Saturday, September 25, 2010

If You're Happy and You Know It...

WOW! What a whirlwind of a couple of weeks! I was under the weather last week...i still don't know exactly what I had but I think it was laryngitis. Basically I lost my voice for about three days. I am quite the talker so needless to say I really struggled. And on the final day I was up in San Antonio at a about weird. I'm typically walking around, meeting fellow OTs, trying to mingle and network. This time not so much. And to top it off, 5 min before the seminar started Pete texted to tell me that he had just checked the mail from the day before, and what was there? Our USCIS approval!!! The final paper we needed for our adoption!!! And could I scream or yell out in excitement? Nope. No voice. Could I call Pete to tell him everything he needed to gather to prep? Nope. BUT I am quite an excellent texter and I think I got a LOT better that day, texting Pete all the things he needed to do before I got home to move the process along. He was probably grateful that I didn't have a voice b/c I was bossy enough via text! LOL

Soooo I drove back home last Friday evening...and from Friday till this past Thursday we worked to get our final forms notarized, certified, etc. And on Thurs we sent all our forms (Dossier) out!!! On Friday we heard from our family coordinator that our dossier looked great and that our DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) date will be 10/1/10!!!!!!! That is the date when our official "wait" begins. Talk about a HUGE weight off of our shoulders. It is no longer in our hands. We've done our part. Now we sit back and wait to see what, or rather WHO, God has in store for our family.

My hope was to get our dossier sent to Ethiopia by my birthday on Oct 16th...but then I thought no way would that happen. But God surprised me and here we are two weeks ahead of "my" schedule. Funny how He works. :)

So I am so extremely excited to be to this point. And I feel ready to "wait." There's lots of reading I want to do, and we've got a lot to do to prepare for our next little one. Of course you can ask me in a few months and I may not be as patient waiting...but I plan to take it a day at a time. And Hannah keeps us so busy that I think this time will fly by.

So whew! There's the adoption update!

And Hannah is sitting in my lap as I type and my legs are starting to I'm gonna go for now...

As for lyrics, don't laugh....this song is stuck in my head today and it's actually quite appropriate!!!

If You're Happy and You Know It

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!
If you're happy and you know it then your face will surely show it!
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!

Yea so you know the rest... But in all seriousness,  if I am happy, you WILL know it because I show my emotions on my sleeve AND my let's just say, right now I am VERY HAPPY!!!!!!! :) I encourage you to think of something that makes you happy...something that brings a smile to your face, and meditate on that thing. Allow yourself to be happy. I am. :)

Here's a few pics of someone who puts a smile on my face daily... :)

Till next time....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pure and Holy Passion

Well progress is steady with the adoption. We had our USCIS appointment last Monday to get our fingerprints we wait for the I-701 form, which will make our adopted child a US citizen when we land on US soil. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months, so we're hoping for speed!!! Once we have that paper in our hand, our documents get sent to Austin for certification then we send EVERYTHING to our agency...who then sends it on to Ethiopia!!! Thus far I've felt peace and patience about everything. I'm hoping these final two steps go smoothly so that we can just sit back and wait...without worrying about what's left on our adoption to-do list! :)

Our social worker told us that we should have a little girl home by next summer. The adoption process is always unpredictable, though, so we'll see. In the meantime, little Miss Hannah is quite the busy bee! She loves playing outside and her new obsession is rocks. She could play all day with rocks if we let her, pouring them from one container to the other. Yesterday daddy gave her a bunch of jolly ranchers (not to eat, to play with) and she played with those things for hours!!! It was so cute to watch her imagination run wild! She is changing every day, and learning so much!

I wish I had more time (and energy) to get on here to blog all that we've got going on, if anything just to be able to look back myself and say "oh yeah I forgot about that!" Time goes by so fast...I'm hoping we'll feel the same way as next summer approaches and we hopefully are on the verge of recieving our referral!

Lots of songs have been in my head lately, but I think I'll share one that I heard the other day for the first time in a while. It's sort of a "theme song" that I wish I could adhere to every day...the lyrics are below. I also attached a link to the audio version I love from one of my favorite cds...

