Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes

I started this reading plan through Youversion.com - it is the Joyce Meyer Promises for Your Life Daily Devotional.  It should take a year to complete.  At the rate I am going it will take me a year and a half!  Anyway, today I was catching up on some of the missed devotionals I have piled up and thought I would share.

For anyone that has been through, is going through, has followed someones journey through and prayed for an adoption specifically international adoption I hope this devotion speaks to your heart.  The very first line "Whatever you are facing in life, or whatever is coming, God has already given you the faith for it." is so true, yet so hard to grasp when you are in the midst of a struggle, a time of "Why is this happening (or not happening)" or unsure of your path.  You already have the faith to make it through the storm you just need to act!  You have to release your faith in order for it to work, through works, actions and prayer.  Faith is there, we just have to act upon it!

I also love the line "faith in God isn't based on our circumstances or how we feel.".  Through our adoption with Daniel, through the red tape, the struggles and the year long wait to bring him home.  I never lost my faith in God, that in his timing He would bring our baby home. We prayed constantly, asked people to pray and in the midst of it all we found ways to help and raise donations for other orphans.

Now we are starting a new journey, we have been officially waiting for 1 month and this is a great reminder to hold on to our faith.

Below is the devotion.  My prayer is that it speaks to everyone reading as loud as it spoke to me.

Faith to See Yourself Through God's Eyes
Whatever you're facing in life, or whatever is coming in your future, God has already given you the faith for it. It may not look like it, and you may not feel like you have what it takes to overcome, but faith in God isn't based on our circumstances or how we feel. 
The enemy would like for you to believe that you don't have a chance in life, that you're too weak, too poor, too whatever. But God has a different view of you. God sees you through the eyes of love. He sees not what you can be, but what He has invested in you, not what you or others may see. 
Seeing yourself the way God sees you leads to a life of overwhelming victory.
But it takes faith. You can't just hear that God loves you and sees you as His child, you have to believe it. It takes faith to move forward and overcome the challenges of life. And faith does you no good if you don't know how to release it. You have to release your faith in order for it to work.
We release faith through our words, actions and, of course, through prayer. It's up to us to act.
First John 4:4 is a scripture we quote a lot, and almost anytime I say this verse in a church or meeting, everybody claps and cheers. But how many people really believe that "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world?" 
The truth is, the One in you is greater and He loves you. So stretch your faith today and see yourself the way God sees you. It doesn't matter what the enemy wants you to see or how things might look. Our faith overcomes through the One who lives in us!
You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. -1 John 4:4

May we never forget the One in us is greater than anything in this world and He loves us so!  Today I find comfort in reading and knowing I am loved by Him.

Friday, November 11, 2011

DTE 11-11-11

We are finally DTE!!! As of 11-11-11 we are officially waiting for a referral.  You are probably wondering what that means if you are not in the adoption world right now.  DTE means Dossier to Ethiopia, a dossier is our packet of paperwork that we have spent months gathering to get to this point.  This does not mean we have a child already.  We are just "in line" so to speak for a referral. We are requesting a boy age 0-2 and probably won't receive a referral call for 10-16 months, based on the trends today.

This time is exciting for us and kind of nerve racking based on our last experience, but praise God we are one step closer to our baby boy.  Waiting seems to be the hardest part of this journey for me, especially since everything I am waiting on is out of my control. That is probably part of God's plan to help me learn patience and I can not control everything, His plan is way better than mine anyway!

I want to share with you a few verses that I held on to while we were waiting to bring Daniel home, and will hold on to while we wait to bring this baby home (we need to come up with a name):
Psalm 9:10 - He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
Isaiah 26: 3-4 - You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord, the Lord is the rock eternal. 
Hebrews 12:1 - Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
James 1:3-4 - For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Ephesians 1:11 - In him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.
Now as I type this I wonder if our child is already born (with our age range he could be) or is his mom already carrying him in her belly.  Will he have a cute button nose and big brown eyes like Daniel? What will his giggle sound like? Will he be outgoing or will he be shy? Only God knows because he has the perfect child already in mind for our family. Just like he did with Daniel.  I really can't wait to see what the next few months bring and to watch God's plan for our family play out.  I haven't even met this baby boy or seen a picture and I am already love him so much.

I am going to close this post with the following poem I found online (author unknown):

The Gift of Life
I didn't give you the gift of life, 
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real, 
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you 
The gift of life.
Life gave me the gift of you.
That is what Daniel is to us, a Gift. We are so blessed and we are the lucky ones to have that special boy in our family.  And so will our next baby boy.  Oh I can't wait to hold him and kiss him, it's going to be a long year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween (2 days later)!  Daniel had fun this Halloween after we convinced him to put his costume on and that it was ok to go Trick or Treating.  First the costume, I bought him this cute Scarecrow costume.  His response the first time we tried to put it on "No mommy, it scare me".  Since the name of the costume was Scare...crow, he was convinced he would be scared.  Only my child.  We finally got it on him and he made the cutest scarecrow ever (I am only a little biased).

