Not my will, but your's be done.

Friday, December 31, 2010

It's New Year's Eve. 2010 has been an amazing year for the Carlin family. While Josh didn't make any more money than in years past(in fact he made less than in 2009), and our house isn't any bigger, we don't have any new cars(or any new used cars, for that matter), and our bank account is still just as small as it used to be...I can still honestly say this was the most awesome year ever. God has been working over time in our little family. He's opened our eyes and our hearts to new things. He has lead us down a completely unexpected path, and has blessed us every minute of our new journey. There is no other place I rather be, than right where God has us at this very moment.

I don't want to give you the impression that this year has been a problem free bed of roses, because it hasn't. We've had our fair share of rough patches. Going through rough patches is very different when you are in the center of God's will though. I'm not minimizing the roughness of the things we've gone through; I am maximizing the goodness of God to see us through those rough patches.

I almost hate for this year to end. But with 2011 come incredible new adventures and the blessings that come with them. After the year we have had this year, I can only imagine what wonderful things the Lord has in store for us for this next year!

My prayer for you, for the new year, is that you will find yourself smack dab in the middle of God's will for your life. That you will follow him radically and without abandon. And that you will experience the amazing peace that comes from knowing that you are loved by the creator of the universe.

2011 is going to rock!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Almost Done...

with our dossier!!

We are done with all our immigration paper work and fingerprinting. I had my fingerprinting appointment on Monday, and Josh had his done today. The poor thing had to work all night last night. He got home at 8 this morning and slept for about 3 hours before he had to get up and drive to Houston to be fingerprinted. When I woke him up late this morning I noticed that he had bandaids on two of his fingertips. I almost had a heart attack! I figured he had cut himself during the night while he was working. You can NOT be fingerprinted if you have any cuts on your fingers. But I freaked for nothing. His hands just had little cracks by his nail bed from his skin being dry. I sprouted 2 new gray hairs for nothing. Besides the whether being awful to drive in, everything went smooth with his little trip to Houston and back. We are all done with our USCIS stuff!

Now we are just waiting on our I-171H, which is our official USCIS approval. This can take weeeeeks, but I am praying that we have it back in 2-3 weeks. I would really love to have our dossier in the mail in about 2 weeks, so that it has time to get to where it's going, get translated, and be fully ready to be submitted to the SDA as soon as they re-open at the beginning of February. It is looking doubtful that we will have our immigration approval by mid-January, but that's what I'm praying for.

There are a handful of papers that need to be notarized. By now we are getting really good at having papers notarized, so this is no biggie at all. Earlier this week we got the copy of our 2009 taxes from the IRS. I was so stoked!! I was starting to really worry that something was wrong and it wasn't coming. Several new gray hairs over this also. But, it's here, so I can stop worrying. I think the gray hair is here to stay, unfortunately.

The best news of all, though, is that we FINALLY got Josh's employment letter from the HR department. And miracles of all miracles, it was actually done correctly! It's really hard to explain to someone, in writing, the exact way that these documents have to be done. God had his hand on it though, because it was done great and has already been approved by the team in Daniel's country that checks all documents.

Tomorrow we will be having that handful of papers notarized, and then I will be sending a big stack of documents off to Austin in the mail to be apostilled. I'm really nervous about doing this, but I'm just going to have to trust that it will be ok.

Sick ward update:
Ray is doing great. The baby is doing much better. Still snotty, but no fever and he seems to feel much better. I, on the other hand, have developed a yeast infection in my right breast. I have never had any issue like this before and it is not fun. It feels like Kellen has a mouth full of razor blades when he nurses. Ouch! To make matters worse, my right boob is my good boob, when it comes to nursing. I'm a jersy cow on that side, so he does 3/4 of his nursing on that side. Sigh. Tomorrow I am going to get some purple medicine my sister told me about that should clear it up.

I'm doing the final touches on having all of Daniel's stuff set up and ready for his arrival. I plan on having it done in a week. January 7 is orthodox Christmas, so it'll be my little Christmas present to him to have all his stuff completely ready.

Gotta run! The baby is fussing to nurse and I can't avoid it any longer. Time to bite the bullet.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Past Week

What a whirlwind the past week has been! Last Sunday morning, Ray woke up sick. Her symptoms mimicked her illness from a little over a month ago. You know the one that landed her in the hospital for 5 days?! Nothing hurt. Just a super high fever. I'm not even going to mention how high, lest some of you mothers might faint. Let's just say, that her doctor said that she gets the award for highest fever that he has seen this over a degree. Yikes! Anyway, similar to before, no aches or pains, just a super high fever accompanied by just feeling awful, as you can imagine. This time, we pumped her as full of fluids as we possibly could from the get go, and luckily we narrowly missed hospitalization. Praise the Lord for that though, because she would have most likely still have been in the hospital on Christmas. The doctor confirmed that it was indeed another severe UTI. He set her up with an appointment with a pediatric urologist at Texas Children's Hospital, since no doctor around here will do the bladder test that she needs done, under sedation.

By Christmas Eve she was finally fever free, but still felt yucky. She is just now almost back to normal. Poor girl was sick.

And now little brother is sick. He got a snotty nose that progressed to a full blown cold. He now has fever and just looks plain terrible. I can tell the poor little guy feels rotten. Add to the equation the vote that was supposed to take place mid-week last week, and needless to say, I haven't gotten much sleep for over a week. Josh got up at about 7:30 this morning and took over sick baby duty, so that I could get a few hours of sleep. I slept like the dead for 3 hours straight. I could have slept until noon, but I was afraid at what I would find when I emerged from my bedroom.

