Friday, February 24, 2012

The BIG 30!

Yesterday I said goodbye to my 20's and hello to 30! Unlike my husband, who had a conniption when he turned 30, I am actually pretty excited about this new decade! I pray that the next 10 years will be lived for God's glory. That I will grow closer to my Savior and cherish each moment He gives me. I kind of did a lot of my own things in my 20's. :)
Here's a list of my 30 favorite things at the moment and a few photos from my birthday dinner last night!

1. When Jackson smiles at me.
2. Pedicures
3. Beth Moore Bible studies
4. All things cupcake! Eating them, baking them - especially Red Velvet!
5. Baking
6. Dr Pepper - especially Classic 50's DP
7. Pajamas
9. Grey's Anatomy
10. Jesus!
11. Hawaii - counting down until I go back this time next year! John and I will renew our wedding vows on the same island we got engaged!
12. Adoption
13. Ethiopia
14. Story (my Yorkie!)
15. Singing
16. Banana Splits
17. Taking pictures
18. Scrapbooking - even though I don't do it as much as I used to.
19. Target
20. Blogging
21. Sunday Naps - those don't happen much anymore...
22. Hugs from the kids at the Mission
23. Checking the mail and finding a card inside the mailbox
24. Sending cards to people
25. Tulips in the spring
26. FALL!!
27. Christmas music!
28. A clean house...another thing that doesn't happen as much as it did before having a baby!
29. Long, hot, baths
30. Reading to and rocking Jackson

 Jessica, Justin, Shellie and I at my birthday dinner...great times with great friends and a lot of laughs! A wonderful way to end the day!
 Me, Jackson and Jennifer
 John and I
Justin feeding the Little Burrito - that's the nickname he gave Jackson right after he was born! It's stuck!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day and 2 Months Old!

Today's a big day in our house! We have a lot to celebrate! Not only is it Jackson's first Valentine's Day, but he's 2 months old! We had to capture this special day through pictures!
I am just so in love with this Little Man! He has stolen my heart and it makes this Valentine's Day extra special. Here  are a few photos from today and a few from the past couple of days! He is smiling more and more and I am SO glad he smiled so big for his 2 month photo!

 One of his first good smiles captured on camera!
 He was thinking really hard....should I let Mommy go to sleep?? Nope, don't think so!
 My Little Deer!
 Jackson's first snow!
Happy Valentine's Day. Gifts from Mommy and Daddy 

Monday, February 6, 2012

One Step Closer

John and I had to go to court this morning so that Jackson's birth parents rights could be terminated. It was a pretty quick process and we are now one step closer to our adoption being final. We will have another court date in a few weeks and that will be our official Gotcha Day! Then I can finally send out Jackson's birth announcements. I've been waiting so that I can include his Gotcha Day because it's such an important day! It will be a day we celebrate every single year.
This morning I was once again reminded of God's faithfulness as I sat in the courtroom. My biggest fear throughout this process has been if the birthfather would try and keep us from adopting Jackson. He hasn't even been an issue and he didn't show up to court today.
I fought back tears as I listened to the judge ask our birth mom if she understood that relinquishing her rights was a permanent decision. She said she fully understood the decision she was making. When asked if she thought adoption was what was best for Jackson she said yes. Never a single sign of emotion. Confident in what she had to do.
I couldn't get home fast enough go love on my sweet boy! As he slept on my chest this afternoon, I once again thanked God for him and whispered how much I loved him. He will never know just how much he is loved, not only by John and I, but by his birth mom too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It Was ALMOST a Surprise...

John has never been able to surprise me. It's mostly my fault. I am a big snoop. It's like an adventure for me to try and find out what my birthday/Christmas presents are. I have been known to open and re wrap Christmas gifts. Don't judge me! :)
Usually when February 1st comes around I am on the count down until my birthday, reminding John each day that there's only so many days left until my birthday. This year my mind has been a bit consumed so I haven't been as annoying with the everyday reminders, but I definitely wanted something special to happen for my 30th Birthday.
John ALMOST had me. But then he made a big mistake by asking me to update his Facebook page with new photos of Jackson. That's when I discovered he was planning a surprise party for me. Busted! I have to admit I actually felt guilty that I had found out and I couldn't keep my mouth shut. I admitted to him that I knew.
So on Saturday my sister and cousin took me to the mall to get me out of the house so that John could prepare for the "surprise" party.
When I walked in the door I was REALLY surprised - not only had John's parents and sister flown in from St. Louis, but my parents were here too! That was a huge deal because my mom had chemo about a week and half ago and had been feeling really yucky all last week. So in a way, John did surprise me!
My parents and sister put together an awesome gift basket with 30 of my favorite things from the past 30 years. The items included:

1. "Oatmeal" with Granny - what I really wanted that day at McDonalds was a Happy Meal but my Granny couldn't understand what I was asking for.
2. MCDonalds Happy Meal Box with Gift Cards to McDonalds
3. G-Dad's Table - the coffee table I have is one my grandfather built and I sat around to eat as a little girl.
4. Meme's Mashed Potato's - nobody has ever made mashed potatoes as good as my great-grandmother's.
5. Grilling with Pop
6. Chicken Express Gift Card
7. Whataburger Gift Card
8. My pass to Disney World from years ago because I love Disney
9. Tervis Tumbler - my favorite drinking glass
10. Garth Brooks Ultimate CD - I had a huge Garth Brooks fetish as a girl. My parents stood in line with me for 8 hours to see him in concert in Nashville.
11. A roll of 100 stamps because I love sending cards
12. Notecards
13. Bath Gel - I love taking baths
14. Blueberry Waffles - I especially loved Care Bear waffles as a young girl.
15. Blueberry syrup for my Care Bear waffles
16. new pajamas
17. Winnie the Pooh
18. Bath and Body Works lotion and soap
19. Reeces Peanut Butter Cups
20. TOMS (got a snazzy pair of silver sparkle ones!)
21. A brand new box of Crayons
22. Coloring Book
23. Care Bears DVD
24. Smurfs DVD
25. Pens because I love office supplies
26. journal - I have always kept a journal and I am a writer
27. Cabbage Patch Doll
28. Cupcake Liners - I love all things cupcake!
29. Dublin Dr Pepper
30. A new shower head (this was kind of random....)