Next the night before Halloween we were trying to explain to him the concept of trick or treating (we only go to like 5 houses of people we know, babysitter, parents, etc.).  He would not give in, he kept saying "No".  When I asked him why, his response "No mommy it will be to dark".  Really, what child will pass up candy because of the dark.  So we came home and went right at 5, to make sure it was not dark while we were out there (the whole 45 minutes we were out, which was mostly spent visiting).  
The first house that gave him a sucker, he wasn't even off of the porch before he had it open and in his mouth.  He would not let go of his bucket for anything.  No one was going to take his candy away.  Overall a great Halloween with family, friends and candy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

703 Area Code = Racing Heart

I had forgotten the feeling you get when you are in the adoption process and your phone rings and you see (703) as the first 3 numbers on the caller id.  Your heart starts racing and your stomach drops.  Crazy since we aren't even DTE yet, that feeling never goes away!  Friday afternoon I got a call from our adoption agency, we submitted all our paperwork (dossier) last week, and our family coordinator Jennifer told me that Mark didn't sign our application letter.  Now for those of you who know me, know that I went through that packet at least 3 times before mailing to make sure every t was crossed and every i was dotted.  Somehow I missed the fact that I didn't give him that letter to sign.

Well no big deal, I just had to print another one, have both of us sign the letter and get it notarized and at UPS to mail next day by 6:00.  This was about 2:30 that I got the phone call.  So I did just that, my friend was available to notarize and Mark and I signed, we were at UPS by 5:20.  All was good.  I paid the $26.75 to mail next day with 10:30 delivery for Monday morning.  If all this happened then we would be able to be DTE by Friday Nov 4th.  (only 4 days off of my goal of the end of October by the way).  Great.

Well today Monday about 2:00, I am at home sick, laying on the couch and my phone rings.  I look down and there is that (703) on the caller id again.  Heart racing, stomach dropped, crazy I know.  It was our family coordinator again, asking if we were able to get the letter in the mail.  I immediately said, it was suppose to be delivered by 10:30.  So she checked and it had not been delivered.  I called UPS and long story short after making phone calls and waiting for them to call me back, they really don't know where our letter is.  Due to storms on the east coast things have been delivered late.  I know I should be sympathetic but it was extremely important that that paper get to AWAA by noon today.  They are still tracking our letter and it should be out for delivery by tomorrow.  To late.  Our paperwork will be delayed another week and we will not be DTE (dossier to Ethiopia, officially waiting for a referral) until next Friday November 11th.  They are refunding our shipping costs, which I would have paid 2x's that much to ensure it would have been there today by noon as promised.

I know things happen for a reason, but a little piece of paper getting delayed in delivery, come on.  So the adoption roller coaster has begun.  We were just saying that we have had a pretty easy ride so far in the paper gathering.  Praying this is the biggest delay we see in this adoption process, but I know it won't be from experience.  It is only the beginning, I just have to remind myself that God's timing and plan are way better than my timing or plan anyway!

So we are praying for a miracle, the letter is delivered before the end of today and by the grace of God we are able to be submitted by Friday.  It's a long shot, but He can make it happen. And I am almost 100% sure that will not be the last time my phone will ring with that (703) area code and my heart will start racing and my stomach drop as I answer and hear on the other side, "Hi this is Jennifer from America World".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Family Fun

Fall is my favorite time of year.  It is not very hot, but not yet snowing.  The colors are beautiful in the trees, although this year they leave just seem to be dying instead of changing to bright pretty colors. Apple cider, donuts, homemade baked goods all add to some of the favorite things in fall.  The smell of bonfires, football and leaves.  I just love everything about fall. We got engaged in the fall and we got married in the fall. In fact, yesterday marked 8 years since we got married.  Here is one of our favorite pictures from this day.

I would definitely do it all over again. That day was the day God put us on an amazing journey together.  Little did we know 8 years later we would have already been 1/2 way around the world once to adopt the best baby boy, and on our way again.

The best anniversary present yesterday was the fact that we put our Dossier packet in the mail to AWAA yesterday.  For those of you who are wondering, a dossier is the packet of paperwork, we have went crazy for the last 4 months gathering.  We have all our documents in the mail and everything is now out of our hands.  Let the waiting begin.  This is to me the hardest part of the adoption process, waiting with no control over time frame or when things are processed. Especially for someone who likes to have control over everything.  But we did it once, and in God's perfect timing we will receive a picture of a baby boy (who Daniel has now named "Baby monkey brother") who God hand picked to be part of our family. Sometimes it is just hard to remember that God's timing is better than our timing, even though we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel all the time.

So what is the next step: AWAA reviews and translates our documents and within 1-2 weeks we will be DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia), then the real wait begins.  The wait time currently for a referral for a boy is 10-16 months.  Praying that it is a shorter wait, but experience tells me that it will not be.

Back to our family fall fun!  This month we went back to OU (Ohio University) where Mark graduated for Homecoming.  This was the first time Daniel has been there, he loved it.  At OU for Homecoming the Alumni band marches in the parade and does the half time and post game show.   Daniel loved watching daddy play drums.

We also rented a cabin for the weekend and spent some much needed family time.  Daniel was so excited to go to the cabin and cook hot dogs.  I think he told everyone he was doing that for a week. It was so fun, the cabin was in Hocking Hills in a "secluded" area.  When we pulled up I was not so sure. There was a house close to the cabin but once we got back there was a tree line so we were secluded.  Daniels favorite part I think was the fact that he could eat dinner and watch Mickey Mouse club house at the same time since the table was in the living room.  It was so nice to just relax like a family of three and enjoy each others company.  No cell phones, computers or distractions.

