As for me, I know of nothing else but miracles. - Walt Whitman

Monday, June 27, 2011

Look What I Got!!

1. These beautiful flowers from Ashton:
 He went to the store with his dad and took some of his birthday money to spend. Instead of buying something for himself, he bought me this rose. It melted my heart!!

2. Our referral paperwork finished and turned in:
 Yay!! Now, we're hoping for a quick court date so we can hop on a plane to Africa and go see our boys for the first time!!!

3. This beautiful bouquet from some dear friends of ours who are thrilled that we got our referral! They have also adopted twins from Ethiopia. Thanks so much for the gorgeous flowers!!

4. These little polo shirts for our twins. They were the first thing that I bought for them after we got our referral, and I got tears in my eyes as I paid for them! The sales clerk probably wondered what was up......

5. This photo of a cross in the sky at sunset the other night: 

6. These adorable little shirts from my good friend, Ginny, who received her referral the week before we did. The referral photos we received of our little guys show them holding inflatable electric guitars, and she couldn't pass these shirts up when she saw them. Thank you so much, Ginny - we appreciate your kindness so much! Whenever the boys wear these shirts, we will think of the first time we ever saw their faces......
And I'm really hoping that we get to travel together.....

7. A full-sized van. That's right, we have now joined the ranks of those of you who drive large family vehicles. I always said that I would never drive one, but with the addition of 2 more children, our family will no longer fit into our 7 passenger mini-van. I'm learning to eat a lot of my words........but this time, they taste pretty sweet!

Have a great day, everyone!!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Referral...........

I had a feeling on Wednesday morning that it was the day our lives would change. But let me back up a little. Several months ago, I prayed and asked God to give me a feeling - to just let me know - when we were about to receive our referral. I hoped and prayed that I would open up to Isaiah 43 on the morning of our call and that I would just know that it was the day. The beginning of that chapter has been very special to me all throughout our adoption journey: "...I gave...Ethiopia...for thee....Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west....bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." Anyway, now fast forward to Tuesday afternoon of this week, when I received a call from the library. A book that I had ordered was ready for pick-up, so that evening, I drove to the library to get it. I wasn't planning to read it yet since I had another book already at home that was due back at the library in a few days. However, something told me to read this one first. Wednesday morning I picked it up to read a bit before the kids got up; and guess what I read? My special verses from Isaiah 43 were there in print, right before my eyes, right at the beginning of the book. I got that warm, tingly feeling.........

Later in the day, I ran across the verse a second time. Again, I got that feeling that something was about to happen. But as the day wore on and it got later and later, I began to lose hope. After all, most people receive their calls earlier in the day, and I knew that our agency would soon be closing. About this time, the kids went outside to play. As I watched them through the patio doors, I noticed that although the sun was shining brightly, a few drops of rain fell onto the otherwise dry cement. I'm not sure that the kids even noticed; it was literally just a few sprinkles. I thought to myself, "Maybe if I look out and see a rainbow, it'll be a sign that today is still the day. After all, like we talked about at VBS last week, rainbows mean that God does keep his promises." I crossed the room and peered out the window, and there, hanging low in the sky, was a large, DOUBLE rainbow!! I just stood there and stared......

I walked outside to join the kids and watch them play for a bit. Chris was flying home on a Cessna from a business trip to New York, and had told me earlier that he would be flying directly over our house, as he had done when he left. He gave me a website to track the flight status, and said that the pilot had agreed to circle over our house a few times so the kids could see the plane and watch their daddy fly over. We watched the sky for him, and then I ran back into the house to check the flight map again. As I stepped in the door, I heard my cell phone ringing. It had stopped by the time I got to it, so I picked it up to see who I had missed. "AGCI," read the screen, in about three-foot-tall letters (at least it seemed that way at the time)! I honestly think my heart stopped for a second. I dashed back outside, yelling, "Shana!!!!!!!!!!!! It's our call!!!!!!!!!!! Keep all the kids outside - I have to call Kiersten (our case worker) back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I punched the button to call her back, my heart pounding a mile a minute. When she told me she had two little boys to talk to me about, I gave out a little shriek. We just KNEW we were supposed to get siblings after God had spoken these words to me about a year ago: "Adoption is no longer one, but two."

At that point, I frantically texted Chris, "Referral!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  Kiersten went on to tell me that they were 2 1/2 year old twins. Twins!!! I couldn't believe it! She then told me that they were born on October 10, 2008. "How perfect!" I thought. In our family, we have birthdays in February, May, June, August, and December. At one point several years ago, I remember telling Chris that if we ever had another child, it would need to have an October birthday. We didn't have any birthdays in the Fall, and October just seemed like a good month for one since it was right between Adrian's birthday in August and my birthday in December. Just one of those little things...... Anyway, Kiersten went through all of their background and medical information with me, and then we connected Chris in via conference call as he had now landed and was driving home. Kiersten emailed all of the paperwork to us so we could start filling it out, along with about 10 photos of the boys. When Chris got home, we opened up the photos and stared, for the first time, into the faces of the children we had waited so long for. Had prayed so hard for. Chris's first comment was, "Those are my boys!" They were absolutely adorable, and in my mind I asked God the question, "Are these boys really ours?" I then picked up the Bible and opened to several verses in Deuteronomy that I had just read and highlighted that morning at breakfast. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." Deut. 29:29  "In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it......I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Deut. 30:16&19.

