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We just pulled in the driveway from a VERY HOT, BUT VERY FUN picnic with our adoption agency All God’s Children International.  We were excited to meet so many people that we “know” but had never met.  It such a strange to feeling to meet people that you have emailed with and connected with through blogs and Facebook but have never met face to face.  You are able to jump into conversation without all the small talk and these families look a lot like yours does or will.  We met some new friends as well today and hope to continue the relationships throughout the years as we raise our families.

My camera is my security blanket at times 🙂 but I LOVED getting to capture some images for sweet families.  (If you would like a copy of one of these images, please email me and I would be happy to send them to you!)

This family is so precious….they are in the process of paperwork to bring their little girl home.


There was a pool set up for the kiddos….and I’m not sure the adults didn’t wish they could get in as well.  It was HOT and that even seems like an understatement.  There were lots of cameras there.


Loved seeing this momma babywearing.  They brought their little guys home just a few months ago.

We met this family for the first time today and they brought their little guy home about a year ago I think.  He was having more fun in the muddy water than the pool water.

Then he was having some sweet snuggles with his daddy.

Our friends the Stivers made the journey to Nashville as well! We love getting to see this little guy again.  He always loves the camera.

I was able to meet my friend Andrea that I have emailed with several times.  She just brought her handsome man home as well!

Here is the big group picture….It’s hard to get that many people in one picture.


And the kid picture.  I hope we have a little one in that picture next year! 🙂

Thanks for sticking around to read this post.  I want to make sure to have some record of our fun day to show our little one someday.

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The weather was warm for the first time in 3-4 years on Easter and it was fabulous!  Friday night Mike led the Good Friday service at our church and it was poignant and moving.  I enjoy so much that we are recognizing  the angst before celebrating our Risen Lord.  It makes Sunday even more special.

Saturday held an Easter Egg hunt party, a photo shoot, and some great time with friends getting ready to build raised garden beds for a vegetable garden.  I spontaneously decided to take down our lights outside and paint them black and it looks great now!  We enjoyed some great grilled chicken and veggies on the grill that were delicious!

Sunday morning came early as we participated in a community sunrise service and then breakfast and Easter service at Reidland.  There is always a big group without families close that converges on some friends home for holiday meals and Easter is no exception.  We enjoyed a great lunch together and watched the kiddos play outside.  Overall it was just perfect!

Now that we are in the waiting phase, our son is never far from our minds.  As we enjoy holidays and events we wonder how it will be different when we celebrate next year with our son in our arms.  It’s exciting and yet still seems so far off!  One of the things I enjoyed the most this weekend and throughout this past week is watching Mike as he plays with all the children in our life.  On Wednesday we enjoyed an Elmo Dance Party with Emily and Titus after church (video to come….It’s HILARIOUS) and yesterday I watched as he helped a friend of ours get plates for her 3 boys.  He is so joyful and full of life and my thoughts always move to thinking about what it will be like when he is playing with our own child. Kids LOVE him and think he is so funny…which he is.  I’m a bit biased but he is the best husband I could dream of and I love living this life with him!

For several years, I have loved Willow Tree angels.  I’m not one for collecting things but these are special to me and I have received several for different occasions. All have different meanings and remind me of particular times in life.  A few weeks ago when we were finishing up our dossier our sweet friends, Lynn and Tommy, blessed us with the Angel of the Spirit.  They gifted it to us as a physical reminder of the child that we will be blessed to parent.  Lynn shared that she envisioned this angel watching over our child as we prayed for his emotional, physical, and spiritual health.  We have put this angel in a spot where we see it multiple times a day.  It makes me smile and think of my baby as we wait.  It’s likely that our child has been conceived, if not born already.  It hurts me to know that I am not able to be there in these first moments and months of his life.  I have to trust that the Spirit of God will intervene in the moments that we miss and will comfort our child as he experiences such loss at an early age.

I pray daily that our process will be smooth and we will have the opportunity to meet our child as soon as feasibly possible.  I pray that God will give us patience, guidance, and wisdom as we make decisions for our future.

I pray that God will intervene when we don’t know what to pray.  I pray that God will prepare us emotionally, physically, and spiritually so that we are in the best place to parent and nurture this precious child.  I pray that we will attach and bond quickly and that the world around us will be accepting of our family.  I pray that God will draw us deeper and show us where we need to refine ourselves and what we can live without.  I pray that he will show us how to pour ourselves out for others so that we can more fully pursue “kingdom” life.  I long for my heart to beat just a little more in tune with our God.    I pray that God will provide the finances as we need them and that we will trust him to provide it in the right timing. I pray that in the meantime we are open to the areas that we can give and purge the things we don’t need.  I want to revel in the promise of God that he calls us his own and I can’t wait for his gift of caring for one of his precious ones.

