"If I were to ask God why He lets poverty and injustice exist, why there are so many orphans and why He does nothing about it, I am SURE He would ask me the same ..."

author unknown

About Us

My name is Jessica and my dear sweet hubby is Kelly. We have three beautiful girls, big sis and little sis plus our newest little baby sis :) Welcome to our site where we will blog about our journey to grow our family through adoption in Africa.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Little Update

So, it was brought to my attention that I haven't posted on my blog for awhile....believe it or not, I know....... it's been awhile.

I'd like to give you my reasons and just ask for grace. Quite simply, my blog is a sore reminder of our adoption. Not that I am unhappy about our adoption, just unhappy that we am not moving forward with it. Even though my logic side knows that this is best for our family, I know that this is best for all of our children, the adopted and the new baby, my emotional side wants to go to Africa now, wants to know who my sweet boy is now.

For this reason, I really don't want to blog that much. In fact, I'd like to avoid the topic of Africa, and yet I am completely drawn to it every chance I get. I bought some Ugandan beads from a local ministry, I am looking for ways to support Africa with our money, and I weekly ask DH if he wants to move to Africa...even if for only 6 months (he's not biting yet). Anyways, I am sad that we are on hold, but less so since I am excited to bring this little one into the world. It's even hard to read the blogs of families that are in the process of adopting....I am still following and check in every now and then, but not as much as I did before.

As for the little one growing in my belly, for those who don't already know...it's a............

girl!

Yes, a third girl, everyone is excited, but the daddy would have been quite over the moon if he was getting a boy....he will just have to wait until we go to Africa. Her name will be Alyssa Joy, as in Joy is her middle name, not all together ;) Her big sisters are so excited, but I don't think they have any clue what is in store for our home in 3 months, he, he, he....they'll be good helpers, I'm sure. Little sis did confide in me that she likes being the youngest in the family "because they get the most attention" Oh boy! That little one is in for a shock, but I did tell her that mommy and daddy would still love her just as much even when she's not the youngest.

We are doing several things different with this little one, so much so that when spoken out loud, I feel weird, but as I make my plans, I don't feel all that different. The first thing is we are planning a homebirth with a midwife. I am excited that there will be no trip to and from the hospital, hoping to be completely comforable in our own house, ready so snuggle with my baby in my own bed after she is born. The second is where I really seem to lose people ;) We are going to cloth diaper this time, my biggest goal in this undertaking is to save money. Before you completely close your mind to cloth, know that it is nothing like the cloth your mother or grandmother may have used. My favorites that I have bought so far are these, they are so soft and cute. I'm not so ambishious to say that we will never use disposable diapers, we probably will at the beginning, maybe at night, and probably when we are out of the house. I am just too excited to be a new mommy again, the diapers, breastfeeding, and the tiny clothes....I wish I could skip over the next 12 weeks!

In case you were wondering what I look like, here is a picture of me about 6 weeks ago.....

and today......
Please ignore the fact that I have frizzy hair and no makeup...hey I'm pregnant, I'm doing good to be dressed!



Picture Fundraiser Update
I'm thinking that I didn't even update on the fundraiser that we did back in November...it was great. Two wonderful ladies from church took pictures and braved the cold, ALL day long. Several families got some awesome pictures and we were able to make $630 towards our adoption. We plan on having other fundraisers, but we'll see how I feel in the months to come. I'm doing good just to get the day to day stuff done, fundraisers are sort of on the back burner for this pregnant momma.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Let's Take Action Right Now for the Orphan!!!!

I just emailed my senators and congressman and it took me all of 5 minutes, please don't pass this by, read and respond!

A little fyi, Ukraine has a special place in my heart, this is the country that originally caught my eye for adoption. Some day, I want to adopt from this country...I hope the chance will be there.

Read this post on what is happening in the Ukraine that will stop ALL international adoptions. Look around her sight, their story is awesome and will be life changing if you take the time to read it. After you have read, make sure you stop by this site to email your congressman, and this site for senators. Another mom has posted an example letter that you can copy and use.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why are you still adopting?

Seriously......

Since we have been gearing up for the picture fundraiser, our first big adoption thing since we got pregnant, this seems to be the questions some people have.

My first answer I guess would be, you haven't read this post, maybe you should go back and check it out.

The second thing I would say.....why would we stop now?! Truthfully, all I can think about when we talk about the next house, we NEED more bedrooms so I can fill them with children.

And not just children from my womb, but children from my heart.

You see, as I pointed out in my Plan B post, even though we have not seen these children, these orphans face to face, we have had an imprinting done on our hearts. We are different people, we can't go back to the way we used to be.

So....yes.....we are pregnant.......

yes......we will probably get pregnant again ;)

and yes......we are STILL adopting.........

yes......we may adopt after THAT! ;)

Right now, I am trusting God to bless us with the amount of children that He has in store for us (no, we are not Duggar material!)

And we are also trusting God to bless us with as many adoptive children as He has in store for us.

It seems like there may be more I'd like to say, I am a tad bit frustrated at this attitude, a little angry at the lack of understanding and compassion for the orphan, but I will move on with my life and let people watch our choices pan out, I will let God work on their hearts, because if it were up to me, it might not go so well ;)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Christmas Shopping!

Thanks Linny for the chance to share our fundraisers!

We wait on the Lord so that we can bring home a little boy from Ethiopia. We don't know who he is yet, but we know God has hand picked him from the beginning of time for our family. We can't wait to meet him! He will be under 18 months old :) Why not do some of your Christmas shopping right here and help us get one step closer to our Caleb?
Thanks so much!