The past week hasn't been all bad though. In fact, in spite of the sickness and stress of the vote, it has been a very good week. The good news about Daniel's country not voting to close, in itself, over shadowed any other problems that we were facing.

The vote news was not the only good news that we received this past week though. I don't know if you have taken a look at Daniel's grant through Reece's Rainbow lately, but it has grown ALOT in the past week. And when I say alot, I mean like, took an $11,000 jump! Yes, seriously, I do mean




Josh and I spent a couple of days with our jaws on the ground and at a loss for words. We have trusted from the very beginning that God would provide funding for our adoption. He promised to provide, if we would just obey him and walk by faith in the direction he called us. Even though we believed that he would do it, it is only human nature to question him at times. I found myself praying things like, Uh, God. You know how you said you would provide and all? Well, we are getting closer and closer to traveling time and we are still about 20,000 dollars short. I'm just wondering when you were planning on provided that, because I'm kinda thinking sooner would be better than later.

Silly me, so quickly forgets how he has been faithful to provided for every single step of our journey thus far. Why in the world would he stop providing now? Oh, me of little faith. In a matter of just a couple of days, the amount of funds we needed was more than slashed in half. We are right at $8000 dollars away from what we need for our adoption to be completely funded. Josh and I continue to marvel at all that God has done in our lives in just over two months since we commited to adopt Daniel. We've lived a lifetime, and it's been amazing. It hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't trade this journey for anything in the world. We have been able to sit back and just watch God's hand at work in our lives. That, my friends, is priceless. To know that we are in the center of God's will for our lives, and that he is using us for his good pleasure, does not hold a candle to any other victory that I have accomplished on my own.

I want to thank all of you who have chosen to be a part of this journey with us, either through donations, prayer, encourgement, or some other form of support. It has been overwhelming to see God's people rally together. I LOVE how God has used each and every one of you in your own unique way. This is not just our journey and our story. For each of you who have joined with us in your own way, this is now your story too. God has used you to fulfill his command to care for orphans. We just can't thank you enough.

Ok, I'm going to run before I start getting emotional. Hopefully, I will get a chance to post some Christmas pictures soon.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who prayed so fervently about the vote. God has heard our prayers and is acting on the behalf of those little ones!! Thank you, Lord!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vote News!!

The vote did NOT take place. While they did discuss the bill, they either chose not to, or did not have time, to vote on it. It will be rescheduled for sometime after the new year. The GREAT part is, when they do vote, it is going to be a vote about whether or not Daniel's country will join the Hague convention, NOT a vote about closing adoptions with the United States. Praise God!!

As of right now, we are not sure what the ramifications will be to our adoption, if/when they decide to join the Hague convention. There are some "worst case senarios" floating around, but I honestly don't think that any of them will keep us from Daniel in the long run. So while the time table is a bit unsure as to when we will be able to get to Daniel, it is looking like we will definitely be able to get to him at some point. And best case senario is that our adoption will continue with a hitch(this is very much a possibility), and that we will be traveling to get him in March-ish.

I will post more in the future about why Daniel's country joining Hague would actually be a good thing, but for right now, please continue to pray that our adoption will be able to continue without delays.

PRAISE THE LORD, for no permanant closures!!!!! That news is the best Christmas present ever!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lastest Vote News

Bill 4313(relating to a possible halt in adoptions from Daniel's country) is scheduled for a second reading and vote on December 23 in the morning. If it gets postponed again the earliest it can be rescheduled is the week of January 11-14.

Please continue to pray that the bill is changed to continue to allow the adoptions of children with special needs, or that it is voted down completely.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Part 2

I'm so sorry that part 2 of our adoption story has been such a long time coming. When I wrote part 1 I really intended to finish the story in the next day or two, but I didn't get the chance so it kind of got pushed to the side. If you missed part 1 or need a refresher you can read it here. As Paul Harvey would say, And now, the rest of the story....

July 1, 2010

The majority of this day was probably like any other. Typical Texas summer day. Hot and humid. We probably went swimming. I don't recall what we had for dinner or what particular activities we did that day. It was just a normal day.

That evening, after the kids were in bed, I got on the computer and was surfing around. I ended up on blogger, which was a rare thing for me those days. I had been so sick and tired during my pregnancy with Kellen, that I pretty much quit blogging and reading blogs all together. It was during my pregnancy though, that God started doing some amazing things in mine and Josh's life spiritually. Looking back I see that God was just paving the road to where he was leading us. I love how he does that. Rarely does he just drop a radical life altering plan on his children, without first preparing their hearts.

So there I was, surfin' the net, and I started to do the blog hop. To this day, I'll never know how I ended up on the blog that changed everything. I've gone back in my mind several times and tried to figure out how I ended up there, but I can't figure it out. I guess I followed the blog chain somehow and God guided my clicks.

I found myself on the blog of an adoptive mother who had recently returned from Eastern Europe with her two new daughters in tow. If you will remember, I hadn't read any adoption blogs for over a year. I casually began reading the post I had been linked to. It was a heavy hearted post. She talked about the conditions that her daughters had lived in when they were orphans.

She talked about laying rooms.

And medicated children.

And urine soaked cribs.

And institutions.

And neglect.

And dehydration.

And then she showed pictures of the ones she had to leave behind.

It was too much for my heart to bear. I sat at the computer sobbing. While I had always had a special place in my heart for orphans, I had never felt anything like this. The grief I felt for "the least of these" felt unbearable. The scales had been removed from my eyes, and I felt so utterly overwhelmed by the desparate nature of their situation. I didn't even have that, "I have got to DO something" feeling yet. I just felt grief.

I was still sitting there crying when Josh walked in. Crying is not a regular thing for me, and he looked shocked to see me that way. He tried to comfort me and asked what was wrong. I just mumbled that I had read something sad and that I was going to take a shower.

