Monday, February 28, 2011

icing on the cake

tonight we also got our first updated picture of greer in about 9 weeks. talk about a little something sweet to top off an amazing day :)

the picture isn't great but here is our sweet little guy...waiting patiently on his mom and dad to get back to ethiopia:

i can't wait to stare into those sad, puppy dog eyes and tell him that he's coming home FOREVER!!!!!


"Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always."
-1 Chronicles 16:8-11

i have been wishing, dreaming, hoping and praying about typing the word "APPROVED" for the last 10 weeks, and today i can finally do just that!

10 weeks after passing court, we finally heard this morning that our adoption was approved by the US embassy!!!!!! i cannot even begin to explain the wave of emotions that have swept over me today. mostly, the one that comes to mind is RELIEF. deep down, i have been wondering if something was wrong and we might never hear that we were cleared.

today, i am praising the Lord that isn't the case for us and resting in the fact that He has once again provided for us. i've said it lots of times before, but adoption is surely a miracle. today, we got the news that our miracle is about to be fully realized. i am crying as i type that. it is here! greer is almost, really, almost home. that is a miracle.

while we are still waiting for definite travel dates, our agency told us that they think we will either travel this weekend or the following weekend. of course, the sooner, the better for us, but i am just so happy to know that the time is coming :) all my packing, cleaning and nesting has not been in vain. a child our child will soon sleep in the crib that we so meticulously put together. he will soon wear the clothes that i so time-consumingly organized and put away in his closet and drawers. he will soon drink from the bottles and sippie cups that i labored in love to hand wash for him. he will soon play with the trains that ryan put together and tested out for him this weekend. ooooh, i cannot wait!!

i'll keep you posted and update more tomorrow if we find out exact dates. God is GOOD!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


so many people have rallied around us throughout this adoption. some times i feel like God has used even the most random people to make this adoption possible, and that in and of itself has been fun to watch.

anyways, i cannot say enough about how grateful i am to all the people who have prayed for us and reached out with an encouraging word. this morning, i was laying in bed sulking and trying to convince myself to get up and get the day started, and i got the sweetest encouragement from alicia in the form of an email. we traveled on our first trip to ethiopia with alicia and her husband tim, and quickly learned that they are a very sweet, God fearing couple. they passed court along with us on december 21st, and are also still waiting on embassy clearance to bring their 3 children home. however, despite feeling bogged down and discouraged herself about this period of limbo, alicia took time out of her morning to email me what the Lord had been revealing to her in His word.

this means so much to me! not only were the verses she shared encouraging, but i also was very convicted. convicted about my negativity, convicted about my doubt, convicted about my self-pity, and convicted about my anger over not being in control. one of the verses she shared particularly spoke to me. here it is:

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." -Hebrews 12:11

especially the last several days, i have been incredibly tearful and not feeling very righteous! i have broken out the ugly cry on many occasions, and once i get started, i just can't stop!! however, this verse has encouraged me that the Lord IS training me and disciplining me through these hard times, not just trying to bring me pain or disappointment. while the process may not be pretty, i am praying that on the other side of this process, i can truly say that i love Him more than ever before and that i am letting go of even more of myself.

i've got a lot to learn, but boy am i thankful for friends who take the time to challenge and encourage me!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

still nothing.

we are still waiting to hear something/anything regarding our file at the embassy, and to be honest, i'm not waiting well today. i feel a bit like eeyore. everything is seemingly off today and i hate days like this. {hence, the uk game. ugh, another loss on the road!}

last night i tossed and turned all night, dreaming that today would be the day we got the call with our travel clearance. not the case though!

we were hoping to hear at least hear something, even potentially bad news, as our agency sent a representative today to ask about the pending cases, but we've gotten no news or updates yet. i'm really not trying to be dramatic or anything, but this is just really hard! it's been 9 weeks since we passed court and we've watched lots of other families that have passed court with us or after us already come home with kids. i am happy for them, i really am, but i would love to just know something about our case!! even if the embassy reported that they need more paperwork for our case, at least we'd know that they have our file. i'm beginning to wonder if our file has wandered off somewhere or if it's stuck in a large pile somewhere never to be seen again.

i'm not sure what's going on with us in particular, but i do know that we're not alone. there are several other families with our agency still waiting too and i feel for them as well. last night i laid in bed and prayed a good portion of my restless night that all the waiting families with our agency would have be cleared today. obviously, that was not God's least not yet.

i know that God is always faithful to finish the things He has started, especially when we've seen His prints all over this process for us so far, but i just hope our resolution comes soon. i've got about 2 more weeks left to travel and then ryan will be left to his own devices to get greer home. despite believing that he can definitely do it, i know ryan is terrified to bring greer home alone so i'm praying so hard that this won't be the case. plus, i want to see all our sweet ethiopian friends and the beautiful country again!!

so, that is where i'm at. struggling with patience. no surprise there i guess! but here's to hoping that tomorrow might bring some new news...