Not sure what to buy as gift for someone for Christmas!!!

Do they like coffee?

Click HERE to purchase our from our coffee fundraiser.

How about some great African coffee that will support the farmers of Africa and our adoption all at the same time?!
*We get $5 for each bag of coffee towards bringing Caleb home!

It's the gift that keeps giving ;)

Once you are on our coffee site, click around on the left, lots of options, samplers, t-shirts, hats, mugs, all great for the coffee lover in your family!




Need a gift for someone who has a heart for adoption?

How about a t-shirt that sends a message?? There are other, non-adoption shirts with great family messages, check it out!

A portion of these t-shirt sales will also go towards our adoption!
*Only the shirts on the initial page are for our fundraiser.



Please don't forget if you are local, sign up for your picture slot for Nov. 6th. We still have spots open, you can see more info here.




Monday, October 25, 2010

Need Pictures????


Fall is here, the leaves are changing, do you need pictures for the grandparents? Do you need a great family picture for Christmas cards?

B&E Photography will be taking pictures at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion on Nov. 6th, sign up for your 30-minute slot now before they are all gone!

Money from this fundraiser will go directly towards the Cote Family’s adoption of our baby boy from Ethiopia.

Cost: 30-minute slot - $50

What do you get? 5-10 high-resolution pictures on a quality DVD from your photo shoot.

Email Jessica Cote to sign up or for more info - ss(dot)scrappers@gmail(dot)com

· **B&E Photography will have the right to use your pictures on their website, respecting the privacy of names and info.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Lord?

So, they other day I was just wondering to the Lord....why? Why this timing, why have us start our adoption when You knew we would get pregnant.
You see my human brain says, "dang it! we screwed this up, we weren't careful enough and got pregnant...."

My knowledge of God (which sometimes just has to trump the brain, even when it doesn't make complete sense) says that God knows all things, past, present, and future. He knew how this was going to play out.... :)

BTW...No, I wasn't having a melt down. I am LOVING the idea of having a tiny newborn around, even though my heart is still thinking and longing to know my African sweetie.

So anyways, back to my questions, why Lord?

The answer came so quickly and so clear that I want to make sure I don't forget it. I want to make sure I know His answer when I am sleep deprived and haven't had a shower in 3 days and the baby is crying and the kids need someone to teach them their lessons for the day. The answer was so clear that I am writing it here, more for me than you, as a reminder to press into Him and press on.

His answer was this.....

"To make sure you were serious."

Yikes!

That answer is fine till I start thinking about it. Wow! To make sure we are serious when we say, yes Lord, we will rescue one of your orphans.

That answer looks a little more serious post-baby....

Yes Lord.....

Even though we can make pretty, sweet, healthy children the old fashioned way.

Even though we have our hands full with 3 children.

Even though 2 of them need school and the other needs constant attention.

Even though we are older and not as ready to bounce out of the bed at 3 am when we were 22.


So, sometimes along the way I am still sad that we are not waiting anxiously for the call. But I am thankful that around me I have friends that I can celebrate when they get the referral....it's bittersweet though. Not quite as bad as last winter when everyone I knew seemed to be popping up pregnant. I didn't know if I could ever be pregnant then, at least I can celebrate with my friends and know that we will have our time.

Yes, Lord, we are serious, in fact, I would probably be in Africa picking out my child right now if someone would let me ;) Yes, Lord, I am serious...I already have matching cribs so that my South Carolina Princess and her African Warrior brother can share a room while they are little.
Yes, Lord, I am serious...I am dreaming and wondering how the little ones will get along, and how close their birthdays are and how many people will dare to ask if they are twins (I may just tell them yes, lol!) Yes, Lord, I am serious...I am praying for an African mamma who is most likely pregnant across the world with her son...my son...right now...

darn, now I am crying, that means I better stop there and go start my day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cruise Giveaway!

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Nope, not me :) but, another adopting family is fundraising to bring their little one home, hop on over and help them and you may have a chance to win a cruise!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Joys of Pregnancy

So, I have been enjoying the 2nd trimester of pregnancy as of late. I am 16 weeks and feeling much better than I did for the first 12 weeks or so. I was plagued with lots of nausea and just plain old tired all the time. Maybe I'm just older this time around ;) maybe it's a boy like Kelly is hoping....who knows, I just don't remember feeling quite that bad. The worse part was that I was feeling sick in the afternoons and evenings. :( No easy fix of eating a few crackers before I hopped out of bed.

Anyways, feeling much better now! Moving onto the belly bump and just being hungry :) not too bad!

Oh, I do have another symptom that I don't remember with the girls, I seem to have strange, livid dreams just about every night AND I usually remember them when I wake up. I'm talking weird dreams, like one night Kelly and I were flying, like on a fluffy cloud, but sitting like we are on a horse....I know, weird!


As for my sweet Caleb, I am praying for him and still wondering about him. It's so strange that I will have a newborn in the house around the same time that I expected to have him home. I sort of want this little baby bump to be a girl because, quite frankly, I know how to deal with girls...but, secretly, I think a little boy would be great and Caleb would have a best buddy to grow up with.

Fundraising :) I sent the past 2 months hanging and tagging children's and baby clothes and items for our annual children's consignment sale. Usually I sell my girls clothes that we don't need anymore and then make just about the same amount that I spend on their clothes for the next 2 seasons. This year, I didn't even crack our own clothes out, just not enough time! I had so much stuff left over from the yard sales that I was able to fill 3 Z racks (you know the rolling racks from the department stores) plus I had a ton of baby items like a play kitchen, pack and plays, and toys.

