Monday, August 29, 2011

I had to tell myself to "shut up" yesterday...

"Jesus never asked us to be comfortable, and if we are, we're not where we need to be. He asked us to make choices that could be painful, that could disrupt relationships, to help people everyone else judges, He calls us to stretch ourselves because then we can truly be disciples." ~Fr. Tom

I have never pulled out my phone in church but yesterday I didn't bring a pen for notes. Thank goodness I'm a professional texter because I was able to get that quote quickly in my phone before leaped into the cavern where I keep random thoughts. Chris had taken the boys to Children's Liturgy like he always does, God bless him, and I was sitting there along listening to Fr. Tom speak directly to me. I had faith that morning that I was going to hear something that would lift me up. I'm normally a really positive person but the few days before mass I will admit, I was sort of a wreck, bursting into tears when the boys would go upstairs to play and not talking too much, which is a sure fire way to know something's really wrong with me :).

Crazily enough for the second time this year, we were approached by a birth mother to possibly adopt her daughter. It hasn't been through our agency either time but through a family member or a dear friend (you know who you are). I won't go into too many details because we still don't know if we'll be adopting the child, but Chris and I have been overwhelmed with all of the prayers and support from our family and friends. We hadn't heard from the birth family for a couple of days so after throwing a pretty big pity party on Saturday I ended up telling myself to "shut up". I was being ridiculous. Someone was deciding to hand over their sweet little 7 lb. 8 oz. perfect little baby girl to us and I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom crying because I was being impatient. That baby may or may not be ours. We're preparing that it won't be and to move on with our agency but one thing's for sure...we better get use to it. Waiting is a part of the process. It completely sucks, but birth mothers need their time and we have to stand strong in our faith. I read back through my earlier post about how "God is big enough". I forgot that pretty quickly. It was time to shut up and listen. So we prayed. Ok, so we prayed, then we went our for sushi and a movie, but we prayed like we had never prayed before.

Sunday came around and we still hadn't gotten word from the birth family, in fact we haven't heard from them at all, and we had a strong sense of peace about the situation. All of our friends and family had been praying and I know that their prayers helped soothe our souls that morning and then I got to listen to Fr. Tom. On the drive to church I had a feeling that something would be great about his homily that day. I was right. It was a confirmation of everything we had been feeling about our decision to adopt. A call to do exactly what we're suppose to do, stretch ourselves, not be "comfortable" in our lives and to do things that most people would see as potentially painful. Chris and I know what we've been called to do, it's not the easiest thing in the worlds but He's going to stretch us and mold us into the people that we're meant to be. I have a really wise friend who's an adoptive mom herself and I emailed her last week to let her know what was going on. I told her I just needed advice, I didn't know what to say or pray or do to be honest. She just told me to pray, "that God's will be done." So that's what we've been doing. Thanks again for everyone's prayers, thoughts, texts and calls. If we get an update I'll be sure to let you know. Until then, we've got three amazing little boys who's smiles and hugs make us feel like a million bucks. How quickly we forget our blessings sometimes. I need to count them more.

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Honest Question

“Why do you have to adopt a black baby”? I’ve gotten this question numerous times. Normally it’s from a family member or friend that is honestly concerned about our family dynamics but I’m not sure it really sunk in for them until the past few weeks wrapping up our homestudy. (BIG YAY ALMOST FINISHED!!!) I really never thought about why NOT to have a transracial family. I see it as such a shame to have children sitting in foster care mostly because of their race and the fear that they’d disrupt or not be the “perfect” fit for a family. I think we’ve just got to the point in choosing a program, when we decided to adopt a child who is least likely to get adopted. Unfortunately, that would be African American babies. One day we’ll have to sit down and explain to our daughter about her adoption, she’ll one day know and hopefully understand why other little girls just like her don’t have a mommy and daddy, big brothers and grandparents that love her so much and processed through "the system" because they were the same color as her. I don't have the perfect words right now, but sometimes "perfect" isn't really what you need.  I will never say we have a perfect family. My boys don’t eat veggies, we throw tantrums (even me), my 15 mo old still takes a bottle, and we sometimes say things we don’t mean but… We love hard and try to remember that God didn’t make us perfect He made us to be His hands and feet. Hands and feet get dirty, they get bruised, scraped, burned and calloused…but He cleans them, washes them off and everyday they’re just like new. Thank God for new days, each day is a blessing with our perfectly imperfect family and our little girl will have a special place in it whenever she gets here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beach Bums

Chris always shows lots of excitement when he's
driving for long periods of time in the car.

