Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Break

Isabella setting up to play "Headbanz" game!

Ryleigh playing football! We were surprised how much fun all the girls had playing their own "girly" version of football!

Becca chilling out! A rare moment where she was sitting still!

Reagan and daddy hanging out! One of her top teeth really starting growing back in, which makes mommy a little bit sad!

Girls with great-grandaddy!

Well, Spring Break came and went and now we are back to "normal" tomorrow! We had a good trip to Wisconsin to visit my grandad. My mom went with us so we had a full vehicle! The girls were good and found ways to entertain themselves on the 12 hour drive and while we were there. I am amazed at how well Grandad is doing. He is 93 going on 50! It was difficult to be there without grandma. This was the first trip with all of us there since she went to heaven. There were moments that I expected her to walk in any second. I really miss her and so do the girls. Even though Isabella and Becca didn't know her before Alzheimers, they love to hear our stories and they loved the time they did spend with her. We got to meet my cousin, Travis', new baby girl, Lily Pearl and she was precious and a very happy baby!

This is the time of year that begins to get really busy, so I know that our wait to hear from China will go quicker. It's so annoying to not know anything. Back when we waited for Reagan, you got an email every Friday and then each month a group of referrals came out and everyone moved up the list. It was hard to wait, but everything was so predictable. It is exciting to be a part of all the families who are adopting in Lebanon! The His Little Feet concert truly changed hearts and it is a huge blessing to see the ways God works! I think having a support system for the parents and the kids is such an important piece of the adoption world. Our church is full of people committed to living out James 1:27 and even those who aren't adopting are so supportive. In fact the piano player on the praise team had one of our adoption t-shirts on today! How awesome is that?!

We had a work day at church on Saturday and Tim and I got to decorate a new room for a new class for 5th and 6th graders! I am so excited to kick this class off and to work with this age group. I have to say the room looks super cute, too! We are calling it Club 56 and looking forward to helping these tweens with their spiritual walk. Ryleigh is very excited to have a special class for her age group! It will be a change of pace for me to teach this age group after being in the preschool scene for so long!

Speaking of preschool, I am very excited about the changes going on at Bright Beginnings. SHCC's new minister has started and there have been some changes on the Board of Elders. I have had a few meetings and am getting a very positive vibe from these men. We have all agreed to leave the past in the past and move forward because if we all stick to the mission of teaching children about the love of Christ and stay focused, we can do great things. It is sad how many times Satan has gotten a foothold and distracted people. But, I take heart knowing that if we weren't doing such a good job leading people to Christ, strengthening families, and teaching kids, Satan wouldn't have a reason to attack. We have to be in prayer that everyone in leadership will not let the enemy win. God is good and faithful and I am so thankful to have His love, forgiveness, and guidance! I think we have the best staff that we have ever had and our last staff meeting was awesome! I am blessed to work with a fantastic group of women who love God and see Bright Beginnings as a wonderful ministry, not just a job! Plus, we get to work with the best kids who keep us laughing everyday!

I guess I better get to bed, no sleeping in tomorrow!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Log-in Anniversary

Thought I should add some pictures since it has been awhile and the girls are all growing up so quickly!

At Bright Beginnings' Fancy Schmancy Dancy! Becca's first time ever having her hair curled!

Toothless wonder!

Ethan's space mural!

Well, today marks the 5 year anniversary of our paperwork for Reese getting logged in at the CCAA, now known as the CCCWA. A lot has changed in 5 years, but one thing hasn't... I can't wait to bring this little girl home. We don't know who she is, what part of China she will come from, but we have been dreaming and praying for her for so long! Who knew that she would have 2 sisters from Latvia and a brother from China?

We "opened" our t-shirt fundraiser store this week and have already had some family and friends purchase adoption-themed t-shirts in support of Ethan's adoption! Thanks so much! I think the shirts are all super cute and spread a great message! This fundraiser was something our girls, especially Ryleigh, wanted to do to help raise the money to donate to Ethan's orphanage.

