Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm Back....

It has been awhile since I've posted because our family has been on vacation. : ) My father-in-law generously gave us the use of his timeshare this last week and we enjoyed a week of relaxation and fun in the mountains of Idaho. It was so peaceful. Thank you Joe and Nancy!

I've actually had a difficult time readjusting to real life. I'm praying that I can get back in the groove and not keep wishing for vacation life back again.

There isn't anything new to report about our adoption. The last time I spoke with Donna at the Acres of Hope office, she told me that now we were entering into the fun stage of waiting. There isn't anything more that we can do except to wait. All of our paperwork is in and all of our fees are paid for now. So now we just have to be very patient. I'm hoping that we'll have an update soon and learn a little more about Benjamin's personality and see some new photos of him. I'll share as soon as I have some. Our friends have given us some cute new clothes for him. I'm hoping that all of these clothes will fit him when he gets home. I had fun hanging them all up today in his room. I'm excited to start decorating it and making it truly his room instead of a playroom that is overrun with Barbies, princesses, dollies, and My Little Ponies.

We have plans to send a photo album to him in June when a local couple travels to get their little girls. I know that he is still so little, but I really hope that we can make some connection with him through those pictures.

I also wanted to thank those of you who supported me with pledges for the Hope Walk, the fundraiser for the Summer of Hope program ( The walk is on Saturday, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I've Been Tagged

There is a fun game of blog tag going around right now. I've officially been tagged by Rachel from Rachel's Blatherings. Once you've been tagged you are required to share seven unknown things about yourself. I've had so much fun reading other people's seven things (Rachel, Amy, and Jocelyn) I hope that I can think of seven things interesting enough to share with you.

1. I was born blind in my left eye. That eye is about twenty percent smaller in size than my right eye. I used to be very self-conscious about it when I was younger. Now I can see how God used it to be a character builder for me. I had eye surgery when I was two years old in Memphis, TN. That surgery saved my eye, but not my sight. It was a pioneer surgery, in fact Mom says that I had about forty international doctors following me around the whole time. That surgery is used now when a baby is first born and they are able to save the baby's sight. I love that I got to be a part of that. I even think one of our friend's babies may have had the same surgery just recently. I like to think that maybe Lyndsay's surgery was the same and that she may be able to see because of what they learned from my surgery. I have never known anything different so it doesn't get in my way. I can shoot hoops, drive a car, and most people only notice the difference when they first meet me. My friends say that they don't notice it anymore.

2. I am a sleep talker and walker. I have some VERY embarrassing childhood moments because of this that I will share at another time. : )

3. I have always dreamed of being a novelist. I have tried SEVERAL times to write a novel and the sad fact is.....I don't have any talent for writing fiction. : ( I'm pretty good at coming up with really creative names and characters and that is about as far as I get. : )

4. One of my best memories of being a teenager is a mission trip that I got to go on with my youth group to Mexico City. We built a medical center and put on a Vacation Bible School. I fell in love with the people and their generosity and joy in the midst of poverty. One man supported his family by running a small store that was the size of my bedroom closet at home. He was an amputee and I knew he had no other way of making an income. He must have given up a month's wages keeping us supplied with soda pop while we worked. He always had a HUGE grin on his face and had a joy that was amazing. The trip was life changing for me. My parents picked me up from the airport and drove me to cheerleading camp. That was culture-shock! I went from a world of selflessness to a world of selfishness overnight. It taught me a lot.

5. I get teased by my family for being a cereal addict. I would choose to eat cereal over almost any other food, and I have picked it over dessert many times. It doesn't matter what time of day it is, I'll eat it. I don't think I've ever met a cereal I didn't like either. My husband gets pretty frustrated with how fast a box of cereal disappears in our house. When I get done with a bowl, the milk at the bottom needs more cereal, and then oops, I poured too much, so now I need more milk. It's a vicious cycle. I wonder if there is a Cereal-Aholics Anonymous????

