Monday, September 24, 2012

The North and the South. Part 2.

We currently live in the deep, deeeeeeeeeeep south, a stark contrast from the where I spent the first 21 years of my life.

New Jersey.

Arguably, the most stereotyped state in the nation.

No, the area surrounding the Newark Airport is not what the rest of the state looks like. 

Yes, we have the Jersey Shore.  Named for it's sandy beaches and boardwalks looooooonnnnnggggg before the tv show. 

No, Snooki was not born in or ever a permanent resident of the state. 

Yes, some members of the state frequent the tanning bed a little too much.  

No, every person in the state does not live directly off an exit of I-95. 

Yes, these are frequently asked questions when people find out I'm from NJ. 

But to be fair, before I moved South, I pictured the majority of Southerners to look like this:

Because, let's be honest....this is seemingly the guy that always gets interviewed on the nightly news. 

Since I have spent a good amount of time living on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, I feel I have a right to make fun of both.

A year ago, I wrote my first post about the cultural differences in the North and South check it out here

The North and the South: Part 2  

Common phrases:
1. "Yous" 
Pronounced "Youzzzz." Commonly heard in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area.  Not taught in school, but somehow learned by many.

Example:  "What can I get yous to drink?" 

Dear NJ,  
This is why people make fun of our state.                                                  Love, Me.  

2. "Not for Nothing" 
Commonly heard in North Jersey and New York State.  Usually precedes a statement in which the person is expressing annoyance or anger. 

Example: "Not for nothing, but I told him that if he didn't call me back, we were breaking up and he was dead to me." 

Not for nothing, my northern friends, but I'm pretty sure this phrase has zero meaning.

1. "Y'all" 
You + All = Y'all.  Still grammatically incorrect, but sounds a whole lot better than Yous.   

Dear Southern States, 
We may have won the war, but yous win this battle. 
                                             The North.

2. "Bless her/his/their heart."  
Frequently used.  99% of the time by Southern women. Can be  authentically spoken to express concern.  

Example: "That sweet baby is sick again.  Bless his heart."

More often used as a get out of jail free card when saying something ugly.  

Example: "Have you seen the Smith's new baby girl? Bless her heart, it looks like she's got her no-good daddy's face."  

Christmas Morning:
I just recently stumbled upon this information and had to share it, because really, I'm heartbroken for Southern children...  it appears that Santa does not plan ahead on ordering enough wrapping paper each year. Right at about the Mason-Dixon line, he runs out. 

North:  Gifts from Santa are wrapped and waiting under the tree for each child. 

South:  Gifts from Santa are UNwrapped and displayed by the tree.  


I guess that means kids in the South never play the, "let me shake the box to try and figure out what's inside game." 

Bless their hearts. 

And by "delicacies," I mean food that is extremely questionable and I will not eat unless I am a contestant on the Amazing Race. 

North:  Scrapple.  Consists of numerous parts of a pig, basically whatever is left over after the good parts are used.  Grayish in color, usually found in a shape of a rectangle.  Fried and eaten for breakfast.

South:  Congealed Jello Mold.
Jello is the key ingredient. Then it's fair game for whatever else you want to throw in.  Carrot slices, melons, berries, pretzels.  Just empty out the fridge, mix it up, mold it into a pretty wreath, circle, or square... and Voila!  Can be found at any baby shower, holiday meal, or your grandmother's house in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, or Georgia.


North:  When cut off in traffic, people aren't driving fast enough, or you're having a bad day, honking is expected.  Throwing up a middle finger is optional, but often used. Driving as fast as possible is encouraged. Tailgating is acceptable. Must know how to navigate through a traffic circle. 

South:  Honking is only used when saying hello to your neighbor.  When cutting off someone in traffic, waving and mouthing, "I'm sorry," is acceptable.  Tailgating is only for football games.  Navigating through four-way stop signs is apparently not taught in drivers education. 

North: Growing up in NJ, it usually took 2-3 feet of snow to get a day off from school.   

South: While teaching elementary school in GA, it took the chance of 2-3 inches of snow to cancel school.  

And here's what it took to get school canceled in Montgomery, AL back in January, 2011. 
You many have a hard time seeing the icicles hanging from the roof.  A really big ice storm hit.  School for that Monday was actually canceled on SATURDAY!  

The third-grader in me still gets really bitter about this. 

That's all for this round of The North and The South.  

Have anything else to add? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Very Important Vote

This past weekend, I hung out with about 800 other people at the Together for Adoption Conference. 

It was good, good stuff. 

I went to practical seminars about fostering and transracial adoption and heard great ideas about how to expand our vision for our ONEfamily orphan care ministry at church. 

What was the most fun, however, was connecting with some of the families I've "met" through the blog world.  

Since starting the blog in December of 2010, I've connected to families from across the world who are fostering or adopting or who just read the blog.  

Most of them I've never met in person, yet, we've exchanged emails and facebooked with one another. We've followed each others journeys and rejoiced with each other and hurt for one another in this crazy ride of adoption/foster care. 

This past weekend, blog world collided with the real world when I met a few of my blog friends in person for the first time.  

Though still slightly awkward upon the initial meeting,  it went a lot smoother than the bazillion blind dates I went on in my 20's.

