For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,...The King reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" Matthew 25:35,40

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


She's flourishing!!

Goodness! It's AMAZING what God can do when He places an orphan into a family...who then becomes an orphan no more, but simply part of the family. I am in awe of how much Sophia Joy has changed in just over a month of having her (our Gotcha Day was Nov 21st). She's only been home for a little over 3 weeks and it is truly a blessing to watch her transform before our eyes. The nannies who took care of her said she didn't speak much only said about 2 or 3 words. I was a little concerned over that, but she was ours so it didn't really matter. Well, I am so happy to report that this girl can chatter with the best of them now! No, she's not fluent in English, but she can say quite a bit for only hearing English for a month! She can say Daddy, Mommy, Odie, Up, No...No...No, Yea, Help Mommy, Night-Night, More, and quite a bit more, but I can't remember them all right now. Sheesh...for only speaking 2 words in the orphanage to a list of over 10 English words in a month...I am impressed. When my good friend and I traveled to China to get Sophia we felt she was developmentally between 12 months and 18 months old in most things (she is 2 1/2 years old). For example, she walked just like a 12 month old who had only been walking a few days or so. She fell a lot because she was so clumsy. She had ZERO concept of stairs and would have walked straight off the top step if we had let her. Now, only a short time of being in a family she can run around the playground, climb the steps like a champ and go down the slide all by herself. Then she's ready to do it over and over and over again! The girl can jump up and down with both feet coming off the floor. This really may not sound like a big deal, but the girl could barely walk at 2 1/2 years old a month ago! She has also gained about 4-5 pounds since her medical check up in China. In China with her clothes on she weighed about 22.5 pounds. Last night, naked after her bath she weighed in at 27.5 pounds!! Of course that was right after dinner, but still!! Speaking of baths...Sophia had no idea how to play in the bath. This was evident the first day I gave her a bath. She let me wash her hair and her body and then immediately stood up for me to take her out. Now....she is swimming like a fish in the bath! She plays and plays and plays some more and would stay in until she pruned up if we let her. Daddy did a fabulous job the first week home with her. He bathed her every night and literally encouraged and taught her how to play. I am sure I can go on and on, but I will just leave you all with some great before and after pics. I was trying to upload a video, but haven't it doesn't seem to be working. I will keep trying though.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Update and Pictures

(One picture is of all the kiddos eating popcorn after picking up Samuel from school and the other picture is of Sophia hugging her new doll and blanket from Grandma...she loves them both!)


Well its been 12 days home and Sophia is settling in beautifully! The first few days were very hard on both of us. Although, I think she did better than me. I must have been really exhausted because I had the worst attitude when I was home the first few days. It was so strange, because instead of feeling overjoyed to have Sophia home...I was wondering what in the heck did I just do to our family. I couldn't eat for 5 full days...lost about 7 pounds and was just downright depressed. I am so glad to report that we are all back to our happy selfs...I guess it was the jetlag and stress of the trip that did me in. Those first days home were TOUGH! But, God atleast gave me enough sense to know that I truly did not feel the way I thought I felt. We are all doing so well now. And in case you are appetite is in full force and I am pretty sure I have gained it all back. lol! All the kids are getting along wonderfully. I do not mean we do not have our struggles of sharing, bad attitudes, or pouting...we absolutely have that. But, to me...that's normal! The boys STILL hug and kiss Sophia ALL DAY LONG! Poor girl can't even eat her eggs without someone laying a big ol' kiss on her. She and Julia are slowly getting closer. It's actually pretty comical to watch them...I think I remember going through this when I was about 5 and my mom brought home my sister Lori. I wasn't too happy about this new person in our family, but or course I can't imagine life without her...or any of my siblings for that matter! So, just wanted to fill everyone in on how we are doing. We love this little girl with all our hearts and are thrilled she is home with us!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Urgent need for a young boy.

I follow a blog called No Greater Joy Mom and today I read about a soon to be 16 year old boy. His birthday is approaching and once he turns 16 he gets about $30 and his small bag of belongings...and he is off on his own. Out the orphanage door and into the streets...alone. I can only shake my head at the thought of one of my precious sons being out on the streets, with no one who cares for them. The future of this boy is bleak. It doesn't take much thought to figure out where his life is heading. It's so sad. You can read about him here. He needs someone to step forward for him within a few days. Maybe you are that family???

Please pray for this young boy...I can't even imagine how frightened he is knowing what lies ahead.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Today was so sweet. Sophia is adjusting wonderfully. And now that we have gotten some sleep under our belts, we are all doing so much better. She is finding her place in our family perfectly. Not too long ago, George took the kids downstairs to play while I cleaned up the kitchen...and all I heard was giggle after giggle after giggle. It really is sweet to see her mold into her family and for all of us to get to see her bloom! She has just started calling me Mama and really knowing it's me she's talking about. She makes kissey faces when she wants a smooch from mommy or daddy and she loves it when daddy throws her around! She is fearless! The boys continue to love her to pieces and Julia is becoming more and more lovey towards her new sister. She even said "I love you Sophia". Drew mentioned at dinnertime that Sophia is very pretty. It's so nice that they are loving her so much and she, in return, is loving them back.

We are blessed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

5 days HOME!

I am thrilled to be home...I missed being home very much...missed my hubby, the kiddos, my bed, the familiarity, ENGLISH and a whole bunch of other stuff. However, being home brings along a whole new set of challenges. sure does. Like....recovering from jetlag, being so very tired, acclimating Sophia to the other children...her room...the dog...pretty much everything. She has done really well when I remember that she is 2 and that her entire world has been turned upside down. If anything, I have to be more grace giving and remind myself to be more patiend and understanding and loving. It's easy to "expect" Sophia to act a "certain" way, because the other 3 acted a certain way at her age. However, the other 3 never lived in China, in an orphanage, with little food and no really it's a completely ridiculous expectation. I am aware of my ridiculuous expectations and I am keeping that at the forefront of my mind. I really didn't know what to expect after I brought Sophia home, but I don't think I was prepared. Not sure if you really can prepare for it until you do it. But, it's been so rewarding and so challenging all at the same time. I think Sophia is a very brave little girl. She is transitioning into our family very well. I am thankful for her and I am really looking forward to what she will be like and how she will have grown in the next few months. Just as I am proud of the other kiddos, I am equally proud of lil' Miss Sophia for how strong she has been. Daddy just thinks she's so adorable and they are bonding well. We've had a little jealously between the girls, but again it's only been 5 days...God will work it out. I have no doubt!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Last Post before I leave and Link to follow us in China!

