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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2 month update

We have been home from China 9 weeks today with our boys.  For most of that time, I have been searching for milestones so that I could say we had passed them.  And all of a sudden, it has been nine weeks!  I thought it was 2 months today but somehow a week has slipped up on me.  Oh yeah, Micah Jude's surgery was a week ago...there is my missing week ;-)

I don't have time, energy, or recall to relate all of the last 9 weeks so I will abbreviate if I can.  You realize this is very difficult because I tend to have a lot of words.  Here goes:

Oct 17 - Dec 19, 2012  Really long plane ride home which included all 6 of us RUNNING from one side of Chicago (airport) to the other only to discover our plane was delayed and moved to the concourse we had just run from.  2 weeks of jet lag.  The boys have slept through the night EVERY night since we have met them.  Boys learn how to play Nintendo DS.  Boys fight over DS games/devices.  DS devices mysteriously disappear, never to resurface ;-)  Eden takes on big sister role easily.  Harrison has two 7 yr old brothers bunking with him and is mostly ok with it.  8 trips to the horse farm for riding lessons.    8 trips to Eden's ballet class and playing on the playground while we wait for her.

12 creeks jumped over
One trip to the Pumpkin Patch on a Sunday afternoon.  7 games of SORRY.  Toy Story 1, 2, and 3 in the car.  Waverly got new tires on her car.  Mom used one old tire to hang a tire swing.  Mom's hammock is demolished as kids gravitate to it instead of the tire swing...grrrrrrrr.  Puzzles, letters, numbers, colors, shapes, names.  112 temper tantrums, the last of which (wait!  there was not a temper tantrum today! whooohooo!) ended with the whole family giggling (except the screamer).  I guess your body instinctively knows when it needs to produce endorphins.  8 doctor/dentist visits in 8 days.  6 vials of blood drawn.  Only a few tears.  Lots of bandaids and stickers and lolipops.  2 cases of strep throat.  One sinus infection.  One case of the flu.  One tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy/Baha post implant.  One case of mono.  Traditional Thanksgiving meal because Mom needed something to remember her former life by.  63 shower baths given by Dad.  63 wet bathrooms cleaned up by Dad.  163 wet bath towels (well, it seems like it).  7,214 articles of clothing folded...exaggeration? I couldn't say.  2 trips to the store to buy jeans for the boys (one of them by Waverly at 2am on Black Friday).  1 set of keys locked in a trunk.  9, no 8, no probably 6 episodes of Parenthood with Waverly after kids are in bed.  A Senior portrait session  for Waverly by my great friend and talented photographer, which somehow included ALL of my kids.

A little bit of sewing.  Christmas shopping almost exclusively online and by Dad.  Boys started school November 14!  Micah Jude got a bone conducting hearing aid in preparation for his Baha (bone anchored hearing aid).  One family portrait sitting...boys are confused by it all.  8 Sunday buffets at Miss Su's.  Lots of dinners brought by good friends.  One Rubbermaid building assembled to house bikes, scooters, and chipmunks (jk).  Lots of trips to Lowe's with Dad (the boys love it there).  24 waves goodbye and kisses blown to the bus in the morning.  Lots of hugs and kisses.    Several trips to Full Moon BBQ.
Passion music at bedtime worship with Dad.  Strobe dancing in the living room with LED lights and lasers.  Playing outside with neighbor friends.  Only a few scuffs from scooter accidents.  A couple meetings at the kids' school to talk about how THEY can help US teach our boys...AMAZING group of teachers!  Txt counseling by godly friends.  Daily prayer (did I say daily prayer?  I meant prayer ALL day).  Many reminders of my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12: 9,10).  One note for Santa taped to the front door tonight by Gideon.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We are leaving!

I completely shut down when we got our Consulate appointment yesterday.  I am not sure what happened, but I just felt like I was turning around in circles and not sure of what to do now.  I think I ended up running a couple errands that were already on my list to do and then had an extra 30 minutes so I went to the Verizon store to get set up for International calling :-)  So SOMETHING is ready for travel.

Oh yeah, after school I took Eden to her horse riding lesson.  I am so glad that was on the schedule yesterday.  I LOVE going to the horse farm.  It was exactly what I needed to calm me and start my brain functioning again.

