Thursday, May 27, 2010

hello summer!

ok, so it is HOT here in the bluegrass state! wowsers. and it's not actually even summer yet!!

i'm sure the heat is magnified though by the fact that the air conditioning keeps going out in our suv. not sure what the deal is, but it's going back to the shop this week for a new air compressor. i don't think we can brave the hot and humid kentucky summer without getting that silly thing fixed. poor P is drenched in sweat every time i lift him out of his car seat. sorry buddy, i guess the plush car seat cover isn't a great thing during these warm months!!

all this warm weather has me thinking of and looking forward to our summer plans. we don't have a lot of major stuff going on but it should be a great few months! {i'm hoping we'll keep busy so we can keep our minds off of waiting to travel to ethiopia.}

although we're still unsure about what we'll do with R during our work day, i'm still looking forward to a few months with R where we don't have to worry about checking homework, locating missing progress reports or disciplining him for cussing out other students :) it will certainly be a nice break for us parents too!

until things get worked out with the state, my amazing mom has volunteered to keep R & P, along with my sister's girls, while ryan and i work. however, i know R, and all he'll want to do is watch tv and play video games at my parents' house, which is what we're trying to avoid. we do have him signed up for a variety of camps, including 2 different basketball day camps and 1 overnight camp. he's never done anything like those before so he's really excited. we have also requested permission for ryan to take R to boston with him in a few weeks. R hasn't traveled much and ryan wants to share one of his favorite cities with him. {truthfully, i'm a little jealous!! i want to go to a red sox fair!}

ryan and i are also looking forward to getting away alone for a couple of nights at the end of june to celebrate our anniversary. {man, i can't believe it's been 4 years already!!} he's traveling to a conference for work so i'm going to join him and enjoy some r&r and alone time with my hubby. oh, how i long for adult conversation :)

we're skipping our beach/disney trip this year because of pinching pennies for ethiopia but we are going to take our annual family trip to georgia this summer for a week in july! despite having no air conditioning, tv, internet, etc. while we're there, the trip is the one thing i look forward to every summer. i've only missed the trip twice in my whole life, and i hope it's a tradition we can pass on to our kids one day. plus, R loves to be outdoors, fish, etc. so he'll have a blast boating and going to the state parks.

in august, i'll be heading back to afghanistan for a couple of weeks, leaving ryan on his own with the boys for the first time. i'm really looking forward to the trip and can't wait to see how much change and progress has been made there since my trip 2 years ago. i will be going with a team of educators who will be training afghan teachers how to teach english to their students. we will be primarily working in a school for street children. the students at the school come to learn for a half day and are provided with a hot meal before returning to the streets to beg or sell small items like gum or phone cards. the school opened after my last trip so i'm excited to finally get to interact and love on the kids that i've heard so much about!

well, i think that's pretty much it for our summer! what are y'all's plans??

*ps~ i mailed in all our dossier paperwork to our agency yesterday, minus the finalized home study. the rest of the paperwork has been done for weeks but we're still waiting on the beloved home study after having to make a few minor changes to the draft they sent us last week. i'm hoping we'll get it soon since it has been a week since i submitted the changes. i didn't think i would be this anxious to finish up the dossier and get it to ethiopia, but i am! i just so ready to be officially "waiting"...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


{warning...this will be a grumpy post. if you would like to skip over it, please feel free!!}

today i am more than frustrated with the foster system. once again, i feel like it is slowly, yet systematically failing our kids and it makes me mad. here we are just 1 week shy of school being out for the summer, and i get notified a few days ago that the state has denied our request for summer child care for R. hmmm...ok, thanks for letting me know now! argh.

because R will be turning 14 in july, the state says that they will not cover child care for him because he should be allowed to stay home alone. unfortunately, they must not know our almost 14 year old. while he physically looks his age (or maybe even older), the truth is, he is just not mentally that age at all! i believe that the average 14 year is going into their freshman year of high school, while R is only going into his 7th grade year. also, because of past incidences involving lying and stealing, we would not be able to leave him unsupervised in our house.