Hi all! Well, I have been busy just finishing up a few details before I leave. It's strange leaving my other kiddos behind while I am gone. I am so used to being the one that takes care of all the household and school stuff. I am trying to make this 2 weeks that I am gone as seamless as possible. Anyway, today I plan to finish up any errands or packing that needs done. Tomorrow is all about hanging with my kiddos! I am heading to my friend Kirsten's house and spending the night. That way we will be much closer to the airport for our Friday morning flight around 7:00am. So, I say bye to my sweet family tomorrow at 5....sigh. I will not be posting on this blog while in China. I won't have access to it. So, my friend Kirsten set up a shutterfly account and we will blog on that. I did post the link on the right of the has given me a little bit of problems. Sometimes instead of going straight to our blog with Sophia's picture on it, it just goes to the main shutterfly page. If I just try it works. Strange... Anyway, I will post it on this post too...maybe between the two of them it will work! The next time I or Kirsten blogs...we will be in route to China or in China! Would love your prayers for safe travels and great bonding!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Here's the breakdown of our stay in China!

November 18--Leave Chicago for our 17 hour flight to Hong Kong
November 19--Recoup in Hong Kong
November 20--Fly from Hong Kong to Changsha (our daughter's orphanage location)
November 21--Meet Sophia!
November 22--Adoption Paperwork--This is when I sign the papers to legally adopt her!
November 23--Local Sightseeing
November 24--Local Sightseeing--waiting for Sophia's paperwork to be finished.
November 25--Local Sightseeing--Receive all the documents I am waiting for.
November 26--Fly from Changsha to Guangzhou
November 27--Local Sightseeing
November 28--Photo for Sophia, Medical Check for Sophia, and TB test for Sophia
November 29--Local Sightseeing
November 30--Get Medical Check Results Back
December 1st--Apply for Sophia's visa and appointment at the Consulate
December 2nd--Pick up Sophia's Visa and head back to Hong Kong
December 3rd--Fly out of Hong Kong to head home sweet home!

Sophia will be a US citizen as soon as we land in Chicago!! Awesome!

Only 3 days until I ready for this!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's the final countdown!

NINE days to go until we fly the friendly skies!! So many things I am looking forward to, but the one thing I am not looking forward to is the oh so long flight....UGH! I think we have a 16 hour non stop from Chicago to Hong Kong. That's gonna be a tough one. But,'s all going to be worth it in the end. I am not so much worried about the going, but the coming home with a toddler that is worrisome! I better bring a lot of goldfish to eat! The last thing I am not looking forward to is being away from my family for 2 full weeks...this momma's heart is breaking. Again, so worth it in the end! They get to have a lot of time with Daddy and life is pretty sweet. Well, off to pack and finish up the details of this trip! Please pray for all of us...we will need it.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Woohoo!!! Today, just 4 days after our Article 5 was picked up....we have Travel Approval!!! Shocked! I don't know why I am shocked. I've been praying for something miraculous to happen and this is certainly not above anything the Lord can do, but still I am in AWE! Soooo excited! I most likely will be in China with my newest love over Thanksgiving, missing my hubby and kiddos here, but praising and thanking God for my new daughter. What a wonderful Thanksgiving it may be!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Such a wonderful post

It is orphan awareness month in many churches. I enjoyed reading this post...heartbreaking as it may is REALITY. Please check it out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Waiting for TA!!!!

Yea! Our Article 5 should have been picked up today...this is something that has to do with Sophia's visa. So, now we are officially waiting for Travel Approval (TA). Our agency said it's about a 2 week wait. However, I have seen some families from our agency receive TA in 10 or 11 days. So, it is a possibility that by next Friday, Nov 11th we may have our TA. So the countdown begins! I have started to pack...slowly, but surely. I've been picking up things as I've been out and about and been putting things in the suitcase. My poor little Drew is having a bit of a tough time with Mommy going to China. If he sees me packing he immediately gets teary eyed. I feel awful. I know it's for the best...I gotta get our little girl home, but it does break this momma's heart. Pray for him. I just love that little dude.

I will keep y'all posted!! It's really getting closer!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Article 5--Dropped off!

Well, I received our much awaited pdf from the National Visa Center this past Monday. I quickly forwarded it to my adoption coordinator and she sent it along to her China contact. So, my paperwork for my Article 5 should have been dropped off Tuesday! Now I just count forward two weeks from October 18th, which will be November 2nd, and my Article 5 paperwork should be picked up that day! After that we wait for our Travel Approval. Travel Approval is China's invitation to us to come get our daughter. Some other adoptive parents from my agency have been receiving TA a week to 10 days after their Aricle 5 pickup....and they are traveling just a week after get their TA. If we follow that same schedule we could be traveling in a month from now. It's starting to feel like it's really going to happen! Believe it or not, I've already started packing. I'm trying to take as little luggage as possible...I'm pretty low maintenance (a ponytail is my favorite "hairdo"), so I think that should be somewhat easy. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't Forget!

There have been more prizes added to the giveaway at

There are some super fabulous prizes!!

Check it out!!!


Sophia and a friend (Sophia's on the left looking at the camera)

I think she's ready for a mama!

I love the outfit!

This one has got to me my favorite picture of her!

We're coming!!!

