Monday, May 31, 2010


This is only a portion of what Braeden's teacher donated to us for Davids.  We are so THRILLED!  This is such a BLESSING!  We only need PJs, underwear, socks, shoes, and a piece of luggage still.  Sounds like a lot, but having all these clothes and the swimsuits someone else donated, is amazing!  Next Monday Olivia and I go to her three month Dr. appt and will stop at our favorite thrift store on the way home.  I'm hoping to find PJs and luggage there! :)

Davids has official travel dates now of June 25- August 1.  Can't wait to meet him and spend time with him!!!

*** Update *** A great friend and Braeden's godmother just texted me that she has luggage to donate for Davids!!!  What a terrific blessing!!!

Half of a Zoo Day

A great day for the zoo... with our Go. Seek. Love. shirts!

Until the weather changed...
We stopped in a store to grab an umbrella to walk to the car (it was pretty far and raining real good!) and the cashier asked us about our shirts.  I explained that we got them to support a family's adoption and that we are hoping to adopt from there.  She JUST got back from a mission trip to Kenya!  And, while there worked for a while in an orphanage in the area where we are hoping to adopt from!!!  Can you believe it!?  Such a great and glorious God! :)

Even with the rain, we still had a great day and now are home hanging out.  Tomorrow is our last hour of school! :)

A Great Idea for a Website

Someone chimed in on Olivia's blog recently when she talked about giving her tooth fairy money away to our adoption fund.  They told her of a site out of Sweden which is helping inspire others to do good deeds.  You place a purple heart on their map at your place of residence and type in a few details on a deed done recently.  So far there are only 177 good deeds, let's add in more and increase that number!!!  Let's show the world all of the good deeds done by many around our country! :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

First Home Study Visit

I have my first home study visit/meeting at their office on June 8!!!  So excited to get underway!


...Until the official start of our adoption fundraiser!!!  :)  Hope you'll consider supporting us and getting a great blog makeover! :)


If any of you happened to read Olivia's post yesterday... I found myself trying not to crack up.  She didn't have this picture to share, but here is our "pool" if you can even call it that...

Yep, that's it!  We've tried a couple bigger ones the last couple summers, but I hated how to set them up, or they just didn't work well, whatever the reasons we've only kept this year after year.  They still have a ball with it, but no, my kids did not "swim" yesterday. :)  They played with dollar store measuring cups, jumped in and splashed, and basically cooled off on what was quite a warm day... around 90 degrees!  

Fun can be had without spending lots of money on a pool, water to fill said pool, electricity to run the filter, money for the needed chemicals, etc.  I'd rather spend the money on our adoption! :)  So, Little Tykes pool it is!  WE love it! :)
Saturday, May 29, 2010


I'm organized. Almost to a fault at times, but that is the biggest reason I am able to be a single mom to three... hopefully soon to be four! :) One area I've worked on recently was the kids' school papers.

I hate throwing these things away! :) What is it about a silly Spelling test with a 100% written at the top that I will want to look at years down the road? BUT it's my daughter's, my mind rages! How can you THROW it away!? :)

What I've been doing is putting ones I think are save-worthy on a shelf in the kitchen above our refrigerator. Then at the close of the school year I go through them, ditch some more, and have still a pretty good stack of "savers."

BUT, I still didn't have a good system for WHERE or HOW to keep them. Not long ago a friend and I had a girls day out. It was a day off school and I had Braeden and Olivia go to our local park district school program... don't be too sad for them, they practically beg me to go there on some days, it's loads of fun! :) My friend and I went to The Container Store as she had some looking to do there. And I found IT - the perfect organizer for school papers!!!

I purchased this clear plastic container and see through plastic envelopes with a string closure that expand up to one inch.  They are SO PERFECT!  The envelopes are larger than a piece of paper, so those odd sized art projects fit beautifully!  And they really do hold a lot!  As you can see I bought a bunch, and I'm going to pick up some more next time I'm by one.  I figure I found it, may as well be prepared to use it through the years and not run out of envelopes without finding them again! :)  (It was also very inexpensive!!!)  And gotta say, the Dymo label maker I bought a few years ago, still use that thing, and love it too!!! :)

Writing Portfolios

I've been organizing the kids' school papers... such an accomplishment! (More on that later though.) :)  I just finished going through this year's papers and pulling out what to keep.  

Olivia created a writing portfolio this year, and two entries I thought were particularly worth mentioning, especially in light of our recent decision to adopt...

8-27-09 Knowledge is power - Francis Bacon  Write about a goal and the education you will need to reach that goal.

I going to be a foster mom in Africa.  But first I need to go to college.  I'm going to ask a special person what I need.  I going to wash a few cars too get money to by lots and lots of food and go on an airplane headed for Africa.  And get the kids new clothes and put a movie on and get un packed.

(The mistakes were hers and I typed as-is.)  Love it, how cute is that!?  Can you tell when we go somewhere, I must often put a movie in while I unpack???  Too funny!  But I LOVE her heart for helping!