The picture is of all the clothes hanging in my garage on a line Kelly hung up just for this....and I still wasn't finished hanging clothes up! (that's a double car garage!)

In all, I made $338 towards Caleb's adoption AND I still got a Z rack of clothes back that didn't sell! We did spend a little on hangers and safety pins, but in all, it's great!! I still have bags and boxes of summer and spring baby/kid's clothes that I separated out for the sale in March. I already have a ton of hangers and tags to get started since I will be busy being 9 months prego or busy with a newborn when the spring sale rolls around. This way, it can be all ready to go and Kelly can drop them off.

Anyways, that's where we are at, life is moving forward with adoption sadly on hold. I am finding things to take my mind off of the pain. I am seriously considering using cloth diapers with this baby and that would spill over into using cloth diapers for Caleb. I am not so earth conscience that I am trying to save the planet from disposable diapers ;) nope, just want to save money over the long haul. Diapers had it's own line on the budget back when the girls were little and if I can avoid that, all the better! They are so cute and everyone I know that cloth diapers loves it. I might be half and half, like use disposables on outings and during the nighttime. We'll see how it goes!

If you haven't seen my FB post, check out this link below. This adoptive mom is raising money for a very sick, very neglected little girl who is still waiting for her forever family. Her blog is an eye opener, be prepared to have you life changes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's not fair!

Wow, I am a terrible blogger! Something seemed to happen to me when I got pregnant and lost ALL of my energy and felt nauseous from about 2pm until I went to bed at night....I lost my desire to be at the computer. I'm not talking just blogging, no, I didn't want to even check my email. If I couldn't do it in under 2 minutes with my iphone, I didn't do it. Maybe God knew I needed an extended break from this time sucker (the computer), who knows?

Now, I'm not saying I am back to my old time commitment of my blog. No, I still don't have any desire to be here long. I'd rather be curled up on the couch with a good book, and I should be cleaning the house for our company tonight, but I thought I'd get some feeling out here so I can process them. (I will still update any adoption news!)

I have spent the past two months focusing on the joy of being pregnant, the necessity of giving birth again, and simply trying to do my best to eat and fix my family meals when food has lost most of it's appeal. (Oh...and scrabbling to find the energy and organization to get school rolling...can I just let you know that the pregnancy brain has already set in!)

With all this at the front of my mind, I thought I had moved past not accepting God's plan and His timing. I thought I had accepted that maybe my Caleb in Africa has not even been born yet. Maybe my Caleb is still with his birth mother while she is struggling with a decision to give him up. I knew we would meet Caleb and have him in our family in God's timing...I was good, pregnant, starting to show, and starting to like food again.

Wrong.

I was not good. And I didn't even know it. :( Oh how I still do not always accept God's timing, I do not accept rules that say we have to put our adoption on hold when there are 143 million orphans in this world, one of whom we want to love, we want to share our home with, one that my arms want to hold. And do you know what sent me into a tailspin? The first day of our celebrating series of I Love My Church. Yep, it's supposed to be a fun, exciting series of all the great things about our church. And there I was, sobbing by the end of it.

It literally hit me out of no where. I never saw it coming.

The 2 families that were featured are living out pure religion. They are following God's calling on their lives to speak out for those who cannot speak out for themselves. One family helped start our new ministry Project 143, a ministry to help and support the orphans around the world and families in our church who may be adopting. The other family is adopting a little girl from China. The call was to ask God, what would you have me to for those in poverty, the widows, the orphans, what will we do about the injustice in this world.

By the time the second family's video was playing, I was already crying. Sad that I have to wait longer than I had expected to meet Caleb.

By the time our pastor was asking our congregation to think about what God would have them do, I was sad, mad, angry, simply overwhelmed and livid all at the same time.

I was mad that there are ridiculous hoops that you have to jump through to rescue a orphan.

I was angry for the family adopting from China that they have had so many set backs, mostly due to red tape or human error that their dossier is still not in China.

I was mad that it is so much money to simply ransom a precious orphan to raise and love in your home.

I was sad that someone decided that we should stop our adoption just because we are have another baby.

I was mad that homestudy agency's out there will give an "unfavorable" homestudy to a loving family that doesn't have the "middle class" house and income.

I was devastated that I had heard and accepting the call from God to no longer live in comfort, to sacrifice, to speak up for the injustice of the orphan by bringing home our sweet boy that God has picked out for us.....and I have to wait. I needed a good cry, one for Caleb that I hadn't had since I found out I was pregnant.

I am so sad. Not sad that I am pregnant. Not sad that I get feel another sweet baby grow inside me, to bring him or her into this world and nurse that baby and be it's mother from the very first breath. No, I am sad that I have to wait longer than I anticipated to be Caleb's mother....to snuggle him, teach him his first English words...to show him that I am his mother and I'm not going anywhere. I have to wait to share those exciting new things with him like snow, ice cream, swimming in a pool, kisses from our dogs.....a family.

It's not fair.

That's a popular phrase around my house with my girls, and I usually just smile and shake my head and say, "No, it's not fair...I'm sorry about that."

I bet that's what God would tell me now.

"No, it's not fair. People added sin into my perfect world, and it's just not fair. I am sorry about that."


I feel much better after my cry. I still don't like the injustice of it all. I still want to hold my little boy. I still want to tell people that they can adopt if God calls them to it. I still want to go to Africa.

But I am waiting. I know God is in control....He has His own ways and His own timing. I'm like the mad toddler who isn't getting her way, I'm not happy about it, but I am waiting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

NEWS!

Unexpected joy.....

and sadness all at the same time.