I am so thrilled to see our sweet Sophia's face...she is getting so big...which does make me a bit sad. And in 2 of the pictures her eyes are all watery from crying. I wish I could hop a flight to get her right now! I know children cry, the ones at home here like to do it all the time! But, it's so heartbreaking when I can't even hug her. C'mon Travel!! Bring it on!

Hope you enjoy these pics as much as I am!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


To all my bloggy friends who have so graciously donated to our adoption...please know I am so very thankful! If I could hug each of you...I would. The adoption journey is a very exciting journey, but it does have it's ups and downs. Just like anything else, you can't understand it until you've been down this path. You know that song Hosanna that says "Break my heart for what breaks yours. Everything I am for your Kingdoms cause"...well, I sure do feel that's been my theme song. I don't think you can walk the road of adoption without having your heart broken in a million pieces. I mean, really, just read a blog or two and your in tears. It's just overwhelming the need out there, the sadness, and the pain. But, it's also overwhelmingly (is that a word?) good when you read these stories of families literally rescuing these children from all sorts of situations. In my opinion it's a perfect snapshot of the Gospel. We all have our stories and they are all different, but we all share something in common. We all are dealing with struggles, sadness, trials, pain, loneliness, betrayal. It's just the world we live in. If it's not today, it will be tomorrow. So sad. So overwhelmingly (theres that word again) sad. BUT, lets not forget the One who can rescue us from all those things. Only God wants too. And truthfully, only He can. As a mommy swoops down and scoops up her once orphaned child and embraces him/her in her arms as her's just the same when God moves in and rescues us. It's just so very cool to me. So very, very cool. Well, this started out as a simple thank you to those who have walked beside us and been so supportive in so many ways, but it turned out a little more long winded than expected. Let me just end with a big ol' THANK YOU! Y'all are too kind. And if you still want to be entered into a drawing, please check out

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Donate $10 and get put in a drawing!

So if you check out a bloggy friend of mine...well kinda...I guess I should say I follow this blog and I think she is a wonderful person, but we don't really know each other! Anyway, Adeye at is having a drawing. If you donate to one of the families on her blog you get entered into a drawing for a $500 Target giftcard!

We are #19 on the list and it says Our Sophia under Sophia's picture. If you click on Sophia's picture it takes you to our blog where you can leave a donation. Then just leave a comment on blog that you donated and you will be entered!

You can read about it at her blog! Even if it's not our family you donate might just find a family that pulls on your heartstrings!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Did you feel the Earth move?

That was just me jumping up and down!! We got our I800 APPROVAL!!! WOOHOO! We are getting so very close!!

This is a very good day!


Adoption is expensive. I've avoided this topic for our entire journey because it's such a touchy topic. Part of me thinks that since we decided to adopt, we should be able to pay for it all. Another part of me wants people to understand that sometimes we just flat out need help. Let me first start by putting the stats out there. Our adoption is going to cost approximately $25,000. We started our adoption of Sophia this past January. It has been 9 months since we saw her sweet face and began this exciting journey! But, in 9 months we have also paid out $13,000! Whoa! Can you believe that? I have to put a disclaimer in here....this is NOT by our doing. Yes, we have saved every penny we could. Yes, we have cut back with nonessentials. But, only God could provide $13000 in 9 months. He has used many avenues for this. At the beginning God used friends to donate in a big way...this started us off! We were thrilled! Later along in the process God used more friends to bless us in a big way! Again, just humbled and thrilled! And as we have approached the end here, God has used bonus money from my husbands awesome employer and more monetary donations from 2 close friends! We have been blessed beyond what we deserve. We know this is because "What God calls you to, He will see you through". Well, friends we are approaching the end of our journey. We should be traveling in November to finally bring our little girl home! But, if you do the math, you will see $25,000 minus $13,000 leaves $12,000 left to come up with before we leave! We have been saving like crazy...we have $4220 in our adoption fund. We still need to save another $8000 in about 6 weeks. I am not one to get overly concerned. But, I have to tell you there are some nights I stay up way to late wondering where exactly that's gonna come from! But, in my heart of hearts I know God's love is not only for our Sophia, but for me too. I just know He wants to show off for us! I know the money will come. Honestly, if you would please pray for me. I don't want to worry. I think that is the ultimate slap in the face of the Lord. I truly believe He will provide. My hope is that I can hold onto His truths and trust in His unfailing Word that He has got this covered! And, if you feel the desire to contribute in anyway...well, I'm not gonna turn ya down! We have a donation button off to the right. Feel free to use it. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Our paperwork is in the building!

I called USCIS (United States Citizens and Immigration Services) on Thursday. The nice officer I spoke with said when she looked up our paperwork that she could see it was in the building, but not quite to our officers desk. She said I should call back next week and see if it's been approved. I am thinking I will call Wednesday. Once we have this approval then we can move on to the next step! I have been told that it could be just 6 weeks until travel. Still seems too far for my liking, but hey we've been waiting for Sophia since I won't complain about 6 more weeks!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waiting some more!

Well, we are about one week away from our I800 approval...or so I hope! The timeline after that is as follows...of course at any time anything can change...that's just how international adoption goes. Okay, here goes...this is my guesstimate:

I 800 approval- Oct. 4th
NVC Cable--Oct 14th
Article 5--Oct 28th
Travel Approval--Nov 14th

Travel Approval just means China has given us permission to come travel to China and get our daughter. We could travel immediately following our TA or weeks later. Of course we hope to travel asap after TA. But, we will wait and always! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I800 Sent!

