11.30.2011

Gotta Get to Ghana...

My oldest two children would LOVE to go to Ghana with us on one of our trips.  Unfortunately, we just aren't sure that we will be able to pay for more plane tickets.  So, they have decided to raise the money themselves!  They are planning to do lemonade and cookie stands on the weekends, make items to sell, and to offer services for a donation.  I love their incentive and I would love to take them to Ghana!  Check out their blog, Gotta Get to Ghana, and stay tuned for some hand made items for sale!  So proud of these two!

11.28.2011

Missing them

I never could have imagined missing someone I have never seen (in person) so very much.  I stare at my baby's faces multiple times throughout the day and long to have them in my arms.  In one aspect this is very similar to a pregnancy.  I know I am "expecting" and I am anxious to meet these new little ones but the big difference is I am the one caring for the child/ren when they are safe in my womb.  Right now, half way across the world, complete (to me) strangers are caring for my children.  MY children!  I should be the one feeding them, reading them stories, giving kisses when they fall, cuddling them when they are scared, tickling their bellies and hearing their sweet laughter.  I thought I knew how difficult this would be but you just never know until you are living it.  I pray that we are able to get our paper work in order, get all the fees paid in a timely manner, and get our babies home very soon! 

Please join me in praying. 

11.23.2011

Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone...

...but still miraculously my own.  Never forget for a single minute, you grew not under my heart but in it!

I have seen this poem a hundred times and I am amazed at how it touches me now that we have been matched with our babies.  Instantly, the mother bear comes out.  I want to protect and care for these precious little ones that are so far away.

My babies are small tiny!  When I first converted their measurements I was sure they were off.  In my mind there was no way they could be that little.  Well, after some research it seems it is quite possible they are, in fact, that little.  Malnourishment and parasites are expected with these little ones.  This makes my heart break in two.  This also reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for. 

Tomorrow, all over this country, Americans will partake in a wonderful tradition. We will be surrounded by family and/or friends.  We will watch the Macy's parade and football on television.  We will eat until our pants are too tight.  We will sit on the couch, prop up our feet and fall into a turkey induced coma. 

I wonder what my little ones will be doing tomorrow in Africa.  Will they get enough to eat?  Are their clothes too tight because the orphanage doesn't have the right size for them?  Do their sweet little hearts feel joy or sadness?  Tomorrow my little girl turns 5.  Will they celebrate with cake, ice cream and gifts?

I am feeling extremely blessed today.  I have so much.  I take so much for granted.  As my heart begins to break for the "fatherless", my prayer is that your heart does too.  You don't have to adopt, there are so many ways you can help these little ones have just a little more! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all and Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl!  Praying the Lord allows us to spend both these days with our newest little ones next year.

11.22.2011

Bad news, good news

It has been a crazy, emotional 7 days!!!  On Tuesday, November 15th we were matched with two precious girls in Ghana.  On Friday, November 18th we discovered some news that made us rethink adopting the girls.  As parents we have to make the best decision for our family no matter how hard that decision is...and this was tough one!.  After much discussion we decided that adopting these girls was not the best fit for our family.  Please continue to pray for these sweet souls to find their forever family!
You have probably heard the saying, "God giveth, God taketh away."  Well, in our case He giveth, taketh away, and giveth again!  The thing is, the Lord was definitely leading us down a specific path.  But me, in all my flesh, decided to jump ahead of Him.  In doing so I caused our family unnecessary heartache.  I would like to say I have learned my lesson but, once again, I am human and I will most definitely jump ahead of God again.  I serve a most gracious Heavenly Father who I imagine just shakes His head as he watches His child jump head first into the unknown.
So, without further ado...the good Lord has blessed us beyond measure.  In our misery over losing the girls He led us to another "sibling group". 
Today, November 22, we were matched with a precocious (I can tell from her pictures!) little 5 year old (on Thanksgiving) girl and a sweet, possibly shy, 3 year old little man.  I have another daughter and another son and THIS.IS.FOR.SURE!!!  They are ours and I dare the Ghanaian government to tell us otherwise!!  We are thrilled that this part of the journey is over and we begin a new journey...filled with lots of waiting and lots of paperwork!!! 
Thank you to all who have prayed, supported and encouraged us during this emotional roller coaster.  You mean the world to us and we will never forget the words you have said (or typed) and the deeds you have done.
So, take a look at the picture up top and check out those sweet eyes! 

11.21.2011

Desperate for prayers

After much celebration last week, I am feeling a bit defeated starting this week.  We discovered some information that has caused us to reevaluate adopting the girls.  I will probably blog more about this later once we have more information.  Right now we just desperately need your prayers.  We have been on an emotional roller coaster and it is taking it's toll on all of us! 

Pray, pray, pray!

11.17.2011

ON HOLD . . . Family Pending

These are the words next to the pictures of my girls on Dillon's site.  LOVE IT!!!  Although, I will say, I would prefer just to see I have a family like our former agency does it...but this will do. 

Thank you Lord for these two amazing gifts you have added to our family!!

Calling all adoptive mama's...

I have some books I would like to sell.  Most of them are Korea related but I also have a couple that are just adoption related.  All proceeds will go directly to our adoption fund.  Shipping is included in price.  I will ship media mail which can take 2 to 3 weeks coming from Hawaii.