Last month Chris and I decided that we'd take the boys on their first "offical" family vacation and drive to Pensacola to visit my cousins, aunts and uncles for a week. Most people don't really see the fun in driving 12 hours in the car with three boys under six, but I was so darn excited. I think I was more excited then they were and by the time we were in the car to take off I think we may have let out some squeals. I can't begin to tell you how much my husband enjoyed that. *insert sarcasm* There's just something about roadtrips that make my heart happy and allow me to not think about looming decisions, laundry, baseboards and cleaning my kitchen. Roadtrips are fun especially when you're final destination is the beach. This trip was really important to me for other reasons as well. It was sort of like a mission to come full circle, start a new leaf, give lots of hugs and begin to learn about people that I've only heard about in stories. It was time to put faces to names, and what better place to do that than Florida. To explain my family and it's structure I hontestly think most people need a flow chart so please be advised that it's confusing. I always enjoy watching people's faces when I try to explain it...the who's who and what not.  I think when I was around 20, the flowchart idea popped into my head...still haven't done it. I think I should laminate one and stick it in my wallet in case of emergencies LOL! Anyway, back to the beach, I mean heaven, I mean the beach...

The sky was beautiful...every night!

I'd say that Pensacola is where a lot of things culminate for me as a person. My birthmother met my birthfather there, so in a way my story kind of begins in Florida. We decided to drive there after meeting my cousin and aunt at my little brother's wedding and I immediately fell in love with their humor, personalities, love for food and fabulous sense of style ;). Luckily my birthmother decided to come down too so we were preparing for really exciting time together and I couldn't wait to soak up the time with them. I felt like I had thirty years of catching up to do but strangely enough it felt like we had grown up together. I kept thinking I had some "remember when's" or "that was so funny when's" to talk about but we were just starting to create those. I was excited to finally have cousins, to have aunts and uncles who laughed like me, a connection to my family that hadn't been able to occur until now, for my boys and husband to meet new family members and most importantly the ability to see God's Grace in action. There's no one else who could have pulled this craziness off. Is it confusing, yes, of course, but you know what, I don't care. Really....I don't.

My cousins and aunt

One of the biggest things that as been affirmed in our adoption process is that Chris and I are going to have to make decisions that are best for our family. There are many people who probably have panic attacks thinking about having four children. There are people out there who couldn't imagine adopting a child and there are adopted children who have no interest in learning about their birth family. I am not one of those people. Chris was giggling as we were talking about this post last night and I think he joked about how lucky we'll be that our daughter won't have my stubborness. Funny, funny...I hope she does. Sometimes it's a good character trait to have. I'm not going to promise that we won't cry behind closed doors about her having a relationship with her birth family if that's what she wants and we definitely won't promise that we'll have all the right words to explain everything to her. We will say that there are lots of people that love her and if she wants, we can all just be beach bums...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life is Complicated...Period.

My sweet husband
I like to think of this blog as something for our daughter. Something she can read at night for comfort, something to look back on and read when she's excited, sad or confused, and something to help her understand that we loved her before she was here with us. I know one day, sooner than we think, she'll be running around the backyard with the boys and Henry will be spraying her with the hose, if I raise her well, she'll be screaming at him and probably spraying him back within minutes, sticking up for herself like a good girl should. Crazy to think that Henry will be a big brother but when I've imagined our family, I've always envisioned it with her in it. I want her to know that. Now that our adoption is in full swing it's become more important for me to understand mine. It wasn't something that was spoken of a lot when I was little. There were no "right" words but really that's just a cliche and everyone knows cliches are totally annoying. I knew the basics, the outline of "my story" but when you're little you don't realize how all the pieces moved and the emotions that shifted them here and there. It seems the pieces have come full circle. In a couple of days I'll be visiting the place where I was born. It will be the first time in 31 years that I'll be there. Chris said he was nervous for me, I never really thought of being takes a lot to wreck my nerves but then I remembered that I was just a baby. A baby like my own who was newborn, small, teeny tiny hands and feet, just like my babies and I had to leave. I never really thought about what my birthmother was feeling at that point until I became a mother myself. I hurt for her, literally hurt, because I love her so much. We share a special bond most people don't really understand. I have never wondered "what if" or "why" because I just know that God's plan is just that. Not ours. Going back will be strange, but I wouldn't want to go with anyone else. Of course Chris would be nervous for me. He feels all the nerves so that I don't have to, a burden I sometimes forget about. I forget how much he knows me, what he knows and I remembered last night how much he really cares about my heart. He wants to protect my heart the way I want to protect our daughters. I don't want her to hurt but I know she will.  So, that's why we'll keep writing, hoping to ease her sorrow and fill her heart with love and happiness. The blessing of adoption is that you realize that God's love is bigger than any tear, sorrow, pain or triumph. He transforms us, gives us Grace to see ourselves in Him and understand that we our His child and we're linked together by His love.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Blessings

