Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yay!

We have our I-600 approval & are getting our dossier ready to send off to Ghana! :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Santa?


Mark's Santa impersonation with a little help from the flour I was using to roll out sugar cookies.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Am I The Only One?

Is it just me, or is adoption scary? I mean, here we are planning to add one or two little ones to our family that come from another culture & continent. After all our hard work, prayers & tears, I am now feeling overwhelmed by what we are planning. Talk about an emotional roller coaster!

I have so many questions. Like...how do we discipline & yet bond at the same time, how do we balance the way we treat our bio. son with the way we will treat our new kid(s), because I know they'll have to be different in some ways, at least for awhile...how do we handle the fact that our son already has toys & the new little pumpkin will either have lots too (that will have to be new) & will make our bio. son jealous, or not have as many & that won't be good either...how will the attachment process go...how will I be strong enough physically to keep up, to handle the sleep deprivation ...and on and on...!

At the end of my current "Questioning/Panic Attack" I realize that I felt a bit like this the first time around - when I was pregnant with Mark. I just take my responsibilities seriously & get a little too conscientious/stressed sometimes. I also realize that yes, I am in way over my head and that it's OK. It's probably right where God wants me to be. I am very aware of my utter reliance on Him!

Anyone else gone through these feelings?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Without You

As we approach Christmas this year, I am thinking about the special family time we always have around the tree talking about the story of Jesus' birth. We all act it out using our fabric creche scene. I'm also thinking of how we open our advent calendars each morning and decorate cookies to deliver to neighbors and of our Jesus' birthday cake. It's fun and meaningful this year, as always, but I can't help but think of the missing family member(s) that aren't here with us yet.

How I long to hang more stockings than I am this year, and to tell the nativity story to more little ears ... to kiss more sets of chubby cheeks and to hold more small hands.

On the flip side, I am so thankful to everyone at Beacon House who lovingly takes care of the children there day by day. I know our child(ren) are in a good place there.


This is my Christmas to trust God more than ever with little one(s) I don't even know yet, but already love.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

True Confessions #2

If you're like me, when you visit a friend & see that her house is really messy, you feel strangely encouraged. It feels good to know someone else doesn't have a magazine cover home! Partly because of this, I recently decided to begin a "True Confessions" part to my blog, where I occasionally share some of my very human flaws. I hope they will be an encouragement! :)

Here's my confession for today:

I bought a bag of mint chocolates for a friend today. I got them for her since I love them & thought she would too. Well, you guessed it - they were opened up after being in my house less than an hour! At least I ate lunch first though, right? (Sorry Laura L. they were for you! I'll have to get you another bag right before I come see you and then hide them in the trunk so I'm not tempted to try them out for you! Ha!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Conversation With My First Grader

The funniest part of this conversation was that it wasn't said in a "smarty pants" tone. My son was sincerely asking.

Me: "How was your home school class today honey?"

Mark: "Good."

Me: "What did you do?"

Mark: "...(pause)...Um...Mom...can I say 'None of your business?' "

Me: "No, that would be very rude."

Mark: "Oh, well it's a good thing I didn't say it then, eh Mom?"

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Back!

I've really missed my blog recently but we've had major computer problems. I'm back for now at least - we'll see if we have truly fixed it for good.

We still have heard absolutely nothing about our referral which is very hard. I so want to know who my precious little one(s) will be at least by Christmas! I don't want them to go another Christmas not knowing they have a family here that loves them! Thanks for your prayers faithful friends & family - you are so appreciated.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Mark & Ben


Mark is six and Ben is nearly 10, so we had him "before kids". He has adjusted so well & is generally patient with Mark, who is very rambunctious! Not bad for a pit bull mix found in the trash!

Who Do I Love?

Since I started this blog, I've written about how much I love my husband & my son, and I do! They are my favorite guys ever! But it occured to me this morning that I haven't written about how dearly I love Jesus. I've decided this needs to be addressed & NOW! :)

Before I became a Christian, I had no idea that God cared about me personally. I was also controlled by fear, which is horrible if you've never "been there & done that".

I had never really heard about how to "accept Christ" but I believed that Romans 6:23 was true. (It says, "Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.") I just believed it was true & told God I wanted to be all His. That was all it took for God. I know that was when He joyfully adopted me as His own dear daughter, a Christian.

Since I have become a Christian, I have learned a lot more about what the Bible says & have gotten to know God more, in a personal way. He has sooooo set me free from being controlled by fear & has helped me, bit by bit, to become a more whole, free and alive woman.

So, for the record, I love my husband, I love my son, I can't wait to love our new little one(s) from Ghana & I am absolutely in LOVE with Jesus!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Deciding to be Thankful

Today I've decided to be thankful for things I often take for granted. Here's my list.

