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!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Paper Chase

The paper-chase....yep, we are there again!  I wasn't sure I'd be doing this again, and especially not so soon, but we really feel as though this is right for our family!  Tim and I have been discussing if we wanted to adopt one more time.  Initially - just like each addition to the family - when the newest one comes home, we both say we are done.  This is it.  But, then... things settle down.  Before we adopted Sara, we said we would adopt two more.  Sara and then another.  Well, when we got Sara's referral, I freaked out.  I wondered if we could do it all.  It's kinda like when you get pregnant, and your life is all in order and you wonder - OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!  What have we just done.  Life will NEVER be the same again.  And certainly, it is not!  But, we've come to find that is good!  This time however, Tim and I both agree that this is our last one.  This was actually Tim's idea which was a bit of a surprise to me.  Once we started talking about it though, I was all on board!!!

I did some calling last week from work during lunch.  This is just about the same scenario that happened when I first decided to adopt Anna.  I was looking into agencies and countries and had my heart set on China.  At the time, I was single, so there were difficulties in finding an agency that didn't already have their singles quota filled for adoption from China.  As I was looking through the agencies on the internet, I was drawn to Faith International.  I called them.  They were able to send my dossier to China in the next calendar year - that would be perfect as it would take me about six months to get my dossier ready anyway.  So, I did it!  They were a GREAT agency to work with.

When we decided to adopt Sara, we were not able to use Faith.  We were happy with the agency that we worked with and of-course we love the little girl that God placed in our lives.  We did felt lead, at the time, to use this agency that we did for our adoption of Sara.  In fact, we lost quite a bit of money by going with them, because we had already signed with another agency.

So, now here we are again.  As I was looking for an agency, I started looking at Faith again.  I was intrigued by the new programs that they had, and something led me to click on India.  I'm not sure what it was, and in fact, I went back to the page twice, because when I went to click on it, something said "no, we don't qualify for that program".  But I was led to click on it anway.  As I read through it, my heart started fluttering.  I called the agency and was able to speak immediately to a wonderful man who quickly answered all of my questions.  Tim was dropping something by my office, so I talked about all of the details with him.  He had a couple of questions as well, so I called the gentleman back - and was able to talk to him immediately.  He answered those questions and sent me some information. 

WE ARE GOING WITH INDIA!!!!!  I can't believe it.  I was drawn to India when we were adopting Sara, but we did not qualify for the program.  I don't know if I didn't look hard enough, or what - I'm glad we went with Ethiopia and got our Sara - but I think this time, this is where God wants us to go!!!  We can have no more than three children in the home - AND, I discussed with them my eye condition, and they don't feel as though it will be a problem!  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

The program is interesting.... it's different than any other program we have been involved with (China, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and Ethiopia).  We will have our homestudy completed and begin working on our dossier.  After our homestudy is completed, and while we are working on our dossier, our homestudy will be sent to India and we will be matched with a child.  This usually takes about 3 months.  Then we will receive our referral.  If we accept the referral, the child will then be looked at internally in India to determine if there is anyone who will take the child in India (not likely).  They do this to ensure that the child is being removed from their birth country and culture as a last resort (understandable).  If no domestic family can be found, the referral is ours.  We complete our dossier and send it to India.  The hard part is that from the time we receive the referral, to the time we go get our child can be as long as 8 months - sometimes longer.  As this is a pilot program, no one can say for sure how long it will take.  Travel to India is required.  We will be in country for 10 days to two weeks.  Pretty much like we were with the China program.  We are thankful that this time, it will only be one trip, rather than two.

We are thinking about taking all of the kids with us this time, if it is financially possible.  We'll have to wait and see!  I am SO very excited about this process.  I'm going to cherish every minute of the paperwork, fingerprinting, reference letters, medical exams, waiting, waiting and waiting, because this will truly be our last adoption experience.  I think we've maxed out our family.

We are going to request (we think) a little girl.  We will request 18 - 30 months... the same age range we requested with Sara.  The only thing we want, is to keep this child younger than Sara.  They may end up in the same grade, but we want to maintain their birth order.  I think it will be great for Sara to have a sibling so close in age. 

Pray for us once again as we take the leap of faith to make this journey ONE. LAST. TIME!!! 

Can't wait to share with you along the way!

In Christ,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Holding on for the ride...

So, what have I been doing lately?  Holding on during the ride!  Life is a ride - and I think I'm finally enjoying it.  There have been a lot of ups and downs lately, but it's all part of the ride.

There is so much that I'm looking forward to... the kids are out of school in just three short days.  They finish up with 1/2 days and are done the middle of next week.  I'm looking forward to spending more time with my kids and with my family.  We have planned a vacation to the beach this summer.  I'm so looking forward to it.  I told Tim that work is going to have to live without us during this time.  I'm not even going to turn on the phone!  It probably won't even work where we are (hopefully :)!  It'll just be us and the kids, hanging out, relaxing and having a good time together as a family.  I can't wait!

I was worried that our little vacation was going to get ruined by my latest issue - I started up running about six weeks ago.  Two weeks into it, my left leg started hurting - and not just hurting, but REALLY hurting.  Tim took me to urgent care and they said give it two weeks, gave me an anti-inflammatory and sent me home.  Three weeks later, I was still hobbling around.  Finally went to an ortho. specialist, and had an MRI done.  Come to find out I have a fracture.  Ugghh.  I thought for sure he was going to cast it and I'd be sitting at the beach with a cast on my leg.  Fortunately for me though, I only have to be off of it, and be on crutches for four weeks.  I'll hopefully get off of the crutches right before we leave for our vacation.

The kiddos are doing wonderful!!!  All three of them!  Cameron and Anna both made the honor roll this year.  I'm so proud of both of them.  Cameron was inducted into the Jr. Beta Club which is based on academics as well as character.  I was one proud mom when he was inducted!  Sara is doing great.  She is enjoying day care and they are enjoying her.  Her vocabulary is really growing and I'm pleased with that.  She loves to point out what belongs to whom "THAT Mama's", "THAT Anna's".  It's so cute, but she says it over, and over, and over like a broken record :)  Wouldn't change it for the world!

Ms. Sara had her second birthday since I last wrote.  It was her first one home with us, so it was extra special!  She was excited to be the center of attention for a bit.  She is getting really close to her brother and sister and enjoys playing with them!  She and Anna do a lot together play-wise... Cameron, not so much, but for some reason, she is really drawn to Cameron.  She likes to be around him.  It's adorable.  And he is a really good big brother to her.  Both he and Anna are good siblings.

Speaking of siblings, now is as good a time as ever to break the news... Tim and I are going to embark on the adoption journey one more time!  We are in the process of contemplating countries, names, etc - but I think we are pretty certain that we are going to do this one. final. time.  It was actually Tim's idea this time, but he said that he was going to make me sign something saying this would be our last one.  We so enjoyed the experience with Sara and we're ready to do it again.  We have some time beforre we start again - I think we are going to start early fall, so I'm watching and investigating countries to see where we might fit in best.  I think this time we would ask for a girl again, but if our heart is in a country where we can not select gender, then we will go with either and be happy either way.... we have names picked out for both, so we are ok there :)

So, pretty exciting news on that front.  I have so many pictures to share... more pictures than I have time.  Pictures coming soon!

In Christ,