We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here we go again....

It happens every single time we get close to an adoption milestone.  I'm sure you have heard it from me here before.  I'm sure you will hear it from me again.  SATAN has his hand in our adoption.  Or, he is trying to anyway.  If we bring our Sara Joy home, she will learn of the truth of the gospel.  Satan will do just about anything to make that not happen.  Including wreck havoc on our home.

First it was the issue with the floors.  They are FINALLY getting done.  We had a set back last week, but they should finally be done on Monday next week.  We had a problem with the downstairs air unit about a month ago.  Tonight we came home, I went upstairs to give Anna a bath, and it's H.O.T. up there.  Now I guess the upstairs unit is not working.  SERIOUSLY?  We have had so many financial demands on us lately it is unreal.  I'm not really complaining, because fortunately we are able to pay for it all, but it sure isn't easy and the savings isn't what I want it to be.  We have had spacers put in for Anna's teeth, Cameron goes for an orthodontic consult tomorrow, our dental insurance is terrible... we pay up front and then when it's convenient for the insurance agency to reimburse us, we see a portion of it back.  We've had to contact the Dr. office several times to have them bill the insurance for Cameron's broken arm... and broken arms are NOT cheap.  The truck had to be repaired to the tune of $1400 and now all of this....And to top it all off, it's stinkin' HOT in SC right now.  I think today it was 107 maybe.  Anyway, it was hot. 

I've said it before though, as determined as Satan is to put an end to this silly adoption thing, this mom is more determined to finish what God has started in our family, and it certainly isn't considered silly.  Silly would be getting upset about what I knew would be coming.  Did I think Satan would just take a back seat and let it all happen?  No!  He's proven his determination too many times before.  Now he's probably just MORE determined because we are soooo close to our Sara Joy officially becoming our daughter.

It just frustrates me.  Doesn't Satan know he won't win?  I guess he knows he won't win, but feels good making us miserable in our determination?  Who knows! 

All I know is that it is tiring.  It's tiring for me, it's tiring for Tim and it's tiring for the kids. 

To top it all off, Pearl decided her dinner wasn't enough for her last night, so she helped herself to about 1/2 of a small wastebasket full of paper and other items - plastic teeth flossers, etc.  She should be expelling it one of two ways anytime now.  My luck - she'll need surgery to remove it!

Tomorrow's post will be more upbeat, I promise. 

Any encouraging words would be appreciated.  I'll start -

"Come on Charity, keep it up!  You can do it!" 

Hopefully your encouraging words will work better on me than mine did!

In Christ (that actually is encouraging)

Care Package

It is now down to two months and one day until Sara is our daughter.  We are so excited about it.  We got all of our travel material yesterday in the mail.. how exciting!  We are SOOOO looking forward to that day. 

In the meantime, while we are waiting, I got to do a little shopping for our Sara Joy.  A family from SC is going to Ethiopia in August and we will get to send a package with them to give to our Sara!  Since we have never gotten to actually "see" her, we are not sure what size clothes and things like that she is wearing.  I really wanted to send her a nice, soft stuffed animal and some pictures of our family, but I could not find a stuffed animal that was soft enough.  So, I found a little blanket with "I love you" and a cute little giraffe on it.  It was pink and perfect for our Sara.  So, that will be heading over to Ethiopia for our little girl, with love from her family. 

I'm so excited to be able to send these things over to her AND hopefully that will mean more pictures of our little Sara Joy.  The thought of more pictures of her just makes me smile!  I can't wait to see how she has grown and changed and see how much more beautiful she has become (if that is at all possible!!!).

I guess it is the little things that make you happy when you are waiting for your little girl to come home!

In Christ,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cry of the Orphan

Once you hear the cry of the orphan, you can never have a deaf ear.  It ressonates... constant... softly... everpresent.  I've yet to meet someone who hears the cry of the orphan, responds, and then hears no more.  Maybe that is the key to it... maybe you can hear the cry of the orphan, not respond and never hear it again, but once you hear the cry and respond, you always hear it. 