All around me, prego mommas are poppin up, and I am so excited for them. Truly filled with joy, something that would have been hard in January for me. In January, I could barely contain the tears when I would hear of yet another friend finding out that they were pregnant. I am filled with joy for them, knowing that God has a plan for all of us, my plan includes a sweet brown-eyed little boy from far away. He is born in my heart and I will always love him as much as any of my children.

Unexpected joy.........because our prayers from last December have been answered.......

we are pregnant.

Sadness...........because I will probably have to wait a little longer to hold my sweet boy, who was born in my heart.

A friend said something comforting, that this just means sweet Caleb may not even be born yet. I know God had our days laid out, He has a specific child picked out for our family. My human brain says that's fine that our Caleb hasn't been born yet....don't you know I would take any of those sweet children? I don't want this sweet miracle growing inside me to alter my steps to Africa......

truly, they are not being altered, the time schedule has just changed.

I am glad that God knew all along that this would happen, I just hate when I lose sight of the fact that I'm not in control, I hate when I am surprised when things don't go the way I planned. I'm afraid this will be one of those life-long lessons......

God, "Jessica, I'm in control"
Me, "Yes, Lord, I know"
God, "No, Jessica, really...I'm in control"

and then I fly right for a little while before we repeat said conversation again. :) He created me with my controlling issues, He knows how often I need to be reminded.


These were my thoughts 3 weeks ago, as we waited for our ultrasound to prove that we indeed were pregnant and that baby was fine and healthy, we kept the news to ourselves and friends and family that we spoke to face to face or on the phone.

The biggest thing that I have come to terms with is that God does have a plan for our family. Our adoption plans were placed in our hearts by Him and nothing has changed. I still have a little boy, who God plans for me to raise who was or will be...born in Ethiopia.

My children now simply tell everyone, my mom is "getting" pregnant and we are adopting a little boy named Caleb.....all in the same breath. (Oh! If they only knew how rocked their world will be!)

More to come on all of our news, one thing for us that is clear, we now have more time to raise the funds to ransom our son from Africa. So, even though the paperchase has slowed, we are still "in the process" :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Homestudy Approved!

I have been quiet on here, pondering life ;) Some know what's up, some don't. Sorry, not telling yet.

But...in the mean time, we received 2 pieces of the puzzle in the mail this week! Kelly got his employment letter, yay!

AND we have our notarized homestudy tucked away into the adoption folder with all the other paperwork! Hurray!!!! That combined with some donations that blessed our socks off, it's been a great couple of weeks.

Next comes an appointment on Friday and we will see where we head from there!

We are seriously trying not to melt in the sweltering heat. Our air conditioner is set on 78 and can barely keep the house at a unbearable 82 degrees! What can you expect when we are over 100 outside? YUK!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You can be the answer!

Would you PLEASE go look at this blog and see if you might be this little boy's family? Spread the word, this sweet child needs a home...fast!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

T-shirt Giveaway!

Super great t-shirt giveaway at this blog for one week! Especially for those of you who have a heart for Africa, these are great shirts!!!!

Go check it out!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

a surprise blessing

Aren't those the best kind?

I have felt a little discouraged/worried lately about the adoption costs, since we haven't had a huge fundraiser (like the multiple yard sales) and because we have received so few responses to our support letters.

My surprise came when a sweet mom from our swim team unexpectedly handed me a check. The only reason that she knew we were adopting was because a couple weeks ago I had asked about her children, she has 2 older boys that were both adopted years ago. I was so surprised when she handed it to me as we left practice that I automatically reached out and took what she handed me and then had to back up and say, what...what...oh...is this for the adoption...oh thank you so much! You know when your headed in one direction and it takes your brain a few seconds to catch up....(okay, so maybe I'm the slow one!)

I got a chance to see her then again last night and give her a hug and properly thank her. She said the thing that sent my mind into thinking mode. She said that she was so excited and that she wished that it could be a million dollars, but she was happy to help.

I know that the Lord could pay for this adoption all at once if He wanted to, but...

what would I learn in that process?

How would that grow my faith in Him?

How many more people's lives can be touched this way?

I was reminded again that God's ways are higher than mine.

That He is going to pay for this adoption.

Even if that means He's going to pay for it $50 at a time....$15 at a time....



Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if wedo not give up.
Galatians 6:9

_______________________

In adoption news, our homestudy was emailed to AWAA for the final OKAY, and then hopefully in a week it will be certified and we will be homestudy approved! (That means it will be time to start filling out all of those adoption grant applications....papers, papers, and more papers!) I am putting the final touches on the I-600A form which will get us a fingerprint appointment and a paper from immigration stating that we can bring a child into the US.

From there will start getting our paperwork notarized and waiting for these final documents. Once we have all of them, we can put them together for the dossier (the official, huge packet of papers that will actually go to Ethiopia). In order to submit the dossier, we will have our next large payment to our agency....$7,750

It's big,

it's a little scary,

but God says He will provide.


_______________

To my sweet Caleb, I am wishing you were already with us so that we could show just how much fun summer can be. Hot, sandy beach days, playing in the pool, yummy summer food, watermelon, hamburgers, and watching daddy light fireworks in front of the house. Next summer, baby, next summer....




Thursday, July 8, 2010

Secrets of a Stay-at-home-mom

NO adoption news, I still need to fill out the I-600 (the paper requesting out $800 fingerprints, geez!), but I was blissfully busy washing, folding, and putting away laundry since I stayed home for more than an hour at a time during daylight hours that I just didn't want to do paperwork.


So instead of adoption news, I wanted to have a transparent post on secrets of a SAHM. I know a lot of you will be able to relate, the question will be, are you willing to come out of the closet and admit your "SAHM secret"?

