Saturday, December 22, 2012

A little heads up...

In hopefully a couple of weeks, we will be re-entering the United States with our son.  We CANNOT wait to introduce him in person, through skype, or even just in pictures to the many, many friends and family who have cheered us on, financially given, or prayed our son home. 

Since Tyson has spent the first five months of his life in the hands of a very loving foster mom, we realize that he will be grieving the loss of his first family.  We will have some time to bond with him while in the DRC, but we will be very intentional once home to continue that bonding period.  

So what does that mean? 

Well, we aren't exactly sure.  But what we DO know is that it is extremely important that Tyson knows WHO are his mom and dad.  We want him to learn to rely solely on us for his needs, so Brian and I will be the only ones feeding, bathing, changing, and holding him.  So when you hold out your hands to hold him, don't be surprised when I squeeze him tighter and instead give you a good ol' high five. 

I know that seems a little weird, but this little one is going to have a LOT of change happen in his life in a short amount of time, including caregivers, country, and pretty much everything else, so our number one concern will be his adjustment and attachment to our family. 

I'm going to ask you to head over here to read this post, because it gives some great insight to life before and after adoptive families bring their children home.  Though each experience is different, Jen Hatmaker, the author, paints a pretty accurate description how to help, what to say, and how to pray.  

Because Tyson is still an infant, our adjustment may be quicker than those who have brought home older children.  Or it may not.  We aren't sure and we're going to take it day by day until we know he's confident that he's in his forever home. 

For the many that have asked if we need anything now....we really don't, unless you want to come give our dogs a bath because they stinking smell like feces.  (Don't worry, Mom Word, they'll be smelling pretty by the time you get here.) 

To our amazing community of friends and family, we are so grateful for you.  You have encouraged, given, and prayed for this day for the last two years.  We love you and would not be at this point without you.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Have Kept All of These Things In My Heart. . .


"They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  All who heard the shepherd's story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often."  Luke 2:17-19


For five months, our son has been in the care of a stranger, in a country thousands of miles away.  Very rarely, once a month at most, have we caught a glimpse of him and even less have we been told about his growth or development.  

So, you can imagine, that we cling to every update we are given, in hopes of learning more about our Tyson.  

When you cannot hold your child in your arms and care for them personally, all you can do is pray.  

We have prayed that since he has entered the foster home, that his foster mama would hold him regularly. 

We have prayed he would be loved.  

We have prayed that his foster family would interact and play with him.

We have prayed he would be healthy.

Every picture and every word that has been spoken of our Tyson, I have held close to my heart.  And though our son is far from the Savior that Mary birthed so many years ago, I resonate with the short passage where Mary's motherhood is so eloquently described.  "She kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often." 

What few things I know of my son, I ponder them often, and because I have so little information about him, it makes me appreciate those small glimpses of him so much more. 

Today, a fellow adoptive parent who is currently in the DRC, kindly offered to visit the foster home where Tyson lives. 

She met his foster mother and the other children who live in the house. 

She said it is VERY evident how much his foster momma loves him and cares for him.  He is healthy and so very happy. 

In these months when I could not be there to hold my son, another strong, courageous woman has done that for me.  

She has loved my son since he was a few days hold.  Given him the gift of attachment.  He has been held.  Rocked.  Feed regularly.  Loved. 

I have kept all these things in my heart and think of them often. 

Next week, I will meet my son and hold him for the first time.  I will be taking him from the woman who lovingly cared for him for the last five months.  I do not take that lightly.  

As a foster mom, I understand what is about to take place next week and it breaks my heart. 

I am OVERJOYED to meet my son.  I am OVERWHELMED at the thought of how well he has been loved by another family until we could get there.  And I am OVERCOME with sadness that I am breaking a bond between him and the woman who loved him first. 

Thankful that one day I will be able to share with Tyson just how very loved he was by all three of his mommas; the one who made the ultimate sacrifice so he would have a chance at life, his loving foster momma, and me. 

I have kept all these things in my heart and think of them often.  


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Soon

Let the packing begin. . .



Cause we're leaving on a jet plane real, real soon. . .

Friday, December 7, 2012

Drumroll please....

This week ended our hand-made ornament fundraiser.  Before I give you the total raised, let me quick tell you how it happened in the first place.

January 2010, I met my new friend Joy for lunch.  She's an momma to bunch of biological, adoptive, and foster kiddos.  I had just started the process and wanted to pick her brain about life in Montgomery as a trans-racial family.