I am a biological mother as well as an adoptive mother.  I tend to think of the cry of the orphan in the same way I think of my biological son's cry.  Until I was expecting my son, every child sounded the same.  Each cry was the same.  I wondered how people could tell the cry of their child apart from others.  Until I had a child of my own, I almost thought they were just lucky.  They "guessed" when it was their child that was crying.  I learned very quickly after I had my son, that is not the case.  Each child has a different sound and each child is unique.

The cry of the orphan is much the same.  You hear it.  You wonder if it is meant for you.  You respond... DONE!  There is no turning back!  There are so many orphans in the world and their cry is loud.  I imagine that they wonder why no one is responding to them. 

It used to break my heart to think of my Anna in an orphanage crying with no one responding to her.  It's clear her needs were not immediately met when she cried.  The relief I felt when I had her in my arms, and I could meet her needs, was almost overwhelming.  My ears quickly turned to the others crying.  Anna was no longer crying, but many others were.  Now, Sara cries.  She will come home and cry no more - but what about the rest?  Who will hear their cry? 

I know I can only take care of so many on my own.  Someday I want to go and spend my time working in an orphanage... caring not just for one, but for many. 

Do you hear their cry?  Will you respond?

Adoption Update:
1.  Tickets are purchased.
2.  Work arrangements have been made
3.  Kids are taken care of while we are on trip one.

In Christ,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The fall after the high

In adoption, until the end, when you finally bring your child home, there is always a fall after the high.  First, you make the decision to adopt (high) then you have loads of paperwork to do (fall).  You get your home study completed (high) then you have to wait for the final copy of it and wait again for state approval (fall).  You send in your I-600A (high) and then it takes forever to get a fingerprint appt. (fall).  You get the fingerprint appt (high) then you wait by the mailbox for an eternity for the approval (fall) - (except in our case when we had an approval within 4 days :)  Your paperwork is finally complete (high) and then it needs to be translated and all that good stuff (fall).  Finally it is submitted (high) and then nothing happens (fall).  You wait (fall)  and wait (fall further) and wait (even further) and wait (further yet) for a referral.  You have fallen so far you barely recognize baseline anymore.  Then you get the phone call - WhooHoo!!!!  You have risen from the valley to the top of the mountain!!! (HIGH!!!)  You realize that the high doesn't last all that long because you are well aware of the fall that is coming.  You wait again - this time knowing your child and desperately wanting to bring him/her home.  Days go by (fall), weeks even (fall further) sometimes months (uuggghhh, keep falling) until you get a call again.  You have a court date!  HIGH - there is that mountain again. 

I was on that high mountain on Friday.  Trust me, I'm so happy that I was there, but those small milestones seem to be placed there, sporadically, only to get you thru the process.  Without the small mountains to celebrate, even momentarily, I'm not sure International adoption would be bearable.  It's so hard to hold onto that celebratory feeling though.  I'm so glad that we got our court date, but it's also very hard knowing that it is still 2 1/2 months away.  On September 28th, our Sara Joy will be 17 months and 12 days old.  By the time we bring her home for good, she'll probably be nearing 20 months.  I so wish we could go and get her now. 

This coming Friday, she will be 15 months old. 

I'm so looking forward to going to Ethiopia and meeting my little girl.  I PRAY we pass court on the first attempt.  I can imagine that is going to be one of those VERY high, highs though.... and the fall that is to come after that - going home without her, is going to be an extremely hard fall.  It's going to hurt.  It's going to rip my heart out knowing she is there, she is ours, and we can't bring her home with us.  We signed up for it though.  I know we will get through it, and I know it will be hard, but it will be fine.  It's just not something I'm looking forward to.  It will hurt.  I can't wait to wrap my arms around her though.  If I could show you a picture of her beautiful little face, her gorgeous, dark, almond-shaped eyes, her WILD dark hair and her beautiful, kissable little cheeks - you would fall in love with her too!  That is one thing I am looking forward to... on September 28th, or shortly thereafter, assuming we pass court that day - I will be able to show the world our daughter!  I can not wait to share her with the world.  Right now, she feels like a secret.  Like I'm hiding her from the world, when all I want to do is show her to the world.  I will have a MILLION pictures to share on that day!  She is a beautiful little girl.  She was a beautiful baby and she is now turning into a beautiful little toddler.  Leaving her will be hard, but there will just be one more mountain to climb after that - the wait to bring her home.  Then she will be part of our family forever!!!

