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, September 27, 2011

Birthday Girl

Anna's 8th Birthday Cake - iCarly

I'm a bit late in writing this post, but I thought I would share some pictures from her birthday celebration while I was at it....and we didn't officially do that until Sunday.  So - while this post is a little late, I write it with much love for my Anna Clare! I even changed the font color to pink in honor of Anna and her new-found love for the color pink.  This time last year, she could not STAND the color pink - now it is her favorite!
My sweet 8 year old Anna Clare AiYi Roach - love you my doll baby!

I don't even know how to begin to describe just how much my Anna Clare means to me.  What a precious treasure she is in my life, and in our family.  My beautiful Asian princess!
The birthday girl and her sister - aren't they both just beautiful???

We had a small family get together this weekend in celebration on Anna's birthday.  We kinda carried her birthday out over three days, ending it with a party on Saturday with the grandparents.  First, on Friday, her actual birthday she took home made chocolate chip cookies (her favorite) to her class.  When she came home we had dinner and Tim took her to the high school football game.  They had a good time, even though it was chilly!  Saturday we picked up her cake for her party on Sunday, did some errands around the house and then let her pick out where we would go for dinner.  As per usual, she picked Olive Garden.  We had a nice time celebrating my little girl's birthday with her....and had a great dinner!
 More sisters - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these girls!
 Sara Joy on Anna's birthday - look at that face!!!  That is TROUBLE!!!
Sweet Sara Joy - happy to be celebrating her sister's birthday!

Sunday the grandparents came over.  It was so nice to have the family under one roof.  Mom had to come without Denis which was kind of sad, but we understood.  He was still feeling a bit under the weather, so he stayed home and my mom came on her own.  Tim's parents came as well.  We had a nice, easy dinner.  Tim did hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill and we had baked beans, green bean casserole and a nice fruit salad.  It was all very good!
 Great picture of Tim and his dad!
Three generations - my mom (grandma), me, Sara Joy, Anna Clare, and Tim's mom (Mamaw)

Anna got some very nice gifts.  We got her an iPod for  her birthday and a couple of outfits.  Mamaw and Papaw got her a couple of outfits and an home.  Mom and Denis got her an outfit and an iTunes gift card.  She enjoyed all of her gifts very much and said it was her best birthday ever.  I guess the kids like it better when it is simple than when I do something all busy and complicated!
 The birthday girl - opening gifts
I am blessed to have such a sweet and beautiful daughter!

After everyone left we settled in and all watched a couple of movies together.  Mamaw had brought us some home made pepper jelly so we had a "snacky" type dinner of crackers, cream cheese and pepper jelly.  It was good!
This is the only evidence I have that Cameron was even present... he threatened me when I said I would put the picture up on Facebook.  Apparently he didn't like the picture.  Good thing he doesn't  read my blog - or maybe he should start.  Love you Cam!

My Anna Clare is such a blessing to me.  I really can't imagine my life without her.  She is such a special little girl.  I love her to death!  Happy Birthday Ms. Anna Clare!  So thankful God brought us together and that you are my daughter!

In Christ,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Embarking on a Journey

Have you ever found yourself on a journey... but you don't know where you are going, or even WHY you are going?  It's kinda where I'm at right now.  

I seem to be something along the lines of a fish out of water right now.  Not sure how I will survive, but for the love of God, I know I will.  (Maybe a fish out of water doesn't feel that way, but in my life right now, I feel like a fish out of water).  Ok, so for a long time - like a REALLY long time, my life was defined first by one thing.... my job.  I started working in my field (Chemistry) at the end of my sophomore year of college.  I was lucky enough to land a job where they let me work while I finished my education and then they hired me upon graduation.  I was pretty much the envy of all of my friends at the time.  So, since the ripe ole age of 19, I've worked in the Pharmaceutical industry.  I had many jobs along the way - Analytical Chemist, through QA and Validation to my final stop in Management.  Sadly, it did pretty much define me.  After I had my children, then two things defined me - my family and my job.  They sometimes fought for the front running position and depending on the circumstances, they jockeyed back and forth as to which was in front.  