Joy had also invited Layla, a local blogger/photographer, who was interested in starting the adoption process.

At that point, I wasn't much of a blog-reader, so I didn't realize just WHO this sweet, kind, and oh-so talented Layla was.

Little clueless, I was.

Layla writes the Lettered Cottage blog....which has like, over 30,000 readers.

Yeah...people know her.

So, when she asked if she could blog about our lunch and post a few pics, I was thinking about 15 people in Montgomery would see it.

Um...wrong-o.

Lots of folks saw that blog post, which in turn sent them over to check out Waiting on a Word.  And by one simple lunch, I had people from all over that had heard our story and have stuck with us through the last two years.

Enter Jessica.  

She is a fellow adoptive mom who lives outside Atlanta.  Last year, they hand-made ornaments to fundraise for their own adoption.



It went so well, they wanted to do again this year and donate all of the proceeds to another family in the adoption process.

Jessica had been following my blog and our adoption story since she saw it on the Lettered Cottage.

Out of the many, many adoptive families all over the country, she and her husband chose us to be the family they would fundraise for this year.

Jessica sent me an email, explaining their offer, promising she wasn't a stalker, and we humbly said, "heck yes!!!"

They bought the all of the supplies, posted the information and our story on their blog, started making the ornaments on Thanksgiving and shipped the first batch out on that Saturday.

Jessica and Greg spent countless hours and resources making the ornaments and carefully wrapping them and shipping them all over the country.  Jessica even made us ornaments for our boys with their names on them.

All for our family.  Complete strangers who share the bond of adoption.

That is amazing.

One lunch.  One blog post.  Two years later.

One REALLY big blessing in our lives.

Our ornament fundraiser brought in $1680!

We had additional $355 donated in the fundraiser...

Which brings the total to $2035! 

First, a big THANK YOU to those of you who purchased the ornaments.  We hope that this year, as you look at the ornaments, you will pray for our process with Tyson as we are hoping to travel SOON to finally meet our son.  In the years to come, we hope that the ornaments will be a reminder to pray for the many children worldwide who are waiting for their forever families.

Joy, thank you for being an honest, vulnerable example of living life as a transracial family in our town.  You continually encourage and challenge me.

Layla, thank you for having a blog that everyone on the planet reads.  Thank you for including me that day in your blog post- it really should have been a post all about Joy and her amazing family, but you were gracious to add me too.  Because of that, you were a big part in helping us raise over $2,000 for our adoption.

And finally, Jessica and Greg, thank you, thank you, thank you for choosing us.  We are so grateful for the many, many HOURS you spent making sure that this fundraiser was successful.  One day soon we will meet in person and I will get to hug your necks.  Thank you for being obedient to what God was calling you to do and for being willing to do this for a family you've never met.

We are continually amazed at the way God has provided for us in this journey.




Sunday, December 2, 2012

Current Events in the DRC

The past few weeks have been quite unstable for the eastern part of the DRC.  

Our hearts are broken anew for the innocent Congolese who yet again are dragged into chaos and instability.

From a recent CNN article
"The U.N. has labeled the DRC, Africa's second largest country, as the "rape capital of the world" because of the pace and scope of the use of rape as a weapon of war by proxy militia gangs fighting for control of Congo's easily appropriabl
e and highly valuable natural resources, destined for sale in Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States.

The wars in that country have claimed nearly the same number of lives as having a 9/11 every single day for 360 days, the genocide that struck Rwanda in 1994, the ethnic cleansing that overwhelmed Bosnia in the mid-1990s, the genocide that took place in Darfur, the number of people killed in the great tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, and the number of people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- all combined and then doubled."


That is incomprehensible.  

Yet it is reality. 

This article in Time Magazine explains just why the DRC has been given the name, "Rape Capital of the World." 

In a country filled with beautiful faces and courageous people, it's heartbreaking and sickening to think that this is still an everyday reality for millions. 

Tyson is safe and currently living almost a thousand miles away from the fighting.  But this is his home country and it makes us ache to get him sooner.  

Will you join us in praying for the country of the DRC and for the safety of the many women and children whose lives are threatened daily in that country? 

Our travel dates are approaching quickly - please pray that our paperwork approval would continue to go smoothly and that we'd know the best time to book our flights to head over to meet our son!  




Sunday, November 25, 2012

How one little seven pounder wrecked us forever.

