Saturday, May 24, 2008

Adoption Label on my New Blog

This link,
will take you to all the posts I do on my new blog that are about our adoption process. My new blog is about my everyday life and covers a lot of topics, but I label the adoption posts, so the above link will take you directly to all adoption updates.


Friday, May 23, 2008


I just posted a new update on where we are at with adoption here:

I am humbled and grateful for the interest and prayers of those of you who are still checking in with us and caring about our family.

Thank you!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

I'm Beginning a New Blog

There is a rumor going around that the Liberian government is planning on shutting down adoptions for at least 4-6 months. It is just a rumor that hasn't been confirmed by our adoption agency yet, but I've heard it from enough sources that I'm thinking it is probably coming. The rumors say that the Liberian government officials want to evaluate the current adoption practices. These other sources are advising families to not accept any new referrals at this time. It pains me to say it, but it appears that our adoption will need to be put on hold until God prompts us to begin again.

In the mean time, I've started a new blog that I hope you'll visit. It is called Everyday Becky and the new address is:

This will be the blog that I will be using until we are able to continue our adoption journey. Click here to go to the new blog or here to read why I've decided I needed to begin a new blog. Please bookmark my new blog. I'd miss you all if you leave me now. : )

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No Direction Yet

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make Your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6

We got more news today about what happened with JJ's family. I guess his birth father was still in favor of the adoption, but the father's older sister was not. She had been in Ghana for medical care and had just returned. When she heard about the adoption, she wanted JJ withdrawn and will be raising him herself. The father didn't feel like he could disobey his older sister. Respecting elders is a cultural norm in Liberia.

I have had a lot of people ask what we plan to do next. The answer to that question is honestly I don't know.

Pat asked me this morning if I had received any insight yet. I told him that when I close my eyes I have a vision of a dead end with a huge wall in front of me. It's like the end of a very narrow hallway and there are no doors on either side. I'm just standing there looking up the big wall, completely void of any spiritual discernment or direction of what God's will is for us. Maybe it is just too soon to make a decision.

We have been given a lot of advice that I respect and appreciate. There seems to be four different opinions that others have asked us to consider.

1. Sometimes, we try to force something to happen when God has shut a door and said, "No." Maybe we are trying to do something that God isn't really asking us to do or blessing the effort.

2. Please keep pushing on. Stay with the process. Sometimes God asks us to do things and in the process we face many obstacles that we just need to press through in order to be obedient.

3. Take a break from it all. Concentrate on your new baby coming and after he/she is born you can revisit the idea of adoption.

4. Consider another program/country/domestic adoption plan that is less risky and more consistent.

We have listened to the heart of our friends and family and appreciate all of the food for thought. I truly am considering all of the above thoughts and seeking God in prayer. Now we just wait for the answer.

I wish that I could remove the emotion of impatience from the decision making process. I'm afraid that I am going to want to make a rash/hasty decision just because I am so desperate to get to the end of this journey. I'm tired of trying to grow our family, and I just want to be a family.

I also don't want to be like Sarah in the Old Testament. God had promised to bless her with a child and she took matters into her own hands and messed everything up. Our world is still dearly paying for her impatience. I want to wait and be patient for the child God has chosen to join our family. Help me, Lord, to slow down and follow instead of trying to run ahead.

On Monday mornings, I lead a Women's Bible Study at church. We have been studying the book of Colossians lately and Monday's study was on where to go for wisdom. I didn't know on Monday how much the study was going to apply to my life this week. : )

One of the questions that the study we are using asked was, "Why would God allow us to come to the end of our understanding?" The answer that I wrote on my study was that running out of our own understanding sends us to Him, and He is our greatest need! Running out of our own understanding removes the delusion of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is a dangerous and a deceptive place to be.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- Colossians 2:2-3

Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out.
- Romans 11:33

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. - James 1:5

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not The News We Wanted to Get Today

We did get our phone call from Acres of Hope today, but it wasn't to tell us our case was finalized in the Liberian courts. Instead, it was to tell us that we aren't going to be able to adopt JJ at all.

JJ's father returned to the orphanage and removed him from the program. He was under a lot of pressure from his family, especially his sister, to not go through with the adoption. One of the staff members from AOH visited with the family and explained that this case was at the final stages in the courts, and that our family has been preparing for JJ to be a part of our family, but their minds were made up.