I stood in the shower crying and praying. At first I didn't even know what to pray because I just felt so sad. Something in my heart had been changed and I was pretty sure that I could not just go on being the same person I was before. I had no idea what I could do, but I knew that I had to do something.

I prayed,
Lord, my heart is so full. I can't sit and do nothing. You have got to put mine and Josh's hearts on the same page. Give us the same desire, whatever that desire may be.

After praying, the best I could through the emotions of my broken heart, I got out of the shower feeling the Lord's peace. He would work his will in our lives in his timing. I got dressed and walked back in to our bedroom to find Josh's sitting in front of the computer crying. Hard. Apparently, I left the blog post I just read was still pulled up on the computer screen. When I got in the shower, Josh had sat down and read what I had just read. I found him in the same state that I had just been in. His heart was broken. He turned to me and said, "We HAVE to do something. Now." I told him that he really didn't have a clue as to how much adoptions from Eastern Europe cost. I explained that from the research I had done in years past, that adoptions from those countries are expensive and the travel is long and you have to make more than one trip to adopt. I totally expected this to deter him. Money had been the main issue when we had discussed adoption in the past. I saw hurting children. He saw dollar signs. Lots and lots of dollar signs. Dollar signs that represented money that we did not have, or have any hopes of having anytime soon. Being that he is the sole provider for our family, I don't really blame him for being concerned with the money aspect of such a huge commitment.

So I reminded him of all those dollar signs that were floating in front of his eyes the last time we broached the topic of adoption. It didn't deter him in the slightest. He said that he didn't care about the money, that we "had to do whatever it takes" to get to those children and rescue them.

Where had my husband gone, and who was this man?? Had the Lord seriously answered the prayer I had just prayed like 5 minutes ago in the shower? The same prayer that I had prayed over a year ago when I surrendered my adoption desires to the Lord? When I had prayed it I truly thought that I was giving up my dream for good. Now God was giving it back to me. Josh was not only fully on board with adopting, he was passionate about rescuing orphans. God ignited something in Josh's heart that my poking, proding, and pushing never could have. My best efforts might have gotten Josh to reluctantly go along with my wishes. But the Holy Spirit had lit a flame in him that no one on earth could put out.

In the months that have passed since that time, Josh's passion hasn't wavered in the slightest. The hand of God writing on the wall could not have made the Lord's call for us to adopt any clearer. We have never doubted it for one minute. We may have had times of discouragement and fear, but never have we questioned if this was truly were God has lead us. I don't think that it is possible for God to have made it any clearer to us. It took a couple of months for me to navigate through my fears of what all adoption from Eastern Europe entails, but once again, Josh never wavered for one moment. We had no clue how God's plan would be accomplished in our life. It seemed so incredibly impossible. But we have been shown, time and time again, that with God, all things are possible.

The end of this story is yet to be written. I fully believe that the Lord's hand will continue to be on us as we follow him in obedience. There are still aspects of this adoption that terrify me, but I trust that God will give me the strength to obey him. In spite of the fears, I look forward to the rest of this journey. I long for the day when I can hold my little boy in my arms. God is good, and he is able to do exceedingly more than I could ask or even imagine. Praise be to the one who fulfills my dreams in ways I never thought possible. He is truly the giver of all good things. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us in the months to come.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I overheard....

Luke and Ray talking this morning.
Luke: "I'm adopting a boy and girl from China. Where are you adopting from?"
Ray: "I'm adopting a sister from Hong Kong."(Poor thing. That girl needs a sister.)
Luke: "Ohhhh. Does she have a special need?"

From the other room I was cracking up! But I was also smiling. From the very beginning of this adoption journey, months before we committed to Daniel, Josh said that he thought it would be awesome if one day our children chose to carry on our family's ministry by choosing to adopt children of their own.

We want nothing more for our children than to love the Lord with their whole heart and follow where he leads them. Whether that means they are the CEO of a large company, or a trash man, we want nothing more for them than to be in the center of God's will....where ever that may lead them.

Hearing them talk about where they want to adopt their future children(or sisters) from, warms my heart that they already developing a heart for the things of God. If God leads them to adopt one day, I will be one happy grandma!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paperchase Update

Well, the 5 Days of Christmas Giveaway is over, and boy was it fun! The Josh, the kids, and I had the best time drawing the winners every evening. Thank you again to everyone who contributed!

Now for the paperwork update:
-We got our completed homestudy. It, and the other paperwork that goes with it, were approved by the team that looks over the documents in Daniel's country to make sure that the SDA will accept them. That is GOOD news.
-Sent a notarized copy of our homestudy to USCIS to join our Application for Advanced Processing of an Orphan Petition, which has already been submitted and received.
-I called USCIS to see if our case had been assigned and officer. The lady I talked to said that it hadn't. The next step with our immigration paperwork is to be given and appointment to be fingerprinted with the F.B.I. The lady said that our case wouldn't be assigned an officer until they had received our homestudy(I hadn't sent it yet, at this point). Once they had our homestudy they would assign us an officer and then schedule us for our fingerprints. I was a bit disheartened to hear that. It would take several weeks for them to receive our homestudy, assign us an officer, and then schedule our fingerprints. AFTER our fingerprints are done it can take several weeks to get the "all clear" from that. AFTER that they will make a decision about whether or not they will approve us to bring Daniel into the country. Needless to say, we wouldn't be getting our approval by the beginning of February, which is when we were hoping to have our dossier submitted to the SDA. Quite a process.
Instead of hanging up the phone and crying(which is what I felt like doing), I explained to the lady over the phone that we were adopting a waiting child and told her from what country. I went on to tell her that said country is considering closing all adoptions with the US. The lady said that she knew about that, and then told me to hold on. She came back a few minutes later and said "I hope you weren't planning on going out of town for Christmas, because your fingerprint appointment is December 27th and 3:00."
WHAT?!?! I freaked out!! I almost did a back flip, and I can't even do back flips!! That lady is my new best friend, and I don't even know her name! She was very sweet and told us good luck with everything! She even laughed at Ray crowing like a rooster in the back ground. I hung up the phone and paced around the kitchen for about 15 minutes saying "Praise the Lord!" over and over and over. I'm pretty sure that Josh thought I had lost my mind for good this time! I'm thinking that it is looking good for us to get our approval paper by the end of January. At least that's what I'm praying for!

