Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Wall Art!

I was given the opportunity by Easy Canvas Prints to design and review a canvas for a VERY discounted price! It was quite exciting because I had been wanting to create a canvas print for our master bedroom for a long time but have not wanted to invest the money. My awesome friend Jamie took the picture for us last year and I have been dying to use it. I got the canvas in the mail yesterday and I love it!

IMG_0299(Don’t mind the date stamp that I STILL have not figured out how to remove from my camera…) IMG_0301Our walls are a sage green…it’s hard to tell that from these pictures. Although I don’t know why anyone would care either way…

I was really happy with Easy Canvas Prints. They had a very easy to use website with plenty of options in designing your canvas. I ordered the 24x36 canvas, which is the biggest they offer and just stuck with the .75” wrap, although they also offer a 1.5” wrap. I liked that the website rated the quality of your picture once you uploaded it so you knew if it would look OK blown up. You could also edit your picture on their website to make it sepia, black and white or full color. It shipped to me within a few days and I am very pleased with the quality. I would totally use them again! Check them out if you are in the market for a canvas!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adoption Does Not Equal Pregnancy!

I just wanted to share a little annoyance in my life right now. I knew this comment would come, and boy has it!

“Well, you know what is going to happen, don’t you? I know so and so who adopted and got pregnant right after they brought their child home! That is totally going to happen to you!” Or something to that effect.

Oh how it is so annoying. I know people mean well and I know they are just sharing their experience but it really does grate on my nerves.

First of all, that is NOT the reason we are adopting. It is not a way to have a biological child. It is not a back up plan since we have not had a biological child. This is the path the Lord wants us on and it’s not a path that we have chosen to get us a biological child. Who knows what God has planned for us, but we are not adopting for that reason.

The funny thing is that I almost hope that we don’t get pregnant just to prove all of those people wrong. That is crazy to say, I know, after trying for over 3 years to get pregnant. But I honestly feel that way. I am as excited, if not more so, about this adoption than I would be if we were pregnant again.

Second of all, I DO believe that God sometimes uses infertility to bring children into loving homes through adoption. Sometimes He allows infertility for a season and then blesses couples with a biological child, but it does NOT always happen this way. And by people making the above comment to me it feels like they are implying that having a biological child is better in some way. Or that they think we are “settling” by adopting. I am probably reading into it, but that is how I interpret it.

Moral of the story is even if you know of someone who has gotten pregnant after adopting, that is the exception not the norm and that’s not my hope in this. It is not helpful to share such stories with families who are adopting. It cheapens the adoption in some way, at least in our minds. Oh yes, and if you have already said something like the above statement to me, I don’t hold grudges, so no worries. :)

Anyone other adoptive families out there get annoyed and frustrated by comments people make??

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Baby’s One Year Heaven Birthday

I can’t believe it was a year ago today that our world came crashing down on us. It was a year ago today that we went in for a routine 14 week checkup and our baby did not have a heart beat. A year ago today our baby went to be with Jesus. A year ago today I felt like life would never go on. I didn’t want life to go on.

Today, I have hope. I still don’t understand it all. I still don’t know why it happened. But I do know that the Lord allows everything to happen for a reason and that He really and truly can make beauty out of the ashes. My relationship with the Lord has grown in leaps and bounds in the past year. I have been able to minister to so many people that I previously would not have been able to reach. If we had not had our miscarriage we would not be pursuing adoption at this time. Now, I am not saying that I am glad that we lost our baby, but I am saying that God has a reason for allowing things in our lives. He has a specific baby in Russia that he wants US to raise. And I couldn’t be more excited about that.

Our baby is safe in the arms of Jesus and while I still ache that I was never able to hold her, kiss her, watch her take her first steps, say her first words…I am so blessed that I was able to carry her for her 14 weeks here on earth. I would never trade that time I had with her and I can’t wait to hold her one day in Heaven.

Until then, life does go on. God has given us the strength to get through the past year and has blessed us with hope again. Today, I choose to celebrate the fact that our baby has been with Jesus for a year! While it is sad for us here on earth and while my flesh still misses her, what a great life our little girl is leading with the Lord!! Thank you Jesus!!