10/2009 Gratitude is the memory of the heart - American proverb Write about three things you are grateful for and why.

I am thankful for lots of things.  I am thankful for my family, I love my Grandma and Grandpa.  I also am thankful for my mom.  I love my brothers too.  My family makes me smile and have fun.  I love spending time with my family.  I'm thankful for food too.  The person who made all of this is God.  I am very very thankful for God.  I'm thankful for myself.

Love it!  I am so appreciative to have things like this to hold onto for Olivia (and the boys) to read when they are older! :)
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blown Away

I just talked with a good friend on Facebook.  Her daughters, all on their own, decided to hold a lemonade stand tomorrow.  AND DONATE ALL THE PROCEEDS TO OUR ADOPTION FUND!  I'm just amazed!  

This is also my friend who shared with me not long ago as I was talking to her about going into this adoption and the kids and my worry about travel, that she and another family would help and figure it out if I needed help watching the kids when it was time to go.  I am horribly bad about asking or even receiving help.  I don't know why, but I am.  And as I was doing my normal, "Oh, that's ok, thanks..."  She stopped me and talked to me about how they as a family aren't able to adopt for a number of reasons, BUT they want to and CAN help others in other ways to still be a part of helping orphans, and this would be a way they COULD help.  It just was so wonderful to hear.  And then to find this out tonight, when we've barely gotten started along our journey, when our apps are in but no workers are even assigned to us yet, when things still seem so far off... they are thinking of us... they are praying for us... they are helping us... a blessed and wonderful feeling!

Teacher Gifts

***Warning*** If I know you in real life, you may want to skip this post!  Because this beauties are being given out to everyone for everything in the next year! :)

I know it's probably a little late for most of you, BUT you HAVE to try this... maybe Christmas gifts, or try to remember for the end of NEXT year!  

First, I got the idea from HERE.

First, I downloaded the template from the site I just listed.  It gives you a great border and writing saying "You're an Awesome Teacher" seven times and one that says "Principal".

Next, I took pictures of my kids sides against a wall...

I then loaded those pics into Photoshop Elements, cut the outside and turned it white, then cut the inside and turned them black, creating a silhouette digitally of each of the kids...

Next I added those into the template.

Then, I typed the names of the child below the "from" at the bottom.

I was ready to print.  I had some printing issues, but these shouldn't happen with you! :)  Once the finished template was printed I copied it onto a transparency.  (I of course have access to these at school, but you can easily have a printer's do this for around $1 per sheet) - remember there are eight on a sheet!

Next, I went to a local dolla*r store and purchased hand soap.  Braeden saw the hand sanitizer and wanted that instead so I obliged.  I also got sanitizer for Olivia's principal instead of the soap.

My two cents - get the hand sanitizer instead of soap!!!!!  Soap is do-able, but you need to work at getting that label off and then work at getting the glue off with Goo Gone.  I thought we had Goo Gone, but we didn't.  The sanitizer's sticker came RIGHT off with no residue!  We are going back to get more tomorrow and do them all as sanitizer!  I'll keep the soap to use at home!

So, after you have everything, you cut out each "label" out of the transparency, being sure to cut just inside the black guideline for each so that it doesn't show in the bottle.  You will then roll the label slightly, stick it into the top of the bottle, and use something to smooth it against the side; I used a plastic knife.

Once done, tie a ribbon around the top, and Voila!  LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!

When at the store, I picked up four of these gold metallic sheets for a dollar as well, wrapped the hand sanitizer in one and tied again with a small piece of ribbon to wrap them!

I cannot WAIT to have the kids give these to their teachers!!!  I love them and they cost under $1.50 EACH!

Can't Believe it's Over

Braeden had his kindergarten program today.  He's DONE with kindergarten!?  When did THAT happen!?  Where has the time gone?! :)

I left school to travel to his school in the afternoon and watch his program.  Hmmm... was that a good choice of my work time...  I lay the following in your hands as evidence... you decide :)

OK, class is ready to start... but we seem to be missing the person who is supposed to be standing in the front and center... yes, that would be MY six year old who decided he HAD to go to the bathroom at the last possible second!

Oh yes, here he is!  Oh but isn't the class supposed to be standing and ready to sing... I thought so, but MY son decides to sit on the floor with his back to the audience!  See the little guy in the back with the blue and orange shirt watching him?  That's Braeden's buddy... found out he lives only a couple streets over from us, so hopefully the two can get together over the summer.

OK, he's standing with the others, but not quite on that elusive piece of tape stuck to his spot on the floor...  the head down could be a problem too... and now two little ones are watching him...

Looks like most of the class knows where their feet need to go... except for MY son! :)

OK, on to the Month Macarena... nope mom I'm just going to step behind this girl in the front row and shoot you evil death glances, don't smile at me mom!, don't point that camera at me!, don't look at me I'm NOT singing!...  think I'll chew my nail...

Phew, we're done!  Yes, I'll go get my kindergarten "yearbook" from my awesome teacher! 

