Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Changed my mind.

I don't want to reside in a bitter bubble today.

It shouldn't be anti-climatic for the ones who got dates today or for anyone to feel like they can't rejoice(!) due to someone else's disappointment! Five more littles are about to meet their families!! And honestly, that's great for ALL of us! That means things are moving and we will all get our turn soon :) As long as things are moving, there will always be someone else waiting and as long as someone else is waiting, that means another child will be getting a family! It's when there AREN'T families waiting and ready to go that we need to be upset.

We need to be genuinely excited for each and every one :) It doesn't necessarily lessen the disappointment for those that had their hopes up- self included- but I can be happy for you and sad for me/us at the same time. CONGRATS to those about to meet their babies!! :)


Five more families got their dates. We were expecting seven, hoping for nine at our house, but only five :/
It is obviously great that five more families will be on their way to their littles! Our team says more dates may come in the next couple of days or early next week, but the appointments issued today are so late in the month, that it's likely to only be the two who missed out on this batch and no more.

We should plan to travel in January, and since they will be closed for their holidays the first chunk, we will probably go sometime in the middle. A whole month later than we had hoped.

I am really trying not to be a Debbie Downer, but we're disappointed. It doesn't feel right to do Christmas without her. If we had gotten a date, we wouldn't be home for Christmas, but no one would be alone. Going in January means being there thru February... gosh I don't want her to spend her birthday in that orphanage. I know God's timing is perfect, but it's a really hard pill to swallow right now.

We just want our girl.
And we're exhausted. Staying up late, getting up early- hopes up, hopes down, hopes up, hopes down. Mad rush to be ready, just incase. EVERYTHING in limbo. No answers for the kids. It's... exhausting. And now we do it all over again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Still no date. The only update is that they are pushing thru a lot of appointments (not just for RR, or even just for the U.S. for that matter), which have been signed, but not registered. Apparently, it takes several minutes to register each one so it's just taking a little time and dates will be issued tomorrow. (I'm beginning to hate that word. At this point, so many of us have spent our share of sleepless nights waiting for news to come tomorrow. And since their country is 7 hours ahead of us, we all start stalking our group page around 3am waiting to hear.)

Part of our team in country did say that those submitted in November (we were submitted Nov 3rd) would most likely get a January date at this point. Pretty bummed, but not giving up home just yet- there's still a chance, she was just making a guess.

Edit: We just got word that they extended the appointments! The last appt was supposed to be Dec 21 and now they are making appts thru Dec 29! Hoping that means they added some!! Pray pray pray we get our date!!!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

We have a winner! (Well, two actually)

What an AWESOME response to the Opryland giveaway! We raised nearly $500 to help bring Anna Gray home! I will tell you in my next post why that is SO SO significant. THANK YOU ALL.

We had 23 people enter :)
As a reminder, the FIRST person to complete their ChipIn transaction and comment won the concert tickets to the world famous Wildhorse Saloon. And that person was...

Jennifer Thomas!

I will message you privately about your tickets.

Now the big item: TWO night stay in an upgraded room at Opryland Hotel and Resort AND dinner for two at Ravello.
The winner, chosen by a randomizer at is...

Drumroll... drumroll!
Where are cousin Catherine and Ellen when you need them?
Aw, man, I am SO ready for some Christmas Vacation.

Anyway... the winner is...


I am SO happy for you. I will message you privately about your prize :)

Thank you again to Pete with Gaylord for donating such an incredible gift AND to all our family and friends for spreading the word and your participation!!
Thank you thank you thank you!!

Another "No Update" Update

I've written 2-3 posts already with small updates, but before I could get them published- things change. Such is the life of a waiting adoptive parent.

As you know, we didn't get our date Thursday, but there was another batch of appointment dates coming Monday. Our stateside helper (LOVE her) emailed us Friday to let us know we were not on the list of potential families to get an appointment Monday, so that we wouldn't spend our weekend waiting anxiously. Well, as it turns out... no one got appointments today. They are hopefully coming tomorrow, but they have now told us that these will be the last appointments for December.

We don't know yet if they have added anymore families to that list (which would mean us, and potentially three other families that had missed the cut-offs for Batch #2). I realize this is all extremely confusing from the outside. You cannot begin to imagine all the emotions on the inside.

I'm a wreck. I can't focus on ANYTHING today and I'm just feeling downright discouraged.  The good news is, tomorrow (hopefully), we will know. It may not be the answer we are hoping for, but we won't be in limbo anymore. The bad news is, if we don't get an appointment tomorrow, and are one of the January appointments- anything else could change. Including, but not limited to, paperwork which is already done and approved and would have to be re-done. Lord help me, I'm gonna cry. Or puke. Or both.

