Thursday, December 29, 2011

check check check

To-do lists galore!

Shew. I wonder what we will forget? ha.

So far, our flights are booked, our FSP money has been moved into our account, our new bills are ordered from the bank, childcare has been arranged, the twins' bday party has been planned...

surely there was more?  Oh, I did start collecting condiment packets to take since they won't be available over there!
I think the rest of my busy-work was creating more lists, cleaning house, putting away Christmas decor, etc.

Today, I will pack for AG, order pics for our (2nd) photobook, order contacts for Nathan, print our dossier and start on all the other necessary paperwork, maybe start packing my things. In addition to cleaning house (Groundhog Day...), making dinner for a friend, and making cupcakes for another friend. I just realized last night that my military ID expired and my drivers license will expire while I'm in country (because I'm turning 30!), and Nathan's expired last week when he turned 30, so we need to renew those too.

It is recommended that we get flu shots (Nathan already got his on base), but I've never had one. It is also recommended that we get a doctor to prescribe generic antibiotics to take with us, just incases. We don't have a doctor (ha), so...  have to think on that one.

We need to get space bags to maximize packing, buys cigs and whiskey for the team (lawsy...). I still need cuddle duds and pants for court that I can wear with my boots, we needs lots of baggies and chip clips, dvds to watch (anyone have full seasons of some great shows we could borrow?!).  We need to complete Layla's school application and get haircuts. We need to pack the big kids since they won't be at home, maybe include a few surprises :) Pay bills.

Hmmm... what else. Someone needs to do my thinking for me! I can do or I can think- I'm having a little trouble doing both at the same time! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Flights are booked!

"We" booked our flights last night!!

And by "we", I mean a complete stranger whom we've never met.

Not a travel agent, not a Reece's Rainbow facilitator... just a man. A man who heard our story and wanted to help. Is that not the most incredible thing?!  He is choosing to remain anonymous and let God get all the glory- as He should! Even in our fears and worries throughout this process, we have not been able to deny God's hand every.step.of.the.way. We have done nothing deserving, and yet He just keeps waving his mercy around us and letting His light shine! Why would we be worried when we have front row seats?! Why would He show His grace over and over to get us there and then NOT let us bring her home? We are so close!

To Mr.Generous,
Words are not enough.
Thank you for listening when God spoke to you. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you for blessing us.

And to sweet Kacie- thank YOU for sharing our story. Thank you for your constant encouragement and prayers. We love you, dear (and we would even if you hadn't done so much for us!)!!
On another note- I'm going to Paris... airport :) Yay! I'll take it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Donations/Gifts/Financial support

We have had a couple people ask today about donations...
It's uncomfortable, but I'll just answer honestly and as frankly as I can.

1) No, we are not fully funded. In all honesty, we are still about $10K short.
We have had our socks knocked off by the support (of all kinds!) that we have received and we are so incredibly grateful. Seriously, there are no words. If we are not funded before we leave, we do have a backup plan that will get us there and back with our daughter. It obviously isn't ideal, but we will do whatever it takes. God said He would provide, and He will.

2) Yes, our FSP and grant money (as in... the money attached to that button near the bottom right with her sweet face on it) was forwarded to our bank account TODAY to prepare for travel (woot!). IF you would still like to give financially in the coming days, please use the ChipIn button at the top right of the blog, which is attached directly to the bank account for Anna Gray's adoption.

And still... more info to share tonight I hope :)


Our appointment with the SDA is January 16th at 11am!!!!

We are booking our flights today (more on that later), but in less than three weeks we will be in country to get our baby girl!!!!

Even more amazing- there are TEN families all going about the same time, so we will all be together to celebrate! PARTY AT THE TGIFRIDAYS!!

Aaahhh.... I can NOT think right now, I am pacing back and forth trying to figure out where to start :) I can barely type, my hands are shaking so badly.

All I know is we are THAT much closer to Anna Gray... and that the kids and I are having cupcakes for breakfast!!

I'll update later today when things get a little more organized!

Monday, December 26, 2011

No new dates today... I guess?

We usually get notified that there were no new dates... today, we didn't hear either way.
We do know that the facilitation team in country was working hard for some of our other families who had big days today (yay!), so they haven't had a chance to respond to our inquiries.

We also know that at least one family has their appointment tomorrow so someone from the team will be over at the DAP to get our dates, if some have been issued.

I hate the word TOMORROW. Blech.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

One of the other waiting moms wrote this tonight.
It's beautiful. And perfect.

Twas the night before Monday and all through the land. . .
Not a creature was stirring - all too full to stand!
The stockings were scattered, with nary a care,
A sign that St. Nicholas once had been there.

The children were waiting in a land far away.
Not knowing that soon in a family they'd play.
A girl wore a kerchief, a boy wore a cap,
But no one got kisses before every nap.

Sitting at home, each family did pray,
That word of appointments would come the next day.
Some had their bags packed, all ready to go.
While others were fearful they still wouldn't know.