That was our program in a nutshell... poor kid.  I wish I had thought to suggest she place him in the back row.  He doesn't perform at church either.  He gets so embarrassed.  The last time they performed at church they made him a conductor!  It worked though! :)  They did a very cute song this morning called Rock the Alphabet, he sang it to me later as we waltzed through Mickey D's parking lot! :)  Mom was too tired to cook and it's a bare cupboard in the kitchen anyway, what a week!

A Surprise Visit

Our house received an unexpected visitor in the night.  The Tooth Fairy!  Normally this isn't so surprising, but we had no teeth that had been lost, so for that visit to occur, it was definately a big surprise!

The Tooth Fairy was found to have left Olivia a new book, letter, and a small gift bag containing 20 one dollar bills!!!  The letter said how very proud the Tooth Fairy was when they saw that Olivia had taken her recently acquired ONE dollar that the Tooth Fairy had left for losing her tooth, and placed it all right away into our adoption fund jar.  The letter went on to tell her that when we give of ourselves, it often comes back tenfold, and to honor her gift, the Tooth Fairy was giving her a new book (one I happen to know she has REALLY wanted), and their own donation of $20 to our fund.  Each dollar bill was folded up and stuck with a tooth sticker, which Olivia then placed all over the special letter.

She has been just BEAMING all morning!!!  A special shout out to a VERY special tooth fairy, for hearing about Olivia's generosity, and for being so incredibly generous and thoughtful to my daughter's heart.  I so appreciate it!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just a Parent

Today I was "just a parent" and it was awesome! :)  I teach special education to 3rd-5th graders.  Olivia's in 3rd grade in the same school as I; in fact her class is right next door!  Luckily, this is still "cool" and she enjoys seeing me in the halls (unless of course I happen to walk by and see her chewing gum in the middle of class... true story! LOL)

Each year as teachers we are given 10 sick days and 2 personal days.  And for the last couple years my sick days and personal both were quickly eaten up by sick kids, a couple doctor appts I couldn't fit in on holidays, and once or twice by actually getting sick myself.  I know, a shocker that I would dare get sick! :)  For you see, when you don't have a husband or family around, I am the one that these things fall to.  And when I used up my days the last couple of years, I even went past these and had to have money taken OUT of my check to cover them... YUCK! :(  

This year I saved my personal days as long as I could, thinking I may need them to interview if a job panned out where we were thinking of moving.  It didn't, but that's ok.  With sick days used up, but not having gone past, and having two personal still left, I opted to take a personal day and be a chaperone on one of Olivia's field trips!  It was so much fun and she was excited to have me along!  So, I was NOT a teacher today, I was just a parent! :)  Here's a glimpse of my "group" of girls and our fun filled day to Navy Pier to ride one of the Skyline boats (each class made their own shirts for days such as these)...

Hope you had a good one too!
Monday, May 24, 2010


Yes, I am thoroughly in the midst of the world of adoption.
Yes, I am an AVID reader.
Yes, I have heard about this book, and seen mention of this book, and have looked at this book on shelves.

So do I know WHY I have not read it until now???  No. Clue. 

All I can say is, God has a great sense of timing! :)

I am LOVING Melissa Fay Greene's book There is No Me Without You!  I am just getting into it, but keep stopping every few pages to really give myself time to digest what I'm reading.  My usual is to just read read read something.  I love reading, and when a book captures my attention, as many do, I tend to read them so quickly that a week or so later I can barely remember many of the details.  I'm trying NOT to do that with this one!

For example, here is something I loved in the pages I read today...

Adoption is not the answer to HIV/AIDS in Africa.  Adoption rescues few.  Adoption illuminates by example: these few once-loved children - who lost their parents to preventable diseases - have been offered a second chance at family life in foreign countries; like young ambassadors they instruct us... For every orphan turning up in a northern hemisphere household... ten thousand African children remain behind alone.

"I am deeply respectful of the families who care for our children," (Haddush Haleform... head of Children's Commission under Ethiopia's Ministry of Labor) said.  "But I am so very interested in any help that can be given to us to keep the children's first parents alive.  Adoption is good, but children, naturally, would prefer not to see their parents die."

Isn't that the crux of it.  We need to do even more than "just" adopt.  We need to HELP.  It's amazing how truly wonderful all those "new" ARVs are, what a mighty difference they can make.  In fact, why not see for yourself.  I plan on watching this with Olivia.  Because as much as I try to explain to her what HIV "used" to be in our country, how it used to be a "death sentence", she gives me that smirk.  That kid smirk you get when they just don't really believe you.  As if you are saying that just to get your point across, but it's not REALLY true.  I want her to know the truth.  It's still a death sentence to many.  Will you take 30 minutes of your time to watch?

Getting Ready

Can you tell what we did this weekend????