The picture to the left of Daniel on the drive way was at our cabin.  Sunday we spent the morning at Old Man's Cave.  Daniel liked the big rocks and water.  We had bought him a football at OU and he insisted on carrying it while we hiked through the cave.  Which made me quite nervous since one slip and he drops it, it was gone.  Luckily he did not drop it and the football made it home.

It was  a wonderful weekend of family, friends and fall fun.  Weekends like this are what the fall is all about, bonfires, parades, football and family.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Retreat Anyone?

A couple of weeks ago another adoptive mom and friend emailed me about this retreat, Created for Care.  It is  a ministry that puts on this retreat, it was created by adoptive moms for adoptive moms.  I had never heard of it, or if I did I did not pay attention before.  She told me it would be fun if I could go go, she had just registered and it was the first day of registration.  Apparently for 2011 retreat registration filled up in 48 hours.  So I thought about it, this would be a huge stretch of my comfort zone, going to a retreat with only myself and meeting up with some friends, whom I have only really talked to through emails and texting.  Anyone who knows me knows this is the kind of thing that makes it hard for me to breathe.  But I thought what the heck, I need to do more to get out of my comfort zone and how fun would it be to spend a weekend with other mom's, mom's to be, etc. who all have one thing in common - ADOPTION.  Since we are in the beginning of our 2nd adoption This might be a great time to connect with other mom's before our road gets rocky and we really need the support of others on the same journey.  I know we will need that support, we have been there done that!  Well in the 10 minutes it took for me to decide yes I am going to go, registration was full!  400 women in something crazy like 9 hours.  Tell me Adoptive mom's don't need somewhere to bond, connect and relax!  I was really bummed since I was really looking forward to spending time with my friend Holly.  Holly took pictures of Daniel before we were able to bring him home, and we started the process together for the 2nd time at the same time.  So I did what everyone else did and added my name to the wait list and was waiting.

Well on Sunday I got an email from Created for Care that they were opening up a 2nd Retreat in March.  Well since I was on the waiting list for January I have already registered but for all the rest of you reading this who have not registered or didn't get in in time for January - registration opens tonight for the March retreat at midnight!  From what I read and see you probably want to wait up and get on that list as soon as possible.

I have never been to this retreat but from what I have read on their facebook page and website and just listening to those that have been there it is amazing and definitely worth the time.  I can't wait to go and connect and make some new friends (and yes just saying that makes my heart skip beats with anxiety).   The following was taken from their website www.createdforcare.org describing the retreat:
Created for Care is a non-profit ministry designed to encourage, equip and bring rest to adoptive families through yearly retreats. Because leaving little ones can be difficult, we began our ministry with retreats for moms--but we record all of the sessions so both parents can benefit from the time of encouragement and insight shared from counselors and other adoptive moms. Our retreats always fill up quickly, and we truly believe God is in the midst of doing something amazing through them. He loves orphans too much to leave them orphans. And He loves your family too much to not lead you, love you and carry you on the rest of your journey as you raise your sons and daughters for His glory. Come join us at the next retreat...
So here is the information for how you can also come along to this retreat, visit:


You can see the schedule of events, the lodge (it is beautiful) and the dates and times.  I hope you see you there!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nervousness = Nachos!

What happens when you are nervous, anxious, worried and most of all hungry? Usually no dinner equals eat everything in sight by 10:00 here. Only thing is when I am stressed, nervous and anxious I am usually hungry for nothing but junk food. Tomorrow Daniel is going to go in for surgery tomorrow, this is the surgery that was suppose to happen in July. And of course this morning he woke up with a stuffy nose and slight cough. Fortunately we still had some medicine from the last time (I think this is all allergies as mine are bad this week) so we gave him the breathing treatments all day. We are praying that they will do the surgery and we will be done with this mess. It is just a minor procedure but the anaesthetic still has me worried. I know faith in God means trusting him completely and trusting that he will watch over us and everything will be OK. I know it will I am just by nature a worrier. I will keep you updated tomorrow either with "we are relaxing in bed watching movies all day" or "ugh they didn't do it again". I know it will be the first one.

Anyway Back to the food. So tonight I was starving for the BBQ chicken nachos from Smokey Bones. No time to run up and get some, plus I don't want to pay for them. So I created my own version. Below is the recipe:

BBQ Chicken Nachos at home
Tostito Chips any flavor, my favorite is Pepper Jack
Lloyd's BBQ Shredded Chicken (or any type of already made)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream

Heat the shredded chicken. Spread the nachos out on the plate and sprinkle with the cheese. Put in microwave for 20 seconds. Top the chips and cheese with the shredded chicken. Add the chopped tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle sour cream over top of all of it. I don't measure anything just pile it. And it is wonderful.