This time last year, we had just spent a week and half frantically preparing ourselves and our home for our first foster placement. 

We had just taken the ten-week foster care course to become licensed as part-time respite care providers.  That all changed at the end of the ten weeks when our social worker asked us to consider taking in a newborn baby boy as a full-time placement.

We were faced with a life-changing decision that had to be made in just a few days.  After much prayer and conversations with our family and friends, we made the decision to welcome this little one into our home, not knowing whether he'd be with us a month, a year, or a lifetime. 

We sprung into full-time crazy mode. We had not one baby item in the house.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch. 

I immediately started cleaning out the guest room, repainting, ordering baby furniture, and polling friends to find out what the heck babies even needed. 

Though we had just finished a ten-week foster care class- it wasn't a course about how to actually BE a first-time parent.  

Eek. 

Brian had never changed a diaper.  I hadn't babysat young children.  To say we were clueless was a TEENSY bit of an understatement. 

In the week before the placement, friends started dropping off diapers, wipes, clothes, boppies, and all things baby.  

By the time the day of the placement arrived, we were ready. 

Yeah right.  I hadn't slept in a week and lost about ten pounds due to nerves. 

We drove to our friend's house who were the foster parents that had been providing short-term respite care for the baby.  It was absolutely surreal driving over to their house, knowing that when we left, we would be in charge of a 7 lb, two-week old baby boy.  

Um...what? 

We arrived at their house, thankful that he had been in the care of families that we knew and loved, and who we could ask crazy questions about parenting to and wouldn't think we were dumb.  (Or maybe they did, but they didn't tell us.)

After a a few hours of getting acclimated, we packed up the car, buckled him in and started home.  And he started crying.   I started sweating. 

Turns out that the little peanut was just hungry, so one bottle down and a few burps later, and we were good to go.  

As we entered our home that night, carrying that beautiful, sweet boy, our lives were forever changed.

Baby J, oh how you have wrecked us. 

It took all of two minutes and we were smitten.  And the crazy thing was that we knew you weren't ours.  In fact, you still aren't. . . legally.   But that has not, for one minute, affected how we love you.  

Caring for you has opened up our eyes to a world that previously we had glossed over.  In our suburban, middle class bubble we had been able to ignore much of the brokenness and pain that many experienced around us.  But not anymore. 

You have wrecked us.  And I am so thankful.  

Baby J, you have taught us how to love and not to expect anything in return.  Caring for you has forced us to open ourselves up and to risk everything in order to be obedient to God's calling. 

What a year this has been, sweet boy.  You have no idea the many lives you have already impacted.  

As I hold you each night, I am continually reminded that you are His, not mine.  And though I love you with all of my being, you are loved by our God more.  Because of that, you will do great things, Baby J.  

Thank you for wrecking us.  We are indelibly changed forever.  

We love you. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

So Much Good in One Day

Yesterday was a big day! 

My beautiful sister popped out her third little half-caucasian/half-asian sensation.  

Are they not the cutest family????



Welcome to the world, Landon David! Aunt Leslie will be there next week to give you plenty of smooches! 

To add to an already great day, I got a phone call last night from our facilitator that we have our Tyson's passport. (A few weeks early than anticipated!) 

Next, we've got to schedule our embassy appointment for him.  Once that is done, and our lawyer has attended the embassy appointment, then Tyson's visa is issued a few weeks later, and we are good to go!  Hoping to travel in 7-8 weeks!!!!! 

With travel to DRC quickly approaching, we are in full-swing of raising funds for those expenses.  A bloggy friend (bliend) and fellow adoptive parent from Atlanta has offered to help us with a great fundraiser for the Christmas season! 

Jessica and her husband made and sold these super-cute ornaments last year when they were fundraising for their own adoption.  This year, they've offered to make them for us and help us sell them!!! 



Check over HERE for the details!  We would love for y'all to share this fundraiser with your friends and family! 

*I've added a paypal button to the top right of my blog if you live out of town and would like to order the ornaments!

*If you live in town, we'll have ornaments to sell here. If you would like a set, send me a message or email me, so we know how many to have available! 



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bandit. The Most Expensive Free Dog.

A year ago, I decided that Knox, our goofy, lovable, and extremely bored black lab, needed a buddy. 

We were finishing up foster care classes and expecting that we'd focus on doing short-term respite care. 

While waiting for a referral in our adoption, we thought it would be the perfect time to add another four-legged member to our family with no immediate placement in the future months. 

