Saturday, December 06, 2014


We made it through court!  Macy has our last name!  She is now Emmanuela ___________.  Once she has lived in the US for 6 months we can readopt and change her first name, keeping Emmanuela as her middle name.  I know there is a lot of controversy in the adoption "world" about keeping names, changing names, etc, but that is what we are doing and as Macy grows up I will allow her to be called by either name as she wishes.

This very important phone call came about not 45 minutes after I posted on FB how very hard it was to get to the end of a Friday, with the big empty weekend looming ahead.  On Tuesday I had been notified that the mission team that was at Macy's orphanage the week prior did indeed get to see her and take some new pictures, so I had been anxiously awaiting those all week.  I still haven't received the pictures, but this news was well and beyond what I had been expecting.

So what's next?  Next is a bunch more of "hurry up and wait"... legalizations, birth certificate, passport, USCIS verifying everything that's been done, and finally a VISA and home!  I'm hoping and praying for spring, but we'll see what happens.  At least I know there is movement and we are NEARING the end.  So so so so happy!

Monday, October 06, 2014

At Last...

After over 14 MONTHS in our current adoption step (IBESR - Haiti's Social Services) we have finally EXITED!!!

We are on cloud nine!  We received an official call from the agency on September 28 alerting us and we feel so incredibly blessed!  Others that are stuck in our same current situation and completed their two week bonding trip shortly before and/or after ours are still stuck.  I am praying for them and hope that more movement comes SOON!  

As for us we are now on to the next step!  As I've said before, each step of this process is so incredibly random and individual... BUT looking at others who have gone before, it looks like an average of anywhere from 5-9 months and we could be looking at a homecoming!

Personally... in my mind... is the date April 5.  Macy's FIFTH and GOLDEN birthday!  I would LOVE for her to be HOME for that milestone!  It would be such perfect timing with work as well because I could take off the rest of the school year on maternity leave and then be home all summer to really help her transition!

So... prayers for a continued and smooth process!  And PRAISE for moving forward!

Monday, July 14, 2014


Well... since beginning our switch into Haiti I specifically asked about posting pictures once we had them of our new little addition because I know that this is different based on agency, country, etc.  I had been told it was not a problem.  So I've posted pictures although I have been very careful to not share other information such as Macy's birth name, my agency name, the orphanage, etc.  Yesterday and today I received some emails which I questioned something I had been told regarding a couple of new pictures I received, leading them in to telling me that the policy has always been that pictures are not posted until the child is legally yours.  So... I have deleted all pictures from face*book... and instead of deleting all I have on here currently, I will be making this blog private in a few days.  Long enough so that this post is up and if you would like to continue following along while it is still private (I will make it public again once the adoption is complete), then please feel free to email me and I will add you!  Let me know who you are, how I know you, etc.  There is a cute little envelope/mail logo on the upper right that will link a message right to me!  Thanks!

Be sure to email so I have your email address to add to those allowed and I will email you the password once it goes private!  Thanks!
Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Those Early Moments

Being an adoptive parent, one of the hardest things is missing those "early moments."  When you bring in and/or adopt a child who is "older" in any way you most often miss out on baby pictures, baby "firsts", etc and as the child gets older those become harder and harder to miss.  

Many times kids have school assignments about being a baby whether that be bringing in a baby picture and "guessing the baby", or doing a growth chart through pictures, or the dreaded family tree.  I first encountered this with Olivia when she was in kindergarten and was asked to do one of those "growth charts" from baby to now (at only age 5).  Since she came to live with me at 3 1/2, we didn't have a lot of change in pictures.  I gave her some options such as a random online picture, drawing a baby picture, etc but she wanted to just use what we had.  It's been hard to have missed those moments and not even have pictures to share with her or others.

This week I was granted a huge blessing.  Someone Olivia and I met while on our two week visit to Haiti has been going to Macy's orphanage over the years since she arrived at age one, and shared some great pictures with us of her!  These are such a treasure and will be even more important as time goes by and she is home with us. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Needing to Catch Up

Summer is here FINALLY!  But I have neglected this blog for WAY too long with end of the year "stuff" going on at school and work.