A little word of wisdom that will get me through tonight and tomorrow morning:
Trust in the Lord with all your Heart - Proverbs 3:5

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me this I know. For the bible tells me so..... Take it away Daniel! Faith like a child! I love listening to him sing. He sings Jesus Loves Me with all his heart over and over again. I can't wait for the day we will listen to both boys sing Jesus loves me together. Hopefully someday soon. After we sing Jesus Loves Me every night, we also pray for Daniels brother and for him to come home soon. Where are we in the adoption process? I get this question a lot. Our homestudy is complete and we have all our documents for our Dossier (the packet of information that has to be sent to Ethiopia) except one last paper, our approval from USCIS. We have sent the forms and homestudy to USCIS and are now awaiting our fingerprint appointment (yes we have to get fingerprinted again). Hopefully it does not take long to get this appointment but I am not holding my breath. We will keep you all updated on our progress and I am sure everyone will here us shouting praises from the rooftops when our paperwork is all submitted!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Olive Tree Promise

We have started another fundraising site I found through some friends on Facebook. It is called Olive Tree Promise. This site has everything from pictures, baby items, decorations, clothes, etc. Something for everyone. Plus every purchase benefits our adoption. We want to thank everyone who has supported us this far, we have some amazing friends and family. We still have a long way to go before we get to bring our baby home (I can't wait to see that first picture). It seems so surreal to me that 1 year to the day that we brought Daniel home, God was like ok you have been a family of 3 long enough it's time to start your journey back to Ethiopia. I love how God never ceases to amaze me. Check out our website either by clicking here or clicking on the Olive Tree Promise image on the right under our T-shirts. We still have lots of T-shirts for sale too and our Just Love Coffee Fundraiser. Many have ordered the coffee and can't say enough about it, it is wonderful and would make great Christmas gifts!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lessons from my 2 year old

It always amazes me when my 2 year old seems to get more than I do in life. Sound confusing? Here is what I am talking about. There are times when we seem to either just go about our day to day and do the same things over and over because that is what we always do. Then there are the times when it is late, mommy and daddy are tired and we skip our normal routine, including the things we should not consider as "routine". We had a very long day today, hair appointment, zoo, car show, and birthday picnic. So when it came time to get ready for bed, including a long over due bath, the thing on my mind was "it is late, we need to get a quick bath and in bed or tomorrow will be a cranky long day". Should I think like that even if it is way past bedtime? We have been hearing in the sermons on Sundays to leverage our time with our kids. I also learned that lesson from my 2 year old child tonight.

First as I was getting him undressed and ready for the bath he said "pee on potty", I sadly kind of shrugged it off as this has been a dead end street with no interest on his part. I was like ok go ahead the bath is still running. Wouldn't you know tonight was the night he decided to go potty. Do you know how many times this week he has said the same thing to either Mark or myself and we both kind of blew it off? Talk about feeling like a bad parent. Lesson there, take the time even if he does just sit and play or only sit for a second and yells all done without doing anything. Take the time to learn about him and talk about his day. He just might surprise you.

The second lesson came after bed time, like I said above it was late and a long day. We sang Jesus Loves me, like always. Rocked and sang "MMM Baby" for not even a minute and then hugs and kisses and lights out. I went into my bedroom and i hear him screaming something. When I listened closer he was yelling "pray, pray". In my rush to get him to bed and for that little bit of me time before bed I did not take the time to pray with him before bed. Shame on me. My child had to remind me again, one of the best times we should be leveraging is our bed time. My lesson to you who are reading this: take the time to pray, you never know when your child is listening and watching. At 2 my son reminded me to stop and take the time to pray. Thank you God for giving me a child that loves Jesus and gives me the hard lessons when I need them. That little bit of me time is nothing and the time it takes to pray with my son is so much more precious and important. That is time I will never get back if I pass it up. This mommy is going to make sure to leverage that time, no matter what time it of night and how long past bed time we have gone.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Africa Famine Relief

Help us support organizations who are providing famine relief in the horn of Africa. This is near and dear to our heart since Daniel is from Ethiopia and we are finishing the paperwork to adopt another baby boy from Ethiopia. Another Ethiopian adoptive parent decided to create a fundraiser to bring relief for the drought that is currently affecting the people in the horn of Africa and areas surrounding. Will you help us make a difference and save a life or two. Simply take a minute and visit this site and please share with others.


YOU can make a difference TODAY!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There's a Reason for Everything

Well I guess there is a reason for everything, even the nervousness and anxiety of your son having surgery. And I guess I should learn to listen to that gut instinct inside of me, when I felt uneasy about surgery today.

We went to the hospital, checked in put the gown on and got all ready (here is a too cute picture of Daniel in his gown)

They started all the pre-opp testing, weight, height, blood pressure and listening to his lungs. This is when it all went south. The nurse hear wheezing in Daniels lungs so there was no surgery today.

We now have to go to his Dr and see what she says. We will then reschedule with the surgeon. The anaesthesiologist wouldn't give him the anesthetic due to the wheezing, since his airway was already compromised they were worried about bronchial arrest during surgery. I know this is a good thing we rescheduled for his safety and health but still very frustrating. Poor thing. God knew what he was doing and he put that nurse in our room to question what she was hearing. God is good and His plan is great, even when I don't agree with the timing or methods. Even through the frustration I am thanking God for great nurses and anaesthesiologists today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Tough Mommy Moments

What do you do when the parenting moments go from easy go with the flow to tough? Like when your child has to have a minor procedure that requires them to be put to sleep and you hear words like outpatient surgery, recovery, bring comfort items, etc. We are faced with these moments now. It sounds all kind of silly, you know a minor everyday procedure, nothing life threatening, nothing scary but yet it is so scary to this mommy heart. It is not even the procedure that scares me, it is the thought of the anesthetic and going to sleep that scares me. Not knowing any family background, medical history, allergy information makes this hard for me. I am not sure why, maybe because I have a hard time coming out of anesthetic. I come out of it enough for them to send me home and nothing more. So I am not a fan. But the thought of them taking Daniel in a room without us for 45 minutes and then seeing him in recovery breaks my heart. Does this happen to all parents? I am telling myself yes.

