Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sadly, I think this is the only one we have of all four kids together. Gotta do better next year.
By the way, in case you're dying of curiosity.....it was a Pokemon card booster box, which contains 36 packs of Pokemon cards. Outrageously expensive, but I scored it on ebay (shhh...don't tell him). Apparently, an 11 year old boy's dream come true.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
So, why did I stress about the timing of all this?? I couldn't have scheduled it better myself!!!! God gets all the credit for these perfect plans - His timing always IS perfect, isn't it????
Praising Him today, and off to enjoy a JOY filled Christmas. I was so sad for a while that Abby wouldn't be here, but just knowing when I'll see her sweet face makes it OK. I'm going to bake, wrap, watch It's a Wonderful Life, sing, praise God, and play games to my heart's content for the next few days. I'll pack next week.........
Monday, December 21, 2009
Praising God today, for holding me up during this seemingly endless wait!!
By lunchtime today, we just couldn't take it. We tried to call our SW again but were just getting voicemail, not even a real life receptionist to answer. My DH was going to email the main office, but then decided that he might as well try to call. I had called them only once before, a few months back, and they hadn't taken my call. They had then reprimanded my SW for it, letting her and us know that we should be going through her to get questions answered. Which I honored until now, because frankly I got pretty tired of being ignored. We just wanted a straight "Yes, TA is here", or "No, sorry". If it was the latter, we were going to push for more answers as to why it had taken so long.
Well, suprise #1 - they actually took his call. Not so surprising, I guess, was the answer that YES, TA is FINALLY here!! They did get it on Thursday, when I had gotten that "mysterious" email from the travel agency. We still don't have dates, because they're still trying to schedule or CA (Consulate Appointment). They're hoping for arrival in Beijing on Jan. 14, which would be PERFECT. That would put me still at home for my little man's second birthday, and BACK in time for my DH's big promotion ceremony!!
Thank you for all your prayers, and for listening to my roller coaster emotions the last few days!! Now let's pray for that CA!!!
God is GOOD!!!
Friday, December 18, 2009
So I'm not sure if their lack of response means TA is not here and they're too busy to bother telling us so, or it is here and they don't have CA scheduled yet so they don't want to tell us.
I'm not feeling quite ready to face the weekend.
First, I emailed the travel agency back yesterday and directly asked if our adoption agency had asked them to contact me. They said no, they were just updating their files and wanted to touch base with people that should be traveling soon.
However, I did confirm with about 10 different APs that adopted with our agency within the last few months that they did receive that same email from the travel agency a day before they got the call about their TA. And, some of these people contacted the travel agency just like I did and they also denied that they knew anything about TA being there. So I'm feeling pretty positive that our agency has our TA right now. Why, oh why, must they play these games and not tell people right away??? I just hope that I get a call today and don't have to wait 'til Monday. And I hope I'm not just getting myself worked up for no reason.....
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I emailed my SW but haven't heard back anything.....
There's no way I'm sleeping tonight!!!!! Please pray that this is IT!!!!!! And pray for a few other families waiting along with me!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
“In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored
When You call I won’t refuse
Each new day again I’ll choose
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise
In the chaos, in confusion
I know You’re Sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days
All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope, all of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord Forevermore
Monday, December 14, 2009
I opened up my Bible just for a brief moment before racing off to the gym (I usually have my quiet time after I get back. I have to make it to the gym before DH leaves for work, or I don't get to go). Very randomly, just cracked it open, and I was reading these verses: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:28-31
What a nice reminder that He is watching over our every move and has not forgotten us, or Abby!! With a smile on my face and already feeling better, and enjoying the fact that I have such an awesome Father and that He picks me up every single time I start to stumble, I headed off to the gym.