I love watching people’s reactions to the idea of adoption. To me, it was just second nature and I couldn't imagine not doing it. My husband definitely didn't have that kind of reaction but is now really excited about it. It just seemed like the thing to do for our family, knowing the amount of little blessings who needed forever mommies and daddies. We've gotten really powerful reactions of hopefulness as well as questions like, “why would you want to do that???”. I remember someone close to us asking that question. At first I was really hurt and confused about why they had the nerve to ask such a question but then I realized that some people really don’t see adoption as an option for their family.  I use to cry sometime thinking about all the children who don’t have forever families to celebrate their life with them. There are so many things to celebrate when you’re little, you know…all the firsts. The first time you smile, first steps, first time you lost a tooth and walked yourself to the classroom, or tied their shoes all by themselves. Can’t imagine all the little ones who don’t realize what blessings they are. I don’t care if you have one child or seven, you should know there’s just something about them that makes your heart jump, your voice get higher and your lips curl up into a grin. The kids waiting for forever families are special too, they're just waiting for us to tell them. My mother always told me that one of the best gifts that you can give your children is a brother or sister but she forgot to mention that it’s one of the best gifts for the parents too. Our children keep us young at heart, their laughs, contagious, their little voices are like symphonies and it’s not because I had them from my womb, it’s because they're children. God made them all like that on purpose; He knows what He’s doing. So, we’ll trust that. I’m sure we’ll get all kinds of weird and stupid questions about where our daughter came from as well as curious looks when we go out to dinner but I will be nothing but proud of our family. I'll answer their questions and I have a feeling I’ll answer them as honest as their questions pop out of their mouths. I’ve been known to have little patience for adults because it’s all used up on my children…this will be interesting but we’d rather have an interesting life than boring.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I can see the light!

Chris and I received our homestudy packet over a month ago and immediately the anxiety of social workers coming to our home overwhelmed me. Not only did we have to come to terms with our birthmother choosing us to adopt her daughter, but we also had to digest the fact that we had to be "studied". My stubborn "Mama Bear" instinct wanted to throw the papers out the window and scream out my car window, "I already have three kids!!!!!!!! I KNOW how to be a parent!" But thankfully, I've calmed my sharp tongue and understand that it's just the process. Everything has its process. So I aggressively started getting all of our papers together, resumes, tax info, financial info, birth certificates, but there was one thing that I totally just didn't want to do. My "autobiography". Thirty five questions about my upbringing, my strategies as a parent, my life's vision, my relationships with family members (that's an entire book all to itself), ect. ect. I sort of had the Toys R' Us Kids song going on in the back of my head and began realizing how much of an adult I really was and how serious the next few months really are becoming. So while my kids were still and quiet during nap time one afternoon, I got the writer's itch. I grabbed my amazingly organized notebook with my sticky tabbed sticky notes and began to answer, and answer and answer. So I finished my autobiography and I have to say it was not only helpful for myself, in remembering where I came from, but it also gave me the chance to show where I want to be and what kind of family I wanted to create with my husband. So, Chris is finishing up his autobiography tonight and once that's all done we'll compile everything we'll be ready for our home visit. I have to say that I'm glad I had the chance to do my autobiography but remember...I do already know how to be a parent :).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hard questions...harder answers