* The beautiful Fall colors
* Peanut Butter Sandwiches
* Warm showers
* Music
* Our dogs
* Our bookshelf full of books
* My husband's kind voice
* Money to buy groceries
* The opportunity to adopt
* Being a Mom
* God's love for me !!!!!

As I write this list, I am reminded of how many things on it had been prayer requests of mine for many years & now they are a "normal" part of my life. (Like my precious husband & son, & the fact that we are getting to adopt a year earlier than we had thought we might!) I'm glad I took the time to see how many dreams God has already made come true in my life! I feel more thankful already! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Home Addition








One thing I haven't mentioned on my blog yet is that we have been building an addition onto our house so that we could adopt. We've done all the work ourselves, so it's taken a looooooong time! I use the word "we" very loosely since John does nearly all the work & I just admire, chose colors etc. That picture of me on the ladder is me "pretending" to work I think. The addition gives us one more bedroom as well as a larger laundry room/mud room and a walk-in pantry. Anyhow, we are getting much closer to being all finished & I am so excited!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Conversations With My Six Year Old

Last week was a very good week for Mark. He kept a good attitude in home school every day except for one. When he had trouble with his work & got frustrated he asked for help or took the time to figure it out instead of flying into a rage, throwing his pencil etc. I was proud of his efforts, and told him so on Friday.

Me: "Mark, you have done great this week! You have worked through problems and have not had fits. I can really see patience growing in your life!"

Mark: "Yeah, and you know what else? (reaches into pants pocket) I have lint in my pocket!

Hmmmmmmmmm...

Honestly, I love being a Mom! As long as I can keep my sense of humor I am OK! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

No News Yet

We have no news from Ghana yet & the anticipation is making me jittery! I know they are very busy & working hard so I am TRYING to be equally as patient, but it's hard!!!!!!!!

I wonder, is today going to be the day we find out WHO we get to adopt?

Oh Lord, please help us to find out soon or help us to be patient!

Oh, I hate waiting! :(

I know that doesn't sound very mature, but it's how I feel right now!

I LOVE this Scripture!

"Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!"
From Proverbs 31
The Message

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Answered Prayer for One Little Boy with HIV

I hope a lot of my faithful blog friends read my "Adoption Alert" (below), but for those of you who might not have, it was about a darling little boy in an orphanage in Ukraine who was HIV+ & needed to be adopted asap or he was going to be moved to an institution (which would have been beyond awful!) A lot of people have been praying and advocating for him & I was thrilled to find out today that a family has come forward to adopt him!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) Thank You God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I've only begun learning about adopting HIV+ kids in the last six months or so, so forgive me if I am juvenile in my explanation here, but I was surprised to learn that it isn't the "scary thing" I thought it might be. HIV is not a death sentence like it was years ago & treatments are so good now that many kids become so healthy their virus count is undetectable. It is not "easy" to transmit HIV from one person to another. Maybe I am the only uninformed person out there who was behind the times in my understanding of HIV, but I suspect there might be others.

We are not presently planning to adopt an child with HIV but it is now a thought in the back of my mind at least, & something I want to learn more about.

Oh, I have to add that as I understand it, HIV is a death sentence for kids in foreign countries that have no chance to receive the necessary medications. When a family in America adopts a child with HIV they are literally saving their lives. Cool eh?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Adoption Alert!

I'm posting this link for a good reason. Please prayerfully take a look!

http://twietconfetti.blogspot.com/

Scroll down to the Oct. 12 entry to get the full story.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

True Confessions

I've been reading a lot of adoption blogs lately & thinking about what I've written in mine and I'm kinda wondering if we're unintentionally coming off as "too good to be true" just because we're trying to stay so positive? Plus, people keep saying things to us like, "Wow, you're adopting a child from Africa. You must be a reeeaaally special, "called" family!" I don't want anyone to think we are anything but what we really are, because I hope LOTS of people will consider adoption & not feel like they have to be somehow "special" to do so. Does that make sense? So, I've decided to start writing "true confessions" from time to time, to make sure we are VERY obviously normal (or even sub-normal - is that a word?)

Also, it will be very nice for me if you all seem to still like us even after you're read some confessions! :)

True confession #1.
In our house we don't have dust bunnies. They are dust bears! (We have 2 big hairy dogs.)

#2. Before people come over I frantically run around picking stuff up & call for all other family members to do the same.

#3. I do not make dinner every night, and sometimes when I do, it is cereal!

#4. I have health problems & have to rest a lot & take a lot of medicines I wish I didn't have too.

#5. I may be a homeschooler but I DO NOT successfully turn every day into a learning experience, nor do I make my own soap, keep milk goats, or even feel like learning anything new at all, many days.

#6. Our toilets have rings! Ugh! How do I get rid of that?!

#7. I let my son eat pop corn & birthday cake for dinner one night this week.

OK, I think that is enough for now, but I'll keep thinking of more! Anybody else just dying to share a true confession?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday John!