Monday, February 21, 2011


after i picked ryan up from the airport on friday, we went for an early evening ice cream cone at graeter's, my favorite! i haven't had ice cream in many, many weeks so this was a wonderful treat since sweet stuff seems to be at the top of my cravings list lately. following the ice cream, i can neither confirm nor deny that i also ate a cookie after dinner... regardless, it was great to have ryan home again and we had a fun night hanging out and enjoying our last few weeks without kids!

i finally got started and finished the mobile for greer's room. it's not perfect or my favorite craft project ever, but it was very quick and easy so i can't really expect much else. one more thing off my pre-ethiopia check list, yipee! i'll post pictures whenever we find our camera.

we still haven't found our camera. see item above...

ryan reffed his last wrestling tournament of the season this weekend. i'm glad to get my husband back on weekends but a little sad to see the extra cash flow go out the window!

i spent yesterday evening helping my little brother with an annotated bibliography for his college english class in exchange for him putting together greer's train table that he got for christmas. sadly, this made me really miss college. i've forgotten how much i love MLA!

i had my gestational diabetes test and regular charlotte check up today. too bad i thought the GD test was scheduled for next week and ate a bowl of sugary cereal this morning. yikes! i think the 3 hour glucose test is in my near future but i won't know for sure for a few days :( however, charley is right on target with growth, fetal activity and her heart beat, so we're very thankful for that! 27 weeks down and 13 more to go!!

at the doctor's office, i pestered my OB about my travel dates to ethiopia again. she has permissed me to travel through my 30th week...which means that we would need to be home around march 19th at the latest. that's 1 week longer than we were previously told so i'm alright with that but still praying that we'll get travel clearance much sooner!!

upon leaving the doctor's, i wandered the hospital parking lot {my OB's office is at our local hospital} for a good 5 minutes looking for my car. yep, pregnancy brain has hit in full effect! {for further proof, just know that i actually googled "full moon schedule, louisville, ky" one day last week to figure out if there were any full moons around my due date. i kinda forgot that the moon is the same everywhere so my city location was not necessary :)}

i'm looking forward to going to the little treasure's consignment sale tomorrow to pick up a few more things for our kiddos. i've been to the sale once before prior to when we started fostering and they had a lot of great stuff for super cheap. thanks to a sweet friend, i'm even getting to go to the pre-sale for consignors early. i can't wait to see what bargains await me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

y'all are just the best. thanks for your encouraging words! i tend to find myself forgetting how close we are at this point and just being grateful for that, so thanks for your sweet reminding and for the reality check!! i think adoption can drive even sane people nuts {and let's be honest, i probably wasn't all that sane to start with :)}. exhibit A - a peek into my crazy brain the last week:

since i was just sure we'd get the call with our travel dates this week but haven't, i've been riding a crazy tidal wave of emotions. one second, i'm perfectly content in knowing that my boy is well taken care of and we are going to bring him home soon, and then the next second, i'm a crying, blubbering, moping mess. i would love to blame these bipolar tendencies on my pregnancy hormones, but i'm 99.9% sure that even if i wasn't pregnant, i'd still be this neurotic. if you're one of the lucky people who has fielded a tearful and whiny call from me this past week, thank you for listening. i pray that next week will be better, for my sake and yours :)

i don't think it helped that ryan was gone for a few days this past week and i've been left to my own devices. can i just tell you how many times i've googled blogs searching for the words "embassy appointment", "ethiopia", and "adoption"? A WHOLE LOT! sick, i know. in fact, i'm pretty sure that i've tallied at least a good 6 other families through such searches who were filed the same day as us with the embassy and now have tickets booked to bring their kids home. but, as my dear husband keeps reminding, what good is it to know that? we still don't have an embassy appointment so i just need to chill it out!