"Mommy, why does God make tornadoes?". Lucas has asked questions about forces of nature after evening prayer for the past three weeks wondering why God would let things like that happen. We were stuck in our bedroom closet on and off a few weeks ago because of tornado warnings so naturally, with his soft little heart, he got concerned. To top it off, we had also gone through a huge hurricane right before we moved here to the DFW area and that reminded him of it. Poor thing.  Personally, I love it because it gives me a chance to use my degree (heehee...), have really positive conversations with my boys and get in touch with where their precious little heads are. Lucas also asks lots of questions about my adoption. He knows that I'm adopted, knows my birthmother (his Meme) and naturally has questions about where I came from, how it all worked out and how I got here to be his mommy. Hard and complicated  questions. I will be there first person to admit that I don't have all the right answers. We do our best though and I guess what it comes down to is that there will always be hard questions and talking about them is better than not talking about them. I admit to the boys that I don't know everything (shocker, don't tell my husband) but if we talk and pray about things we can "find out together". Doing things together are always more interesting. I have to give props to my husband this post because Sunday is Father's Day. Without sounding cliche, I am blessed to have one of the most amazing husband's and father to our boys. He's kindness, patience and ability to juggle his family and work amazes me. Being one of three boys it will be very interesting seeing him with is little girl, covered in tutus, pears and tiny shoes. I'm sure he dreams about that every night like I do, NOT! Bottom line, I'm remembering our blessings this week. The boys, questions asked, questions answered, our lives in motion, our baby girl and the time we'll all share together in this short moment we call life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

At a loss for words.'s me.

Words, I just can’t seem to find the right ones these days. I personally find words incredibly important and I try to use them carefully. They shape your character; build people up, cut you to the core and transform beauty into something tangible. One day, our daughter will read this blog and she’ll be able to hear our uncensored thoughts and prayers for her. Why she’s been in our hearts and dreams since the beginning, the love of her brothers and the hard work and courageousness of her birthmother. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 13:3 that “careful words make for a careful life”. How amazingly careful we need to be, not just with our words, but our actions.
Chris and I, as well as my sisters and a few friends, have been working on our “lifebook” that will be sent to the agency for birthmothers to look through. This will be their peek into our family’s life and their first experience with us as a family. Included in the lifebook is a letter, from us. A letter telling her why we should be her daughter’s parents. How do I do that? Normally, I can bust our songs, papers, blog posts pretty quickly and if it takes over 10 min or so they’re usually really bad. Unfortunately, every time I start the letter I get stuck at the same part, Dear “blank” Yup…that’s basically all I’ve got.  I just don’t have the words. It’s almost like I had them but when I begin to write, they start to disappear into the place that holds all of my sock matches. I know that one night, I’m sure at two in the morning, it’ll come to me and I’ll pop out of bed like I did in college writing songs, and grab my journal and pen and begin to write. So, for now, we’ll be praying for the right words. Careful words of encouragement, courage, health, promise and mostly love. I’d like to thank my friend Jen for sharing her “birthmother letter” with me today. It’s pretty special to read something so sincere, hopeful, uplifting and encouraging. I hope our letter expresses how careful we’ll be with our sweet daughter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Family Is What You Make of It

Adoption is such an beautiful journey. I was blessed to be able to meet some of my extended family this weekend for my little brother’s wedding. It was amazing to see similarities through and through that I recognized from myself. Unless you’re adopted, you can’t understand what it feels like to come back together with a family who, although you didn’t grow up with, has the same laugh, mannerisms, humor and love. I remember in my first post I was extremely nervous about sharing a blog about our adoption journey because of how close it was to my heart and it really began with my heart in Ethiopia. Now it’s just here, with me with little pieces in tiny places around this country with people whom I’m blessed to call family. If I have learned anything through my own personal journey, it’s that family is what you want it to be. It’s up to you, you have the control and surrounding yourself with loving people leads you to where you need to be.  Ultimately this will lead us to Georgia, where we know we’re suppose to go to pick up our sweet little baby girl. On a lighter note, we’re looking for name suggestions…Chris’ rules, no stones, colors or flowers. That lowers my suggestions down to….NONE! Hoping everyone has a safe Memorial Day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Beginning of our Lifebook