Today is my husband's birthday. If there is anyone who should be celebrated on his B Day, I think John is a real contender. This man is such a loving servant to so many people, especially to Mark & me. He is the kind of guy, who comes home, sees me tired & sends me off for a nap. When I wake up, he's taken care of supper & he & Mark are having some good Daddy & son time together. He opens doors for me. He reads stories to Mark at bedtime & sings hymns with him. He consistently shows us unconditional love (God's kind of love) day after day, year after year.

Happy Birthday Sweet Heart!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Max's Media Coverage

Our rooster got us in the paper's website. Click on the link below for a short & humorous video story on the Crowing Contest & pics of us & Max. (He's contestant #1 & the only white rooster there.)

http://extras.journalnow.com/photogallery/2008/dixiefair/rooster/index.html

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Celeb. In The Family




Today we entered our rooster, Max, in the "Crowing Contest" at the fair. The roosters have thirty minutes to crow as many times as they can. The one who crows the most wins. Max successfully matched his memorable record from last year by crowing zero times! It was fun though & a reporter from the paper interviewed us all about it. Then we took some faux interview pictures with her & our bashful bird. (On a down-side, we had previously agreed to sell our now famous rooster! He likes to attack kids & we haven't been too impressed with that. We didn't mention that in his celebrity interview though.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Appalachian Trail




This weekend we hiked about six miles along the Appalachian Trail. We saw several "wild" ponies that were very friendly, to Mark's delight! One was so cute & sweet that I wished I could take it home!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Itchy Nose & A Belly Button


Appointment

There isn't a lot to update on except that I am checking my email at least 5 times a day "just in case" there is any news from Beacon House!

We did get our appointment with the Immigration Dept. to get our fingerprinting done though. It's October 7 at 9am. I've had this done before (for my green card - NOT because I'm a criminal or anything!!) & the last time there was a problem & I had to go all the way back again & re-do it, so our prayer is that the appointment would go smoothly & that our petition will move along swiftly! Thanks!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No More Training Wheels!


Here is the proud biker & his Dad.

Crunch Time!

Well, after several failed attempts, (email problems?) we finally got our home study to the agency in Washington. From there, it will go to Ghana & I think they should have it there by now. It is basically a detailed article about our family, so the staff will prayerfully use it to choose a child(ren) for us!

When they have chosen, they will email us pictures & info & we will officially accept. Then they will go to court in Ghana on our behalf & if that goes OK, then our child will legally be a Grotberg. It's still a bit surreal, but I think once we have a photo & a name & a story, we will be feeling the realness & the urgency to get our little one home SOON (even more than we already do now!)

Thanks for your prayers that God will be ALL OVER the "choosing process" & that we'll be able to stay sane as we wait to hear.

We still have plenty of work to do, so I'm sure that will help occupy us. We have passports to get, (just in case we do end up traveling) miscellaneous paper work to fill out, as well as several adoption grants to apply for.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Beach




We took a few days off at the beach. It was wonderful to relax and play all together. John & I kept saying, "Won't it be neat when we are here next year with our new little one." We are so looking forward to experiencing life & family with our new little son or daughter.


One BIG thing that happened at the beach was that Mark learned how to ride his bike without training wheels! This is BIG stuff! By the way, it only looks like I am choking Mark in this picture! He was a reluctant poser! :)


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Patient Hunter



I think this is pure comic relief. I leaned over & put my hair over my patient German Shepherd's ears to see what he'd look like as a Golden Retriever. If you think this is silly, imagine what I'll be posting when we get closer to actually getting our child & are really stir crazy!

How It Feels

I was reading an adoption article recently & the author captured how I am feeling so perfectly when she said that adoption is like a blind date, except it's permanent! This is the excitement & the apprehension we are feeling as we wait to see who our next precious child will be. As I've thought about it though, I've realized it's not that different from having a biological child, in that, you never know what your child's personality & special "bent" will be, but I guess we are more comfortable with that experience just due to familiarity. Does that make sense?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's Here!

Our Home Study arrived in the mail today! :)
Very exciting to say the least!
Now we can scan it & email it off to Ghana so Beacon House can start thinking about which child will be the next love of our lives.

Friday, September 12, 2008






Hanging out with the Cochins - our favorite breed of chicken. They make great pets.


Mark & his Papa - I love their smiles!

Waiting for mail

OK, our homestudy should arrive any day now & I am on pins & needles & keep checking to see - is it here yet?!! Once it's here (& I finish my "Happy Dance") we'll proof read it to make sure all the info. about us is accurate & then we'll send it back to our home study agency so they can create the official copy (which will be worth it's weight in gold - to us anyway.) We'll also send a copy off to Ghana so they can use it to start thinking about which child(ren) is a good match for our family & vice versa. I'm so excited it makes my head spin!