Goodness! We have been BUSY! With packing, moving, unpacking, kids starting school, and adoption paperwork...I think my head is spinning! But, good news is we are finally getting settled. Boys are loving school and our I800 paperwork has been received by the USCIS! So, the countdown begins to TA (travel approval). We still need this approval, which takes a couple weeks and then there are a few mini steps in between, but we are getting much closer to travel. I am hoping by end of November. Well, this is just a short post because I have way too much to get down today...still unpacking and organizing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


So MUCH to do! There is just so much to get done these days. Trying to prepare to move an hour away is tough. Along with trying to pack while all 3 of the kiddos are home, I am filling out lots of paperwork. Paperwork for school registration for my two oldest sweet peas...both of whom will begin the Monday after we move into our new house. I have adoption paperwork coming out my ears... Our LOA came and as super exciting as that is, I just look at it sit so nicely amongst the other papers I need to file along with it because we can't do anything with it until we are in our new address. At the same time I am filling out our Visa paperwork for our China trip, Sophia's visa paperwork so she can come to the USA, and paperwork for the new house! Along with all of that is turning on and turning off utilities at each respective house and packing up this house the best I can. I have to say, I have been learning a lot about myself during this time. I have found that it is never good to try and pack and expect your 6, 4, and 3 year old to give you peace and quiet during it! HA! Not sure what planet I live on, not sure why I would ever expect that. In the end, mama just loses her temper for no reason, because the kids are just being's just me who is being grouchy. Well, I really need to go and get time here is almost up and I can hear the littles creeping down the stairs...probably wondering if grouchy mama is still around or if the coast is clear!

Here's to a better day!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Yes, you read that right....our agency is expecting our LOA this upcoming MONDAY!!! Can I just tell you how blessed I feel right now. We are currently on day 52 of waiting for our LOA and when we receive our LOA on Monday it will be day 55. There are many, many families that have been waiting much, much longer than 55 days...some are at or over the 100 day mark. Honestly, my heart is saddened that so many families are waiting and yet there is still not rhyme or reason to why they have waited or are still waiting so long. But, as for us, we are THRILLED! And for that, I thank God. Seriously, when we started this journey in January we just moved on faith. We encountered many obstacles. But, throughout this adoption journey we have witnessed the powerful hand of God. There's the saying that if God calls you too it, He will see you through it. We have lived this and we believe it...wholeheartedly. There is not one thing any one person could say to me to make me think otherwise. Nope. No way. No How. We have witnessed God provide in so many ways through so many people and circumstances. Nothing we could have ever imagined or guessed...and it's been AWESOME! We are looking forward to Monday...and I, of course, will keep you posted. We are getting sooooo very close!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Please...if you can help...

I follow a blog which I adore. The woman, Adeye, who writes has the biggest heart for the orphan. She is desperatley trying to raise money for this sweet 11 year old girl, Liliana, who weighs in at 10 pounds. Yes, you read that right. It is not a typo. Liliana is 11 years old and weighs 10 pounds. That's the weight of some babies at birth! If you just can't imagine that what I am telling you is true, please check out the blog. Click here and you will read about something that is so awful and so unbelievable that I pray you feel compelled to help. She needs you and she needs me to advocate for her and to donate money to get her OUT. Friends, I have no idea how this little girl has even survived. Let's rally around her and show her for the first time what LOVE really is.

Please pray for little Liliana and consider what you can give...then please give!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Today, we celebrated our son, Samuel's 6th birthday. Boy, did we have a good day...pool time, some slip n slide action, pizza, watermelon, icecream cake, balloons, many renditions of "Happy Birthday to You", wonderful presents, and sweet conversations with wonderful friends and family. It is so fun watching him enjoy his day. It's all about him today...and he was loving every second of it! And so was I. As I was preparing last night and into the morning for his birthday, I was struck by the thought that today as I celebrate the birth of our Samuel, there is atleast 1 (if not many more) child/children who shares the same birthday as my Samuel, but who will not have a mommy "fuss" over their birthday. Out of 147 million orphans worldwide, there is someone who today, although it is their birthday, won't have a mommy running all over town at night trying to get the "best" gift for them, attempting to get balloons into the car without them popping in her face or flying away, buying a special cake and fun party games. That child will not have a daddy cut out of work for half the day just to make it a point to be at the big birthday party. That child will not have a mommy and daddy to pray over them that God would protect them and guide them this next year. That child will have no little brothers and sisters trying to "help" unwrap the presents or to show off his/her new clothes. There will be no friends wishing him/her well and laughing together as they run off and play tag. Instead, they will go the entire day...most likely unaware that it is even their birthday. Alone. Without Hope. Without a Future. Goodness, this is just not right. Now' I get that 147 million orphans is an overwhelming number and changing this statistic isn't going to happen overnight. But, what about changing it for just ONE child. How about one less statistic? Now, that's not too overwhelming, is it? Just one. Just one extra place setting at the table, just one extra toothbrush, just one extra hug and kiss goodnight, just one extra prayer in the evening, just one more birthday party to "fuss" over.

Just ONE.

Think about it.

Just One.

Friday, July 22, 2011

UPDATE on Teri Lynn!

A couple posts ago I wrote about a little girl named Teri Lynn and her desperate situation. Honestly, she was on my heart for many days and I was brokenhearted for her. But, my brokenheartedness quickly turned to pure joy when I saw that someone (also advocating for her) posted Teri Lynn's story on their blog and were fundraising for this sweet girl. Well, let me tell you...God sure showed up! In 3 days over$20,000 was raised for this little girls adoption!!! WOW! Thank You Lord! See, by removing the financial barrier with Teri Lynn's adoption, a family can just think about getting to her quickly and bringing her home. I am amazed at people's generosity and love for a child somewhere in a distant land. It is amazing what God can do and it shows His deep love for the orphan. I have heard that there have been a ton of inquiries into adopting her and that they are very hopeful that they will have a family for her soon! Now, we just need to pray that God would sustain this little girl's life...she is NOT under good care...not even mediocre care. She is in an awful place and most likely under awful care. Please pray that God would give her the strength to live and that her family would get to her in record speed. Also please pray that she would have a kind hearted, gentle, loving, caretaker until her forever family gets to her. You can read more about this amazing story here. You may need to scroll down a bit to get to Teri Lynn's story and fundraising! By the way, you can still continue to give towards her adoption expense.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Just Love Coffee Fundraising!