This week began the, in my opinion, overwhelming task of creating a "lifebook" for our baby girl. I couldn't help but think that this is something that one, our daughter will be looking at for the rest of her life, and two, the book that will more than likely decide our future. Birthmothers will be looking through it to figure out what our family is all about and why we should be honored to become her child's parents.No pressure or anything. Psh... Although I consider myself a very creative person, I'm no scrapbooker... I have friends who are and I envy their craftiness and skill at matting, detailing and displaying all the pictures of their kids lives, but uploading to Shutterfly is really the best I can do. I was totally fine with that until I had to create our daughter's "lifebook". Luckily (silver lining) I take an ENORMOUS amount of pictures and have very helpful friends and family. I ended up at Michael's with Henry one afternoon to pick up everything I needed and I didn't realize the amount of isles there were for scrapbooking material. Paper, borders, sticky things that you use to make things stick to other things, stencils, stickers, blah blah blah mind turned to mush and I needed help ASAP. I ended up calling my sister in law who is a super dooper scrapbooker and with Henry screaming in the background the gave me a quick list and I grabbed what I could and got the heck out of dodge. Thank you saved my sanity. My sister Ellen came over tonight and we got started and finished 5 or so pages. *pat on back* I got to thinking about my baby book my mom made for me. She kept every single baby check up form. She updated every month's milestones and even had to add pages to it because she didn't have enough room to fit every bit of information. She also blessed me with this poem and it's written in the front page of my baby book...

A gift undeserved. A sweet cry in this world of goods bought and sold. She's Epiphany, a baby who comes without my labor. It was a strange trip in the night, it seems we prayed her into existence. She began in the will of my heart, the mother in me leaps to this awaiting babe and I ask the world to sway so she may sleep.
By: Her Mama

Funny how your perspective can change in just a few minutes. Thanks Mama.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

He Prepared Me

I have been waiting...and waiting to post this blog post. The past two weeks have been filled with a lot of tears, laughter and smiles and I find it so amazing that everything that we do, on a daily basis, has meaning. Our thoughts, our actions, our interactions with people that we meet ALL have meaning and a higher correlation than we can't really imagine or grasp. I'll first go back to the beginning, the VERY beginning.
I was adopted. Born from, what I believe to be one of the most courageous women I've been blessed to know, and placed into a family who has loved, cared and made me into the woman and mother that I am today. Even as a small child I always knew I would be a mother and adopt. My child's heart felt I was "chosen" into my family and my loyalty stemmed from knowing that they didn't have to take me. They could have said "no" but I was chosen, picked up when I was 6 weeks from Alabama and brought to Texas. What I didn't know at the time, was that I had two brothers. We grew up without each other and although I wouldn't change a thing about my family, there is a load of emotional baggage that goes along with being adopted and balancing your love for your family while also yearning to know who you came from. Children need to know where they came from and I decided a long time ago that I couldn't handle anymore emotional baggage. I have always felt like I have had little pieces of my heart in different places and I couldn't quite put them all together. I didn't want anymore pieces farther away from where they needed to be, right here with me. This is one of the biggest reasons why we chose not to look into domestic adoption. Little did I know that God had been preparing my heart for the past thirty years and I didn't even know it.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. Application in. Checks written. Ethiopia slows their cases down 90%. We were shocked but hopeful and two days later we were given to opportunity to consider a domestic adoption through a friend who was having a baby girl. All of the emotions came rushing back to me about all the reasons why I couldn't handle it as a mother. How could I balance all of my feelings and thoughts, do the right thing for the baby as well as my other three children who have been waiting anxiously for a sister and what if, God forbid, she wouldn't sign over her rights and we'd have to giver her back? Then what? I was broken and I didn't even have her yet. I kept thinking "But Lord? Why are you bringing this up? We have plans, we have a good plan! What's wrong with our plan God?". He was preparing us.  The adoption didn't happen obviously but Chris and I couldn't help but wonder what He wanted us to do. So we prayed.

So last week, Chris asked me to check with our agency to see what the status was for Ethiopia. We were extremely worried about the waiting period and we determined that we needed a plan "B". "I know you've always said that you don't want to do a domestic adoption Danielle, but why don't you do some research and just see what's out there". I didn't know where to start but I assured him that I'd see what I could find and get back with him so we could really figure out what we needed to do. The next day I found An Open Door Adoption Agency based out of Georgia from an adoption update email I had received. I scrolled through their African American infant program guidelines and sent over the information to Chris. He asked me to email the director and the next weekend we started filling out our application.