“Beauty Will Rise” by Steven Curtis Chapman

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed till my voice was gone
And watched through the tears
As everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes that are left behind
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
We have this hope

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise

So take another breath for now
Let the tears come washing down
If you can't believe, I will believe for you
Cuz I have seen the signs of spring

Because out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning

I can hear it in the distance
And its not too far away
Its the music and the laughter
of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away
Say its time to make everything new
Make it all new

This is our hope
This is a promise
This is our hope
This is a promise
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that's been made
Out of the ashes, out of the ashes
It will take our breath away
To see the beauty that He's made
Out of these ashes, Out of these ashes

Out of these ashes beauty will rise
We will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness new light will shine
And we'll know the joy that's coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise
Oh beauty will rise
Beauty will rise

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And the Adoption Roller Coaster Begins…

In case you weren’t aware…adoption, especially international adoption, is a crazy roller coaster. Country and agency rules and regulations are always changing, time frames can never be counted on, you never know when you’ll get a referral, when you’ll be able to travel, there are a ton of different individuals and agencies that you are dealing with so there are many places for the ball to drop, and on and on it goes. We got our first taste of this roller coaster last weekend (we went to the beach for our anniversary and I just HAD to check my email on the beach…shouldn’t have done that). The email that I got from our agency told us that families interested in adopting two children must now put that they are open to children ages 9-42 months. 42! That is a huge difference from the 24 months we were previously requesting.

We had prayed so much about one child versus two children and really felt at peace with our decision to adopt two children but this new requirement through a wrench in our plans. When we were requesting two children closer in age I knew it would be more difficult to care for them and meet their unique needs coming from an orphanage, but I believed we could do it. When the children are closer in age they are following similar routines, interested in similar activities, etc. But if we were to get a referral for a 9 month old and a 4 year old…they have VERY different developmental needs. Speaking from an adoption professional perspective I honestly don’t know if any family could give each child exactly what they need when there is that big of an age difference. It’s different when you have a biological child, or another adopted child, that has been living with you for 4 years and then you bring another child into the home.

Soo we talked and prayed about it all weekend and decided to change our request to one child. It breaks my heart to do that but I really do feel like we will be better able to meet the needs of each child better separately. We still plan on adopting another child in a couple of years, but we believe this is the best choice for each child in light of the new requirements.

We had our last home study visit this weekend also and it went great! She is going to work on writing up the home study and should let us see the rough draft in a couple of weeks! We’re moving quickly!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Study and Our Request

Our first home study visit went perfectly! We really like our worker and it was very low stress. This first visit was really all about the basics such as how many square feet our home is, what kind of foundation it is on, how close the nearest fire department is, how long Barry’s commute to work is, our financial form, etc. etc. I am assuming that during the second visit she will dig a little deeper into things such as our infertility, loss, childhoods, etc…so we will see!

We also made the decision…that we will be adopting TWO children! :) We have played around with that idea for awhile and the more we talk about it/pray about it, we both feel very comfortable with the idea…soooo we are taking that as our answer! We are requesting 2 children, either gender, ages 9-24 months. I asked if there was a pattern with the gender that Russia matches families with that request either gender and apparently there is a long wait for girls because so many families request girls. Sooo, since we are open to either gender more than likely we will get a referral for two BOYS! In fact, another family with Children of the World received a referral for a 9 month old little boy VERY soon after completing their home study. That makes me nervous because Barry cannot travel until July 2012 because of his work schedule. I know God is in control but it does make me a little nervous!

That’s the update for now! Hopefully we will have our second visit in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blessings in Odd Places

I’m not sure that we define “blessing” in the right way these days. Think about it for a minute…how would you define a blessing? Would you define it as a positive thing that happens to us? As a gift bestowed on us by the Lord? The answer to our prayers? Well, blessings don’t always look like that. They aren’t always great big happy gifts with big bright bows on top. Blessings, I believe, should be looked at a little differently.

“A blessing is not always easy, painless, simple, comfortable or expected. A blessing often comes, wrapped in the mystery of darkness. But I am learning this truth - anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. Why? Because when we are desperate and in pain, when we have no answers and the darkness is closing in, we cry out to God, just as the disciples did - and He comes! Not because we have earned His presence or His mercy, but because we cried out with a tiny seed of faith, as His children, knowing He is not only able, but willing to come.” – Girlfriends in God.

I posted the song “Blessings” by Laura Story a couple of months ago and if you didn’t check it out then, go check it out now. The chorus says,

“Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.”

Looked at in this way, infertility can be a blessing. Loss can be a blessing. Anything that you might be going through that causes you to call out to Jesus is a blessing because it is through those times that we draw closer to Him and He is there. He uses those times to refine us and to show us His love and mercy. God never said that this life would be easy but He did tell us that we would not have to go through it alone. I thank God for the experiences that He has brought me through and praise Him for His blessings during those times!!

What about you? What has happened in your life that you can count as a blessing?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our First Home Study Visit!

Yay! Our social worker called yesterday to set up our first home visit…tomorrow! It’s so weird being on this side of things. With my job at APAC (Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections) I don’t conduct the home study visits but I process all of the paperwork for families in my area going through APAC who are adopting from foster care. I am normally the one preparing them for the home study visits, calming their nerves before the visit, etc. And now I am having a home study myself. So weird.

I am honestly not worried or anxious at all about the visits. Is that weird?

Anyway, the first visit is tomorrow evening…and I am maybe even excited about it. Since when is it exciting to have someone pry into every private part of your life? I guess when there is a child or two on the other side of it! :)