Hi All! If you are a coffee lover, I invite you to check out our Just Love Coffee Store...whatever you buy at our store we will receive $5.00 per bag to go towards our adoption!

Check it out!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh...this is just NOT right...



This sweet little girl's name is Teri Lynn. I believe she has down syndrome and has just recently been moved from the Baby House to a Mental Institution. She most likely will die if someone does not go and rescue her. Her before and after pictures speak for themselves. I am heartbroken for her. This is NOT the way any child should have to live. The institutions are a basically a death sentence. From what I have read, most children with Down Syndrome will be transferred to a mental institution between the ages of 3 and 5, where they spend their days medicated (to sleep all day and night, little to no stimulation, and left in a crib/bed ALL the time). Honestly, it's hard to imagine these places exist, but they do and if you want to read an amazing family's experience with this exact situation...then click here. To find out more about Teri here.

I think the pictures speak more than my words can.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beautiful Girl...TingTing

Well, as I wait for my LOA (Letter of Acceptance), I will be advocating more for some little ones who wait. Hope one of them tugs at your heartstrings!

Check out this sweet pea!

This is what someone advocating for her wrote about her: "Ting Ting just turned 3 (DOB is 6/20/08) and has moderate Cerebral Palsy. She isn't walking yet, but a video of her shows that she has the capability with therapy. Cerebral palsy is not degenerative, which means she can only get better not worse with treatment!"

Isn't she darling???

Check out for more information about her.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A few more pics...

Mmmm...Yummy Cake!

Isn't she darling???

Look at her cute little friend next to her!

Her nannies seem very loving...

So ready to go get her!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 11 of our LOA wait...

We have finally received our Log In Date (LID) and now we wait for our Letter of Acceptance (LOA). The LOA is basically just a letter that confirms that we want to adopt Sophia specifically. I have heard that the wait time varies so much, anywhere from 30 to 100 days! Yikes! I think I might cry if we end up at the latter half of the spectrum. So, prayer request now would be for a quick LOA! It's pretty strange not having to much paperwork to do right now, although I may begin filling out the next piece of paperwork, just to have it ready. We have been busy getting rooms painted and organized, just trying to get "prepared" for our new arrival...even if we still are months away. We love having her updated pictures, although it makes me slightly sad that she is growing up and I am missing this time. I know we have years to make up for the time lost, but still....

I will keep y'all posted on any news!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hannah at LWB

This little girl is absolutely darling! If I didn't already have our little Sophia, I sure would be looking into this little one! She is precious. Check out her picture and click here for more information!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Can You Believe...

It took 5 months just to get all this paperwork ready for China? Crazy! This Friday our documents will finally leave U.S. soil and land in China.'s been a long time coming. So glad it's here though.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fundraising for Sophia

Okay, so I could use some ideas! We have been so incredibly blessed and have paid everything for this adoption out of pocket. God has been so good to us! With a lot of sacrifice and diligence...and of course donations from a couple good friends, we have been able to pay everything all! That is huge when we are talking about adoption expenses. If you have ever know that expenses start to add up very quickly! So, we have a break in big adoption expenses as we wait for our documents to get to China and get processed and of course until travel. But, that's why I need some good ideas. We have about $12,000 more in adoption expenses left to be fully funded. Now of course we are going to continue to save, save, save, but I was also thinking of holding a fundraiser. I am not I need some thoughts here. I would love any ideas you bloggy friends may have! Just leave them in the comment section! I have our "Chip In" button ready to go...I just need some ideas! Thanks friends!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Olga E.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Isn't she a doll?! This is Olga E. She lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. This little sweetheart has down syndrome and is available for adoption. Please consider her for your family! To find out more about her click here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Just felt I needed to advocate for this cutie pie young lady...She's close to aging out. What a terrible thing to simply "age out" of the orphanage because you reach the age of 14. I can't imagine how scary it must be to be a young lady and alone having to defend and care for yourself...very sad.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


That is my BIG sigh of relief. Thank the Lord, I have finally mailed my very last piece of documentation so our documents can go to China. I eagerly awaited arrival of my I800A approval notice and it arrived at 10:17 this morning (told you I was eagerly awaiting). Once I had it in hand I made a copy and had a very dear friend come down and watch the kiddos while I drove an hour one way and an hour back home just to get my documents certified at our Secretary of State. Once that was finished, I was off to get a cashiers check, off to make more copies and finally off to Fed Ex where I checked, checked some more, checked again and again and again that all our paperwork was correct...and then...I MAILED IT OFF! Ahhhh...big sigh of relief again. If all goes as planned our documents will be sent to China next Friday. And then we wait...but from what I understand once we get our LID (log in date) it will be about 4 months until we travel to get Sophia. The LID takes about 2 weeks once our documents arrive in China. It's the day they log us into their system. Please pray all goes well and our documents end up where they need to be and all is accurate!

Monday, June 6, 2011



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 53 and counting

Oh. My. Goodness. We are still waiting for this I800A approval. The time is just d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g along. I don't have too much else to say except that we wait...praying that we get this approval by Friday. That would be fabulous! Hope everyone is enjoying this beginning of June. It's pretty stinkin HOT here in good ol' Nebraska...humid too. Nothing some popsicles and a sprinkler can't fix.

Here's hoping that soon...very soon... I will be posting about our progress!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Second Care Package

Well, in honor of our little Sophia's 2nd birthday approaching we sent a care package to her orphanage. This time around we are sending 10 warm pajamas and 10 soft musical toys for the children in the orphanage. So thank you to my friend who gave money to go towards the orphanage donation! As I mentioned in an earlier post we use Ann at Red Thread China to send our care packages and she is so incredibly sweet...I recommend her to anyone who is looking to send a care package to their son or daughter. I am hoping that Ann can get updated pictures of our sweet Sophia and updated measurements to see if she has grown much. I will post the pictures if I receive any! Well, we are in day 47 of waiting for our I800A approval...sheesh...this is ridiculously long to wait for a simple approval. But, I guess that's adoption for you...Our hope is that we will have approval by the end of next week, BUT we will see. As soon as I get that paper y'all will hear a joyful holla coming from Nebraska! Just know that's me and it's a GOOD day here! I hope everyone has an amazing Memorial Day weekend. Hug your kiddos and your spouse and thank the Lord for BRAVE heroes who currently are serving our country and for all those who died in defense of this great country.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fingerprints for I800A approval...DONE!