Korea Books:
When You Were Born in Korea by Brian Boyd  $5.00  **SOLD**
K is for Korea by Hyechong Cheung and Prodeepta Das  $5.00  **SOLD**
Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park  $5.00  **SOLD**
Korean For Beginners (comes with CD-ROM)  $12.00  **SOLD**
Korean Children's Favorite Stories by Kim So-un  $8.00  **SOLD**
SEOUL (Seoul selection guides) by Robert Koehler  $15.00

Adoption books:

Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best  $5.00
My Family, My Journey (A baby book for adoptive families)  $10.00

These books are all in great condition.  Leave a comment if you are interested and I will let you know if the book is still available.  Payments will need to be made through paypal unless we come to another agreement.

11.16.2011

What we know

I am absolutely overwhelmed and overjoyed at the outpouring of love, support, and all out celebration from friends that I have never even met in real life.  The adoption community is truly amazing!

Along with all the celebrating have come a ton of questions! I don't mind the questions at all but I do have a mound of paper work to get moving on so it will be easier if I can just answer these questions all at once.   We only switched to the Ghana program less than 2 weeks ago so this has happened very quickly and we have many questions as well.  So, for now here is what we know and can share:

Hannah is 9 years old (possibly older) and Rita is 7 years old.  They live in an orphanage in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Africa.  They are breathtakingly beautiful!  They are sisters and they are healthy.
We will be making two trips to Ghana...the first one for court where they will be legally ours and the second time to bring them home. There is about a 2-3 month (or longer) period between these two trips.

Now, what we don't know or can't/won't share:

We cannont share their pictures on the internet until they are legally ours which will be after our first trip to Ghana.
We will not share their birth family history as this is their story to tell, not ours.
We don't have a time line at this point.  This is a pilot program with our agency so we will be learning right along with them.  Our best guess at this point is 10-12 months.  We are praying they will be home by Rita's 8th birthday in September.  Please pray for this with us!

Right now we have a lot of unknowns.  I promise to keep you updated when we get new information.  Your support and encouragement mean the world to us!  

HIS PLANS, NOT MINE

Ok, so I had my blogs all typed out, ready to go on certain dates, at certain times.  The problem?  I CANNOT KEEP A SECRET!!!  I was going to reveal the country today and then the rest of the story tomorrow.  Nope, not gonna happen.  So, by now you have figured out we are adopting from Ghana....at least you should have figured this out.  If not, I am genuinely concerned for you.  LOL  Anyway, a quick glimpse before giving you the rest of the story:


Aren't these the most beautiful, soulful, amazing set of eyes you have ever seen?  You better say yes!  Those eyes....they belong to my daughters!!! Yep, that is right, I am now the proud mama of 6!  Unfortunately, Ghana does not allow the children to be posted on the internet so you are going to have to trust me when I say these girls are BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL!
Hannah is 9 years old and her sister, Rita, is 7.  We are unsure of our timeline at this point but we are praying to have these girls home by Rita's birthday in September.  Will you pray with us?

11.15.2011

Another piece...

By now, some of you have figured out where the Lord is leading us, but for those of you that haven't I will give you another piece of the puzzle.  So, stay tuned to see where we are Ghana gonna adopt from! :)

Comfort zone

Let me tell you a little about why we chose to adopt from Korea...

When we decided to adopt we began to research different countries.  We knew we wanted to adopt internationally for various reasons (that is a whole other post) but we weren't sure from where.  We had friends who recently brought their son home from Korea and they also had two daughters from Vietnam.  After looking into the Korea program we decided it was the one for us.  Korea is a thriving nation with medical advances that rival ours.  The children are placed in foster homes rather than living in orphanages.  We could chose the gender of our child.  We would have the child's visa before travel rather than risk the chance of getting there and having the visa denied (this happened to our friends in Vietnam).  In a nutshell, it was safe.  The only thing about it that was out of our comfort zone was the cost, but that is the case no matter where we adopt.  So, we started the paper work and waited.  As most of you know, we went to committee twice and we were turned down, twice.  We understood and were, by no means, bitter because of it.  We know our daughter is out there.  What we didn't know at the time is that we may be looking in the wrong place!

I am still amazed at how the Lord has changed our hearts since we began this whole process.  My husband and I were so sure we know exactly what we wanted.  Ah, but it isn't about what we want, it is about the plans HE has for us!  We plan, God laughs, right?

So, here is another clue as to where the Lord is leading us.  Any ideas?

11.14.2011

Change is coming...

Here is a little story that sparked some big changes in our adoption journey:

The first Sunday of the month my daughter and I work in the church nursery.  My daughter looks forward to this every month and it is an absolute joy to watch her interact with the under 2 crowd.  She is such little mama.

On November 6th we had some new faces in the nursery.  I was sitting on the floor with my boy when the most adorable, dark skinned  little beauty walked in.  She was not happy about being left and for some reason, I was her source of comfort.  She came right to me and sat in my lap.  She would cry if anyone else tried to take her or if I walked away.  She was PRECIOUS!  During that hour I felt my heart changing.  I felt the Lord opening my eyes and my heart to something....different...new...exciting.  Who knew that such a sweet little package could arouse such big changes in my life?  GOD, that's who!

I am sure you are wondering exactly what these changes are.  I will give you one clue below.  More to follow soon.

11.01.2011

National Adoption Month


Check out this wonderful video of children who have found their forever families...is God calling you to adopt???

10.20.2011

Unfortunately, your family was not chosen...