Sunday, September 7, 2008



I love this simple picture of my little boy's fingers.

Moving Forward

There were a few last minute details that had to be attended to last week, but we are finally 100% finished with our part of the home study! The agency we are using (which has been wonderful) will send us a rough copy soon (maybe even this week) & then I'll forward it to Ghana. (They'll need the official copy of course, but they said they'd like to read it asap so the rough copy will do for now.) They'll use it, at least partly, to chose a child(ren) for us!!! I'm not sure how long that will take but they are pretty quick by adoption standards. (Honestly, our experience with Beacon House has been so good! We are very thankful to have found it!) Anyhow, it all still feels surreal, but also exciting & scary too. (Kind of hard to explain) It feels like we're moving into deep, and possibly dark waters WAY over our heads, but with a peace & a confidence anyway. It feels like God.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Family Photos




My Dad got a new camera & took so many great pics of us while he & my Mom were visiting! I LOVE family photos & am looking forward to the time when our new little one(s) will finally be included in ours.




Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The lighting is kind of wierd in this photo but I thought it was a cute shot of Mark & his Nana. We are taking care of Toby Daucshund right now & they both love him.

New Post for Holly

This new post is for my sister, Holly, who told me to get at it & post something!! :)

Well, we've been busy with my parents visiting us from Canada, so that's why the blogging has slowed down. Mark has been so happy with all the extra attention from them & has been going around singing & just generally feeling more content than usual! So sweet! I love it! We'll miss them when they have to go home.

On the adoption front, I've gotten all the reference letters in that we needed (Yay!) but now there is a slight problem with a medical form where a Dr. forgot to answer one question. So, I have to attend to that pronto. Details! But, as soon as I can get that to our social worker, she can write up our completed home study!!!!!!!! The orphanage's agency actually called us last week asking us how close we were to wrapping up because they want to start the process of matching us with a child(ren)! You cannot imagine how exciting (& scary!) this is for us! We are so looking forward to finding out who the next love of our lives will be. We are in awe of God, Who has so faithfully guided us through this amazing process so far!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"A rose can say I love you
Orchids can enthrall
But a weed bouquet in a chubby fist
Oh my, that says it all!"
from Stick A Geranium In Your Hat & Be Happy

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home Study Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We just finished about two hours ago! Our social worker told us "Congratulations" when she left, so I'm thinking it's all gone fine. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged us & prayed. Thank You God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We actually have to wait to get two more reference letters back from friends & have them notarized & get them to the agency before they can finish it all up, but our part in the work is pretty much done now. Phew!

Also, we are excited because Beacon House (orphanage) told us to scan them the completed home study & they will begin to chose a child(ren) for us! This is great news since I thought they might have to wait until we can send them the Immigration paperwork, which we haven't received yet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."
Kristi Larson

Monday, August 11, 2008

Getting Ready/Painting Everything!

The home visit is just days away now & as a result, I've been painting everything in sight! I've painted Mark's bedroom furniture, all the doors & trim in the entire house, as well as the picnic table. I still want to paint Marks' bedroom and stain the deck furniture (which a friend just gave me - so nice!!!!). Oh, I've also stained the swing in the back yard. It's been great to get it all done & it's making good use of my nervous energy.

"Expecting"

Ok, I'm feeling like I'm pregnant! I mean, not really pregnant, but kind of like that... let me try to explain. I feel like we've been in the early stages of "expecting" when it's still a new idea & hasn't really sunk in yet. Nothing looks really different yet, but you still know it's going to be eventually.

Now I feel us entering a new stage where the excitement and also the anxiety (just a bit!) grows. We have nearly finished the home study & have heard from the Immigration Dept. twice so we know they are at least looking at our file already. That's all we have left before we can send off our dossier & get matched with our new child(ren)! Unspeakably exciting! A little scary! Wow!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Two Down, One To Go!

We did our second home study meeting last night & I think it went well! Phew! We talked about how John & I met & got together, how we resolve conflict in our marriage, how we have prepared for our new child(ren), how we plan to talk about adoption with our family & others, how we will handle being a bi-racial family, as well as our discipline strategies. Our social worker, Kim, is very sweet & makes us feel so relaxed - I am very thankful for her!

So, we only have one more meeting to go & this is the BIG one where our home & finances get checked out. This is the most intimidating one for me. We've got it scheduled for August 19 at 7pm. so if you think of it, PLEASE pray that it will go great! Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

We also got a note in the mail yesterday from the Immigration Dept. saying they have cashed our check & have received our I-600 petition. We are praying for speed with this VERY important document. We are also a bit concerned with our plan to have our child(ren) escorted from Ghana to the USA. Apparently that might not be an acceptable plan after all, so I have to do some "digging" this week to find out. Changing plans is no easy task, as it involves a lot more money (more plane tickets) & also an amendment to our filing with Immigration. Phew! I am so glad God is in control of every detail!