Tonight when we were putting Daniel to bed, we were walking him through our day tomorrow. We will get up, get dressed and go see the doctor and then we are going to come home and lay in mommy's bed watching movies. He loves to do that because we don't get to do that often. I even bought him a new movie to watch tomorrow and my mom taped a bunch of Handy Manny's. But while we were putting him to bed we prayed (he loves to repeat what we say when we pray at night, that makes my heart full listening to him) and he looked at us and said "Yea Jesus", which means sing Jesus Loves me (how perfect). So we sang Jesus Loves Me and he wanted to sing it again. He loves to sing that song but it actually comforted me tonight too. I know Jesus loves us and he will be with Daniel in surgery tomorrow. We have a lot of people praying for us. While we were rocking singing MMMM Baby (Daniels made up nite nite song) I couldn't help myself and broke down crying. Thank goodness it was dark or that would have been another long conversation. It is going to be a long day tomorrow and I am pretty sure it is going to be hard for this mommy to keep it together.

The hardest part of this is Daniel can have nothing in the morning to eat or drink. He can have clear liquids before 6:00 am. We don't have to leave the house until 7 and I am pretty sure I am not going to wake him up before 6 just for some water. Surgery is at 9:30. No food and no apple juice in the morning is going to make for a crabby baby boy. Keep us in your prayers for that because the only time Daniel is not happy is when he is hungry.

I know we will get through, we always do because God is with us. He has a plan and will hold us in his arms. I am pretty sure I am also just overreacting and being a paranoid parent! But that is my baby boy, I waited a very long time to hold and love with all my heart. He makes our world whole. God had big plans for him so I know he will get through this and we will laugh at this post one day. Until then God protect us, keep us sane and be with us tomorrow as we face this new journey in our lives right now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Fun

This summer has been full of fun. So many things that Daniel did last year but since he was so small it is like he is experiencing them for the first time all over again, only this time he has started catching on to things a lot quicker. We have learned we have to watch what we say and what we do because this little one is smart and repeats everything! He loves to swim, he is like a fish and has no fear of the water. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not! He loves to jump in and has started trying to swim with his face in the water. I am pretty sure by the end of summer he is not going to like being in his little floaty innertube thing. Below is a picture of Daniel and Ray swimming together.

Growing up I remember every weekend in the summer spending the evenings at car show after car show with my mom and dad. Since both of our family's have classic cars or show cars Mark and I also invested in a car. Which was a good thing because Daniel loves the car shows. He loves to look at the sweet motors and big tires. He can name every part on a car (big parts like motor, door, tire, window, etc.). He will also tell you who rides in which cars. He likes to watch the cars and bikes run down the drag strip too. Every year Salem OH has what they call the Super Nationals. Tons of classic and show cars (even some not so much show cars) all in one place, some just sitting there and some drag racing down the track. Daniel loves them all. He will talk for hours about the different cards. Below are some pictures from this event this year, Daniel sitting in Pepa's car, and cleaning every ones cars. He watched the drag racing from Daddy's shoulders with Daddy's glasses on.

The best time we have in the summer is hanging out with our family and friends. Bonfires, pizza party's and just relaxing at home. In my opinion this is what makes summer fun. We spend time at Meka and Papa's swimming, bonfire's at Audras, mowing the grass and swinging at Mamaw and Pepa's and so much more. A couple of weeks ago we had the cutest little Ethiopian Princess over for a play date. It is hard to believe over a year ago both Hope and Daniel were in the transition home together and now they are living only an hour apart. I love to just watch them together. Below are pictures from all our summer adventures so far this summer.

I can't wait to see what else the summer will bring. I love seeing the summer through the eyes of a 2 year old who just seems so excited with everything. We have started going on bike rides at night. There is a seat attached to Mark's bike and Daniel loves it. Tonight as we were riding he was singing loudly the whole way. My favorite song was the Mommy Daddy song. The baby seat was on my bike for awhile but that extra 30 pounds is really hard to pedal through. Great exercise though. I love summer!

On the new adoption front, we have most of our documents just waiting on some things out of our control and I am hoping to be DTE by the end of August. We will see how well that goes!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Homestudy Packet Received

We received our first email with the documents needed to complete our homestudy again. You would think the amount of paperwork needed wouldn't be so surprising since this is our second trip down this road. As I was printing I thought to myself "Wow this is a lot of paperwork". I almost wish I could just buy a stamp with my signature. But then again that would take the fun out of it! How quickly can we get these forms complete? Hopefully the USCIS won't take to long with our fingerprint and I171H forms. Crossing my fingers and praying for quick appointments and turn around times. My goal is to have everything complete and submitted by the end of August. Is that attainable? We will see!

Meanwhile we have another fee due of $1050. We raised enough money from our shirts to pay our initial fee, can we do it again? Would you like to help? See the information on the right on our T-shirt fundraiser, Coffee website or if you would like to just donate. I want to thank everyone who has helped so far and will help in the future. This baby Heddleson #2 is already truly blessed.

The other night when we were putting Daniel to bed, Mark asked him if he thought his baby brother had been born yet. Daniel's answer "No". Is he right? Has our baby boy been born yet? I can't wait to see his little face. I know I am getting ahead of myself but I can wonder can't I? I know God has in his plans the perfect little boy for our family.

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Step Complete!