We are choosing life for these two precious boys. After consulting with our International Pediatrician about their medical reports, we realize that there are possible health and developmental risks involved. There are always many unknowns in an international adoption; however, we are committed to caring for and loving these beautiful children that God has given us. Yesterday, I opened up to and highlighted these verses in Deuteronomy, "And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.....Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children...into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee." Deut. 8&23. My God is so great. I stand amazed in His presence.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We Are Thrilled To Announce................

.......that we received our referral yesterday for 2 1/2 year-old TWIN BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are so excited, still a bit overwhelmed, amazed and humbled at God's divine plan for us. Chris just told me several weeks ago that we were going to get 2-year-old twin boys, and he was right!! We've both thought all along that we would get siblings. To read why we felt that way, click here. God is good! He does keep His promises! And His ways are so so perfect.

We are not allowed to post pictures of our precious little guys online because they are not yet legally ours. But, if you happen to see me around, ask to see a photo. I'm sure I'll be carrying some around with me everywhere I go! We're praying for a quick court date so that we can meet our boys face to face!!

I'll share more details later (after we get through some of this paperwork!), but wanted you all to know that WE. GOT. OUR. CALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are blessed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wait For It, Wait For It..............

As of today..........................................................................................

..............................we are........................................................

AT THE TOP OF THE BOYS' LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's right - the family directly in front of us on the boys' and siblings' lists received their referral this week. Congratulations, L family!!!!!!!!!!! We are so happy and excited for you, and wish you God's richest blessings as you proceed on this wonderful journey to meet your little boy!!!

And ever since they emailed me about their referral, I have been a bit nervous and jumpy. It feels a bit like I'm going into labor (without the physical pain, of course!) Soon, we'll get to see the precious face(s) of the child(ren) that God has promised us!!! Hopefully, I'll be sharing the news with you shortly.........................

Hope you all have a great weekend, and a wonderful Father's Day!!!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today We Are Celebrating....

......Malia!!!!! She is 5 years old today!!!!!

After VBS this morning, two of Malia's best friends came over to spend the day with her. They had fun making crafts, playing dress-up, and swimming.

Happy birthday, Mimi!!!! It's so hard to believe that my baby girl is 5 already! We hope you have a wonderful year, and may God bless you each day. We are so thankful that He blessed our lives with such a little angel - we love you so so so so so so so so so so much!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


In this fast-paced world, we are used to instant gratification. We have fast food, fast cars, and fast computers. We have super-highways and cell phones. We have fast internet service, which supplies us with boatloads of information right at our fingertips. We are used to getting what we want, when we want it. We don't want to wait. We think everything should move at our rate of speed.

The adoption world certainly doesn't follow our time lines. And I am learning to appreciate that. When we started the adoption process, I thought that we would most certainly be home with our child sometime during the summer of 2010. And here we are a year later, still waiting on our referral. But obviously, God does not work according to our preferences; He works out that which is best for us. If God would have listened and provided according to our wishes, we would already be home with our child. But it would be the wrong child. You see, God knew from the beginning which child would be ours. He had a plan for that specific child to become a part of our family before the baby was conceived. And I am willing to wait to see God's perfect plan unfold in our lives. It will come to pass just when it is supposed to. I believe that in the middle of this lightning-speed life, God is telling us to stop and focus. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10. Let the crazy world go on around you; I have specific plans for you. They may take time, but they will be perfect.

And so, I am willing to wait. As long as it takes. It may not always be easy, but as James 1:3 states, "....the trying of your faith worketh patience". Also, "....tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope." Romans 5:3-4. I am definitely learning more about patience. I am grateful for the experience and hope that we have. And I am learning to be so thankful for the wait.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Random Thoughts On A Saturday......

1.  One of my delightful children (I won't mention any names, although I'm sure that those of you who know my kids really well will know immediately which one!) decided to go to the bathroom outside. Not only did he get it all over his shirt (there, now you know it was one of the boys. You have a 50/50 chance at guessing the right one), he also got it all over the patio. Before I could tell him to spray it off, the dog came by and licked it up. :-( Yeah, sometimes things get pretty interesting around here. I calmly informed him that we DO NOT go to the bathroom outside!

2. I wonder if the Southwestern book salesman enjoyed hearing part of our adoption story?

He did seem interested, and asked several questions. This will probably sound terrible, but it's nice having an excuse when a telemarketer calls or a salesman stops by. "I'm afraid we won't be able to help you this time. You see, we're in the process of adopting a child or two from Ethiopia, and all of our extra funds are going toward that this year." Nothing against Southwestern books; in fact, they're great. We just really don't want to spend the extra money right now. We do still try to help out worthwhile charities when we can. It's amazing that the more you give to the Lord's service, the more you get back. When God leads you to do something, He will provide. Always. Way beyond our expectations.