So... you know, you guys are apparently extremely good prayer warriors bc every time we've asked you to take something big to Him, He has sent very clear answers. We are asking again. We want to travel in December, desperately. We are fully aware that if we don't, it is for good reason that will be revealed at the right time. BUT... we really, really want to.

I'm going to attempt to fold this massive pile of laundry and then in just over an hour, we will have a winner for the Opryland package! Woot woot. We have a big meeting scheduled for this afternoon that I'm excited about, so hopefully I will have more positive things to share later :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No news is still good news!

Well, we didn't get our date today as we were hoping... BUT three other families did! That's still very exciting as it means things are moving and for THAT we are thankful! Hopefully, we will get our's next week!

There are two other families going to our region probably just a few days before us, so we're hoping that means we will get a sneak peek at our girl just before we get there too ;) AND that means at least four of us will be in country together and have each other's support, specifically when the hubbies come home.

Good things! SO EXCITED.

Taking today off from the anticipation and spending it enjoying our time together as a five-pack and then later with extended family. Golly, I sure do love these people!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This needs to be said.

I... well, we (a group of moms waiting to travel to get our children from the same country)... fasted on Sunday. Some fasted from food, some from internet or other distracting things. In whatever way we could, we fasted and focused our time and efforts on praying. We prayed for ALL of our children. We prayed for progress. We prayed for decisions.

Not much more than 24 hours after the fast ended, we all got word. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but there is most definitely progress. The kind of progress that leads you to making 8 different kinds of lists and praying some more.

The praying some more leads to people coming out of the woodwork to help. Again, people who don't know us, but somehow they know that we are doing God's work and they want to be a part of it.

Satan is absolutely attacking us. Of course he is,
He's just now realizing that God just might pull this thing off! And not only that, but our faith stayed in tact! That is agitating the fire out of that devil!
But God is sneaky too... He likes to surprise you, He likes to do amazing things and watch you give Him the Glory.
And He's gonna.

Needless to say, with all this progress, things are more than a little insane around here. It's probably no accident that Nathan is off for the next two days so we can start checking things off those 8 lists. We are gathering our items to pack and figuring out what's left to buy, we are making childcare arrangements and petcare arrangements, we are applying for every grant and loan left uncovered, we are making photobooks to show our girl (and the judge) her new family, we are trying to begin Christmas shopping and finish in a day or two, trying to spend QT with the kids before we leave... throw all that into the normal holiday craziness and well, there's a lot of coffee and a lot more praying involved.

Slightly unrelated to the chaotic exciting frazzled last day and a half, I just want to say two things very clearly (even though I don't need to). For those that are "worried":

1. While we can care for her when she gets home, no, we did not have the $25K needed to cover these adoption fees... because we didn't set out to adopt this child. God chose her for us. And if not us, then who? Who will go to this baby girl and free her from life in an orphanage? Who will teach our kids about obedience and faith in our God? Which one of you is willing to stand up, swallow your own pride, and love like Jesus? And I'm not saying everyone is meant to adopt orphans, I'm saying- fight for what God called YOU to do.

2. It is not ideal for one or both of us to be gone over Christmas. Will we be sad to be away from our children at such a magical time? Absolutely. Will they miss us terribly and us them? Yep. But our CHILDREN- our 4 and 7 year old children... they get it. We have asked them repeatedly (bc this is their family too) how they feel about it and the response is always the same, "Just bring Annie home." They are not asking for much for Christmas. They obviously see all the things on TV and in catalogues that they would enjoy having, but if you ask them what they really want- there's very little that they are that excited about. They get it. They get that the world is bigger than whatever little thing Toys R Us tells them to want.  They get that a few weeks without us is nothing compared to a lifetime in the orphanage for her. I'm so, so proud of them.

** Things are changing every minute! EXCITING things! We will keep you updated in ways that we can :) Please be in prayer as we run around in circles watching God move!**

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We got word today that we could be traveling VERY soon!
We are running in circles trying to start packing and more than anything, secure the rest of the funds needed. Please pray for quick resolution!!

Also, if anyone feels called to donate frequent flyer miles, we'd be glad to take them off your hands ;)

We'll keep you updated!

Here's hoping we get to meet our little girl soon!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Item #2... with a twist.

***For the sake of legal precaution, some of the words used have been changed! There is no mention of buying, purchasing, or a raffle. Think of it more as a potential giveaway for your donation ;)***

Well, the first item didn't go as we'd hoped. As in, NO ONE got a ticket. You guys are crazy! Adoption or not, I'd love to donate $10 for two concert tix! Lol.