So, I have lots of lists to make so I will just give you all the details.  If we are successful booking flights this AM, we will leave next Thursday (10/4) and return WITH OUR BOYS (!!) on 10/17!  This is really happening people!  This is when my nerves kick in because you really have NO IDEA what to expect.  It's kind of like riding a new rollercoaster for the first are excited and nervous at the same time.  You are pretty sure you are going to love it and be terrified at the same time.  You are pretty sure when the ride is over, you are going to want to get back in line again ;-)

If you see a change in tone or voice over the next few weeks, it is because I am relinquishing the blogging to my husband DW.  He is in charge of all things techological from here on out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From my heart

The last weeks of an adoption, right before you travel...excruciating!  There is so much going on inside my heart and brain and body right now that it is really hard to articulate.  Those who have been where I am will know what I am talking about, I think.  (Unless I am truly some sort of weirdo.)

Last week we sent out a letter (via Facebook), to practically everyone we know, detailing a little of our adoption story.  I have read that letter a bunch of times, and re-read my own accounting of our story in my March blog post and every time I read it I am so amazed!  When I look back at the whole of my life, I don't understand how I get to have this life!  God's grace is so incredibly amazing!  I could not, did not, would not have planned this life for myself.  As a matter of fact, I tried my best to make sure it would never look anything like this.  I ran from God for a long time.  I wounded and alienated many people in the process.  But God pursued me unrelentingly!  Eventually I could no longer resist a love that knew me, all of me, and still pursued me.  I did not feel at all worthy but wanted a true love so desperately that I accepted the love and forgiveness He offered.  I had nothing to offer Him in return except myself.

It is with this same kind of love we pursue our children.  With a fraction of the intensity, I am sure.  But if what I feel is a fraction of the way God feels about me,...there are no words.

In the letter we sent out, at the very end my husband said something along the lines of "thanks for your interest in our family and our mission".  By the way, our family IS our mission.  This week, I read a post from a friend (also an adoptive mother) who has been accused of being "some sort of missionary" bringing children to America to rescue them.  My heart hurts for her and for those who don't understand that that is not our "mission".  Our mission is to bear/adopt children and love them like God has loved us.  That is it.  How we come to have the children we have is a mystery to me, but not to God...never a mystery to God.  When we talk to Eden about how we found her, she always wants me to tell her over and over about how God told us she was in China and to go find her, and how we searched and searched and it took a long, long time for us to find her.  And she inserts at this part of the story that she was "at the playground" (orphanage) looking and looking for us but she couldn't find us and she was so sad and scared.  But we didn't stop, we kept looking until we "found" her.  We will tell our boys a similar story.  We started looking for them in Peru (weird, I know, because they are Chinese).  We will not tell them that we were on a rescue mission, or a disciple-making mission. We will tell them we were on a mission of love.  God told us to find them and bring them home and love them and we did not stop until we did just that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We got updated photos today!!!! Truly, I had given up on getting any before we leave.  According to the measurements we received, Eden will get her wish to be bigger than her brothers, but just barely and probably not for long.  I don't know what you all see in these pics...but what I see is that we are going to have our hands full ;-)  Let's just say I don't see much "cocooning" going on...wink, wink.  
Micah Jude 04/2005

Micah Jude (2), 04/2005

Gideon Eli, 07/2005

Gideon Eli (2), 07/2005
Eden Lisha, 01/2005
Make more room on the blanket!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stress Relieving Cookies

Sigh.  Another day without getting our cable letter email.  I need to bake.  Lucky for me, Harrison's track team is having a bake sale tomorrow so I can bake without gaining the customary 5 lbs.  Gaining weight is not stress-relieving.  Although, I'm not sure it matters.  These days all I have to do is smell sugar and I gain a pound.  Did I say these were "stress relieving" cookies?  I don't sound like I have been relieved yet.  I need to stop whining.
These are my favorite cookies in the world!  They are one of  my Grandma Denman's recipes.  I'm not sure if the reason I love them so much is that I remember baking cookies at her house on Wednesday afternoons, or how she ALWAYS had homemade cookies in the cookie jar at her house (yes, she actually had a real cookie jar), or if I just love these cookies.  You guys can be the judge.  If you love them, it must be the taste and not just the memories.