We were able to pick up the crib which was donated by a good friend from work! :) I had cute girl bedding (it needs to be washed, very wrinkly from storage, but I was too excited to wait for that!) from a former young foster placement. Even with my monster passenger van, the changing table wouldn't fit, so I'll have to borrow someone to pick it up with me another time. So silly that no seats recline in a passenger van! :) But, we got the crib up and ready! Olivia is beside herself with excitement! Every now and then she'll bust out with a, "I just can't believe we're going to ADOPT the baby and she will be a part of our family forever!" It's so cute!


Fundraising is an unfortunate part of adoption isn't it? But it is such a blessing to be able to be a part of bringing a child HOME. Of saving an orphan who may otherwise not survive long, or would have to endure years of institution life. Many countries give children the opportunity to find their forever families... until the age of 5, then they are turned over to the institution. "Thrown away" as scrap. "Nope, you're over five, you can't be adopted any longer." It breaks my heart. BUT, we have the opportunity to help some, to save some, and more importantly, to hopefully spread the word... no, forgive me, I mean the WORD. God has ordained US as followers to give a home to the orphan, to care for the widows, to do to the least what we would do for Him.

I believe this. I am trying to live this. I know that we all aren't called to adopt. BUT, we can be a part of helping orphans. We can do this by giving monetarily so that others may fulfill this. We can watch the children of someone while they travel to adopt. We can bring new adoptive parents meals or help with other children. We can simply spread the word about other adoption fundraisers. We CAN help!

I am starting our first adoption fundraiser. In the next day or two you will see a new link on my sideline to this blog: Blogs With Purpose Feel free to check it out now, but remember it's just in the beginning stages and not quite complete... almost though! :) I will be offering my newly developed services in designing blog headers and backgrounds. (I designed the new one on this page and also on the 'Purpose' blog.)

BUT, I will also be "Paying it Forward." Did you ever read this book, or even see the movie? (Although I always like the books better! :) ) For each $25 donated, I will design a blog header and background for your blog. I will put $20 directly into our adoption fund, BUT $5 will go to someone else's adoption fund! I will showcase another adoptive family each month and the money raised during that month will go into their adoption fund! I am so excited to do this!!! I have already contacted the first family I will be working with, and let me tell you have they got a story to share! I have truly loved getting to know them through their blog and in a few emails and I'm sure that if you don't already know of them, you will love them too!

Please check back soon and consider supporting us in this vision.

In His Name,


It's already been quite a Monday morning... and I must admit my voice has been louder and stronger than makes me comfortable admitting.  Our weekend was filled with ups and downs as well.  For many of you, what I'm about to say fits in with what you have experienced yourself with your children who have experienced trauma, but for many "regular" parents, this is foreign territory.

Olivia has been a pill.  Plain and simple.  And yet, I know exactly why, I know what her triggers are, and yet I can't help sometimes but be pulled into the drama, get my temper rising, and then regret things I say or how I saw them.  It's almost the end of the school year.  Not a big deal you say, that's normal you think, what's the big deal?  Right?  Wrong!  For Olivia, it's structure, it's routine, she knows what's coming next.  The summer, with it's not knowing what we're doing when, of having so much more free time, of changing what is happening now, that is frightening to a child who has had control and/or attachment issues.  Don't get me wrong, it's not about school itself, or not wanting to be at home.  We will have these issues once again when school resumes in the fall.  It's like the tide, it comes and goes at semi-expected times.

And yet, she doesn't understand this.  She can't "control" it.  It's out of her scope of understanding.  I as the parent need to help her understand.  I need to help her put words to the feelings that may be going on inside her.  But... alas... when it's 6:30 in the morning and you are just plugging away in the normal routine of everyday, when it's not "expected", it's easy to forget these things, easy to get caught in the frustration.  When your eight year old, doing her "job" of clearing the table steps in front of the six year old doing his job of emptying the CLEAN dishes from the dishwasher, ignores that fact, and puts the dirty dishes right into the midst of all those clean ones.  When you ask her why and she looks at you as if you have two heads and says she's doing her job and then continues for the next 30 minutes to refute each thing you try to tell her or talk to her about (not related to those dishes).  When she doesn't listen to what you say and then gets mad at you because she doesn't understand... WHEN... over and over for almost 40 minutes...  it's tiring...

Lord, I pray for patience.  I thank You for how far Olivia has come.  I praise You that she no longer "sabbotages" consequences and discipline, that she has learned to slow herself down to talk, that she knows how to give great hugs.  Help me to show Grace, Forgiveness, and Understanding.  Amen
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Uh Huh, Really?!

So in my quest to figure out where our little one whom God has destined to become a part of our family is located, I have researched and emailed and ... well, you name it. Today I received an email back from one agency that I saw worked with the country I'm interested in, and I had asked them about available HIV + children. Here's the response I received (italics are mine, for emphasis)...
I do work with an orphanage that has many HIV children. I am going (there) next month to find out and possibly take some pictures. I also need to make sure that you have done all your homework on this and that you understand all of the complications that come with an HIV child. The medicine is very expensive and most not covered by your insurance.