Here's a couple of mine......

*sometimes, I vacuum around the mess (including the pile of clothes me DH leaves by his side of the bed).....I know your hubby is perfect, he never does that ;0)

*now that I don't have crawling babies, or little people that spill stuff all over the kitchen floor....I mop a whole lot less.....still sweep or vacuum the kitchen...but mop a whole lot less (gasp!)

*I never dust sometimes.........

*after several long days of school at the kitchen table, we just shove the school stuff over to eat dinner eat on the picnic table outside


So, what is your SAHM secret? Come on! I know you have at least one!!!!



Monday, July 5, 2010

Crazy Paperchasin!!!!


Oh yeah....I feel like I am up to my eye balls in papers! I was doing so good because I was messing with "adoption stuff" just about ever day or every other day. Well, I took a break and now I feel like I am losing grip on stuff.

Like our homestudy is almost completely finished and ready to be reviewed by who knows how many people and then certified. And then the other day I noticed a little paragraph that I am sure I read before, that said we needed to also have out employment letter, non-employment letter, medical forms (whoo, done!), financial statement, and Ethiopia application letters all finished before our homestudy would be reviewed and finalized. Yikes! Now, I am not a total slacker, I have started these letters, and then you, sat on them a bit to marinade...you know, to see if I wanted to change or add anything.

One GREAT thing about our international agency is that they have given us our dossier list before we started on the homestudy. The reason this has been so great, is that a lot of the same info is needed for both the homestudy and the international side of things.

I'll go into what all we need for the international side of things later, but for now, here is an idea of what all we needed for the homestudy.
  • We had to both fill out an autobiography questionnaire that was 6 pages long.
  • Both of us had blood drawn (yuk!) and had a medical check-up to say that we are healthy.
  • Financial Statement -Tells us just how much we are worth ;)
  • References - For this, we had 3 wonderful friends write glowing recommendations telling of how we met them, how they think we are as a married couple and as parents.
  • Medical Insurance Info
  • Birth Certificates of all the family members
  • Marriage License
  • Military Discharge papers
  • Verification of income

Wow, all that, plus 3 visits with the social worker that lasted a total of 7 hours, and $1800 later, we will have a 15 page report of our life. Aaahh, how sweet! It was completely less stressful that I thought it would be, but from what I hear of others, our homestudy was a piece of cake.


On my "paper break" we have been having some fun as a family! We went to the lake with some friends on Friday and then the pool with more friends on the 4th....finished it off with some fireworks in front of the house (we had our closest almost injury to date and needless to say, this mamma will be laying down the fireworks law until these children are legal and can buy their own fireworks!)



Fireworks!!


Yes, that's 4 kids on that jet ski...Mr. Jim is such a patient guy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Giveaway!

Check out the great giveaway over at the Mom-tage!


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Friday, June 25, 2010

Adoption is NOT God's "Plan B" - repost

So, I wrote this post back in March and lately I have been so sad at some responses I have had toward adoption. Not mean or nasty responses, just flippant, "I'll never give that a thought" responses. Comments that leave me knowing that person is thinking "good for her, but I would never consider adoption"...all the while knowing that they have never considered adoption. I wanted to repost this one because it speaks this clearly to my heart. I would like to add that we as Americans are able to ignore this calling so much easier because it's hard to really see these children unless you go to an orphanage, we are so detached from it, it's easier to ignore.

Disclaimer: I know that we are not all called to adopt. But, I feel very strongly now that we are all called (if we consider ourselves Christians) to consider adoption, and we are called to ask God if this is something He would like for us to pursue. Then, if His answer is no, adoption is not the plan I have for your family......we still all have an obligation to care for orphans in some shape or form (sponsor a child, help a family adopting, visit an orphanage and love on those lonely babies, something) - see the James scripture below :)

Make sure you see my last additional note at the bottom too!


I love it, but I can't take credit for it. It was said on a video during our adoption seminar by Brian Luwis of AWAA. It was kind of an aha moment for me as he talked about thinking early in the marriage that adoption was "plan b" for when "plan a" didn't work. Though I never actually thought it or said it, I probably would have gone with this idea.

Adoption was for those couples who tried and tried but couldn't have babies of their own. Since Kelly seemed to just walk past me in the hallway and I would get pregnant (okay, so not really...but you really don't want me talking about that here, do you?) I just never thought of adoption. We had 2 beautiful girls the "regular" way, I loved being pregnant (yes, I'm one of THOSE women!) and I had wonderful babies (wait, wait, don't leave! what if I tell you they were terrible 3 yr olds, will you stay?!)...I had just never considered adoption for us.

One of Brian's points was from James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

God knew what He was saying, if we take care of the orphans, God knew that there would be some kind of imprinting on our hearts, we would walk away different people. We couldn't go back to our lives unchanged. One of those orphans that you actually had contact with would steal your heart, and you would go back for them. God's plan, but not "plan b". Brian used this scripture to bring this point home, some who know me, may know this scripture is one of my favorites. Near and dear to me since our very hard year that Kelly was away in Iraq.

Psalm 139
(one of my favorite parts)
vs. 1-5
LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
You know all about it, LORD.
You have encircled me;
You have placed Your hand on me.