Finally! Done with our next step in the process! We went in yesterday, only 2 days early from our appt date, and they were able to get us in. Now we wait until the FBI clears us. They will contact our USCIS officer and give them the word that we aren't criminals and have a clean background. After that, as long as our paperwork we sent doesn't need any additional information added to it, we will have our approval. As soon as we have this approval in hand we can get it notarized/certified/authenticated and off our documents will go to China. This will be such a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I have been paper chasing for many months now and I am ready to hand the baton off. Hoping and praying for a speedy approval!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ipad Giveaway

Hey! If you are looking to help a family bring home their little one...than look no further...check out this blog: I believe they pick a winner don't delay. You will help an amazing family bring their baby home AND you just might win an Ipad!

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Jar of Flour and a Jug of Oil

When we first started talking adoption over 7 years ago, one of our main concerns was "how in the world were we going to afford it?" I don't know about you, but we sure don't have $25,000 sitting around with no where to go. Nope. We have all the same bills everyone else does, minus some, because I am a huge Dave Ramsey nut, so we don't do credit card stuff...but that's another post. My point is that we didn't have the money saved to even begin this process. We had some, but certainly no where near the amount we need. But, the funny thing is we have never been without the money to pay for this adoption. Many times we prayed and asked the Lord to help us with an upcoming adoption fee and guess what....HE showed up! I have noticed that we always seem to have "just enough". Never do we have it all or even most of it all. I know why, of course, it is so we continue to get on our knees, everyday and ask. To rely on Him and not on us or any other human in this world. One thing is for sure...people will fail you, jobs will fail you, situations will fail you, God won't. And what He calls us to do, boy will He ever get us through it. I often tell George that I am so in awe of how God is supplying all we need for this adoption. We started out this adoption journey with $5000 saved in an adoption fund. Anyone who has adopted knows this is a tiny fraction of what an adoption can cost. But, let me tell you...5 months into our adoption with all the thousands we have spent up to this point and guess how much we still have in our adoption savings account...$5000! That's where the title of my blog "A Jar of Flour and a Jug of Oil" comes into play here. If you are not familiar with this Scripture passage, let me share, because it is a fabulous story and it resembles our lives so much. There was a prophet Elijah, whom God sent to confront Baalism and to show the nation of Israel that the Lord was God and there was no other. God sent Elijah to a place called Zarephath where there was a drought and where there lived a widow with her son. God told Elijah that the widow would take care of him by feeding him. When Elijah arrived in Zarephath he asked the widow to bring him some water and also to bring him a piece of bread. She tells him "As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don't have any bread-only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it-and die." But Elijah tells her to not be afraid and to go home, make a small cake of bread for him and then make something for her and her son. He continues on and says "For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land." She listened to Elijah and did as he said and guess what...the Lord fulfilled His promise to her and her son. The jar never ran out and the jug never ran dry! I have no idea what this looked like, but I do know that it is true. I see it in our own lives with this adoption. As I mentioned before, when we started this I stressed so much over the money that I made myself sick. I would worry in bed at night and I would struggle with balancing if we were showing faith by deciding to adopt without all the money saved or if we were being seriously irresponsible. As I said before, I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan and my motto when I see something I really do like, but don't have the money for is "Yes that's a nice (fill in the blank) but better his/her payment than mine!" So, I struggled a lot and for a long time with this decision. However, I realize that if I never get out of my comfortable life and take a chance, how can I ever expect God to show up. If I had all the money saved, well then how could I ever give Him the full honor He deserves for this. I couldn't. So, I will leave you with a prayer I have prayed for many years and I feel is being answered right now in our lives, which is found in Proverbs 30:7-9 "Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty not riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you, and say, "Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some of my favorite quotes

Hebrews 13:2
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for so by doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"No man is so poor as to have nothing worth giving. Give what you have. To someone it may be better than you dare to think."

Mother Theresa
"If you can't feed one hundred people than feed just one."

Proverbs 24:12
"Once our eyes are open we can not pretend we do not know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act."

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Well...we got a big fat "no" when it came to getting our fingerprints done early...grrr....was soooo hoping to get in there, but I just keep repeating "all in God's timing...all in God's timing..." Of course, MY timing seems to make so much more sense, but I am atleast wise enough to know that "MY" idea of anything usually never turns out to be the best! So, with that said, I am happy to lay this dissappointment down...and just accept what each day brings. However, I do plan on trying again next week...hey...a girls gotta give it her best shot!! :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fingerprint Appointment!

Today I received our fingerprint appointment required for I800A happy to have the date set. We don't have our appt for another 3 weeks or so, but I have heard we can try to walk in and get them done early. I think we are going to try walking in sometime tomorrow! Please pray we can get our prints done early...this could shave weeks off of our wait time for getting to our little girl! But, overall...we are thrilled to be getting closer!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I finally finished our first grant application and got it sent out today. That was the easy part...the hard part will be actually getting the adoption grant! It's a competitive market out there in the adoption world for grants. So, we will pray and if we get a grant...praise God...if we don't get a grant...well....praise God still! Of course, I'd really love the grant! But, we will see! Tomorrow, kids and I are off to get more paperwork signed...sounds daunting, but I am thrilled to do it...we are making progress! We want our girl home!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hope For Elisyn

Hope for ElisynIsn't this little one just a cutie! Please check out their blog...maybe you can help her family bring her home!!

Notarizing done...check!