We are going to go ahead with the 2nd item anyway because it's just too good.

Seriously, TOO good.


I'm excited!

Up for grabs is...

A TWO NIGHT stay at Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort, UPGRADED room AND dinner at RAVELLO for two!!!

Isn't that amazing?! How FUN would it be to get two nights at the hotel, with dinner and a fancy room?! Would make an awesome Christmas gift as well!

Nathan and I spend a kid-free weekend at Opryland every year, it's one of our absolute favorite things to do! There is just so much to do in and around the hotel :)

Thank you sooo much to Pete Weien with Gaylord for donating such an incredible package in support of our adoption!!

You have until noon NEXT Monday, November 28th to enter.
As before:
You can get ONE ticket for $10. Each additional ticket is $5. (i.e. 1/$10, 2/$15, 3/$20, etc.). Your name is entered for each TICKET. Only one transaction is needed, no matter how many tickets you want.

To enter:

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

Now, here comes the "twist":
The FIRST person to donate AND leave a comment saying they did so will get the two concert tickets to the Wildhorse Saloon for the concert of your choice.

You have to both make the donatin AND leave the comment to qualify, the FIRST person to do that- gets the concert tickets. **You CAN win the concert tickets without getting the Opryland Hotel package.** The first person to enter isn't necessarily the one who will get the Opryland package, they will only for sure win the concert tickets.

This is an AMAZING prize, so make sure to tell everyone to make their donations for the chance to win (Oh, and help bring a sweet baby home to her family)!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I already regret my pity party.

I'm not sure I should delete it, because I don't want to hide that part of me... and I don't want anyone to see my smile and wonder what about it is fake? I guess if you read that, you'll know. If you're on pinterest (and why wouldn't you be?!), you may have seen this sign:

That's it in a nutshell. So if you see my "fake" smile, don't assume it means I'm not being genuine. It's just that my muscles are being pulled in all different directions by my heart right now. 

I apologize in advance for the lack of rainbows and puppy dogs in this post.

It also will most likely be grammatically incorrect. I'm just going to start typing...

It's just all too much.
My mind, body, and soul are not unified in their decisions. I recognize this feeling, but I don't like it. It creeps up on you so unexpectedly; not an easy way to come for little miss control freak.  I know what I want to be doing (getting my kids ready for school, fixing dinners for my family, working out), I know what I need to be doing (cleaning my house, completing grant applications). My inside is feverishly in constant creation of a to-do list, but my outide doesn't give a crap what my inside says. My outside is tired. And sad. And frustrated. My outside doesn't want to do anything.

I'm so overwhelmed with what needs to be done that I can't function well enough to do it. My head is spinning-there are a million things going on. There are always a million things going on, I just usually juggle them much better. Not right now. I'm shutting down. I feel like any minute you will see the steam coming out of my ears and my head will spin right off into the corner of the room like on Looney Tunes, then the rest of me will sink into the ground, deflated.

There's so much no one tells you about adoption. Maybe it's because they don't have time. Maybe it's because they don't want to complain. Maybe it's because they forget. Maybe it's because they just don't know how. Maybe it's because they know you just won't get it.

I'm going to get blasted for saying this, but it's the only thing I can think of... I imagine that what we're going thru feels somewhat similar to having a missing child.  I am NOT saying it's the same, at all. Only that the emotions you feel- knowing your child is out there somewhere but not knowing where they are, who they are with... worrying about how they are being treated. When will they come home?! Are they okay?! Are they hurting?! Are they scared?! Are they hungry or sad or sitting in dirty clothes?! The frustration of waiting on someone else to give you some kind of news, staring at their picture for way too long, the constant state of prayer, willing to do to get your child home. It consumes you. How are you supposed to just keep on going thru each day like you aren't consumed by this?

Please please please know that I am not minimalizing the experience of a missing child. I am simply relating to SOME of the emotions I imagine would exist in those circumstances.

I'm sure you've heard adoption called an emotional roller coaster. Highs and lows are an understatement.

You don't expect it when random acquaintances, people you never thought in a million years would care, work their butts off to get your child home. They donate time and money and pray relentlessly for you and your child- because they can. They watch your kids so you can check things off your to-do list, or prepare to so you can go get your baby girl. They share hand-me-down clothes, furniture, and blankets.  They tell people her story, so they can pray too.