-I faxed in Josh's medical paperwork and my re-done medical paperwork to be checked over. Mine passed. Josh's didn't. Apparently there was a small marking that resembled a possible scratch out, so Josh's had to be re-done. I despise bringing paperwork back to be re-done. The dr's office was nice about it though, and even did it that day. I faxed Josh's re-done medical to be checked, and it was approved. Done with all the medical stuff. 'Bout time.

-We got our notarized state criminal background checks in the mail. They passed the check too.

-Applied for two grants. Heard back from one saying that they are on hold for the rest of the year and not giving out any more grants and to check back with them after the first of the year. Haven't heard anything from the other one. With our adoption being independant, as opposed to through an agency, we are VERY limited as to what grants we can apply for. In fact, there aren't many at all who even accept applications from people who are adopting independantly. Sigh.

-STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN THE LETTER WE NEED FROM JOSH'S WORK. I'm getting frustrated and irritated, to put it nicely. They payroll lady tracked down someone who was willing to do the document. So I gathered ALL the necessary paperwork and included very. specific. instructions. The secretary at Josh's office overnighted it to the HR lady who said that she would do the document.
She never did it.
Now all the paperwork I sent her has expired. I had to do somemore and bring it back up to Josh's office. Still waiting to hear something about it. I'm ready to get it back because I have a VERY strong feeling that it isn't going to be done right, so we'll have to have it redone. Just call it a hunch.

-Luke's room(which won't just be Luke's room for long!) is fully ready for the arrival of his brother! There are bunk bed AND a toddler bed. Ray graduated to a big bed, at the same time that we got bunk beds for Luke and Daniel. I hated to take apart the toddler bed, since Kellen will be in it in a year or so, so I just found a place for it in Luke's room. When Daniel gets here we will probably put him in the toddler bed for a while, since that it what he's used to, and then transition him to the bottom bunk. For now, Ray has claimed the bottom bunk. She has slept in it every night since we set it up. She sleeps better now that she sleeps in the same room with Luke. Guess she didn't like being alone, poor thing.
Beside the beds being all set up,we also had a chest of drawers given to us and we put it in the boys room. I cleaned out Luke's closet and we are fully prepared for Daniel to get here! I even have a few clothes in the dresser. All we need now, is Daniel....

We are SOOOO close to being done with our dossier. We just need the letter from Josh's work. Our immigration approval. A notarized copy of our 2009 taxes(waiting for that to come in the mail...You can say a prayer that it gets here soon!). And a notarized copy of our actual Petition of Adoption. And then we are DONE, baby!! 3 of those 4 documents I am waiting to come to us, the adoption petition can be done anytime. We just need to fix some of the wording on the document we have and then get it notarized and that's that. SO CLOSE to being done with the paperwork.

Of course all of these documents will have to be apostilled in Austin, but I've gotten pretty good at that by now. I can actually do it by mail this time, if we get all the paperwork in time.

Prayer request of the week:
-That we get the letter from Josh's work
-We get the copy of our taxes from the IRS(I requested it around the end of October and they said that it can take up to 60 days to receive it. It has almost been 60 days, so I'm starting to get nervous. I don't have 60 more days to apply from another one.)
-The vote next week. I haven't heard anymore news about it since I posted that it had been postponed from this week to next week.

I really do plan on finishing the story of how God called us to adopt. I got busy with the drawings and just haven't done it yet. Maybe tomorrow....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

3 Winners!!

And the winner of the candles is.....


Now, for the extra prizes!!

First we have a pretty blue and yellow bracelet.
I bought this bracelet off of etsy as a part of another family's adoption fundraiser. Isn't it pretty? The colors are for Down syndrome awareness. The neat thing is, those are also the colors of the flag of Daniel's birth country. Neat, eh? I think so. The lucky winner of this sweet bracelet is....


The last prize is 4 flower hair clips.
I got them thinking that I was going to get into some kind of bow business. Then I realized....that I wasn't. The lucky winner of all four of these cute bows is.....

(She actually has a little girl, so that worked out perfect!)

Thank you very much to those of you who participated in the 5 Days of Christmas Drawing! Your donations have blessed us beyond measure. I truly wish that I could have given a prize to everyone.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

And the bracelet goes to...


Tomorrow is the last day of the drawing. I will be drawing for the candles! I also may throw in another goodie or two while I'm at it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And the Christmas Chest goes to...


I will be drawing for the bracelet tomorrow evening!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And the next winner is...


Sorry for the late post. We went took the kids to the Live Nativity and went looking at Christmas lights. Just got home and got everyone bathed and in their pj's.

I'll post the winner for tomorrow's drawing around the same time tomorrow night. Exciting!!

Just in case you needed an incentive...

Pretty, eh?

Day 2 of the 5 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Later today we will draw for the winner of the diamond earrings!! While the diamond ring may be gone, it still isn't too late to enter the drawing. We still have diamond earrings, a Christmas chest, a gorgeous bracelet, and some blinged out candles to giveaway! Plus, I just may add a few goodies to the last day of the drawing.....

