Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tee Shirts for Avery!

Tee Shirts

Long sleeve tee - $25.00

Short sleeve - $20.00

Several colors available

Children and adult sizes available!

Be sure to message your size and color choice when you use the donate button on the blog!

I will confirm via email before the order is placed!

Thanks for helping us bring Avery home!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Moving forward

Wednesday, I had a terrible start to my day. I was thankful that work kept me busy as when I stopped, the events of the morning flooded back in, causing me to tear up again!

As the morning moved on, I was reminded that God loves me unconditionally and magnificently! His love for me isn't based on my performance! God is kind and merciful and I pray that I will respond to others like my heavenly father.

On this difficult day, God sent me a wonderful surprise! I had been waiting since the first part of April to hear that Avery had received her photo album. Guess what, she did!

I also received a wonderful video. I'm not sure how to add it to the blog. It was precious and I loved hearing her sweet voice!

God's timing was perfect and I'm thankful for his hug to me just when I needed it!

Wednesday evening, Mackinley and I had our mother/daughter date! We visited Starbucks and had a nice visit!

Today was Journey's Gotcha Day celebration and we visited Mr. Chen's for Bubble Tea and dumplings! I love my one on one time with the girls! 

Tonight I leave you with a pray of thankfulness for God's unconditional love and the sweet photo of Avery!

Oh, I almost forgot, my I-800a should be mailed to the lockbox tomorrow!

Until next time . . .

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Mother's Reflection!

Matthew, my first born and only son, was born November 22, 1979, in Germany. He arrived four weeks early on Thanksgiving morning! I was a mom! What a wonderful blessing! I couldn't wait to travel home that next summer to show him off to my family!

One of my favorite photos of Matthew and Gavin!
Gavin loves dressing like his Dad!

Two years and 50 weeks later to the day, I was blessed again with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl, Jordan Elizabeth! This time we were living in Oklahoma and we were able to share our little princess with family without delay!

Jordan in her happy place with her beautiful babies!

My family was complete, so I thought! Two wonderful children, a boy and a girl, what more could I ask for? Little did I know that God would open my heart to adoption, specifically older girls from China.

In telling my story it is easy for one to forget about the first two, Matthew and Jordan. They are and will always be my treasures! I am proud of them as adults and the values that they display in their day to day lives. Any mother would be proud to call them her own, and I am blessed that they are mine. (Thank you, Lord)!

Kendall and brown bear were the first to release her balloon.
Before the release we say a quick prayer thanking God for their
birth moms that gave them life!

Then it happened! God began placing in my path books about families adopting older children, good reads but nothing to do with me, right? I read with great interest the blog of a family adopting two older children from the Ukraine! Loved following their adventure, but again this was their story and God's plan for them. 

Releasing the balloon is such a happy moment!

Slowly God was working, little by little opening my eyes to the number of orphans in the world. The next thing I know, a young lady from my Dothan Church was adopting. She and her husband had three beautiful children and she was headed to China. Are you seeing the connection and how God works? I stalked her blog waiting for each update and photos of her princess! I loved her heart for the orphan but that's where it ended for me!

Journey was up next and after our prayer,
she was ready to release her balloon!

Then one Wednesday night, Phillip Cameron visited our church with the young woman from Moldova that now lived in Stella's House. A home for girls that have aged out and have no place to go, a place where they could learn a trade and be safe from those that prey upon innocent girls! Oh, was God ever at work on my heart!

The girls were trying to decide which way the balloons 
needed to go to reach China!

Then it happened! Jennifer, the young woman that adopted the adorable little girl from China began to advocate for the orphans from China! My heart was tender to them, yet I thought I was much too old, plus being single, that let me off the hook, right?

Eden chose this balloon to honor is birth mom!

I couldn't get a young man from her list off my heart. I would wake up in the middle of the night praying for him. Was God calling me to adopt, surely not! Yet days and nights went by and I found myself drawn to this child.

Watching as her balloon floats off!

I causally mentioned to Jennifer on her advocacy site that seeing these kids made me want to adopt . . . but I was too old and SINGLE! Boy was that the wrong thing to say, she wrote back and said I wasn't too old and that singles could adopt.

Mackinley patiently waited for her turn!

Now this is where the rubber meets the road. Was I all talk? Was God calling me, to add to her family? Was I going to be obedient or was I going to sit back and let those younger take the lead?

Mackinley, like her sisters, watched as her balloon
 danced off into the distance!

Well, I guess by now if you are reading this you know what happened. I called, Amy Hart and the ball was rolling. I knew that I was supposed to do something! I couldn't look the other way when I knew what was happening to those girls aging out in China. Just like the girls from Moldova, human traffickers wait to lure these innocent girls into a horrific life until they are used up and discarded like a dirty rag!