Oh, we have requested approval on our home study to adopt up to two children, ages newborn to five. It's intentionally vague so we have lots of wiggle room. Please keep praying for our kid(s). We don't know who they are yet but our loving & kind God, who cares deeply about orphans, does.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Next Home Study Meeting

OK, we're trying again! Our next HS meeting is Wednesday, August 6. After that, we'll only have one more to go!

21 Memos From Your Child

21 Memos From Your Child
1. Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask for. I'm only testing you.
2. Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel more secure.
3. Don't let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
4. Don't make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly "big".
5. Don't correct me in front of other people, if you can help it. I'll take much more notice if you talk with me in private.
6. Don't make me feel my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
7. Don't protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
8. Don't be too upset when I say, "I hate you." It isn't you I hate, but your power to thwart me.
9. Don't take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
10. Don't nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
11. Don't forget that I can't explain myself as well as I would like. This is why i'm not always very accurate.
12. Don't make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
13. Don't tax my honesty too much. I'm easily frightened into telling lies.
14. Don't be inconsistent. That completely confuses me & makes me lose faith in you.
15. Don't tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real and you can do so much to reassure me if you understand.
16. Don't put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and find my information elsewhere.
17. Don't ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover you are neither.
18. Don't ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you.
19. Don't forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be difficult to keep pace with me but please try.
20. Don't forget I love experimenting. I couldn't get on without it so please put up with it.
21. Don't forget that I can't thrive without lots of understanding love, but I don't need to tell you that do I?
**************************
I don't know who originally wrote this "Memo" but I thought it had some good reminders in it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Whole Life Adoption Book

I've been reading this book, by Jayne E. Schooler, and it has so many good quotes in it. I thought I'd share a few.

"Our adoption changed the character of our family forever. We are not a Caucasian family who has adopted a minority child. We are a minority family. We always will be."
An adoptive Dad
****************
I love this quote because of the "our family is a team philosophy". That's the approach John & I take. I often tell Mark, "We're a family & we stick together." Sometimes we talk about how much we are looking forward to adding more kids to our team.
***************
"Adoptive parents who bridge the adjustment barriers understand two things. First, their child has had a tremendous loss - loss of both parents, geneological ties, cultural heritage, to cite a few..." Family Ties
*****************
We are trying to prepare the best we can & pray that we will be able to help all our children be the very best, and the most free & joyful, people that they can be. We're definitely asking God (& counting on Him!) to give us tons of wisdom!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Home Study Change

Ok, so our next home study meeting is going to have to be rescheduled. AHHHH!! It was supposed to be this Wed. night. It's hard to be patient, but I'm trying not to stress about it & am surprisingly quite successful at it (most of the time!) Thanks for your prayers for all those of you who are supporting us that way! Thank you! Thank you!

The big thing we did get accomplished this week was getting the Immigration papers in the mail. This is a BIG deal. They should get our packet on Monday, so we are praying everything will be done to their satisfaction & that we will get our approval FAST! We still need to be fingerprinted too but they will pick the time for that & we will dutifully show up! (You don't mess around with Immigration!) We also hear we are going to be assigned an adoption representative so if we have major questions or problems we actually have a person to ask that will be at least somewhat familiar with our file (along with all other adoptive families in our state.) Apparently the USA tries to expediate adoption paperwork...sounds hopeful.

Another less important (but fun!) thing I did this week was buy furniture. I found a large wicker dresser & night stand at the Goodwill for a deal. I LOVE wicker furniture & we will either use the pieces in our master bedroom (we don't have a dresser yet) or for our child's room if we get a girl. The furniture is solid & in good shape - just needs a fresh coat of paint. I have this color called "Ivory Coast" that I think will look so great! Can't wait to get painting!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

13th Anniversary

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary! We are going out to eat to celebrate this weekend, but tonight we are having a "family party" with pizza, movie & popcorn. I am so thankful I got to marry John. He is the kind of husband who opens doors for me, and walks so that I am on the side away from traffic. He takes the time to listen and to consider my thoughts and needs on even small issues. He is an excellent man - honest, kind, hardworking, fun & a great husband & Dad and...my best friend.

"Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails."
I Corinthians 13:4-8a
*******
I love that Scripture & am thinking I should read it everyday to remind myself of what love (& what God!) is really like. It's so easy to get busy & to forget to cherish the people we love most, isn't it?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

First Home Study Meeting...Check!

We met with our social worker, Kim, last night for our first home study meeting & I think it went pretty well! I asked John to casually tap my knee to signal if I was talking too much (a problem if I'm nervous!) & I guess I did OK because I never got "the tap". Kim seemed very relaxed and laid back & when I saw that there were dog dishes in her bathroom (we met at her house) I thought that we must have found the exact right social worker for us! Thank You God! Our next meeting is July 30.