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 10, 2010

And the winner is......


Day 1 of the drawing later today!

Only 6 more hours until a winner is drawn for the diamond ring!! There is still time to enter if you haven't done so already!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good news on the vote!!

On November 30 two amendments to the bill were filed. While we do not know what the amendments are, but we are PRAYING that it changes the bills in a way that will allow the adoptions of special needs children to continue. After this, the vote was scheduled for the morning of December 16.

Today the vote has been pushed back to the week of December 21-24!! This is wonderful news! We are PRAYING that the date being pushed back means that they are taking the time to change the bill before it is voted on again, instead of passing it in its current status.

The Legal Division of Daniel's country has already recommended that the bill be rejected as is, because it will cause conflict with other area of the Family Code that are not being changed.

While the fight is not over yet, this is progress in the right direction!

Continue to pray that the bill will be rejected as it is!
Pray that the ammendment that have been filed leave room for the children who WILL NOT be adopted in their own country to still be allowed to be adopted by families in the United States.


The lives of HUNDREDS of children depend on it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2 more days!

Only two more days to get your entries in for the 5 Days of Christmas Giveaway! I will draw around 5:30 on Friday evening for the winner of the diamond ring!

Remember, even if you don't need a diamond ring, the diamond in this ring is the perfect size to be made in to a diamond pendant necklace, and then you could sell the gold to Cash for Gold!

AND, if you don't win the diamond ring on Friday, your name is still in the hat for the other 4 days of drawings!! You just can't beat that!

Now stay tuned for part 2 of our adoption story. I promise that it is coming soon!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I think it's time to share....

our story.

Our adoption story. How this whole journey began and why. This could be a novel, so I'm going to do my best to summarize and just hit the high points. We'll see how that goes.

I've wanted to adopt...for like, forever. I had a desire to adopt long before I ever had the desire for biological children. I wasn't one of those typical girls growing up who day dreamed about their wedding, and their future children. I never sat around wondering how many kids I would have and what their names would be. I just didn't. I didn't not like kids. I baby sat alot as a teenager and was comfortable around kids and thought babies were cute. But I didn't desire children or motherhood. I was super boy crazy, so there was no doubt that there would be marriage in my future(hopefully sooner, than later), but the whole white-picked-fence-stay-at-home-mommy-of-several-children thing? Um, no thanks. A hot husband and a cool career was pretty much my life goals as a teenager. One day, when I was married, successful, and ancient(like 35), I would have a couple of kids. I had no real desire to give birth, so I thought it would be cool to adopt. Help someone less fortunate or whatnot. So when I became this really old dried up 35 year old, I just adopt me a couple of a kids. That was my plan.

Then college came around, and after a couple of years of trying to head down the career path that I thought I wanted, it came to decision making time. The career I was pursing was 7 day a week(usually), 12-15 hours a day, high stress, life consuming job, that didn't leave room for a family. Not only that, but it was going to take me a good 8 years or so, from that point, to finish all the necessary schooling, training, and qualifications, to be able to achieve my desired career. By that point(about 20 or 21 years old), I was starting to feel my first motherly pangs. I started thinking, maybe it would be cool to be a mom one day(not that I had despised the idea before that, it just had not ever been something I had given much thought to). So I decided to abandon my career dreams and pursue a more "family friendly" career. Teacher education. That sounded like a good career for someone who was going to possibly be a mom one day. Plenty of family time in the evenings and weekends and summers, because Lord knows I wouldn't be staying at home, homeschooling or anything crazy like that. Sometimes it's fun to look back at the plans I had for myself and just laugh.

Over the next couple of years my desire to have children grew, but the desire to adopt never faded. After Luke was born you would think that the completely amazing and forever life changing experience of becoming a mother would diminish any previous desire I had to adopt a child. But it did just the opposite. After Luke's birth it was like a switch flipped in me. I began to realize what an amazing gift a child is. An utter miracle. The idea that there were children out there somewhere in the world that didn't have parents that felt about them how I felt about Luke, was appalling to me. I would love that child, where ever he or she may be. That warm fuzzy feeling of "it would be so neat to adopt one day", turned in to a burning desire of "I KNOW adoption is in my future". I knew that I was capable of deeply loving a child that I didn't give birth to. I wanted to be a mother to a child whose mother either couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't want to be a mother.

Josh and I get married and over the next several years the topic of adoption is brought up. Often. I won't say that Josh completely resisted, but he wasn't passionate about it like I was. We'll just say that he was ambivalent, at best.

We had Raylen. That didn't slow me down too much. I dropped bits of adoption information here and there. I knew that it was not the right time for us to adopt right then, but I didn't want Josh to think that I had lost interest. I guess I thought if he heard it mentioned enough, that it would get stuck in his brain or something. He was still ambivalent though.

Then we had Treyson. I stayed in a grief induced mental and emotional fog for months after his death. Once the fog lifted, I was back on the adoption train. FULL FORCE this time. Treyson showed me how short life is and that it must be lived to the fullest. I did not want to live my life with regrets. I was so wounded from the loss of Treyson, that while I still had a desire for another child, I was unsure if I ever wanted to be pregnant again. That made the thought of adoption even more appealing. I was adoption crazed! I read adoption websites, adoption blogs, adoption anything I could get my hands on. I showed Josh videos and articles and pictures. Still, there was nothing but a polite, "That's cool", on his part. The more I pushed, the more he resisted.