I think, well, really I know - God was trying to get my attention. Sorry God, no time... I'm busy.  Do you not remember the time-consuming job you gave me and the children and husband that you blessed me with?  Did you forget all the effort I need to put into them.... I HAVE NO TIME RIGHT NOW.  You want BALANCE in my life???  I'm balancing the best I know how!!!  I've wondered many a time why God "blessed" me with the unique (not unique to everyone, I guess a better word would be rare) eye condition that I have.  Along the way, I have seen God use it to better my life and I think - ok, this is it!!!  I have learned why God allows this to remain in my life.  I've learned a lesson.  But then, it doesn't go away.... It becomes an annoyance.  "Ok God, I learned what you needed me to learn, so stop with the robbing me of my sight".  Remember???  I learned my lesson.  God always has more for me though.

I call my condition a "blessing" because most days... it really is.  Looking back on life, I see how God has used this condition to better me, to keep me needing Him - I think without it, I'd be too dependent on myself and I'd wander quickly.  I'm an independent person by nature.  I take pride in doing things on my own.... but I've learned that nothing it done truly on my own - only though the power of Christ.  

So, God must have something big and interesting in store for me.  My eyes are getting much worse.  Everyone sees it.  My husband sees it, my children see it, my family sees it, and my friends see it.  Others who don't know me, and don't know my condition, probably think I'm rude as I walk in front of them without knowing, or I run into them because I don't see them.  It's becoming more and more apparent.  As I said before, I'm currently not working because of it.

How could God take away one of the things that DEFINED me???  Well, I thought about that quite a bit lately - as I have had a little more time on my hands.... God does not see me as being DEFINED by my job.  He defined my role on this earth a LONG time ago, and it had nothing to do with my job.  Now, He gave me my job for a reason, and if I truly believe that - which I do - He has taken it from me right now for a reason.  Maybe to re-examine what truly defines me.  It shouldn't be my job.  Truthfully, it should not be my family either.  Not my husband, not my kids.... I need to learn to let God define me.   It's a difficult task for this independent, education minded, workaholic person I have become.  Imagine my life without the blackberry????  Never.... yet here I sit, on the brink of no work blackberry - and yet I survive!!!

God is Good!!!  Yes, ALL. THE. TIME.  Even when the situations of life really stink... God is still good.  Of the two things that I've ever thought really defined me, I'm thankful He has chosen to teach me a lesson by, at least for right now, taking me from my JOB and not taking me from my family!  He is not only GOOD, but He is MERCIFUL!!!

So, while I'm figuring out this new chapter of my life, I've decided to utilize some of my time to get into better shape.  There isn't a whole lot for me to choose from... I had a road bike - not a good idea for someone who can't see.  It's hanging in the garage.... anyone need a good road bike?  I tried running - well, STARTED to try running and ended up with a fractured leg, and after it healed, I vowed to never run again!  So, lately, I have been walking.  I find it to be a good use of my time.  I get up with Tim and the kids, and get everyone out the door for work/school.  As they are climbing in the car, I'm putting my ear buds in and heading out on my walking journey.  I watch the sun rise over the rail trail and listen to my music... sometimes I walk with Selah, sometimes Casting Crowns, other times SCC, sometimes a variety shuffle - no matter what, I find that on the trail I absorb a lot from the songs that happen into my ears on my journey.  It sets my mind in the right place for the day, and along the way I get to take in the beauty God has provided all around me.  So, I started walking about three miles a day.  I'm now up to between 7 and 8.5 miles a day.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my walking time.  Last week I walked 42 miles.  I'm hoping to walk 50 this week.  We'll see how it goes.  If nothing else, it's doing wonders for my health!

I don't know what God is setting me up for - but I know it will be an interesting journey.  Why do I have this desire to walk seemingly endless miles???  Not sure - maybe it's because one day I will have enough courage to stop the couple that walk by me every day, introduce myself and maybe develop a relationship with them... Maybe they are Christians, maybe they are not, but maybe one day when I stop and ask them their names, they will see the love of Christ in me.  I look forward to passing them every day... and yet I don't know their names!  Maybe it's to say hello to the older man who walks alone on the track every day.... he seems sad / alone.  Maybe it's talking to the man who walks his two dogs.  He always seems happy when I say hello or compliment his dogs.  Or maybe it's to talk to the man who walks his dog.... it's a friendly dog that he walks off lead.  Sometimes I look down and I have my music so loud I don't hear the dog's pitter-patter feet walking next to me.  He will walk with me for awhile then turn around and go back to his owner - never bothering me, just walking.  I stopped and said hello to him the other day and we talked about his dog.  I saw him again today.  I believe God puts us places for a reason - and I think He has given me the desire to get out on that trail at the same time everyday, to see some of the same people every day for a reason.  Not sure what it is yet, but I'm bound and determined to find out.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying my time with God and my music!

