Monday, August 29, 2011


This is my friend, Mandy, and I modeling the new Annie shirts!

Mandy has been AMAZING during this adoption process. Not only is she strongly backing us in prayer, Mandy is the one handling the bottle drive (which has turned out to be a LOT of work- which is a great problem to have!) AND she designed and screened the tee shirts for us! Nathan suggested a very basic idea and Mandy took it and ran. I gotta say, I love love love them! They are even cuter in person.

She has so many talents- I am so thankful to be able to call her friend and SO beyond blessed that she is using her talents to support our adoption!

I love you, Mandy!!

Here's a pic of the littles and I before church yesterday. Photo credit: Brynn

Wanna hear something crazy? There were 50 shirts ordered in the first 24 hours they were available! Isn't that incredible?!  I am about to place our initial order for 82 shirts!!!

We will be selling them for a while, so don't worry if you didn't get your order in right away. Just send me your sizes when you are ready! $15 each or 2/$25.

Photo credit: Layla


Thursday, August 25, 2011


Shirts are ready for purchase to help bring Anna Gray HOME!!
Nathan had a basic design and then our sweet friend, Mandy, took it and made it FABULOUS!

(If you can't see the picture well, it has a compass with "West" and "Annie'" on either side. The writing at the bottom is Ephesians 1:5).

We are selling the shirts for $15 each or 2/$25.
Adult sizes come in Small- 2XL.
Children's sizes (in a slightly different gray) come in XS (2-4) to XL (18-20).

Comment here or email me to place your order. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.

Thank you all SOOOO much for supporting our adoption and spreading awareness!

random text from Nathan:

"I really, really wish I was on the beach watching the kids play in the surf and holding Anna Gray under an umbrella."

I just want to say that I am SO, SO thankful for a husband who longs to be with his family (I mean REALLY thankful). I am so proud of the husband and father he has become.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crabby doc update.

I had to go back to the doctor yesterday because we both forgot to do my TB test. She was nicer the second time around (wouldn't go for friendly, but just NOT rude satisfies me). I THINK I may have convinced her to just sign the paperwork in blue ink so they would know it was an original. She did mention not having a blue pen in the office, so I generously supplied her with one :)

Her office manager has been SUPER sweet and so helpful. I had a few minutes to chat with her and answer a lot of questions about our church, which is awesome!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mas botellas de bambino.

The Clough family bent the rules :)

Jacquelyn and Jamin filled their's up in one day :)

A coworker of a friend filled her's in 4 hours!

The McAughty's are one of three families (that we know of) that filled the big giant bottles!


Fingers crossed.

Well, our (mine and Nathan's) physicals are dunzo.
It was a fairly simple process, once we got it scheduled... but in all honestly, I'm a little peeved :/

I really feel like the doc was/is making it harder than it has to be, as if this whole thing isn't hard enough. First of all, she wasn't pleasant lol. I get that she's all business, but she was borderline rude as if I were wasting her time. She won't give us a copy of her doctor's license as required by the dossier. Of course, she has that right. She even made a point to say that it is public record and we can get it somewhere else, and she's right... though it is an extra step. Okay, not a big deal I guess. Then I showed her the checklist from the dossier that states in BOLD CAPS that she needs to sign the medical statement in blue ink. She refused, at first telling me she isn't "allowed" to use blue ink, then explaining that she is allowed but chooses not to bc black ink copies better. Yes, it does, I'm just the messenger.

I had my little Brynnie Bear with me (who was AWESOME for the entire two hour visit, by the way) and she never acknowledged her. Again, not required to but still... then during the questionnaire after the 'How many pregnancies/How many births?' section... with my child sitting next to me... she said, "So you have one child?"  No ma'am, I have three and the fourth waiting in Eastern Europe. And yes, I'm positive she didn't intend to ask how many I'd had/birthed from my own body and yes, I'm positive she realized Brynn was my daughter.

The whole experience just left me feeling a little icky. I'm seriously PRAYING that her refusal to cooperate in the ink situation doesn't cause enough problems that we would have to get another physical somewhere else, especially since insurance is only covering the one.

*I will say, Nathan's experience was better- and faster- than mine. However, he is usually oblivious to such things whereas I am much more sensitive to those comments/behaviors/etc.

For now... Adoption Physicals: Check... ish.