Here is the recipe...decide for yourselves :-)

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 

3/4 cup sugar
   1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening (OR yummy butter but it makes the cookies thinner and crispier...also delicious)
   2 eggs
   1 tsp vanilla (I like to overflow the tsp)
   2 cups flour
   1 tsp baking soda   
1/2 tsp salt
   2 cups oatmeal
   1 cup unsweetened coconut

A little milk to make the right consistency.  (This is literally what my Grandma's recipe said.)  But, to be a little more clear, I think the "right" consistency uses about 2-3 Tbsp of milk.  I actually forgot to check, I usually just slosh a little in there from the carton.  You want the consistency to be like chocolate chip cookies.

Cream the sugars and shortening or butter together in your mixer bowl then add the eggs and vanilla and blend.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add a little flour mixture at a time to the sugar/shortening mixture and blend until it is all combined.  Add the oatmeal and coconut and mix it in.  Now add your milk.
I like to use my smallish scooper to drop my cookies.  It makes the perfect size cookie.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  

Leave cookies on the cookie stone for a few minutes and let them START to cool before you move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

If you know what's good for you, bag most of them up and give them away or something.  If you are anything like me, you have already eaten more than you should between the dough and sampling every batch to make sure they are fit to eat ;-)

Maybe I will be back on here next week with good news about adoption progress.  This last little bit is excruciating to wait!  We still expect to travel sometime in Sept/Oct.  As soon as we get updated pics and info, I will blog again.  OR, I will send pics from China in a few weeks ;-)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Monday this week we received the Letters of Acceptance (or Approval, not sure which word is correct) for our two boys in China!  I guess I knew this was coming at some point, but it hit me kind of hard.  I was numb for most of the day, I think.  But when DW got home and we started talking about it, I kind of lost it.  I started crying and couldn't stop for awhile.  I guess the dam broke and the tears (of relief) flowed.  I didn't even realize I had been "stressed" over waiting for it.  I think I knew I was on a pretty thin line, veering over it some days into happiness and content and then back over the other side some days into a little bit of depression and impatience.  Everyone else in my family could probably tell you that THEY knew I was stressed, hehehe.

I am past the numbness now and moved on to excitement!  Our I-800 paperwork is gone, and we are expecting approval in 3 weeks or so.  We are praying for all things to go as quickly as possible from here on out BECAUSE, if we don't get to China in September, we will be looking at tripled hotel expenses for October because of Trade Fair in Guangzhou the 3rd week of Oct.  And did I mention the first week of Oct is a holiday week?  I can't make any of this work out right, but I know God has already figured it out so I will just leave Him to it and go with the flow.

We met with our social worker yesterday and realized that we have to come up with an additional $10K (ish) for expenses for our 2nd boy.  Geesh.  Just when I thought we had about 1/2 of what we needed to travel... I knew of this number, because I remember running across it while we were applying for grants and such a few months ago.  But, for some reason I dismissed it in my mind thinking that WE were capable of being much more frugal than that when we travel and we would not spend that much.  The number is mostly due to 2nd orphanage donation and visa and other paperwork, not so much hotel and food expenses (duh).    Either way, it will come, somehow.  I am peaceful about it.  As one of my friends said yesterday, "Well, it is not time to travel yet, so the $$ is not here yet."  So refreshingly simple.

Today this song popped into my head.  It pretty much captures my heart right now, and hopefully always.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How in the world do bloggers have time to, you!?  I have had this thing pinned on my board for months.  Have I even opened it to see what it says inside?  Heck no.  Who has the time to read endless articles that tell you more things you could, would, or should be doing?!?