now, i want to be clear that i'm not trying to down R by saying any of this stuff. he is in no way responsible for being behind in school or immature for his age. that is a result of the difficult circumstances he has grown up in. however, it infuriates me that the state is throwing a blanket statement on their age requirements for child care. i mean, the program he's in now for after school care and that he would be in for the summer has a cut off at age 14, but they are making an exception for him because of his grade level and circumstances. i just cannot understand while the state cannot do the same for it's own kids!! afterall, they know better than anyone else the life he's lived and the reasons why ryan and i would never leave him home alone this summer. i just don't get it!! plus, please excuse me if i would prefer for R to get some social interaction this summer rather than just plopping himself down to play video games!

ryan and i have put in an appeal with the state and are hoping to get some answers. we are trying to advocate as best as we can for these boys but sometimes it feels like we're just beating our heads against a wall. anyways, i'll let y'all know the outcome whenever things get settled. we're praying for some understanding and compassion towards our situation but that could be a long shot...

anyways, enough complaining from me. i'll step down from my angry soapbox now! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

yard sale mania!

i don't think i blogged about it last week {probably just because i was so frazzled thinking about it}, but we had our first adoption fundraiser yard sale on saturday. i was so nervous all week because it was very rainy here in the bluegrass and i thought we might get rained out, but thankfully, we did not! we had a great turn out and it seems that all of our hard work paid off and we have lots of money and memories to show for it.

over the last few weeks, we have spent countless hours running around town picking up donations of stuff from some awesome folks who wanted to support our adoption. i cannot even tell you how thankful we are to everyone who gave us stuff!! we have heard some great things about people using yard sales to fundraise but we weren't sure if it would work for us because we had a yard sale last september and didn't have much to actually sell. thankfully, through spreading the word, a lot of great friends and family (and some folks from craigslist!) donated some pretty awesome stuff to us for our sale. we have been storing the stuff in one of our spare bedrooms for the last several weeks waiting for the big sale. if you're curious, here's what our spare bedroom looked like last week:

we also had items stashed in my parent's barn and my sister's garage. it was insanity! {especially when we had to convince the social worker doing our adoption home study that we're not hoarders!!}

anyways, my sister generously offered her house as the site of our sale since her neighborhood was hosting a neighborhood wide sale. we've never had a yard sale at her house before so we weren't sure exactly how it would go, but it was great. after getting only about 1.5 hours of sleep friday night, we woke up early and began sorting stuff. we had a lot of friends and family come check the sale out and had a lot of help. i really wanted to get a picture of our army of worker bees in our adoption t-shirts but we were too busy making sales! even R and my nieces, mikayla and mikenna helped. they sat at the end of the driveway offering our baked goods, hot dogs and drinks to yard sale goers. i wish i would have added up how much they made but i'm pretty sure it was at least $40! at one point, my oldest niece, mikayla, made me laugh so hard because she shouted up the driveway and said, "mom, we're sooooo rich!! we've got at least $8!". i cracked up. if only our whole adoption was going to cost us $8 :)

early in the day, ryan and i decided that we wouldn't count how much we had made until all was said and done because we wanted to be surprised. i told him a few weeks ago that i was really hoping for us to make at least $1000. mr. negative nancy said that he doubted we could make that much. well, he was wrong!! after the sale ended and we counted everything up...our grand total was a little over $1300!!!!!!!!

plus, we still have a TON of stuff left to sell {2 trailer loads full to be exact, and growing!} and are going to try and do it all over again in june. i should definitely take a picture of our spare bedroom again because it seriously looks just as crammed as it was before. it totally reminds me of the loaves and fishes that were multiplied by Jesus to feed the 5000...except our loaves and fishes are stuff people don't want any more :) God has been so faithful to provide for us along this adoption journey. have i mentioned that our next payment for our adoption is $1000? with our yard sale and recent t-shirt sales, we've got a little more than exactly what we need to keep the ball rolling for our adoption and to bring our kiddo home. we can't wait!

