Friday, April 29, 2011

Formal Application Sent!

Our formal application was sent to AIAA on Thursday, April 28!  YAY!!!


Now we wait and pray.  The way the time lines are being predicted, our baby might be being born right now.  Today.  Can you believe it!?!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why Korea?

We have been asked several times in the course of the past 4 months, "Why did you choose Korea?"

For us, simply put, it was a good fit.

One of the first things we noticed was the short trip requirement.  We do have Ethan at home and we do have to consider him in all of this.  The thoughts of taking two long, unpredictable trips with a 4 year old in tow or leaving him behind was hard for us to swallow.  As of now, Korea is one trip and it will take about 3-5 days. 

Another thing was the short wait time (in terms of international adoption).  At our first interview, we were told that after the homestudy is complete, they were seeing wait times of 6-9 months for a referral and travel times 3-4 months after that.  In terms of adding a baby to our family, we knew it would be at least this long for us in any way we add to our family.

Something else that really drew our attention to Korea is the stability and the history of the program.  The Korea adoption program is one of the oldest international adoption programs.  The relationship between the US and South Korea is stable and this means the likelihood of unexpected problems or delays due to governmental issues is low.

We also like that the majority of children that can be adopted from South Korea are infants (12 months or younger).  Since we already have Ethan at home, it was our desire to adopt a child younger than he.  He has been begging for a baby sibling for a while and when we talked about adoption, we knew, for us, for right now, younger is better for our family.

Another thing we really thought was a positive was the fact that children in South Korea are in foster homes instead of large, institutionalized orphanages.  Again, for us, for right now, this was a positive because these children have less attachment disorders and other things associated with orphanages.  Again, with a 4 year old at home, this transition is going to be stressful enough for him without knowingly adding possible complications.

Someday we can see ourselves adopting an older child or even from a different country, but for our family, for right now, South Korea is where our hearts are led.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jakin's Due Date

Today was Jakin's due date.  It seems like such a long time ago that he was born. 

We spent the day making all kinds of donations.  First we took some hangers to the pregnancy center.  They have just switched out their clothes in the baby boutique from winter to summer and needed some hangers. 

Then we went to the funeral home to donate the books we have been collecting for the Grief Resource Lending Library.  We started this venture after Jakin left us.  In leui of flowers we asked that friends and family donate to the lending library we would be starting.  After almost 5 months, we made the first actual donation of books and found out they have quite a bit more money for us to access and supply the library with books and resources.  Idealy, this will be a place that people who are grieving can go and borrow a book.  We donated 30 books today!

Inside each book, there is a dedication:

Then we went to the regional hospital and donated 4 more care packages for parent's who deliver their baby stillborn.  This is the third or fourth time we have taken these packages.  The nurse there said that they (the nurses) really appreciate having these to give the patients.  She said they gave the last one they had away 2 days ago.

Next, Ben wanted to donate blood.  He usually does it every couple of months so we stopped by the blood center and he donated.

Then on to the last donation of the day.  My hair.  This is the 5th time I have donated my hair and I was so excited to do it.  I had planned on doing it after Jakin was born.  I have donated shortly after each of my babies have been born.  Here is the before shot of the back...

And here is the after:

It will look much nicer when I get to dry it and fix it (and my eyes are open...sheesh...I wish I could take a decent photo!).  I will send it in to Locks of Love tomorrow! (If you are interested in donating your hair as well, you can also look into Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program. They make wigs for cancer patients.)

We are all at home now and getting ready to get settled in for a family night.  We're thinking of grilling and watching a funny video.  Thanks to everyone who linked up my last post to remind us of something funny.  We appreciate the thoughts and prayers and laughter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

We are the Children

Today, I really just wanted to share this video with you.  Please take a few moments to watch it and I hope you are blessed by it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Week of Laughter

Jakin's due date is one week from today. If you remember, his name (Jakin Isaac), means "God will establish Laughter". We believe that promise still stands. I tend to be a very serious person. I believe being a social worker with a probation/parole officer as a husband has really not helped this :-) But I do believe God wants me to lighten up and is using Jakin to make me focus on having a light heart and finding the funny in this very hurtful life. You see, despite our losses and grief, we believe God will establish laughter in our lives. Because he tells us, "A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22. And one thing that you can suffer from after loosing two children in a matter of 14 months is "dry bones".  So I need some good "medicine" this week!

I need you help though!  At the end of this post is a linky to link up to.  What should you link?  Posts to funny stories, jokes (clean ones only please), funny videos, photos, anything that makes you laugh.  Make a list of the funniest movies you've ever seen or tell the story of the first time you laughed after your losses.  I remember that time distinctly after both of mine.  You can also feel free to leave a joke on my facebook page or share some funnies with all your friends on fb!  It would give me no deeper joy this week than to know laughter was being established this week around the world becuase of you...because of him.

I am humbly asking that you all help spread some laughter around our community over the next week in memory of my littlest boy. If there is one thing that all of our lives are lacking, it's laughter. And with what we have all been through, that is totally understandable.

