Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for a great Easter. We had a wonderful service at church.
My mother gave us a great gift in that she prepared lunch for all of us
and didn't have us bring anything. She knew we would be busy with our
children and church services, although she had church herself. There
were no fusses or tears with the children and it was just a wonderful
and relaxing day. I also took Monday off of work and got to be lazy.

I am thankful Bigdaddy (my grandfather and not a really big man) is
doing better. He has been struggling with bronchitis and his sugar
levels have been very high. He told us Sunday that he has been able to
decrease his insulin shots after following a strict diet and loosing
weight. The bronchitis seems to be much better.

I am thankful for the birds. I have recently taken to bird watching. I
bought a couple bird feeders and just about every morning I will sit in
our office and watch them out the window. We have red birds (my
favorite) blue jays, wrens, doves, wood peckers and some others that I
don't recognize or know their names. It's very interesting to watch
them. They will come in little groups and take turns at each of the
feeders. Some will perch on the branches and be the "look out" birds
watching for cats and any other animal that might want to disrupt their
breakfast. Others will just feed from the ground picking up seeds that
have fallen from the feeders. I've noticed the redbirds appear to be
considerate of one another. One will quickly take a few seeds, perch on
a branch and then allow the next one to the feeder and then he will grab
some seed and perch and allow the next red bird to feed and so on and so
on. Now the woodpeckers are very different in that they are greedy and
will stay at the feeders for a very long time and when they come the
other birds leave. I guess their size intimidates the smaller birds or
maybe the smaller birds just find the woodpecker obnoxious and don't
want to be around them. I have no idea what goes on in the minds of
birds but what I am learning is that the birds don't have a care in the
world. I'm reminded of the scripture found in Matthew 6:25-27
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat
or what you will drink nor about your body, what you will put on. Is
not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the
birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns
yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than
they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature"? My
desire is to not worry so much and I'm coming to understand more each
day that I am of great value and how much I am loved and cared for by my
Heavenly Father and I'm thankful I'm learning this lesson every morning
by looking out of my window.

Have a great Thursday!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday on a Friday (again)

I am thankful that the last of the adoption paperwork is done!!!!! I mailed off our visa applications today and have signed and notarized everything for our agency. Now all that’s left to do is wait for our fingerprint appt. Our original fingerprints expire on May 14th and in order to travel they must be current. I wrote INS a letter last week requesting a fingerprint appt. Now don’t ask me why we must have new fingerprints done because I can assure you neither mine nor Rusty’s prints have changed. I find it hard to believe that INS can’t just pull us up out of their enormous data base and have them right there. Anyway, this is Thankful Thursday and not Whining Wednesday.

I am thankful for a really great time tonight. We met my sister Laurie and her family at IHOP so the kids could eat this. It was a little too sweet for Gracie so Rusty had to wipe some of the goo off and put regular syrup on them.

I am thankful that Mr. Kenny from our church got a good report from his Dr. last week. Mr. Kenny is a really wonderful man and brings so much encouragement to everyone he meets. He suffers from a lung disease diagnosed several years ago and to be honest he isn’t even supposed to be alive right now. Through the power of prayer he is here and going strong. His Dr.’s thought he might have some clogged arteries so after some testing and a lot of praying he only has slight blockage and it can be treated through medication.

It is Easter and it wouldn’t be a very good Thankful Thursday if I didn’t talk about what this means to me. Now I could just say I’m thankful that I’m a Christian and Jesus saved me. It’s a powerful sentence but I think maybe it’s used flippantly at times or we don’t take the time to understand what that means. He saved me……. It’s kind of like a really great example Rusty gave in church one time. I was walking in one direction, walking, walking, walking, walking, headed in the wrong direction, headed towards an end that holds no promise, no hope and no eternity. I asked Christ into my life and then I abruptly stopped, turned around in my tracks and headed in the opposite direction. This direction is filled with wonderful and amazing promises for my life, it is full of hope, joy and peace and a life that continues on when I leave this body and this world. I am a Christian! Being a Christian means different things to different people. This is what it means to me and why I’m thankful. I am in constant conversation and fellowship with God. I have allowed Him total control and access to my life. I have access to something that surpasses anything here on earth. I have peace in my life. Am I perfect? Oh No, ask anyone who knows me well. Do I do things and say things that I wish I hadn’t? Almost everyday! But I am forgiven and I have a great big God who loves me no matter what. I am but a speck on the tip of his thumb but he knows me by name and he knows the number of hairs on my head. He knew me when I was in my mother’s womb. I owe Him everything but instead He ask me for nothing but to accept Him and then He died for me so that I could stop in my tracks and start walking in a different direction.