I must be the slowest person on the planet.  Yesterday my daughter (almost 17 yrs.) accused me of being a slow packer.  "Mom," she said, "it should never take you longer than 30 minutes to pack.  Why does it take you 3 days?!?"  Oh, I don't know...maybe because if the minutest thing gets left behind when we go on vacation, like say, ketchup, guess who is taking time out of vacation to run to the local supermarket while everyone else is fishing and swimming and laying in hammocks?  Well, it used to be I have teenage drivers who will readily volunteer to drive the 5 miles down the windy mountain roads to go to the store for me so I can stay at the cabin.  Because that is so much more relaxing for me ;-)

But here I am sitting at this computer "blogging" instead of packing.  I am easily distracted.  Maybe I'm not slow, just unfocused....hmmmmm.  Why am I even at the computer?!?  Oh yeah, I did have "Blog New Items" on my list today.  But when I got the camera to post pictures of the new dress and shirt I made last week so that I could blog about computer would not recognize my SD card so I fooled around with it a bit and realized it was not an SD card at all but something called an "Adapter".  What does that even mean?  I think it must mean "if you put this card in your camera, it will look like you have actually taken pictures and you can flip through them and delete the ones that are blurry and keep the ones you really want, but when you take this 'adapter' out of your camera there is actually nothing there."  Obviously photography is not my thing either. 
I need to stick to sewing.

I have very little hope that I will "build a better blog" or even if I do, transform into a real blogger between now and next month so...see you in about 30 days.  That seems to be about how often I can reasonably come up with a post.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Baseball and Beginning of Summer

Today is Harrison's last baseball game in the league he has been playing in since we moved to Birmingham.  He ages out and will have to find somewhere else to play.  I was looking back this week and found some pics of when he first started to play baseball...

There are not too many other things that I enjoy more than watching Harrison play baseball.  He truly loves the game and it is a joy to watch.

Ten years!  It is so hard to believe!  Bring on the next ten!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I opened my Etsy shop on Feb 28, 2012...why didn't I do this sooner?!?  Fear, plain and simple.  What is the matter with me?  I have been working steadily on Etsy orders since Feb 28.  I am in sewing heaven.  I wake up thinking about what I get to sew today.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas about what I need to design next.  I am working on a pattern for pants now.  Well, it is still in my head, but I am almost ready to sketch it.  Maybe I will do that after I read to Eden tonight...
Dreamy Linen robe $68.00

Sheer linen tank $36.00

Seersucker tunic, low v-neck $88.00        

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pre-Approval or "PA" as the Chinese adopters like to refer to it

Yesterday we got Pre-Approval for our two boys in China!  Whooooohoooo! O my goodness, what a 3 years this has been!  This will be a loooonnnnggg post, but I just have to tell you the whole 3-year story.

Six months after we got back from China with our Eden (about November 2008), we started the process to adopt again.
Eden Lisha, December 2008
 We were in no way ready to adopt again (no one is after 6 months), but it takes so so so so long to complete the process that we just trusted that God would get us ready before it happened.  Apparently, we had a LOT of getting ready to get done.

For some reason, we decided against going back to China...oh yes, now I remember...DW was rapidly approaching 50 and I am not too far behind him and at the time China was taking about 3 years for special needs and we just didn't have that kind of time...Baaahhhaaahaaaa!  So, we decided on Peru instead, which we thought could possibly be 12-18 months start to finish.  That wasn't the only reason we thought we were choosing Peru, but it certainly was a plus. 

We completed our dossier and it was in Peru in about 5 months.  We started reviewing files of sibling groups in order to choose (??? I never did figure out how to do that) brothers we thought would fit into our family.  In March 2010, we sent a letter of request for two brothers.  Pretty soon after that, those two brothers were matched with another family :-(  After a bit, we half-heartedly started looking at files again.  While we were doing this, we got word from someone that they knew of two brothers the same ages as the ones we had just requested that needed a home, would we like to pursue adoption of them?  We saw some pictures and videos, prayed about it, and decided to try.  The boys were technically not available for adoption quite yet and still had some paperwork pending in Peru before we could officially request adopting them.  We understood all of this and still decided to wait for them.  I think that was around June, 2010.