3.  Malia refuses to share her Capreen toothpaste with anyone.

I'm not sure exactly what Capreen is; however, she insists that is what the flavor is called (I always thought it was mint-flavored. Shows how much I know). She claims that, "The other kids should use the bubblegum toothpaste. I don't like that kind."

4.  When Malia wants to play "chest" with you, please understand that she means chess.

 And when she wants a "crispy" to eat, it means biscuit. (?)

5.  When Malia takes her nap in the afternoon, the other kids have to read a book for at least an hour. Yesterday, Ashton decided to read to the dog, who for some reason didn't seem very interested in the story line.

6.  We got our new waitlist numbers for June. They are:

#10 for girls (same as last month)

#3 for boys (we've moved 3 spots since last month)

#4 for siblings (same as last month)

I'm hoping there's lots of movement in the next few weeks!  With the changes taking place in the Ethiopia program, everything has slowed down tremendously. However, I'm confident that God's timing for us is perfect!

7. A great book I've read recently is There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene.
It is about orphans in Ethiopia, and really taught me a lot about the country's history, culture, and AIDS crisis. If you are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia, I would highly recommend insist that you read it. :-) It really is a great book for all parents, whether adoptive or not.

8.  When you have boys, anything can become the makings for a gun. Take these hockey sticks, broom, screwdrivers and rubber bands, for instance:

9.  Malia informed me the other day that she wants to be a mom, a doctor, or a payer when she grows up. (I think she meant a cashier; I'm sure she'll be a "payer" whether she wants to be or not!) :-)

10.  I haven't said much about Shana yet in this post. I must say, I am glad she's out of school for the summer. She has been such a big help around the house lately! I think it helps that we have established chore charts and allowances for the summer. Each child gets a set amount of money at the end of each week; 1/3 of it goes into a charity account, 1/3 of it gets put into savings, and 1/3 of it is theirs to spend or do with what they wish. Every time they fight (No! My kids? Never!) or talk back, they lose 25 cents. Likewise, if they don't complete all of their assigned tasks, they lose money as well. It seems to be working really well so far; if any of you have other ideas or methods that have worked with your children, I would love to hear them!

11.  This coming week is our church's VBS. I am helping to teach one of the preschool classes. The other teacher plans on leading the lesson for three of the days, and assigned the other two lessons to me. I find it interesting that both of my lessons just happen to be about mothers who gave up their children. I will be teaching about Baby Moses and Samuel. Both mothers loved their children. Both prayed for their children. Both gave their children to someone else to raise.  I think about my Ethiopian child(ren)'s mother all the time. What must she be going through? I'm sure she loves her children and  doesn't want to give them up, yet wants a better life for them. So she gives them up to God. I am amazed and so humbled at these mothers' sacrifices.

12.  I am hoping that each one of you has a great weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Depraved Indifference

I know that many of you have already watched this video. But it touches my heart in a new way every time I see it. I was reading an article this week about the horrific things taking place over in Sudan. Someone asked me the question, "Why do you even read these things? Why would you even want to know about it?" My answer: because I DON'T want to suffer from depraved indifference. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, after all, to a dark and sinful world. I want to be able to pray for those poor orphans who are being tortured and brutalized. I want to be able to pray for those who are doing the torturing and brutalizing. How can I make a difference if I don't know? Or if I plug my ears or put blinders on and PRETEND I don't know?

We have also had some people wonder why on earth we are adopting when we have 4 children of our own. This video answers that question as well.

"If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?" Proverbs 24:12

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Family Project.....

One of Chris's uncles has access to large amounts of food items (think pallets and huge boxes full). So, we've been packaging the rice, pasta, etc. to send to disaster areas, poor countries, and food pantries. Sometimes, our whole church gets involved and at other times, a small group will get together to package the food. Chris is now the person in charge of setting up the work teams, and so sometimes just the six of us will spend the evening together packaging food for the needy.

Here is Malia standing by the boxes and bags of food on Tuesday evening:

Adrian and Malia were in charge of placing labels on the bags that we were going to fill:

On the menu this week is......split pea soup!

Ashton was the pea supplier:

Chris and I were the bag fillers, a.k.a headless pea scoopers. (A short little person took this picture, and cut off our heads!)

Shana was the bag sealer:

She used this handy little machine to seal the bags of peas:

A sealed bag of split peas:

Shana then put all of the sealed bags into this barrel:

All the little peas nestled snug in their little pea beds :-)

A full barrel weighs close to 400 pounds. It is now ready to seal and be shipped!

Our kids love packaging food, and it's a great way for them to learn about helping others. We have so much fun working together!

Also, if you get a chance, please visit Kristi's blog to read little Wes's story. This tiny little guy has to undergo some major surgery, and I'm sure his family, who have been an inspiration to many in the adoption world, would appreciate our prayers.

Have a great day, everyone!