You don't expect it when family or friends that you are close to are discouraging or intentionally disappear when you need them most.You don't expect to see your husband cry for a child he's never met or sitting on the couch holding clothes that will be worn by her when she gets here. You don't expect to hear rumors of good news and cry in anticipation. You don't expect your children to pray for her, out loud, You don't expect them to be sad too. You don't expect to panic that you might not be able to bring her home when you get there (it happens). You don't expect to wake up at 4am (11am her time) to see if there's news. You don't expect to be THAT relieved to meet someone else who is waiting too. You don't expect to rejoice with those who get to go before you, because you know how they feel.

Excited... and scared... and exhausted... and emotional... and hopeful.

I don't have any good way to end this post. I just needed to get it out. There is so much going on, more than you know. I feel like I'm not supposed to let any of this show. It doesn't change the fact that we are blessed and grateful and praising Him for all he's already given us. On the inside. My outside is just struggling to keep up right now.

There's a story here, but this has been "our" song for this adoption since before we committed to her. And I can't tell you how many times I've gotten in the car feeling numb and it has come on.

I hear you.

John Waller

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am hopeful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait

I'm waiting, I'm waiting on You Lord
And I am peaceful, I'm waiting on You Lord
Though it's not easy no, but faithfully I will wait
Yes, I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint
I'll be running the race even while I wait

I will move ahead bold and confident
I'll be taking every step in obedience, yeah
While I'm waiting I will serve You
While I'm waiting I will worship
While I'm waiting I will not faint

And I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You Lord
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chick-Fil-A for Anna Gray!

We had an AMAZING turn-out last night!

We counted 67 people who intentionally came into the resturant to support the adoption, numerous others that hit the drive thru (even though the line wrapped around the building and carried out into the road!) and have been hearing from more and more people today who came and we somehow missed them in the craziness.

From about 6-7p the joint was HOPPIN'! The manager of the Chick-Fil-A said this was one of the biggest fundraisers they've had.

We have the  most incredible friends, family, and church family.

We haven't gotten confirmation on our grand total just yet, but we have an idea and we are SO stinking grateful ;)

THANK YOU ALL who came out and ate chicken for Annie, who sent your prayers and encouragement, and/or spread the word and invited others.

Some positive steps have been made in her country to resume the adoptions and get things moving, but every day we find out more and more of what is left to face. And it's a lot.  Today, I have spent a significant amount of time making lists and notes and reminders. I have sobbed while reading other people's coming home stories. Gosh, I can't wait to write that story.

We have joy in our hearts over what's to (eventually) come, but also fear in the unknown and a heaviness thick as mud. I wish I could rant share more details, but obviously don't want to do anything that could slow us down anymore. Of course, we're hopeful and encouraged in our spirits that this is God's plan. It is NOT going to be easy (never thought it would be, but we had NOOOOO idea) and it is not going to be quick. But His will WILL be done.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tonight's the night!

We are so excited to see our family and friends at Chick-Fil-A tonight in support!

Don't forget to come between 5-8pm! 10% of ALL sales will help bring Anna Gray home :)
{Glenbrook only}

Thanks SO much to Chick-Fil-A for the opportunity, Revolution Church for sponsoring us, and all our incredible family and friends for spreading the word!!

See you SOON!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Adoption Education

Quick update!
We just got word that our dossier has been submitted to the court in her country. It could take two weeks to be reviewed. Please pray they don't find any problems and we are invited to travel!!

An adoption friend of mine recently wrote a blog about adoption myths. I had just said I should do the same after a conversation Nathan and I had. We have both been encountering a LOT of people recently (even people close to us) who just aren't educated on adoption. It's frustrating sometimes ,but really and truly- people just don't know. And it's our job to get the truth out there. Feel free to read my friend, Katie's, blog here, and I'm going to answer some of the same questions myself- since not all answers are the same for everyone.

1) Is adopting a child really expensive?
First, let me be clear that you are not making a purchase. The fees associated with adoption include paperwork, processing the paperwork, attorney fees, homestudy fees, travel fees, etc. You are paying for the process, not the child. As far as how costly all that is, well- it's all relative. A lot of factors play into the cost of adoption. For example, if you do foster-to-adopt through your state, it will most likely cost next to nothing (if anything at all). Private independent adoptions (typically domestic) can range from court cost only (couple thousand dollars) to VERY expensive if you choose to pay birthmother expenses, have to make travel arrangements, etc. A lot of agencies base their fees on a sliding scale. I know families who have spent $1,300 and I know families who have spent $40,000.

And really... can you put a price on changing a life? Saving a life?