i even found myself no longer caring about my crazy preparation lists any more and have totally dropped the ball on getting anything else accomplished. i think secretly somewhere in my twisted/wanting-my-son-home-so-bad-that-i-could-puke brain, that i thought all my planning and hard work the past 2 weeks has cursed our chances of getting an embassy date. ridiculous i know, but i'm just being honest!

this is where i'm at y'all. it's a bizarre place to be but i know the Lord is still working things out. for my crazy sake and for the sake of our son. i'm trying to let go, but it's hard. surrendering control has never been easy for me...just ask ryan! this is where i step back and realize that i'm not nearly as far down the road of trusting the Lord and leaning not into my own understanding as i thought. i'm an imperfect mess struggling to trust God with the details of my life, and it's not pretty. although, once again even on the hardest days, i'm reminded of another way that God is using the precious gift of adoption to change me, grow my faith, and prepare me to be a better mommy to greer and charley. i'm a mess, but i'm thankful mess since this is just another reminder of how much i need a Savior!

i hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy some beautiful spring weather if you have it :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you."

-Psalm 33: 20-22

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

still waiting.

y'all waiting stinks. truly. it just outright stinks. i know God is using this time to prune me and to show me that i am absolutely not in control of my life, but right now, i'm just ready for the wait to be over!!

we were officially filed with the embassy 2 weeks ago today and have heard nothing. however, i was excited to find out that one of the families we traveled with on our first trip and were filed the same time at the embassy, were notified yesterday of their embassy date of march 2nd. this means that they will be leaving next saturday!

i am so pumped for them and i am praying, praying, praying that our paperwork will be approved as soon as possible so we can travel back with them!!! i would love nothing more than to be on a plane to get our boy next saturday! there were 3 of us families from louisville that traveled together last time and 2 other families from around the country, and so far, i believe only the 1 family that heard yesterday have been assigned an embassy date yet. it has been our prayer all along that we can travel back with the same group so i hope this is still a possibility.

tomorrow marks 8 weeks since we said goodbye to our little boy. i can't believe it's been that long and my heart just aches to have him home! i know in the course of his lifetime, these 8 weeks are not really that significant, but all i can think about is how much we're missing out on. when we left him in december, he was a fast crawler but not yet walking. i'm guessing that by now he's probably walking and i'm a little bummed that we didn't get a chance to be around for his first steps. i'm sure he's also changed and grown so much since we last saw him too. it's been 7 weeks since we've received an updated picture of him. a lot of times when i can't sleep at night, i lay in bed and wonder how different he might look by the time we go back to get him. in baby terms a couple months is a long time!!

anyways, thanks for lifting our family up during this tough wait! hopefully we'll hear soon that we have travel clearance and we'll be on our way to bring our happy boy home SOON :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

our little nest

according to my husband's facebo0k post last night...

"nesting is for the birds!!!"

i couldn't disagree more!! i had quite a productive weekend and accomplished several things from my "to do" lists, with many more still left to tackle. ryan was busy on saturday reffing a wrestling tournament so i had the house to myself and took advantage of my alone time to check some things off my list.

following a 7:30 a.m. wake up so i could go to my oldest niece's basketball game, i came back home and got to work!

my first item to tackle was filing away papers and putting together the beginnings of our tax documents to send to the CPA once we get home with greer. i had ryan move our heavy filing cabinet to the living room on friday night so i could do this and catch up on a few tv programs. ahhh, multi-tasking! i got this done in under an hour and am happy to report that i suffered no paper cuts while doing so :)

feeling good that i could cross something off my list, i moved on to my next task - reorganizing our cabinet of sippy cups and bottles. this was a scary undertaking! for the last 3+ months, i have avoided even opening this cabinet for fear that everything would fall out and i would just cry. knowing that this cabinet is soon going to be getting a lot of use {which means that i have to be able to open it}, i decided it was time to face the music. i pulled all the sippy cups, bottles, various bottle nipples, snack cups, bowls and spoons out and placed them all in the sink for a good washing. we also received some new bottles and sippy cups from our baby showers, so i added those to the mix too. i boiled all the nipples and washed everything by hand. my sink looked like a sippy cup/bottle graveyard!

after lots of washing, rinsing and putting things out to dry, this was the result left on my counter top:

2 bottle dry racks and 2 towels covered in various baby things, and i was done cleaning everything! i let them sit and then i came back later in the day to organize them back into the cabinet neatly. as i did, i grabbed out the things that i knew we'd need for ethiopia and set them aside so it would be easier when i went to pack later. here's what my cabinet looks like for now:

yippee! no more wearing helmets when trying to take things out of the cabinet :)

after finishing up my cabinet project, i decided it was time to finish washing and putting away clothes for greer and charlotte. i am so grateful for a friend of my sister allowing me to go through A TON of her awesome kids' clothes for greer and charlotte last weekend. she was going to take everything to an upcoming consignment sale but instead let me go through things first to see if there was anything i wanted or needed. to save her the hassle of having to tag everything, she let me buy the clothes for next to nothing and we're all set now! i think i ended up buying around 5 or 6 garbage bags of clothes {mostly for charlotte because my sister's friend has a little princess with clothing sizes in the same seasons we needed}. i was blown away with how many cute things she had, a lot still with tags on them!!

it took me A LOT of time to sort, wash and put away clothes, but several loads and many hangers later...i am done! both greer and charlotte's closets are full to the brim and ready to clothe our sweet babes for many months to come. here's greer boy's closet:

and here's little charley's closet:

after peeking in the closets, i think ryan has decided that he wants to have me committed. he just does not see the value in my sorting the clothes based on size, season and style, but one day he'll come around :)

since i was on a roll with the kids' closets, i moved right along to our hall linen closet. it was in BAD shape and needed a good face lift and that's what it got! i re-folded all the towels, blankets, sheets, etc that have gotten out of order over the last 3 years that we've lived in our house. now i can no longer fret over opening the hall closet in front of guests to grab a blanket or extra set of sheets.

after finishing up the closets, i had to take a break from my cleaning/nesting endeavors because we had big plans saturday night! we attended the hopeful hearts foundation's annual benefit dinner. more on that later, but it was lots of fun and a good break!

sunday, the nesting continued...this time with the help of my uncooperative excited husband. while i did some basic cleaning and laundry, he hung the wall art in greer's room. this may not sound like much, but for a man who loathes hanging pictures, it was definitely a labor of love!! my requests weren't very straightforward either, so i appreciate his hard work and the time it took him to get it right. i love everything and can't wait to show you how his room is unfolding! {hopefully, one of these days i'll find our camera so i don't have to take all my pictures on my iphone...}

while ryan was finishing up the pictures, i also decided to go ahead and pack little greer man's suitcase for our trip back to ethiopia. i loved picking out his outfits, shoes, bibs, etc. although it was kind of difficult not knowing what size clothes he's currently in. i am almost finished packing his bag, although there are a few more little things that i need to still add in. i'm sure as the days go by there will be more things that i think of but at least the basics are ready to go. here's his suitcase already stuffed to the brim with diapers, formula, medicine, and all that good stuff:

after another t@rget run, we finished the day with getting the high chair and car seat out of the garage and cleaned up for action. i've surprisingly missed these things and can't wait until our cutie patootie is sitting in them both :)

despite all the projects that are still ahead of us, i'm feeling pretty good about where we are right now and would gladly hop on a plane to ethiopia this evening if asked!! we appreciate all your prayers and encouragement as we wait out this last bit of the process. i'm still hopeful that we'll hear this week and be on a plane ASAP, so i'd appreciate your continued prayers!!!!!

with love from our nest to yours!

Friday, February 11, 2011

no news yet...

we still haven't heard any news from our adoption agency yet regarding our embassy appointment. they told us it would be a minimum of 14 days, but to be honest, i was really hoping we'd hear something by today! although i still believe that there is a chance we can travel this month to bring our son home, it definitely would have been more realistic if we'd heard by now. we were filed with the embassy last wednesday, february 2nd, and i read 3 blogs of other families that were also filed that same day and now have travel plans already. while obviously i'm excited for them, i'm ready to hear myself!! it's been a LONG 7+ weeks and i miss my baby :(

in the meantime, i'm trying to keep myself busy and get prepared for our next trip. ryan is traveling to atlantic city for work 3 days next week and won't be around to help, so i'm hoping to have quite the productive weekend! we already have 2 bags packed full of donations for the orphanages and transition house but that's about it. yesterday, i spent most of my lunch break milling around t@rget picking up last minute things we need. i hope to focus this weekend on continuing to nest {ryan's favorite thing i've been doing lately!} and packing greer's suitcase. i currently have 3 to do lists that i'm working on - 1 for packing, 1 for preparing our home, and 1 for preparing to take time off from the office.