We also found out we can mail in our first Immigration petition so we are preparing that paper work to get in the mail asap. Things seem to be going pretty smoothly & we are soooooooooooo thankful!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Restrained Whining

Thanks to those of you who are praying for our adoption. I found out recently that our Immigration paperwork could take anywhere from 7 weeks to 4 months! The 7 weeks didn't sound too bad, but 4 months sounds like such a looooooooooong time! And...we have to file two separate petitions at two different times along the way in the process. The closer I get to adopting, the harder it is to be patient! I am aching to hold my little one(s) in my arms & to tell them (& to know for myself!) they are at home & safe with Mommy & Daddy at last! We will get to the Immigration office as soon as we can, but it is an hour away & we need to get there super early on a week day to ensure we even get seen,(no appointments & long lines) so we are trying to find a day John can take off from work asap... Thanks for listening! :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Thoughts

Our family seems very adoption minded these days. One of our hens has adopted a tiny baby turkey! It's funny to see this gawky little one cuddled up to our fluffy hen. I've been trying to take a picture of them together but so far they are camera shy. The baby has been named "Pilgrim Peepers".

The other day I was at a restaurant with a play area & I noticed two adorable children that looked African. Sure enough, they'd been recently adopted from Uganda. They were sooooooooooo yummy cute! Makes me long to hold my own little African(s) in my arms asap!

I've been reading a lot lately about adopting children from Africa & adopting older children. There's so much to learn & I'm finding that other adoptive parents are one of my very best resources. Learning about all the things that can go wrong has been a bit scary, but I am reminding myself that surely we won't have ALL the possible problem-scenarios happen! There are just going to be LOTS of unknowns for us to depend on God for.

Home Study ...Again!

OK. We're trying to start our home study again. Our meeting is next Wednesday evening, July 16. We'll be meeting with our assigned social worker, Kim, who sounds like a very nice lady. I am excited and nervous at the same time!

John & I are also trying to carve out a week day when we can travel to the big city to submit our I-600 at Immigration. We'll be asking for official permission to bring one or two children into the country. It could take anywhere from seven weeks to four months to get the papers processed so we want to get at it asap.

Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mark Likes Cats!



I LOVE this picture!

North Dakota Road Trip



Mark & Ben (our very funny dog) in North Dakota.

Thursday, June 19, 2008





Mark & friends - Ian & Isaac.

Cancellation

It turned out we had to cancel our first home study appointment. Mark kind of suddenly got sick with a high fever (102.8)! It only lasted about 24 hours, but it was during the time we were supposed to meet. We are going to try again in about two weeks, when our schedules all work again. I am not going to let this discourage me. It's just a little bump in our adoption road. I am thinking though about our little one(s), yet unknown, over in Africa waiting for us to come for them. I don't want to be stressed out but I don't want to be wasting any time either!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Home Study Time

Our Home Study is beginning! This is a big deal to us and I thought I'd feel fine about it, but now that it's here I'm nervous! Our first meeting with our assigned social worker is this week. Her name is Kim and she sounds really nice over the phone. She also is OK with us bringing our son to the meetings, which is a huge help due to child care challenges. Thanks for your prayers, dear friends and family! I feel them. Things are moving along so quickly (for an adoption) and smoothly and I am so encouraged!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Doggie Friends (& one horse)
















































I look after so many sweet (& funny!) dogs that I've decided to introduce some of them. They are (from top): Chloe Foxhound, Barnabas Goldendoodle, Zoe Beagle, Niki Shnauzer, Buddy Pug, Zoe Dauchshund, Maggie the Horse, Abby Yorkie, Molly & Jenny Dauchshunds. There are many more & we're fond of all of them.
I started petsitting for friends years ago - the dogs move in with us & we take care of them like they are our own. Over the years, more and more people have wanted to leave their pets with us and sometimes I am very busy with it.
















































































It's HOT!

We are having a hot Southern "dog days of summer"and
it's not even officially summer yet. It's 100 degrees F today & I'm having to dip our chickens
in the kiddie pool to keep them from heat exhaustion!

I loved this image with the dogs. So funny & so true! We live out in the country & I guess it is kind of "Redneckville". We love it though!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mark's Photo


Mark loves to take pictures with our camera & I think he's pretty good, especially since he's six years old. He snapped this one, of Asiatic Lillies, in our yard today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More Good News

Today we received "Application Acceptance Notification" from Nathanson Adoptions, the home study agency we've chosen! Now we can start setting up appointments with them. We have to do two office visits and one home visit, as well as have medicals done, gather lots of paper work, and get reference letters written. One more step forward!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Funny

My son (who doesn't read well yet) recently warmed my heart when he presented me with a picture out of a "Peanuts" coloring book that he had worked hard to color beautifully for his Mommy. I wasn't sure what to think when I looked at it more carefully though. His gift was a picture of the Lucy character sitting in a booth that said, "Psychiatric Help - 5 cents - The Doctor Is In"!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hiking




We're working hard to get all our adoption paperwork done but we're also having some family fun. Last weekend we went hiking at one of our very favorite spots - Stone Mtn, NC. It's only a 40 minute drive from our house. Isn't the view cool?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Great News

Yesterday we got what we've been waiting for - official approval to adopt! Yay! Thank You Lord!
Now we can get back to work on all the things that have had to wait.