Such a different program than what we were expecting. The birth mothers choose us to adopt their baby, such an amazing feeling that someone "chooses" us just as I was "chosen". We'll get to travel to pick up our daughter with our three sons as well as be in contact with her birth mother. THIS is what God was preparing me for. We feel like we know what we're doing and have such a sense of peace about how we're completing our family. All of the questions, baggage, tears, more questions and balancing brought us be the parent our daughter needs us to be.

At dinner the other week, my oldest was asking me what his sister's name was. I told him that she didn't have a name yet and he looked at me as if I had turned into a monster. "She's gotta have a name mom!", he screamed at my younger son. "Let's name her Lilly", he said. "Lilly-Grace!" James screamed. I like's got my vote.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Easter Story

Our family practices Lent which is 40 days of fasting, prayer and mindfulness of the story of Christ's passion. This was a special year for us because we noticed that our boys were really able to sit for evening prayer and even lead us in prayer which truly melted out hearts. We'd pray every evening for speical things that they boys would think of. Lucas would say "thank you" to Jesus for the rain, flowers, family and friends. James would usually pray for the firemen that put out fires. (he's into firetrucks at the moment) All appropriate things for their age. I also try to do morning prayer with the boys by myself on the way to school. One morning after we prayed together Lucas was having trouble figuring out what to thank Jesus for. I told him I had the same trouble sometimes. Prayer is hard, especially when you're suffering, in pain, anxious or even happy. I struggle with getting the "right" words or loosing focus on what we need to be thankful for. Finally, after pausing for a moment, Lucas said, "I think I want to pray to be more like Jesus". "I think that's a perfect prayer", I said. Simply perfect. Our five year old hit the nail on the head. and that became our family's prayer that day for the rest of Lent. We want to be more like Him. Everyday. Matt Maher is one of my favorite praise and worship artists and his song "Christ Is Risen" has been playing over and over at our house this Lent. Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ethiopia or Bust!

First, let me say that I never ate a casserole until I married my husband :) They seemed silly to me and hard to make healthy. Chris loves casseroles though so I started working with them when we first got married. When we decided to adopt we wanted to do fundraising but in a way that gave up the ability to give back to the people that were giving us donations. Cooking/baking was my very first thought because I love to do both. Being a mother of three, I completely understood the challenges of everyday life and getting food on the table without fussiness, tantrums and stress. Casseroles. I decided to sell them. So I brainstormed with my friend Michelle (I like to call her my friend but she's actually Chris' cousin) and we planned a menu out, my friend Eryn helped me with business cards, and Ethiopia or Bust was born. Selling casseroles and baked goods to help fund our adoption. It's gone well so far, maybe three or so orders a week. SO, if you're interested you can order from the blog our check out the website I'm trying to add a couple of new dishes to the menu this week so they'll be up soon! If you've already ordered from us, thank you so much! We have been so blessed with an outpouring of support from friends and family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We are hopeful

You know when you think you're sick and you google every side effect you have, diagnosing yourself with all kinds of crazy conditions? Everyone knows it's bad to do that! BUT I know I end up doing it every time I feel funny or can't get into the Dr. right away :). I think it's kind of the same thing with this adoption business. I've stopped checking all the message boards and blogs. I randomly check the facebook updates but stick a fork in me, I'm done. It's making us crazy. We're staying positive over here in the Noonan house. We've heard rumblings of court cases going up to 20 a day which is awesome and we're taking every day as a positive and closer step to our sweet baby girl. Enjoying the days with our boys but always praying for Ethiopia, the orphans and for the patience of Job. The other day we were saying our morning prayers and I asked Lucas what he wanted to pray for that morning. He said simply, "I wanna pray to be more like Jesus". I don't think I could have said it better. Keep that pray up lil' man. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Children of God

I'm adopted. I was adopted when I was about 6 weeks old and ever since I can remember my mother has always told me that she didn't have me from her body, but she had me in her heart. She also told me that we were all adopted children of God and just like she loved me, God loved us too, as His children. My mother always made it a point to tell me about the importance of taking care of children. "Any one can choose to be a mother. A mother feeds their babies in the middle of the night, sings them lullabies and hugs them when they feel alone, sad or happy..everyone needs that. Everyone needs a mother" she would say. I didn't really understand that until I myself, as a mother, decided to become an adoptive parent. My friend Cindi shared this video today. I ended up sitting with my coffee cup with tears streaming down my face because of how beautiful it was. We are all God's children, adopted and perfectly made.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! ish...