my packing list is quite extensive since this trip we're going to need to pack a bag for our little man too. it would be much easier if i knew what size clothes or diapers he's currently wearing, but honestly, i have no clue! when we were with him in december, he was wearing a mixture of 3-6 month clothes and 6-9 month clothes, and size 2 diapers. i'm hoping that with the extra care and individualized attention he's been receiving at the west sands' transition home, he's hopefully packed on several pounds, but only time will tell. so, since i'm a planner by nature, you best believe i'm going to be packing a large assortment of clothes, diapers, and all the other necessities!

i have composed my packing list based off of those who have traveled before me i'm hoping i'm not missing anything. one great suggestion that i received from another blog {i can't remember which}, and most of the reason i was at t@rget yesterday, was to take the pl@ytex bottles with drop-in liners instead of traditional bottles. since we will have limited access to facilities to clean his bottles while traveling, i thought this was a great suggestion! i bought 3 of these bottles, 10 nipples, and 100 liners so that the bottle cleaning process will be much quicker throughout the trip. i'm also taking the individual gerber graduates bowls with lids so that i can put his individual servings of rice cereal in there and seal them back up when he's finished. this trip will be my first ever by plane with a child so if you have any tips, feel free to send them my way!!

as far as continuing to get our house ready, i still have quite a bit of things to put away or find homes for from our showers. i hope to knock out a bit of that this weekend so that things will be somewhat organized for when we return home. also on my list is pulling out the highchair from our garage and cleaning it so it's ready for use when we get back home. it's weird to think about having a highchair in the kitchen again after it's been gone for several months, but i'm looking forward to the clutter!! life with kids in the house is so much louder and more interesting :) i also have a bunch of paperwork to file and want to get started on compiling the necessary paperwork for completing our taxes. we've been told that since we passed court in 2010, we can claim the adoption tax credit for this past year but we will need some paperwork from our 2nd trip before we can file. so, while we can't knock out our taxes ahead of time, at least i can be prepared to send them off as soon as we get home.

so, without continuing to bore you, that's how i'm keeping myself busy and preoccupied these days until we get word to travel to bring home our son! what about you? anything exciting going on these days? i hope you have a great weekend!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

t-shirt update

thanks so much to all of you who have ordered a fundraising t-shirt, whether it was recently or in the last several months! we are making progress and eliminating some of our inventory but we definitely have more to get rid of.

as an update, here's what we have left:

4 - adult small
7 - adult medium
4 - adult large
0 - adult XL
1 - adult 2XL

if you're interested in getting a shirt for yourself or maybe even for your valentine, please shoot me an email - mrsleslisweeney {at}, or feel free to place your order using our chip-in/paypal widget in the left sidebar. they are now only $15/shirt with $5 shipping.

i'm still hoping and praying that we'll hear some good news soon that we're set to travel before the end of february for our embassy interview and to bring our son home, so if you get your order in soon, i'll make sure to get it out to you before we travel. a girl can dream, right?

thanks again!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

our house is closed.

today ryan and i easily made a difficult decision. does that make any sense?

we've been talking, praying, and debating {yes, i'm still working on the whole submissive wife thing...i'm a work in progress!} about our next steps in regards to foster care for some time now. just to put it all out there, i have been wanting to close our home for awhile. well, really since R & P were returned to their mother. however, ryan hasn't been so sure and didn't want to close our home and lose the opportunity to minister to other needy kids without really thinking things through.

however, today everything changed. on friday, i asked for your prayers in regards to a situation with R & P. thank you for all of you who prayed for the boys and encouraged us!! without giving too much information, i will say that ryan and i had to make a report regarding the boys' welfare and safety after visiting with R last wednesday at his school basketball game. it was uncomfortable and heartbreaking, but we knew it was the right thing to do. honestly, i cried most of wednesday night and thursday because i just was so devastated and confused. when we said goodbye to the boys back in october, i really tried to have high hopes for their mom and for them but all those hopes were pretty much dashed in my mind on wednesday. i wanted to believe their mother when she said that she wanted to do better for her boys and would put them before anything, but that's obviously not the case.

i also cried because i honestly didn't know what we would do if the boys came back into foster care. obviously we love them like our own sons still and could not imagine them going to another foster home, but the timing is not exactly stellar. plus, going from zero to 4 kids {3 of which would be under 2} scared me to death! i worried and fretted all weekend about what we would do if the state responded adequately to our report and what we would do if they chose not to respond at all. neither option seemed just or fair.