If you know someone going thru International adoption (or domestic adoption for that matter) could you help them through the lows that come right after the extremely high, highs?  Many people don't understand the emotional stress that comes with adoption, but do you have to understand it?  Do you have to have experienced it to encourage someone thru it?

I'm so thankful for my friends who have encouraged us thru this process.  I'm thankful for the ones who are right there with me, wishing I could get my Sara sooner.  I'm less thankful for the ones who constantly tell me how the process should be shorter, how there are so many kids that need a home that they should basically just give these kids away.  The process is there for a reason!  I understand that, I am even glad that the process is there.  It allows me to sleep at night knowing that everything was done to ensure that my daughter really needed a home, and that she has not been taken from one to give to me.  So, in terms of support - don't complain about the system, just stand by me and wish with me that Sara were here.  Wish with me that you could hold her and play with her as well.  I really am thankful for those who stand with me!  And for those who have been thru the process... I couldn't do it without you.  Because you truly understand!

It's a long way to September 28th, so anyone willing to stand with me?

Friday, July 9, 2010


Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land" Proverbs 25:25

I was feeling severely under the weather today and was home from work.  My work cell does not get good reception in our house - the phone rang once and went to voice mail.  I looked at the number and didn't recognize it.  They left a voice mail.

I listened to the voice mail and it was our adoption coordinator.  She asked that I give her a call.  I thought it was strange... she didn't say why she wanted me to call her.

So, I called her back.  WE HAVE A COURT DATE!!!  I nearly fell off the front porch (I get good reception on the front porch :)  Our court date is 28Sept2010!!!  We will hopefully be Sara's official parents on that date!!!  I'm teary-eyed just typing this!  The last thing I expected today was a phone call regarding our court date!  What a WONDERFUL surprise. 

So, now we know.  The bad thing is, this week is a terrible week for me to be out of work.  We are having an audit that week that was scheduled months ago.  It will start the 27th and end Oct 1st.  I will be gone the entire time.  I had prepared my boss for this possibility, but really never expected to be in Ethiopia the ONE week I am truly needed at work.  Well, I had said all along that this comes first... whenever it comes.  This allows me to live up to that statement.  And of-course, this DOES come first.  I am SO very excited that we have a court date!!!  Sara should be home with us for Thanksgiving!!!

I am so thankful to God for giving us this daughter!!! 

The countdown is on!!!

In Christ,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Catching up

It has been a whirl-wind past few weeks!  Looking back at my blogs I see that I have lost a lot of the details in what has been going on over the past few weeks.  I've failed to post pictures, birthdays have come and gone, stories were only 1/2 told.... That's what happens when you are busy!  So, I decided today that I would play a bit of catch up.  Cameron sighed the other day as I was taking about a million pictures at the fireworks, that he felt one of the longest blogs EVER coming on... he may be right :)  So, I'll start with the house.... here are some pictures when our floors are torn apart.  Notice the fridge outside of the kitchen?  Yeah, nice!  It was in the den for some time while they laid the kitchen floors.  Then it moved to the sunroom while the entire downstairs floors were being finished.  It's still there waiting for the kitchen to be 100% complete.