As much as I hate change, especially dramatic change... change isn't always bad.  It's simply CHANGE.  Something new to get used to.   The new normal.

Please pray for me and for my family as I find my new normal and adjust to it.  I'm sure whatever God has in store for me and my family, it is something good...

Romans 8:28 - For all things work together for GOOD for those who love God, for those who are called according to HIS purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you saith the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a HOPE!

PS - I'm working on getting Anna's birthday pictures up... I have some really good ones of the family.  I'm having trouble viewing them with my new computer though, so it may take some time... I have not forgotten nor neglected my Anna Clare's birthday!

In Christ,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Re-Adoption Day

Yesterday, September 15th, 2011 we appeared in family court for our re-adoption of our Sara (Edom).  As part of the re-adoption process we were requesting a formal name change for Sara to Sara Joy Edom Roach.  That is all anyone knows her as, but her legal name right now is Edom Timothy Roach (yes, her middle name was TIMOTHY - Ethiopian tradition).  So, we requested her official name change.  We also requested a change in her date of birth.  When we were originally referred Sara, we were given a birth date of April 16, 2009.  When we went to Embassy, somehow her date of birth had changed to October 24th, 2009.  It was clearly NOT her birthday.  The embassy doctor even made note of this.  So, as part of the pleading, we requested an official change of birthdate to April 16th, 2009.  The judge granted both of our petitions!  The readoption was official and Sara Joy is now LEGALLY Sara Joy Edom Roach.  We are SO blessed to have this little girl in our hearts and home!  

I look at this picture of my family and I am so thankful.  Sure, there are flaws in each of us, but together, we are a beautiful family.  I love the family that I was blessed to have been given!

So, things have been a little quiet on the blog front - I guess because there is a lot going on... I know, doesn't really make much sense, but that's how it works out.  You get busy, you quit writing.  I've actually just had a great deal on my mind lately, kinda personal stuff and wasn't ready to share it all.  Today I will start.

I've applied to receive another Leader Dog.  Hopefully that will happen for me quickly.  My vision is progressively getting worse and I'm having more and more difficulty with things.  I realize just how much I needed Pearl.  I sure do miss that sweet dog.  Life just isn't the same without her.  So... the application is completed, reference forms have been mailed and now it's pretty much in the hands of the school.  Pray with me that this process will proceed quickly as I'm in desperate need of my "eyes" being back.  And pray with me that when I do get another dog, that the bond that forms between us is as strong as the bond that I had with Pearl.  There was an unspoken relationship between us when Pearl was working.  Many things I didn't have to "say".  She just knew.  I pray that over time I will have that working relationship with another dog.  I also pray that the kids love her (assuming it's a her)... they loved Pearl and I want to see them enjoy and love another dog just as much!

In other big news - I'm home from work right now.  Without going into too much detail, I've been having some relatively seriously issues with my eyesight.  I've been to the doctor about it and I'm currently off of work.  I'm not sure right now what the path forward will be, but I'm working with the doctors to figure it all out.  For now, I'm home when the kids get home from school which is nice.  I'm enjoying that.  It gives us more time in the evenings, as I already have dinner made when Tim gets home.  I've got plenty to keep me occupied right now so it's all good.  I'll keep you posted as to where it's going from here....  kind of uncertain times, but we're making our way through it.

And last but not least - it's Anna Clare's birthday!!!!  I have another post in my head dedicated to her that I will write shortly - but I wanted to make sure I got a shout-out to her right away, so she doesn't think I forgot about her :).  Love you Ms. Anna Clare AiYi Roach.  Another post and pictures shortly!!!

In Christ,