The girls wanted a group photo, I tried to object as I had been up for over 24 hours and didn't have on any eye makeup! You see, it didn't matter to them!

For the record, I did read the file of the young man that I prayed for. He was not to be my son, I knew at once that God wasn't leading me to him. No, God's plan for me was older girls! Girls that had waited way too long for a family, girls that others had overlooked!

Three years ago on May 7th, I met for the first time, Kendall Katherine! How she could have been overlooked for so many years remains a mystery to me. Her province was closed to international adoptions for three years, and I praise God it opened up in time for Kendall to find her family before it was too late! Kendall expresses her thankfulness for family and truly she has the most giving heart.

One week later, it was Journey's turn! Journey was my first match! I was really upset that I couldn't get Journey first, however; God's plan and ways are perfect. Kendall needed the extra time with me to learn a few "social graces" before Journey's arrival! Journey is a fun child that is gifted in so areas.

As I traveled to China to get Journey and Kendall,  I thought my family was now complete! Two more children for a mom that only "wanted" two, I had to be done! Yet, while in China with Journey and Kendall I knew in my heart God wasn't finished with his plan and I would be back!

Sixteen months later I found myself back in China adopting two more girls! This time it was Eden and Mackinley. Eden a tender hearted loving child and Mackinley a quiet yet fun loving girl! Surely now, I was finished. 

Well, as you know, I'm headed back to China, not for the girl I thought I was going after, as God totally closed the door on that adoption. My only prayer is that her father will step up and be the provider and protecter that he is called to be for his beautiful daughter!

Eden told me tonight that when God closes a door he opens a window! Yes, that window is for a child that will age out this December! A child that has visited the US and knows first hand that we adoptive parents do not "eat" our young and that we can be trusted!

So as I reflect, I am most grateful to my heavenly father that adopted me into his family! Yes, I was chosen by Him. I am loved by him, so much so that he gave his only son for my salvation and I am treasured by Him, as I am the apple of his eye!

To Jason and Melanie Hall, Jennifer and Charles Morrison, and Phillip Cameron, thank you for leading the way. Your obedience in your call helped open the eyes to this mom! May God be praised and honored as your faithfulness was and is truly a testimony of God's love and faithfulness to those of us that follow in your footsteps!

To my dear children, know that you are truly loved and treasured. I know that I am blessed beyond measure because of you! My mother's day is complete just knowing and loving you!

To those that worked with me on this sometimes rocky road to adoption, Amy Hart, Karla Thrasher. Mallory Blackmon, Meagan Smith, Maegan Schwindling, and Sherry Stallings I could not have made it without your love and support.

Yes, I shamelessly borrowed this from a FB friend!

To the four birth moms, thank you for giving your daughter's life and placing them in places where they could be found! We will release a balloon today in your honor! Thank you foster moms for being good to the two you called your own for 12 years. You are and will be an important part of my girl's history!

To my own Mom, I love and cherish you!

Until next time . . .

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Her Life Matters!

Yes, Avery's life matters! 

We are all called by God to adopt and a few of us have the added joy of bringing home an older child that for various reason wasn't chosen as a baby, toddler, or school age child!

The road to adoption is long, expensive, and worth every step and roadblock along the way. Frustrating and faith building all at the same time!

Older child adoption comes with its own unique adventure, not always positive yet worth every moment as this young person learns to navigate their feelings and emotions! It takes an understanding that this child while grown in body is not mature in spirit and life experiences!

Watching this "teen" rock a doll for the first time or getting excited about a disappearing baby bottle is priceless to a mom but to outsiders it seems a bit strange.

Yes, there are times I find myself somewhat jealous of those adopting younger children as they have more time with their babies and they, the adopted child, have so many more advantages that come with being adopted at an earlier age. Just being honest! God's plan for my family is somewhat different, he called me to open up my heart and home to these older girls!

I am a giver and supporter by nature and fundraising is the most difficult part of the journey for me. It would be totally impossible for me to adopt without fundraising! My journey is made somewhat more difficult as many grant and loan agencies do not have options for single moms. (The frustrating part)

In a society where large families are often frown upon, sequential adoptions are often not supported in the same manner as a first adoptions, yet each is equally important and life changing to the waiting child.

I am unashamedly asking for your support as I work to bring Avery home. Yes, her life matters and this girl deserves a family to call her own. She deserves an opportunity to hear and learn about Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, a chance to be educated and pursue the career and mission she is called to achieve. Yes, Avery's life matters not only to me but to her heavenly Father!