At first I laughed, I mean, really, ME do my homework. But then I really took in what she was saying, and thought about the fact that if it WERE someone who was just beginning to look into HIV+ children, this was NOT what I would want them reading, it is SO misleading and just plain WRONG.

Seriously, I understand striving to be sure a family has considered whatever they put on an adoption application as "acceptable" to them, but the "complications" that come with an HIV child??? Complications? You mean complications like having to give a few meds every 12 hours? Oooo... that's a hard one to deal with for sure! :) Would they phrase things in such a way to someone who said they were open to adopting a child with limb differences, or spina bifida, or asthma? Complications? I'm just floored.

And the bit about insurance? Most insurances DO cover meds! Yes, you would still have your copay, but if you have a prescription program, you should be ok. AND, even if you weren't, there are many state programs in place for those with HIV to get help paying for meds.

I'm just really floored that an adoption agency, trying to advocate for children, would put things in such a way. Wow! What an eye-opener! She WILL be getting an email back from me! Count on it! And no, I won't be working with that agency!

Go. Seek. Love.

As I've been busy busy busy researching countries, agencies, fundraisers, you name it, I came across this great site and fundraiser: Go. Seek. Love. Love the shirts! And as it can be about anywhere in Africa, it fits us as we are looking in Africa! :) I'm making up some shirts soon, but for now, this will be GREAT!!! Check out their site and give them some support!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sticks and Stones...

Well, if you haven't already heard about the controversy surrounding the words Pat Robertson used recently in talking of orphans and adoption, you really should see for yourself.  I have so many thoughts, most of them quite unkind and not following God's love, that I won't speak much on the subject just now, maybe ever, but if you haven't already, would you please watch the video clip at the end of the following link and see for yourself just what was said.  It really has left me so angry and speechless.  And yet, the person speaking with him tried a number of times to steer him back to topic and he just kept making his point, his unbelievable, ridiculous, hurtful, WRONG point.  That maybe we shouldn't adopt orphans because some of them are just too damaged when they're young to be a positive contribution to a family.  Really???  Tell my children this.  

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A New Kind of Sundae

Olivia "won" the opportunity to help make our school principal a sundae today! She was one of many who were able to dump on toppings to turn him into this tasty treat! Looks thrilled doesn't he! :) He actually was smiling most of the time, but was worried because we have a dedication today for the memorial garden which he will be speaking at, and he was not wanting it on his head at all! :)

Blessings and Roadblocks

We’ve had numerous blessings lately and it’s amazing and wonderful to see God’s hand at work in our lives in such a tangible way.

So far for our hosting of Davids this summer, we’ve raised $660! I think that’s a huge blessing!!! I know that God has a plan for him and for us in this program and experiences. It’s been wonderful to see how many people have just become aware of this type of program so far through our fund raising. In addition, Braeden’s teacher is giving us a couple bags of clothes for him, which her son recently grew out of. We are so excited to meet him at the end of June!

While we have shared with people about our quest to adopt internationally, we’ve been met with so many positive responses and inquiries. A co-worker, actually I guess you’d say my boss, is GIVING us, GIVING I say!, her solid oak crib and changing table. What a HUGE BLESSING! We recently sold our crib a few months ago in anticipation of the possible move we were thinking could be happening.

I’ve also met some more amazing people through this journey! Fellow bloggers, facebookers, and adoptive parents. I love connecting with people who “get it.”

But, we’ve also had what have felt like road blocks too, and I know in my head it’s all a part of Satan trying to discourage and delay our journey, but in my heart it’s hard not to be saddened at times.

I’ve been trying to find a good, quick, and yes, inexpensive homestudy agency to do my international homestudy. In my research of area agencies I found many who will work right up to our county, but not in our county. I was told one through my foster care agency would be $500, to find out my licensing rep was wrong (not intentionally but still) and it would actually be $2500. Quite a difference! They will do one though. I found two others, one of which told me it would be $2500 but would take 4-5 MONTHS! For the homestudy!? That seems crazy to me!

I finally contacted a local friend I had met through our blogs who has adopted from ET and asked who they used. She referred me to an agency she thought was superb, was $1900, and did a quick job, and whom I hadn’t even found during my research into agencies, I thought it was God’s leading!!! I called and spoke with the worker, who was wonderful. So so so nice! But, she told me they only work with families working with an agency. I explained it was an organization, etc and she looked up the site as I was talking to her. She said she would call them and talk to them about it to see if they could still help me, and then would call right back. She really did call right back! ☺ BUT, hadn’t been able to get a hold of anyone at the organization I was leaning toward. She said she’d email them and hopefully hear back and would call me back the next day. I’d really like to work with her as she seems so responsive and helpful, but maybe it’s not meant to be.

So, that’s life in a nutshell right now. How are things on your end???