Before you go thinking that Josh is heartless or anything, he is actually the exact opposite. He is a very tenderhearted person with the spiritual gifts of service and mercy. He has such a servant's heart and is always putting other's needs before himself. That is why it baffled me that he wasn't completely on board with this adoption thing. He felt sorry for orphans and the less fortunate and had a desire to help them, but it wasn't the permanant kind of help that I had in mind. The best I could get out of him, as far as a commitment to adopt, was that one day a long time away when we had more money a bigger house and older kids, he might consider us adopting. And let's just face it, the only reason I got that much out of him is because Josh rarely tells me no to anything. This was his way out of committing to something he didn't want to do, yet not have to straight up tell me "no". (oh, and did I mention that the man doesn't like confrontation, either?)

By this point I was really frustrated. I was passionate about adopting one day, and Josh just plain wasn't. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Here I was with a deep passion for something that I thought that God had called me to do one day, yet it seemed like that day would never come. I couldn't force Josh into agreeing to adopt. That has to be something that you go into in complete agreement. And even if I could get him to agree to it, that wasn't the way I wanted to do it. That wouldn't be fair to a child. I wanted Josh to be just as passionate about the whole thing as I was, but he wasn't.

I was faced with a decision. I could either 1. Continue down the path I was on of trying to convince Josh that adoption was a wonderful thing and we needed to do it in a couple of years, or 2. Let go and give it to God.

As much as the thought pained me, I knew that the right thing to do was to give it to God. That meant, completely taking my hands off of it, and trusting that if God had truly called me to adopt, then he would call my husband to the same thing at some point.

So on April 29th, 2009, I gave my desires to adopt to the Lord and stopped trying to control my husband and force him in to MY calling. If you are wondering how I know the exact date, it is because I journaled it in my spiritual journal. I don't journal alot, usually only fervent prayer requests and petitions to the Lord, and other major things. But this was a major thing to me. On this day I completely let go of it. As painful as I anticipated it being, it really wasn't. It was freeing. It was no longer my issue. I prayed that God would give Josh and I the same vision, in regards to adoption, whatever that vision may be. I was truly willing to give up my dream, if that was what God had for me.

Giving it to God gave me so much peace. I quit the research. I quit the adoption blogs and websites. I quit talking to Josh about it. I quit dwelling on it all together. I thought that this would be very hard, but really it wasn't. I had full faith that if it was meant to be, that the Lord would give it back to me, this time with Josh on board. And if it wasn't meant to be, then that meant that he had something even better planned for my life. Because he does know best, you know?

Surrender, again.

Two months later, I found out that I was pregnant with Kellen. It briefly crossed my mind that maybe this was somehow God's final answer about the whole adoption thing. That thought hurt, but I chose to trust that whatever his will was, that was best.

The months rolled by. No adoption talk. No adoption thoughts. If I heard of someone adopting I would think that it was wonderful for them, but in the back of my mind I thought that that was probably all it would ever be. Someone else's adoption story. If the Lord was calling me to minister in another way, then I was willing to do it.




Then July 1, 2010 happened.

And I will never be the same.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ramblings of the wounded

If you've been following my blog lately you've heard me mention the legislative stuff going on in Daniel's country. I haven't talked about it in a whole lot of detail, and the reason for that is because it is too upsetting for me to think about in detail. If you've been following my blog since the beginning you may have noticed that I never really talked about Treyson's birth and passing in great detail on my blog. To write about it in detail means that I would have to dwell on it. While my thoughts are never very far from Treyson, I don't really think about the hard parts for too terribly long. One of the ways that I survived my grief when we lost Treyson was to think about the good parts and all the ways God had blessed us, taught us, and changed us for the better through the process. While my mind would stray to the hard parts now and then, I wouldn't stay and dwell on it. It was just plain too hard. Today marks 2 and a half years since we lost Treyson, and it is still too hard. My mind is well trained to shift back to the blessings when it has taken a wrong turn down memory lane. They say that time heals all wounds, but I don't think that it so. I think time helps take the sting out of wounds and allows us to learn how to manage our loss, but the pain never fully goes away. I'm okay with that though. The depth of my pain is a reflection of the depth of my love for Treyson. Without the great love that I felt, and still feel today, I would not have been driven to pursue the Lord as passionately as I did during my pregnancy with Treyson. That passionate love and earth shattering loss helped shaped me in to who I am today. The Lord used every step of that journey to draw me closer to him like never before. To show me how deep and wide his love for me truly is. And to teach me that even in my darkest moments, that he will never leave my side.

Countless times during my pregnancy with Treyson, after we had gotten the news that he would not live long once he was born, I told the Lord, "I can't do this!! I won't survive if I have to just helplessly watch him die!! I love him! Please take this cup from me!!"

It was out of these pleading with the Lord that my blog was born.


I begged the Lord to heal Treyson and take that cup from me. But I finally surrendered and said, "but not MY will, but YOUR'S be done."

And it was. His will was done, and in the end it was all to his glory. Does that mean it was easy? Heck no! But in God's strength, not my own, I was able to survive that loss. He gave me the strength to handle the one thing that I said I could never handle: Lose a child.

In praying for Daniel and the legislative vote looming ahead, I found myself pleading with the Lord in alot of the same way I did for Treyson. I heard myself saying, "God I just can't do this! You just have to intervene because I can't survive if we aren't able to adopt Daniel!! I love him!!"

Not only was my prayers very similar to when I was pregnant with Treyson, but when I think of Daniel's country closing it's doors to adoption before we finalize our adoption, I feel alot of the same emotions I felt while pregnant with Treyson. I know that alot of people may not understand that, but it is true. I love Daniel already. I love him like he is mine. God placed a love for him in mine and Josh's heart that is just the same as it is for our other children. God picked Daniel especially for us. Daniel's life has a purpose. He is our child.