In the beginning, we were told that JJ's father was injured during the war and lost his leg. Being disabled, he had been unable to provide for his son, so he and JJ's mother came together to relinquish him to the orphanage for adoption. I thought that since both parents were together and in agreement to the adoption, that we were safe from this happening again. I've been worried that the anti-adoption propaganda floating around Liberia might cause problems. I'm not sure if that was the case here, but I think it might be. I pray that they will be able to take care of him. Hopefully, the extended family that was so against the adoption will be able to help care for him.

Karissa, my wise beyond her years little girl, listened to me tell her that JJ would not be able to be a part of our family. She gave me a back rub and said, "Mommy, all of the things that have gone wrong for our adoptions aren't bad things."

I asked her what she meant, and she said, "They are good things because now they don't have to leave their families."

I know that this news will be frustrating to our friends and family members who care so much about us. I don't have a lot of answers to the questions I'm sure you have. When Rachel called today, she was in tears right along with me, and was just as frustrated that this could happen to us again.

I'm not sure I understand exactly how things work, but I think the children in the orphanage are wards of the state. The orphanage provides shelter and helps to facilitate the adoption, but they are like foster parents, and are accountable to the Ministry of Health. I don't know if they have the authority to not return a child when the birth family comes back, even if they have gone through the relinquishment process. I think they see themselves as a humanitarian organization and can't keep a child that parents want back regardless of where we are at in the process.
At least, I think this is how it is.

I do know that the staff meets with the adults bringing the children to the orphanage three times before they allow them to leave them at the orphanage. They explain what adoption means and make sure they understand and have time to think about it before they will take the children in. Then they do all the relinquishment paperwork ahead of time, and then they give the referral and start the process. These precautions don't keep lost referrals from happening, though. I don't know how to fix the problem. I guess it is just the risk you have to be willing to take. I don't want to adopt a child that a family wants to raise themselves. I just want a child who needs us to be his family.

Pat and I aren't sure what we want to do next. If we accept a new referral, it will take approximately 6 months for this new adoption process to be complete and that puts us right at my due date for the baby. If we continue, we will have to update our immigration fingerprints and documentation and our homestudy, because these will expire soon. Please pray for us to have discernment about where to go from here.

Works for Me Wednesday

For Works for Me Wednesday today I wanted to share these great banks we found for teaching our 5 and 6 year-old-daughters how to manage money. They earn five quarters on Saturday after completing their assigned jobs for the week. These banks are sturdy, cute, and perfect for teaching them the financial values that we have as a family.
Here's a picture of the banks and a link to where to find them: (You can find them other places, but this was the best value that we could find)

The banks are transparent and have three separate compartments. This is nice for seeing how much is in each category at a glance. The money slots are in each of the three roof lines of the bank, store, and church. The money is removed from the bottom of each compartment.

I've been thankful for different resources to teach our kids how to deal with money. I recently watched an Oprah episode that broke my heart. She interviewed the director and a homeless man that were part of a documentary where the homeless man was given $100,000 cash as a social experiment. The cameras followed him and documented what he did with the money. The man blew all the $100,000 because he didn't know how to manage it. He also was taken advantage of by people, betrayed by friends, and married a woman who left him as soon as the money was gone. He had thought that it was a never ending amount of money and that it would solve all of his problems. He ended up right back where he started, but now he was also disheartened, and ashamed. It was awful. The show left me with a desire to make sure that my children grow up knowing how to be good stewards and managers of the finances God blesses them with. It also left me heartbroken for a man who realized the emptiness of wealth. He needed Jesus to heal his heart, not $100,000 cash. It was a heart wrenching show to watch, and I want a different reality for my kids.
Stop by Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday Tips.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Sweet Birthday

Thank you so much for all of the happy birthday wishes. With all of the other things going on, my birthday snuck up on me. I didn't really have any expectations for it, but the whole weekend ended up being a celebration and a sweet reminder of all of my blessings.

Friday night, I went to a women's event at my friend Marisa's church. The speaker spoke on godly girlfriend relationships and how important they are. I left the event that evening so grateful for my friends. I plan on dedicating a future blog post to how much I enjoyed that evening.

Saturday began with family breakfast, and then Pat took the girls out so I could have the afternoon to myself. My friends, Jennifer and Marisa, and I went out to coffee and the dollar theater to watch Enchanted. I know you are asking yourself, "Isn't that a Disney kids' movie?" No, is a family movie (at least that is how we justified it). We are all just romantic at heart and thoroughly enjoyed the fairy tale. We have the greatest dollar theater here. Tickets are $3.50 and that price includes your admission to the show and two food items of your choice. I always get their caramel corn and something to drink. It is a great deal and a fun theater.