Sutton loving AG :)

This is our favorite little buddy, Sutton, loading up his (enormous) bottle for Anna Gray!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


There are a few times in life when chunk is a good word. For example: when you are referring to the size of a chocolate chip in a cookie, when you are referring to an adorably squishy baby, and when you are referring to the amount of adoption paperwork we just mailed in :)

A BIG chunk. Squeee!
The only thing our homestudy lacks is physicals- mine and Nathan's are next week and the kids are mid-September (bummer that we needed to try to get them in so close to school starting... we are bottom of the totem pole at the pedi's office lol).

We are getting closer!!

That mean's we are also chugging right along on our dossier, one piece at a time... slowly but surely, we will get our girl home!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blown away.

Five of the twelve bottles my friend, Brittney, is filling.

This is just a sample of pictures you all have sent me of your filled bottles!!
The response has been indescribable... people we barely know or haven't seen in years, people we don't know at all- I cannot get over how many people are stepping up to be the hands and feet of Christ!

A girl I went to school with sent me a pic of her daughter filling their bottle.

Some of you have just said the sweetest things about why you are supporting us (with prayer, with gifts, or otherwise) and I am HUMBLED. The thing is, we aren't doing anything spectacular.

It's very simple:

There's an orphan.
She needs us and we need her.
God said go get her... so we are.

Anything amazing that happens in the process (like this bottle drive!) or lives being touched by our family- well, those are little miracles that can only be crafted by the Father.

It is our responsibility to obey Him and to give Him the glory for ALL of these.

The second bottle from a family at church.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Online interview!

We were interviewed and featured on White Sugar, Brown Sugar yesterday!

Check it out!!

Thank you for spreading awareness, Rachel!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baby Bottle Drive for Anna Gray!

If you are friends with me on FB, you saw this thing come on like a monster this weekend! I.AM.AMAZED. at the support of our family and friends. Seriously, I am just stunned. We are SO SO grateful and undeserving. And yet, we have heard God clearly say, "Just let me take care of this.".  Wow.

Our sweet friends Mandy and Lauree and their connection group (which hasn't even started, btw), are heading a baby bottle drive! I can't seem to get the entire flyer to copy (too bad, it's so cute!), but here is the text:

The West's are EXPECTING - to bring ANNA GRAY home this winter!!!
Nathan and Amber West have always known that they wanted a large family and recently felt the tug to add another ‘little’ to their family. While they intended to pursue a domestic adoption, Amber stumbled across an agency dedicated to Down Syndrome and other special needs babies.

When she saw this photo, she knew she was looking at her daughter.
Adoption is not cheap and bringing their new addition home will require two trips to (her country) and quite a bit in fees. There will be several fundraisers in the coming months to help with costs. But even if you can’t help with funds, your prayer and support will be vital to their entire family throughout this process.

If you’d like to help them bring Annie home - pick up your baby bottle, take it home and over the next few weeks drop your spare change, spare bills or even a random check in the bottle. In about a month we’ll be collecting the bottles to present Nathan, Amber, Layla, Cale and Brynn with some much needed funds to get sweet Annie a little closer to her forever home.

Bottles are available at Revolution Church, the Bargain Browser or you can contact Mandy Christenson, Lauree Dorris, or Amber West for more information or to get your bottle.

Feel free to share this opportunity to bless another family with your friends and loved ones! Let’s fill those bottles up!

ANYONE can participate, just let me know if I need to get a bottle to you or if you have questions about turning your bottles in!
By the way, this fundraiser officially kicked off yesterday, and we are OUT of bottles (but getting more, obviously!!). A lot people are using their own OR using something else to fill for Anna Gray. We are blown away!!
Oh, p.s.
Several people are already sending me photos of themselves/their kids/etc filling their bottles with change (LOVE!). Keep them coming! I'm going to save them for Annie!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet her siblings:

I probably should have posted this a long time ago for those of you just getting to "know" our family, but it got away from me. Plus, I knew these pics were coming and wanted to share them :) Two birds, you get it.

The photos are courtesy of my beautiful friend, Shelby.

This is Layla:

Layla is the exception to the rule. She is so smart, and has an imagination that can't be matched. She is just starting second grade and falls somewhere in the middle of "I'm pretending to be a horse/Can I sleep with you?" phase and "I don't need you to pick out my clothes for me/Can I have my own cell phone?" phase. It's pretty fun! She loves to make people smile and could be a professional big sister. She would like to be an archeologist or animal rescuer someday, or maybe an artist in Paris. If she were a mermaid, her tail would be hot pink.