But so was Treyson. And even though it was for one brief hour here on earth, Treyson's life had a purpose too. It terrifies me to think that Daniel's purpose just might not entail ever making it to our home to be a part of our family. We fully believe that God is all powerful and can do anything he desires in this situation. But I would be a fool to try to claim that I know exactly what God's purpose is for Daniel's life right now.

I don't at all mean to be a downer or sound like I am throwing the towel in and giving up. Not at all!! If anything, I am trying to express the gravity of the legislative bill that will be voted on and the importance of prayer! With God, all things are possible! So please commit to pray that God will have his hands on the heart of the people who will be voting on the bill in a couple of weeks. I am linking to a post on a blog that I love. She is an excellent writer and does a much better job at urging folks to pray. In fact, I probably should have just linked to her blog first so that you could have skipped my blabbering. I don't do emotional blog posts too often, but this just seemed like the right time. This blog is excellent if you are even remotely interested in adoption. And I recommend it very highly to those who AREN'T interested in adoption. Adeye just might show you a thing or two. God has used Adeye in our life in a HUGE way. I think I need to blog about that soon too.....

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Soup for Brains

It took me until last night to realize what the date was. I spent all day yesterday thinking that it was December 5th. I should have known to check the date because I woke up that morning thinking that it was a week days.(I don't know what week day I was thinking it was, I just thought it was one of 'em.) As I sat nursing the baby I was planning out our school day.(Yes, sometimes the school days doesn't fully get planned out until that morning. Doesn't happen regularly, but lately it has a little more than usual. Sue me. ;) ) Anyway, it didn't take me long to realize that it was Saturday. The thought did occur to me though that maybe I would have the kids do school anyway since we've missed a day here and there due to adoption preparation. (I'm horrible, right?) But alas, the kids woke up knowing that it was Saturday, so my plan was foiled.

Since yesterday was only the 4th, TODAY is actually 5 days until the 5 Days of Christmas Giveaway! I think D Week fried my brain! In spite of the brain frying effects, I will say that D Week was a roaring success!! We did have some bumps along the way, but that's life, right? I've also learned that when you choose to follow the Lord down the road less traveled, that Satan goes into full attack mode. But he can't fool me. I know who defeats him in the end, and I am constantly reminding him of that fact. Despite his best effort, THIS battle belongs to the Lord. NOTHING is going to stop me from going where the Lord has commanded us to go. My little boys life depends on it.

I have more good news too! Apparently I am not the only adult in our household that is free of HIV, syphillis, TB, and mental illness! Yay for Josh's sanity! I've questioned it several times, because of his undying love and devotion towards me that only sees to grow as the years go by. I tend to wonder if a man that knows me as well as he does, and yet loves me completely unconditionally, can truly be sane. But apparently, he is. Nice to know. That man truly does have the patience of Job. I am continually tempted to put him up on a pedastal, but the Lord is constantly reminding me not to do this with any person. Jesus is the only one who I should have up on a pedastal.

This adoption journey has knocked a few people off the pedastal that I had them on. I knew when we chose to obey the Lord by following where he was leading us, down this international adoption path, I knew that not everyone in our lives would agree with our decision. You can't please everyone. It's just a fact of life. I knew there would be resistance, even among some of our family. Sometimes that is the cost for following Christ, even some of your family and loved ones disagree with your decision. Josh and I both not only expected this, but we were prepared for it. What I didn't expect was a few of the people that I really look up to spiritually, to be against us adopting. THAT surprised me. The mandate in scripture to care for orphans is plain and simple, not vauge and left open for interpretation. Not only that, but the call that God gave Josh and I individual is crystal clear. I guess when the Lord speaks to you so very clearly, you expect the spiritual giants in your life to automatically get that. 8 or 9 out of the 10 or so people that I personally know and respect their walk with the Lord deeply, are very supportive of us. But there are one or 2 out there that choose to sit on the sidelines, instead of being a part of this amazing journey with us. God is all over this adventure so far, and I hate that they are missing out on the blessings that the Lord has heaped upon us, simply for choosing to obey.

Nay-sayers don't bother Josh. All that matters to him is that he is obeying the Lord. That is an awesome quality and I respect that about him. Overall, the Lord's goodness over shadows any disappointment I have over loved ones not being supportive, but my feelings do get hurt at times. I laugh about it at times though, when I think that if they are not supportive of us adopting, what are they going to do when one day God moves our whole family to a mud hut in Guam!!

Anyway, this post is all over the place! I started out not knowing what day it was, and somehow ended up in Guam. Like I said earlier, I think my brain is fried. I think what I started out saying was, that you still have 5 days to enter the giveaway for a bunch of cool goodies! I failed to mention in my last post, that if you facebook, blog, tweet, whatever else, about the giveaway, it will get you an extra entry for how ever many of those you do. I appreciate you getting the word out! Even if a person can only donate a little, alot of little donations can add up to alot! Like I've said before, God can mulitply any donation, large or small!!

My computer has been uncoopertive lately, but if it chooses to behave, I plan on posting a little Q and A sometime this week. I've gotten alot of the same questions about different aspects of our adoption, so I'd love to have a chance to answer those in a public forum.

Make sure you let me know if you blog, tweet, facebook, etc. You can let me know either by commenting in the comment box or by emailing me at

Have a wonderful week!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 5 days of Christmas giveaway!!

We have decided to turn the diamond ring and bracelet giveaway in to an even bigger giveaway, called the 5 days of Christmas!! New items have been added to the giveaway! It is now called The 5 Days of Christmas Giveaway, because something will be given away every day for FIVE days!! Entries in to the giveaway will go like this: $5=1 entry, $25=6 entries. If your name is not drawn on day 1 of the giveaway, then your name will remain in the hat! Now, to view the prizes!!