Our summer vacation this year has been in the works for over two years now and I can't believe it's actually come and gone.  Back then my mom and I discussed taking the kids (and ourselves!) on a Disney cruise.  She has always dreamed of going on a cruise and I was sure one would most likely not be in our future cost wise.  She generously was giving me a portion of money at the time and I suggested that we take out some to use on a cruise together and I would put the rest toward our adoption, which we did.  So just over a year ago we planned and booked our cruise, to take place in June of 2014 (which seemed so very far away!)  At the time we had had Macy's referral for a few months so she was booked alongside the rest of us and it was extremely bittersweet to say the least to have to remove her from our booking since of course she isn't home yet.

Nevertheless we had a wonderful time!  Here are a few glimpses into the dream that our Disney cruise was for us...

(Yes, I celebrated my special day on board the ship!)

(A blogger-turned-real-life friend and her daughter went on the same cruise!
We had a blast!)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Making American "BOY" Dolls

Every year at Christmastime, Olivia, two of her friends, and those friends' moms and I make our way to Chicago by train.  We eat lunch at the Cheese*cake Factory, shop at Water*tower Place, but our main goal is the American Girl Store.

Even at age 12, Olivia loves American Girl dolls.  And I have "fed" that love so to speak because since she came to live with me at age 3, Olivia never really played with things.  We had to teach her how to draw and color.  We had to teach her to play.  The year Olivia was 6 I think she grew the most in her play due to the fact that we had a 2 year old girl foster child who played and taught Olivia more than I even could.  But still... she loved to obtain toys.  She would oooh and aaah over things like the Easy Bake Oven, or Barbies, especially the themed ones like those from High School Musical and Camp Rock, but she didn't "play" with them, she hoarded them.  They sat in her room.  Her brothers would beg to play with her in her room and she would refuse.  Every.  Time.  Still does to this day, though she is much better at playing with them in the basement or in their rooms.  But American Girl dolls are the ONE thing she has really loved.  And she does "play" with them.  She enjoys changing their clothes.  And doing their hair.  And playing with them when friends are over.

So we go with two other girls who are close in age and who all LOVE their dolls.  And us three moms and three daughters, who are friends, trek to wintery cold Chicago for a girls' day.

And the boys are jealous! :)

So they wanted their own dolls.
Especially when I decided to buy myself one this past Christmas (ebay) and Olivia and I talked excitedly about Macy one day getting a doll and how we could have doll tea parties and play together.
They wanted IN.

So I looked online.  Because SOMEONE had to sell BOY dolls similar in size, right?
I just couldn't find any.
Well, I take that back.  I found a couple online merchandisers but they were "collectibles" and VERY pricey!  (Even more than the regular AG dolls!)
But what I DID find in my search was a couple people on etsy who were creating their OWN!
They used older AG dolls, or knock offs (Our Generation, Battat, etc), put on a new wig, added some boy clothes, sometimes even repainted or took off paint on faces, and Voila!  
A boy doll!

So... my hunt began...

I first found this beauty for Liam at a thrift store for about $3...


She needed a good cleaning with some baby wipes and a Mr Clean magic eraser.  But looked really good afterwards.

This type of doll has two kinds of hair, either a wig, or hair that is rooted in the head.  Either will work, and I worked with both, but those with wigs are easier.  This one of course had rooted hair.

First I had to sheer off as much hair as possible.  I apologize I didn't get a picture at this stage!  I thought I did but it wasn't on my camera. :(  When you are cutting you will see that most of the hair is in a circle around the outer edge and then down the part, with only a little on the rest of the scalp.  Just make sure to cut as close to the scalp as possible.

The most expensive part of the project is the wig.  There are MANY styles and companies to choose from.  Having looked at other dolls when researching, the style the boys and I liked was/is called Bebe and is a size 10-11.  Now... you will see at the end with the picture of the two dolls how VERY different they are from company to company.  Braeden's wig I happened to find from a seller on etsy selling out some doll supplies and got a good deal.  It was brand new and cost about $10 plus a few for shipping.  It was made by Miniworld and is a Bebe black 10-11.  And Liam's was made by Monique and is a Bebe dk brown 10-11.  His I got from an online merchant and it was about $16 plus shipping.  They are SO different in size!  Braeden's is VERY full and Liam's is VERY thin/small.  I didn't cut or do anything to them.  I actually wish they were right in the middle of the two.

