Wednesday, August 31, 2011

just sayin'

I have absolutely nothing to say tonight that is earth-shattering. Nothing that will make your jaw drop. Nothing that will require you to immediately text your friend to say You've GOT to read this blog tonight. Nothing of importance, truly. But I promise to stay on the topic of adoption since that's what this blog is about.

Don't say I didn't warn you... :)

We have some sweet friends, Johnny and Courtney Grimes, that are in the beginning phase of adoption. Check their site out and pray for them as they start this fun yet emotionally draining adventure. Their latest blog is about Ethiopia facts. It got me interested in facts about Korea. Plus, I've been telling a lot of people about Korea lately. The funny thing is, I don't really know that much. So, I did a little googling!

The flag...

The Korean flag is called Taegeukgi. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Asian philosophy. The circle in the center of the flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces embody the concepts of continual movement, balance, and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements: heaven, earth, fire, and water.

the national flower...

It's so cute!

the music...enjoy!

This is Miss Korea 2011 and WOW she's beautiful. Maybe my daughter will one day fill these shoes. And then I'll be a Toddlers and Tiaras mommy. :)

My new goal is to study more about Korea's history. I know so little about it, only that South Korea is very much westernized and looks a lot like America in many ways. North Korea is still a mystery to me. And I haven't fully grasped what caused the separation. If you're a history buff, feel free to shoot me some info.

Sending Hugs

Sunday, August 21, 2011

back to the waiting game

Several months ago, maybe in January, I was helping my parents clean out my grandaddy's storage house and I ran across some old picture frames. I made them into chalkboard frames--one for Gia's room and one for our dining room. We are using it to write down verses to memorize.

By the time I finally got around to actually hanging it up, Kevin and I were reading through James. We were really drawn to James 3:17.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

This was one of those verses that took a while to sink in with me. And then we began pursuing Baby #2 and James 3:17 started making sense. God also had me reading Proverbs 8-9 at that time. Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom, wisdom... When I wrote the last post and asked for pray for wisdom, I honestly didn't know why that was on my mind. God knew. He knew we would need a heavy dose of heavenly wisdom.

Ok, so how does this tie in with the adoption?

Baby #2, as I wrote about in the last post, potentially had FAS. Kevin and I were in serious study mode to learn as much as we could about her and FAS, but it just wasn't clearing anything up for us. I mean, we had the head knowledge, but our hearts were just not lining up. I know it sounds cliche, but we didn't have a peace about this baby. As much as we really wanted her, there was nothing we could do or say to force it. So, after several hours of difficult conversation we decided to turn her down. Though we are sad to let her go, I already know of a family going after her and I know how thrilled they are. Yay! It's cool to see how God has lined it all up.

Where do we go from here?

Now that our home study is complete, we move to the call list for referrals. When Holt gets new referrals in they will call us first before emailing them out to the other families. I cannot tell you how excited that makes me! It will open up many other referrals for us that we otherwise wouldn't have seen.

Please keep praying for us as we start the waiting game again. :)

Sending Hugs

Monday, August 8, 2011

FUNdraiser and letters to Gia

This Thursday, as in just a few more days, my school is hosting a city wide "pep rally" called Meet the Panthers. My FABULOUS boss, along with my equally as great athletic director, approved me to have an adoption fundraiser table. So, the wheels began turning.
What to do?? What to do??
Then I remembered an idea a friend gave me to do a silent auction. YES!
I tossed the idea around with my sister and we thought organizing it as a raffle might bring in more money. So, my plan is to have the table set up at the rally, but I'd also like to include you guys in on this too. Because it's TOO GOOD to not share with you. Trust me!

Be sure and read all the way down so you can know how to participate in this raffle.

These are the goods...

Now, let me break down each basket for you.

This is the Dinner and a Movie basket. It comes with...
two movie tickets (Alabaster theater)
a Cracker Barrell gift card which includes two entrees, two drinks, and two desserts (apprx value $45-$50)
five Moe's entree cards (apprx value $30)
one gift card to Helena's Home Cooked Meals (apprx value $20)
and a bag of microwave popcorn, because, well, why not?

Next up is the Pamper Me basket

This includes a pedicure gift certificate, one tanning session, and flipflops!
(apprx value $$35)

And here we have the jewelry basket, which includes a beautiful pair of purple earrings and a heart necklace. (apprx value $35)

And let's not forget this very cool piece of art. (apprx value $40)

This is a super cute door hanger. (apprx value $30)

And now for the biggie. :)

Are you ready?

I'm so in love with this basket. Drum roll.....

The AUBURN basket!

This includes a signed football by Coach Chizik, a signed football by Michael Dyer, and an autographed picture of THE Cam Newton. (apprx value: priceless) :)

So, here's how it works. Anyone interested in winning a basket will pay $5 for a raffle ticket. The more tickets one purchases, the more chances for winning. Names will be drawn Thursday night after the event and winners will be called/emailed Friday. If you are interested in winning a basket, all you have to do is donate $5 (or more, if you so desire) via the PayPal link on the blog. I'll fill out a raffle ticket for you and throw it into the box for whichever basket you like. Oh, it's so fun!