Here are a few photos from the party. I didn't get as many as I would have liked. It's hard to take a lot of photos when the party is for you.

 Clint, Kathleen and Lyla celebrated with me
 My yummy cupcakes. Red Velvet was one of the flavors of course!
 Tim and Jennifer
 Gifts including the basket of 30 favorite things
 Me, Kathleen and Lyla
 A glimpse at my favorite things...
 The girls from small group - Stacia, Avi, Sarah and Kelci
 Justin and Jessica
 The party wore Story out
 Ella in her Pooh Ears
 My family after the party...
 John's Family
Little Man wearing his Pooh Ears at the party

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Making Our Decision Even Harder...

Money. It's the root of all evil - at least that's what the Bible says.

I'm learning that the hard way today. I am pretty sure this blog might highly offend people - but it's the hard core truth. It's my heart. I have always been honest on this blog. The good. The bad. The ugly!

Yes, John and I have had to fund raise A LOT for our Ethiopia adoption. We know not everyone agrees. But a majority of the families I know from the adoption world have to fund raise - most people don't have $25,000 sitting around. Yes, we are struggling with the future of our Ethiopia adoption and what we're supposed to do as wait times continue to get longer and the price tag gets higher and higher. We do not feel comfortable continuing to ask for money. We're looking at thousands of more dollars to complete it.

This week we have been accused of not being transparent with what we are using our adoption money for. Well folks...we are using it for an adoption. While we had ever intention of adopting from Ethiopia, because that's where we believed God called us and where our hearts have been for so long, we are faced with some difficult decisions. But the one thing I do know is that the money will either be used to finish our Ethiopia adoption, or to pursue adopting an African American or bi-racial child through domestic adoption. We just don't know yet. We're trusting God will show us the way as we continue to pray about it. 

Several people, who have donated, have said they support us no matter how we form our family. Others are pretty upset at the idea of us leaving Ethiopia and have asked for their money back. Honest to God, we are trying to make the best decision, not just for us, but because SO many people have given us money for this adoption and we want to be good stewards of the gifts they have given.

I'm struggling! I'm dealing with massive amounts of hurt. People think we have been hiding our plans - nope, not hiding, just no new news to report. Each time we get updates about Ethiopia, I update this blog. We have not left the Ethiopia program, we are just on hold until Jackson is a bit older and then we will pick back up at 9 months on the wait list. We are then looking at another 10 months (or more, since wait times continue to increase) before a referral and then months more before bringing a child home. All the while the price goes up and up and up.

We are not hiding our plans. We are not leaving the Ethiopia program and running away to Hawaii with our adoption funds.We've been a little consumed by a Baby Boy, that until my blog the other day, we hadn't shared with anyone the tough decisions we are facing and the grim outlooks in Ethiopia. We have to weigh our options. Continue the process and continuing paying more and more money. Risk the chance of the program shutting down altogether and loosing everything we have invested.

I'm also heartbroken, yet, furious that people have accused us of not investing any of our own money into the adoptions. We have not only invested our own money, but many tears, many long, long nights of paperwork and cookie making and planning golf tournaments, etc. In the midst of our fundraising, we have joined forces with other couples to help them raise money for their adoptions. It's HARD WORK!Any couple adopting will tell you that! We have not been sitting back, sipping umbrella drinks, waiting for a baby to show up on our door step.

We have been slapped in the face with tacky, hurtful comments. Why don't you just have your own children? People don't fund raise when they have their own children. And now people are questioning our integrity and it stings. To the core!

Here's the deal. It's not about the money we have been asked to return. I will give anyone their money back if they truly don't want to support a domestic adoption, if that's the route we choose to go. But I am hurt and saddened that people seem to think children overseas deserve a family more than babies here in the U.S. Jackson was clearly a God thing! God took our journey to Ethiopia and changed me and led me to the Mission where a baby boy needed a family.

I have cried and cried today. I have questioned our whole decision to fund raise, but I stand behind what we have done the last few years. God has revealed Himself in mighty ways through our adoption and has provided resources that we needed through amazing people. God calls EVERYONE to care for the poor, the widow and the orphan. He calls some people to adopt, some to sponsor children overseas and some to help other people who are adopting by giving to them financially.

I understand that some people's heart cry is for international adoption. I get that. John and I have fallen in love with Ethiopia. With Africa. And we have never stepped foot on the soil. But shouldn't it be about adoption? Period?? Every child deserves a mother and a father. There are needs all around the world - here in our own backyard. God promises He will place the lonely in families and he means a baby boy born in Elk City or a child in an African orphanage. John and I are just being open to what He has in store for our family. Because He really is the one in control. The thing I've learned about Adoption is that nothing is in my control. I have also learned that God provides and funds His calling. I have no doubt He will continue to do so for our next adoption - regardless of where our children are.