We went to the Saturday night service at church, and then over to Daiquiri's house to "hang out" after church. Hanging out ended up being a surprise birthday party for me. I was so blessed. The whole night made me feel so special.

Monday, my actual birthday was great, too. I guess the judge in Liberia didn't get the memo that he was supposed to finalize our adoption for my birthday present. Despite the judge not coming through for me, there were little things that made it such a special day. Monday morning, my sleepy little four-year-old woke up remembering that it was Mommy's birthday. My mom and dad called and serenaded me, and my nephews left me the sweetest message on the answering machine. My friends and family sent cards. We went out to dinner at Olive Garden, and I got to spend Monday evening at the mall ALL BY MYSELF!!! It was great day. For a short time, I forgot that I'm getting old! : )

A few of you have asked how my doctor visit went today. I actually canceled that appointment for today. My doctor was just going to listen to the baby's heartbeat on the Doppler, and now that we have our own, I decided to just wait until the ultrasound on March 11th before I go in again. Thanks for remembering and checking in on me! Cutie Pie or Monster Truck is doing very well, and I'm grateful. My final birthday gift was to hear a 164 beats per minute right before I drifted off to sleep Monday night.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pat's Passport Has Arrived!

Pat is preparing for his trip to Liberia. He will be getting his immunizations next week, and his passport came yesterday! I'm so thankful for how quickly it got here. I worried about not paying the expediting fee, but now I'm glad we saved the money.

It is beginning to feel like this might really happen. : )

Monday is my birthday. Don't you think a phone call from Acres of Hope telling us that we are finalized would be a nice gift?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Have a Confession to Make

OK....I have a confession to make.

I love American Idol. : )

I don't just watch it. I even call in and vote. : ) (Um, like 20 - 30 times - blush - Redial comes in really handy.)


It starts in 16 minutes. Gotta Go.

Fess're watching it, too. (Right, Missy?)
Adoption News:
Being the ultra patient person that I am (ha ha), I emailed Rachel at AOH to ask her about how things were going with the finalization. On February 6th, they were estimating that 15 children would be finalized in the Liberian courts within two weeks, but I hadn't heard of any being done. She said that because of all of the "excitement" over the last few weeks and the possibility of adoptions being shut down by the Embassy, the judge overseeing our cases decided to wait and see what would happen.

The Liberian staff is guessing that at least half of those cases will be done by Friday, Monday, or Tuesday. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if we will be in the first half, because the judge doesn't seem to be concerned with working chronologically. I do know that we are one of the 15 though, and I hope that by early next week, JJ will be officially our son according to the Liberian courts.

These would be the next steps after finalization:
1. Get JJ's passport

2. Schedule a birth family interview at the Embassy. During this interview, the living relatives of the child go to the Embassy to be interviewed by the consular. During that interview, she decides if she believes that these people are truly the birth family. She also makes sure they understand the concept and permanency of adoption. Sometimes she requires a DNA test to prove that they are related to the child. This adds 6-8 weeks to the process and longer if the DNA results are negative. Other times, she is fully convinced that they are the birthfamily, and the interview is successful. In some cases, these birthfamily interviews have not been successful. It is a really scary last step of the process.

(One family this week had an unsuccessful interview. If I understand it correctly, the birth mother is dead and nobody knows where the birthfather is. They were told that if they can't locate the father, the adoption is off. They have been waiting over a year, and Julie has already been to Liberia to meet their little boy, Teddy. It is devastating news. Please pray for the Redman family.)

3. If our interview is successful, than Pat will fly to Liberia and have an appointment at the Embassy to get JJ's visa and then bring him home. : )

My new hope is to have him home before the end of April. We'll see : ) I don't mind having him home sooner, though, Lord. : )

Baby News:

This has been a rough week for me. It is the 13th week of my pregnancy and that is one of my scary anniversaries. My first two pregnancies with Karissa and Amy were perfect and free of complications. As we tried for our third child, we had four pregnancy losses in a row. The first loss was at five months, the second was an early miscarriage at 6 weeks, and the last two losses happened at 13 weeks. Other than the early miscarriage, the other three had no warning or explanation. Everything seemed great until we tried to find a heartbeat. That is why every heartbeat that we are able to hear is such a blessing to me. There is no sweeter sound. : )

For the last three weeks, I have thought that I've been able to feel the baby move. I've doubted myself because all of the pregnancy literature says that you shouldn't be able to feel the baby move before 14 weeks. But I knew that this feeling was unique to pregnancy, and it was a comfort to me even if it wasn't the actual baby moving.