I think this new friendship deserves a special kind of name. 

Let's take a vote. 







Other suggestions? 

Let's come to a consensus on this and then take it worldwide.  

**Be on the lookout for another installment on the differences in The North and The South.  I wrote my first post about it here.  

I'm currently doing research for the next installment.  Stay tuned! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Thanks for all of your sweet comments, calls, messages, and fb posts about our referral!  It's been a roller coaster ride so far, but many have walked alongside us since the beginning, and for that we are so grateful.

It isn't over yet, but we are excited that there is hopefully an end in sight very soon!

We get asked a lot about our adoption journey, so I thought I'd answer some of the most popular things people want to know.

1. Why are you adopting?
Because there are millions of children without families. 115,000 adoptable kids in the United States.  17 million in the world without a mother and father. Another 100+ that have lost one parent. 

We are adopting because we have the room in our home to make that number one less.  Or maybe two less. Or three?  Who knows????
We are adopting because we have seen the redemption that comes from adoption.  Wherever there is adoption, there is loss. That cannot be denied.  But there is also hope and love and healing.  

It's amazing to us to reflect on the people that God placed in our lives BEFORE Brian and and I ever met each other.  God was weaving adoption into our story long before we ever realized it.   

My brother-in-law and his three siblings were adopted from South Korea in the 70's.
Brian's cousin was adopted domestically.
Brian's bible study leader in college adopted domestically.
Brian's mentor in seminary adopted internationally.
The three women who mentored me and impacted me the most in Atlanta were all adoptive moms.

It seems like God knew what he was doing.  :)

2. Why are you adopting from the DRC?  We researched many different countries, narrowed it to Africa, researched more, and were drawn to the Congo.  The country and it's people stole our hearts.   I blogged about it here.

3.  Why did you leave the second agency, Lifeline?  It came down to a matter of what was best for our family.  Lifeline is an excellent agency- very ethical and reputable, and we would recommend other families to them.  

The fact that in the middle of the adoption process we added a foster child had changed our perspective on what the age we requested for our adopted child.  Because of the uncertainty of the future of our foster child, we felt it was wisest to bring home a child from the DRC that would be younger than him.  

Bringing home a toddler from the DRC would a bring the possibility of much confusion for them in terms of permanency if they had to watch our foster child transition out of our home.   
There were no easy solutions and we have no idea on what the future holds for our foster kiddo. He could be with us for another month, year, or a lifetime.  Based on what we know know and what we hope for the future,  we wanted to make the wisest decision possible for our boys.  

4.  So what exactly are you doing now?   We are contracted with DRC Adoption Services.  Our facilitator is EXTREMELY knowledgable about adoption in the DRC and is well-respected in the adoption community.  We are very excited to be working with them.  Many of the families from our first agency are now working with her as well.

5.  Why the name, Tyson Henry?   We were throwing around a couple of names, and just liked the way Tyson Word sounded.   Henry is for Brian's maternal grandfather.  He was a man that passed away before I was able to meet him, but who I have learned about through Brian's stories and memories.  He was such an important man in my husband's life that we wanted Tyson to have his name.

6.  Why can't we show pictures of either of our boys on the blog?  Well, we would LOVE to- because man, they are the cutest babies on the planet.  Seriously.  But...with J-man as a foster baby, he is not in our custody,  he is in the custody of the state.  So therefore, we can't show his face because he is not legally ours.  We have not yet passed court in the DRC, so Tyson is not legally our son.  That means, no pictures.  

But seriously.   Two. Cutest. Babies. In. The. World. 

Have any more questions?  Would love to answer them! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

One MORE Word, One LESS Orphan!

We began our journey of adoption in December 2010.  

My first blog post ever shared the news with our family and friends. 

It's been a long 20 months of waiting. 

We switched agencies after a year.  

Then switched to an independent adoption at the beginning of this month. 

A few days later, we got some news. 

About a baby boy in need of a family. 

Without hesitation, we said yes. 

His name will be Tyson Henry Word. 

Here's the video of us seeing him for the first time. :) 

We shared the news with our family over skype this past weekend.  We tried to capture their first reaction on camera as we told them. 

(We hadn't told anyone we were doing an independent adoption, so this was a BIG surprise to everyone!) 

My Parents in NJ.  Sorry we cut your face off, Dad.

Brian's Mom in TN- in disbelief!

In tears after we told her that his middle name was for her father.   :) 

Brian's Dad in TN- this is his excited face, I promise.   :)

Brian's brother in CO- excited to be an uncle again!

Brian's sister and brother-in-law in TN-  Can't wait for their seven month old to meet his cousins!

My sister in NJ (who is going to kill me with this picture taken at 8am looking like she has short, crazy hair....and we had the flash on the camera by accident....   she was totally surprised and so excited for us!

God is always on time. 

Though we haven't always wanted to trust that, we know that it's true. 

Thank you for your prayers as we have waited these many months. We would love to have you continue to pray as we walk through the steps of finalizing the adoption and traveling to get him. 

We can't wait to introduce you to him in hopefully 4-6 months! 

And I promise- ONE day you will actually SEE pictures of our kiddos on here.  :)