Friday, July 30, 2010

a wedding, a visa, and an approval!

*a wedding:

ok, so today's a crazy busy day. my dear and sweet, long time friend, elizabeth, is gettin' hitched! i'm so excited to join her and her soon-to-be hubby, matt, as part of their bridal party :) as i've mentioned before, elizabeth and i have known each other since 6th grade and she is still a joy to have as a friend! despite not going to the same college and living in different cities for 4 years, we both moved back home around 2 years ago and easily picked up where we left off. she is super crafty and so every single detail of her wedding has been so well thought out! i can't wait until it all comes together today. although, eabs and matt hosted a killer rehearsal dinner last night at an adorable local restaurant so i'm dragging a little bit today. who knew that 1 glass of wine, great friends, yummy food, and wedded bliss could make this old lady so tired :) we got in bed around 11:30 p.m. and if saw me, you'd think i'd been out until at least 2:00 a.m. "late nights" just aren't the same as they were in college!

so, now that i'm armed with my diet coke, i'm trying to get a little pep in my step before all the festivities begin. we're headed to the salon around 11:00 to get our hair 'did' and to relax with a little lunch before heading to the ceremony site. at 3:00 we'll start pictures at then just hang out until the ceremony starts at 6:30. eeekk! i can't wait :)

i actually packed my camera for once so i'll try to get a few shots to share in the next few days!

*a visa:
hallelujah, my visa for @fghanistan got issued yesterday!! i've been having a bit of a panic attack all week because we were still waiting on it and i thought we might have to cancel or postpone the trip. however, we are in the clear!! i've begun packing here and there when i have time so i'm getting really excited. {yes, my suitcase is still sitting in my living room.}

i'm looking forward to getting to know my teammates better and to just getting there. i leave on monday but won't actually make it to @-stan until wednesday, as it's a LONG trip! i don't usually mind long flights as long as i have nice seat mates, a good book and a chance to sleep so i hope this trip doesn't change my mind. we've got 2 more long trips coming up hopefully in the next 6 months to ethiopia so i'm just considering this a practice run for having to do this with a baby...

*an approval:
on wednesday we got the long awaited paper telling us that we're approved by USCIS {citizenship and immigration} to adopt! only 3 months of waiting and a chunk of change later :) the best part about it though was what happened after i got it from the mailbox and realized what it was... i started jumping up and saying, "woohoo, woohoo!", to which R sweetly asked me, "did we get a referral?". i told him no and explained what the paper said, but it was so sweet to hear him say "we" about our referral! ryan and i have tried very hard to help him understand that he and P will always be a part of our family in one sense or another. i'm so glad he feels included in what's happening with our adoption and not threatened by us adding another child to the family!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

coming colors for One Less t-shirts!

i'm excited to say that we've almost sold through our first batch of one less t-shirts!! we've had a great response so far and i'm so grateful to those of you who've purchased shirts already. because of the t-shirts, we were able to set-up our adoption account and get several fees taken care of that we weren't sure how we'd be able to pay for. the Lord is good!!

so, since the first round of tees has sold so well, we're going to take a little gamble and order a smaller second batch. however, this time, we're going to try to take some pre-orders because we're going to add some additional shirt color options :) as a former t-shirt junkie, this really excites me! although i no longer work for a t-shirt company, i still love to look at the shirt websites for cool new designs, styles, colors, etc. {i'm a loser, i know!} anyways, if you already have a one less shirt and love it, how about another?? i mean, don't tell ryan but i plan to get several more ;) plus, it's for a great cause!

so, here's the deal: i'm putting up a few shirt color options below that will look good with the current ink colors on the shirt. {the shirt fit and material will be exactly the same as the previous shirts so no worries!} since it would be too complicated to change the original imprint colors, we're just keeping them the same. if you see a color you'd like and want to pre-order a shirt, let me know. you can pre-order the same way you order...via the chip-in widget on the left sidebar. however, if you want to pre-order, please write a note in your p@ypal transaction saying what size and t-shirt color you would like, otherwise, i'll just assume it's an order for the lake blue original shirts. also, please know that we probably won't actually put the order in until late august so it may be a little while until you receive your shirt.

the shirts will still be a $20 donation towards our adoption, plus $5 for shipping.

