Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life Has Still Been Happening

With all the adoption hub-ub, I have been completely negligent in posting about what else is going on in our lives.  And a lot has been happening, it's just been that there is this huge other exciting thing called adoption that tend to overshadow my thoughts.  So for the sake of my girls and our family memories, here is the non-adoption happenings of the last, oh, twoish months.

Evelyn discovered the joys of chocolate milk after I discovered how to make our own chocolate syrup that I could be ok with her consuming.  Life is that much more complete in her world.


I told you these were old pictures...

We had a fabulous Easter.  It's one of my favorite holidays and one that we have decided to always celebrate at home.  We started the morning with Scott reading the Easter story.

The I started a baking and cooking extravaganza.  I tend to overcook a bit.  By a bit, I mean we ate Easter food for over a week.

We celebrated by hosting a brunch for some friends.

And then the 3rd annual Easter egg hunt began.

And I got made fun of for stuffing the eggs with things like raisins...

Yes, we all match.  And I like it.

This one stuffed her face and figured out which few eggs had m&m's in them.

Aunt Mandy came to visit that afternoon and spent a couple days with us.

Aunts are so much fun.

Later that week Scott's older sister and her family came to stay for a night as well.  Again.  Aunts are fun.

We've been enjoying the beautiful weather with trips to the park.  Evelyn wanted braids like her friend Julia.

And Bella wanted to touch the geese and carry around a calculator.

Hi my little almost 2-year-old.  You are getting awfully ornery.

Hi my 3 and a half year old, you are growing so fast and have the most amazing imagination.

Evelyn holds her pants up while she runs.  That child has no backside.  

No backside, and no fear.

The neighbor girls have become fast favorites for our girls.  They are so much fun.  Here they are helping the girls pick mulberries from the tree that hangs over the fence.

We made a 3-day trip up to Iowa to celebrate both of my sisters' birthdays, my brother-in-law's graduation from college, and our nephew's confirmation.  Here's part of Scott's side of the family.

And then this happened.  This is Evelyn with one of her best friends.  They got into a wee bit of trouble with a hose and patch of dirt.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dear Son, An Introduction to Your Story

Dear Son,

A large piece of your story belongs to you and your birthmother, "K".  How you came to be, and how you came to be placed in our arms will be something you will delve into slowly as you get older.  But I won't tell that story here.  It's not my story, it's yours and K's.  You can choose to tell it for yourself when the time comes if you would like.

The piece of you story that we do tell is how you came to be ours.  God is writing that story, and it's truly beautiful. 

We started this journey over a year ago.  We thought we were going to adopt from Africa, but God closed that door tightly for us.  We fought it for a while, but eventually realized, you weren't in Africa, you were right here in the United States.  We needed to switch our home study to domestic so that we could bring you home. 

Our home study was a long process, and I thought I was going to be buried in paperwork.  Then we had to get our finances in order; we moved into a bigger home so that we would have room for you and so that you could grow up in the environment we wanted for you. 

And then we waited.  Sometimes patiently.  Sometimes not.  We waited for months to hear about you.  Then the day came that we got word about K and that she was having a son.  We we so excited!  We asked to have K look at our profile to see if she thought we were your forever family.

The night we got the email that she picked us, we couldn't sleep.  My heart burst wide open and you came running in. 

We got a chance to talk to K and hear all about you.  You were going to be born early, although we still don't know how early.  So we would just have to be on call and ready to come get you.

Then we learned that the legal expenses were going to be more money than we had.  But we knew you were supposed to ours, so after a little bit of distrust and nervousness, we placed this whole situation back in God's hands.  He provided, son.  He provided abundantly and completely in more ways than we could have ever asked or dreamed of.  He solidified in our minds that you were meant to be with us.

And then on Mother's Day, K sent me a text message telling me "Happy Mother's Day!"  I cried.  She was the one giving me the opportunity to be your mommy.  She sent me pictures of you.  She told me that she felt like God put us together.  And my heart was forever yours. 

Your Mom

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Excuse To Go Shopping

You're welcome.