Then over this last week, I haven't been able to feel that movement any more. It added to my stress and fear. Yesterday morning, though, I had a great prayer time and as I said, "Amen," I could feel the baby again. It was such a gift.

Later yesterday afternoon, the Doppler that Pat bought me for my birthday arrived, and the whole family gathered around to hear Baby's heartbeat. Pat tried to find it in the same location that the doctor has been finding it for me, but all we could hear was my heartbeat. I started getting nervous. Karissa kept asking, "Why can't we hear it?" I think she was nervous, too. Finally, Pat said, "Where did you feel the baby moving?" I pointed to the spot, he put the Doppler on it, and there it was, 170 beats per minute!

It was such a gift to me to have confirmation that the movement I was feeling really was the baby. A huge weight fell off my shoulders and of course I teared up. Pat said that if it was going to make me cry, he was sending it back. : )

I am so thankful to have this now. I don't want to listen too often, but whenever the fear roles in, it will be so nice to have the reassurance.

It is the 13th week and we still have a heartbeat!!!! Praise God!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Houston.....We Have a Heartbeat! : )

My doctor visit went very well today. We were able to immediately hear Baby's (a.k.a. Monster Truck or Cutie Pie) heartbeat. I felt lighthearted and peaceful this morning, but I started to feel the tension and apprehension moving in as we neared the office. Pat and I prayed together in the parking lot before we went in, and God blessed us with great news.

Pat just ordered our own Stork Radio Doppler. It should arrive any day now, and I'm so excited to have it. It will be so nice to be able to listen to Baby's heartbeat any time I need reassurance. I think it will be neat for the girls, too. It can't get here soon enough. : )

We are scheduled for another check-up on Feb. 26th, the day after my birthday, so I'm asking for another great visit as a birthday present. We also scheduled an ultrasound for March 11th. I'm really looking forward to the ultrasound. In the past, we have had this ultrasound at 20 weeks, but this time we will be looking at 16 weeks because my doctor wants to take a look at the baby's heart and this is the earliest that he can get a good peak. I think he bumped it up to make me happy, too. I'm a little impatient. : ) We may be able to see the sex of the baby at that time, but most likely, we'll have to settle the Monster Truck, Cutie Pie debate at a later ultrasound.

Still no adoption news, but on Feb. 6th the Acres of Hope website said they were hoping to see 15 cases finalized in the Liberian courts over the next two weeks. We are one of those 15 cases, and this is the second week, so hopefully I'll be able to post that we are through the Liberian courts some day soon!

Thank you for loving me and praying for me. Your prayers are felt!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Looking Back

(Today's thoughts were inspired by this post.)

There has been so much to be afraid of lately.

Anti-adoption propaganda has been showing up in Liberian newspapers, and unfortunately many people have believed the lies. One of the Acres of Hope families lost their referral this week because the birth mother believed the stories of child trafficking and removed her kids from the program.

All week last week there was a looming threat that the US Embassy in Liberia might put a hold on adoptions. Thankfully, that did not happen, but it was a tense and stressful week of wondering.

I'm 12 weeks pregnant this week, and my last two miscarriages happened at 13 weeks. This nagging voice of doubt keeps taunting me, "Is this your last week? Will Tuesday's doctor visit bring bad news?"

I've dealt with fear of inadequacy as a mother. Fears that I'm not doing enough and not being enough. Fear, fear, fear.

In the midst of it all, God has been calling me to a deeper level of trust. I had some amazing quiet times of prayer this week that have left me with a longing for that complete abandon, surrender, and sincere trust in Him that is so trustWORTHY.

Fear keeps threatening to take over, but peace keeps responding, "BE STILL!"

My friend and I were talking about how to trust God. We're told all the time, "Trust Him," yet rarely told how. During that conversation, I was having a hard time articulating what I was thinking, but I came home and read this. The author put into words what I was trying to say.

The ability to trust comes from looking backward. As I look backward, I see the memorial stones of past evidence of God's provision and grace in my life. When I look backwards, I see the countless blessings, the many, many times that Jesus carried me through storms, the joys, the memories, the love, and His constant presence. He has been my best friends since early childhood.

It's so strange too, that coming out of this season of loss, of all of the miscarriages, I've come out of it trusting Him more, not less. I survived. I was comforted. I felt His comfort in a way that I had never felt it before, and I was given renewed hope for the future.