(scripture to Brian's point)
vs. 16
Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all [my] days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

God knows when a child is not going to live with his or her birth parents. We know that sin is the reason this world is broken and God has a plan for each of us before we are knit together in the womb. Boy that makes me smile! I am so glad that someone knows the game plan. And even though I am a control freak, and God continues to teach me, He is in control, I am glad He knows the plan, I would fret and try to fix everything if I had it laid out for me ahead of time. Come on, I know most of us would try a little "fixing" if we knew what was coming ;)

So adoption isn't "plan b", God knew what He was doing! If your not convinced yet, let me finish with one more point. I sure hope adoption is God's first and foremost plan for me, because I am adopted and so are all the other Christians I know. Unless you can trace your ancestors to Abraham (how cool would that be!), then you are adopted into the family of God.

He calls us sons and daughters and tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ.

Yeah baby, that's adopted at it's greatest!!!!!



I truly believe we all need to prayerfully ask God, "Lord, what would You have me do for the "least of these"? We need to stop asking why are these children suffering so? (grab a tissue and go look over here) We need to ask, "What an I going to do about this?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adoption Happenings

So, I added a bunch of dates to our timeline yesterday, but I thought I'd update what is going on with our paperchase. Our homestudy social worker emailed yesterday to tell us that the bulk of our homestudy is written, yea! She just needs to meet face to face with us one more time and she needs a couple last papers from us. One paper that I didn't realize she would be needing was my discharge papers from the military. It didn't even dawn on me because it's been 4 years since I was officially discharged. Anywho, I knew I had the paper but forgot to look for it right after she told me that she needed it.....and now we can't seem to locate it.

Please pray that we can find this paper that I know is in this house somewhere.

Kelly and I both know it's here somewhere....

we think it's in a big manilla envelope.....

Otherwise I will have to submit a written request to have one sent to me and if you know anything about the military, I cringe to think how long we might wait for that. Right now, I want to have this homestudy done so that we can get our fingerprint appointment with immigration in the works.

We are also waiting on our marriage certificate. The wonderful state of NC has had our request since June 4th and I was told that it takes 2-4 weeks to process........and it hasn't been processed yet :( I guess they are planning on waiting till week 4.

I have felt an urgency to get these things finished probably because a bloggy friend just went to Ethiopia this last weekend to meet her son.....and another bloggy friend is meeting their birthmother TODAY and could have their son in their arms TOMORROW. I am so happy for these families, but it makes me long to hold our son all the more.

The other day Kelly and I were talking about sleeping arrangements for our new son and it make me long to once again have a sleeping person snuggled between us.........oh wait, I have had that every morning around 5 or 6 am.........thanks Little Sis for snuggling with your mommy

(would someone please tell my 6 year old that we have a king sized bed and she doesn't have to snuggle me all the way to the edge!) ;)

So, that's what's going on in adoption world for us. Please pray for endurance as we run this race. June is a long month with swim team for the girls. As a homeschool mom I am accustomed to being at home all day for at least a couple of days out of the week. (I am more and more a homebody the older I get!) But with swim practice 5 days a week and a meet once (or twice) a week that lasts from 5-10pm, add to that that Big Sis and I have both been sick in the past two weeks.....what can I say, June is a little crazy for us (and my gas budget doubles!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Snap-shot

Exactly what my whole family needed....R & R time together!
.....to splash, laugh, swim, and just be together.

A Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there and especially to the greatest dad, my sweet hubby. I can't get enough of him and my children adore him!


Here they are, waiting for the perfect wave!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lots of handmade items for auction

An adoption blog auction is going on here! Go check it out and help this family bring home their child.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father to the Fatherless

Don't forget our Father to the Fatherless weekend! You can click the link and download the brochure, email it, print it, and pass it on to people you might know...maybe your Sunday school class, your small group or others in your church. You can read my original post here.

I want the world to know that we are called to all support these sweet children in some way!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Thank you for your prayers and support.





Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

This sweet girl turned 6 on Monday...not sure where the time went! Here are some of my favorite shots!




Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The table that we sold twice


So, in our very first round of yard sale donations, a friend donated a cute kids' table and chairs set that is made of solid wood and painted white with different colored chairs. It was a great donation since furniture gets people out of their cars at yard sales, plus there was the sentimental aspect of "keeping it in the circle of friends" and passing it on to the next friend of small children, but what better way than that, but to bring home a new family member? At the sale where we got rained on (you can read about that here), we had several people look at it, but no one really made an offer. Then, after we were almost packing up and feeling a little discouraged, a lady pulled up quite excited about the table set. She was so excited that we were adopting and introduced us to her two foster care adoptive children that were in the backseat. She said the table was perfect and promptly paid me for it, then asked me if she could pick it up from us. She said she lived out of town ( about an hour), but that she could get it tomorrow with her truck and we agreed to bring it in the van to church and meet her afterwards. I gave her all our info and Kelly even tried offering to put part of it in the back of her SUV. She said no and said she'd see us tomorrow.

It's funny looking back, but I think God was whispering to me that we would never see her again. I wondered if she was my angel for the day (it sounds silly, but truly...that is what I thought.)

She never called, we never did hear from her.

And finally, this weekend....almost two months later....we put the table back in the sale.

And sold it again!

It's funny, it was almost the same scenario............... but this time, they did manage to come back and actually take possession of the table and chairs, YEAH!

What a blessing! The table that sold twice!




I am blessed!


So, I was down in the dumps the past couple days, this morning during my quiet time I tried to focus on what I was thankful for and then as I was driving home later today that I ought to write down my blessings for you all to see how God has blessed me and so that I can come back and reference (cause you never know when you might slip back down to the valley!)

Oh! How the Lord has blessed us! I know when I feel the opposite, it's Satan's lies, but...the Word doesn't call him the father of lies for nothin.



The Lord blesses abundantly:

I have a wonderful husband and the worst arguing we could think of for the homestudy was how he loads the dishwasher "wrong" and it drives me a little bonkers ;)

I have two healthy, smart, beautiful children.