Here's a list (if you're interested in the steps):
*Home study (This is the next really BIG step.)
*Social Welfare medical reports
*Filing immigration documents
*Immigration fingerprinting
*Three on-line classes
*LOTS of paperwork, much of which must be notarized, multiple copies made etc.
Thanks a ton to those of you who are praying for us. We really appreciate your support. We're very excited to be on to the next step.



Monday, May 26, 2008

A Funny

My cute little son did another funny yesterday. He had been watching a cartoon about Transformers & he told me, "Mom, some transformers are in the skies." When I asked him how he knew that, (expert that I am on such things!Tee Hee!) he said, "Well, it's in the theme song...""robots in disguise"".... get it? He thought they were saying "robots in da skies" !
I giggled over that one all day!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kindergarten Thoughts


My six year old son and I were recently discussing skin color. As we talked about it, I reminded him that his little brother or sister would have brown skin. He replied, "Well yeah, for awhile." I questioned him on this unusual comment, and it turned out that he was thinking that our new child would gradually change color to look more like us! I assured him that they would not, but that it would be just fine for us to look different in our family. I so enjoyed hearing his innocent thoughts and now I wonder what other things he is thinking about in his little boy way. It was a reminder for me that even though my son is getting older and considers himself quite an expert on most everything, he is still a very little boy with lots to learn. Perhaps that is how it is with all of us, really. We still have so much to learn! Thank you God for being such a patient teacher!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mark & Chickens



We are still waiting on adoption news, but I wanted to post these shots of my cute little boy & a few of our chickens. They are Cochin hens and are very sweet & gentle.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Even "Small" Good News Counts

I got a small bit of encouraging news today. A friend emailed me to say that she had been called for a reference check on us. This may seem kind of insignificant, but at this point, I am thrilled to hear that something, anything is happening!

I found this beautiful portion of Psalm 22 in The Message:

"From the four corners of the earth
people are coming to their senses,
are running back to God.
Long lost families
are falling on their faces before Him.
God has taken charge;
from now on He has the last word.
All the power-mongers are before Him
- worshiping!
All the poor and powerless, too
- worshiping!
Along with those who never got it together
- worshiping!
Our children and their children
will get in on this
As the word is passed along
from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
will hear the good news -
that God does what He says."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Waiting

We're still......waiting! I think I'm going to have to get very used to that! We did get an email from Beacon House earlier this week explaining that they've had power outages in Accra recently and so that was part of the delay.


I loved this quote I found on a "The Purpose Driven Life" calendar:

"You were formed for God's family...God desired a family, so He devised a plan to create us, bring us into His family, and share with us all He has."


"His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family"

Ephesians 1:5 The Message

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lullaby Song

"Who will sing my lullaby?
Who will hold me when I cry?
When I awake and no one's there
Who will sing my lullaby?"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Family Rules

OK, we're still waiting to hear on some paperwork, so I digress...again...

Many times over the last six years that I've been a Mom, I've been amused by the wierd "rules" that have become necessary in our family. I thought you might enjoy them too.

"Family Rules"

1. No breaking/shaking peach trees.
2. No peeing in the dogs' water dish.
3. No writing on walls.
4. You have to at least be wearing underwear to go outdoors.
5. Aim (for the potty).
6. No dumping liquids in carseat cupholders.
7. Keep gum in your mouth.
8. Underwear has to be changed at least once a day.
9. No coins in your mouth.
10. Don't stick gum up your nose.
11. Don't shoot at people - only pirates, sharks, bears etc.
12. Do not climb onto roof of car to swing down into window. Use a door!
13. Do not rinse your dusty feet off in dog's water dish.
14. No mooning - especially first time guests!!!

I am thinking of hanging a cute little sign on our front door that says:
"Caution: May contain nuts!"
Tee Hee! That might be interesting for when we have our place examined for our home study!




Monday, April 28, 2008

In The Words of My Child


I got this fun idea from Jen & Holly. I asked Mark (6 years old) the following questions...

Q. Why did God make Mothers?
A. So they could take care of their kids

Q. How did God make Mothers?
A. He just made them

Q. What ingredients are Mothers made of?
A. I don't know that!

Q. What kind of little girl was your Mom?
A. Just a girl

Q. What did Mom need to know about Dad before she married him?
A. Love stuff

Q. Why did your Mom marry your Dad?
A. Because he was nice

Q. Who's the boss at your house?
A. My Dad & my Mom

Q. What's the difference between Moms & Dads?
A. Mommy's older. When I was a baby I thought Dad was older, but now Mommy's older.