*here are the new shirt color options:

1} white 2} independence red
980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt 980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt
3} mandarin orange 4} natural
980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt 980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt
5} silver 6} spring yellow
980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt 980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt
7} green apple 8} cactus green
980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt 980 Anvil 4.5 oz. Ringspun Cotton Fashion Fit T-Shirt
{*disclaimer: i'm not saying that the imprint colors will look great on all these shirts, but i'm just throwing out the options where the shirt color won't be too dark for the light blue and chocolate brown ink. choose your tee color at your own discretion (: }

ok, happy ordering!! let me know if you have any questions. my email is mrsleslisweeney{at} thanks!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"our" boys

today started with a pretty emotional morning. ryan is out of town so i dropped the boys off for their visit with their mom this morning myself. it was their first visit with her since july 15th, and it was an emotional one for me. after being out of town with the boys, it was very easy to convince myself that they are "our" {ryan & me} boys. during our trip, we didn't receive any phone calls from the boys' mom, have to see her for visits, or have any home visits with social workers. on one hand, it was really nice, but now after the fact, us being gone and out of touch has made things really hard to jump back in to real life.

to briefly recap, last week was really great for toddler P and i. we spent pretty much every waking moment together, which i absolutely loved!! we were literally attached at the hip, unless he was toddling off somewhere mischievously :) by the end of the week, P was even refusing to go to his usually favored nana {my mom}, who normally keeps him while i work...i'm pretty sure a total first!

R also had a great time in georgia and had many firsts of his own - his first day boating on lake hartwell, his first trip to a water park, his first treadmill leg burn {ummm...this is one first i would have liked to avoid, but boys will be boys and that includes trying out new tricks on treadmills going full speed while wearing wet flip flops!}, etc. during the entire trip, he was so obedient, eager to socialize with other kids and seemed to have a much lighter air about him. i loved seeing him so happy and in his own element!

however, now that we're back to honestly kinda stinks. like i said, i took the boys this morning for their visit and unfortunately mr. P once again did not want to go to his mom. he kept turning his back to her when she was reaching for him and when she finally grabbed him, he kept leaning over for me and was about to cry. his mom eventually put him down because he was squirming so much and he walked straight over, reached his arms up for me, and began crying when i tried to redirect him to his mom. it was once again awkward, sobering and heartbreaking at the same time. i quickly ended our conversation and got in the car so that the weirdness could be over. i didn't even make it out of the parking spot before my tears began to flow. thankfully i had on sunglasses so i don't think anyone noticed! i prayed silently for the boys to be safe and for the strength to continue my day as planned, but i seriously just wanted to drive straight home, get in my pajamas and spend the afternoon watching sappy movies and crying the ugly cry.

these days are the part of being a foster parent that i hate! i hate being confronted with the reality that even after more than 9 months of parenting, R and P are not our kids. i hate facing the reality that the goal is still reunification and probably always will be unless something tragic happens. i hate dealing with the ugliness and sin that lies within my own heart when i see the boys' mom. i hate seeing the reality that once again, i am not in control...not of this, not of our ethiopian adoption, and pretty much not of anything. {ugh. that one definitely stings the most for my obsessive, control freak personality!} ultimately i do know that God is the only one in control - not the state, not the social workers, not the boys' mom and certainly not me. He sees the big picture and says that He knows the plans He has for me and our family...plans to give us hope and a future!! {jer. 29:11}

plus, there are many days in foster care that i love...and i'm pretty sure that these days outweigh the others!! despite my crazy emotional state today, i am trying to stay focused on these days. for instance, i love seeing R finally get something. like a few weeks ago when he reminded me that he needed to write thank-you notes for his birthday gifts and he worked so hard to make them personal and sweet. i love when little P flashes me the biggest smile in the mornings when i go into his room. i love seeing R fold right in to our families and act like he's been there all along. i love watching ryan talk with the boys' mom, showing genuine care and concern for her {i'm still working on this!}. i love experiencing all the fun baby stages and learning right alongside P...