6. I am also very addicted to coffee. I used to not care about how I got the caffeine, but my Uncle Ken has spoiled me. He sells the best coffee on the planet. He roasts the beans fresh and I just can't drink Folgers or Yuban anymore without doctoring it up with milk. I've become somewhat of a coffee snob, BUT I'll take anyway I can get it. : ) (By the way- If you live in Washington State and are a coffee fan, find a Whatcha Know Joe or a Planet Joe shop I know you'll agree it's the best) When I can't get Uncle Ken's coffee, I settle for some from Costco that's really good, too.

7. The things I cherish and treasure the most in my life are the relationships God has given me. I am so blessed by the people who love me and by the many people I get to love. I started praying for my husband when I was in the fifth grade. I have prayer journals that we read out of at my bridal shower. God was so faithful to me in answering those prayers in Pat. I love being his wife, and Karissa's and Amy's and now Benjamin's Mommy. I have the best family in the universe! I have a great church family and awesome friends. I am very content and grateful for my life.

The End.....hee hee.... This is a pretty long post. Maybe I am a novelist after all. : )

Now my turn to tag. OK, Kim Basten, Crystal Briden, Becky Bowersox, Kate Jones, Charity Alonso, Kate Borchert, and Laurie Lorenzen (If you can find the time during your adjustment with Kojo)......You've been tagged. Can't wait to learn more about you. I love your blogs by the way.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Mommy in Waiting

Sometimes I get an overwhelming longing for Benjamin to be home. His picture is everywhere around the house, and the more I study his face, the more in love I become. My pen pal who is in Liberia right now, wrote to me again. She said that she gave him a lollipop and he followed her all around the orphanage after that. She said that until he can come home to us, he is in the best possible place. She wrote that the nannies and workers in the baby orphanage are amazing and are showing him so much love. That is such a comfort to me, and a reminder of my need for patience. We are both right where God has ordained us to be for this time.

I keep trying to guess at when he might be home, but that is a difficult estimate to make. I keep saying, hopefully before Christmas, but in the secret places of my heart, I am hoping for as early as October. A friend cautioned me to not get my hopes set on anything earlier than a year from now, that way I will be pleasantly surprised if it is sooner and not devastated if it takes longer. The hardest part for me is knowing that he is growing older without us. I don't want to miss anymore of his development and important milestones.

I have been teaching the book of Esther to a ladies bible study at our church, and one of the primary themes of the book is God's perfect timing. I need to trust God who is TRUSTWORTHY and wait for His perfect timing. He is not bound by any timeline. Benjamin could be here next week if God's will made it so. It could be a year from now. Whatever is best will be.

In the meantime, I want to use this waiting time wisely. There is a lot to be done. I have a stack of books on my nightstand about adoption, toddler adoption, attachment in adoption, etc. You can always tell where my mind is at by the title of books stacked by my bed. :)

One of the books that I am reading, Successful Adoption: A Guide for Christian Families by Natalie Nichols Gillespie, has a great list of what to do while you wait. These are the things she suggests focusing on while you wait:
1. Find parenting resources
2. Reach out to other people
3. Draw closer to God
4. Pray for your child
5. Raise funds
6. Work
7. Rest
8. Grieve if necessary (over miscarriages, infertility, adoptions that fell through, etc.)
9. Create
10. Spend time with others
11. Get ready!

I'm using this list for ways to keep my mind on what does God have for me today, and off of what the future may or may not hold. I'm really enjoying working on a book I'm writing, spending time with my girls, praying for my kids and their spiritual development, and teaching the bible study and getting ready for a writer's conference that I get to attend in June. There is much to do and prepare for. But I'll take him as soon as you want to send him, Lord. I can be ready tomorrow if you'd like. : )

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

This was such a wonderful Mother's Day for me today. Pat and the girls spoiled me and I felt so loved. The girls are getting to an age where they are more aware of Mother's Day and what it means. They were so sweet to me and made me feel like the most blessed woman on the planet.