Enter Bandit.

Through a random connection, I met a woman who had a sweet puppy that she had found wandering and couldn't keep.  She sent us some pictures and he looked quirky enough to fit in just fine with our family.  

We talked it over with Knox and he licked us.   We had approval. 

I drove halfway between Montgomery and Mobile to meet her and pick him up.  Brought him home, let him loose in the backyard with Knox and immediately, they were best buds. 

We thought we had hit the jack-pot.  

Free dog.  

Best buddies.  

Easy Peasy. 

Til a week later, when Bandit and Knox went missing from our backyard and just about gave me a heart attack. 

Three hours later, a local vet called to say they had checked the microchip of a really big, black lab and he was ours.  And by the way, he had a scrawny, yellow mutt there too, did I know anything about him???? 

Bandit apparently had some stealth moves and had kicked out the fence board and proceeded to convince Knox to wiggle his fat butt through the fence to head out for some shenanigans.  

The people who found them in the next neighborhood over said Knox had been swimming in the pool. 

I'm sure Bandit had convinced him that was a good idea too.


So, in went an electric fence.  

Not so free anymore. 

It's a good thing he's so cute, that Bandit. 


Good ol' snarly face also decided he needed to redo some of our furniture and woodwork.  


One new windowsill later..... Bandit was getting a little expensive. 

In all fairness, poor Bandit was still trying to adjust to being wrestled to the ground on an hourly basis by an 80lb black lab, so it was a little much for him when only two weeks after we brought him home, we brought home a 7lb. baby boy that squeaked and cried and pooped and took all of our attention.  

Oopsie. Thought we were only doing respite foster care.  

Sorry for the major life change, Bandit. 

But, he really does love our sweet Baby J, and he is very gentle with him.  At least when he isn't running and hiding from Baby J coming after him with his push toy. 

Happy 1st Anniversary to our neurotically spastic, snaggletooth snarling, passing gas that smells like rotten eggs every five minutes, sweetie pie dog.  

We love you, Bandit! 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Secret to my Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the ways that I show people I love them is through cookies.  

Homemade chocolate chip cookies. 



I started making them while living in Atlanta and leading bible studies with high school girls. 

Don't ever tell me teenage girls don't eat. 

Cause they could take DOWN some cookies.  
*Disclaimer, since the post first was written, some of those girlies have complained that I never made them homemade cookies.  Wrong.  I did...and they actually preferred slice and bake at that time. So that's what I went with.... ahem...Courtney and Allie.....*

Since then, they've gone with friends on planes to Africa.  To birthday parties and Christmas parties. To families who just had babies.  On our vacations.  To people that I just needed to remind that I loved them very much. 

I think I have now made about a bazillion batches. 

People have asked how I make them so I thought I'd share my big, secret recipe with the world. 

Here it is . . . 

Wait for it . . . 

I use the recipe off the really popular yellow and black chocolate-chip bag.  

That's it. 

Well, kinda.

I adjust a teensy bit and the difference is in the thickness of the cookies. 

Here's what you'll need: 



2 3/4 cup of PACKED flour.  (This is about a 1/2 cup more than the recipe calls for)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
2 sticks of butter (I use them straight out of the fridge, they don't need to be softened)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips


Set your oven for 375. 

Pack your flour, then add the salt and baking soda to it in a small bowl.   


Mix together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.  (I don't have a fancy-schmancy stand alone mixer, a regular one does just fine!)

Then add the eggs and mix.  

Start to add the dry ingredients slowly and mix well.  You want the batter to be thick.  Once all the flour is mixed in, then stir in the chocolate chips.  

This is the part of the process where I take samples.  JUST to make sure it tastes okay.  

Next, I drop them by teaspoon onto a baking sheet, about this size....


The good news is that they aren't going to flatten out, so you can stick them pretty close together! 

I usually leave mine in for only 7 minutes.  The directions on the bag says to leave them a few minutes longer.  If they are SLIGHTLY browned on the tips of the cookie, it's time to take them out.  You may think they aren't done, but they'll stiffen up a bit. 



You can see just a little brown on the tips.  Take em' out! 

They taste great just out of the oven, but I think they taste even better the next day! 



I made these yesterday for a VERY special little boy whom I LOVE very much! Happy 1st Birthday Baby J, so grateful for this year we have had with you! 







Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Marathon.

I'm not the fastest or most graceful of runners.

Brian says I run like a baby giraffe.  (You're welcome for that visual.)