i'm pretty sure i've written at least 10 similar posts to this one, so please forgive me for the monotony! for whatever reason, this blog has served as a much needed catharsis for me from time to time, and it seems like today is one of those days. my biggest fear though is that i will scare people off from the foster care system by my crazy ramblings. please know that it is totally worth all the tears and most days, i would not change a thing!!

ok, enough from the emotional, crazy woman that is me today. i hope you are having a great one and i will post again when i'm sane - if such a time ever comes!

Monday, July 26, 2010

junk posse giveaway for a sweet family!!

ok y'all, i've got another awesome giveaway to tell you about. it's a fundraiser for a fellow blogging friend who is also adopting from ethiopia and it's totally worth checking out!!

i'm guessing if you're in process to adopt from ethiopia or africa in general, you're probably somewhat familiar with junk posse jewelry. is that true?? if not, let me introduce you... check out junk posse's adorable etsy shop right here.


i cannot lie, i have been eyeing several things from this shop but been holding off because we're saving for the adoption. however, now there's a great way to possibly win a lovely necklace and help an amazing family adopt too!

please check out the junk posse fundraiser/giveaway on melissa's blog. the prize for the giveaway is a $150 gift certificate for junk posse's shop!! for $5 you can help bring another child into a family and earn a chance to win a sweet prize.

however, here's the catch - if you check out melissa's blog, donate to her giveaway and then MUST use your gift certificate to get me something shiny too :) seriously.

i'm BACK!

ok, i'm back in town but still out of sorts! how can it be that i get home, get settled in for a week and then am off again? not really great planning on my behalf, that's how!

right now i'm knee deep in laundry, dishes, and vacuuming trying to reclaim my house now that we've mostly unpacked. truth be told though, my suitcase is the only one left to be dealt with. i had the boys unpacked by saturday night. my suitcase however is still currently in the middle of the living room and i'm not sure it will even move from there until i'm ready to ship out a week from today. the one thing i did right in the packing process was to wash all the clothes that i could before leaving georgia so i think i'll just pick and choose which things to leave in my suitcase and then add other stuff i need for afghanistan as the week progresses. i've never been a very good packer but i think that idea's bound to be straight out of the-idiots-guide-to-packing-and-then-repacking! i'm hoping that by the time we get the green light to go to ethiopia twice, i'll be a pro at this :)

anyways, besides packing, the only other thing holding up my trip next week is my visa. we're still waiting on visas to be issued for me and 2 other ladies. once we get those, i think i'll finally be able to breathe easier. you'd think after seeing so many teams have visa delays yet get them in the nick of time that i wouldn't stress out so much each time, but i definitely still do! please pray that the visas will come through without a hitch so we can get on our way. i can't wait to get to a-stan to hug my friends, see the changes in the communities since my last trip and to love on some sweet kiddos.

7 days and counting!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


i don't have much time to update but i just wanted to write a quick note. we received an email from our agency today that they are possibly expecting a group of referrals to come in within the next 2-3 weeks. God willing, our child will be in that group!!! we can't wait to "meet" our hope-to-be son or daughter :) {ryan is hoping son, i'm hoping for either...or both. ha!} anyways, when i read the update, i was giddy with excitement so i had to share the news! my only fear is that i will possibly be out of the country when our referral comes in, and i was really hoping to share that special moment with ryan. however, whatever happens, happens and i'm okay with it. i know that God has a plan for my trip and for our adoption, so if the two happen to collide, that's alright with me. another sweet family, the monks, from our agency got a referral a few weeks ago and were just given tentative travel dates in october for their first trip to meet their boys. we are praying that we can travel with them or sometime closely after if possible. we don't want to waste any time getting our kiddo home and we'd love to share in the joy of expanding our families with them!