Had to stay home with Ryleigh today, she has strep and a terrible cough. Weird to be away from work, but glad I got to take care of her. And in her weakened condition I actually beat her at the card game, Spit!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

God's Sense of Humor

So, a few years ago we kept this blog to document our journey to Latvia to adopt Isabella and Becca and so cleverly named it Home Full of Girls. We were so sure that we would bring our baby girl, Reese, home from China, have our completed family of 5 daughters and live happily ever after. We know now that God was probably getting a good laugh out of that plan! He has led us down His path to our SON in China!

Last September we babysat a sweet little baby boy from Bright Beginnings for a few days to help out while his grandparents went on a much deserved vacation. It was so exciting for the girls to have a baby to take care of and love on. He is such a good little guy and we fell head over heals in love with him! The girls were so helpful and all of our hearts definitely changed that week! I loved watching each of them interact with him and it seemed to simple to have a baby with us! (No, I am not crazy, I know that babies are not always easy and the newness will wear off)

So, during that same week, we got an email from our China Adoption agency that said families that have their dossiers (paperwork) already logged in (ours for Reese has been logged in since March 8, 2007) could have first look at a new special needs list that was coming out the following Monday. We really felt like God was using baby Noah to stir something in our hearts. We decided that we would apply and let God take control of the situation. The process started with an online application where you mark what special needs you feel your family could handle, what age range you desire and if you want a boy, girl, or either. We got that done and sent and our agency called us the next day. We talked to her about what was going on and she said that when they got the new files on the kids, they try to match them up with waiting families. Since the files come in the middle of the night, she said to be prepared for a possible call late Monday night into early Tuesday morning. Needless to say we didn't sleep much that night and were extremely disappointed that we didn't get a call. Before we really had a chance to get to down about it, we got an email on Tuesday evening that said something like "hey, this child doesn't meet your criteria, but we thought you might want to look at his file". I will never forget Tim bringing the computer in to me while I was cooking dinner. The picture of this sweet baby was on the screen and I wasn't sure who it was. Tim was trying to tell me what the email said and Ryleigh said "is that our baby?" It was one of those moments where I wanted to just drop everything and run into my closet with the computer to take it all in.

After dinner, we read through his file, researched his special needs and began to pray for wisdom for this life-changing decision! We realized he had just turned one year old on September 14th. Over the course of the next few days, our emotions were running wild! I began to picture all the ways a little boy would change our family! In the back of my mind I started feeling sad that the baby girl we have talked about for all these years might not ever join our family. But, I also couldn't stop myself from really hoping we could add this little boy to our family.

Then the most miraculous and amazing news came when we were talking to our agency on the phone asking some questions. The girl told us that this child was on the "Special Focus" list, which meant families could adopt concurrently or simultaneously. So, for us that meant we could keep our paperwork in line for Reese and adopt our son in the mean time using a copy of our dossier that has been in China all these years. I cried I was so happy! It was one of those times that you just can't believe God's goodness, faithfulness, and love!

We honestly thought that we would be traveling within a few months, but of course there have been hold-ups and complications. I won't get into all those details... Where we stand right now is that our new paperwork (all the approvals to adopt a special needs boy) got logged in on February 10th (which happens to be our Gotcha Day for Isabella and Becca) and they say our wait will be 6-9 months to travel. Yes, it can be faster and we really have no idea why it takes so long. We do know, however, that God's timing is perfect and we have to have faith that he will join our family and just the right time! Some days are extremely difficult, knowing he is waiting for us and just wanting to meet him so badly it hurts. Other days I have a great sense of peace that every day is a day closer to him and then we have the rest of his life to be his family!

We have chosen the name Ethan Thomas. Ethan is one of the two names we really agreed on and Thomas is after the best grandad in the entire world, William Thomas Patten, who one of the most influential people in my life. Ethan's room is all decorated in a realistic space theme with lots of science gadgets, too! His daddy has been very excited about all of that! He even has an Albert Einstein doll! His sisters are all very anxious for him to be home and they can hardly wait to teach him things and help take care of him.

Best case scenerio we will travel in June or July. Ryleigh and Reagan want to go with us and Becca and Isabella don't. I think they feel like they have done enough traveling going back and forth to Latvia all those times. We are looking forward to showing Reagan China and helping her get a glimpse into what her adoption was like. Most of all we look forward to stepping off the airplane and have all 5 of our children together for the first time!

I plan to blog again so we can have this adoption journey documented, too! Thanks for following our family's story!