I got back and managed to finish a shower and still have a housefull of sleeping children, which meant time for a truly QUIET quiet time. Again, feeling His love here, because He knew I needed it today. Turned to my devotional, where the focus verse of the day was Matthew 14:31 "Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?" And the reading to follow reminded me of how Peter leapt out of the boat without hesitation when Jesus called, but his faith fizzled out and he started sinking. What a very appropriate reminder for me today!! The prayer at the end said "Heavenly Father, when your direction is obvious, help me not to doubt". By this time I was pretty astonished, and realized His message could not be any clearer if I was looking at a burning bush...... And I felt so incredibly loved, and so GRATEFUL that He is so patient with me, when I continously develop shaking knees if I have to wait more than "average" waiting times for anything. And grateful for the fact that He hears me and so tenderly and DIRECTLY answers me.
And as if that were not enough, I turned to my SECOND devotional (yes, I love devotionals). I was actually reading Dec. 13 because I don't read my devotionals on Sunday. A quote from J.R. Miller awaited me "If you are in the deep shadows because of some strange, mysterious providence, do not be afraid. Simply go on in faith and love, never doubting. God is watching, and He will bring good and beauty out of all your pain and tears."
Awesome!!! Isn't He SO GOOD?????!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
And I'm still shocked because I WON. I never ever win anything, this is so AMAZING!!!!! The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card, and let me tell you, this has made THIS Christmas shopping mama very, very happy. I feel ridiculous about how excited I am about this, but frankly I know it's a side effect of losing my mind over the wait for Travel Approval. My kids thought I was really funny doing my little jig around the room last night when I found out, even though they only know half the story because of course, I could not tell them what the winning idea was.
So thank you Stefanie, you made my day!!!!! Of course, I absolutely LOVE the runner up, and now I have to go searching for that for my two little ones.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I posted a couple of months ago about how grateful I am to have found an online community that has walked the road of adoption before, because they are my true cheerleaders in this whole process. Well, lately I have felt completely overwhelmed lately by the stories I've been reading about on other peoples' adoption blogs. And maybe not so much the stories, but the love. It is so amazing to me that so many families out there feel called to adopt, and then respond with such PASSION. I was literally in tears a few nights ago reading about a family waiting for to travel for their SN boy, and that's when it struck me. This is not what the world would consider "normal". Not only do these families seek to add to their numbers by pretty unconventional means, but then to be so utterly excited at every little step of the process. To feel pure JOY at the privilege of getting to be a part of these little ones' lives......... Little ones that most others would consider "imperfect". It has been such a blessing to me over the last few months to get a peek at these families' journeys, to watch so many of them wait and wait with great expectation, and then be united with their children, and then to watch them blossom into a family; some journeys smoother than others, but all having a breathtaking amount of LOVE behind them. People besides themselves with anticipation waiting to bring home children that they did not genetically contribute to, children that will have countless medical and emotional issues to deal with in months to come. And these people can NOT wait to bring these children home. And then, they travel halfway around the world and bring them home and deal with grieving children, temper tantrums, and a mountain of communication issues - all things they knew ahead of time would have to be dealt. with. And they CHOSE to do this - and continue every day to choose to love these kids!! And the real kicker, they count THEMSELVES blessed.
These families have inspired and changed me in countless ways. I have seen the love of Jesus firsthand by watching all of them, and I frankly do not have enough words to express what a thrill that is!!!!! It is HIS love that is ACTIVE, changing the world, at a time when so many are SO cynical and would make us think the worse of those around us. I have hundreds of stories to share with those people now, and with those who would question if GOD is really active today - He is, He is , HE IS!!! And I get to read about it EVERY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S. My favorite story of HIS love in action this week is here. Read it from the beginning and have yourself a good cry.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Sadly, we will not be traveling in December at this point, though. I had hoped and prayed to have Abby home for Christmas. But just knowing we have such a mountain behind us is enough of a Christmas present for me. It looks like our agency is planning to send a group the first week of January, and hopefully we can make it out with that group!!
Monday, November 30, 2009
I am trying to remain sane. It's really a rollercoaster - I feel completely at peace one minute and the next I feel like I'm going to lose it!