Saturday was a productive day for us! We got our adoption papers notarized and now we just need to take them to Nebraska's Secretary of State to be authorized...basically the Sec of State just verifies that the notary is a real notary. Hopefully, we will get this done this week. We could mail it to the Sec. of State, but it's only about an hour drive, so I am thinking George or I will just drive it down and walk in. After we get that finished we can send our documents off to the United States Dept. of State and then once that's to the Chinese Embassy for Authentication. I can not wait to get all this paperchasing done...what a huge relief it will be once our documents are in China!

Our first donation!

Just wanted to give a shout out! Woohoo! We have our first donation to go towards baby clothes at Sophia's orphanage! Thanks so much friend! Looking forward to reaching my goal of $500! The "Chip In" box should show donations soon...something about verifying my acct. But, keep checking back to see if we have reached our goal!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fundraising For Clothes--Sophia's Orphanage

The lady at Love Without Boundaries contacted the orphanage and said they are in much need of clothing, size 18months and younger. They have around 20 babies to care for! So...that's going to be my fundraising goal...I'd love to be able to send an outfit for each of the babies, if not more! Please consider helping out! Thanks!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fundraising for Sophia's Orphanage!

Hey everyone! I came across a very cool organization that provides in many ways for the Chinese Orphans! The name of the organization is Love Without Boundaries and with their help I want to fundraise for Sophia's orphanage. All I need is monetary donations from anyone who wants to help. When we have raised enough money to make a sizable contribution, I will contact Love Without Boundaries (LWB)and they will purchase the supplies needed for Sophia's orphange and have it delivered! Your donations will go towards the care for the children. LWB will contact the orphange and get a list of items they are in much need of. I am sure the "normal" baby stuff will be needed, like formula, diapers, blankets, etc. But, I have heard larger items have been purchased as well, like heaters. I am thrilled to be able to fundraise for this orphanage. Sophia is coming home to a family, but many, many of the children in her oprhanage will not ever go home to a family. So, this is a great way to show some love to those sweet children! Feel free to donate right here on the blog. Just click on the "Chip In" button. You can also mail us a check (those who know us well and know our address) and just mention that it is for "Sophia's Orphanage Fund". Thanks everyone! Praying we can really bless these babies! Also, please feel free to tell others who may want to contribute!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I-800A Mailed Today!!

We are thrilled to have mailed off our I-800A to USCIS!! Now we wait for the approval notice to come back! This could take about 2 months...which seems FOREVER to me. However, I will not complain...I am just so happy to have made it to this point.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Homestudy Approved!!!

Good News!! We got word today that our homestudy has been approved...and we are thrilled! This means we can finally move on and mail our I800-A application and wait for approval. This is sent to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). We will wait until we get approval back before we can send our documents to China (DTC). That will be a great day when we get DTC because we will be done paper chasing! Not sure how this possible US govt shutdown may affect the I800-A approval process...but praying it doesn't mess adoptions up. Lots of people waiting for their babies all over the world. Many who need medical attention as soon as possible. Please keep these families in your prayers!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thanks hubby...

Today, as I was cleaning off our very cluttered dining room table...I came across George's notes from his time spent in the Word. It was such a timely piece of Scripture. Ever notice that's how God works? :) Well, as the adoption continues on we have more and more expenses regarding it. This is to be expected. We were not caught off guard with the adoption expenses. What did catch us off guard was all the "other" expenses (like both cars breaking down a week apart!)in life that seem to pop up an the most inopportune time! Which, I suppose is to be expected as well..isn't that called Murphy's Law?? Anyways, I have a way of starting to panic when I think about finances. I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan and save, save, save, has been my motto. But, seems with all the "other" incidentals happening along with the adoption it's more like spend, spend, spend. Well, today I was reminded that God's got this ALL under control. This is the verse George had written down...Proverbs 28:20&27 "A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished" and "He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses." I think the 2 most powerful words to me were "lack nothing". Just a perfect reminder that God's got this...I don't, but He sure does!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were
discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture
had a different hair color than the other members. One of her
students suggested that he was adopted.
A little girl said, 'I know all about
Adoption, I was adopted..'
'What does it mean to be adopted?',
asked another child.
'It means', said the girl, 'that you grew
in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!'

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Well, this is a small celebration, but a celebration nonetheless! Our homestudy is finished!! Our social worker emailed our homestudy to our adoption agency today. We will wait about 2 weeks to have it approved from our adoption agency. We are really hoping it is sooner than 2 weeks, but that's what I am planning on. Anyways, this is great news because we are finally moving on to the next step! Thanks for all the prayers!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fun Weekend

What a fun weekend we had. My hubby surprised me with an unexpected date night! Best of all he took care of all the details...the sitter...the reservations...all I had to do was get all dressed up by 6:00! What fun! So incredibly grateful for a loving husband and a date night! Moving on to an adoption update...I talked to our social worker and she is thinking she will have our homestudy completed by the end of the week. Please pray that it actually does get done. We are soooo ready to move on to the next step. It will be such a relief to be done with the homestudy. We are hoping to get an update from the orphanage on Sophia, but that request was made over 2 weeks ago and we haven't heard anything back yet. It is so strange to be adopting a child and have zero say in what is going on with them. But, we will survive. Well, the next time I give an update I sure do hope it's about how our homestudy is complete!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Making (some) Progress

Well, we are still waiting for our homestudy to be completed. Hopefully, by the end of this week our social worker will have been able to finish writing it. Then we can move on to the next step of the long adoption journey. That next step is simply getting all our documents notarized, authorized, and authenticated! Sheesh...that's a whole lot of "verifying" going on! After all of that we need to send out our I800 application. We will then wait up to 8 weeks for our I800 approval. Basically, the I800 approval is just approval from the United States saying we can adopt a child from China. We need this document before we can send our paperwork to China. I can not wait to get our paperwork to China. Of course, once it's in China we will still need to wait 4 to 5 months before we travel!! This is absolutely a lesson in patience! We would appreciate any and all your prayers. We would love for this paperwork process to move quickly and smoothly. And of course, our number one prayer is for Sophia...that she is doing well and is very much loved where she is at!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

