimaginable news. The second baby had gotten sick with flu like symptoms and died. My heart is breaking for this sweet couple! I can't even imagine the heartbreak that they are feeling. Stephanie wrote a little about it here.

I am asking for you to please pray for them. Pray that God would give them a peace that only He can give. Pray that they will feel his presence today and every day as they receive healing from their deep pain.

I read Psalm 13 this morning and thought of my friends.

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

I pray that they will continue to trust in the Lord's unfailing love!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let's Try This Again

Tomorrow we are driving to Jackson, MS for our USCIS fingerprinting appointment. This is just another important step in our adoption process. This is our second appointment. We had to reschedule our first appointment due to icy road conditions. The last two times I was scheduled to go to Jackson it snowed. Crazy! The weather forecast for tomorrow is partly cloudy with a high of 72 degrees, so we should be good.

I thought we may have to reschedule again, because Jax was running a fever earlier in the week. He was much better today, though. Of course, he started feeling better as soon as I scheduled a doctor's appointment. Oh, well! He loves going to the doctor, so it was a fun little $30 field trip for us.

I heard our fingerprinting appointment will only take about 10 minutes, so we are going to try to go to the zoo or do something fun. Four hours total in the car is a long time for a ten minute appointment.

I hope it's a fun day, so I have something interesting to post about. I think this may be the most boring post ever =).