Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hi, friends!
It's time to start the next fundraiser that's going to help bring Anna Gray HOME!

We are really excited as this one should be fun for us to do AND give something great back in return :)

We are going to have a raffle!

For our first item, we will be raffling off...

The Wildhorse gift will also include several other items only found at Nashville's world famous Wildhorse Saloon :)
Check out:

Nathan and I have spent a few different NYE at the Wildhorse and it was SO much fun! It's a great party! This year, they are featuring three different bands- inlcuding McKenzie's Mill and Brian Davis!

You have until midnight (central time) November 1 to enter *for THIS item*. I will be drawing the winner using and will announce the winner Wednesday, November 2nd.

You can "purchase" ONE raffle ticket for $10. Each additional ticket is $5. (i.e. 1/$10, 2/$15, 3/$20, etc.). Your name is entered for each TICKET you buy (not each donation). Only one transaction is needed, no matter how many tickets you purchase.

To enter the raffle:

  • Click the ChipIn Widget at the top right of the blog.
  • Leave me a comment here letting me know that you have purchased your ticket/s and how many.
  • Tell your friends!

Thank you so, so much to the sales team of the Wildhorse Saloon for donating this item for us to raffle off for our adoption! The next item is pretty awesome too, so keep checking back to win!

*If you have any goods or services you would like to donate for our raffle, please contact me and we will set it up! I know you guys have some great stuff to offer!! THANK YOU!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I had another post written out, but I don't like it.
I'm feeling kind of panicky today about funding the adoption (maybe it's this enormous energy drink?). I don't want to feel that way and I have no reason to. God said He would provide and He will.

  • A couple of weeks ago, we needed $900 for our homestudy and $500 for translating the dossier ($1400 total). The same day, I deposited $1467 in tshirt/bottle money.

  • We rent a storage unit from a family friend. She sent a note saying to put two months rent toward the adoption (totals $130). The same day we received the note, we payed EXACTLY $130 to authenticate our dossier.

So why worry now?

Not only is God going to provide, but He's doing it in ways that glorify HIM.
We spent a significant amount of time praying about this before ever starting the process and He was very clear about that in His response.

So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:21

So, instead of the other panicky post, I'll just post some pics of proof. As a reminder to myself that He's already doing it. As a reminder to keep the faith. As a reminder that we have some amazing family and friends supporting us, praying for us, and we are not in this alone.

McAughty's- LOVE them!

Our nephew, Evan- VERY excited to meet his new cousin!

E's little sister, Catalina- she learned to say Anna Gray yesterday :) It was a complete coincidence that we were both wearing our shirts!

My dance partner! Hoping to get a pic soon of all the dancers wearing their shirts! I love my dance family!!

And I forgot to post this the other day:
The kids and I putting our dossier in the mail!

Friday, October 21, 2011

So long, dossier! Have a safe trip! Hope to see you soon!
I could cry.

I can't believe it's done. Just a couple of weeks ago, it seemed to be a mountain we would never see the top of. It's weird to have poured everything we have into those papers for MONTHS and now... we just send them away. And we wait. We wait and we pray.

I have always felt really tuned in to my discerning spirit, and I truly don't want to be naive. I really understand what we are being told. I understand that everyone telling us about what this process is going to look like has WAY more knowledge and experience than I.  I hear ya, I do.  But...

But I just feel like... something unexpected might happen.

I don't know, maybe not. I don't like to spill my super secret spiritual thoughts because I'm afraid I'll jinx them somehow, but there's even a date showing up in front of me. I don't know what it represents, it's just there.

Either way, the dossier is done and ON IT'S WAY! We are THAT much closer to bringing her home! And that's a LOT closer!

Special shout out to the ladies at the Dept of State who stayed 45 minutes after work to make sure everything got apostilled for us. Mega props, government ladies.

Also, thank you all for the encouragement yesterday. I don't like to have dark days (at all) but I won't pretend that I don't from time-to-time. You all were there for me/us, as always.

As we enter the next phase, I beg you to pray with us. As always, pray for her. Pray for her care, pray for her soul. I appreciated so much yesterday when a friend said she was praying Annie could feel our love from here. Pray for that, would you? Pray for the three children we have at home who are growing impatient waiting for their baby sister to come home. Pray for understanding and acceptance of their sweet hearts. Pray for Nathan and I as we prepare for a different kind of roller coaster. Pray that our eyes and ears are opened to the financial opportunities God provides to bring her home. There are still shirts to sell, bottles to fill, and two more fundraiser announcements coming soon. We have had our socks blessed off already and we are incredibly grateful for the consideration of all our family and friends- even total strangers- but there are some LARGE fees ahead of us. We've got work to do.