A verse that seems to be popping up wherever I turn is found in Matthew 17:20 "He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." If you haven't ever looked at a mustard is very, very tiny. This verse is encouraging yet convicting all at the same time. It reminds me that all I need is a tiny amount of faith to see God do great things. However, it reminds me at the same time that maybe I am not seeing all the great things God can do because my faith isn't even the size of a mustard seed! With the adoption of Sophia I feel we have certainly placed our faith in God to direct our steps. There are many things we have to work at not worrying about with her...her health, her "unknowns", if she is being loved and cared for well, her present, past and future, our lack of parenting skills for her, etc. But, I don't want to live a life of worry. It's wasted energy and it shows major lack of faith. These opportunities to worry are actually an invitation to come to the Lord in prayer and make my requests known to Him...and to leave it at that. Let God be God and let Jami be Jami. Our church is in the process of finding a new Senior Pastor. We are very fortunate to have a candidate right now. He came to speak today and it was very, very encouraging and convicting, much like the Scripture verse I wrote earlier. His message was thought provoking and his question to us was simple...If your life was a movie...would you watch it? It was an interesting way to lead into how many, including myself, try to cushion ourselves from any real discomfort or uncertainty...or (gasp) risk. But, just like a great movie...a great life must involve risk. Because if we never risk anything then when will we ever be able to grow our faith or allow God to work a miracle? So, with that said...I find encouragement in knowing that we are stepping out in faith, taking a risk with our adoption. But, that's okay, because I am in the mood to watch a really great movie about our life and who better to direct that movie than God Himself!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Being Reminded...

First let me start of by saying...we are so incredibly thrilled to be adopting Sophia...we can not wait to bring her home! I have to say though that the enormity sometimes hits me when I least expect it. Normally, I would expect that I would become overwhelmed with adding another child to the household when things were chaotic with the three little ones already in the house! Instead, I find that it happens when things are going very smoothly, all are getting along, and I am just sort of admiring the peacefulness of the moment. That's when a thought can hit me that says..."What in the world are we doing?" "Why rock the boat?" and so on. This is where I need to be careful to shift my focus off of myself and remember that God has a purpose for each of us and a lot of the time people will have a God given desire (ours being adoption) and instead of moving boldly forward with it...will get stuck in complacency or content with being too comfortable. We start to doubt the same God who was, is and will always be the One who directs our steps. I can remember being pregnant with all 3 of my children whom are all only 17 months apart from the other. I remember being overwhelmed almost the entire pregnancy with all of them because I was soooo nervous about "how I would be able to handle one child, two children, then 3 children under the age of 3!" And of course, God gave me all I ever needed in the exact moment I needed it...never before and never too late. I can certainly look back now and say that with confidence. So, with that said...I am trying not to do what I did before. Unfortunately, I showed a huge lack of faith in the God who gave me those pregnancies/children in the first place. Now, more than ever I know He will certainly never give me more than I can shoulder...and if He does...He will be there to carry me through! Thanks to a dear friend...stacy, who reminded me of all this over some tea and dark chocolate!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tick Tock...Tick Tock...

And we wait.................

I am encouraged that our homestudy is moving along swiftly...we should be done in the next two weeks. That's great news because then we can move on to the next step. We are slowly getting things changed around here at home. The boys will be sharing a room soon, which they are totally psyched about! Drew is getting his very own "big boy" bed. It's just a twin bed like Samuel's but he is thrilled nontheless! We have some amazing friends in our neighborhood and they have all been so helpful in this, encouragement, prayer, babysitting (thank you kirsten and Stacy!), headboards for both Samuel and Drew's beds (thank you Jim!), and a whole host of other blessings! We are so!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Care Package to Sophia

Well, as much as we want Sophia here at home with us...this helps us feel like we are "providing" for her in some way. Isn't this just a great care package? We have worked with an amazing woman named Ann from Red Thread China that puts together care packages and delivers them to your child in the orphanage. We got to pick a package that included pj's, 2 blankets, an outfit, a doll, a photo album of our family, a camera for her caretakers to take pics of her, candy for her caretakers and a lovely letter we wrote to Sophia that Ann translated for us. Of course, Sophia is too little to understand what we wrote, but we are hoping she loves her picture album...hopefully that will help her to recognize us when we get her in China. We feel so blessed to have worked with Ann. Not only did she send such a great package, but she was a joy to work with. of all...she managed to get updated pictures of Sophia...which, if you have adopted, know it is the absolute BEST thing to happen while you are waiting! Waiting is so tough...I think more on me than George. I think it's my mommy instinct kicking in. I have her picture and I feel like she's I want her here with her brothers and sister. This has been harder than pregnancy because atleast with each of my pregnancies I could feel them kick, or have an ultrasound, or hear a heartbeat, etc. With adoption, it's just so are a world away from your child and you can't do a thing, but trust that God is in control. But, through all my fears about how Sophia is doing Scripture rings in my ears..."For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. This is what I cling to. He has good plans for her and He will give her hope and a future!

One Less...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Let me introduce you to...

Sophia Grace! Okay, so it's been a loooong time since I've long that we've changed countries! Let me update everyone~George and I were having some hesitations about moving forward with Ethiopia, so we decided to just pause and think about where we should go. Well, the pause was exactly that...a pause, because within a day or so we had decided to look into the China program at an adoption agency our friends had used. We immediately knew this was a great program and shortly after we applied to the agency we found Yang Qiong Fu or better known as Sophia Grace. Currently, we are waiting to finish our homestudy. We have our first interview tonight and we are more than ready to get this moving! Having Sophia's picture is a blessing, because we know her face and can pray for her. But, it's difficult to see her sweet face and not want to jump the next flight to China and bring her home! We are excited and can't wait to move on to the next step in the process! We will keep you posted!