And a few gratuitous kid pics! :) We built a memorial garden at my school recently and the kids all helped to plant and prepare, they loved it!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our First Fundraiser

This is officially our first fundraiser for our adoption! Truly, we will also be using money that I had worked at saving for a down payment for a house, which I had thought we were being called to this spring/summer, but alas God had other plans for that money! :) and that's just fine with me! :)

This now resides on our dining room table. Any change I have (other money gets put directly into my savings account) goes into this jar. Braeden and Olivia know what it is, what it's for, and why we're doing it, and they put change in it also. Olivia puts any money she gets right into the jar, I love their hearts!!! 

They are both super thrilled and excited at the possibility of being older siblings again. Braeden has it in his head that he's going to be a "savior" to the child. He keeps saying that he will "rescue the baby from drowning." It's too funny. The only thing I can relate it to, how he may have gotten this idea, is that once when Liam was little he was in a baby float in the kiddie pool on our driveway and somehow flipped himself forward into the water, to which I of course jumped in and "saved him." Then there was also the hotel pool incident!!! :)  So I guess he's decided it's a "protector" kind of thing to save people from drowning! :)  He's too cute!

So, we're off to save, to cut back, and to hoard even the little pennies that come our way.  It'll all add up to one wonderful, God-filled GIFT! :)

A First for Braeden

A few weeks ago, this was Braeden's mouth...

He had two new teeth coming in behind his two bottom ones, but no wiggly teeth there yet. He wanted so badly to lose his first tooth! And I was hoping it would happen so that these new ones would have a place to go!

He kept wiggling, and they kept growing.  Finally, on Friday, one popped out while he was wiggling it!  He was beyond excited and his teacher emailed me that he had pronounced it his "lucky day" due to losing his tooth!

See how big the two behind are??? :)

When Olivia lost her first tooth, the tooth fairy gave her a five dollar bill!  Lucky duck!  Since then she's gotten quarters, a piece of gum, etc, but that first one, boy!  So Braeden was thrilled when he received a five also!!!

Of course it was burning a hole in his pocket, so when we stopped at Big Lots to pick up a birthday gift for Olivia's sleepover yesterday, he just had to look around.

At Christmas, Braeden had wanted a remote control car.  He jokingly told my dad that he wanted one that shot missles, and amazingly, my parents found one that opened up and shot missles!  Can you even believe it!?  BUT, we think in the hubub of packing and throwing away after opening gifts, the remote was LOST, completely gone, so he was never able to try it out and has wanted another remote control car ever since.  

So going into Big Lots with five dollars, which to him is riches beyond measure, that's what he wanted to look for.  I didn't say anything, but of course thought that there was NO WAY even there that he would find one!  Well, God knows our hearts, and imagine my surprise when the ONE remote control car I saw, on the top shelf of an aisle, was pulled down, found to have a clearance sticker on the bottom, and was the whopping price of $3.45!!!  So Braeden not only got his remote control car, but he also got one dollar and some change back!!!  His change he put in our adoption fund jar (more in another post) and the dollar he is keeping for a trip to Dollar Tree another day!  He was blessed, I was humbled, and tonight we will be using that example to do a Bible study on God's granting us the desires of our heart, in so many wonderful ways! :)


Numbers and Images have been plaguing my mind... leaving me speechless, clouding my day, showing me humility, stealing a piece of my heart.

For a long time now, the sheer amount of orphans in this world just staggers me.  Did you know that there are approximately 147 MILLION orphans?!   And yet there are approximately 2 BILLION Christians in the world... 

Christians who are being called to follow teaching of the BIble, the words of God which tell us...

I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.

John 14:18

You are the helper of the fatherless. LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

Psalms 10:14,17-18

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1:27

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.

Psalms 68:5-6

When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.

Deuteronomy 24:19

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

Isaiah 1:17

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

Proverbs 31:8-9

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

Matthew 18:5

I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!

Matthew 25:40


Which means that if "WE" were truly living this out, if only 7% were truly following Christ, truly living these words... There would be No. More. Orphans.  None.  And pictures like those in the former video... those now in my head non stop... simply would NOT exist.  We would be neighbors.  We would help one another with food and shelter; simple, basic needs.  We would take in orphans.  We would help widows.  And we would have instead pictures like these...

It challenges ME to live even more frugally than we already do.  To cut out some of our summer plans to focus on those I can do for free or next to free with coupons and deals and specials.  To work even harder to come up with fundraising ideas.  To go back through all of our clothing “buckets” and weed down even more, taking the extra to our local consignment store and in turn putting that money into our adoption fund.  To do the same with those toys that pile up and seem to rarely get used.  To advocate for the people of the country we're adopting from.  To do my part to help so that this country of the future is a safe, beautiful, happy country where my (hopefully) future child can be proud to return to visit.

I will do my best to live out these verses... how about you?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Newest Author

Olivia wrote this “book” in school and gave it to me as a Mother’s Day gift. It sure did brighten my day!!! And still does! (Italics are her words, the rest was already typed on the page.)

Cover: Love is amazing! MOM Especially your mom!

I wouldn’t trade my mom for all of the time or money in the world because she loves me, takes care of me, helps me with homework, and makes me happy when I’m sad. She tells me stories of when she was my age.