Until next time . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Car Decals for Avery!

An adoption fundraiser - Car Decals!

You can get your decal for the low price of $5.00! This includes postage! 

When you donate via the button at the right, please be sure to include your mailing address!

Tomorrow, I'll have photos of our tee's that will be $20.00 for the short sleeve and $25.00 for the long sleeve. Same design as our car decals and I am excited for you to see them!

Sorry, no photos! The tees didn't arrive as planned! 

Tonight, I worked on the I-800a paperwork, it won't be long before this document is ready to mail!

Each donation and step forward brings us that much closer to Avery!

Tee shirt photos tomorrow! Can't wait!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Date day and honoring birth moms!

This week was Eden's turn for our one on one date. She wanted a strawberry milkshake and I opted for a cup of coffee! We went to the Bedroom Store to look for Avery's bed. My sister has a frame and mattress that she is donating, (Thanks Diana)! I would like something similar to a captain's bed with storage drawers underneath! The owner is searching his catalogs for a "reasonable" bed that somewhat matches the other girl's bunks.

The dermatologist gave Eden a new prescription for her acne. We went by the pharmacy to pick up her meds. Eden is doing so well with her treatment!

After a quick stop for milk and bread we headed to the drive-thru to pick up dinner for all the kids! Eden picked what she wanted, another advantage of being out with Mom!

Today ended our accreditation survey at work! I'm thankful that is over for another few years! The whole process is stressful and I'm more than happy we won't have an inspector hanging out tomorrow!

Three of the four girls have been fighting colds/allergies! While they are not 100%, they are much improved! I'm so thankful! This was the first time three of them weren't feeling well at the same time.

Mother's day is approaching and time to plan our birth mother celebration. We often talk about birth mom's. I want the girls to feel free to acknowledge this important person in their lives and to have the freedom to express their feelings regarding their birth moms. We gather together, pray for their birth moms and their foster moms. Then one by one they release a balloon for their mom, those that had foster mom's release a balloon in honor of their foster mom as well.

I am expecting my a copy of my home study any day! It will be so good to start moving forward again!

Until next time . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I am adopting . . . again! (Old News with renewed excitement!)

Yes, you heard me right! I am adopting! I want to shout it from the mountain tops! A beautiful 13 year old girl in China will become my daughter before this year is over!

What makes this unique? I will be just two month shy of my 60th birthday when this child becomes my forever daughter. Wow, that sounds old! Oh, did I mention I am single too?

Doesn't God have a wonderful sense of humor? Here I am at an age where most people are slowing down and retiring and I'm adding to my family, again!

It has been my desire to be used by God, never for the life of me did I ever think he would call this old girl to adopt! Despite the bumps in the road from time to time, the over all blessing of adoption has been mine!

I'm thankful that God doesn't think I'm too old and that he continues to call me to serve him by offering my heart and home to these wonderful older girls from China. 

I'll be honest, there are many that do not understand my call and think that I've gone overboard! I know what I'm called to do, and I trust God to give me the health and ability to see these girl's grown, educated, and living the life God has in store for them!

This particular journey has had so many ups and downs! My heart grieves for the girl that will age out in just a few days! She has cut all communication with the girls. The fact that she will never know the truth about how much she was loved and wanted is absolutely heartbreaking! 

Yet through this tragedy, God had a plan. A plan for our family and a beautiful teen girl! First, God opened this mom's heart for yet another daughter when she had said she was done! Our precious girl with her own tragic history, a child that before the summer/fall hosting program was unsure if she wanted to be adopted, now wants a family. God works in mysterious ways!

Each time someone shares about Avery and their experience with her melts my heart a little more. God is at work and I know without a doubt that he called me to bring her home. The hardest part of this journey is trusting Him to provide!

As I studied Avery's photo this morning, I had a renewed excitement about adopting and pursuing her adoption at the fastest pace possible! Isn't God good? No road is too tough or too long, He is there! I trust and expect Him to provide and I can't wait to see how he is going to do that!

In the meantime back at home, three out of four girls are under the weather! Our pediatrician is open on Sundays and I'm going to call for an appointment(s) first thing tomorrow morning when I get off. My poor sweet girls the tylenol and sudafed aren't working!

Matthew's missing DHR clearance arrived today and Friday my physician brought me the letter I needed to complete the home study. Guess what? She forgot to sign it! I had to laugh as that is exactly something I would have done! She is coming by to sign it for me on Monday morning, talk about caring and service!

My daughter and her family are at the beach and I have been loving the photos they have posted! It's almost as good as being there! The beach is Jordan and Jimmy's happy place to get away and I love when they get a chance to do just that!