Our 1st payment and stack of paperwork is now on its way to AWAA! Thanks to our friends and family that have purchased shirts, coffee and made a donation to our adoption fund. I can't wait to see how God will continue to provide in this next leg of our journey.

We are now working towards raising our next payment of $7500. Would you like to help? Here are some ways that you can help bring our son home:

1. Purchase a T-shirt - you can purchase on our blog here or send me a message and we can work something out.
2. Share our blog with your family and friends. If you have a blog there is a button on the right that you can post on your blog.
3. Purchase some coffee at our Just Love Coffee Store, www.justlovecoffee.com/theheddlesons or use the link to the right
4. If you would like to just make a donation you can do that too? There is a button to the right that will take you to our paypal account.
5. And most of all pray for our journey and for God to continue to provide!

There are more fun things coming, so stay tuned and check back often. We are truly blessed to have such great family and friends.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Acceptance Call

A week and a half ago we submitted our application to America World for our 2nd adoption from Ethiopia. Since that day I have been glued to my email waiting for something to say "Yes you are accepted again". Well that email did not come, something better did. Tonight while I was helping with games for our youth program at church I felt my phone vibrate. I usually don't check it while I am doing that but something in me told me to look at the phone. I looked down and saw area code 703. For anyone who has adopted through America World you know that 703 area code creates major butterflies in your stomach. All of a sudden no one else was around me and I was very focused on answering the phone. So I ran to somewhere where I could hear and answered. It was Sara from AWAA say those wonderful words "Congratulations and welcome back!" I loved hearing those words. We are officially in the paper chasing phase of adoption number two. What happens next? We sign a bunch of forms and send in our first payment. Then we will be assigned a family coordinator and the paperwork fun will start. Once we submit our dossier the wait time right now is about 10 months for a referral. The age range we have submitted is 0-2 years old and we have submitted for a boy again.

Tonight while we were doing our bed time routine I told Daniel he was going to get a baby brother from Ethiopia. He was excited (I don't think he really understands what is going on). I asked him what we should name the baby. Daniel's answer "Gaga". For those of you who don't know that is what Daniel calls my brother RJ. I had to laugh but told him I didn't think that would work, one Gaga is enough.

I can't wait to see what God has in store for our family. We are building our family according to God's will and God's plan. We are stepping out in faith and praying for God to provide in all aspects of this journey. Praying he will hold us up when we can't stand and are to weary from this emotional journey. Praying that we will give him all the Glory in celebrating the milestones of this journey. Praying for the baby that God has chosen for our family and praying he holds the mother in his arms as she makes the what I would assume to be the hardest decision in her life. Praying for understanding and love. Praying for the support and love of all our family and friends. We can not go through this journey alone, nor would we want to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Journey - New Blog

Since we are starting our new journey to bring home our 2nd son from Ethiopia, I thought it would be nice to update the look of our blog. I wanted something more personal and reflective of our family. Becky Burk(Adopt Africa Designs - www.adoptafrica.blogspot.com)did an awesome job! I love the new design. Now all I have to do is find the time to actually post on here.

It is funny how you fall back into the same patterns when you start something over again. We submitted our application last Monday to America World for our 2nd adoption. Since then, I am glued to my phone waiting for that email to come in that says we can start the next step in the process. I remember with Daniel's journey that little red light that blinks on my phone was like an addiction. I literally would have to put something over my phone to hide that little light. It has started all ready. And the butterflies when you see an email with the @awaa.org at the end. We literally just started the process and the butterflies have started already. It makes me laugh when I think about it. I can't wait to see this little guys face, but first we have to get through all the paperwork and the waiting! Oh the waiting (that I am not so good at).

It is all worth it in the end, and I do have to say I can't wait to do it all over again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Playdates and Haircuts

I love seeing Daniel with other little Ethiopian cuties. Monday we had a playdate with a little girl named Lila. She is adorable and just a little older than Daniel. It was so cute watching them walk into McDonald's holding hands. Those big brown eyes are definitely an Ethiopian trait as they both have them. They played well together once we got done eating and we went to the park. He wouldn't really talk to her while we were together but once we got back in the car it was "Bye lila, Bye Lila" and when we got home it was "Come on Lila" apparently he thought she was still with us! Here is a picture of Daniel with his new friend Lila.

Tonight Daniel got his first haircut. Here is the before:

Here is the after:

He was such a good boy and sat there letting Daddy just buzz the hair off. I didn't want to cut his hair but it is so stinking hot here already and the poor thing is always sweating. I miss the curls. He looks so much older now. Looking at pictures of him from last summer this is how short his hair was so I am hoping to maybe make this an annual thing and letting his hair grow out over the winter. He is so cute with those curls. While his hair is growing out it will be easier this time since we have a hair routine that works now, plus the wonderful Tangle Teaser. Makes combing out the hair so much easier and he doesn't even move at all!

My baby boy is growing up so fast.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

T-Shirts are done!

We are now off on another adventure, building our family according to God's plan. As many of you know, adoption is not cheap to say the least. The cost of fingerprints, paperwork, flights, hotel, country fees can add up. We are deciding to take a leap of faith and see what God has planned and how he will provide some help in the form of our friends and family to bring baby Heddleson #2 home. We prayed about this and talked about this for awhile now, so it is officially time to start our fundraising. We had a friend come up with some T-shirt designs for our adoption fundraiser. He is great and did an amazing job. I am so excited to finally be able to put them up on our site. Thanks to Tom Hartwig we have 2 exciting designs.