anyways, that's really all i've got the energy for now. we're actually planning to head out tomorrow afternoon instead of saturday as originally planned. we've got some family matters to tend to in tennessee as my grandfather's prognosis for his cancer is not looking good. we're going to stop and spend some extra time loving on him and my grandma rather than driving straight home on saturday...

i'll try to update more on our trip, the home visit with our boys' social worker last week, adoption fundraising, etc. soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

sorry for the blog static. my family is in the boondocks of northeast georgia this week so i have had only limited access to the internet and phone. however, i have much to post about and much to get caught up on in my google reader!! we are having a great time but are very hot! no AC + hot georgia summer = one angry lesli. i do not like heat...

anyway, we've been staying busy so far this week and the boys are having a great time. i can't wait to post and get caught back up upon returning! thanks for still checking in on me. i haven't given up on the blog - just taking a short hiatus.

hope you're having a great week and are staying cooler than we are :)

ps - in my blogging absence i think you should read this post. it totally convicted me and i hope that the Lord can give me the strength to one day see R and P's mom the way He sees her...human, imperfect, but deeply loved.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

home visits today

we have 2 home visits today for R & P - one with the boys' social worker and one with our social worker. i have to say that i'm probably more nervous about today's visit with the boys' worker than i've ever been for a home visit before, and i can't really explain it. i'm not sure if it's just me being overly fearful and anxious, or if the Lord is trying to prepare my heart for some bad news...

the visit with our worker should be fairly painless as normal, but we are going to be renewing our foster parenting paperwork so that we can keep our house open for at least another year. {are we crazy?? i think so!!} **sidebar- in case you're wondering, we are not planning on accepting any more foster placements until after we get our kiddo home from ethiopia and are settled with a strong attachment underway. we don't want to risk damaging that relationship in any way with the chaos that foster care can create in a home. however, we will probably foster again, just not right away.**

anyways, i know i had mentioned an interesting situation coming up in regards to the boys last week and i finally feel somewhat comfortable to share a little about that. we basically received an alarming phone call about the boys' mom from someone who knows her and the boys well. however, this person stated that they refused to call CPS and report the same information to them, even anonymously, because they were so fearful for their lives and their family. quite disturbing! i talked to the person for over an hour and they gave me some seemingly accurate details making me think they really knew what they were talking about. i spent probably the last 20 minutes of the call basically begging this person to do what was right and make a report to CPS if they were so concerned for the boys so that CPS could sort everything out. the next day, i reported what i had been told to CPS and the boys' worker, but their worker just shrugged everything off as no big deal. she was less than assuring that they would even look into the situation, and as far as i know, no one has call to make a report about the concerns.

this has left us very unsettled. we truly want to believe that the boys' mom has turned her life around, but unfortunately the odds are just stacked against her. domestic violence, drugs, abuse, poverty, etc are all a vicious cycle and hard to break without God's intervention, and that's what we're praying for this family. R has lived a hard, hard life and seen more than he should have had to in his 14 years and we're praying that P won't have to walk the same painful road. however, we know that this entire situation is out of our control!

i'm interested to hear from the boys' worker today if there are any updates about the plan for reunification with their mom. at this point, i think both ryan and i are settled with the idea that short of a major catastrophe happening, the boys will be going back to their mother. however, neither of us think it's healthy for the boys {or for us, for that matter} to keep drawing out the reunification process. their mom has completed her parenting classes {if you can even call them that!}, drug treatment, and is about to wrap up with domestic violence classes. there really aren't many more "resources" that the state can offer her for improving herself or the type of parent she is/will be.