Despite my athletic prowess, it feels like we've been running a marathon with this adoption.

When we started, I hoped it'd be a sprint with the finish line in full view in less than a year's time.

Ha.

That was a joke.

We've been jogging instead at a slow, slow pace.

Stopped a few times with some leg cramps.

Started running slowly again.

Stopped again for some water breaks.

Had to get back on the course after going in the wrong direction.  Twice.

Running what feels like most of time uphill and against the wind.

But we are starting to catch glimpses of the finish line.

Motivated daily to keep running by the crowds on the sidelines who are cheering us on.

To say we've had a lot of supporters in this race is an understatement.

Many have run alongside us the entire way.  Praying and encouraging us non-stop.

Others have been handing us sustenance along the way, keeping us going, making sure we've had what we needed to finish the race.

People have been there at different points of this long race, stepping in just when we needed them.

Helping us in so many different ways.

Assisting us in getting our background check and clearances processed quickly.

Giving financially.

Providing baby items.

Sharing our story and our need with others.

Giving us wisdom and direction when we weren't sure if we could finish the race.

Reminding us why we were running in the first place.

So. Many. Cheerleaders.

I've just got to share some of them with you today.


~Becky, my friend from middle school, read about the DRC and the orphan crisis in some of my blog posts wanted to do something. So she decided that she was going to donate the proceeds from her garage sale in NJ last year to our adoption.  I haven't even seen her person yet to hug her neck and thank her, so I'll thank her publicly by putting up this awesome picture of us from twenty years ago.

9th grade- Becky second from left in the back row. I'm next to her  on the right. Fresh off a spiral perm. 


~Tucker, friend from Montgomery and mother of three little ones under four, asked families to donate to our adoption instead bringing gifts to her two oldest kids birthday party.  It's a tradition I'd love to incorporate with our family one day too!


~Allison, my sister and best friend who I do not get to see nearly enough, decided that she would use her talent as a photographer to help us fundraise.  She spent all of last November (in the midst of coaching field hockey and caring for her little ones) taking pictures of area families for their Christmas card photos.  Instead of paying her, she asked them to donate to our adoption.  All of this was a surprise to us until she presented us a $500 check last Christmas.



~Toni, high school senior, founder of "The Least of These" ministry, which she created to help families who are adopting.  She tie-dyes t-shirts and created "The Least of These" bumper stickers to sell with the proceeds going to adopting families.  She helped bring this little guy home and she's helped us bring Tyson home.


~Kaye, mom to Toni, who showed up at 5:30 in the morning to help us sell coffee and muffins at our garage sale to raise money for the adoption.  She's one of our biggest cheerleaders in this journey and she advocates for so many families that are adopting. 
Toni and Kaye in Ethiopia this summer

~Friends (and strangers!) from Montgomery who donated items to sell in our two yard sales last year to raise money for the adoption, including a brand-new video camera that we raffled off on the blog.

~Jennifer, friend from Montgomery, gave 20% the proceeds of the sale of the goods in her Curves Gym  toward our adoption. I wrote about it here last year.

~The hundreds of people who came to our Chick-fil-a spirit night a year ago and bought a combo meal, or some waffle fries, or a sweet tea.  Every single purchase, no matter how small, has helped to bring our son home.

~The many, many friends and family that have sent us facebook messages, emails, and cards- encouraging us in the journey and celebrating with us as we reach each milestone in the process.

~Countless friends, family, and strangers who have donated so, so generously and sacrificially to our adoption fund.



I can NOT imagine us having to run this race alone.

Thank you for being our cheerleaders, our running partners, and our coaches.

Thank you for encouraging us, loving us, and challenging us to keep pressing forward.

Though our marathon is not yet over and there may be some more hills to run, the home stretch is near.

This baby giraffe and her husband can't wait to cross the finish line. 



Sidenote: This will be the only type of marathon I run.  I have no plans of physically RUNNING a  marathon.  Ever.  Thank you very much. 


























Thursday, October 25, 2012

This Week.

This week, Brian and I celebrated our anniversary in Chicago. (6 months late.)  It's been a crazy past couple of months, so this trip was much needed and much enjoyed! (Though when is our life NOT crazy???)


Brian's dream is to see a game at every NFL stadium in the country.  My dream is to visit fun and interesting cities in the US.  