To purchase a shirt see the side bar, you can pay through paypal or send me a message to make other arrangements. We appreciate everyone who supports our journey to bring baby Heddleson #2 home. God will provide!

These will make great Father's Day gifts along with some coffee from our justlove coffee store (link also in the side bar). Can you tell I am completely not a salesman?

Friday, May 20, 2011

This pretty much sums it up!

This quote pretty much sums up how I feel. When people say that Daniel is the one who is so blessed and has been given such a great gift. In reality it is Mark and I who are the lucky ones, who are truly blessed to have the honor of being his mom and dad. Not the other way around. I will never truly be able to express how grateful I am to have been given the gift of Daniel.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

1 Year ago today....

1 Year ago today we were arriving in Pittsburgh, after a very long flight and journey home with our son, Daniel. I can't believe it has been a year. When I look back it seems as if he has always been here. He has grown so much in this year. He no longer looks like a baby, he is extremely independent and has learned the words "No" and "Mine" (among others) and uses them way to often. He makes us laugh so hard we could cry, and melts our hearts (and the hearts of those who meet him) with his sweet smile. He is loving and caring and way to energetic. Life would not be the same without him. We thank God everyday for this precious gift. The best part of my day is hearing that little voice in the morning say simply "Hi". I can't wait to see what the next year has in store as we begin our journey to bring another baby boy home to become Daniel's brother. I love him more than I could ever express into words, my heart is full and running over. It is amazing how much he has changed in the last year. The blank stare and empty eyes are now filled with a light that I can't even describe. Check out the pictures below, the first if from the day we left the airport and the second is a recent picture:



God's plan for our family has been so good. I can't wait to see what He has planned next!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mothers day! I loved waking up today knowing that I am finally a mother to the most precious, loving and joyful boy ever. The cutest thing was when I opened my bedroom door and there was Daniel with a card and a bag, yelling "Happy Mother's Day (or his version of it) and then he put his little finger up to his mouth and said Shhhh. Apparently when they bought me the figurine pictured here Mark told him Shhh it's a surprise. So even though I have already seen the present he is still saying Shhh. I love being a mother. I love the sticky hugs after he eats a sucker, the cute sideways glances he gives when he is starting to do something he knows he is not allowed to do, the infectious laughter when he is excited and giggling. I love being the one that he wants to wipe the tears away, the one he wants to tuck him in and rock him at night, the way he gets so excited when I pick him up at the end of the day and the way he opens his mouth like a baby bird when he wants whatever I am eating. I love everything about being a mom. God has truly blessed me. I can't thank him enough for this precious gift of Daniel. He had a plan through all the court failures, all the delayed paperwork, all the tears and frustration. God knew that today almost 1 year exactly from the day I first held this precious baby boy it would all be worth it. I am forever grateful.

While I was in church today singing and worshipping I thought of the brave, courageous woman who made the decision to give up the perfect baby boy. Daniels birth mother. My heart hurts for her today knowing she will not see his smile, here his giggle or feel the warmth of his little arms around her neck. I am forever grateful for her sacrafice, which is truly the best gift I have ever received. I pray that someday we will meet in Heaven and I look her in the eyes and give her the biggest hug. I pray for the day when I can thank her and tell her how much that one decision has truly changed my life. I can't imagine life without Daniel in it.

On this mother's day, almost 1 year from the day I met Daniel I am dreaming of his baby brother (who we do not know yet and is not from the same mother since we don't know him yet) and of the mother's day that I can wake up and hold both of them in my arms. God knows who he is but I still can't help but wondering who he will be.

What a wonderful day! Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Time!

Since the day we meet Daniel and brought him home (and probably before) Mark and I have said we would definitely adopt from Ethiopia again. Well almost 1 year later from bringing Daniel home, we feel it is time. God is ever so quietly whispering "It's time. You have another son, go get him." When is the right time to start the adoption again? If you wait for that perfect moment, that perfect time you will never take that step. For us it is a leap of faith, it is us stating "ok God, we are here there is a child there, I don't know how this is going to work but I know you are in control. You will take care of it." Some people are shocked when I tell them we are starting again (obviously people who really don't know us to well) since we went through a lot of hoops to get Daniel home. The question I get most often is how long will this process take, will it take as long as it did with Daniel? My answer, I don't know and I can't answer that. It will take as long as God feels is necessary to carry out his plan. He has plan for our family. Right now we believe that plan involves two little Ethiopian boys. It is time to start the process to bring home a baby brother for Daniel. Starting this process makes me nervous and giddy all at the same time. I love watching God's plan unfold before my eyes. I don't always like the methods or timeframe, but none the less I love watching his plan. Usually it is way better than my plan anyway. I shouldn't say usually, it is ALWAYS way better than my plan in the end.

So where are we in the process? We are starting the fundraising process. This is something we didn't do with Daniel. Our first fundraiser is coffee! Seems appropriate since coffee originated in Ethiopia and Ethiopian coffee is to die for! If you would like to support our efforts to give a child a forever family and make there one less orphan in the world simply visit www.justlovecoffee.com/theheddlesons. A portion of all orders will come to us for our adoption fund. I love this fundraiser since it was started by a family who also adpoted from Ethiopia and wanted to help other families with the financial aspect of the process. You can also click on the picture to the right.