I have heard these words twice now and once again the tears are falling.  I will say it was a bit easier this time.  This sweet little girl is going to an awesome Christian family who has been struggling with infertility for years.  Today their dreams of being parents has come true.  Today another fatherless child has found her forever family.  Each time we go through this process I am definitely humbled and finding the true meaning of dying to self.  I wont lie and say it doesn't hurt.  I wont lie and say I don't ask God why this is happening.  The reality is, it's all about these precious little souls that need a loving, Godly family to raise them.  That is the bottom line.  Our little girl is out there.  The Lord knows when she will join our family and we just have to trust that HIS timing is PERFECT!  To God be the glory always.  Congratulations to a wonderful couple!

10.18.2011

Phone interview and committee

Our phone interview for baby girl is on Wednesday at 11:30 Hawaii time and committee will meet on Thursday at 10:00am PST (7am HST).  I am asking for all my wonderful prayer warriors to be in prayer for us, for the other family involved, and for this precious little girl. 
We truly feel this little girl is a perfect fit for our family but God may have other plans.  I know HIS plans are perfect even if we don't see it at the time.  I am willing to go through many heartbreaks to bring another blessing into our home.  I believe whole heartedly that this is the path the Lord is leading us down and in the end there will be one less "fatherless" child in this world and one more precious blessing in our arms. 

10.12.2011

2 files, 2 precious souls...

Long time no blog!  Sorry, life gets a little busy around here at times. :)  So, adoption news...

We are currently viewing the files of two precious little darlings from the waiting child photo listing.  Yes, I know, we said we wouldn't do the committee thing again...that was before we saw these sweet little faces staring back at us.  On October 3rd we received the file of a sweet little girl with significant special needs.  We met with a specialist and we sent a list of questions and requests to our agency.  This information could take a while to get back to us and in the meantime we have been praying about how this decision will affect our family.  Yesterday, October 11th (my daughter's birthday) another little beauty popped up on the photo listing.  After reading a little about her I was quite shocked to see her on there.  Her needs seemed fairly minor (compared to most on the photo listing).  A few hours after seeing her I requested her file and received it VERY quickly.  I was also informed shortly after that there are two other families viewing her file as well.  I immediately felt a pit in my stomach...can we really do this again???
Yes, we can.  These children need families and how awesome to see that they are wanted by so many!  So, we will seek a medical professional once again and decide whether or not to proceed with baby girl #2.  I am also praying that the information for baby girl #1 will come in soon so we can make a decision about her as well.  This will be a tough few weeks, but in the end, Lord willing, 2 little girls will have their forever family.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue this journey with open hearts and open minds, allowing the Lord to guide us every step of the way.

9.13.2011

New ideas

On Tuesday, September 6th we officially began our 6th year as a homeschooling family!  This year I have 3 full time students (6th, 4th and 1st grades) and a toddler.  I knew some changes needed to be made to our curriculum and schedule.  My two older children needed to become more independent learners so that I could focus on my 6 year old and toddler.  Up until now, I have taught every subject.  This had to change because teaching 3 different grades with a quickly approaching 2 year old terror sweetheart was just not going to happen!  I did extensive research and solicited advice from other moms of many.  After much discussion with my wonderful husband we chose to go with CLE or Christian Light Education for Language Arts, Bible, and Reading.  We will continue using Math U See and Gods Design Science.  We also recently began Mystery of History and we are enjoying it.
CLE is a Mennonite based curriculum.  We scoured the website to make sure the Biblical teachings would not contradict our beliefs and we also consulted out Pastor.  Fortunately, Mennonites have many similar beliefs as we do and the areas that we differ in are not reflected in the curriculum.  This is an independent workbook type curriculum.  I was originally very against the idea of workbooks and more traditional "school" type teaching but have realized that in this season it is exactly what our family needs.  I wanted to be well established in this curriculum before bringing another child into our family sometime next year.
We also implemented another new idea this year.  Work boxes!  Just type that in to Google and you will be overwhelmed with different blogs and websites detailing this new homeschool system.  After much research we came up with our own, very modified version.  With multiple moves and a bigger than average family it was just not feasible to implement this system the way it was originally intended.  
(Note: I am still a bit blogging challenged so I have yet to figure out how to type "go here" and have it link directly to a page so I do recommend that you google work boxes and go the original site to see how this system is supposed to work.)  
Our first week using our modified system was a HUGE success!  Now, I am still working out some kinks but for the most part it was awesome.  My 2 favorite things:  I stayed consistent in getting everything done every day last week and my children wake up each morning begging to start their boxes!!!  So, stay tuned for a post detailing our version of this amazing system!
(Another side note:  I am a HUGE procrastinator so don't be surprised if it takes me another two weeks to get the work box post up!)

9.12.2011

Now what?

Now that the tears have subsided and the emotions have calmed down I am ready to blog about adoption again.  Some of you may be asking, "Now what?" 

Simple.  We move forward.  God has called us to this journey.  Our home study will be completed shortly and then sent off to our placing agency.  Once this happens we will go on a waiting list to be matched with our little girl.  We will not have to go through the committee process if we are matched with a child.  The committee process only happens when you chose a child from the public photo listing on Holt's website.  We have decided that we will wait for our match.  The Lord has a sweet child out there waiting for us and He will bring her to us in HIS time.

In the meantime, we will be home schooling, exploring this little slice of paradise we live in, staying active in our church, PRAYING, and learning all about Korea...the language, the culture, the food! 

Psalm 27:14  Wait on the LORD:  be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say, on the LORD.
Romans 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer
 
So we wait...

9.01.2011

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.


Alfred Lord Tennyson


At 8:45 this morning our agency called to let us know our family was not chosen to be the forever family of baby girl.  They felt she was just too close in age to our youngest.