well, we should have known this would happen, but today we learned that the state foster care system decided to turn a blind eye to the situation completely. no surprise i guess, but heartbreaking none the less. the state was already so close to closing the case that they did the minimum follow up and decided to take the word of a torn teenager instead of really examining the facts. we were never called for follow up information or anything, but they've decided to proceed with closing the case out. when we learned that today, i was seriously dumbfounded. i thought that surely this time the state would step in and protect these children, but i was wrong!

ryan decided to call the supervisor on the case to discuss the situation with her and she was nothing less than nasty to him. i'm not sure why but somehow ryan and i have become the bad guys in this situation. i guess it's because we're stirring up the pot when they just want to be done with this case because that's more convenient, but we could not sleep at night if we had not done our due diligence to report what we had seen. ryan told the supervisor that he was sick over the fact that nothing more had been done and was seriously considering closing our foster home over this. the supervisor replied only with, "OK", and then proceeded to hang up on him.

obviously, this is not what we had planned when we first began down the road to fostering. we dreamed of caring for and loving hurting children, and supporting a state program that's struggling at the same time. now we have a firsthand look at why the foster care program is struggling. it's a broken system and it just characterizes the sinful and fallen world we live in. convenience and processes have become more important than the safety and welfare of children. it's sickening.

after all that has occurred, especially in the last week, ryan made the decision that it is time to close our home. as weird as it is, he has complete peace about it and so do i. he said that he was worried about the emotional toll this was taking on me and my pregnancy, as well as, what would happen if we tried to keep riding this rollercoaster once greer is home. we want to be fully available for our children, and do not honestly think we can do that along with fostering - not because of the kids though, but because of the bureaucracy involved with doing so.

i know this decision may not make complete sense to any one else, but we do think it is the right decision for our family. while i wish that we could continue to foster children by the dozens, i don't believe that is what God has in store for us at this time. we've prayed over these next steps for awhile now and i think this is where we have been led. we're not completely closed off to the idea in the future, and even told our social worker that we still want to be notified if/when R & P come back into care, but our home is closed for now and i'm at peace with that.

i sincerely appreciate all your support, encouragement, words of wisdom and kindness throughout this process. it's not an easy one, that's for sure but i definitely appreciate the care and concern y'all have given us!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

asking BOLDLY

i can't really explain it, but for the last 2 days i have felt the urge to pray and ask God boldly for us to be cleared to travel before the end of february. i have had a stirring in my heart that has woken me up in the night and also jarred me from my daily activities to pray.

*to pray for our paperwork to be complete and for the embassy to require nothing else that might hold things up.

*to pray for easy and cheap flight arrangements to return to get our son.

*to pray for our little man's heart to be prepared to receive us as his parents.

*to pray for the friends we traveled with previously to be approved and cleared to travel soon also.

*to pray that we'd have our son home before the month is over!

and just to pray!!! i don't know what all this is about, but i'm going to be faithful to listen and to act. i cannot remember any other times that i have felt this urgency, except throughout our time fostering and in this adoption process. i know the Lord is faithful to hear our prayers, so if you want to join in, we'd definitely appreciate it! thanks :)

"babies" shower # 1

wow. what a weekend i had! i've got so much to catch you all up on in the blog world but that's got to wait...

for now i want to tell you all about the amazing "babies" shower that some church friends threw me 2 weekends ago. seriously, i left the shower feeling so overwhelmed and blessed by the amazing church family that God has given us, and way more equipped to bring greer home soon and welcome charlotte in may. pink and blue stuff is currently spewing out of both kids' rooms, and i LOVE it :)

for your viewing pleasure, here are a few pictures and details from the shower:

some of the cute blue and pink decorations! there was a blue ribbon wreath with a "G" and a pink ribbon wreath with a "C". so fun and now currently hanging on the doors to our kiddos' rooms!!

this is my sweet friend, denise, sharing some thoughtful words that made me cry like a baby!! denise has been such a great role model for me in regards to parenting children to have a heart for God, and i'm sure i'll be soliciting a lot of advice from her over the next many years!