Two weekends ago we had our family day at work.  We ended up taking one of Cameron's friends, Christopher with us.  We had a great time.  The only problem was it was HOT!  It was so hot that there really were not many people there.  You didn't have to wait in line for anything other than the water park.  Anna was too small for most of the rides at the water park, so I stayed with her in the kids area and we didn't have to wait to ride anything.  In fact, one ride they let us ride three times without ever getting off.  It was a lot of fun.  Cameron and I rode his first roller-coaster together.  Probably his last for awhile too.  It was one you stand up on and it goes upside down.  I didn't personally enjoy it!

The kittens had a photo opportunity the other day.  They were resting on top of the laundry basket in the bathroom and they just looked so cute I had to take some pictures of them...

Since the floors were getting redone at the house, the kids were in Georgetown with my mom and Denis for a week.  They went on boat rides, fishing, bike riding and of-course out for ice cream!  On Thursday, Cameron's birthday, I went down there as well to be there to celebrate his birthday with him.  We had presents and an ice cream cake - Yumm!  It's hard to believe my Cameron is 11!

A little blurry... but here he is opening up his new DSiXL.  He loved it!

He also got a new basketball from Anna.  It is a Clemson one and he loved it.  Not sure what Anna thought was so funny in this picture, but she was getting a chuckle out of something!

Fourth of July we packed the kids up and drove to Charleston to Patriot's point for the firework display.  They also have docked there a aircraft carrier, the Yorktown.  We toued the Yorktown and then got our chairs set up for the firework display.  Here are the kids in front of a pod (not sure they are called that... just made it up :)

A picture of the Yorktown

The kids loved the helicopter.. one of the many planed on this HUGE flight deck!

Some type of missile that the kids thought was cool.

After the tour of the Yorktown Tim and Cameron went and picked us up subs for a picnic dinner as we waited for the fireworks display to begin.  Anna and I stayed back and made sure we kept our position (and our chairs) for the show.  I got some pictures of Anna while they were gone.

Tim and Cameron... back with dinner.

Here's a picture of the Yorktown at dusk... getting ready for the big show.

The rest are pictures of the fireworks.  The pictures are not the best ever, but I thought some of them turned out really cool.

I'm wishing I had more to share about our Sara Joy, but unfortunately we have not yet received a court date.  I'm so anxious to get one.  It has been 4 weeks and 1 day since we first saw her little face.. and we are SO ready to bring her home!  Please pray for a quick court date for us!

In Christ,

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sara Joy Update

Yesterday (July 1st) was Cameron's 11th birthday.  We celebrated it in Georgetown with my mom and Denis.  The kids were there spending the week with them because we were getting the floors done at the house.  If anyone in the Florence area saw us climbing into our bedroom window... no, we were not practicing breaking into houses, we were just getting into our own.  We climbed thru the bedroom window all week because there was no other way to get into the house without stepping on hardwoods.  So, we have been living in a bedroom and a bathroom.  Tonight is the last night of it :)

Anyway, while we were in Georgetown today my mom and I went shopping.  While we were out shopping I got an e-mail from our agency... they had updated information on Sara Joy.  They re-completed some medical information for us, because the information on the sheet was confusing.  It was nothing to be wary of, but we wanted the correct information.  So, they did a new medical work-up for her.  Unfortunately all we got was the medical info..... Until.... we get another e-mail from our agency.  They were able to get the actual medical form - which had all of Sara's information on it.  She is 14 months old, 21 pounds and 30 inches long!!!  And there was a picture included.  OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!  She is absolutely beautiful!!!  I would give anything to be able to post her sweet picture!  I'm so thankful for the pictures we have of her... now if only we had HER!!!

I can't help but stare at her picture, she is so adorable.  This mom is dying to bring her little girl home!

I'll have an update soon from Cameron's birthday.  I feel like a terrible mom because I haven't posted one yet, but it has been a rough week.  Hopefully this week things will get back to normal.  We can finally walk on our floors this morning, tomorrow we will move furniture back and thankfully we have the 5th off (Monday) so we can just rest, relax and do some work around the house getting everything back in order.

Can't wait for the day I can share my little Sara Joy with the world!!!

In Christ,