Our family loved this little girl very much.  After hearing the news we realized the Lord didn't bring her into our life to be in our family but He brought her into our life to be in our hearts.  This precious little soul needed prayer and through our family she received NUMEROUS prayers.  Today she was given a family and today a family was blessed with a gift from the Lord.

I don't know or understand why God chooses to do things they way He does but what I do know is this:  "...that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to HIS purpose."  Romans 8:28

Our little girl is out there waiting for us and in the Lord's timing she will be home with us.  We continue this amazing and humbling journey with the Lord guiding us every step of the way.

Thank you so much to our amazing friends, near and far, who have prayed for us and this whole situation.  Thanks to all of you our family is at peace and an orphan has a forever home.  Tears were shed but they are dried and we journey on.  We have loved and lost today but our hearts are full.  Glory be to God!

8.30.2011

Phone Interview

The phone interview is done and went well...I think. My poor husband might have said two words!  LOL  Now we wait until Thursday.  The sweet lady we spoke with today will present our family (and the other family) to 3 to 5 committee members and they will decide who is the best fit for baby girl.  I cant imagine how hard this process must be for those committee members so please pray that the Lord will lead them in the best decision. Once the decision has been made, the same lady we spoke with today, will call us.  We should know by noon Hawaii time.  Thank you for all your prayers and words of encouragement.  This process is very difficult but the Lord is getting us through.  So, for now, we wait...

8.29.2011

My flesh wrestles...

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" Proverbs 3:5
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

I know these verses.  I love these verses.  Right now my flesh is struggling with these verses!  In less than 96 hours we will know if baby girl will become a part of our family.  I truly want to lean on the Lord and to cast my worries, fears, doubts, and anxieties on Him but IT IS SO HARD!!!

Lord, give me peace. 





8.23.2011

Committee!

ACK!  I just received an email from our adoption agency stating that our family along with one other family will be considered for baby girl's adoption at the selection committee on Thursday, September 1.  My heart started racing instantly!  This is going to be the longest week and 2 days of my life.  We will have our phone interview on either August 30th or 31st, still waiting to hear back on that.  
Family and friends, please continue praying for us and for this precious little girl.  Yes, I selfishly want her to be my daughter but more than anything I truly just want a good home for her.  I pray that no matter where the Lord places her that she will be loved and raised by godly parents.  God's plans are perfect and I am leaning on Him to carry me through this time.  

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding  
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
                                                                 Proverbs 3:5-6

8.19.2011

Moving forward

We have decided to move forward with the adoption of baby girl.  So, what's next?  Yep, more paperwork.  This is by far the hardest paperwork I have had to fill out yet.  These are not yes or no questions.  These are not simple questions with an easy answer.  These are in depth questions about every aspect of adoption and the special needs our child has.  I pray that the Lord will lead us in answering these questions.
Now that we have chosen to move forward a few things need to happen.  Any other family that is currently reviewing baby girl's file will have two weeks to let the agency know if they would like to pursue her.  Once all families have come back with an answer there will be a phone interview scheduled.  Once the interview is done and all paperwork turned in the agency will let us know when they go to committee.  The committee is made up of 5 or so people.  These people will go through each family's files and interviews to decide who is best suited to bring baby girl into their family.  WHEW!  Can you say nerve wracking?  You would think by now, being a military family, we would be used to waiting...hurry up and wait seems to be what we do often.  This will be a short wait when compared to the wait we will have to endure to actually travel and pick up our child but it will be excruciating nonetheless!  Please continue to be in prayer for our family and this little girl.  More than anything we want her to have a good home with loving, godly parents.  More than anything we want His will to be done!


8.18.2011

Letting the cat out of the bag!

I am terrible at keeping secrets, not other peoples secrets, just my own!  Originally we were going to wait to share our news until "things" were more concrete but I just cannot contain myself any longer.  So here is the story:

Once a month, or so, our adoption placing agency sends out an email of children that were not able to be matched with a family and that will go on to the waiting child photolisting(on their public website).  In June we received one of these emails.  I scrolled through  the email and looked at these sweet faces with their gorgeous, almond shaped eyes looking back.  I read their short "biographies" and smiled at their beautiful faces.  As I came upon the last picture...ok, cliche here....my heart actually skipped a beat.  I felt, right then and there, like I was looking at my daughter.  It is hard not to feel something for every child you see on that photolisting but this one was definitely different.  My daughter took one look at her and said,"That is my little sister!"  Unfortunately, this little girl was only 6 months younger than our baby and our agency prefers to keep 9-12 months between the youngest child at home and the adopted child.  I contacted our agency anyway and a few days later we were told that she would have to be on the photolisting for quite a while before they would consider us.  Heartbroken, but trusting in God.
I prayed for this little girl to find her forever family and I went to our agency's website daily hoping to see the words " I have a family" typed across her picture.  After a few weeks of not seeing this I couldn't stand it anymore and I contacted our agency again.  I needed to know what "quite a while" meant.  Were we looking at weeks or months until we could ask to reveiw her file and be considered to be her forever family?  The day after I sent the email I did see the words "no longer accepting requests" on her picture.  This means that many families have asked for her file and generally within a few days to a week she would have a family.  I admit to having a slight pang of sadness that she wouldn't be ours but then I went on to Praise The Lord that she would be home with her family in a few months.  Our agency did eventually get back to me saying that they just weren't willing to make an exception about the age difference at that time but they would note our interest in her file.  Rejected again.
I continued to go to the website daily waiting for those words so I could rejoice in the Lord for this precious little blessing.  Nothing.  About a week later, on August 15th I received an email from our agency asking us if we were still interested in this little girl!!!  UM...YEAH, we are still interested!  We received her medical file on August 17th along with more pictures.  I am so in love with this girl and the feeling is mutual throughout our home!  We will be sending her file to a couple doctors that can go through her medical needs and tell us what to expect.  Once that is done we let our agency know if we are still interested (I have no doubt we will be) and then they go to committee.  This is where they take all families interested in her and decide what will be the best home for her.  This will still happen even if we are the only family going to committee. 
So, now we wait and dream of our sweet little girl.  Yes, we consider her ours right now.  We know it will be difficult if they tell us no but we also know that God has a wonderful plan for her and His will, will be done!  Please keep our family in your prayers and the fate of this child.  Thank you.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11