Day 1 Prize: Diamond Ring!!(December 10th)
Day 2 Prize: Diamond Earrings(December 11th)
This is one of the new entries in the giveaway, and aren't they gorgeous?!?! The diamonds are in a 14k white gold setting. Simply beautiful.
Day 4 Prize: Handcrafted Bracelet(December 13th)
I know I skipped day 3. I uploaded the pics in the wrong order and didn't know how to fix it. I'm not compter savy. Anyway, back to the prizes!!

Day 3 Prize: Blinged-Out Christmas Chest
This chest is perfect to give a Christmas present in, store Christmas decorations, or to use as a decoration itself!! The top has the added touch of just the right amount of bling!!
Here is a picture of the front. It's bigger than it looks in the picture. I'll measure it and post the dimensions.
Oh, wait, those sweeties aren't for sale! They sure are cute though, eh?
Back to the prizes, once again!
Day 5 Prize: Super Cute Pair of Candles(with a touch of bling!)
These candle are lightly scented. I can't really tell the scent. Strawberrish, maybe. I don't like scented stuff much, but these are just the right amount of scent! They would make a great Christmas gift for a lucky winner!
If you have already entered the giveaway, then consider yourself entered across the board for them all! I am so excited about the prizes and I can't wait to draw the winners!! There haven't been a whole lot of entries yet, so the odds are really good of you winning a prize! Get your name in the hat today! You have to use the Chip-in on the side of the page, or donate by cash or check in person. All donations made directly to Reece's Rainbow are annonymous to us, therefore I wouldn't be able to enter you in the giveaway.
Support a great cause and have a great chance at winning some awesome prizes!! Thank you so much to all of you who have donated to the giveaway so far!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Want a letter from Santa?

I have something cute that I'd love to share! Sarah, at Seeking Rainbows is doing a fundraiser for a older boy or girl with Down Syndrome on the Reece's Rainbow site. For a $10 donation, she will send you child a personalized hand written letter from Santa! I know that some families may not do "Santa" and that is completely fine. But maybe you have a little someone in your life(neice, nephew, a friend's child, etc) that believes in Santa and would love to get a letter from him! The idea is super cute, and all proceeds are going to a wonderful cause! Having money in the grants of the children who are waiting really makes a difference when possible parents are looking at them. Money is usually the biggest barrier that keeps people from adopting these special needs children. Help bring down the barrier today by buying a letter from Santa!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Depraved Indifference

It's D Day!!

Or, more acurately, D WEEK. The D I'm talking about is DOCUMENTS. My goal for the week is to be done with all the documents for our dossier, minus our USCIS(immigration approval), and one other document that I am waiting to come in the mail.

Monday was a success. We had a stack of documents signed, notarized, and faxed off for approval(they were all approved, praise the Lord!!). My stomach was in knots the whole time we were working on the papers, but in the end, the notary only messed up on one, which is understandable when you are notarized 20-something documents.

Tuesday we went to Austin....and back. I can't complain though. The kids did amazing!! Although, Ray did have to stop to pee about 17 times on the way there alone. Poor thing. I guess that happens when you have bladder issues.

In Austin we had our state criminal background checks and fingerprinting done, and we had a mountain of papers apostilled. Then we found the closest UPS and sent new Child Specific Petitions and Power of Attorneys to Daniel's country because the batch I overnighted through the postal service STILL HAVEN'T BEEN DELIVERED. Last I tracked the one I just sent they were in Denmark and still and schedule to be delivered tomorrow.

While I didn't meet any other adopting families or Russian speaking hippies while we were at the Secretary of State's office, the lady we worked with was pretty cool. She even knew about Reece's Rainbow and said that shshe loves to look at the kiddos on the website all the time. How crazy is that?! 999 out of 1000 people have never heard of Reece's Rainbow, yet the lady at the Secretary of State's office is a big advocate for them. Amazing!

Today I had our Proof of Home Ownership document done at the County Appraisers office. I scheduled a mobile notary to meet me there. Everything went soooooo smooth. The ladies who worked in the office were very nice and helpful. They did everything just right. The notary was super nice too. Everyone did their part right and the document looks perfect. Until.....I notice that the notary's commisison expires in less than 12 months. That is a big no-no for us. All of our documents have to be notarized by a notary who's commission doesn't expire for at least 12 months. I didn't even think to ask him about that ahead of time. Oh well. Live and learn, right?

Our homestudy is complete except for one little detail. We are waiting on a document from Josh's employer. The document we got from them was done 6 kinds of wrong(yes, seriously), so now getting them to fix it(or even contact me back) is proving to be difficult. Tomorrow I think I'll try calling every hour on the hour until she gets tired of listening to my voicemails. The employment documents is important because what ever income numbers they put in the employment letter has to be the same in the homestudy. The social worker can't complete the homestudy until I get her the numbers. We can't finish our immigration paperwork(which can take a loooooong time to process) until we send them a copy of our COMPLETED homestudy. Frustrating. And confusing. And somewhat stressful(actually it is very stressful, but I'm trying to remain calm since being stressed fixes nothing.)

I'm going to run for tonight. I've got so much more that I am wanting to blog about, but our computer has been on the fritz so I've barely been able to get online the past week or so. Hopefully tomorrow I will be blogging good news tomorrow about how our paperwork was delivered to our facilitator and I got a correct employment letter from Josh's employer. A girl can dream, right?

Also, don't forget to pray about the legislative bill that will close all adoptions between Daniel's country and the United States. It is still scheduled to be voted on sometime between Dec 14-17. There is hope even when it seems hopeless. The battle belongs to the Lord.

"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases."
Proverbs 21:1