We waited and waited, getting some sort of a progress report on the boys paperwork monthly.  Sometimes the news was that nothing had happened, sometimes it was a tiny spark of hope like a good meeting with a judge or another paper signed.  It was excruciatingly slow.  We learned a lot about patience.  We waited.  We prayed.  We sometimes cried.  Sometimes we got frustrated and vented to one another.  I hope we did not vent to too many of you, but we do thank God for those of you who made yourselves available for venting sessions ;-)  The waiting went on thru November 18, 2010, when there was a judges strike in Peru...and of course, we were waiting on a signature from...a judge.  The people we talked to had never seen a strike last more than a week or so because the judges need their income.  We got an email that the strike had ended on 12/21/2010.  One more month, gone.  And now it is Christmas break...more waiting with little hope of any progress.

There were meetings and promises of more meetings for the first several months of 2011.  I am sure there was progress on the boys files but there was just no evidence of it here in AL.  We were losing hope.  I think at this point, DW had lost hope but I was still hanging on (by a thread, maybe, but hanging on).  In mid-April, we started reviewing files again.  We were so exhausted by this time that we completely abandoned the thought of adopting two boys and began looking at single boys.  On June 30, 2011, we had a letter in hand requesting adoption of a single boy we had fallen in love with (through his file, of course).  Before we could send the letter, on the very day we intended to send it, we got a call with good news about the "original" brothers.  Also, the little boy we were about to request had been on the list for years with only a couple people ever wanting to see his file.  On THIS day, there were two families besides us interested in adopting him.  We released his file to another family.  sigh.

In all of this, we KNEW God was at work.  Mainly because we were being supernaturally patient.  That was not US, believe me.  Not in our nature (especially one of us...wink, wink).  We wanted it to be over.  We wanted SOMETHING to happen.  We didn't want to wait anymore.  But we knew we had to.  We have had Christmas stockings on our mantel for these boys since Christmas 2010...we would wait.

For the next several months we were cautiously excited.  We were getting weekly updates, progress was being made, steps completed, it seemed it was really moving forward and we were REALLY going to get our boys...

Then, randomly, right before Christmas, 2011, we were matched, by the Peruvian government, with two completely different brothers.  WHAT?!? This must be a mistake, we thought.  Their files said they should go to parents with no children...we already have 3.  Something was wrong.  And what about our "original" brothers?  We couldn't accept.  We very respectfully and delicately (thanks to our adoption agency) denied the match. sigh and sigh.

I don't know what happened over Christmas break. I lost my hope.  All of it.  It was just gone.  Not to be retrieved.  I couldn't find it, no, it was worse than that...I didn't even want to look for it.  I grieved.  I let it go.  I was done.  When DW realized what was happening, he tried to encourage me with "Don't lose hope on me now!  We still have a chance.  You've held on all this time, don't give up now."  I just had to reply, "It is too late. It's gone."  And I knew it was.  In my heart of hearts, I knew.

Our Immigration paperwork was expiring (3/15/2012), we had to decide whether to renew in Peru or at all.  By the end of January we knew...we would not renew in Peru, but in China.  What a crazy circle we had made.  Let me see, how many trips around the sun?  Was it 3?  Hmmmmm.  Seems like we didn't have that kind of time.

Mid-January, 2012, DW texted me that he had seen a pic of a cute little boy in China on our agency's website and I should take a look at him.  I didn't know that DW had not actually gone to the website but had just seen a little thumbnail pic and was drawn to him but didn't have time to look.  Well, I had time.  I went and looked at every video and then asked for his file.  I can only describe what happened when I saw him for the very first time as this overwhelming feeling of, "I have to go get him...NOW!"  That was "Gideon".  DW was out of town sitting by his Mom's bedside.  Now he had time, so while he was reading through "Gideon's" file, he noticed that the orphanage listed was the same orphanage that Eden was in (2008).  No...don't tell me. It was true...he was the same time Eden was there.  It was like a kick in the stomach at first.  Why did we not see him before?  He has been there this whole time?  The Holy Spirit quickly quieted me by telling me "The time is now.  He is ready now.  You are ready now."  DW sent me a picture we had of Eden at a birthday party in China right before we went to get her in March 2008...there he was, in the picture, eating cake in a blue sweater.
Gideon, far left...Eden, far right
 I got out the picture book Eden's orphanage had made of her life and started scanning looking for him.  Eden said she remembered him!  They were friends!  And then I saw it...