8.08.2011

Medical procedures

July wasn't all fun and games.  We also had a few medical issues to deal with.  My poor husband is still dealing with an infection in his mouth.  We are praying they finally got it this time (after 3 surgeries).  His leg is healing slowly but surely.  I had an HSG done.  They injected dye into my fallopian tube to see if there was a blockage.  I will be discussing this more in a later post.  Then there is Kyle...poor little man.  He was climbing a tree and lost his footing, slid down and sliced his leg open on a small piece of branch that was sticking out.  It wasn't pretty...LOTS OF BLOOD...a panicky mama....lots of tears...needles and stitches.  Whew!  Fortunately, as daddy says, girls like scars.  Good thing, because it's a good one!  I did take pictures but I will spare you. :) 
Praise the Lord our medical needs are quite minor compared to many.  We feel very blessed to have great medical insurance to take care of the needs and for the overall wonderful health of our family!

8.05.2011

Date nights!

Back in Virginia we traded date nights with a wonderful family.  This was an awesome arrangement!  This just also happens to be the family that has played a huge role in our deciding to adopt.  We miss you, McRoberts family!  You can read about their adoption journeys here:  http://mcrobertsclan.blogspot.com/
Anyway, needless to say, the military has seperated our families and we just pretty much gave up on date nights.  Bad idea!  The problem now is that my 1 year old doesn't really like to be away from me.  It's not a pretty sight, although he is getting better.  So, we started at home date nights!  My hubby and I take turns planning the menu.  We have decided to do this every other Saturday.  We feed the kids early, get them bathed and send them upstairs with a movie and strict orders to NOT COME DOWN unless the house is on fire! :)  The 3 older are perfectly capable of caring for the 1 year old while we enjoy some quiet time and a yummy, adult dinner.  You know, real food!  Food that my kids wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, AKA THE GOOD STUFF.  I started off our first date night with zucchini fettucine with a lemon herb sauce and chicken.  For desert we had vanilla ice cream surrounded by cinnamon chips (tortillas cut up into triangles and baked with cinnamon) and topped with chocolate syrup. Oh, we had artichoke dip earlier in the day for an appetizer.  Yummy!  I didn't think to get any pictures of this. 
Two weeks later it was my dear husbands turn to plan the meal.  OH MY...it was AMAZING!  My man pulled out all the stops, let me tell you.  Are you ready for this?  The appetizer was shrimp cocktail.  I know, not a big deal.  Wait for it.  Our main course consisted of Savory Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Skewered Grilled Potatoes, Sauteed Garlic Asparagus, and Sirloin Steak topped with Garlic Butter! OH MY YUMMY!  If that wasn't enough, dessert was Haupia (coconut) and Chocolate Pie!  Pretty sure I gained 10 lbs. that night.  It was fantastic and I got the pictures to prove it.




Now it is my turn again.  ACK...any suggestions???

8.02.2011

4th of July

We spent 4th of July on the Army post this year.  There were shopping booths, rides, food, animals and all kinds of other fun stuff!  The kids had a blast.  We did get a little wet but then again when you live somewhere tropical you are never really safe from the rain.  Here are some pics of our Independence Day celebration.







It was a great day, but then everyday is a great day when I am with my family!

8.01.2011

Did you miss me? :)

I am back from my internet hiatus.  Ok, so I didn't actually do very well, but I learned a lot and still spent much less time on the computer than usual.  I learned that I have an amazing group of family and friends on Facebook.  I do not have to deal with any drama which is a huge blessing as I know many of my friends do struggle with that.  Facebook is a great way for my family to keep in touch with our family in various parts of the US and our wonderful friends we have met over the years at different military installations.  It is also the first place I go when I need prayers!  So, no more "facebook fasting" for us.  Instead, it will be everything in moderation!
We have set up some new rules regarding electronics and just plain got rid of some temptations.  We had 2 computers set up in the house, now we are down to one.  We will be selling our Nintendo DS's...anyone interested???  The children are now given a certain amount of time to spend on the computer (when it is for entertainment) and the Wii.  They get 120 minutes that starts Friday evening and ends Sunday evening.  Once they have used those minutes that is it until the next weekend...oh...and no rollover minutes!  LOL  No TV during the week, including movies.  We dont have cable but Trav and I do have a couple shows we watch through Hulu or Netflix.  I think that about sums it up for the electronics.  There was some slight resistance at first but it didn't last long.
The Richardson clan had a fairly eventful month and I will be blogging about it over the next couple weeks so stay tuned! Happy August!

7.12.2011

THEY'RE HEEERRRREEE!