This is a fabulous excuse to go shopping, though.  Heather from Mom 4 Life (who I guest blog for) made me an extremely generous offer to help us cover the remaining expenses for the adoption of our son.  She had me pick out my favorite items from her online store of products that are exclusively invented by moms.  She put those items together in a link for me to share with you.  ALL of the profit she makes off the sale of the items will be going toward our adoption fund.  How amazing is that?!?!

If you purchase any of the items, be sure to put "Finding Mercy" in the comment section when you pay so that she knows it for the adoption.

Here's the products.

I only put things in there that I personally use and love.  So here's me being a salesperson:

The muslin swaddle baby blankets are seriously the softest swaddling blankets I've ever touched.  They are lightweight and breathable, so they work well even in the summer.

Babylegs are a favorite around here for crawling babies or in place of tights when you don't want to have to mess with tights going over a diaper.  My girls have been known to wear a pair with just a onesie around the house.

The Bebe au Lait nursing covers are by far my favorite of the different styles I've tried.  They drape better to give you privacy and the prints are so cute.

bumGenius 4.0 diapers in snaps are all that Bella wears.  They are my favorite diaper I've ever used and fit from about 2 months old until they potty train.

I'm wearing a Glamourmom nursing tank right now.  They are so comfy.  Because they come in a long style, you don't have to show off you post baby muffin top.  Win.  They work great under other shirts too because you can go up with the top shirt, down with the nursing tank flap, and all your skin is still covered while baby nurses.

My babies live in Moby wraps the first few months.  They look so comfy and snuggly in there cuddled up against you.  I own two.  So clearly I like them.

Now get to shopping!  Certainly either you need some things, have a baby shower to go to soon, or know a new or expecting mom that would love some of these goodies.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Worth It

We are halfway there with our funds.  It's amazing to see pieces of this puzzle come together for this little guy.  There are moments when I feel completely overwhelmed by all that needs accomplished and wonder how in the world God will orchestrate it all.

Then yesterday we got some amazing news that there is a church in the city where we will be that wants to host us.  They want to give us a place to stay, provide a social worker free of charge to help walk us through everything, and they just want to love on us.

Every time we have felt about to go under, not knowing how this would all be able to happen, God gently places his provision in our path.

So today I have 6 places to go to finish some things off that have to be taken care of asap, I just want to savor this time.  I want to not focus on the stress, but instead fix my eyes on how well God has provided for us.  I want to picture myself snuggling a tiny newborn bundle.  Seeing him look up at me and knowing I'm his mom forever.  Knowing he is so loved and so wanted.  Because anything we have to go through to get there will be worth it in that moment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Taste of Reality

The light at the end of the tunnel is visible!  We filled out more paperwork than we knew could exist, were  matched, we've spoken with the expectant mom, and we are just waiting for news of his impending arrival.  

Well, maybe not "just."  We've come up against a bit of a roadblock.  Everything about this match seemed perfect, including the finances -- despite a few major set backs, we had finally raised/saved pretty much the exact amount of money that this adoption was expected to cost.  Or so we thought.

Apparently, we misunderstood the amount of the retainer for the lawyer in Louisiana.  This misunderstanding means we need to come up with an additional $4,000 by May 22.

So in steps my approval idol once again.   No one likes people saying they need money.  They just don't.  My flesh screams, "don't post this!"  I almost had Scott write this whole post and say it was from him because I didn't want to be the one saying we were in a bind.

We stepped into this adoption process believing that we were being faithful to God's call to participate in his redemption through being adoptive parents.  We still believe in that call, and we further believe that God will direct our adoption story in a way that brings him the most glory, and us the most joy.  With that said, how awesome of a tribute to God would it be if, with the help of you and your circle of influence, we were able to raise $4,000 in two weeks?       

To date, we've been incredibly blessed with an outpouring of support (financially, emotionally, and spiritually) from our friends, family, and strangers.  Seeing God work to this point has encouraged us to continue with this match, in faith, trusting that this final $4,000 will come.  If it doesn't the agency will not let us continue with this match, something I can't bring myself to wrap my heart around.

Please don't feel like you have to help us out here.  We are putting this out there so that if you feel an urge to help, you know there is a need and way to do so.   God will bring us through this and he has ordained how this will all work out.  In that we rest.  In that we hope.  In that we trust. 