it is also growing increasingly hard for R and P to be shuffled around between us and her. P has become very clingy to me and now refuses to go with his mom when she reaches for him. this morning, when i dropped the boys off for their visit, P tucked his arms down by his belly and turned completely away from her when he saw her. to make matters worse, R just came over and took him from me and handed P to his mom, causing him to cry. it wasn't pretty or easy for P or me! we've also been getting quite a bit of attitude and disrespect from R lately, with most of it occurring right before or after his visit times. i know that is probably natural because he's trying to balance in his mind who his "real" authority is. however, neither ryan or i ever let him disrespect his mother in front of us, but that same courtesy is definitely not repaid to us. for example, R almost always gets out of his mom's car when we pick him up and immediately gets in our car without saying goodbye or hugging his mother. when he does this, ryan and i always ask him to get back out of the car to say goodbye to his mom and to give her a hug, which he'll then do. on the flip side though, today i was talking to his mom about P's schedule, food, etc. and R kept saying, "ok, let's go now" to his mom, completely interrupting me and our conversation. his mom just laughed and smiled almost approvingly at him, making my blood boil a little.

it's just a very frustrating and unfair situation. R is old enough to know what is going on but not truly mature enough to really understand it. P is too young to know what is going or to understand it, so i worry that he thinks we're just going to be abandoning him when he goes back to his mom. uggghhh.

ok, enough bellyaching from me for the day. i'll update later if i can after the visits...please pray for things to go smoothly and for the truth to come out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

drum roll please...

ok a few days late to say the least!! but here are the 5 lucky winners of our giveaway...

*winner #1: sarah {} chose the wax seal pendant necklace from harmonized creations & the $5 st@rbucks gift card~

sarah and i actually know each other from our college days at UK. she proceeded ryan as the emcee for campus crusade's thursday night meetings and set the bar rather high! in fact, i will never forget her showing a lovely picture of her childhood mullet one thursday night. check out her blog, maybe she'll post it up there too :) enjoy your pendant, sarah!

*winner #2: annie {} chose the autumn patchwork cuddle blanket from buffaloclover & a short-sleeved personalized tee from littlehousetees

annie and i go way back to our high school days. after college, we both ended back up at home and it's been fun to keep up with our latest adventures in parenting together. annie and her husband, eli have an adorable little cutie named hannah, and annie likes to blog too. hope hannah loves her new goodies!

*winner #3: nichole chose the lovely $35 gift certificate to the moonlight doodles' shop~

i have never met nichole but she was sweet enough to donate to help us bring our little one home, so i'm glad she won something special. {i wish all y'all who've helped could have won though...}. thanks again, nichole!! keep checking back for more updates on our little guy or gal :)

*winner #4: melissa {} chose one of our one less orphan tees
i've never met melissa either, just in the blogging world, but she's a fellow adoptive mom waiting to get a kiddo home from ethiopia. it's been great to "meet" so many other waiting moms through blogging and to read our shared concerns, joys, etc. melissa has a great blog and is working to put together her own giveaway/fundraiser from junk posse, so you should check it out in the next few days!!

*winner #5: lindsay {} won the $25 gift certificate to for His glory designs' shop~

lindsay is a new blogging friend too! she has a great blog as well with something called "terrific tip tuesday". i love that :) i need a good tip everyone once in awhile {understatement of the year}. lindsay, i hope you enjoy your gift certificate to bethany's shop!
Nursing Cover  -Amy Butler French Wallpaper fabric - Ready to Ship


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

the winners have been selected!

hey y'all. the winners of our giveaway have been selected and i'm in the process of notifying everyone and letting them choose their prizes. hopefully by tomorrow, everyone will have been notified so i can post the winners and their new swag :)

in other news, there is a lot going on right now for our family and for me at work so i'm hoping that i can continue to keep the blog updated and don't just fall off the face of the earth. just to give you a glimpse of my life right now though in case i do disappear, here's what we've got going just the remainder of this week and the following week:

-work conference for me today through friday in southern, indiana
-i'm heading to lexington thursday evening to celebrate a sweet college friend's upcoming nuptials!!
-thursday afternoon ryan will get fingerprinted for our adoption and friday afternoon i will get fingerprinted {yay, one more step down...}
-friday night and saturday afternoon i'm getting away with lindsay, elizabeth and emily to cincinnati to celebrate elizabeth's fast approaching special day
-ryan and i will face our fears monday morning and get our immunizations for ethiopia
-monday night we're hosting our first info meeting for our both hands project to benefit our adoption and a local widow {more about this soon...sorry i've put it off so long already!}
-tuesday afternoon we have a dreaded home visit with the boys' social worker
-next wednesday afternoon i have a dentist appointment - yuck!
-both next thursday & next friday i will be in a board meeting all day long
-saturday morning we're departing for a long await family trip to georgia!! {ps- any creeps that want to break in to our house while we're gone should be warned that we have 2 large, ferocious dogs and a house sitter so don't try to pull anything!}

so, i'm not saying this to sound like i'm just soooo busy or anything, but really just to say, that i apologize in advance for being m.i.a. for awhile. summers are a crazy time for everyone but in a way i'm glad because i think it will make our waiting period for ethiopia go by much quicker!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

sorry for the delay!

we've had a crazy last 24 hours so i haven't been able to get things together for the giveaway yet. in fact, I'm posting this from my phone as I wait to pick someone up from the airport for a conference. This week is showing no signs of slowing down but I have vowed to myself to work on the giveaway by tomorrow at the latest. I hope it's worth the wait for you winners!!

In other news, a lot of craziness is going on with the situation surrounding the boys' mom. Please join us in praying for God to allow the truth of the situation to be revealed to all parties involved. I don't know how much detail to give but I will say that the boys' mom most likely isn't doing as great as we all thought. Please pray! These boys deserve to be safe and loved and we're trying to discern our role in giving them what they need.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

thankful for my freedom

happy independence day!!

thank you to all our wonderful men and women serving or who have served to ensure our freedom!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

last day to enter

hey y'all!

i hope you are enjoying all the 4th of july festivities with your family and friends! this is just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the last day to enter our adoption fundraising giveaway. i think i said before that i'd be drawing winners on the 4th but i changed my mind when i saw our busy holiday schedule :) please forgive me but i'll be drawing on monday instead, so be on the lookout for a possible email from me if you win!!

also, in case you are new to the blog, here's a quick synopsis of what's up for grabs and how to help our adoption/enter to win:

prize #1} $35 gift certificate to the moonlight doodles' shop~

prize #2} ooh baby prize pack: autumn patchwork cuddle blanket from buffaloclover & a short-sleeved personalized tee from littlehousetees~

prize #3} wax seal pendant necklace from harmonized creations & $5 st@rbucks gift card~

prize #4} one less orphan t-shirt from our family's stash of fundraising shirts~

prize #5} $25 gift certificate to for His glory designs' shop~

**ok, now for how to enter the giveaway:
give a suggested donation of $5 for every 1 entry or $20 for 5 entries. this is only a suggestion but it will definitely help us inch closer to our adoption goals. you can give by clicking on our ChipIn/PayPal widget on the left sidebar {under the picture of the t-shirts}. PayPal will notify me of your donation and i will use the email to put you in the drawing.

-for additional entries:
#1} share our giveaway via facebook, your blog, twitter, etc. if you do, send me a link via email and i'll add an extra entry for you.

#2} commit to praying for our family and for our child waiting in ethiopia. we need your prayers for our continued fundraising, for perseverance as we wait, for the actual adoption process to go smoothly, and most importantly, for the health and well-being of our child and the millions of other orphans waiting in ethiopia and elsewhere. if you will or already praying, please email me and let me know.

#3} become a follower of my blog. i always wonder if there are floaters out there reading the blog but not commenting. if you're out there, i want to get to know you so i can read up on your crazy life adventures too! if you become a follower, email me about this too.

my email address is mrsleslisweeney{at} if you email me, please make sure to include your name and an email address where i can contact you back in case you win.

thanks for your help and thanks for following along with our adoption journey!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

4 years ago today...

i was about to...

* giddily walk into the church and marry the man God prepared to be my husband.

*and then seal the deal with a big ole' kiss!
*after which, i marched out of the church with a new last name!

*and then peaced out of the party early to get the show of life on the road :)

boy am i glad i did!!!

"for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." -genesis 2:24