There they are, Eden on the right, Gideon on the left...coloring.  What are the odds?  I don't even think you can figure odds like those, can you?

Eden says she had never heard the name of God or Jesus in China.  And yet, I know He had a hand in this picture being taken. 

AND, this story is not done. (I told you it was long.)

After we started digging into Gideon's background and asking questions of Lilly in China, she realized that Gideon is in a foster home with another boy on our agency's list.  The name our agency gave him is "Galvin".  As soon as our agency realized it, they sent an email out to the mailing list requesting prayer and "gushing" about how great it would be if both foster brothers could be adopted into the same family.  Remember earlier I said we had given up on the "brothers" idea and were paring it down to one boy.  Remember that?  Remember me saying it?  I did!  Paragraph 6...I said it.  So when I read the email from our agency, I thought to myself "Yes, that would be nice, but we are requesting Gideon and we are only asking for one boy, so maybe someone else in Alabama could adopt him and we could be friends."  Doesn't that sound like a good plan to all of you?  ha.  not.  Watch out, my husband was fasting.  We didn't stand a chance.  I knew before the fast was over what we were going to do.  Because, while he was fasting, the Holy Spirit was telling ME to go get them both.  The morning after DW finished fasting, I gave him an impassioned speech in the kitchen about how "Waverly just doesn't understand why we would NOT get them both.  They are brothers...they have been together for years.  We were planning to get brothers from the beginning.  It doesn't make sense not to get them both.  They need each other.  We can't have them grieving the loss of each other in a strange family where they don't speak the language...", on and on I went while he stood watching me with a bemused (amused?) look on his face. When I noticed the look, I just stopped and said, "You already decided we were getting them both, didn't you?"  "Yes."  "Why did you let me go on and on then?"  "I just wanted to hear what you had to say", he said.

This is the email my DW sent me when we requested Galvin's file to review..."My logical mind says don't do this.  But if I had listened to that I would have missed so much in life."  (Jan 31, 2012)  
If you look closely at the "birthday pic" above, you will also see Micah Jude ("Galvin") in the background behind Gideon...we just discovered this a few weeks ago.  This story just gets better and better.  So, of the 5 children in the photo, taken years ago on the other side of the world...3 of them are ours.  I can't wrap my mind around it.

We have thrown logic out the window long ago.  It's pretty freeing actually.  Did I tell you the boys ages (in context)?  Eden Lisha: 01/08/2005;  Micah Jude ("Galvin"): 04/25/2005;  Gideon Eli ("Gideon"): 07/12/2005.  I am sure I mentioned that we are pushing past 50.  See what I mean about the logic??? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NEW!! linen robe and tank

Dreamy Linen robe $68.00
 This robe is amazing!  I am in LOVE with this linen fabric.  It is almost a burlap-type weave, but it is ultra soft (after washing).  I will admit I was a little frightened when it came in the mail and looked as stiff as a board.  But, after a couple washes and trips through the dryer, it is sooooo soft.  I imagine it will just get softer after every washing.  I love how it gets all rumpled up after drying. 
tie detail

ruffle sleeve/edge detail

weave detail
 The Breezy Linen pintuck tank is made of sheer linen.  I can't wait to try it out at baseball games this summer.  If you are with us here in AL, you know how sweltering baseball season is!  I am always searching for something to wear that lets a breeze in and dries quickly.  If I find the perfect cami to wear under, I will post it here! I will probably not bother with a cami in other colors, but it will be necessary with this white one...even a slip-hater like myself has SOME standards ;-)
Breezy Linen pintuck tank $36.00

pintuck detail

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Something a little different this week...aprons and tea towels.  I made these for a client who is giving them away for gifts :-)
Reversible prints (hers)

Reversible prints (his)
I have been told that the "his" side looks slightly less "his" on the mannequin with boobs ;-)

$35 ea

Bird applique tea towels $18 ea

Tomorrow I hope to have some pictures of this next outfit on a model.
Linen tunic, low v-neck $88.00

Linen tunic (back)

Linen Asymmetric Drawstring skirt $82.00

Linen Asymmetric Drawstring skirt (back)