One mom packaged leftovers from a fat Christmas feast,
Another prayed for those that the Lord called, "the least."
One dad hugged his children, longing for more,
Another gazed at a photo he'd come to adore.

Of the thousands of children who just needed love,
Families stepped out in faith (with some help from above!).
Within someone's heart, each ignited a flame,
And each of these children was given a name.

There's Vanya, and "Gracie," and "Owen" (called Dan),
"Broderick," "Patrick," and little "Kylen."
And so many others, like "Reese" and "Francine,"
Their futures so full of hope, unforeseen.

And laying their heads, hoping sleep just might come,
Each family dreamed of a laughter-filled home.
And we'll hear each exclaim, if tomorrow's the day. . .
"Please, God, let our babies know love's on its way!"

Thank you, Jennifer!
And to our "Gracie"... praying we see you SOON, Baby girl.
Until tomorrow...
I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need.
I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree.
I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know.
Make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas is you...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Still no date...


But we did get some sleep last night! Not necessarily because our brains were quiet, but because we were exhausted.  We've been running on about three hours a night and every 7-10 days or so, our bodies give in and pass out. It feels pretty awesome really.

I got up when Nathan left at 4:30, hoping for the phone call- no such luck. The teams says still maybe this week though, so we aren't giving up hope!

I'm starting to get a little excited again... I think.
I thought I was really going to struggle with her not being here for Christmas- it just feels like the world should stop until our girl is safe and sound at home. But... opening gifts without her sort of makes me anticipate what's to come instead. We had our first big Christmas last night with all my parents and siblings-
Anna Gray got a Madame Alexander doll that represents her country!

My niece, Catalina, checking out AG's doll...

Cale's teacher, Miss Sarah, also got Anna Gray a Christmas gift from their class, which I thought was VERY thoughtful. And I'll be packing it up to take with us when we go :)

We really appreciate those who have called/emailed/texted that they are praying.
We'll keep you updated!

Monday, December 19, 2011


"Hush little baby, don't say a word. Sissy's gonna buy you a mockingbird..."
Overheard Layla as she was putting a diaper on her kangaroo- "just practicing".


Another tough weekend with more sad news. Even though it doesn't effect us directly, we care so much about the ones it does. And we know that a lot of people don't fully understand their grief. Every time we hear more, it breaks our hearts a little and lets the fears rise. I was opening the mail late Saturday night, feeling a little beaten down. I opened it to find this:

With a little note that a sweet friend had purchased it on our behalf.
I really needed that reminder right that second. I needed to remember why we are putting ourselves through this.
Thank you, Cayce.


As much as it stinks, we are having to think about what we will do if we get all the way over there and find out that she is no longer available for adoption.  We won't spend a whole lot of thought on it, because we are staying positive and believe it won't be a decision we have to make.

 The powers that be, keep "gently" suggesting that we just pick another child.  Neither of us really know how we feel about that right now. Our gut reaction is, of course, we don't want another child- we want HER. We didn't just choose to adopt right now, we didn't just choose to adopt internationally, or from this specific country. We chose HER. We would feel like we were replacing her and that's NOT what we want.

But at the same time, we would have the opportunity to give an orphan a life worth living, and it's really hard to consider walking away from that. AND we know that God will bring us together with the child that is meant to be our's. We really, really (really) want it to be her.

Will you be in prayer for our hearts?

God has been clear with His purpose thus far and I pray our fears don't smother our ability to keep hearing it.

Just FYI-
When we do get our date (please please please please please), I may make the blog public again. We believe the initial threat that prompted privacy is over with, and to be honest- there are just too many people that want to read (how cool is that, btw?!). We want to be able to share our experience with anyone who wants to hear it. Reading the blogs of those that have gone before us has been really beneficial/inspiring/relatable/tear-jerking. If our blog can educate someone else, make them aware, give them hope, or let them see that they are not alone in their own experience- I want the option to do that.

Hopefully, the next thing I post is our DATE!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Moving forward.

We feel less threatened today by "the one who shall not be named" and his ability to take Anna Gray. It's always a possibility, we just choose not to believe that he effects our daughter, personally. Although, it is still very scary and painful for some of our waiting friends and we are grieving with those who have already lost their child to him.

We are still very anxious at the idea that there could be someone else in the world on their way to "Gracie", believing she is their daughter, just as much as we do. In our minds and hearts, she is already our's. But until the court agrees, anything can happen.

It sucks. It's a terrible, terrible feeling.
I want to get back to the place of excitement and anticipation! When we do get our date, I want to be overwhelmed with the realization that it is actually happening- not be sick with worry that it will go wrong.

We are choosing faith.
"Don't forget in the dark what God told you in the light."

Each and every step gets us closer to her. For now, we pray for the phone call that we have an appointment.