Also, I hope you understand that we aren't looking for handouts. This isn't about us. At all. This is about saving the life of a baby girl in need. When you give, in any form or fashion, you very literally contribute to SAVING HER LIFE. If we are able to fund her adoption, she will be spared from life in an adult mental institution and receive ALL the love and squeezes and smooches and opportunities that she deserves, and then some.


You all have been an AMAZING rock for us to stand on. I have racked my brain relentlessly and I just cannot find an appropriate way to say thank you. I'll keep trying.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Golly Molly, my heart is tender today.

The first part of the day started not so good.

(In chronological order, not order of relevance)
Not good#1-
It's hard to understand, when we are in the middle of bringing home a beautiful baby girl, that I could still struggle with my feelings about our infertility. I've said it before, but our children don't replace that feeling of being broken. I OBVIOUSLY love my children more than anything in the world, but that has nothing to do with how they got here. For me, loving my children and being grateful for them is totally separate from the frustration and sadness that comes with being "broken".  Being around those that take their fertility for granted tends to bring those feelings to the surface... quickly.

Not good#2-
I was already down and out when I found out my grandfather was being rushed to the emergency room with a possible stroke. We still don't really know what's going on, but it's not good. He is being admitted now and his screams have been sedated. My heart hurts for him.

Not good#3-
Shortly after that, we found out that our travel hopes to bring Annie home will be delayed for reasons beyond our control. She will not be home for Christmas. There are changes taking place in Annie's country and we knew there was a possiblilty it would effect us, but knowing it now- makes me very, very sad. I am physically and emotionally exhausted from fighting to save my child and she's on the other side of the world.

It's just been a sad day.

Still, I am NOT having a pity party. I hear a constant reminder in my spirit that it could be worse. I prayed about my feelings and asked our friends and family to share their praises with me so I could focus on the GOOD.

I managed to go through the motions of grocery shopping and errands like a zombie, just so I didn't have to add guilt of an unproductive day to my list of emotions.  The truth is, I'm ridiculously thankful for the chance to go to the grocery store.  I have a family to feed. I have a vehicle and I had gas to get there. My children have food to eat. And I paid for it. In fact, they eat EVERY day. More than once. That's a big deal. Yes, I am thankful.

The day has taken a turn for the better where it can.
Nathan got some news regarding job changes. Nothing confirmed yet, but it does sound hopeful.

When I came home, our "golden ticket" (written approval from USCIS) was in the mailbox. That's it, that's all we needed. Our dossier will go in the mail tomorrow and then... we wait.

Layla and Cale both had good days at school. My perfectly imperfect husband is home, and I'm looking forward to tonight's gig. Dancing makes me happy.

I am sad. But I am most definitely grateful. And hopeful.
Just incase you need a reminder to be, read here.
I've read it three times today so far. I wish I would have written it. Just glad it was written.

And just because I love quotes and they make everything more worldly somehow:

"Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you 're alive, it isn't." -Robert Frost

"Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I am everything, and in between the two- my life moves."

"I cannot control the world around me, only my reaction to it."

"Leave it to me as I find a way to be
Consider me a satellite, forever orbiting
I knew all the rules,
but the rules did not know me

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
2 Cor 5:7

I realize this whole post was all over the place, really. But that's just where I am today.
"I don't like the term 'insane'. I prefer 'mentally hilarious."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Me and God are Facebook friends.

First of all,

To everyone who was making phone calls, sending emails and faxed letters, etc to our Congressman (and anyone else that might be able to help) on our behalf. It means SO much to us that you would take the time to do that. We are so incredibly blessed to have friends and family fight for our girl like that. Really and truly, thank you.

Wanna hear a story about how God works? 

Two weeks ago, I wrote on my FB wall that I would be doing photo sessions to raise money for the adoption. A friend re-posted on her page. A friend of that friend asked me to call her about setting up a session. That friend of a friend wanted me to do headshots for the staff of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.
I did those on Tuesday. While there, I got to talking to the GM of the hotel. The GM of the hotel happened to have a friend working for another one of our Congressmen. Since we hadn't heard back from the representative for our own district, I threw caution to the wind and emailed him, asking for the contact info for the friend (of the GM of the hotel). He made a call.  This a.m., the Chief of Staff of the Congressmen that works with someone that's friends with the GM of the hotel called me. Our officer with USCIS also called me. It's done and WE ARE APPROVED!

Aaaand that Congressman and his Chief of Staff also believe they may be able to help later on in the game as well.

Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Slap my knee and kiss my cousin, it is DONE.