if you came to shop our yard sale or gracious donated items to the cause, thank you!! you are definitely a part of what God is doing in our family.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

home study & what's next

much to my delight i found the first draft of our home study waiting for us in my email inbox before going to bed last night. i was so excited that i even tried to open and read the pdf while laying in bed on my iphone. once i realized it was 9 pages of small text, i gave up on that pretty quickly because this girl's eyes just aren't what they once were...

anyways, i checked over it today and everything looks great besides a few minor changes. {thanks again mom and dad for spelling my name without the "e" on the end. that's the gift that just keeps on giving!!} our agency said they checked it this morning and don't have any changes, so hopefully we'll get our final, notarized copy soon. this is the last thing we were waiting on for our dossier!

once we get the copy, we'll take our huge packet of dossier papers over to arise to be sent off to ethiopia!!!!!!! i can hear the angels singing now :) once our dossier is in ethiopia, we'll officially be on the waiting list to receive a referral for a child. woohoo! just thinking about that gives me butterflies in my stomach. referrals typically include a picture or two of the child, a small medical background and any background they may have on why the child is orphaned. our agency says that referrals generally take around 2-9 months...but we're optimistically hoping for 2 months, not 9!!

from there, we will be assigned a court date in ethiopia {usually about 3-6 months after we accept the referral} and we will prepare to travel to ethiopia for court. during that first trip, we will get to spend about 5 days getting to know our child and interacting with them in their orphanage. after we have a chance to decide if we want to go ahead with the adoption, which i'm sure is the easy part, we will appear in ethiopian court and state our intentions to adopt the child. until we "pass court", we will not actually be our referred child's parents and there are a small percentage of families who receive referrals but never pass court to officially become parents for their referred children. we're praying that's not us!! the hardest part of the whole trip is going to be meeting our child, loving on them, and hopefully passing court to officially become their parents, only then to have to leave them in the orphanage for another 2+ months. we will come back to the states empty handed and wait for another 8-10 weeks for our child to be assigned a visa appointment date.

once they have been appointed a visa date, either ryan and i or my sister and i {depending on ryan's work schedule} will travel back to ethiopia to pick up our kiddo. during the second trip, we will get to pick up our child from the orphanage and actually bring them back to our guesthouse to be with us permanently. no more orphanage for them!! we have a series of appointments, get their visa and passport, and head back to the US with our newest family member and US citizen. i can't wait for that day!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

upcoming giveaway

a giveaway is on the horizon for those of you've contributed or will contribute to our adoption fund. i can't wait to share some of the giveaway goodies with you but it may be a few more days until i get all the details worked out.

thanks for hanging in there with us and contributing to getting our kiddo home from ethiopia!! we are blessed to have so many people who love and support us, and more importantly that love and care for the orphans of the world!

blessings y'all,

Monday, May 17, 2010

fundraiser t-shirts are here!

{*updated with size availability - May 27, 2010}

ok, so most of you know that we have ordered t-shirts to sell to help offset some of the expenses of our adoption. well, they are in! {and actually have been for a week now, but i've been too lazy to take any pictures of them to post until now} we've actually sold quite a few...somewhere around 25 so far i think, but we have a LONG way to go! my dream {as completely far fetched as it may be...or not} is to sell 400 of them. at $20 a pop, that would help us put a serious dent in the overseas fees that we're going to incur upon traveling to meet our newest addition.

so, with that said, i'd like to introduce you to the t-shirt:

{please pardon the wrinkles, and the yet again crappy photography. i've misplaced my camera for the time being so my iphone pics will have to do!}

like i've said before, i'm a bit of a t-shirt snob after working at hands on originals so these adult shirts will not disappoint! the adult t-shirts are the anvil 980 style, which is my favorite of the cheaper, fashion tees, and the kids shirts are just a basic t-shirt. the color on this batch is called "lake", which you can see is a dark blue color with the light blue and chocolate brown ink colors. we have sizes YS, YL, S - XL available currently. i am hoping that we'll sell out this first batch of 100 and need to place another order soon. if that's the case and you would like a size that's not currently available, please let me know. we're asking for a $20 donation in exchange for the shirts. all proceeds will go into our adoption account and help us get our kiddo home from ethiopia!

also, some of you {who i guess will remain nameless} may not realize it at first glance, but the design on the shirt has africa as the leaves. also, for some others of you, i will point out that ethiopia is a country on the continent of africa. :)

how to order:
*if you're in our area, please send me an email - mrsleslisweeney (at) with the size(s) you would like to order. i am more than happy to deliver the shirt(s) to you, just let me know when and where is best to meet you! i will gladly accept cash or check for your donation. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
*if you're not in our area, please make your donation using our chip-in/paypal link in the sidebar. in the order details, please specify that you would like t-shirt(s) with your requested size(s). if i am shipping the shirts, please include an additional $5 for shipping of the first shirt and $1 for each additional shirt.

finally, if you've already purchased a t-shirt, sorry that this is repetitive. we love you and appreciate your help! also, i would really love to document everyone that is a part of bringing home our sweet one from ethiopia so if you would, please send me a picture {via email or facebook is fine} of you in your t-shirt. i know this could be a little awkward but it can be a silly picture if you want or a group shot. i just want to have something to show our little guy so he can see how many awesome people were a part of this journey with us! we truly could not do it without you all!!

bows, necklaces and sisterly fun!

have i mentioned before that i have a great sister? if not, i will do so now. i have a great sister! she is a great friend, a great "auntie diva" to our boys, and a great person in general!! for proof, here's just the latest way that she has loved me well...

my parents live in a small town outside of louisville, ky. a few months ago, my mom saw in her little town's paper {if you can even call it that!}, that the local farmers market was opening up one weekend a month for crafters as well. thinking about the expenses for adoption, my mom suggested that i sell some of my craft items at the farmers market and use the proceeds for the adoption. i loved the idea but was a little apprehensive to take on this undertaking on my own. so, who did i lovely sister, jennifer. jenn jumped at the opportunity. while she doesn't like to sew, jenn loves making hair bows so she offered to help.

so, saturday finally came and we made our way to the farmers market. it wasn't much of a market, as there were only about 5 farmers there. also, after about a half an hour, we realized that we were the only crafters too. however, despite the small set-up, jenn and i had a lot of fun. here are some pictures of our table:

*we sold our handmade hair bows, headbands, bibs, clip in flowers, tag/lovey blankets for babies, regular baby blankets, glass tile necklaces, and our adoption t-shirts.

*a few of the glass tile necklaces. {not very detailed pictures, i realize but i was working with my phone so forgive me!}

*some of the bows

*signage :)

*my lovely assistant!!

i think after all was said and done, we only made about $55 but it is $55 more than we had before for our adoption! perhaps next time, it will be busier. no matter what though, i'm just glad that i got to share this experience with my sister :)

{if you see anything you would like, please let me know! we will also be happy to customize an order for you with all proceeds going as a donation for our adoption!! also, if you live in our area, we are having a HUGE yard sale this coming saturday and will be offering our craft items there as well. please leave a message or email me for more details.}

Friday, May 14, 2010

8 years ago today... hilarious, awkward, best guy friend asked me to be his girlfriend. i was a junior in high school and had just taken him to my junior prom 4 days prior. there were definitely feelings between us for a long time but as ryan would tell the story, i "always had a boyfriend". this time, the timing was right. although i had just gotten out of another relationship 2 months prior, i had told ryan that i need a couple of months before i would consider being in another relationship. {oh, teenagers and love!!} 2 months to the day of my last break up, i was busy working at ginny's hallmark after school when ryan stopped by to see me. while sitting at the kiddie picnic table near the register ryan asked me to be his girlfriend. without skipping a beat, i said yes!