I am going to shop for Christmas gifts and enjoy it. I'm going to stock up on snacks, toiletries, and meds that we will need to take with us and continue piling them up in the corner. I'm going to work on my lists and instructions for those helping while we are gone. I'm going to look for vintage crib sheets so I can show the judge where our daughter will be sleeping. I'm going to stalk the ones who are already in country and might get a glimpse at our girl. I'm going to make plans with friends who will be in country with us AND I'm going to make friends with one of those people who need to give away $$ for tax purposes :)  haha.... J/K on the last one!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Just keep swimming.

Yesterday was torturous.
We get almost daily updates related to our adoption, her country, and how this whole thing is gonna work, but yesterday things were happening so fast we couldn't keep up. It got confusing trying to separate rumors/speculation/emotions from fact (of which, there is very little at this point). We both wanted to be sitting at the computer all day so that we could stay on top of it and beg for answers, but alas- life goes on and you have to go with it, no matter how crazy it makes you. Crazy, as in distracted and emotional and spastically oversharing with random strangers because you just.can't.think.

We have gotten more information on the situation that caused the most recent panic, and while that much does ease our minds a little in that particular area, we are -all- just so much more aware of the fragility of our adoptions at this point. As scary as it all is (and it absolutely sucks being reminded that anything can still happen), we have to just keep pushing forward with what we know.

We KNOW that God told us to go get this child.
We KNOW that God has provided ways for us to do that, ways that we couldn't have imagined.
We KNOW that we love her and will do whatever it takes.

Gosh, we love her.

We still expect to hear in the next week or so when we will be traveling. At this point, we just need to get there December is not possible, and they close for Orthodox Christmas Dec 31 until basically January 10th- as far as appointments go anyway. After that, we need to get there ASAP and get our girl home. There is absolute nothing we can do until then. Nothing except celebrate 30 years of Nathan (today!), and help the kids prepare to sing/sign in front of our church on Sunday, and have pajama parties at school, and have a birthday party for Jesus, and wrap and unwrap presents, and plan a 5th (what?!) birthday party... and that's what we will do.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This makes me so sad.
We haven't blogged in nearly 10 days. There is SO much going on, and it's so frustrating/scary/emotional- even moreso when we aren't "allowed" to share any of it.

I still can't tell you the details, but there are some families who will not be bringing their children home.

Every day we become more worried that we are going to be one of those families.

Once I know for sure that the blog really is inaccessible from outside parties, I will update more. Reece's Rainbow will also be removing our FSP from their website, although we will need to continue fundraising privately- somehow- since we are still $10K short.

For now, I can only tell you that we are still waiting for our travel date and ask for prayer, for our family and the other waiting families.

Also, just a reminder- this blog is for me to share my thoughts, feelings, experiences related specifically to this adoption. Any other goings on in our family are shared at our family blog.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Good things.

The kids' sibling shirts came (in record time, I might add). I love getting packages, but I really love getting packages that mean she's close to coming home. I only got one really dark, cruddy phone pic, but trust me- the kiddos look adorable in their "Big Sis/Big Bro" shirts and they are SOOOO excited to wear them to our airport party.

In another fun package- the photo book we had made for the judge/Anna Gray.

We put it together pretty quickly (thinking we would be leaving sooner), but I think it turned out pretty well :) It's very sweet and a nice little representation of our family. Now to just keep it clean and sparkly for the next several weeks....

The first group of families arrived in country this weekend. It's been SO neat to hear from them, hear what the country is like, what the facilitation team is like, what to expect,what they wish they'd brought with them. They are answering questions for us and letting us know what needs to pray for specifically; it's pretty cool! It makes me even more excited to be over there and do the same for the rest of the waiting families. I can't wait until that daydream becomes reality!!  The last group of December families got their dates today, which is still good for us. It means we will almost definitely be the next group (NO reason we shouldn't, but the way the last few weeks have gone, I'm not counting on anything until it's DONE). I hate to wish time away, but I really hope the next few weeks fly by.

Here are a couple new pics of some of our favorite people rocking Annie tees:

Jody and Laura

The Wright Family

Also, another waiting family has new shirts ready too! If you'd like to help bring yet another sweet child home to their family, check them out here. I just ordered mine :) I love them!

Pretty sure that was meant for fitness, but I found it applicable to this adoption.

Monday, December 5, 2011

You know what I've figured out?
...That most of the things indicative that a baby is on the way are not pregnancy-specific.

We are not sleeping well.
We are gaining weight (stress eating!).
We have headches daily.
We are getting impatient/excited/nervous/hopeful knowing that the baby is soooo close to coming.
We are emotional and overly sensitive.
We are having breakouts like pre-teens.
We are reading on how to care for our child.
We get way too excited over teeny tiny pajamas.
We are leary to put much on our calendar, not knowing when she's coming.
We daydream about what she looks like, her sweet little voice, and what she'll be when she grows up.

Most of those are typically associated with pregnancy (and I, of course, am not pregnant), but we do have a baby on the way!

Short and... well:

We will not be traveling in December.
I could go on and on about all the different emotions we have about that, but it took me about three days just to post this much.

We are TRYING to focus on the positive and enjoy the Christmas season with our children at home.

So... ya know. I'll keep you updated.