So today facing an uncertain future, an unpredictable adoption process, a scary pregnancy anniversary, and all of the everyday things that make me wonder if I will ever be enough, I look backward first and see the One in which I trust.

Here's an oldie but a goodie:


One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Scenes from his life flashed across the sky and he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life had flashed before him, he recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life there was only one set of footprints.

Dismayed, he asked, "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. I don't understand why, when I needed you most, you would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious child. I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering when you saw only one set of footprints...

That was when I carried you."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Want to Win Something Cool?

I love blog giveaways. : ) I even won one in December. My new e-friend, Lelia, gave me over $100 worth of cosmetics from her BeautiControl Business. It was so fun to receive my package in the mail the other day. Thank you, Lelia!

By now, my good friend, Daiquiri, has become legendary on this blog. : ) She has just opened an online photography business, and in honor of her grand opening, she is hosting a giveaway. The winner will receive one of her photographs, any size print you choose. I already have one of her prints framed and hanging on my bedroom wall, but I'm still hoping to win another one. : )

If you'd like a shot at winning, stop by her blog, Call Her Blessed, and join in on the fun.

Monday, February 4, 2008


"NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]" Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified).

Faith is not simply saying that what God says is true; true faith is acting on what God says because it is true. Faith is not so much in believing in spite of evidence, but obeying in spite of consequences.

(I wish I could give credit to who said this. It was a sermon note that my good friend, Rochelle, had written in her Bible, and she's forgotten who said it.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

False Allegations

I just wanted to clarify that Addy's Hope, the agency that came under scrutiny in the situation in Liberia this week, did not take the 10 children out of Liberia illegally. There were false accusations made against this agency. They responded to those accusations on their website. You can read it here.

I have made connections with many people in the adoption world who are adopting through Addy's Hope, and they love and trust their agency.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Not So Bad

Phew....This was a long day of wondering what the announcement would be today from the embassy, and at least for now, the news wasn't so bad. I think this situation needs to continue to be covered in prayer. AOH did a great job of explaining it, so I'll just post the response the put on their website this afternoon:

Many rumors involving alleged child trafficking and illegal international adoptions in Liberia have been flying over the past few days. It has also been reported that a “hold” has been or will be placed on all adopted children leaving the country. Indeed, ten international adoption cases came under the scrutiny of the Liberian government some days ago. Some of these children left the country before the investigations were concluded and this raised alarm. First of all, we want to assure you that Acres of Hope Liberia is not involved in these cases, nor any illegal or unethical practices, nor have we been accused of such. Furthermore, no “hold” or moratorium has been placed on adopted children leaving the country.
When AOH/AOHL staff heard of the possible difficulties in obtaining visas and getting our children home with their adoptive families, we asked the impending travelers to please hold their plans until we got confirmation of any action to be taken by the Liberian or US governments. In fact, the staff of AOHL has been working tirelessly to work through the issues raised by this upheaval and to advocate for the children and families in the AOHL adoption program. Patty (Executive Director) and Eric (Country Director) have been at the Capital building today, meeting with many Liberian government officials. They feel encouraged by these discussions. In fact, many of the legislators are strongly pro-adoption and were happy to unite with AOHL for the future of the children.
Currently, we have one family in Liberia right now to pick up their children. Although they were told yesterday that no visas would be issued until this was cleared up, the visas were granted today. This is a good sign and, coupled with the conversations with the legislators, leads us to move forward as normal and we have given the go-ahead to the families with visa appointments next week.
While we are not out of the woods yet, we feel positive and encouraged. We will keep you updated if changes occur.
Finally, we have also caught wind of a rumor that families will be required to stay in Liberia for three weeks when picking up their children. Acres of Hope Liberia has been given no such direction and we advise that families preparing to travel soon plan a one-week stay.

I also wanted to thank you for praying for my friends, Kim and Dale. There was good news posted on their blog this afternoon. They are going to continue to Liberia and get their son. Thank you for praying for them. You can visit their blog here to follow their journey. They have got to be so exhausted and drained. This has been an amazing roller-coaster week for them. Please continue to pray for them.

For now, I'm feeling cautiously optimistic again. : ) I'm really thankful that the director of AOH was in Liberia to deal with all of this firsthand.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Should Have Stayed Cautious

As soon as I finished the last post, I went to visit the blog of my friends, The Basten Family. Dale and Kim were on their way to Liberia today to get their adopted children, when they were contacted by Acres of Hope and told to go home instead of finishing their flights to Liberia.