Laughter is a precious gift. This is something we most dearly realize after being grieved so deeply.
Thank you all for remembering him this week. I know I would have had to had a repeat c-section, so he would have born anytime this week more than likely. Thanks for all the extra love and prayers you have already sent!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I've got mail!

After getting the email and a follow up letter two weeks ago that it could be 4-6 months before our formal application would be sent to us, guess what I got in the mail today?

That's right!  We got our formal application packet in the mail today!  I actually got an email night before last from our agency telling me that our formal app had been put in the mail and I just hadn't had time to update.  But when it came today I could hardly believe it!  Praise God!  I told the Korea program manager when she sent me the "it's going to be 4-6 months" email that if that means more orphans are getting forever families...fine withe me!  I guess having a good attitude is paying off! 

So here we go!  We have 4 weeks to get the packet back to them.  I need to have my physical, get the required photos together, fill out the financial statement, the formal app, the medical needs checklist and read through the material they sent!  I'm so excited!

Book Review: Lazarus Awakening

I was given the amazing opportunity to review Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver for the blog tour.  I really didn't know what to expect when the book arrived in the mail and put off starting it for a few days.  But when I did start it, I couldn't put it down!  Here is a little about the book, Joanna, my review and a blog party with a Kind.le giveaway!

About the book: Lazarus Awakening

Getting God’s Love from Our Heads to Our Hearts

You believe that God loves the world…but sometimes you wonder if He truly loves you.
For many of us, moving the truth of God’s love from our heads to our hearts is a lifelong process. As we consider our inadequacies or grieve our shattered dreams, we find it difficult to believe that God cares for us personally.

In this life-giving book, Joanna Weaver shows you how to embrace the truth that Jesus loves you apart from anything you accomplish, apart from anything you bring. Just as He called Lazarus forth to new life, Jesus wants to free you to live fully in the light of His love, unbound from the graveclothes of fear, regret, and self-condemnation.

Love is calling your name.

Combining unforgettable real-life illustrations with unexpected biblical insights, Joanna Weaver invites you to experience a spiritual resurrection that will forever change your understanding of what it means to be the one Jesus loves.

About Joanna:

Joanna Weaver is known the world over for her transparent and life-changing books, Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World and Having a Mary Spirit. These two books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, Dutch, Chinese, German, Korean and more. Joanna has appeared on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. Past appearances include: The Harvest Show, At Home Live With Chuck & Jenni, Midday Connection, HomeWord, and Janet Parschall’s America. She is also a highly sought after speaker and shares her message at intimate gatherings and several high profile events each year. But Joanna's greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother and her role as a pastor’s wife. For more information about Joanna, please visit her website.

My Review

This book was more than I expected.  I have studied the story of Lazarus many times, but every time I have really focused on the sisters.  What was it like for Mary and Martha.  They sent word to their savior friend, "The one you love is sick." And waited.  Then their loved one died.  They knew Jesus.  They were friends and yet he waited two more days to come to them.  Yes, I often relate to the sisters.  Grieving and questioning while still loving the one who could have prevented it all.  Joanna writes, "These difficult times-these dark nights of the soul-rattle our convictions and shake the foundations of our faith".  I know so many that when their foundations were shaken, they really understood the rock that it was, or sadly, their foundation was showed not to be on the rock at all.   

In this book, I really began to think more about Lazarus.  What were the first moments in that tomb like?  Joanna has such imagary that I was smiling through my tears as I read the possibilities and about the joy and laughter that would more than likely filled his life after being raised.  That's right, joy and laughter.  If you are a follower of this blog, you know how much those two words mean to me.  Especially when they are seen together.  And in this book, Joanna discusses the laughter and joy that probably over flowed from Lazarus after death no longer had a hold on him. For Lazarus, there was no more fear in death, he had been there.  God had conquered it and he had nothing to fear.  I can't even begin to imagine the joy and laughter that could have filled his life.  This chapter in particular was one of my favorites.

Overall, I thought this book was a great book and I plan on reading it again and referring it to friends!

About the giveaway:
The Heart of God KINDLE Giveaway

Joanna is celebrating the release of Lazarus Awakening with the Heart of God KINDLE Giveaway!

In Lazarus Awakening Joanna writes about getting God’s love from our heads to our hearts. We all know Jesus loved Mary – look how she worshiped. And we can understand why He loved Martha – after all, look how she served. But what about those of us who don’t know where we fit in the heart of God? Lazarus Awakening explores the tale of the third follower – Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus. We never hear him speak, we never see him serve. The only thing of any significance that Lazarus did was to die. And yet, the Bible is clear. Jesus loved Lazarus. And He loves you and me as well. Lazarus Awakening looks at different aspects of the story we find in John 11. We learn what it means to be a friend of God and begin recognizing the tombs we spend far too much time in. Find out more here.