Pure and Holy Passion

Give me one pure and holy passion

And give me one magnificent obsession

Give me one glorious ambition for my life

To know and follow hard after You


To know and follow hard after You

To grow as Your disciple in the truth

This world is empty, pale and poor

Compared to knowing You, my Lord

Lead me on and I will run after You

Lead me on and I will run after You

I look around at so many people and see how we're all on this race to accomplish things on our to-do lists, always going going going, never having time to slow down and just breathe and enjoy what's in front of us. I'm very goal oriented and I think it's great to look ahead and dream and make plans. But we've also got to live in the here and now. Yes, partially because we never know if there will be a tomorrow. But more than likely there will be a tomorrow...and someday we're gonna look back and see all the opportunities we missed while "waiting" for other bigger, better things to come. My little Hannah is growing up so fast. I want to look back and know I spent all the time I could nurturing her, loving her, showing her God's love and demonstrating to her what its like to live a fulfilling of loving and serving. If I could wake up every morning and meditate on these lyrics, and revolve my life around what they mean, I think I'd be setting a pretty good example for Hannah and for those around me...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beautiful, Beautiful

Busy, busy I have been, with adoption papers, being a mommy to Hannah (who turns two TOMORROW!), trying to stay on top of things at work, thinking about the future, the here and now, then the future again... I am busy but I am so blessed. As my little Hannita turns two tomorrow I find myself being reflective of so many things. I think about all that I have experienced, where God has taken me thus far in my life's journey, and wondering what's next in store for our ever growing family. I have my moments of anxiety, fear, doubt, about many things, but at the end of the day, when I see Hannah hold her little hands together to pray, all of my doubts fade and I realize how absolutely beautiful my life is, because it is being directed by my beautiful God.

Listen to this song...hopefully the link will work. The lyrics move me.

Beautiful, Beautiful
performed by Francesca Battistelli

Don't know how it is you looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful beautiful

Now there's a joy inside I can't contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though its pouring down
I see you through the clouds
Shining on my face


I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by your grace


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hope Now

Its so hard to find time to blog during this paperwork process! Wow it's intense but I have no doubt that it will be worth every second! Today we are getting our home inspections done by the fire department and health department. We hope to get our medical forms and background checks finalized tomorrow and then everything will be sent off to our social worker....the first big batch of forms complete.

We decided last week to officially switch to the Ethiopia program. From the start we've really had no preference about from where to adopt, so when it appeared that the wait for a Rwanda adoption would be continually increasing over the next year, we decided to switch to Ethiopia, a program that has had stable wait times in the past. (Though this too can obviously change at any moment!) Unfortunately we will have to travel twice to Ethiopia due to changes in the adoption process as of Jan 2010. I'm hoping it will change back to the one trip requirement by the time we travel, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

We are super excited about what's in the meantime, though, we have precious little Hannah keeping us EXTREMELY busy! Wow she is a bundle of fun and energy! She loves to dance, sing and talk, talk and talk some more! I often wonder what our little girl from Ethiopia will be like...will she have a similar personality? Will she be shy? How will she and Hannah interact? Hannah LOVES the outdoors! Yesterday she had her first encounter with a frog. Her response? "OH wow, bullfrog! Awesome!" Ha! At 22 months she has no difficulties expressing herself! And thanks to the Wonder Pets for teaching her what a bullfrog is! LOL

SO as for lyrics that I'm pondering...Perhaps "Hope Now" by Addison Road is a good song for me right now. I definitely believe that hope is the anchor for our soul. With this adoption process we are totally trusting God to provide, to lead and to reveal his plan and his vision for our future. He knows our hearts desires...we can only do so much and then we have to just have have faith that He knows what's best and that He is the ultimate provider.

Hope Now (Addison Road)

If everything comes down to love, then just what am I afraid of?
When I call our Your Name something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I am yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm


You've become my heart's desire
I will sing your praises higher
Your love sets me free...

Thanks to those who read and follow what we've got going on in this crazy busy little life of ours. Lots of things going on, but they are all GOOD things! I'm grateful that we have hope...hope for today, for tomorrow, for forever! :)


Friday, April 9, 2010

Somewhere Out There

I apologize in advance as this will be a lengthy blog :)!

Since submitting our application to America World on Tuesday I've spent my evenings "blog-stalking" other adopting families....I am amazed that I've already found multiple families here in Texas adopting from Rwanda! I have enjoyed reading about where they are in their journeys...some have their children home, many are still waiting, and some are just starting the process like us. I am so excited to get the ball rolling on paperwork. I know it's going to be a lot to keep up with and we aren't the most organized folks on the block but with God's help I have no doubt we'll get everything done. So I thought I'd write a bit about how our decision to adopt came to be...

When the earthquake hit Haiti Pete and I were both moved to help in some way. I actually avoided the tv around that time, though, because I was having difficulty seeing all the images. One day I just randomly texted Pete, "Let's adopt an orphan from Haiti." I don't even remember why I was moved to do it, and I think I even laughed when I pushed send b/c it was such an outrageous, random comment. But he texted back "OK we'll talk about it when I get home." Huh? Seriously? So we talked, and talked, and prayed, and prayed, and talked some get the picture. Pete wanted a clear sign, a lightning bolt out of the sky that said "ADOPT!" I, on the other hand, kept feeling like I was getting "signs" yet I was fearful that my emotions were interfering with my ability to hear God's voice clearly.