What a week it's been... We were approved at AWAA, filled out our program paperwork *high five* and were mailing out everything when we found out some (at that time) really scary news. Ethiopia is slowing their program down. Not to like to a jog but to a very slow, teasing walk. Now all of this is through the grapvine of course and nothing has been posted by the federal govt. but word on the street is that Ethiopia will be slowing their courts down from 50 cases a day to five. Yes....five. I called our "go to gal" at AWAA and even before I could say a word she said, "let me first say we don't know anything". LOL I already knew she'd probably gotten a bunch of calls already but just wanted to touch base and see what the plan was. So right now the plan is there is no plan. We know we can expect the program to change how much change we just don't know. We doubt it will close but for the families already waiting for a referral we're not sure how much longer they'll have to wait. Chris and I are staying positive. This could be a good thing for the long run of Ethiopia's orphan crisis. It will ensure that the children who are being adopted are truly orphans and that their families will not taken away from them. So for now we wait on word from the agency but we stand on the Word of God. God tells us that he's not going to leave us alone. He's got our backs even when we're scared, anxious and afraid and we trust that. We had ti remind ourselves that we're following His instructions. He's going to take care of this. I know he is... We will be in continued prayer over the future of the Ethiopia program and know with God's guidance we'll know exactly what to do. It may take a little longer for our baby girl but she's worth it.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Exciting news...we've been approved for the Ethiopia program for America Words Adoption. This is just the first of many hurdles we'll have to jump but it's a start and it's right where we need to be. A few of you asked if I'd put a timeline up on the blog so you could see how everything would play out so here ya go! After the acceptance into the program, we're now waiting to be given an adoption coordinator that goes step by step through the process with us. THIS is the process :)

1. Apply to USCIS (I-600 petition for an orphan) and complete our homestudy

2. Collect dossier documents (i.e. birth certificates, marriage certificates, physical exams, financial info, insurance info, employment info, reference letters, police reports, federal paperwork, power of attorney, passports and family photos and homestudy) All which has to be approved and certified to send to Ethiopia.

3. Wait...wait...wait for referral (when they find the child for us)

4. Referral Day! We'll receive a picture and medical report of our baby girl and AWAA will send the acceptance letter back to Ethiopia to confirm we're adopting her.

5. Trip one -- travel to meet our daughter and have our court date with The Women's Ministry (5-7 days)

6. Trip two -- Travel back to Ethiopia to complete visa paperwork and bring our baby girl home (4-5 days)

7. Complete our post adoption reports and paperwork

So there ya have it...lots of paperwork but well worth it. So excited to start the process. GAAH! Sooo. excited!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And so it begins...

So, we put in our application to America World Adoption Agency on Monday!! Chris, cool, calm and collected. Dani, giddy like a little school girl. I've talked to so many people who have adopted and they say the waiting period is really the hardest. Were they talking about the waiting period about the application!?! LOL Just kidding. I think being involved in things such as these allow you to put things in perspective. We have no control over ANYTHING but ourselves. We've done all our research, found a great agency and met some many people who support us. That's really all we can do for now. Once the gigantic stack of paperwork gets here then our work REALLY begins. Phew..I'm sweating just thinking about it ;). One day closer to you sweet girl.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Boys