I thought about Ben so much today. We went to a Mother's Day brunch with a lot of family today who had not seen his picture yet, so we got to show off our little boy and tell our story to all who would listen. : )

Then tonight, I checked my blog and found this message from one of my sweet pen pals who is in Liberia right now:

Becky,I met Ben...I gave him a hug and a kiss...he is so sweet and so beautiful. I told him you love him and can't wait to hold him...he has the biggest smile.-Jocelyn

I had asked her to look for him for me and tell him that I loved him. I wasn't expecting to hear from her yet, and I just sat and stared at her message. I am so hungry for information about him. When I wrote her back to thank her, tears started flowing. I can't believe she's with him right now. It made me feel a connection with him that was so special and such a great Mother's Day gift. I can't wait to see that smile myself.

My little Liberian boy, my Benjamin! I love you so much and can't wait to hold you and kiss you and make you smile. I can't wait for you to really know that you have a forever mama and that she loves you so much. You are coming home to so much love from all of us. I pray that your homecoming will be soon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Hope Walk

There is going to be a program here this summer for older Filipino orphans called Summer of Hope. (See below for explanation of this program) I have volunteered to walk in their Hope Walk fundraiser on June 2nd in order to help raise money for the program and for all of the fees that the families will face if they step forward to adopt these children. My heart is heavy for the world's orphans right now, and the idea of these kids being turned out of the orphanage at the age of 14 breaks my heart. I think walking will be fun (6K = 3 miles).....the hard part for me is asking for pledges.

Soooo, I was thinking since it is so outside of my comfort zone to ask people for pledges in person, I thought I'd post it here and if any of you feel moved to sponsor me as I walk, please email me and let me know. If I could get a hundred people to donate just $10, I could raise $1,000 toward this program. So let me know if this is something you feel led to do.

A friend of mine is going to be hosting one of the girls this summer, and I thought she did a great job of explaining the program, so I've copied and pasted her explanation here:

Summer of Hope will bring older orphans, mostly ages 7-14 from the Philippines for four weeks in July, giving them an escape from the institutional setting of the orphanages where they live - into the comfort of carefully chosen host families' Christian homes. While here, the children will take part in
family life while they attend day camps and other group activities. All the while, volunteers will be working behind the scenes to introduce these kids to Christian families who may be interested in adopting.

We decided to host a girl named Michelle who is 12 years old. She is from the Philippines and the goal is to find her a forever family before she becomes too old (age 14 I believe) to be in the orphanage. At that point the children over 14 are typically turned out onto the street to fend for themselves, often turning to prostitution or sex slavery.

The Summer of Hope was organized about 5 years ago in Bozeman, MT by adoptive parents. Craig and Jan
Druckenmiller who had a heart for older orphans who would probably never be united with a "forever" family without a special program like the Summer of Hope. 67 kids have come to the U.S. through Summer of Hope, and 57 have been adopted by Christian families! That's a wonderful success rate! Kids
have come from various countries including the Philippines, Colombia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Check out

These children, due to parental death or extreme poverty, currently live in orphanages in the Philippines and are legally freed for adoption in the United States. However, at 7 – 14
years old, or as part of a sibling group, they are unlikely to be selected by an adoptive family. But Summer Hope is bringing them here to change that.

Thank you for considering this. I know that many of you who read this blog are just like us, trying to raise funds for your own adoptions, so I understand if this is not possible. If you are able, I'll try to make you proud as I walk the three miles. : )

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Benjamin Patrick Aquai Avella

It is with GREAT JOY that I get to announce our acceptance of the referral of Benedict Aquai. He will be two years old on July 24th. We are all a little giddy around here and I am IN LOVE. His forever name will be Benjamin Patrick Aquai Avella. Isn't he a cutie!!!????

God is so good to the Avella family. I am so full of gratitude right now.

Thank you for all of your prayers. Please continue to pray for Benjamin, for us, and for the adoption process ahead. We can't predict yet how long we will have to wait to bring him home. The sooner the better! : )