Superman shirts that is!  We will be working to get them all sent by Saturday.  For those of you that know me IRL (in real life) you are probably on the floor laughing right now.  Yes, I am the QUEEN of procrastination when it comes to mailing stuff.  However, I do not want to keep you lovely folks waiting so with my wonderful husbands help we will have these in the mail by SATURDAY!  I may be running around like a crazy person on Saturday morning, but that's ok, I work well under pressure. :)

7.01.2011

Signing off!

The Richardson family will be signing off the internet for a month!  We are taking a break from some of modern technology in hopes of developing a stronger family bond and a stonger bond with our Savior. 

I will still hop on here to let everyone know when the Superman shirts arrive and when I get them shipped out. 

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!  God Bless!

6.28.2011

Electronic strike!

Yep, you read that right, we are going on an electronic strike...a fasting of sorts.  Lately, it seems my time is consumed by facebook and blogs, the kids are asking to play the Wii or watch a movie far too often, and we just plain need to focus on one another!  We dont have cable so that won't really be an issue but we do like to watch movies.  Obviously, we will not be "putting away" all our electronic devices.  So, here is what will be "unplugged":  Wii, iPods, DS, TV and computers.  So it is more of an "artificial entertainment" strike. We will still be using our phones but the facebook app will be deleted (this is mainly my issue).  We will still be checking email (sparingly) and you may certainly call or text to make sure we haven't died of boredom or locked up the children! Haha!
In all seriousness, we truly feel like these things have become too regular in our lives.  It is time to dust off the old board games, turn on some classical or traditional christian music and just enjoy being with one another.  My hope is that at the end of this time we will realize that we truly can limit or completely do without some of these "things".  The official strike/fast will begin on July 1st and will last the whole month (I hope). :)  So, in 3 days it will be...goodbye electronics and HELLO family time!  Praying the Lord blesses this time for HIS GLORY!

Order has been processed

The t-shirt order has been processed and should be shipped to me next week.  I will get them out as fast as possible once received.  These are shipping from Hawaii and that has proved to be very unpredictable so please be patient.  I am having issues posting comments on blogs right now so I apologize if you have left a comment and I have not answered.  Someone did ask if it was too late to order another shirt...sadly, yes.  I am sorry.
Thank you once again for your support!

6.24.2011

Fundraiser is officially *CLOSED*

Thank you to all those who bought a Superman Was Adopted T-shirt!  Your support means so much to us.  I will be placing the order tonight or tomorrow morning.  I will try to get an estimate of how long it will take to receive the shirts.  I will do my best to keep you all updated.  Thanks again and God Bless.

6.23.2011

A little crazy around here!

So, life has been a little crazy around here this month!  Family visiting and medical issues have kept me busy.  I am very excited to announce that we made our goal for the Superman t-shirt fundraiser!  Thank you so much to all of you who purchased a shirt.  I will be closing the fundraiser tomorrow and sending the order this weekend.  I am not exactly sure how long this process takes so please be patient.  Mail to and from Hawaii can be rather slow sometimes!  I will let each of you know when we send your shirt/s. 

God Bless

6.18.2011

Woohoo...

Only 3 more shirts to sell!!!  Thank you!!!

6.17.2011

7 more to go!!!!

I cant say thank you enough to those of you who have bought a Superman Was Adopted t-shirt!!!  I absolutely love this design (my hubby is a big Superman fan) and was so excited to be able to sell these.  There is a minimum order of 25 so that is how many we have to sell.  I am going to extend the fundraiser out another week and pray like crazy we are able to meet our goal!  Adoption blog friends, please feel free to post a link to our page so we can spread the word.


On the right side of the blog you will see the add to cart button.  Pick the size category you want and then click add to cart. This will take you to paypal.  Before hitting the pay now button look under your shipping address and you will see a line that says add special instructions to seller.  Click add and then list each shirt you want by size and color. If you want more than one shirt and they are different prices you will have to do a seperate transaction.  Shipping from Hawaii is slightly more expensive than in the mainland so I have added a $2.00 shipping fee to help cover these costs.  Also, you will notice two different pinks in the picture above.  The darker pink is for Infant/toddler sizes only. If you have any questions please let me know.  Thank you in advance for your support.


6.13.2011

Thank you

We have been super busy with family visiting so I haven't had the chance to blog much.  I just wanted to give a big THANK YOU to all those who have bought a Superman t-shirt!  We still need to sell about 10 more to meet our goal so please spread the word. 

I know some of you may not be able to support us monetarily but I know you are supporting us with prayers.  This means more to us than the money so THANK YOU  for those prayers!  I will update soon about the adoption.

Have a great week and God Bless1

6.10.2011

Fundraiser Extension...

We have decided to extend the Superman T-shirt fundraiser for one more week.  Please help us meet our goal of 25 shirts sold!  Thank you so much to those who have already purchased a shirt, your support is greatly appreciated. 

Once the fundraiser is closed I will place the order for the shirts.  Please allow a couple weeks for delivery.

NEW DEADLINE IS JUNE 17TH, 2011!!!

5.27.2011

SUPERMAN WAS ADOPTED TSHIRT FUNDRAISER!!!