at the time i could have never dreamed that 4 years later we would be married, much less 8 years later, fostering 2 sweet boys and pursuing adoption from ethiopia. i cannot begin to say what a dream come true the past 8 years with ryan has been. despite the normal ups and downs, i am blessed to say that there are many more ups than downs. he loves me and the boys well, and it is my joy to be with him after 8 years and pray for many more to come!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

arise for children

i just want to give a little plug {not that many people read this anyway, but i can pretend :) } for the wonderful agency we are using to adopt our ethiopian kiddo(s): arise for children. we felt God's leaning towards ethiopia pretty strongly prior to deciding on an agency, but after meeting with the folks from arise and other families working with them, we knew it was the right fit for us!

we like the agency for many reasons but here's just a few:
*they are a small agency and local to our area. we don't feel like a number and they work very hard to help families get their kids home as quickly as possible!
*every month there is a "waiting families fellowship night" where waiting families can meet with the agency, hear updates about the program, pray together and walk together during this uncertain journey.
*their expenses were very reasonable and comparable to other agencies.
*they have a heart and a passion for the Lord and doing His work. they love the kids they are bringing home and the ones who are left behind in ethiopia. they have other programs in place to serve the children who are not being adopted and to help families that may choose to parent their children rather than place their kids in an orphanage or up for adoption.
*they are having great successes in getting children home! in the past month, arise has had 6 families pass court, 2 more families who are preparing to travel to pick up their children and 3 families complete and back at home!! {oh i can't wait until we are in the same boat!!!!!!}

if you are considering adoption, please check out arise for children! they are beginning adoptions in other countries besides ethiopia as well. i think some of these countries include china (special needs), haiti, uganda, and russia. you can visit their website here: and their blog here.

that's all for now :) tonight i'm going to work on some items for our craft table this weekend at the local farmer's market. i'll also try to get some pictures up of our fundraising t-shirts!

Monday, May 10, 2010

elizabeth is getting married!

as i believe i've mentioned previously, my dear friend, elizabeth is getting married this july. on saturday, my other dear friend, lindsay, and i, had the pleasure of hosting her 1st bridal shower for her. it was a great time and definitely brought back some fond memories from when ryan and i were engaged. the shower was a great time to celebrate elizabeth {aka...eb} and to also get to catch up with our other girl friends from middle school and high school. we played games, ate cake, watched eb open gifts, and had lots of catching up to do.

i hope eb enjoyed her special day as much as i did! here are a few pictures of the fun...

*lindsay, eb and i

*typical elizabeth moment...bossing her sister to take a picture of her opening her presents :)
*lindsay's mom hosted the shower in her beautiful home! it hard to see but i made this little banner that says {eb hearts(symbol) matty}
*the yummy cake!
*some of the pretty decor lindsay put together

mother's day in a nutshell

1) i hope all you mothers out there had a great mother's day! i am so thankful for the wonderful mother God gave me. she is truly an example of a godly woman dedicated to her children and grandchildren, and i hope to leave half the legacy for my children that she has for jenn, stuart and me. she is always a phone call away, and always has been. in fact, there were many times when i was away at school or newly married and living in a different city, that i would call her needing to talk or vent. she would always listen, give advice, and/or drive on up to see me in person. she has also been a HUGE help to ryan and i on this foster journey. she joyfully keeps baby P for me while i work, and most days, he would prefer her over me any way!! she is a constant sounding board for my rollercoaster of emotions with "the system", and always offers an encouraging word or prayer. i could not have been born and raised by a better mother, and i hope to continue to share some of her love with my children one day!!

2) our church had a baby dedication yesterday and i think it seriously included at least half of our church body! we are very blessed to have many young families and sweet new babies so it was fun seeing them get dedicated on a special day. i pray that maybe next year ryan and i will get to join our church friends on stage to dedicate our sweet little one from ethiopia!