This Easter what are you thankful for? If you are walking that same path I’m on then I am so happy for you but if it’s time to walk in the opposite direction then I challenge you this Easter season to start researching this man called Jesus and what this Easter story is all about.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday/Easter Past

Check back tonight and I will have my Thankful Thursday posted. In the meantime please enjoy the pictures of Gracie from Easter 2005. She was one month shy from turning 3.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Letter to My Daughter

I’m having an unusually blue evening. We stay pretty busy and I try not to focus too much of my energy on this wait but tonight it’s getting the best of me so I thought I would write something for Laurie Alice and she would enjoy reading it one day and see just how much I love her.

To My Sweet Ladybug,
I want to let you know that not a day goes by that I don’t think about you and pray for you. I told your Daddy tonight that this wait is really getting to me and even though we are in the home stretch it still feels like an eternity away. Ever since we started your adoption process we have prayed that you would get lots of hugs and kisses until we can give them to you ourselves. I do pray that someone is looking after you with watchful eyes and that you know what it feels like to be rocked when you’re tired and comforted when you cry. Please know that I love you so much and can hardly wait until the day when I get to scoop you up in my arms and give you a million hugs and kisses. I send you thoughts that somehow you will know that you have a family waiting to embrace you and to be there for you on the good days and not so good days. There is so much we want to show you and experience with you. You have a big sister who can’t wait to meet you. She wrote you the cutest story and made it into a book. She draws pictures of you all time and talks about you as if she has always known you. I’ve explained to her that you may be shy and a little scared when you first meet us and to not be upset if you should cry. Your sister replies, “No way Mama, she might be a little scared of you and Daddy but she will know me because I will look like her”. I know you two will have a bond that will probably run even deeper than most biological sisters. You share a similar story.
Hang in there and know that very soon we are coming and very soon you will have a sense of belonging. Even though you have been alone for the first 2 ½ years of your life you have a family on the way and I promise, you will not face another day by yourself.
I Love You,

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thankful Friday

I didn’t get this posted yesterday but there are no rules about what time Thankful Thursday has to be posted. Good news is that the delay is adoption related. Lots and lots of paperwork to take care of now that we have received our acceptance letter.

I am thankful that God choose to make me a mother through adoption. He could have just as easily have allowed me to give birth to a child. One miracle was no greater than the other. He hand picked me to be Gracie and Laurie Alice’s Mama. There are so many reasons that I’ve been blessed by adoption one of the greatest being the wonderful friendships I have made during the process to adopt Gracie and now to adopt Laurie Alice. Rusty and I are so fortunate to have a special relationship with both of the families we traveled with in 2003. We are extremely fortunate that Dave and VJ live right here in SC and their daughter Jada was Gracie’s crib mate. That is such a special bond and it is utterly amazing that those two get to continue their relationship after their adoption. David and Julie and their daughters Emily, adopted with Gracie and Jada, and their youngest Anna live in Ohio. We sure wish they lived closer BUT we have been meeting for reunion trips every year. There is a bond that ties us together by our girls. We have different lives, raise our children a little differently, have different interest but our girls bring us together and have forged a friendship that will last a long time. I have no doubt that we will be attending College graduations together , traveling to Ohio for weddings and I can even foresee trips together long after our girls have moved on with their lives. We will sit with silver hair and pop the video’s in and watch just one more time the story that changed our lives forever. We will reminisce about how we met David and Julie for the first time in the Chicago airport and how after receiving Emily they fed her French fries one night until they made her sick. We will laugh one more time about the total disarray Dave and VJ’s room was in, luggage and food stuffed down in the crib placed in their hotel; and of course there will always be the encounter Rusty had with the little girl selling souvenirs at the Forbidden City. I love these two families with all my heart and I am so blessed to have them all in my life.

I am thankful for the friends I have made during the process of adopting Laurie Alice. God has opened so many doors and allowed me the opportunity to meet such wonderful and caring people. When we first started talking about adopting a child with special needs I was apprehensive. I prayed that I would meet people that would give me confirmation in my spirit that this was His will for our lives. Some of these wonderful people I’ve only met once or twice or maybe only had a brief conversation but they were not chance meetings but I believe they were God ordained encounters. I’m thankful for Beth who answered my questions over and over and over again about her experiences having adopted two little girls who are cleft affected. I’m so thankful for my wonderful friend Sharon (she designed my blog). You know she and I have NEVER met face to face and I have actually only spoken on the phone to her one time but we email and I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. She’s doing this fundraiser for me which I find extremely touching. She also has two little ones who are also cleft affected and I know God has put her in my life to help me in the very near future as Laurie Alice will have to undergo surgeries. I know I’ll be able to talk to her and she will understand what I’m going through. I’ve recently met Gina who will be traveling just a few months after us to bring home their son who is the same age and from the same orphanage as Laurie Alice. We’ve only met for lunch once but we immediately clicked and I know that our families will get to know one another even more.