This is Brynn:

There is none other like her. She is four, going on twenty-four. Brynn does EVERYTHING at full speed. She has the unique talent of making you want to bang your head against the wall with the biggest smile on your face. You can't help but love her! She is wildly entertaining, with dance moves you've never seen before! Her expressions are so over-the-top, you never wonder how she feels about anything. But if you do, don't worry... she will tell you! Her laugh is infectious and her athleticism undeniable. She's a big fan of purple and her goal in life is to be a rockstar. Right now, she is the best dishwasher- her preferred bribe- a girl could ask for.

This is Cale:

If you only knew how happy this picture makes him... He isn't allowed to wear his Spiderman suit to church or school, everything else is free game. He's such a special little guy, quite the charmer. He (they) are tall enough to wear a size 7, so it's easy to forget how young four really is. He has the most gorgeous smile and a fascination with all things boy: monster trucks, race cars, and the Air Force especially.  He can tell you all about a slew of Nascar drivers- his favorite is Carl Edwards. Number 99. Green Ford. Does backflips if he wins. He would live on fruit and yogurt if you'd let him. Cale can be very, very sweet and LOVES taking care of babies, especially girls :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Matilda Jane Trunk Show- THIS Saturday!

I just wanted to let you all know that I am having a Matilda Jane *Fall preview* Trunk Show THIS Saturday, at our house. Come and go as you please between 2pm-5pm! The clothing IS mostly girls' clothes, with only a few boy pieces- but they also have a lot of pieces for women that are SO comfy and versatile! These clothes wash and wear VERY well and the children's clothes will re-sale AT FULL PRICE. I love love love the way the children's pieces can mix and match and the simple style of the women's clothes!

If you cannot make it by the house on Saturday, please feel free to create a wishlist on their website and email it to my trunk keeper at and she will place your order for you. Make sure to tell her that I am your "Jane". We get credit for these "online" orders as well, and you can order from any of the collections!!
The best part: This trunk show will benefit our adoption! Your orders will help bring Annie home!

Thank you all so, so much for your support! Would love to see you Saturday if you can make it (the clothes are even cuter in person!). If not, check out:

and create your wishlist!


If you leave tears on your paperwork for the dossier, do you have to have it notarized and apostilled?
I'm guessing yes.

I need someone literally holding my hand and telling me exactly what to do. I just want to do it right and do it quickly.


Oh, wait.... {looking at her picture}

Whatever it takes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It's so weird to me, this new experience. Never before have we been able to look at a picture of our child, see her, say her name... and not hold her.

Every now and then, like in a church service last night, I get this overwhelming feeling like I'm supposed to be holding her. I can almost feel her in my arms, it's the strangest thing. There are times when we walk out the door and it feels like we are forgetting someone, and not just anyone... her. How can I miss her this much, having never even held her before?

Other adoptive mommas- did you go thru that? It's not just the ache of wanting A child, it's knowing your child is out there and you can't touch her (yet). There is SO much red tape to get thru before she gets home, and I'm sure in hindsight the time will go by quickly, but my arms are so ready. Nothing else is! But my arms most definitely are.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Home visit... CHECK!

We finally got our home visit in yesterday! With our last adoption, I stressed and stressed about getting the house "perfect", and then the visit was so anti-climatic. She checked everything she was supposed to check and we moved on. This time, I wasn't that worked up about it (maybe because there is SO much going on right now?!). The house was already clean- I touched up, made sure everything was in it's place- but I was more concerned with getting dinner made, getting appointments made, getting my girls home from the beach (10 minutes before adoption worker arrived! ha). I knew it wasn't THAT big of deal, so I just kind of offered our house as is- the real deal. (Which, I realize, is typically very clean considering we have three kids at home.)

But golly, when someone is all of a sudden here looking in every room of your house, asking questions about things we had forgotten- it's kind of intimidating! It's tough being judged! All of a sudden, I am so aware of how small our house is and how... um... "lived in", how C's paint doesn't match his bedspread (why re-paint when we are planning to move?), how cluttered our play room can look, how we have absolutely got to decide when to put our house back on the market or Anna Gray will have nowhere to sleep.

Alas, she didn't say our house wasn't ready for us to bring another home or take any of our other kids away, so I guess that means we pass. AND that much is out of the way!