Once the head, for rooted hair, is shorn as close as possible, try the wig on the doll and see how it fits.  Then you will use a glue to hold it in place.  Here's Liam's with wig on.

For Braeden, I had trouble finding a black doll at thrift stores (I did find two other white dolls I may play more with another time, one with blue eyes and one with brown, both with no teeth).  So for his I had to look on ebay.  I found a knock off Our Gen doll with clothes (so I can pass those to the girls) for a great price.  Here's his doll before starting... 

This one had a wig, and it came off with just some elbow grease.  (Her wig was/is in really good condition so I kept it in case I want to use it in the future for another doll.)

Here she is awaiting her transformation.  I again cleaned her up as well but she wasn't near as dirty as Liam's.  (I didn't touch face paint on either of them though the other dolls I have would need lipstick/blush removed to be boys.)  This doll is by Battat though I'm not sure what store sold her.

This is what the new wigs look like and how they will come.

Again I tried it on the doll to get a feel for it first, then applied glue.  See the difference in the two wigs!? 

And here are the two boys waiting for their Easter day debut!  The tshirts and jeans were made by etsy sellers and the shoes were purchased on Amazon.

I obviously couldn't leave Olivia out of the new doll for Easter thing, so I scoured ebay looking for a deal.  And found one!  We both Love Kit and I happened to find a near perfect one.  Was a collectible, so not played with, hair looked perfect, had the whole outfit in perfect condition, it was awesome!  And CHEAP!  BUT, she had purple marker all over the bottom of her legs.  Normally I would have bypassed this immediately, but having looked all over pinterest for ideas in cleaning and redoing dolls in making the boys' dolls, I had found a number of pins on taking off marker and it looked... well... easy.  So I bought Kit and hoped for the best.

Here's her legs...

So this is what you do... and of course I waited until yesterday so I was VERY lucky it was a nice and sunny day.  First, wrap the doll in fabric (clean shirt or towel) and a bag (parts that won't be worked on).  Second, put OXY cream on the marker spots. 

Third, wrap in plastic wrap.  And fourth, set in the sun.  I left her outside for about 6 hours, rotating every hour or so since the marks were all the way around.  

And here are the amazing results!

There is still a SLIGHT purple mark on the front where the worst of it was, but the rest is gone!  And I'm going to do a second application tomorrow to get the rest off!  (Ran out of sunlight yesterday.)

Here she is, ready for Easter!

The dolls were HUGE hits this morning as a GREAT Easter surprise!  They LOVE them!!!!

Happy Easter!

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

These three greeted my kiddos this morning to wish them a Happy Easter.  I will be writing a separate post about them and how they were created/fixed up!  The boys begged around Christmas time for American "BOY" dolls... so I did some research and created these guys!

Olivia and I have LOVED Kit for a while now, but she is pricey. :)  I found this one on ebay in near perfect condition, hair and all, except she had purple marker on her legs.  Got a great deal, and almost all of the marker is OFF... the rest should come off tomorrow!

Needless to say they were THRILLED!

We also did the "traditional" egg hunt.  The Bunny usually hides eggs and a basket for each in the basement.  This year there was even a basket for Macy!

Another gorgeous day today so we're hoping to spend lots of time outside enjoying life and each other!  We're also going to go see Heaven is for Real today... can't wait!

Hope you have a wonderful Easter!
Sunday, April 06, 2014

Another Year

Birthdays mean another year has passed.  The child/person is 365 days older than the last time you said Happy Birthday and celebrated their special day.  In adoption, the birthday of a child who is "yours" in mind and love and somewhat on paper, can also mean another year without them.  Another year where they are growing up without a family.  As good as an orphanage can be, and I know Macy is in a good one and is very well cared for, it still cannot replace the love of a family.  And Macy was another year older yesterday.  We first received her referral and pictures and information in January 2013.  She turned three that April.  She turned four yesterday.  Time passing is hard when that person is not with you.  Harder still when you know that you have known of this little person for over 1/4 of their life and it's being lived without you.

But we celebrate her.  We celebrate the life she has led.  The life she will lead.  And we await the day we can share this with her, show her the pictures of the parties we held in her honor.  And throw her her own very first ever birthday party once she's home!

 Happy Birthday Macy!!!  We were glad to celebrate early with you while in Haiti!!!

Dress handmade by my friends at The Crazy Kukla Boutique!

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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:

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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