My mom is special because she is my mom, and she cares about me. She also gives me special things like me being able to go on a plane and go to Florida for four days. That is why she is special because she gives special things to me! She also says I’m the big sister. I also get to make breakfast and that makes her special because she is rewarding me because I’m responsible!

A Favorite Holiday Memory With Mom
Is when it is my mom’s birthday because it is her birthday and it is all about her. My mom, My mom! It’s all about her! Her birthday means she is growing and it also means it is my mom’s special day.

My favorite thing to do with my mom in the summer is to go to the mall and shop. We shop for skirts, and dresses. She shopes for me a lot. I thank her a lot too. I spend a lot of my money of clothes or earing or other jewrely. I love to go shopping with my mom.

A Funny Time With Mom
The funniest time with my mom is when one time at lunch I was done and I was suposto say may I be excused but I said my buckle was on and that is what I say in the car.

I think that my mom is the best in the whole-wide world because she loves me!
Mom Daughter Love

So, to sum it up, I guess I’m special because I buy her cool things, she loves that I talk about myself, I “make her” (she actually offers and loves it) take the boys to the bathroom when we’re at a restaurant and tell her how responsible she is, and yes I spend too much money shopping!!! LOL

The whole eating dinner and saying her buckle is on (which is what they say in the car to let me know we ready to roll) must be hilarious because it happened AGES ago and she and Braeden both still talk about it and crack up over it ALL THE TIME! LOL ☺

But truly, the fact that she took the time to write these things and that I know what she is saying and how much she loves when we spend time together, which we typically do by shopping and hanging out on a girls day, just fills my heart. She has come such a long long long way from the little, scared little girl who came to live with me when she was three. The little girl who had to be taught to hug instead of being stiff as a board when I tried to hug her. The little girl who had to be taught to play, taught to care, taught to eat healthy, taught to color. My girl is certainly growing up beautifully!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Donation

We are still excited and preparing for the arrival of Davids, 15, from Latvia this summer through a hosting program with New Horizons for Children. He will be coming to spend five weeks with us at the end of June. So far we have raised $560 of the $2500-$2700 his trip will cost. In addition, we are also to provide clothes, luggage, school backpack, shoes, dental, and eye appointment. A friend's daughter has requested from her board at the opotholmologist's where she works, and has gotten approval, to give him a free exam and glasses if needed.

This week another friend who will also be hosting gave us two swim suits that will hopefully fit him while he's here! :) The kids thought it was so cool that THESE were DAVIDS suits! Too cute!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Direction

Well, today is a big day! I received my application packet from an organization I have been praying about and with whom I think I am being led to begin working with toward an adoption! Through many days of what seemed like endless research and prayer and decision making, I liked more and more of what I heard about and from an organization working in and with the a certain African country (I now need to remove info on this country as we are in process). I read a blog with a family who used the same people I was researching, and emailed a couple small emails with the author.

The organization I'm working with is NOT an adoption agency. They work to provide for the children of this country who have been left homeless and/or orphaned. AND they also partner with certain orphanages and attorneys and assist families in completing what are basically independent adoptions in this country.

As I began to get more and more excited about this organization, I found out through speaking on the phone with the Director, that they are so burdened (in a good way though) with applications and families wanting to adopt, that they are currently not accepting applications until October. I worked to get my head around that, as I was feeling that this could be where I was meant to go, and tried to see October as a good thing (though inside I was saddened that I would have to wait that long to begin.) The day after speaking with the Director, I received an email from her in reponse to a question I had asked online prior to calling. The email contained her one sentence response, and then a section that was a "form" response, explaining their back up and application date of October. And then, one little sentence at the end of her email, stuck out like a lightning bolt to me. It said, "However, if you are interested in adopting an HIV+ child, I can make an exception. " Wow! God! You are awesome! Thank you!!!

Of course I was thrilled, why? Because HIV is nothing for us! I forget often that it's still a "special need". And as I'm finding out, there are so few people willing to adopt a child with HIV, that for this "need" the October date for submitting an application to the agency I was feeling led to, is null and void! Praise God!

Needless to say I wrote right back and let them know that I would be MORE than interested in adopting an HIV+ child if there is a need for that, and sign me up! :) And tonight an application packet landed in my inbox. :)

Until I read through these papers, I didn't know what the cost would be to adopt through here. As I've said, humanly, money is a worry for me. I hear the multiple stories of God's provision in these instances. I hear them, and I feel HE is the one leading me in this adoption. BUT, I still worry, how silly I know. The costs are still way less than many agencies I've seen since it is basically an independent adoption, BUT it is more than I anticipated.

I am filling out my application. I am applying for a passport tomorrow. I am starting to compile paperwork. I am stepping out in faith that HE will provide the money for this adoption. I will be researching grants and funding, fundraisers and ideas. And I will love every step of it. I am thrilled with the idea of our new child. I will do what I can to help with the cost, but I will trust God to provide in HIS ways as well. I step out in excitement!!!!! Pray for us on this INCREDIBLE journey!!! :)
Friday, May 07, 2010

Anybody help???