This was a big game for Brian- life-long Bears fan
Some the locations of the stadiums and my idea of "fun" cities do not always go hand in hand, for example, Green Bay, Wisconsin. (No offense, Cheeseheads.) We are using our anniversary trips to knock out a football game and hang out somewhere new that we both can agree on.  Next up? We're thinking Seattle, Boston, or San Fran.....  Anyone have a connection to some football tickets????  


I'll share this picture with you too.... I put it on facebook and got some funny responses from my friends who are afraid of heights.  Since skydiving a few years ago, this was actually a piece of cake! 

Sears Tower- 103 stories up in the glass overlook


This week, we found out that Tyson Henry is officially a Word! We passed court at the end of September and then had a 30-day wait period.  We are hoping to have his Certificate of Non-Appeal, (CONA) by the end of the week.  

Next step will be getting all of our documents translated and sending our immigration paperwork to the USCIS.  This, in effect,  asks the US to recognize Tyson as no longer an orphan, but instead a member of OUR family!

After that, we'll be applying for visas and embassy appointments, in hopes of traveling by January.  


This week, we had a big meeting for our sweet baby "J" and his future.  It's crazy to think that he has almost been in our home for a year! Though I can't share details, it was a meeting that encouraged us as we were reminded just how many people "J" has fighting for him.  We have been blessed with social workers and lawyers who do their job well and want the best for this little one.  

We hope that in the coming months we can share more, but for now, we ask that you would join us in prayer for our situation with "J."  Please pray for wisdom for the social workers, lawyers, and judges.  Please pray for protection for "J" no matter where he is in the future.  Please pray for us as we navigate the unknown world of foster care. Our prayer is that we would focus only on the day to day joys of being with "J," rather than the unknowns of the future. 


This week, we learned that we have already raised $400 toward our $2,000 matching grant for our adoption! That is amazing! 

If you are still interested in giving, (tax-deductible, 100% of donation goes toward our adoption), please click here for more information. 

All in all, I'd say it's been a really good week! 






Saturday, October 13, 2012

Timing

*This is a post from July 2011-  I wanted to repost it for the women in my life that are hurting, lonely, or just frustrated about circumstances right now, and who need a gentle, loving reminder that they have not been forgotten by the One who holds time in His hands. 


Timing. 

It's one of those concepts that rarely has gone according my plans. 

I had a nice, neat timeline planned out for my life upon graduating from high school. 

  • College in four years. 
  • Teach elementary school for the rest of my life. 
  • Get married at around 26 or 27.   Preferably to a professional athlete.  Definitely NOT to anyone in ministry.
  • Kids by late 20's.  And just two of them. 

Instead, what I got was...

  • College in 3 1/2 years. (Nerd alert.)
  • Taught fifth grade for 5 years and got burned out. 
  • In and and out of long term relationships.
  • Went into full time supported ministry as a single girl.
  • Got married at 32  
  • An adorable 11-month foster baby, baby boy who's adoption is not yet complete, and teenage boys living with us for months at a time
  • A big, hairy lab and a scrawny neurotic mutt that eat most inanimate objects my house. 

Not my timing.  Not my plan.  

As I look back, I can honestly say that I am so grateful for the way it has played out.  My life has looked nothing like I planned, yet it's been everything that I needed. 

But for a lot of my twenties, there were many questions, heartache, and doubt. 

The story wasn't playing out the way I had written it. 


I had questioned whether God had forgotten about me.  Why it seemed like everyone else kept having new chapters written in their lives and mine stayed on the same page. 

And as I have had the chance to spend some quality time with some my best girlfriends from all over the country this past month, it seems like this concept of timing is a rough one for a lot of us women. 

Many of the women in my life, in varying age ranges and stages, are sitting in lives where their dreams have been unmet, or shattered, or abandoned. 

Single. 

Married and hurting.

Childless.

Purposeless. 

Exhausted.

Just, plain lonely. 


A fellow adopting mom shared this statement on one of the yahoo groups I'm a part of and I loved it: 

"Where we see time.  God's sees timing." 

God's timing never matches our own.  His perspective is so much wider, deeper, and full of more wisdom then we can ever grasp. 

When I look at timing in my own small brain and hands, I always, always, always jump to what I don't have, what I haven't achieved, and how far "behind" I am than everyone else around me. 

Even as some dreams have been answered, I can still focus instead on the dreams deferred. 

However, when I choose to trust that each word, each page, and each chapter of the course of my life has happened in God's perfect and loving timing, then I am at peace.  Only then. 