3) after church, we had lunch with my family, celebrating my mom and my sister, jennifer. my brother-in-law, jason made lunch for everyone, which i heard was quite a treat. unfortunately, i had to lay low on eating much as i am still recovering from a stomach bug that rocked my world saturday afternoon/evening. not a very fun way to celebrate moms!

4) for dinner, we went over to ryan's parents' to celebrate with ryan's mom. the boys grilled out and played basketball while my mother-in-law, joyce, helped me try to contain little P. he was all over the place and has become such a fireball these days! i don't think he'll ever keep still again. it was great to spend time with our families and the weather was beautiful! i love spring in kentucky :)

5) i know mother's day is bittersweet for many, myself included this year. i spent a great portion of the day reminded that i'm not really a mother yet, and that's a hard reality. after the stress of court last week, i really wasn't up for celebrating mother's day for myself so i asked ryan to skip out on any festivities. he was thoughtful and i still got a sweet card from him and the boys before heading off to church. for those of you who are also waiting, i pray that you can take heart with me in knowing that God's plans will not be thwarted! i am hopeful that one day soon i'll have the lofty title of "mom" but until then, i'm trying to cherish the moments i have with R and P before they head back to their mom.

Friday, May 7, 2010

court update

thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement yesterday via text, facebook, etc. we definitely needed them and appreciate you lifting us up!

yesterday was everything that we expected, and at the same time, not what we expected at all!

in short, the boys are still going back to their surprise there. P's dad did not show up for court and will continue to have a no-contact order with P and has a bench warrant out for his arrest...also, no surprise there! however, much to our surprise, the social workers recommended that the boys' mom begin getting unsupervised visits with them, starting immediately.*

*this recommendation was pretty much a punch in the gut to ryan and i. less than 3 weeks ago the boys' worker told us that their mom was not ready for unsupervised visits and that they would not be recommending that to the court yet. thankfully though, we were given some warning about this news before we were called back to the courtroom! the supervisor on the case came over and spoke to us in the waiting area about the change while R was talking with his GAL {guardian ad litem}.

after hearing this news I was reminded of how glad i am {at times!} that my sweet husband has a gift for not beating around the bush! after the supervisor told us this news ryan quickly asked how they were able to totally change their minds in 3 weeks time. he said that he was confused on how she could all the sudden become prepared enough to have her children in an unsupervised environment in a matter of 3 weeks. {shoot, we've been "parents" for 8 months now, and we're still trying to prepare ourselves!!} we didn't get much of an answer, except that their mom has been doing well in her treatment and was on time for all her appointments. she said that the unsupervised visits would start off slow, and as the boys' mom earned trust, she would get more time with them. since there was nothing we could really say or do to change their minds, we left it at that and headed into the courtroom.

at the GAL's recommendation and to our relief, R did not actually sit in the courtroom for the hearing. ryan stayed with him in a side room throughout the trial and i sat in the courtroom by myself. since P's dad did not show up, the trial went much quicker than expected. also, much to our relief, R did not have to testify!! this was a huge answer to our prayers. they took his mom's testimony and the SW's testimony instead of him having to take the stand. i learned a few new things about the case while in court, but overall, it was pretty pointless for us to even be there. the judge accepted the SW's recommendation for the unsupervised visits with mom without any discussion about it. a date has not been set for the case review yet because the SWs want to wait and see how the rest of her therapy goes. {the case review will be when they officially release the boys back into their mom's care.}

after the trial, we were punched in the gut one last time when the SW said that in lieu of their scheduled 2 hour supervised visit at the visitation center following court, that she wanted to begin the 4 HOUR unsupervised visit right away. {so much for starting the unsupervised visits off slow!} R left the courthouse with his mom while ryan and i left alone...i guess it's just practice for the next time we go to court! P was at our house with my mom so we had to run home, get him ready and take him to mcdonalds to meet up with his mom and R so she could visit with P as well. during the visit time, ryan and i were both in a weird state of numbness/helplessness but we were also thankful for the time we could spend alone to process what just happened. we didn't agree with what happened at court but we couldn't really protest it or do anything about it either. we knew this was most likely going to happen eventually, but we were hoping eventually was still a far way off! plus, it's a hard to transition so quickly from taking the boys to a facility where sheriffs are on duty for security and every word and action is being monitored to just letting their mom take off with them wherever she wants.