I had requested an information packet from an agency, America World Adoption, after reading that a friend from college had adopted through them. I had read over things but still had no particular insight or feeling that God was saying yes or no. One night we talked and decided that perhaps we should take a step forward and attend some sort of seminar, just to see what it would lead to, what we felt, etc. We had no idea where to find one but I planned to google it the next day.

The next morning I was feeling frustrated and prayed for God to just bombard me from every direction with adoption-related things if it was something he wanted us to pursue. As soon as I finished praying I opened my email account to a new message from America World Adoption Agency, which was just a friendly followup about my info packet, to see if we had any questions or to see if we would be interested in attending an informative seminar. Seminar? Umm yeah. So I clicked on the link, thinking we would have to travel to north TX or even further. Well, of all the little towns in all the country, there was a seminar in little London, Kentucky, a 30 min drive from Pete's parents house....on the weekend we were to fly into KY for vacation!!! Really?

My heart skipped a beat...I knew instantly that it was more than a coincidence. So I ran to the next room to tell Pete about it, and he was on the phone...talking to someone about adoption. What? Yep...he had left a message at someone's office and the person who had returned his call had just completed an adoption herself and proceeded to talk his ear off about how excited she was that we were considering it, and how it's such an amazing thing, etc etc etc. Whoa.

I wish I could remember all the other little things that occurred...I know there were many nights that the devotionals in "My Utmost for His Highest" were right on what I was praying about and I kept thinking "What does all of this mean God?"

The weekend before we left for KY we were singing "Everlasting God" at church....I was on alto mic that night and I got super choked up, almost to where I had to stop singing to gain composure. I've sang it multiple times before, but on that particular night the lyrics "You're the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need" really struck me as I thought of the orphans across the world. I had never thought of orphans in relation to those lyrics until that night, and when the pastor spoke afterwards about "going" when God says to "Go" I felt strongly that God was about to do something in our life if we would listen and obey.

SO we attended the seminar in KY. All the way there we prayed and talked about what God could possibly want us there lead us to adopt? to meet someone? to hear something? all of the above? We prayed for clarity and the ability to hear Him. As soon as we walked in, Pete headed for the donuts and coffee :) and we hear someone say "I know you!" Long story short, the father of the couple leading the seminar knew Pete from college, and then the girl who sat to my left went to high school with me. Small world? Perhaps. But not coincidence in my book.

We enjoyed the seminar and went out to eat with several families afterwards to ask even more questions. Pete was asking each family "How did you know for sure that adoption was the right thing for you, and that the timing was right?" No one could give a specific answer, other than it just "felt right" and that it is God's plan for us to care for His orphans. However, one man asked us a question in return. "What sign would you look for before having another biological child?" That hit home. Things clicked. As we drove away Pete shared that he no longer felt that need for the lightning bolt. Yet I felt like we had just received it. :)

I've rambled on and on but its so hard to summarize all the thoughts going through my head. I am so excited to see what God is going to do in all of this. This is the first time in a long time where I feel like we have specifically sought God for insight and have heard and heeded His call.

We are excited about Hannah becoming a big sister. She is too young to be able to understand any of it but I love the thought of her having a little sister to play with next summer!

The lyrics I will close with are ones that have randomly come into my mind this week. The movie An American Tail 1987 (with Fieval! remember?!) had a song I used to love to sing as a child. Now the words mean something so very different to me as I ponder if our second daughter is already out there somewhere...

Somewhere Out There
Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram

Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moon light
Someone's thinking of me, and loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there, someone's saying a prayer,
That we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star.
And when the night winds start to sing their lonesome lullaby,
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky.

Somewhere out there, if love can see us through.
Then we'll be together, somewhere out there,
Out where dreams come true...

Goodnight all. I hope to update my blog with pics, new designs, etc, soon! It's pretty blah right now....but my life is far from blah! God is good and I am so excited to see what He has in store for our ever growing family!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hardcore Generosity

So for the past few weeks our church has been sharing the message of "Hardcore Generosity." Each message seemed to pull at my heartstrings in a particular way but I kept pushing it back thinking "nah, I'm just making it up in my head." I kept thinking "what's more hardcore than adopting a child, saving them from an oppressive life and giving them a life of love?" Well God is good to verify a vision if you ask Him to do so... Long story short, Pete and I have decided to pursue adoption! We are filling out our paperwork this week in hopes to start our "paper pregnancy" soon! More details to follow, including the way all of this came to be (totally a God thing) and how we plan to proceed on this journey... In the meantime I am meditating on these scriptures and lyrics...

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families." Pslams 68:5-6

"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

"Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows." Isaiah 1:17

"And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me." Matthew 18:5

Everlasting God (lyrics)

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
Our God, you reign forever
Our hope, our strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
You do not grow faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles....

Please pray for us as we embark on this exciting journey...