I have no idea who will be in our travel group but I’m excited about the prospects. Who else will God put in our lives? He is such a good God and He notices every detail of our lives and he brings people along beside us to experience and go through things together.

I am thankful for these friendships. I have many, many more friends and as time goes on I will talk about many of them and what they have meant in my life. So for this Thankful Thursday I encourage you to think about the friendships in your life whether you have 1 friend or 100. Be thankful that they have been placed there!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Email from our Agency!

I received the following email from our agency today. One more step to bringing Laurie Alice home. I am getting so excited. I've never even meet this little one and my heart is already bursting with love for her.

Hi there,

Hope you are well! Great news – today we received your “Letter Seeking Confirmation of Adopter” for your child, issued by the CCAA! The CCAA needs families’ signatures on this document. We will overnight this document to you today, so you should receive it tomorrow. If you would prefer it to be sent to an address OTHER than your home address, please let me know by 2:00 pm MST. The signature will be released, so you will not need to be home to receive it.

There will be a letter with the document instructing you on what to do with it – don’t worry, it’s super easy (doesn’t even have to be notarized). J Please sign and date this document and return it to us as soon as you possibly can – for Wednesday or Thursday delivery to CCAI if possible. The CCAA will need to receive this signed letter before they can issue your Travel Approval. As soon as we receive this back from you, we will forward it on to China.

Once the CCAA has received this signed letter, we estimate that your Travel Approval will arrive in about two to three weeks!

Thank you for your quick cooperation. Please let us know if you have any questions! Thanks and have a great day!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

It's a Girl!!

My sister Alice had an ultra sound on Friday and we found out she's having a girl. They already have two little boys so we are extremely excited to have another girl in the family. The boys have been dominating on my side of the family but finally the scales are tippping. When Laurie Alice gets home and then when Mollie Beth is born sometime in July it will be 4 boys and 3 girls. Hmmmmmm, wonder which one of us will have one more girl to even things out. Anyway, I can't wait for Alice and I do some dress shopping together. Can you say "smocked" we both love those kind of dresses.

Congratulations Alice and Jay and big brothers Grady and Jacob!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my friend Rosie; she is such a blessing to me. She has provided me with much needed comic relief at work and she is just an all around neat person. She takes things as they come and never seems to get stressed out. She’s also originally from England and she never gets mad at me when I poke fun at her about being a foreigner or make fun of the fact that like all good English people she will eat anything on toast. Tomorrow is her Birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSIE!!!!!!!!! Love ya Girlfriend!

Would it be over the top if I mentioned yet again how thankful I am for my husband? I just love that man!! He pastors a church and works in the schools, does our laundry, cooks about 90% of our meals, grocery shops, takes care of Gracie after school and he NEVER complains. The past couple of weeks have been particularly busy for us and he just keeps going on and handles all of the responsibilities required of him. I’d also like to say that he is an excellent preacher. In fact, he is my favorite preacher to listen to. I’ll hear other preachers and I’ll tell Rusty they were okay but not as good as him. The thing I love about him the most is that he is a Godly man and that means more to me than any flowers or gifts he could ever give me.

I’m thankful for good health. Now don’t get me wrong, I could stand to loose a few pounds, well make that a lot of pounds but generally speaking everything works as it should and I don’t have to take medication for anything. There are so many people in the world who are afflicted with serious health problems. I’m amazed at the courage and strength that they have and it humbles me.

Last but not least I am thankful that it is the first of March and we are having Spring like weather!!!! I love it.

I hope everyone has a very thankful Thursday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Sweet Potato Pie

Here are a few pictures of my silly girl. There is so much personality packed in that little body!!!

I love this picture. Gracie wanted me to braid her hair that morning. Her hair isn't long enough yet for me to give her good braids so I had to do pig tails instead. She was pouting about it. I had to take a picture. She looked so cute even though she was mad at me.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Adoptive Parents

I saw this on another blog and thought I would post it here. It has been an extremely busy week at our house so I have had very little time to actually post pictures and my own thoughts. For now I'm just borrowing things I see. Hang in there and hopefully I will have some original Leslie stuff very soon.

You Know You're An Adoptive Parent When . . .
1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

-Author unknown