The past two weeks have been especially crazy in our house. Chris has been traveling, working and studying. The boys have been sick. I have been sick, and tee ball practice has started. All these things created bumps in our nice and easy breezy schedule. One thing that has been consistent is the attitudes of our boys. There have been instances with both of our oldests that have stopped us in our tracks the past few days where we just kind of look at each other in agreement of how special they are. Now, this is not saying that they can't act like 5,3 and 1 year olds but for the most part, man, they are something else. Chris came home from a business trip the other week and just like in the movies, when the front door opens and Daddy walks in the boys RUN towards the door giving his legs big hugs. Sometimes, I think they have supersonic ears because they can hear the turn of the key from all the way upstairs. This certian night was different though. We had been eating dinner in the kitchen and James and Lucas were loving their pizza so much they didn't quite care that Chris was home. Chris drops off his briefcase and kissed me hello then starts to talk to the boys about their day. Before he could get a word in James asks Chris, "DADDY!! Did you bring home our baby girl??" As the lump in our throats grew, Chris told him "no", but he would soon. Chris and I just looked at each other in awe of our sweet boys. They fight, argue, and tattle BUT they love each other and their attitudes of happines and love are so present that it reminds us why we're a family. Baby girl, your brothers and Mommy and Daddy will wait for you. We pray that you'll be safe until we bring you home.

Friday, February 25, 2011

God Is Big Enough

I walked into James school one day last month and I'd been worrying about our adoption throughout the week because not only had we been going over our financial timeline and all of those zeros were starting to weigh heavy on my mama shoulders but there had been talks with the Women's Ministry in Addis about the program and I feared that it would be somehow changed. There was a small basket on the table by the director's office and it had all of these bracelets in there. Betsy, the director saw me eyeing them and she sweetly said, "take one! take as many as you'd like!". I picked one up for myself and I read the inscription, "GOD IS BIG ENOUGH". Big, bold and staring me in the face. I must have been hormonal that day because I looked at Betsy, with my teary eyes and told her, "you have no idea how much I needed to see that right now". I realized that I hadn't surrendered. He had told me that He'd work it out, all is well, I will show you.... I had forgotten that. How could I have forgotten that? Chris and I aren't "big enough". Our family isn't "big enough" (no pun intended) but God is. He's got our backs even when we forget it needs to be covered. I was talking to a friend of mine one day and I asked her what it was like going from three kids to four kids and she said, "You know what? God gives you exactly what you need. Not before, not after but RIGHT when you need it." She was, was she right.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

He spoke, we answered...

I have gone back and forth and back and forth trying to figure out if I indeed wanted to start up an adoption blog. I read so many and am invested in my food blog that I write, I just didn’t know if I would have time, or to be perfectly honest, the energy to write another one. But I’ve been revisiting all our feelings about the call to adopt from Ethiopia and my insecurities began to creep in the past few days. Just the small thoughts I hear in the back of my mind about what we’ll see, the stresses that will occur, the money that will be spent. I thought if I started writing again it would reaffirm the purpose of our decisions. The call was truly laid upon our hearts in the middle of the night a long long time ago. I was awake last night, like the night I woke Chris up in the middle of the night after hours of tears, talks, and promises. I think that night was the first time I had really, truly, from the deepest part of me said “ok”, and meant it. In all honesty, Chris didn’t want to go to Africa, he didn’t want to be “that family” with the black child. He knew there were kids everywhere that needed a home so why Ethiopia?? Why did we have to be different?? I finally said “ok”. I gave in, settled in my tears for the evening. We’d start over, look at all the programs again…begin from scratch. I sat up that night thinking about our daughter. Where was she? Will she be treated well? Who will take care of her? Who will take care of all the babies? God’s children, like the one that was blissfully sleeping down the hall from us, snuggled up knowing that his mommy would wake him up with a smile, a back pack and breakfast in the morning. A whirlwind of emotions covered me that night while Chris slept. Later that night I heard the sweet voice of God. I’m not one to readily admit that. I’ve only told a few people about it because it’s very precious to me. People do all kinds of crazy things “because God told them to” so it just seems easier sometimes to come up with another reason to tell people why we needed to across the globe to bring a daughter home. It’s the truth though he spoke to me, I knew it was Him and He gave me peace that night. He told me where we needed to go and that Chris would be completely ok with it, not to worry, that He would show us when, where and how everything will be put into place.  I sat in bed for a while trying to figure out what to do with myself and decided to wake Chris up. It was 2 am in the morning and I shook him awake. In my best “I know this sounds crazy but…” voice I told him what had happened. Chris woke up the next morning affirming in faith that we’d be adopting from Ethiopia. Each day since then God has shown us that we’re doing the right thing. This is His plan, not ours.