I have a roof over my head and the mortgage is half of some people I know ;) yet I have electricity, running water, and no dirt floors...we are doing better than over half of the rest of the world!

I am able to stay at home to be a mom and teacher to my kids....with my hubbies blessing.

My DH has a job, to boot, he just started a better job with a big raise (yea God!)

I have a wonderful church that fits our whole families needs.

I love that I get to drive past a field with cows on the way home from anywhere.

I love my big backyard.

I am married to a technology geek (oh yes, this is a blessing girls, someone in this house better know how to work all these gadgets!)

We have been blessed by family, friends and strangers in this adoption in small and big ways that include baking, cash donations, and yard sale donations.





Sunday, June 13, 2010

I am glad tomorrow is a new week...

I am in a bad place, simply a bad place.

I have been going nonstop, I am physically tired, I have been sick this week, and now I have a child on the verge of an ear infection (with no medical insurance till tomorrow, but even then won't have a policy # or card for a least a few days), not to mention that my youngest will get to spend her birthday morning at the clinic so that sister can see the doctor. Satan has used this to whisper lies to me and to twist truths in my head and quite frankly, I am struggling to not pay attention to him. I hate it, because he feeds me something and I know it's him and that it's not completely true, but I pause and think....hmm, there's a good point....at a point like this I simply rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for me cause I just can't. I need God to put on that helmet of Salvation that for me includes ear muffs that is Satan-proof...they block out this whispers.

Part of my bad spot is because one of the two women that I confide in and spend time with has moved and the other is absent...well, for a whole host of reasons that will not be shared here. I feel right now like I have a whole lot of acquaintance and not many friends. I know a lot of people who I adore and (I think) they like me, but between the times we see each other, it feels like not much thought is given towards me. Right now, I hate living in the South for so many reasons.

Number 1 reason is it's only June and today it reached 100 degrees and the humidity was about as high as it could get....and did I mention that we planned a b-day party...outside....at 4pm....gross!

Number 2 reason, everyone in the South (I know this is a generalization, but it feels like everyone right now) has their extended family around the corner. To help with everything from watching the kids for date night, to setting up with a yard sale, to celebrating special days like your youngest is turning 6. And if it's bad enough that I am envious of this, I feel like those people assume we don't need any help....like setting up for a yard sale or celebrating our daughter turning 6. I would love for people to just help because they are my friend with out me feeling like I am begging for help! I hate that I feel like a new transplant, like I just moved here. Part of the problem is that we have changed churches, we have switched to homeschool and our good friends moved. All that equals.... making new relationships...which is fine....but it takes time. And right now, my time seems to be less and less. I feel like I am an hour short every day and a day short every week. I simply feel lonely....lonely for friends, I have plenty of people who are around, plenty of people who care, but I want people who know my business....

without me feeling like I'm complaining to someone who doesn't really know me. :(

I am also lonely for my daughter. Not lonely to be around her...I see her everyday, but I am lonely for her. You see, along with the family that moved, went her best friend. Her little friend that was so much like her in personality, her friend that never looked at her judgmentally when she acted a little crazy, she just went right along with it. Her friend that she absolutely loved and adored. I knew this was a terrible loss back in March. She seemed to handle is okay, but I wondered. Then this week, her Sunday School teacher confirmed what I had feared by mentioning that she was struggling making friendships in class. That's because they all have their little cliques (not really bad cliques, but groups of friends all the same) and she used to have her own group....with her little friend...who is now gone. So, once again I am mourning the loss of my DD's best friend, which makes me mourn the loss of my friend; all the while praying desperately for God to help my sweet girl make a new friend. Oh how I am praying.

Number 3 reason is the mosquitos, I hate them and they love me.

I would just like to go back to January, everything was as it should be then.

And did I mention half of this pity party is probably all hormonal, so please....take it with a grain of salt.

God did bless us yesterday with our yard sale, we had two sweet people bake for us and a lady who is also adopting helped set up in the morning. It was so hot and humid and Kelly swears we are not doing another all summer long... ;) but we made $500 minus lunch. Thank you God for always being faithful even when I have a grumbling spirit.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Father to the Fatherless

Next week we will be celebrating our fathers, the men in our lives that have loved us, protected us, and provides for us. Since God's heart is for all of the fatherless to have a forever home, I thought you all might like to join us this coming Father's Day in raising awareness of our adoption and the need to support families that are adopting finacially.

You can do a couple things to help:

* Pray for us this week - We are burning out with the gruling schedule of late that includes yard sales, home visits, paper chasing and VBS. I know the Lord will give us the strength to endure this task.

* Print our brochure below (or ask us for copies) and pass it out to your Sunday School class or your small group.

* Consider making a love offering for Father's Day towards our adoption - helping the fatherless.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Homestudy

Okay, so...I want to first off say that I should have made this appointment weeks ago! Yes, people, weeks! But, you know, we had a ton of things going on, we had yard sales galore and my house was a wreck and the idea of some lady coming to "inspect" our home and "interview" us seemed a little intimidating. We didn't think we were ready.

Ha!

So, I have been spreading mulch like crazy (okay, so I would have done that anyway) and we cleaned like crazy(so, I would have done that anyway, also...but maybe not quite as thoroughly.) Do you know, our homestudy social worker barley glimpsed my sparkling kitchen and only sat in one room the whole time!(the living room!) She didn't even see the clean, but bathing suit and beach towel laden bathroom! We scoured for a lot of nothing.....it's all good, I have a clean house....at least till....well, at least Monday because we'll be gone all day with church and a pool day tomorrow....yes! clean house for 3 days!