Coming soon.....we will be selling T-shirts and have a donate now button on our blog. Check back for more details. I have seen the Tshirt design and it is amazing! I can't wait to share with you.

Lastly, the best thing you can do is pray for our journey. Pray for God's guidance and patience as we wait to see what his plan unfolds. Pray for that baby boy that we will adopt and most importantly pray for his birth family whatever the circumstances will be. Only God knows what child will be ours and I can't wait to meet him!

Thanks for all the support you gave throughout Daniels adoption and thank you in advance for the support for baby boy #2. Ethiopia here we come!

Happy Easter!

He is alive! He is alive! Christ has risen! Those are the words I think about when I think of Easter. Easter can be fun but we need to make sure we don't forget the reason for the day. Jesus died for our sins and on the third day (Easter) he rose again. We need to make sure through all the fun of easter, eggs, baskets and bunnies we are instilling in our children this real reason for the day. This was Daniel's first Easter with us. We colored eggs, Mark and I hid the eggs after Daniel went to bed and when he woke up he was so excited to see a soccer ball. Then we started to find the eggs. It took all of maybe 15 minutes to find 42 plastic eggs filled with jelly beans, m&m's and random change we found around the house. The best moment was we hid an egg in the feet of Daniels Monkey. When he found it he started blowing kisses to the monkey to tell him thank you. Then he had to keep running back to give the monkey a hug and kisses. I love watching his expressions as he finds things and experiences new things. Here are a few pictures from the day:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Daniel

So I am officially a slacker at blogging! It has been almost 2 whole months since Daniels birthday and I haven't posted. Sorry. It was so bittersweet planning his big "2" birthday party. Getting to do it was the best gift ever but the thought of him already turning 2, ugh. He is getting so big and smart and just plain cute. If you ask him how old he is, he will state "two" in this cute little tiny voice (that he doesn't use ever) and hold up both his index fingers to show he is two. We have the best babysitter, she is the one that taught him to do this. It was amazing to see the excitement and sheer joy in his eyes as we sang happy birthday to him. His favorite part seemed to be when we were done and everyone started shouting and clapping. He would get the biggest smile on his face and clap too. As a first timer on the birthday party front, I thought it would be great to make him a 3D Lightning McQueen cake. It can't be that hard right? Well I thank God I have great friends who came over and worked on this cake with me for 4 hours to make the perfect cake for my perfect little man to make his birthday special. God gave me that idea so I had some quality time, lots of laughs and definitely a few memories with 2 great friends. Here is a picture of the finished cake:

Daniel is so loved by everyone, we had a great party and a great day thanks to all our family and friends.

Daniel got a bike for his birthday from mommy and daddy. He loves anything with wheels and especially loved his bike. It is a little big but by the time it is actually warm enough he will be able to ride it!

On Daniels actual birthday we had a cake just the 3 of us and celebrated the greatest gift God gave us. I couldn't help on that day think of his birth mother. Was she somewhere thinking of that day she brought the most precious, beautiful baby boy into the world? Did she know how much God loved her and this baby boy? Did she know that he would be so loved and well cared for? The love she must have had for this baby boy had to be amazing. One look at that sweet face and you are hooked. I am so thankful for the sacrifice she made so that we are able to celebrate this very specail day. I can hold my baby boy on his birthday and tell him how much he was truly loved and is loved and will forever be loved. I thank God for the choice that mother had to make because I don't think i could have. Mark told Daniel it was ok to take a bite out of the cake, it was so precious he knew it was wrong and hesitated a long while before diving right in!

Happy Birthday baby boy! May God continue to bless you more and more each year. You had one heck of a journey this past year and we can't wait to see what he has in store for you this year. We love you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Last 2 Months

Wow I am way behind on this blog! It seems like there are just not enough hours in the day. Daniel has finally played in the snow for the first time (in Janaury). He had been kicking it in the driveway when we come home from work and throwing it in the air but never bundled up go walk in the snow playing. I am not so sure he liked it! Have you ever watched A Christmas Story with Ralphie? Well I was that mom. I didn't want him to get cold or wet so the poor kid could barely move his arms. Everytime he fell down we had to pick him up because he couldn't move. This picture says it all from his perspective:

We were only outside maybe 20 minutes. Carmen (the dog) was running around like crazy but Daniel not so much. Here are a few more pictures of our fun outing in the snow.

What else went on these last few months. Daniel had his first Valentines Day party. I don't think he has a clue what it means to give Valentines but he really liked the ones with puppies and basketballs on them. He also loved the candy but what child doesn't.

It is hard to believe that next week at this time he will be 2 years old. Life has definitely changed for us in the last year. Our evenings are now filled with Imagination Movers, Playhouse Disney soundtracks, giggles, slobbery kisses, flying cars and plenty of hugs. We are on the verge of terrible twos. We are learning the joys of "time outs" at the Heddleson house! I wouldn't change it for a thing. Every night we read from the Rhyming bible Daniel got on his dedication day. The other night I asked him "Who made the stars" (he has a turtle that puts the stars on the ceiling) and he thought a minute then answered very matter of factly "Daddy". Pretty sure that could be considered a correct answer if he didn't mean Mark! Daddy has done and is everything. If Daniel sees a car on TV it is daddy, if a truck drives by again, daddy. It is kind of funny but I am so glad that he loves and admires his daddy so much to relate everything he does to "daddy".

Stay tuned, birthday party pictures and posts will be next and I promise they will not be 2 months late!