Do NOT let the money aspect scare you away. If you believe this is what you are called to do, it will be done. There are tons of grants available out there if you do the leg-work. It is VERY common in the adoption community to fundraise (obviously- we've doing it for MONTHS) for your fees. It's not ideal, but it's worth it.

2) What if the birthmom wants the baby back?
Ugh. We hear this ALL the time. Storylines like the one on Glee right now are NOT helping. That one hasn't completely played out yet, so I'm hoping they discuss the legalities at some point before it's all said and done. Every state has it's own laws when it comes to terminating the rights of the birthparents. In TN, the birthmother can't sign away her rights for 48 hours. And then it takes ten business days for it to be effective. Once it's done, it's DONE.

3) How involved is the birthmom?
That differs with every case too. We have a very closed adoption- their choice. We used to send letters/pictures to the agency just incase their birthparents ever wanted them. We do know that they came to get them at least twice. Other than that, we have no contact. However, I know some families who see and/or speak to their child's birthmother regularly, who do birthday parties and vacations together. And then there's everything in between. That decision is up to the birthmother and the adoptive families (and child, if old enough). There has been plenty of research supporting the psychological benefits of knowing where you come from. There is nothing natural about a child who is not with their biological family, any ties you can make- helps.

4) Why adopt domestically? Why adopt internationally?
Again, everyone has a different answer to this question. When we first started the process, we had no idea which direction we would go. It turned out, because we were only 24 and had only been married for three years, we didn't qualify to adopt from any international countries thru the agency we chose.  We opted for a domestic infant adoption for those reasons. Although I had always fantasized about having a multicultural family, I never expected we would actually do it at this point. There are so many babies here that need homes and I'm not a patient person. Not to mention, it didn't make sense FOR US to spend the money when we could adopt domestically for less. We even discussed foster for a while (not due to the financial aspect, but because we weren't sure if it was something we should be open to). You know that saying... if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him YOUR plans?! Ha. Indeed. He practically slapped us in the face with Anna Gray and VERY clearly told us to go get her. Neither of us could deny that. It was/is scary. This is not what WE planned, but we have to trust Him. I don't feel loyalty to only help the children in our country. I want to, I want to help them all. But I'm very much a "One World, One God" kind of gal and I believe in obedience. Pray about your decision and trust your spiritual discernment. God will lead you down the right path for your family.

5) Can you really love your adopted children the same as your biological child?
In a word- YES.
For some, it takes a little longer to bond with their children, whether they are adopted or not.

I loved Layla from the day I knew she existed. I hadn't seen her, or held her, but I loved her. I cared so much about how she was doing and if she felt safe. She was something I wanted, something I dreamed about. I looked at her ultrasound picture and imagined who she was going to be. And then she was born. The moment I saw her, she was MINE. I would do ANYTHING for her.

With the twins, the first time I read about them, I loved them. I hadn't seen them, or held them, but I loved them. I cared so much about how they were doing and if they felt safe. They were something I wanted, something I dreamed about. I looked at the picture of them the agency sent us and imagined who they were going to be. And then I met them. The moment I saw them, they were MINE. I would do ANYTHING for them.

With Anna Gray, I saw her picture first. And I loved her. I cared so much about how she was doing and if she felt safe. She is something I didn't even know I wanted and now I dream about. I can't wait to meet her, to see who she is going to be, but I know she is MINE. I would do ANYTHING for her.

I have to tell you, it is the strangest feeling in the world to look at a picture of a little girl on the other side of the world and know that she's your child. That this little person you've never met, never touched, is meant to be with you. It's not something you can control, it's not something you can force. You can only accept it, but it is very, very strange.

I'd be glad to answer any more questions you have about adoption in general, domestic adoption, international adoption, transracial adoption- at least as they relate to us. Because... well, I don't know everything. I only know what our experiences have been, but I can share those :) Just ask!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Alright, folks-
Mark your calendars:

If you live in our area, PLEASE come eat dinner at the Hendersonville Chick-Fil-A between the hours of 5-8pm.

Chick-Fil-A (Hendersonville only) will be donating 10% of their sales during those hours on November 10th to benefit our adoption!!

Spread the word!
(Please) Invite everyone you know to come eat at Chick-Fil-A on Nov 10th between 5-8pm!!!
The more people that come out to eat with us, the closer we are to bringing Anna Gray home :)

Also, Reminder:
The raffle for the Wildhorse concert tickets ends at midnight tonight! Buy your tickets today (and let's just say, you have a good chance of winning). Ha. They don't have to be used for NYE if another night works for better for you. We can work that part out ;)

Another also,
Stay tuned on ways you can help spread awareness!!


Hope to see you all on the 10th!!
Tell your friends :)