Ok folks, we are kicking off the Memorial weekend with our first fundraiser. We would like to run this for two weeks so please place you order by JUNE 1Oth.  These shirts were designed by another adpoptive mommy who is currently picking up here second child from South Korea.  We are so excited to have the chance to sell these shirts because we happen to think they are pretty AWESOME!  Below are the color choices:
Royal blue, black, red, pink
On the right side of the blog you will see the add to cart button.  Pick the size category you want and then click add to cart. This will take you to paypal.  Before hitting the pay now button look under your shipping address and you will see a line that says add special instructions to seller.  Click add and then list each shirt you want by size and color. If you want more than one shirt and they are different prices you will have to do a seperate transaction.  Shipping from Hawaii is slightly more expensive than in the mainland so I have added a $2.00 shipping fee to help cover these costs.  Also, you will notice two different pinks in the picture above.  The darker pink is for Infant/toddler sizes only. If you have any questions please let me know.  Thank you in advance for your support.

5.21.2011

SERIOUSLY??? ~ SATURDAY

In the blog world you see Wordless Wednesday, Thankful Thursday and so forth.  I have decided to start a Seriously??? Saturday.  Between having  a somewhat larger family than normal, homeschooling, and now adopting there are some very interesting (and rude) comments that come about.   I am part of 2 different forums, one for large families and one for adoption, and in both these forums there are regular posts about comments that have been directed at different families.  Some of these comments are innocent but can still be annoying after the 20th time hearing them, some of these are uneducated responses coming from well meaning strangers and some are just plain, jaw dropping, eyes popping, unbelievably rude!  So, I thought I would share these comments that make you say...SERIOUSLY??? 

I will start with some of the "milder" comments such as: 

"Wow, you really have your hands full."  ~Technically, your hands would be full with two kids!  This is one I hear often and we only have 4 children.  I know "my hands" are full but my heart is not!  There is so much more love to give to any child the Lord sends my way, whether it be through birth or adoption.

Pertaining to home schooling:  "I could never do that, I dont have the patience."  I realize home schooling is not for everyone and it does take a lot of patience.  Let me tell you, I am NOT a patient person!  I also firmly believe that anyone who has been give the desire to home school CAN do it!  We can do all things through Christ! 

Last but certainly not least:  "Why dont you adopt a child from this country?"  I dont think there is really anything wrong with this question other than it really shouldn't matter where we adopt from.  There are many differences between international and domestic adoption and it is a very personal decision.  I do plan to blog about this question in the near future as I think it is a common and valid question.

I love to talk about my family and I do not mind friends, family or strangers asking questions.  There is a respectful way to ask these questions and honestly, sometimes it is just none of your business.

Have a blessed weekend!

5.09.2011

Home Study COMPLETE!

Well, at least our part anyway!  We had our in home visit today and it went wonderfully.  I just love our social worker!  I thought there would be another office visit but that is not so.  Other than a couple more clearances our part is done.  Our SW (social worker) will have to get everything typed up now, which may take a while.  Thank you to the three wonderful ladies that were sent reference questionnaires.  Our SW said you all gave  "glowing" references!  Such a blessing. Hoping to be HSTK (Homes Study to Korea) by the end of June.  Then the wait begins. 

4.29.2011

Home study and Korean food

As I mentioned in the previous post, we had our home study on Tuesday the 26th.  It went wonderfully!  Our social worker was very kind and very easy to talk to.  We basically reviewed our lives from birth through just before we met.  Our next visit will be in our home and then we will have one more office visit after that.  I am really enjoying this part!  After our home study visit we decided we were all hungry so we checked out our GPS and there was a Korean restaurant around the corner so guess where we ate!



BiBimBap
For the most part it was pretty tasty!  The next day I recieved a package in the mail from my mom and this is what she sent:
Yay for adoption books!  Thanks mom.

4.25.2011

Home Study

Tomorrow at 9:00am we have our first home study appointment.  This visit will be in the office and approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours long.  I am excited and nervous  and anxious.  Rather than trying to explain what exactly a home study is, since this is new to us, I googled it.  Here is what I found:

The adoption home study is a detailed written report of your family compiled and prepared by a social worker. This can take three to six months to finish. The adoption home study requires the prospective adoptive family to gather different documents, answer several questions, and explore their reasons for adopting. Through a series of visits and interviews the social worker can get a complete picture of who you are and what life is like in your family. The adoption home study is a part of the decision making process for both the prospective family and the workers. Not only can the adoption home study help the worker place a child into your home who would best fit into your family, but help the family and the worker decide if now is a good time for your family to adopt.
The adoption home study can include the following pieces of information. Keep in mind that each state or country, in an international adoption, may require different information.
  • Autobiography/Family Background - Some states or agencies have a social worker working very closely with the family to finish this part of the home study, while others have a detailed list of questions that the agency wants answered. These questions are typically about your family, past and present; how you feel about discipline, your fondest childhood memory, or your greatest fears.
  • Neighborhood/Community/Schools - Be prepared to describe your environment. What is your school system like? Which schools will your child/ren attend? Do you have a relationship with your neighbors? What resources does your community offer to help you parent a special needs child?
  • Physical Health - You may need a physical or health exam and/or a Tuberculosis(TB) test or chest x-ray. The social worker will also be interested in hearing how you have any health issues under control. Be prepared to explain how these health issues will or will not effect your ability to care for a child. There shouldn't be an issues with you adopting unless you have a serious health problem that effects your life expectancy.
  • Financial Statements - You must be able to show that you can care for an additional person(s) with your current income. Be prepared to verify your income with paycheck stubs, W-4, or income tax forms 1040 or 1040 EZ. You may also need to show information on your savings, insurance coverage, investments and debts. There may be a worksheet to fill out that covers your bills, such as mortgage or rent payments, car payments, and charge accounts.
  • Criminal Clearances - Most states require by law criminal record and child abuse record checks. Misdemeanors from long ago along with a good explanation of your behavior are usually not held against you. Felony convictions of any charge involving children or illegal substances will most likely not be allowed.
  • References - You will need the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three or four references. Some agencies will contact by phone, others will require that your references write a letter of recommendation. Choose people who have known you for several years and know your family. They should be familiar with you and have seen you in a variety of situations, with children, your spouse, etc. References will not keep you from adopting unless workers receive several negative comments, or a reference has brought up a questionable criminal record.
  • Interviews - Interviews are a time for the workers to go over your paperwork, learn more about you, clarify anything in your autobiography and see that your home is a safe and healthy place for a child. You do NOT have to be a clean freak! The worker will tour your home and will want to see the room that you have planned for the child. If you haven't already discussed it, you may want to have a safety plan in place in case of fires or other natural disasters. Be honest and show your personality, a sense of humor is always a good thing to have, especially when parenting.
  • If You Already Have Children - Some agencies will have the children write a statement about their feelings toward adoption. If they are too young, they may be asked to draw a picture. Workers will want to know about your children's interests, hobbies, and grades. Your children will be involved in interviews, and may meet with the social worker individually.
So there it is in a nutshell...a very big nutshell!  Can you see why I am a bit nervous?  I know that God has directed our path so I have no doubt He will be with us through every step of this adoption.  I am actually grateful for the busyness of this part.  Once the home study is done the waiting begins, and there in no timeline for that! 