I don't know why they were told to do this, but the blog post mentioned that their will be an announcement made tomorrow by the US Embassy that will affect all adoptions and all agencies in Liberia. I've also just learned that all families will be required to stay in country for three weeks.

I have no idea how this will affect our adoption, but it has definitely taken the excited part out of my last post.

Also, my heart is breaking for my friends, Dale and Kim. They have been such a support to me through this whole adoption journey. Please pray for this sweet couple as they head home. I can't imagine how they are feeling. Please pray for peace for them. Please pray for international adoption in general. It seems to be under attack everywhere. Please pray that the Basten's kids and our JJ will be home soon and not caught in some bureaucratic mess.

I got to be excited for an hour anyway.

A Change of Plans- I'm So Excited!

Pat and I made a decision today about our adoption. Instead of having JJ escorted home, Pat is going to travel to Liberia to get him! I'm so excited about this decision.

In the beginning of the process, we felt like escorting was the best option for our family, but now we've changed our minds. I really feel like this will be easier for JJ's transition to our family. It comforts me to know that Pat will be with him through leaving all that is familiar to him.

Also, by going to get him ourselves, we will be able to speed up the process. Rachel was guessing that if we are finalized soon, and Pat travels, we could have an embassy appointment as early as the end of Feb./beginning of March, instead of waiting until the end of April to bring him home. When you travel, you just do the I-600 paperwork there in Monrovia, unlike escorting where you wait for it to be processed through our local immigration, then New Hampshire office, and then on to Monrovia.

I'm trying not to get too excited. Nothing in this process is predictable or guaranteed. Many people have gotten to the end of the process to have the consular require a DNA test that adds about 6-8 weeks on to the process. Please pray that this will not be the case for us. Also please pray for my friends, the Basten family, who just got the news today that they are going to have to do the DNA testing. They are already on their way to Africa, so this was quite a blow. It is the news we all are dreading at the end.

Also, please pray that Pat will be able to be travel ready quickly. I regret it now, but neither one of us have passports. He will need to get one ASAP. They are taking about 4-6 weeks to get, or you can pay the $60 fee to expedite it to 2-3 weeks, which is what I think we will be doing.

Did I say I'M SO EXCITED yet? Oh, yeah, that's supposed to be cautiously excited. Yeah, right!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Updates on JJ and Baby

Adoption News:

Just recently, we had a sweet offer from another adopting family that is traveling to Liberia next month, to escort JJ home for us. I was excited about the prospect and contacted AOH to see if it could be a possibility, but unfortunately it won't be.

Even though we are expecting our adoption to be finalized any day now (can't wait for that phone call!), there wouldn't be enough time to file the I-600 paperwork with US Immigration. I guess it is taking USCIS 2 months to process this paperwork, and we can't submit it until our adoption is finalized. Unfortunately, the pre-visa interview I was hoping had happened last summer, didn't happen, so we need to get his visa, too. We can apply for that while the I-600 is being processed. So, I think, as soon as we hear that we are finalized, we are looking at about two months from that point until JJ comes home. Rachel at AOH thought it was reasonable to estimate he'd be home by April. I'd love to have it sooner, but it feels so good to have an approximate "due date." That would give us 4 - 5 months of bonding time before "Cutie Pie" or "Monster Truck" arrives.

Baby News:
I had my OB appointment this morning, and we were able to hear a healthy, strong heartbeat on the Doppler. Thank you, Lord! I'm 10 1/2 weeks along today.

It was a very emotional visit for me. I surprised myself with how much tension had built up inside of me anticipating this appointment. I told the nurse that I couldn't wait to get this over with and then burst into tears. I couldn't stop crying. Thankfully, I got myself together before the doctor came in the room. It took awhile to find the heartbeat, but once we did, it was loud and clear and music to my ears.

I was so relieved and so drained of all energy. I've been pretty useless today. Other than baking oatmeal cookies and then eating way too many of them, I've done nothing today.

I want so much to be able to rest in the Lord and trust Him with this pregnancy. On so many levels I am trusting and so hopeful, but there is a deep place inside of me that is trying to self-protect and prepare myself.

I don't think I'm the only one. Last night as I was tucking in my oldest daughter, she asked me, "Mommy, was it the second doctor appointment when our other babies died?" We talked about it, and I was able to reassure her, but I can tell she is trying to process it all, too.