Stayed busy this past weekend shopping and decorating the house for Christmas. Started back to school today and I'm actually trying to cover as much ground as possible before we have to take a break, which helps keep me somewhat sane, I guess. Today we're also going to make our count down to Christmas chain, which the kids LOVE - it is definitely a favorite tradition around here. I thought they would've outgrown it years ago, but it's the first thing they remember and beg to do every year. We put a Christmas related activity on each link of a paper chain, and do what comes up each day as we pull a link to count down to the big day.
I just really wish I had a date marked on the calendar for our China travel, because it is really stressful to do all this planning and not know if I'm going to be here or there come Dec. 25.
So all I can do is just enjoy the season, one day at a time, and realize that we WILL eventually get there. I just wanted her home for Christmas so badly......................
Thursday, November 26, 2009
For now, I guess I'll keep busy with shopping. The big decision is whether to start out at Toys R Us at midnight tonight or wait 'til 5 am and start at Target. So much to ponder, so little time......
Friday, November 20, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
And adding to the excitement is the fact that we are only 11 days from Black Friday!!! YAYYYY!!
Friday, November 13, 2009
For the boys (ages 10 - up):
Let me start by saying that we are a HUGE game family. We have more board games than I care to admit, and until recently thought we had probably played everyone worth playing ever created. And then, our wonderful neighbors introduced us to both of these games. We already have the original versions of each of these, so we'd be adding on to them with follow up editions that you actually add to the original game and it turns it into a very different game - sort of like spicing up an old favorite. If your family enjoys board games, especially strategy ones, you MUST look into these. WARNING: HIGHLY ADDICTIVE STUFF!!!!!! And although I listed these under stuff for the boys, DD actually plays with us all the time. I just think she kind of plays along just to feel included, but the boys are the ones passionate about actually playing this (and maybe mom, just a little bit).
Settlers of Catan
If you don't own any of these games yet, you have to start out with the Settlers of Catan first, and then build from there if you choose. The Settlers game stands on its own, but it is just fun to add to it and change things up a bit.
Here is the second game our kind neighbors introduced us to:
Yes, it's called Killer Bunnies. I know how violent that sounds!!!! But I promise, it is non-violent, non-threatening, and not at all gruesome. It's actually great family fun!!!! I'm so glad to finally have moved on from Hungry Hungry Hippos and Hi-Ho Cherry-O (Of course, with a one year old in the house, I guess I'll be playing all that again pretty soon - although that's what older siblings are for, isn't it?). It's just great to be playing games with my kids that I would actually even play WITHOUT them. The box says ages 12 and up, but my 8 year old plays it just fine. And, as seems to be the theme in our game-life this year, you can add to this one too. So although we have the "original" Killer Bunnies, we plan to add:
Again, you need to start with the blue box, and then if you wish you can add one of the booster decks.
Boys or Adult (such as myself)
New Casting Crowns CD - Comes out Nov. 17 (oh my - that's almost TODAY)
And I have to admit, I would absolutely LOVE one of these, but I'm not officially asking for one (it's just too expensive to ask for it for myself - maybe on my birthday when we are not also spending on everyone else).
I'm sure I'll add more later as I think of them, but frankly this post is taking way too long away from my shopping time!!!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I don't think I've posted pictures of the care packages we sent to Abby in the last couple of months. The first one we sent the week after we got our Letter of Acceptance, around mid-September. We wrote a letter, which was translated for us by the lady who runs the care package service (redthreadchina). We also included some cookies and candy for the children and nannies, and laughed when we saw the picture because we didn't realize it would be so much!!!! It was kind of neat that we could send up to twenty pictures to be put in a photo album, so we sent pictures of each of us and pictures of the house and her room. We also threw in some books for Abby, plus some coloring books with markers. It was really, really hard to choose what we would send - we just wanted to send everything!!! Here's the picture:
Then another month quickly went by, and I felt it was time to send our little girl a reminder that we are still thinking of her..... This time I chose a dress (which by the way, you don't actually CHOOSE - you say you want a dress and the lady chooses it for you, but I was amazed at what $15 bought - it's beautiful!!), a Hello Kitty doll, and wrote another letter. Here's the picture of Care Package #2, which I sent out in October.