The boys, Matthew and Gavin are doing well. I took Gavin and the girls out for ice cream cones last week with the gift coupons from the orthodontist! A treat for all! 

Strong winds blew through Dothan this afternoon and I had to drive around 4 trees in the road, turn around once and take a detour just to get to work! I'm so thankful my car didn't get stuck in the mud! Thankfully for my parents nothing big blew down, just a lot of limbs and leaves, my sister wasn't quite so lucky! Even the hospital where I work sustained damages!

Until next time . . . excitedly waiting on God to show himself strong as we wait for Miss Avery!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kayte cuteness!

Yesterday, I called my daughter, Jordan! While we were talking, Kayte wanted to talk and what a delight to my heart to hear her little voice as we "chatted"!

Jordan is such a good mother and she has her hands full with Miss Kayte! Kayte is curious and active which makes for one very busy little girl! I love watching them together! Jordan's family is a delight to my heart!

There are tender moments that "happen" with each of my girls and these moments are treasured. One of the girls came to wake me up for work, my alarm had about three more minutes and I wanted those minutes before getting up! This child that usually doesn't snuggle curled up in bed with me as we waited for the alarm to go off. I was totally blown away that she did this and loved every second! 

Last week when I took the girls to the dentist, I made Avery an appointment for January 2016! I'm make her eye exam when we go back for Kendall's next appointment. I need to go ahead and call the IAC in B'ham and get her on the books for January, with our favorite doctor and friend!

The time will be here before I know it and I'm so far from where I need to be with her funding. God has already shown me that he's doing things differently this time and I have to be patient and trust him! 

Until then . . . expecting and waiting!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dentist, Dinner, and Destiny

Eden visited the dentist yesterday and like most of her visits she has a tooth that needs filling. This is a brand new tooth that came in lacking enough enamel to fully protect it! It seems she was not blessed with the strongest of teeth and this scenario has played out just about every six months! 

Eden tries her best to be brave but these appointments are hard for her! We switched dentist at the office as I felt the male, lacked patience and didn't listen to my child. The female is gentle and seems to understand Eden! Eden does better when someone is with her to hold her hand and give her positive reassurance! 

I wish you, my reading audience, could meet the girls in person. Eden is a kind, gentle, caring person! Her foster family did such an amazing job raising her, she values family! We share a love for a daughter that was part of their lives far longer than she has been a part of mine and I love them for being there for her when I could not.

Last night, Gavin, the girls and I attended the APAC book club meeting! We all had dinner together and then the adults met for an introduction into our book (From Fear to Love) by Brian Post, and the kids group did Yoga Calm and other fun activities! The older group of kids were mainly boys and the girls came back telling me that the boys are LOUD! 

I thought with another adoption in the works this book would be a useful tool and the outing and networking with other parents a good thing as well. I'm the only one that has adopted internationally in this group.

Just look at this sweet girl! I was blessed to learn a little more about Avery from a mom that met her at the camp she attended here in the US! I have heard it more than once, everyone seems to feel that she will fit right in with the girls already here. This makes me very happy!

I can't believe that God opened my heart one more time, I admit the route he used wasn't fun and extremely heart breaking! I still think and pray for Addison, this child that will age out in China, a child that wanted to come to the US and be a part of a family, my heart is sick that she could not be ours. She will always own a piece of my heart!

I remember the day and the moment my heart quicken for Avery! I had the same kind of moment when I knew Eden was to be mine. There are several family members that think that I should have taken the NO as a sign from God after Addison's adoption fell through! What they don't understand, God was already at work for my heart to be soften for Avery!

It doesn't make sense in man's eyes, I will be much closer to 60 by the time Avery's adoption takes place, I'm single, and I will have 5 teen girls at home. Really? Who does that? God's ways are higher and I am trusting him to work out the details! I step out in obedience and the rest is totally up to him! He is God and he knows what he is doing!

Please pray that my faith will remain strong and unwavering as I trust him to work out these details and funding. Please pray for Avery and the girls at home that this transition will be smooth for all. 

Thank you for your love and support! Please feel free to share our story with your family and friends.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I think we are moving forward . . .

Kendall often does small chores for her big brother, Matthew, and he pays well! Kendall is a worker and loves to earn money, no chore is off limits to her, including cleaning his bathroom! 

Last night she cooked dinner for the boys without asking them and then asked for $10.00! I had to smile when Matthew told me! For the record, I'm not sure if he paid her cooking and cleaning up their dinner dishes. 