Q. What does your Mom do in her spare time?
A. play around

Q. What would it take to make your Mom perfect?
A. Give her a kiss (I love this one!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Anxious Thoughts

OK, this is my way of asking for prayer! The other day someone told me about how their friends failed their adoption home study. I asked why and they said there was a problem with lead paint in the home. If there was a specific problem with our place we would just make it right, but the story did leave me a bit rattled! I sooooooooo appreciate all of your prayers!



"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41: 13

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mark is six!


Mark is wearing his "fake smile" as he gets ready to blow out candles on his pirates' treasure chest cake. He recently told a two year old friend, "I am six and that is more than two. When you get old like me, time goes by faster. I will probably be seven very soon!"
He is also warming up to the idea of having a little brother or sister. He likes the idea of going shopping to pick out some toys for their room and has plenty of suggestions. He thinks a brother would be better than a sister because, "Boys are funner than girls!", but I assured him that we did not get to chose that kind of thing (John & I have chosen not to request either gender.) and that it would be OK either way.

Paperwork & Scripture

We are waiting to get an approval on some paperwork we sent off last week. We have to wait to hear on that before we send off our home study request and fee. I have also been working on passports, as well as learning all about the I-600 & the "Orphan Petition" (immigration documents).

I chose a Scripture for Mark when he was little and so I have been prayerfully choosing two more, since we aren't sure yet if we will be adopting one or two children . Mark's is...

"For this child we prayed and the Lord has given us the petition which we asked of Him. So we have dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord."
I Samuel 1:27-28

Our next child's will be:

"I thank You, High God - You're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration - what a creation! You know me inside and out. You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, You watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before You."
Psalm 139:14-16a (The Message)

Child #3's is:

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Paperwork

I haven't had a lot of news to share lately, unless you're interested in paperwork & more paperwork! I've also been wading through Immigration info. & instructions. See! This is why I haven't updated lately - it's not very exciting! But, it all is bringing us closer to getting our precious little son or daughter home to us, so it's well worth it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More journal notes

I'm going to let you "peek" into my journal again so you can have an idea of how my heart is doing these days.......



from my journal, 2-17-08



"My feelings about finally getting going with adoption are "all over the map". It's exciting but scary. There are so many things that could go wrong and break my heart. I am trying to stay focused on the tasks I have to do now and to not run ahead (mentally & emotionally) too far. I usually dare not try to imagine my child, but I sure do pray for him (we don't know if we'll get a girl or a boy, but I'm going to use "he" for simplicity). I pray he'd be feeling loved and cherished now and be so aware of God's presence and care. I pray he'd be secure & happy & developing healthily in every way - mind, body,soul & spirit. I also pray God would be preparing him for us, and us for him! I am so ready to love my next son or daughter but there's lots to do & overcome between now & the day I'll get to hold my little one in my arms. Oh Lord! Please help!"

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Process


Here we all are pre-adoption. I can't wait to be able to post a picture of us all post-adoption!


In case any of you are wondering, this is the adoption process we are beginning (as I understand it):

*Prepare for Home Study (what we are doing now)
*Home Study (should take about 2-3 weeks)
*Prepare dossier to send to Ghana (This is LOTS of official paperwork.)
*Wait to be matched with a child/children
*Once we are matched, which will be SO exciting, it will take 4-5 months for all the legal work to be completed in Ghana.
*Get our child/children!!!!!!!!
*Do 3 home visits with a social worker
*Finalize adoption in the USA

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Notes from my journal

I'm taking you back in time via my journal to catch you up on our story...

2-17-08
"It all started on the 10th when John's (my husband) sister called him - she was back in the USA for some workshops. She told him about a friend she's gotten to know who is running an orphanage in Accra, Ghana called "Beacon House". The next thing I know, John and I are praying and talking together & looking up info. online. We also contacted a home study agency with some questions. It's happening fast but this is something we've been praying for & working towards for at least three years. Oh Lord, is it really time? Please hold us tight and lead us on!"

I also found some cool quotations in The Whole Life Adoption Book by Jayne E. Schooler...

"Natural child: any child who is not artificial
Real parent: any parent who is not imaginary
Your own child: any child who is not someone else's child
Adopted child: a natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own."
Rita Law

"Our adoption changed the character of our family forever. We are not a caucasian family who adopted a minority child. We are a minority family. We always will be."
an adoptive father

The Beginning

OK, I admit it...I never tried blogging until today. But, I want to set this up so our friends & family can keep up with our adoption adventure, so here goes.........hope you will enjoy my efforts!