anyways, it was a draining and hard day, but we know that our God is still good and is still in control! wednesday night, ryan and i read psalm 136 together and we are trying to hold on to the same attitude as reflected in the psalm. the whole chapter talks about giving praise to God because "His love endures forever". we know that our love for the boys is far, far, far exceeded by God's love for them and we're praying that He will continue to keep them close to Himself no matter where they live and who they call "mom".

  • "To the One who remembered us in our low estate 'His love endures forever." -Psalm 136:23

Thursday, May 6, 2010

today's the day...

...for court. please pray! hopefully i can update later tonight but we are taking the boys for their regular visitation with their mom tomorrow evening too, so it's going to be a pretty full day.

thanks for lifting us up! much love,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

foster and adoption update combo

*foster update:
we are going to court tomorrow, thursday, may 6th at 1:30 p.m. regarding the boys' case. P's dad has requested a full trial and we are expecting that to take place tomorrow. the boys' mom has already pleaded guilty so i'm not sure how much of the case will pertain to her or not. truly, we have no idea what to expect...

if you could, please pray for the court hearing and all parties involved. if you want to pray specifically, here are some things you can pray for-
* that the judge would have wisdom and discernment, and would make all her decisions based on the best interest of the boys.
*for God's perfect timing. we are not sure whether to pray for closure or for more waiting, but we know that the longer we have the boys, the harder it will be to let them go. however, if it will give us a better chance at keeping them long term, we're willing to wait.
*that truth would be revealed and that anything that's currently being hidden would be put on the table.
*for protection of R, who is required to be present at the hearing and who may have to testify against P's dad.
*for ryan and i to be able to properly advocate for the boys if called upon.
*for ryan and i to have peace with the outcome, and to trust God even if it's hard to see His bigger picture.

thank you for walking alongside us and praying for us! ryan and i talk all the time about how we would have never predicted this for our life, or for the way we would begin our family, but how we would not change it for a million dollars! God's plans are so much bigger and better than the plans we could have dreamed for ourselves.

"For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God." -Hebrews 3:4

*adoption update:
we finally received the copy of our state home study and the receipt of our I-600 form from USCIS!!! these were the last 2 pieces of paper that we needed to finish out our home study. we are expecting it to be complete within about 3 weeks. around that time, we should hopefully be getting an appointment for our FBI fingerprinting as well. once we have our home study complete, we will be able to begin applying for some adoption grants and also submit for our final approval from USCIS to bring our child home from Ethiopia to the US. i cannot wait to get these last few things tied up so that we can submit our dossier to Ethiopia and go on the waiting list for a referral. i keep imagining what that day will look like and how joyful we'll be...much like i imagined for months about the day we would get a foster placement.

as far as fundraising, we have ordered our first run of t-shirts and i hope to be able to begin offering them in the next 2 weeks or so. i love the design and hope you all will too! we are going to be selling the shirts for $20, and all the sales will go towards helping us bring our child home from ethiopia. if you know for sure that you would like a shirt, sight unseen, please let me know and i will reserve one for you. we ordered a few youth sizes this time around too, so we have from size YM to adult 2XL. i'll keep you posted on the shirt progress... we are also still planning our adoption yard sale for later in the month at my sister's house. her neighborhood is doing a big yard sale so we hope to be able to utilize the large crowd to raise lots of support for our adoption. if you're in our area, please let me know if you have anything you want to donate to the sale! i would be happy to pick the items up and save you the trip to goodwill!

thank you again for your prayers and love,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