One grand prize winner will receive:

* * A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
* * Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World
* * Having A Mary Spirit
* * Lazarus Awakening

Friday, April 8, 2011

If You Met Me...

It's that time again!  Five Minute Friday with Gypsy Mama!  Just read the rules then hop over and link up to be entered into her giveaway!

Here's the rules:

Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and true and unscripted.

Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minuter who linked up before you.

Today's prompt:

If you met me...


If you met me today, you would probably notice a few things about me.  You might notice the wrinkles beside my eyes make me look a little older than what I am.  I am pretty sure you would see that I am not some one who spends much time infront of a mirror getting ready in the morning...and hopefully it wouldn't take you long to realize that is because I would rather be cuddling with my little boy or catching up with a friend. 
If you met me, you would probably hear me mention my babies.  All my babies.  The one in my arms, the two in Heaven and the one on the other side of the world.  You would probably learn more about Korean adoption than you were planning on learning for the day. I hope you would feel a new passion for reaching out to orphans after our conversation.

If you met me, I would hope that you feel that you are being heard and know I care about you and want to learn who you are and what your passions are. If you met me, be prepared to answer some questions...I can't help it...I'm a social worker!

If you met me...more than anything...I hope you would leave our meeting knowing that God loves you.  I hope that you would know I am a Christian and that if you need anything, you could call me.  And if I couldn't physically help you myself, I would find a way to meet your needs as best I could.

In summary, if you met me, I hope you would feel one thing:  Love.


Now...go link up!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Copy of a Copy

A couple of weeks ago, I sent off the paperwork to change my name on a very important document...


I had to fill out a form, send a certified copy of our marriage license, my old passport and a check.  I got a letter back this week that they were processing my request, but they a copy of a certified copy of the marriage lisence wouldn't work...they need an actual certified copy.  Which I thought I sent.  But apparently not.  So yesterday, I got that taken care of.  I sent a certified certified copy of our marriage lisence.  Hopefully, it is all in process now and I will be getting my passport back in a few weeks!

One more thing off the ever-so-long to do list!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2nds for Shyla - Creative Joy - 19 months

On the 2nd of every month (Shyla's Day) I want to share some creative things with you that make me smile.  Her name means Creative Joy and I want to take these days to appreciate the Creative things that bring me Joy.

Today I want to share some Creative Joy that makes me smile (and cry a little too).  These are some of the pages of one of Shyla's scrapbooks.  This was a hard one to make...but I'm so glad I did.  These memories are precious and I'm so glad I have these to cherish.

These are just the pages up until her birth.  I will share the ones from that day and other pages later.

{The Cover}


{Making the Announcement}

{First Ultrasound}

{2nd Ultrasound}

{One of the only family photos with all of us together.  Under the Survivor Tree in Oklahoma City.}

{3rd Ultrasound. 20 weeks 4 days.}

{Shyla's Heartbeat}

The most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.
~Helen Keller

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Week in Review

I'm linking up with My Week in Review at Filled with Praise!
Filled With Praise

High from this week: I volunteered at the Crisis Pregnancy Center again this Wednesday and really felt like I was able to be God's hands and feet in some really practical ways.  I love the work he is doing there and the people I get to serve with are such a joy!

(This is in the hallway of the pregnancy center)

Low from this week: Learning that the hubs is just a few pounds over the Korea allowance for his BMI.  Seriously.  I mean, have you seen him?  I would have never in a million years guessed he would be over the limit, yet here we are!  The good news is all he has to do is have his physical again when he is at an acceptable weight. Guess what...he already is!  The very few pounds he was over, he has already lost since his first physical.  (This could have something to do with the fact he was wearing boots and his winter coat when he was weighed the first time!)

(Ben and Ethan on January 1st at Wonderworks)

Lessons Learned:
(1) Counting calories makes me anxious.
(2) I'm really glad we don't own bathroom scales.
(3) Taking your shoes and coat off when you are getting weighed are really important (Haven't women been saying this for years?)

A Few of my Favorite Things...

I'm linking up with Five Minute are the rules:

1. Write for only five minutes. Don’t edit. Don’t over think. Don’t stifle your creativity.

2. Link back to the Gypsy Mama and invite others to join in.
3. Go leave some comment love for the five minuter who linked up before you.
It’s invigorating; give it a try and see.

Today's topic is "A few of my favorite things"


Some of my favorite things are the most ordinary things.  And some extraordinary.  A stained glass dragonfly, a smile from an almost three year old blondie, getting to bed at a decent hour, and seeing the dogwoods in bloom.  I find myself smiling more at the kindness of a stranger and an unexpected email from a friend.  Seeing 7 young people give their life to Christ at Sunday's church service and 135 more souls change their eternal address at a play on Tuesday night.  My favorite things make me smile (and sometimes cry) but that's ok.  These things are all Heaven sent and keep me chugging along when the skies are gray and the grief presses in.

Thank you, Lord, For my favorite things!


I'm also linking up with Friday Favorite Things at Finding Joy!

friday favorite things </P>
<P>finding joy