4.23.2011

Trav's surgery

After asking for prayers on facebook for Trav's surgery this past Tuesday many friends and family were naturally curious as to what he was having done.  I am sorry it has taken me so long to do this but I figured it would be easier to just blog about it.

Travis has had extensive dental work done since joining the Army.  It has been interrupted several times due to deployment.  In Virginia he was able to have quite a few procedures done without the interruptions.  He had to have a few molars pulled which left him with a large space in his mouth.  This can cause all his teeth to eventually shift, leaving gaps.  The next step was to have implants put in.  Since we didn't have enough time left to do this in Virginia he has started the process here in Hawaii.  This process will take approximately 1 1/2 to 2 years to complete.  The first step was to raise his sinus cavity.  There needs to be a certain thickness of bone to place the posts for the implants and Travis didn't have enough.  This is where the surgery comes in.  He had to have bone marrow removed from his leg and put into his sinus cavity.  This required a 2 inch incision just under his knee to "scrape" out bone marrow.  This was then placed in his sinus cavity.  He has about a 1 inch incision in his gum line.  If this "takes" it will be about a 6 month healing process and then they will put the metal posts for the implants in.  They wanted to place the posts at the time of the surgery but they were not able to (I dont recall why).  If this doesn't end up being thick enough there is a chance he will have to do this again. 

Travis is doing well.  He will be off work until May 3rd.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.  Please keep praying for healing and that he won't have to go through this procedure again! 

Happy Easter to all!

4.13.2011

Surgery and appointments...

Travis will be having surgery on Tuesday the 19th.  I am sure I will not explain this quite right...he is having bone marrow taken from his leg to put in to his jaw(something like that).  He has had a lot of dental work done lately and this will be the beginning of a long process to put implants in.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Adoption update:  Appointments!  We will be having a lot of these over the next few months as we complete our home study.  Today we will all be getting a TB test and Ethan will be getting a shot or two.  Friday we have our fingerprinting appointment.  This is our first set of fingerprints, we will be doing them again later.  The following Friday will be my physical which requires A LOT of bloodwork!  Oh joy!  Hopefully, in the next day or two, we will also be making our first home study appointment.  I am enjoying this part of the adoption as it keeps me busy and I feel like I am doing something.  Soon it will just be a waiting game.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

4.09.2011

Fundraiser...COFFEE!

Our first fundraiser is up and running!  Look on the right side of the blog above the Korean flag and you will see an add for Just Love Coffee.  Click on this add and you will be redirected to our store.  Thank you in advance for your help. 

We are hoping to have another fundraiser up and running sometime next week so stay tuned for that one!

Birthday boy

Eleven years ago today, at 12:09 am (MST) my first child made his apperance into this world.  My birth was not how I planned it.  Jake was breech and he came out via c-section.  I was devastated...until I looked into the eyes of my sweet baby boy and suddenly it didn't matter how he got here!  Jacob was a VERY easy baby.  We were so blessed. 
So, we didn't have a digital camera when he was born and I haven't kept my pictures very organized.  Jake was not quite 2 years old here.  Christmas 2001



Wearing daddy's boots




I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  Happy birthday to my handsome 11 year old boy.  We love you to the moon and back!!!

4.05.2011

First Trimester

Yes, we are in our first trimester!  Adoption trimester that is.  It is not unlike the first trimester of a pregnancy.  We know we are going to have a child at the end but it just doesn't seem real yet.  I often feel nauseous when thinking about all the paperwork...or about eating kimchi! LOL  Unfortunately, the timeline for the first trimester of adoption is not as concrete as it is for pregnancy. 

The application for our homestudy is almost completed and I am hoping to get it turned in by the end of this week.  Once the application is reviewed we will receive MORE PAPERWORK!  The homestudy can take anywhere from 2 to 4 months depending on our availability and how fast we can get all the documents needed.  So, we are praying the first trimester is smooth and uneventful so we can go on to the second trimester where we get to finally see the blessing God has waiting for us.

On to the paperchase....

4.01.2011

The 1st birthday pics...

Ethan didn't like the flash on the camera so he kept closing his eyes and making silly faces!











My baby is ONE!