Thank you, Jesus, for the Congressman and his Chief of Staff. Thank you, Jesus, for the GM of the hotel. Thank you, Jesus, for the friend of a friend and the friend. Thank you, Jesus, for Facebook.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us as soon as the golden ticket reaches our mailbox. We have more to get county certified and apostilled (can all be done in one day as soon as it's in our hands!) and then it will be on it's waaayy. Once it gets there, a whole new battle starts.

Oh, goodness. I can almost feel that little chipmunk in my arms. So close.

Thank you, friends, for being there. You all and your prayers are saving a life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


We are all aware of how much pink arrives during the month of October to support breast cancer awareness. Great thing! I'm all about spreading awareness, I even have pink hair right now to do so and use the opportunity to talk about my amazing friend, Traci, her fight, and The Right to Fight Foundation she has started to help other's with their's.

But where's the blue and gold? I'll admit... Until this year, I never knew that October was also Down Syndrome Awareness month. And now, I am so very aware.

In case you don't know, humans have 23 pair of chromosomes. Down Syndrome occurs when #21 has one extra chromosome (three instead of two). There are some specific physical characteristics that are typically affected by "Trisomy 21" (the scientific / genetic term for Down syndrome). They are all possibilities, but do not affect every child with Down syndrome. These characteristics are:

Low Muscle Tone
broader face (flatter mid-face)
flatter nose bridge
•smaller nasal passages
slant upward "almond eyes"
•epicanthal folds at corners
•"Brushfield spots" in colored part of iris
 •small mouth
•shallow roof of mouth
   Teeth come in late
•come in an unusual order
•unusually shaped
•out of place
•fold over at top
•small or absent ear lobes
•set slightly lower on head
•smaller ear passages
     Head Shape slightly smaller than normal
•back of head - flatter and shorter
•neck may appear shorter
•loose folds of skin on back of nexk
•Stature - average weight & height, but slow growth with smaller final adult
•smaller hands
•shorter fingers (especially the 5th finger)
•only 1 crease in palm
gap between first and second toes
•flat feet
fair, sensitive skin
Soft, thin hair

There are also numerous intellectual and development delays, heart conditions, and other things associated with Down Syndrome.

Again, not everyone with DS will have every characteristic. Anyone could have any combination, and the effect of each can vary greatly from person to person.

Here are a few ways YOU can spread awareness about Down Syndrome. Now you know.


Check out this beautiful blanket that family friend, Anne, made to bring our baby girl home in. She chose the colors based on the flag for Annie's country.

Isn't it an interesting coincidence that the colors that represent DS are the same colors?
Each one of my children have come in the blankets that sweet Anne has made for them.

I love love love this tradition!
Thank you, Anne, for another beautiful blanket.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

First packet SHIPPED!

Our first set of notarized, county certified, apostilled paperwork is ON IT'S WAY to Annie's country!!  We have officially requested to adopt her and bring her here :)
So excited! And nervous. Ha.

COME ON, IMMIGRATION!! Still need that golden ticket to come ASAP.

I did happen to make a contact today with someone who may be able to help with that. More to come :)


I picked up a certified letter from the post office today.
My jaw dropped.

It was from Dr.Rude.

She paid $6 to send us a letter telling us that she is resigning as a physician.
I promise we didn't send her any threats or egg her house. We didn't do anything AT ALL, actually.

We had/have? full intentions of filing formal complaints with the hospital and medical board when all is said and done with the adoption, but we wanted to make sure everything was taken care of first.  Surely to goodness she didn't spend $6 on a letter for each of her patients? Maybe she just wanted to make sure we knew? I hate to say it, but I've even questioned if it were the truth. Or if she just wanted us to think that so that we didn't take further action against her. It makes me sad that it even crossed my mind, but at this point- nothing would surprise me.

Oh, well. It's over and done... I hope.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Darn you, Christopher Columbus (I know, not really).

We are nearly ready to send over our first packet of paperwork. And it needs to go ASAP. I woke up on this first day of fall break ready to I got everybody up and out the door with a massive to do list:
County Clerk to get the paperwork county certified.
Dept of State to get them apostilled.
Fed Ex to get them mailed.
Post Office to mail some t-shirts and pick up a letter we missed on Saturday (Golden ticket?!).
Bank to deposit t-shirt and bottle money.

Drove 30 minutes to the first stop before I realized today is Columbus Day and they were ALL closed.


I have three photo appointments tomorrow (which is good!), but we WILL get it done.

In entertainment news for the day...