The other part I didn't really stress about, but probably deep down inside; I was wondering about the "interview" part.

Ha! (again)

What was I thinking?! Kelly and I love to talk! And we got to talk the whole time...about ourselves, he, he, he. JK! No, really, isn't that the point ;) It was really great getting to tell all about what brought us to adoption, how we met (almost 9 years ago!), telling all about our family and what we like to do together. We got to tell her how we are opposites, but that we get along so well and how much we love each other. We are not shy or bashful, so this was easy! The time flew by and the kids were great! We just finished the second Harry Potter 2 weeks ago, so they watched the movie while we had our interview.

I am looking forward to Thursday where she and I will get together again to chat about my childhood (we didn't get to that today) and I am so excited to have this homestudy typed up so that we can get it finalized!!!!

And....just so I am not the only one enjoying my clean living room, I thought I'd share ;)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blog Raffle

Don't forget the Blog Raffle that will end tomorrow night!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pictures are working! well how about 4 out of 5???

I did have one more picture, but it just wouldn't load. So, if you don't know what I'm talking about, go 2 posts down and you can see the original post.....minus pictures!

This binder has all important adoption paperwork in it now. :) In case of an emergency...please grab kids...and then the green binder :)
My hard work at spreading mulch!!! In'it pretty?

And lastly...this is the veggie garden a couple weeks ago....
and this is it this week.....

I want to address this now...

I want to get this out of the way. I want to tell this to my son, so that he can look back and know my heart.



I recently came across a blog that led me to a news article that brought out the passionate and the mean people from everywhere. Some of the comments that were particularly hurtful were:

"People who adopt babies of a different race do it to get attention. "

"A child is not a fashion accessory!"

"White people adopt black kids to make themselves feel good... A black child needs black parents to raise it."

I can't imagine what I would actually say if these kinds of things were spoken to my face, since just reading them in the comfort of my home, not even having met my sweet boy, makes me want to smack someone. ( I will be praying that God keeps my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth and my hands full, if and when I am faced with malicious words like this.)

But after the anger subsides, I have a slight twinge of fear....fear that my son may wonder if some of the hurtful comments posted to a news article, some words spoken by a stranger, (or God forbid a friend or family member)....could be true, or have a half truth.

So, I thought I would put it down here. For anyone who might be secretly wondering, but mostly for future reference for a little man....so that he will know his mamma loved him. So he will know that he is not a fashion statement. He is a product of our love (Kelly and mine) and our love for our Savior (who actually adopted us too!) My regular prayer is for God to break my heart for what breaks His heart. He just happened to to put a burning desire in me for another child right before he started opening my eyes to the story of the worldwide orphans. He said clearly to both Kelly and I, "Sure, you can have more children. Why don't you adopt? Why don't you get on an airplane to get your son instead of physically giving birth? Why don't you have a child, born of your heart?

Sure, pregnancy is something that I love, I am THAT women who says she loves being pregnant, she loves to give birth (well, maybe not love, but I'd do it again), please don't hate me...I simply have easy pregnancies. But this paper pregnancy is an adventure for all of our family...not just mommy's body ;) My kids are learning about sacrifice, saving money, another country, learning about poverty, and they will learn about unconditional love, that knows no blood relation, but family born of our hearts.

Also, I want him to know that adopting him is not a good deed so that everyone can pat us on the back. No, I see adopting as a blessing to him and us.


Matt. 25: 40

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' "


Mind you, I am still not looking for brownie points, not from anyone. But I do believe that we are called to care for those less fortunate than us. For us, an easy way to do this is to adopt. We want to have another child....somewhere there is a little boy that wants a family. It's a match made in Heaven!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Yard Work, Paper Work, and Cleaning

Well, we have been pretty busy around here lately and I really wanted to do a post about all the happenings..........

with pictures..........

but it seems blogger thinks otherwise.

So, you will have to just take my word for it. If I figure what is the deal I'll get some pictures on here later.....hopefully!

First off, I have been getting the gardening itch out of my system with some much needed mulch for my flower beds. The beds are beautiful after several days of spreading! Plus, my vegetable garden that the kids and I planted a few weeks ago is GREAT! We will have squash to pick any day now!

Next, we have been working hard on ordering all of our certificates for the paperwork for the adoption. I sent off for my report of a birth abroad (since I have a privilege of being born outside of the US, I got to pay Uncle Sam $50 plus FedX there and back!), and we signed papers that we will be mailing to our homestudy agency tomorrow. Our first home visit is scheduled for Saturday so I wanted everything organized. I read an idea on a message board to have all the paperwork in a large 3-ring binder and put all the papers in page protectors separated by tabs. That way the papers wouldn't get bent corners and a minor spill will not result in mom's heart attack. The tabs are separating different parts of the adoption; i.e. dossier(this is the official packet of papers that will actually go to Ethiopia), homestudy, our copies, and receipts. So I headed out to Office Max and got to organizing papers into the binder on Saturday. I have a nice picture of it....oh wait...pictures aren't working...maybe later ;) Naturally, big sis asked if I was going to make a cover for it (she's a daughter after her scrapbooking mother's own heart), so I may have to make a pretty cover to slip into the front of the binder.

Lastly, we are trying to finish up our Hague International training. Even though Ethiopia is not part of the Hague treaty, our agency required parents to take this course. Kelly was able to sit at work on Friday and finish up the last 3 or 4 hours, so I have a little catching up to do. But, I am happy to say that I am more than half way finished...we will be glad to have that part checked off. It's been very informative, but a lot is specific to other countries.
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