P's b-day in pictures

{for those of you who might be new to this blog, i cannot post pictures of the boys' faces because they are in foster care and i choose not to post their names for security reasons. so, please excuse all the pictures of the back of their heads! i wish i could show you their cuteness in all its glory, but at least you kinda get the idea :) }

P's b-day throne:

R &P playing with the water table, before there was any water added:

a few of the party goers:
R & Mikayla helping P open gifts:
this bag was bigger than P!:

sorry i can't show the cute pictures of P covered in icing because they sure are sweet :) *dorky pun, totally intended*

Monday, May 3, 2010

a busy weekend!

phew, i feel like i need a weekend from our weekend! we were BUSY!!! but it was great :) we got to do pretty much everything i love...hanging out with friends - old and new, spending time with family, hanging around the house, ignoring the laundry pilling up in the basement, watching the derby, loving on R and P, going to church, hosting a meal in our home and celebrating P's 1st birthday. it was wonderful!

in case you want more details, here's what our weekend looked like in full:

R was off school for "pre-derby day"...aka... "the teachers want to go to the oaks race and there are not enough substitutes to cover for them" day. also, the boys' regular thursday visit with their mom was cancelled because the visitation center had to close all week due to derby festival events and traffic, so they made the visit up on friday. thankfully, after some negotiations, the boys' SW was able to arrange for transportation for them to and from the visit because i really did not want to have to take another day off work. they had a good visit and were able to celebrate P's b-day with their mom.

after work on friday, i picked them both up from my mom's and we did some last minute shopping for little P's big day. *oh the joy of having a 1 year old! he didn't even realize that all those things in the cart were his gifts :) after shopping, we were met at home by ryan and he said that our friends, jon and bethany, from college were going to be stopping by with their new little guy, jonah. let me just tell you, he is adorable and sooooo little!! if the Lord ever blesses us with a biological baby, i'm not sure that ryan and i will know what to do with someone so small! we had a great time catching up with jon and bethany. they are also passionate about adoption and new parents, so we had a lot to talk about!

little P's birthday started off right: a chorus of our family's version of "happy, happy birthday" and a lazy morning/afternoon at home. thankfully, i wasn't too panicked about getting things together for his derby birthday party because all of our guests were family and i had done most of the preparations already. i enjoyed having all my boys home and just relaxing before the party festivities. when everyone arrived that evening, we grilled out (despite the monsoon outside!) and ate lots and lots of food.

P was super sleepy so he napped during most of his celebration, but he woke in time to watch the derby race. P was so cute because throughout the race, he kept referring to the horses as "da dogs". i don't think his 1 year old mind really grasps the difference in horses and dogs yet, but we're getting there! we all drew horses and cheered on our respective choices. ryan chose the winner, super saver, but we were all happy to see a louisvillian jockey, calvin borel, win again!

after the race, P opened his mound of presents. he was so overwhelmed by all the awesome gifts that he didn't know which to play with first. he got some great stuff including a riding firetruck, a car that he can be pushed around in outside, an water play table, and more! i'm still not sure where we're going to store all of the gifts, but we'll just have to make room :) after the presents, next was cake! P had an oversized cupcake all to himself, but i don't think he was a huge fan. he kinda played in the icing a bit, but he never dove right in as we hoped. i think he was too freaked out about the icing being on his hands to really do much else. after a long bath and scrub, his party came to a close. we were glad to be able to celebrate little P's first year of life with him, and hope that we can do the same for many more years to come.

we went to church and had a special missions commissioning service for all the people at our church going on missions trips this summer. out of our pretty small congregation (around 150 people), it was awesome to see that 11 people are going on mission trips this year. God is definitely at work and it will be exciting to hear about how He works through everyone's trips. after church, we had our small group over for lunch and a movie at our house. i was glad that we got to stay inside for awhile and didn't have a lot of errands to run because it was still raining outside, which makes for perfect movie weather! after our small group left, the boys and i just hung around the house and took a breather from the craziness of the weekend.

we had a great weekend, and i hope you did too!