I need to spend some good prayer time with the Lord, asking Him to teach me how to rest, how to trust, and asking Him to give me what I need to do that. After four in a row, I've been conditioned for loss. I need His help to overcome that deep down place that I haven't been able to give to Him yet. I'm so thankful that He is faithful, gracious, and patient. I know He'll answer that prayer for me and give me what I need to make it through the next few months.

This has become a theme verse for me lately:
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! -Mark 9:24

Our last two losses happened at 13 weeks. My next two appointments will be at 12 weeks and 14 weeks. We'll just skip the scary week! : )

Thank you all so much for your prayers. They are my lifeline and an amazing gift. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the number of people who are caring so much for us and lifting us in prayer. It is one of the many blessings of being a Christian- the support system and love of people who share Jesus with us. I love you all. : )

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Puzzle Storage

For awhile now, I have been enjoying the Works for me Wednesday blog bazaar hosted at "Rocks in my Dryer" and this week I decided to join in the fun.

My WFMW tip is about puzzle storage. My kids have enjoyed puzzles in the past, but the puzzle boxes almost made me give up on puzzles. The cardboard boxes they come in always fall apart, take up so much room in our closet, and lend themselves to losing pieces. Once pieces are missing, my kids lose interest.

Here are two new solutions that are REALLY working for us. The girls have enjoyed their puzzles so much lately, and we haven't lost a single piece in so long. The greatest benefit for me is the reduced space it takes up to store them.

The first solution was using a plastic pencil box in place of the cardboard box the puzzle came in.

I cut the picture from the old puzzle box and put it and the pieces in the pencil box. On the top of the pencil case, I use a Sharpie pen to write the name of the puzzle and how many pieces are inside. The girls like having the cardboard "card" to look at as they are putting the puzzle together. The pencil case is sturdy and smaller/sleeker than storing the old cardboard boxes.

I only had one pencil box in the house, so I decided to use Ziploc bags as temporary storage. The thing is they are working so well, I'm not sure I need to invest in the pencil cases. I just do the same thing: Cut out the picture from the original box and put it along with the pieces inside the Ziploc. I label the bags with the Sharpie pen and voila.....Puzzle storage that takes up even less space in my closet. It's easy for the kids to grab and easy for them to pick up. We're all happy and doing puzzles again. : )

Prayer Request

I don't have any new adoption news to share. I'm still hoping for the phone to ring to tell us JJ's adoption is finalized in Liberia. I'm also still hoping that the pre-visa interview happened last summer, but I haven't heard back on that question yet.

For pregnancy news, I have another OB appointment tomorrow morning. I would really appreciate prayers for peace, no fear, and for Baby to have a good, strong, healthy heartbeat.

Thank you!

I also wanted to mention that I have been terrible at returning emails lately. I'm so sorry and trying to get caught up. Please forgive me if you've emailed lately and are still waiting for me to answer.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first time participating in Menu Plan Monday from I'm An Organizing Junkie website. Coming up with new ideas for dinner is always tough for me, so I'm excited to be able to check out everyone's ideas for the week. Thanks, Laura, for hosting the fun.

DJ's Soup (One of the ladies in my bible study gave me a homemade soup starter for Christmas. I just have to add the veggies.)

Jiffy Corn Bread Muffins

Crockpot Roast
Enchiladas (I follow the directions on the back of the sauce can. SUPER EASY and fast)

I'm ashamed to admit it, but its homegroup night and we have to hurry, so for ease and speed we will be eating tuna helper. (Don't tell my mom)
Steamed Broccoli

Girls only for dinner tonight. Movie Night! My daughters and I will be having open faced cheese sandwhiches (sprinkled with Johnny's seasoning salt and melted under the broiler) and our favorite tomato soup: Pacific Organic Creamy Tomato Soup. I get it at our grocery store and it tastes sooooo, sooooo much better than the canned stuff. Does the Organic part make up for feeding my kids tuna helper the night before? : )

Split Pea Soup in crockpot
Homemade Bran Blueberry Muffins
(Recipe posted below)

Going to a Super Bowl Party- Yippee don't have to plan dinner
My favorite bran muffin recipe:
My good friend, Daiquiri, just posted her favorite bran muffin recipe, so I thought I'd share mine. I learned from her to mix blueberries into the batter. The girls and I LOVE the blueberry muffins, but DH still prefers raisins. Either way, these are awesome and freeze beautifully.

I make a quadruple batch and freeze the muffins in freezer bags. (A quadruple batch allows me to use up the whole quart of buttermilk and not have any leftover and stocks our freezer for awhile) We microwave them for about 40 seconds each, and they taste just as good as fresh. It is nice to have a freezer full of muffins. They make great breakfasts, snacks, or sides for dinner.