November 23rd was the day we got the news that we had officially been accepted into the Ethiopia program by AGCI.  Three and a half months later (thanks to an 11 week wait on FBI fingerprints to come back) we have completed the paper chase and sent our compilation of official documents off to our adoption agency.  On Friday we will get our numbers on the wait list and begin the next section of the process…..waiting.  The wait time has lengthened somewhat over the last few months and while we are a little bummed about that we are going to use that time to soak up the last few months of it just being us.  We will celebrate a big birthday (cough..Mike) and our 7 year anniversary.  We hope to take a relaxing vacation together and do some other traveling as well.

As we have tried to do throughout, we documented the day.  First all the paperwork ready to be mailed.

Topaz has no idea how his world will change when we arrive home with “baby Darling.” He was less than excited to have his picture taken with the paperwork.

We probably looked crazy trying to set the timer on the camera on top of the car and running to jump in the picture.   But I had to have a record of the moment!

Mike was blessing the paperwork as we mailed it off…

It was a little bit difficult to let it go.  I felt like I needed to educate the man at the shipping office on how much work and money has gone into this packet and give special instructions on how to take care of our package.

Mike signed the receipt for the bill to overnight the envelope.  The best $26 I spent today!

Before we finally handed it over we asked the man to take our picture.  I wonder how often his customers document the journey to mail their packages? 🙂 We did explain so that we didn’t seem too crazy!

I have always thought that I would be excited to get to this point because it isn’t in my hands anymore so I don’t have to feel guilty for not getting paperwork signed ASAP…however, I know there are difficult days ahead of not having any control on how fast we move through that wait list.  We pray that God is ultimately in control and that he provides us with peace as we prepare to welcome an incredible blessing to our lives.

The Great Gift of Parenthood

Children are their parents’ guests. They come into the space that has been created for them, stay for a while – fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years – and leave again to create their own space. Although parents speak about “our son” and “our daughter,” their children are not their property. In many ways children are strangers. Parents have to come to know them, discover their strengths and their weaknesses, and guide them to maturity, allowing them to make their own decisions.

The greatest gift parents can give their children is their love for each other. Through that love they create an anxiety-free place for their children to grow, encouraging them to develop confidence in themselves and find the freedom to choose their own ways in life.

From Henry Nouwen Daily Meditation eletter

A few weeks ago I started subscribing to this daily email from one of my favorite authors.  Henry Nouwen was a priest that gave up a noted career teaching to go live in a community with developmentally challenged adults.  Many of his writings share about his experience of giving everything he had for the least of these and how much God was able to teach him through this experience.

One of the best moments of my day is while I am laying in bed trying to wake up and I will grab my phone for a few quiet moments of checking email and reading this thought.  It just seems to get my day off on the right foot.

In my daily work I see parents that too often forget this principle of putting their spouse first and showing their children that they love each other and the children don’t rank higher than their parents.  Often the typical hierarchy gets messed up.  The kids quickly learn that they can be in control and they create a chasm between mom and dad.  This is incredible detrimental to the kids but it feels so good to them in the moment because they get what they want.  They have “divided and conquered.”  However, it is also true that they may feel a lot more anxiety if they don’t have the assurance that mom and dad are a team and can’t be pit against one another.

As we journey towards parenthood my first priority is to maintain my relationship with Mike.  To some that sounds crazy but I believe that is what is best for our children.  If we don’t nourish our relationship it becomes very difficult for us to nurture and encourage our children to succeed. Mike and I will be the ones left at home after the children all grow up and leave to start their own families.  I want to “know” him when that day arrives.

One of my closest friends also posted recently about parenting.  If you are interested in reading more you can get to them here. Parenting 101, Parenting 102, Parenting 103, Parenting 104

One of the difficult parts of adopting is that there are not many outward signs that you are having a baby.  You don’t feel the same changes happening to your body and you don’t have the rounded stomach that clues people in that you are expecting.  I love reading blogs and I came across an artist that creates jewelry for people in my shoes.  I have fallen in love with her work and it’s so difficult to not buy all the pieces she makes all at once.

My husband, being the amazing man that he is, picked up on how much I wanted one of these necklaces as my “outward” sign that we are expecting.  So for Christmas, he ordered me this incredible necklace.  I love getting to wear it and it has been a conversation starter several times.

If you know anyone adopting or are adopting yourself I highly suggest the jewelry from JunkPosse. I just love the messages and the pieces themselves.  I wear mine EVERYDAY and many times during the day as I reach up and touch it reminds me of this journey that we are on.  I can’t wait to collect more pieces of this jewlery….I promise this necklace won’t be the last!

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