We are going about coming up with this money in every route possible.  We are looking into ways we could get a very quick loan (although our goal was to not go into debt with this adoption and we may not be able to get one quickly enough), hosting a garage sale a week from Saturday (which you can donate items to if you would like to help us that way), and  seeing if any additional last minute grants are available.

If you would like to help financially, you can do so here, and it will be tax deductible.  If you can't help financially, please pass our story on to others.  Regardless, and above all, please pray.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's Happening

We're matched.

I can hardly believe I'm typing those words, but it happened.

I got an email that a expectant mom that was viewing our profile a couple of states away decided that she wants us to parent her child.  Her son.  Potentially our son.

A son.

Those words keep rushing through my head.

The baby is expected to make his arrival sometime between mid-May and mid-June.  Quite a span, I know.  So we will be on call to hop in the van and drive all night if we have to.

A son.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Here, Let Me Talk About My Kids For A Bit

Life has been crazy busy lately.  I feel like the days are flying by.  I haven't taken time to take photos except for on my phone, write down stories, or even take as much time to just sit and play with the girls as I would like.

Date Night with the hubs

My time has been spent instead trying to get my garden going, keep the outside of the house as well as the inside tidied up now that we spend so much time out there, overflowing quantities of laundry, Evelyn's weekly appointments for 2 different therapies... The list goes on and on.

Speech Therapy

Meanwhile my children have been doing this crazy deal called growing up in front of my eyes.  It amazes me.

My Birds
"Now you hug me."

Bella is talking, talking, talking.  I can't understand half of what she says still, but she's putting whole sentences together.  She's developed a sense of humor.  She plays jokes on you.

Seriously, mom?

 All things babies should not be doing.  So I may need to embrace the idea that she is relinquishing her role as baby in the house.


She is becoming fabulously girly though and prefers to spend her days with painted toenails and wearing tutus.  She despises pants, but will wear a dress any day.

Tutus and dump trucks - an obvious combination

Evelyn has been up to her usual antics.  Getting into all kinds of things she shouldn't be, generally ignoring my discipline, but being my lovely snuggler all the while.

Attack of the red crayon

She could sit on my lap and read books for hours if I were able to.  We've started doing some really mild homeschooling and she's lapping it up.  By mild, I mean we pick a theme each week that we study (kittens, fish, cows, jungle, stars, etc.)and we check out several fiction and nonfiction books on the topic.  We then read the books each day, talk about the sounds in the word, pick up a few vocab words about it (habitat, claws, calf, vine, etc.), and do a craft surrounding the topic.  Super simple.  Very fun though.

She has formed serious opinions about clothing and accessory choices - this is her own ensemble.

She blew me out of the water today though.  We were doing a puzzle she has where you put 3-letter words together.  She sounded out each letter as she put it together.  I asked her to sound it out again and she repeated it.  I then asked her to put the sounds together to say the word it spelled...and she did it!  I was shocked.  All without spending $300 on Hooked on Phonics.  Double score.

First word she read!

She also has her first real pet (I refuse to count the creatures she catches in our yard pets...).

Collecting snails with her friend.

It's a Beta fish and was a huge stinking ordeal.  Evelyn can't touch commercial fish food because every single brand is made with gluten.  But Beta fish can eat blood worms.  You read that right.  Blood worms.  Mom will have nothing to do with feeding this fish  We are on our THIRD fish though.  The first two died. The first one was a mysterious death that I think we will call shaken fish syndrome.  The second was because apparently the room we keep the fish in is too cold.  So what was supposed to be a cheap little fish in a bowl is now a Beta fish that eats worms and has his own little water heater.  

Traveling with fish #1

My 3rd baby (while I wait for a real one) is my garden though.

Half the garden when first planted - it's at least doubled in size since then.

I'm adoring having a garden this year.  I love to go out each morning and see what has grown overnight (I know, dorky).  I even enjoy weeding and watering.  I'm ambitious this year and am growing 2 kinds of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, kale, red peppers, anaheim peppers, pablano peppers, watermelon, green beans, celery, romaine, sweet potatoes, oregano, mint, rosemary, basil, cilantro, sage, and parsley.  Maybe a bit too ambitious.  We shall see.