And just so that you can get a closer look at the dress that Ann from redthread picked out:
Isn't it beautiful??
I love sending packages because it helps me feel connected to Abby. It also helps me to feel like I'm doing something for her even though she's so far away, and I want to do so much more. I would be due for sending another one next week, but I'm kind of hoping we'll get Travel Approval and travel dates and actually be on our way to her ourselves fairly soon!!!!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So, as of right now, everything is where it needs to be. It just took a while to get there.
And I am reminded again to stop my fretting, and my anxiety, and to trust Him with this adoption and this timeline. But I am a bit of a control freak, so having to completely let go is difficult for me. He really knows what I need to work on.......
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Something else I ordered this week for my boys that I'm super excited about is THIS
They are totally into movie making and have actually gotten pretty good with their very limited equipment. James was even saying the other day that he could see himself pursuing a career somehow related to editing or movie making. So when I saw the above kit in the current Timberdoodle catalog, I knew I had to order. Usually, I ponder this type of decision forever and then end up placing a last minute order and paying twice the shipping, if I can even get it at by that point, so I'm pretty proud of myself for actually ordering now. Plus, it really looks like half of my usual shopping season will be spent in China this year, so I want to be prepared.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Before I became a mom, I could've never dreamed about what an amazing, special love there is between a mother and a son. I share a connection with each one of my boys which is truly indescribable and was truly a complete suprise to me. There is just something so incredibly sweet about the way a boy will stick up for his mom, as though someone secretly gave him the charge of knight in shining armor and he's going to protect mom from the world if it's the last thing he does!!!! My boys all want to keep me safe from what they see as dangers to me, which the majority of the time includes Daddy's schemes to tickle me or play some type of joke on me. They will NOT go for that!! So sweet : ) And, they are really very sensitive with my feelings - they are always concerned about not hurting me, and if they think they have for whatever reason, they are oh so sad. Either they really, really love me or they just think I'm on edge and about to explode and they fear for their lives!!
I love that they seek out opportunities to dote on me - they love getting to make me a sandwich, bring me a blanket, or otherwise show their love.
I love that my big boys (at 13 and almost 11) still like to cuddle with me and read a good book.
I love that these are the same boys that have been linebackers and quarterbacks and can get rough and tough and bang heads with other boys without a second thought.
I love that they come to me when they want to be comforted.
I love that they like to find ways to spend time with me by sharing in some of my interests - like cooking.
I love that they have put up with my craziness for these many years and still like me!!
I love that they all have beds filled with stuffed animals. (OK- NOT on the bed for the little guy yet, more like all over his floor).
I love that I get to see the world through their eyes - and it gives me such a different perspective!
I love that they fill my house with trains, trucks, action figures, and Pokemon cards.
And they fill my front yard with BMX bikes, and dirtbikes (although I guess Lanie is guilty of that too), and little red wagons.
I love that they love the Lord with all their hearts. When I wake up in the morning to find them already on the couch with their Bibles on their laps, I can peek into the future and see them as the Godly men, husbands, and fathers I pray they'll grow up to be. And I thank God that He blessed me with these three boys, that He didn't let me miss out on this part of motherhood, and that He gave me the incredible privilege of playing even the smallest role in bringing up those boys to become men who would honor and serve Him.
OK, and just because this was cute:
This is what typically happens when I pull out the camera. I love that I caught him running away.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Now it's time to figure out if my phone can make international calls with my current plan, so we can call Guangzhou and find out about our Article 5!
I'm still holding out hope for having her home for Christmas!!!
Monday, October 12, 2009
And by the way, for those of you wondering, that very cute little girl in the picture is not Abby (but I do intend to copy the full outfit, right down to the knee socks - so sweet). If you want to see pics of Abby, scroll down to the bottom of this page. You'll find several other cuties I am madly in love with down there too.