Nathan, the littles, and Oakley (the dog) walked to a market close by to get some milk yesterday afternoon and who is out walking her dogs? Dr.Rude. Nathan said she literally picked up her dogs and started basically running up the hill to get away from them. Distressed enough that she actually dropped one of the dogs! Even Cale said, "Mama- a lady ran from us with her dogs! She was not nice and did not say hi". ha.

Here's Pastor K and the lovely Jen representing Annie at DisneyWorld this week!

And my beautiful sister in law waiting for her neice :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

She signed!

Dr.Rude signed the notary form!


Now the ONLY thing we are waiting on is approval from immigration. PRAY PRAY PRAY- almost there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2 (big) steps forward, 3 steps back into a wall that's hard as a brickbat.

Drama. Drama. Drama.

First, a little good news. Mama Stang and I (that's my mom, btw, and she's a fiesty son-of-a-gun) visited the office of Dr.Rude on Monday.  I did give Mama Stang a wee bit of a lecture beforehand. We agreed to "kill her with kindness". Going to jail wasn't going to get the form filled out any faster.

So, we went. Actually, first we visited the hospital's one and only notary to make sure she was available to notarize our medical statements a third time so that Dr.Rude couldn't use that as an excuse (again). Unfortunately, the notary was out sick and her sub was gone for the day. The real Dr.Rude - please stand up, please stand up- would not come into the front office. She stayed in her office just on the other side of the door. She and her office manager- who at this point, is just as troublesome and terrified of doing something that's going to cost her her job- agreed that they could NOT change the code on the medical statement. (She also claimed to not be aware of our situation, yet greeted me by my first name when I walked in the door and referred to Nathan by his after she said she doesn't remember ever talking to him?!) After some explaining and a phone call to our stateside helper, I convinced her to lose the code alltogether and just write "normal". She attempted to use the notary excuse (again), but we assured her that someone would be there at 7:30am. Then the problem became her not having TIME to sign her name. She literally said that Dr.Rude wouldn't have time to walk from her office to the front office (a DOOR separates the two). I left it anyway and just let her know we'd appreciate it if she'd try.

Low and behold at 9:30am the next morning, she called me to say everything was signed and notarized. Nathan picked it up and it was correct! Yay! Over one big hurdle. Now that meant we were going to need a copy of her medical license, which she has refused to give us from day one. It's been a day long battle today between us, them, the hospital, their attorney, and Reese's Rainbow. And several other friends who have really tried to help. Right now, it's ended with us being labeled as "fishy" for asking for her license and them implying that we may actually want it so we can get drugs for ourselves.  Really.

Waiting on the attorney to call back in the morning and (*hopefully, please little tiny baby Jesus!!) say they can sign the notary form that simply acknowledges that she is, in fact, a doctor (at least, according to the Board of Medicine).

Ugh. I never in a million years dreamed that a doctor would work SO hard to hinder our adoption.  I just don't get it?! She doesn't benefit at all from making things difficult (if anything, it's been more work for her) and our adoption most certainly won't hurt her at all.

Oh, and another interesting twist... We found out she lives ONE house away from us. Not. Kidding.


In other news... we got our biometrics appointment for immigration on Monday. It was for October 27th. That's too late. So... we just drove down there today and walked in. We were out in ten minutes and it.was.done.  That is huge in getting our immigration processed sooner!

AND it's the closest thing to a date that we've had in a while :) Side-by-side fingerprinting! How romantic :)  Hey... we'll take what we can get!

Our congressman has been flooded with calls and emails from us, family, and friends. We will follow up now to let her know that we are only waiting on approval!!

Keep praying!!! It's working!! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We need you to pray.

This week is huge.

Tomorrow, we will confront the doctor one last time.  I will go to her office for the 7th time.  I will beg and plead, if needed.  I will not let Satan use her to hurt us.  I will ask nicely and always do the right thing and hope she does the same. But just incase she doesn't, I'm taking Momma Stang with me. And you do NOT want to mess with Momma Stang. Please pray for this doctor. Pray that God changes her heart and she wants to help. Pray that she corrects the mistakes she made. At the very least, pray that she does the job she is being paid to do.

Also, we are in a very serious race against the clock and we just might lose.  We do not know if our immigration approval is going to get back in time. Honestly, it shouldn't, but I believe in a God who can do anything.  We are being encouraged to write to our congressmen and ask them to intervene on our behalf. As much as we want her home for ourselves, it breaks my heart to think of our baby girl staying in that orphanage longer than she has to. Please, PLEASE, pray with us. Pray that that we get the attention of our congress woman. Pray that she acts on our behalf. Pray that immigration processes our application at record speed. Please pray that our child comes home sooner, rather than later.

Please and thank you.
We're scared, folks.

*If anyone else would like to write to our representative on our behalf, email me for contact info.