Does anybody out there know how to put a fundraiser "Thermometer" on my blog??? I am at a loss! :) If you can help, please let me know! Thanks!

Picnic on the Lawn

Braeden's school had "Picnic on the Lawn" today. Of course it's been sunny and warm all week and today is overcast and sprinkly (is that even a word??? :) ), but Braeden has been counting down the days and was THRILLED to have mom at school with him! :) We had a great lunch together!

World AIDS Orphan Day

Today is World AIDS OrphansDay. AHOPE for Children is a wonderful organization who strives to help those affected by AIDS and the orphans left through this epidemic. Today I'd like you to consider helping their endeavors...

From AHOPE's website:

World AIDS Orphan Day

On May 7th, AHOPE for Children and the rest of the world will acknowledge the world's AIDS orphans. This year we are expected to surpass 20,000,000 AIDS orphans worldwide of which well over 2,000,000 are HIV positive themselves. Fewer than one in ten AIDS orphans are receiving any external support. For many children, the loss of parents brings destitution, an end to schooling and stigmatization by family and neighbors. Even when a child loses only one parent to HIV/AIDS the high incidence of HIV infection within marriage means that many children soon lose both parents, and often become the responsibility of the extended family. Child-headed households, once a rarity, are now increasingly common in sub-Sahara Africa.

We are asking everyone of our 5000 current friends and supporters to donate at $10 or more to AHOPE for Children on May 7th. In addition, we would also ask that you request the same of 2 of your friends. It can be done. Your passion and actions to date have already proven it and we see it every day in the eyes of our kids in Ethiopia. As a supporter of AHOPE, you have helped save the lives of hundreds of children.

On May 7th we will begin our work on 2,000,000 more.

Please Click HERE

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


I received some wonderful news from a co-worker today. Our school psychologist stopped me in the hall to tell me that her daughter, who works at a local opthomologist's office, talked to the board there and they approved (all without my knowledge!) giving Davids a FREE eye exam AND glasses, if he needs them!!! Wow! What an incredible blessing!!! The other awesome thing is that the place she works is one of the best in our area! I am moved to tears! How wonderful!!!
Monday, May 03, 2010

Waiting Game With Your Life

So, since talking to a few family members and friends about my thinking of adopting, I've been getting some interesting responses. I get it. I hear it from large families, and I by no means think my family is "large." But others do. Many don't "get it." They think, focus on the ones you have. They even say it sometimes. Why spread yourself thin. How can you do it? You must be a saint (yeah, right! Ask my kids that LOL). And then there's the person who thinks basically that I shouldn't adopt more, because "what if" I meet someone. Really? I mean, yes, would I like to meet someone and get married. Of course. BUT, should I put my life, all that God has given me, and all that I'd like to share, on HOLD for the "what ifs?" What if I had done that ten years ago? I wouldn't have any of my kids! I would have taught and gone home to an empty house. That doesn't sound much like a life to me. I can't just not adopt because "What if". And, I know that if God does have someone in mind for me, then He also has someone in mind for my kids, and that person will accept us all.

I have more but will get off my soapbox. :)
Saturday, May 01, 2010


Our puzzle arrived in the mail today. This is the puzzle we've ordered to give Davids while he's here. It looks very cool. :) It's 3D!!! :)

We've raised $370 so far to help pay for his trip to the United States. That will fill up 74 puzzle pieces so far!!! (For each five dollars donated, we will write the name of the donor on the back of one puzzle piece. That way Davids will be able to see the awesome coming together of people who helped to bring him to the US for a portion of the summer in a hosting program through New Horizons for Children.)

There are still 426 pieces left! There is still time to donate if you feel led! :) Thanks to all of you who have graciously donated so far!!!

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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What you should know about HIV

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles). - HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. - People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do. Additional information on transmission of HIV can be found on the Center for Disease Control website:

Other Awesome Blogs

Orphan Crisis

• 147 million orphans in the world
• 50 million orphans in Africa 
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 16,000,000 have been orphaned by AIDS
• Every week, AIDS claims as many lives as American fatalities in the Vietnam War
• 854 million people do not have enough to eat
• Malnutrition is associated with the deaths of 5 million children under the age of five
• Every 2 seconds an orphan dies from malnutrition

Hence the title of my blog

Little Did I Know

Little did I know that the road would be so rocky
Little did I know that the trip would take so long
Little did I know that my heart could hurt so much
Little did I know that God is never wrong

Little did I know that love could be so powerful
Little did I know that a dream so far could go
Little did I know that God would place the right ones
Little did I know that my heart, so large, could grow

Little did I know that a dream has it’s own timing
Little did I know that this day would finally come
Little did I know that four souls would be sent to guide me
Little did I know that they would choose to call me mom

But God knew all along and He had a plan to follow
God knew all along that my dream would soon come true
God knew all along that we five should be together
God knew all along that I’d share it all with you