my mother-in-law, me, and my momma:

some of the other lovely ladies and friends who came to share in our joy:

the thoughtful gifts:

blue for greer & pink for charlotte:

and best of all, my dear friends and wonderful hostesses {ginny, denise, ashley, me, lindsay & cheryl} for the shindig:

these girls each mean a lot to me and i'm so thankful for how God has used them in my life. they represent a lot of long talks, tears shed, advice given, and prayers lifted. many of them have also each taught me valuable lessons about being a godly mother and i hope that i can continue to learn and glean from them as i step into this role myself.

so, that was my first ever baby shower!!! it was so much fun and i'm so grateful to everyone who came to celebrate with me. now it's just time to get sweet greer home and get this family thing rolling :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

prayer for R & P

happy friday, y'all! i have a busy weekend ahead of me, but am looking forward to it as this week has been a tough one.

i can't really go into the details of it all, but i would just like to ask for prayer for our former foster sons R & P. we got the opportunity to see R on wednesday night, and that was awesome, but has also led to a chain of events that we aren't really sure how to handle. if you think of it, please pray for the boys' protection and also for wisdom of the foster care system to properly handle the situation. ryan and i also covet your prayers for wisdom for us as we may be faced with some difficult decisions.

any way, one step at a time. please just pray. i wish i could just vomit out all the details of the situation and get some godly advice, but for the security and protection of the boys' story, i don't feel comfortable sharing any thing else.

thanks, friends!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a lot to think about

today our paperwork should have been taken to the US embassy in ethiopia to be filed! this is the news we've been waiting to hear for the last 6 weeks, and it's a concrete reminder that we're getting closer each day to bringing our boy home! of course thinking about greer finally being home brings me SUCH joy and excitement, but if i'm being totally honest, it also brings me a lot of fear. with the joy of knowing that greer should be home within the next 4 to 5 weeks, also comes the reality of being a forever parent to a child i don't really even know...

i'm sure i've mentioned it before, but by nature {or rather, sinful nature, probably}, i am a typically fearful person. my first reaction to something new or unfamiliar is generally to be scared, rather than to cling to the Lord for His strength, and this is something i've been working out with the Lord for awhile now. however, i must admit that finally being so close to the finish line with our adoption of greer has left me a little panic stricken. i'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that ryan and i are finally going to begin the permanent family we've been waiting for, and that this time, our kiddos aren't going any where.

call it normal pregnancy side effects, call it stress, call it foster care PTSD {ok, probably a stretch!}...i dunno, but for the last several nights i've had a hard time sleeping as i think about all that is about to unfold in our lives. the thought of a child {well 2 children really!} finally being ours and not having to worry about when the other shoe will drop is totally new to us. we spent the entire year we fostered R and P just waiting and wondering when we'd be told that they'd be leaving us. still, sure enough when it happened, we could never have been prepared for that loss.

if you ask me what God has taught me throughout the last couple years of fostering and walking this journey to adopt greer, i would probably quickly tell you that it is to trust Him and to know that He will always provide. this is definitely a true statement, but i can also tell you that i'm still not there yet. many days i still doubt that God is going to take care of me and provide what i need, and that's the ugly truth. this is seen by my reactions to things that i can't control: the worry, the sleepless nights, the constant fretting over what to do next. i know i drive ryan crazy with this stuff, but it's something that i have a hard time shutting off. anyways, not to be a debbie downer or anything, but i'm just trying to keep it real.

adoption is a scary, emotional, roller-coaster ride, and we're really still just at the beginning!! sure, the fun part is about to come...we're finally going to be united as a family with our long-awaited son, BUT we're also about to face the reality of adoption that sometimes isn't so pretty. we know there will be a lot of work to do to help greer transition into our family and attach properly, and that this job will probably never be done. we also know that we will be faced with many questions as he grows and matures about his past, about his biological family, about our different skin colors, and much more. yikes! i don't think there are enough books in the world to prepare you for this stuff!!

i know i've said this before, but adoption is a miracle. the fact that children from other countries are released by their governments and allowed to become american citizens is a miracle. the fact that with every adoption, there are probably about a thousand things that can go wrong, but kids are still getting adopted every day is a miracle. thinking about how God walked us through raising $25,000 is a miracle. knowing that God gave strength to a beautiful, young, first time mother so that she could make an adoption plan for her child AND that we have the privilege of raising him is a miracle.

God is in the business of adoption and He's surely still in the business of miracles, so what's not to trust?? i'm working on thinking all this through and appreciate you all hanging in for the ride.