Mackinley and Journey had orthodontist appointments yesterday morning. Journey received her finishing wires and Mackinley will start the process for her wires on her next appointment. Journey's braces should come off this summer. They told me that Mackinley will be in her finishing wires much longer!

Today, Mackinley and Eden have their semi annual dentist appointments and next week Eden has her orthodontist appointment. I blog for family and they like knowing about what's going on with the girls.

Oh for the record, the girls did not go hungry last night, I bought them Egg Drop Soup from the Chinese Restaurant due to their sore mouths!

On the adoption front, my home study has been submitted for review. It seems that I was to get an Alabama Child Abuse and Neglect clearance for the girls and due to a misunderstanding I failed to do this, now I'm playing catch up! Plus there are some additional forms that I need along with a tweak or two on some existing forms. One step forward and two steps backwards!

Prayer warriors, please join me in praying for the needed funds to finish this adoption, I would also like to take at least one of the girls with me to China and would need the additional funds for that as well. God is able! Expecting! 

I need your help in knowing how to respond when people ask what grade the girls are in. I started them below where they were in China to give them time to acquire an English understanding to what they were reading. One of the girls had to start at a kindergarten/first level due to lack of exposure and learning abilities in China. She is very embarrassed to answer this question. How can we respond without being rude? 

All the girls are making progress and my girl in the lowest grade is smart, she just needed to get a good foundation, her progress has been amazing. I do not want her feeling inferior or embarrassed by where she is in school. I think this has been one of the hardest things about adopting older girls is people just don't understand that they are in a different place and it is perfectly okay for them to be where they are!

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Guess what?

 I received 7 new photos of Avery! 

Her hair has grown!

Look at those cute freckles!

What a precious smile!

These two photos look identical to me!

This is my favorite!

What a sweet blessing to receive these photos!

I thank God that he has called me to open my home and heart to these wonderful girls! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

School . . .

I can hardly believe that we are so close to finishing another year of schooling! It has been a good year with definite growth in all areas! The girls have worked hard and I am very proud of their efforts.

We have the Oxford English/Chinese Picture Dictionary. The girls requested this workbook and that is going to be our summer project, along with a Wordly Wise workbook that will help with their vocabulary and word comprehension.

We will review our fifty states and capitals along with a few basic math facts! It won't be all work and no play, there will off and fun days factored in!

Education is a 24/7 365 day need for these English Second Language learners, and to think we will be starting back at the beginning when Avery arrives.

We have a tee shirt design and the girl's shirts are being printed. I hope to start our tee shirt fundraiser soon. I had hoped to get them out before the Forget the Frock but it didn't happen. I appreciate my niece's help with our design and printing!

I am still so far from being agency funded not to mention travel and China fees! Why does Adoption have to cost so much?

Praises, I was able to visit with my daughter and see her beautiful family last weekend, my brother-in-law is doing beautifully after his stem-cell transplant, my nephew turned one yesterday, and my niece delivered a healthy baby boy on the 9th! 

Until next time . . .

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A little news and Easter

Today, I learned that Avery (not sure that I'm going to keep that as her name) lives about an hour away from Kunming. She has a foster family and from what I understand she attends school in the village.

She has been told that she has a family and it seems she was happy with this news. I learned too that there are a large number of children from Kunming in this village, all living with foster families. I pray that she has a loving family that isn't abusive.

I am still waiting on answers to my questions and photos of her receiving her photo album.

The family egg hunt 
and a few special surprises for the girls!

The bunny slap bracelets
were a huge it! 
Thanks to our wonderful neighbors and friends,
Miss Margaret and Gayla, the gift baskets were a hit and the girls loved all their treasures!

My sister has hosted the family egg hunt for years!
We love her for starting this family tradition and she makes it fun for "kids" of all ages!

This bear was donated to The Wiregrass Angel House, and several of my girls hoped it was the prize for the "prize egg." I'm thankful it wasn't!

The garden at the Angel House is so peaceful and a great place to hangout while the kiddos hunt. Unfortunately, many of the "littles" couldn't be here this year. They were all greatly missed!

 Kaylyn and Justin just recently engaged are planning an October wedding! We are happy for them!

 Time to exchange the eggs for candy!

This is Cathryn my sister Diana's youngest.
She is one day younger than Kendall!

 Easter morning at Nena and Papa's, time for a few photos before church.

It was really chilly Sunday morning as you can tell from Journey's pose!

My dad was ready to leave so I didn't have time for many photos. I did get one where they were all smiling!

As you can tell, the girls are good at "selfies"! 
Someone said they needed a selfie stick, I think NOT!

It was a great weekend!

Until next time . . .