"You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 
 John 13:7. 

What a sweet and loving promise to cling to when our current circumstances are not what we dreamed them to be. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Preparing to Travel and a Matching Grant!

22 months into our international adoption process and we are finally hitting the home stretch!

There are a few more hoops to jump through, some additional paperwork to be filled out,  a then weeks of waiting to hear answers. . .

BUT. . .

We are getting close! 

Praying,

hoping, 

wishing,

crossing our fingers,

that maybe,

possibly,

hopefully,

we'll travel to get Tyson in the next two months.

EEK!

The generosity of our friends and family combined with our savings has allowed us to completely fund our adoption expenses. 

Woohoo!

The only thing left that we are looking toward are the travel expenses...

Airfare ($4,000-5,000 for two adults and a lap infant)

Lodging ($700-1000 for a week stay....but could be longer if unforseen issues arise)

Meals ($60 per day)
*Though DRC is the second poorest country in the world, because of inflation, food and everyday items are extraordinarily expensive for it's citizens and visitors.*

While there won't be much sightseeing time while in country, we plan on it being lot of bonding with Tyson time. Making sure he knows he safe, protected, and home in our arms.

We are SO excited to have received a $2000 matching grant through Lifesong and our church, Frazer UMC, that will help us raise the funds to travel to the DRC and complete the adoption!!!

All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of what is donated goes to our fund.  Nothing goes toward Lifesong administrative costs, so you can rest assured that it will completely go toward bringing Tyson home.

Our prayer is to raise $5,000-6,000 to cover the costs of our travel and expenses. 

If you're interested learning more about giving toward our matching grant please click here.











Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This is Real Life.

Recently, I've written about how I believe the internet and blog world has the unfortunate potential to make people look way more glamorous, wealthy, and intriguing than they are in real-life.

It's important for me, as I continue writing this blog, to make sure  that I never give a false appearance about the reality of my family's everyday life. 

Here's the reality: 
Being a pastor's wife is hard sometimes.  Being a foster mom is harder. My husband and I butt heads on occasion.  My house has way too many dog prints and baby drool on the floor most days.  

And I am quite dorky. 

I wrote about my quirks/nerdiness in a post last year which many found quite entertaining. 

So in case I had caused anyone reading the blog lately to think I was cool and hip, it's time to once again, dispel those rumors. 

"Random Information that Leslie Should Probably Keep to Herself but She's Going to Share it Anyway. " 

1.) I wear black yoga pants daily.  I own four pairs.  They are in heavy rotation.  

    Here's how it works: 
  • I walk in my house from work/church/grocery store. 
  • I put down my purse/diaper bag/computer case/car seat/groceries/all of the above.
  • I get out of my "appropriate attire" for the outside world.
  • I put on yoga pants and one of the bazillion t-shirts I own. 
  • The baby drools on the yoga pants. 
  • I wipe them off. 
  • The baby throws up on the yoga pants. 
  • I change into yoga pants #2.  
  • I finish out the day. 
  • I go to sleep in said pants and t-shirt. 
  • I get up, shower, put on respectable clothes and leave my house. 
  • Repeat. 

You can ask my husband. This is a true story. 


2.) I have the taste buds of an 8 year-old girl.  

I Loooooooooooooove Holiday Candy.  

  • Jelly Beans
  • Marshmallow Peeps
  • Conversation Hearts
  • Candy Corn

I've already taken down four bags of candy corn, BY MYSELF,    and it's only the beginning of October.  

The candy corn pumpkins are my favorite.  I eat the green stems off first. 

3.) I sometimes put the dryer cycle on again, EVEN THOUGH the clothes are dry, simply because I do not want to take them out and fold them.  Don't tell Brian. 

4.) I often wish that I could "throw on" my jeans and t-shirt, put my hair in ponytail, and look like the girl all those country singers are always writing songs about.  

What happens instead is that when I "throw on" my jeans, t-shirt, and put my hair in a ponytail,  I look like I have not showered in three days, not slept in seven, and should be on the "People of Walmart" website.  

5.) My first semester in college, I needed a part-time job, so I applied for a work study position.  

I was assigned to be the janitor in the science labs.  

No joke. 

I had a cleaning cart.  

While other people were heading out to frat parties, I was emptying owl pellets out of the trash cans.  

And people wonder why I graduated college early. 



There you have it.  My life is all glamour and intrigue. 

I've got to run and get my yoga pants out of the dryer. They've been in there for two days.