Now, off to another fun thing.
Several weeks ago my dear dear friend Amber challenged me to keep a journal for Gia. I loved the idea, but I couldn't seem to get started. I mean, how do you write to someone you've never seen or met? It just seemed impossible to me. Well, I took the leap this weekend and decided to just try it.

So, I bought an owl journal (cute!) and wrote the first entry to her. It was just a "get to know your parents" journal, but it was a start.

I'm totally sold into the idea now. It's so sweet to write to her, knowing she'll have this forever and ever. I think it will be hilarious when she looks back at it in 15 years and sees how ridiculous we look. There are things called Lifebooks in the adoption world. They are basically scrapbooks with adoption memorabilia: medical stuff, info on birthparents, pictures of foster parents, pictures from home country, etc. This journal is a variation of a lifebook. It's kind of like a look from the opposite side of adoption, the parent's view. This will be a precious addition to the Lifebook I'm sure we'll be making soon.

Sending Hugs

Friday, August 5, 2011

home study, part 2

Let me first apologize for the 'cut and dry' nature of the last post. I just re-read it and thought Gosh, that is boring writing. In my defense, if you'll allow it, I feel like I've fallen into the rhythm so heavily that our current status seems stagnant and pale to our initial updates. But, I shall break through that mental barrier to provide you with a good readin'. :)

From the beginning...
Months ago when Kevin and I received our first set of referrals, there were two little girls listed. We quickly decided to pick one and see what would happen. What happened was another family was chosen to parent that adorable little girl. Difficult to hear, but God was still in control. He still is, too, in case you were confused for a brief momento.

The very same day that we got the 'no' phone call from Holt, Kevin said to me, "So what about Little Red Riding Hood?" Maybe I should explain that Baby #2 was wearing red in her referral picture. I naturally was gun-shy that day. What if we were told no to all babies? Is adoption really what we've been called to do? What if we wait 3 years before finding a baby? These are the questions that crammed my brain. I was in no condition to consider another baby that day. Or the day after. Or the day after that. If I'm honest, had it not been for Kevin, I don't think I would have ever picked another baby. I really had convinced myself that it was just too hard and not meant to be. Plus, Little Red had more significant medical needs that the first baby didn't, and I wasn't sure we were ready for that.

Even in the midst of all my doubt, I knew that it couldn't hurt to send her files to the IAC (International Adoption Clinic) to get an assessment. So we did. What we learned was that her needs are very manageable, maybe even nonexistent, except for the potential FAS. That one piece of news kept my guard up, but thankfully not Kevin's. He was so excited to know more about this baby that I couldn't help jumping on board with him. After all, learning about her didn't commit us to anything.

Last Saturday, almost a week ago, we finally got to the point of realizing that we can't say God is sovereign and then only live it out when it's convenient. This was a time that we simply had to trust. So, Saturday night we sent our "yes" to Holt about Baby #2.

Holt sent us another questionnaire to fill out, which we did last night. Today we get an email saying that a phone interview is probably not necessary since we had one last time. All we had to do is answer 3-4 more questions, mainly about FAS, via email and send them back. Kevin answered those today and we emailed them in to Holt.

At this point, we are waiting for the committee to meet to decide which family is chosen for her. There is only one other family besides us. We trust that God will place this precious little one (and WOW is she tiny) with the right family. I'm still scared. FAS is a huge unknown to me, and the spectrum of potential effects is overwhelming. I'm having to heavily trust that God will not place anything on us that He won't equip us to handle well.

I know all that may sound all doom-and-gloom, but I just want to be transparent in this process. We are excited about the potential match and being her parents!

In the meantime, Kevin had his homestudy interviews with Social Worker Kelly (sounds like a Barbie, right?). She came over last night and spent 4 hours with us talking about Kevin's life experiences, family, job, expectations, and other stuff. We both were interviewed about our marriage, discipline methods, childcare, time off from work, expectations, and general education on adoption. It's so hard to update on the homestudy interviews. I know it sounds like I'm hiding something, but it really is just a bunch of questions about us. I don't know how to update that, sorry.

So, what's next?

Social Worker Kelly sent us the homestudy draft today (WOW, fast!).
Side note: the homestudy, though it sounds very house and couple oriented, is actually a paper document that is sent to the placing agency and country of adoption.
Kevin and I will look over the homestudy and check for mistakes. Then it will be sent to Villa Hope so they can check for mistakes. Then it will be sent to Holt. If it passes Holt's requirements, it will then be sent to Korea. Yay! I don't know what Korea does with it. I'll have to do more research there.
So, we are technically done with Villa Hope and the homestudy. That was a big hurdle to cross and now we are focused on finding the right referral and making it past committee. We haven't heard when committee will meet for this baby. I know they meet every Thursday, so I'm hoping we can get in next week.

And now you're up to speed.

What to pray for?
- patience as we wait for committee to meet
- resilience as we prepare for the committee's decision
- wisdom as we continue studying FAS
- finances--the 5K is slow getting planned and we need to get that going like last week
- perseverance as we keep walking down this loooong path of adoption with all the emotions that go with it

As always, please let us know how to pray for you too!

Sending Hugs