· 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
· 1 cup buttermilk
· 1/3 cup vegetable oil
· 1 egg
· 2/3 cup brown sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 1 cup all-purpose flour (I use Whole Wheat)
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 cup raisins (or thawed blueberries- blot berries with paper towels to remove moisture and do not add extra liquid)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
3. Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Another Friend Joins the Blogging World

I wanted to invite you all to stop by my friend, Jen's, new blog, "Hilty Sprouts." You can click here to get there. You other bloggers now how important comments are, so let her know you stopped by. : )

I think this will be a fun journey to follow. Joel is a genius with plants. He truly has a gift, and I can't wait to see what he is able to do with this land. : )

Re-Reading Our Orphan Report

I have been reading and re-reading our orphan report a lot lately. It makes me feel close to JJ. He sounds like such a special little boy. I'm really grateful that God is the one who chose him for us. I believed from the very beginning that God would hand-select the little boy that was meant to be our son.

After we lost the referral for Benjamin, I had a hard time letting go. I didn't want to allow myself to attach to JJ until I knew he was here. It is getting more and more difficult to remain unattached. This little one has my heart and I can't wait to get him home.

Click here if you'd like to read my original posting of the orphan report. I think you'll agree that we have been blessed with a special, happy little boy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Parenting is Hard

Parenting can be so hard. I have two precious daughters, but there were some irritating behavioral issues that we dealt with today, and by bedtime I had had enough.

I lost my temper with my oldest and then had my heart broken as she crawled into bed sniffling because I had talked to her in a "mean voice." It was a yucky way to the end the day.

It is so frustrating that it almost always happens at the end of the day. I can have a wonderful day and feel like supermom and then lose my cool and patience in that last stretch of the day. That last half hour of getting the kids to bed is the worst.

I remember my mom telling me that she would often pray for my brother and me, "Lord, you raise them because I don't know what I'm doing."

I feel like that so often. I want so much to do it "right." I'm so thankful that I can run to God and say, "Help. You have to do this because I don't know what I'm doing," and He will.

I love being a mom. It is also the role in my life where I can feel the most insecure. I am so thankful that Jesus covers where I fail. : ) And I'm thankful that He gave me such good kids.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Did the Pre-Visa Interview Happen?

Last summer when we were given our new referral, the consular at the US Embassy was conducting pre-visa interviews. The birth families would meet with the consular at the beginning of the process, and she would determine that they were truly the birth family, and that they were fully aware of the meaning of adoption.

These interviews were great while they lasted because the prevented the heartbreak of getting to the end of the process just to find you were denied a visa. The consular only conducted these interviews for a short window of time, and then stopped doing them because they were too time consuming for her limited staff.

In our case, we were told that this interview was scheduled in September, but then with the transition of staff with our agency, it was never confirmed whether or not this pre-visa interview actually happened or not.

It would be a miracle for us if it did. We hope to be finalized in the Liberian courts this month, and passports are only taking about a week to obtain. The big hang-up for us is obtaining the visa for JJ, and this process appears to be slightly bottle necked, if I'm understanding the situation correctly. If getting the visa was all of a sudden a non-issue, it is possible that JJ could be home very soon.

I don't want to give the impression that we are close to being done, but I really don't know. Acres of Hope is looking into this for me and hopefully, we'll know soon whether or not that step was taken last summer. I'm not counting on it, but it sure would be wonderful if it has happened already. Will you pray for us? Thanks. : )

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fun in the Snow This Morning

We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning. The girls didn't waste much time getting their snow gear on and heading out the back door to our friends' great snow hill.

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Snow Day

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Snow Day

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Who Needs A Sledding Hill?

Ben shows us that you don't need a sledding hill if you have a shovel and a slide. : )

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Amy Gives It A Try

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Proud Big Sissy

Karissa was so proud to have Amy go to school with her.

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My Little "BIG" Girl

I volunteered in K's Kindergarten class this past week and Amy got to go with me. She was so excited about going to school. She even packed a backpack. When she saw these pictures this morning, she said, "I look like a teenaguh" : )

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

All Is Well With Baby But Mommy's Got the Blues

We had our ultrasound today and all is well with Little Peanut. (a.k.a Cutie Pie and Monster Truck) Thank you, Lord!

We love our OB and want him to be our doctor, but walking into his office feels like walking to the guillotine. There are just so many painful memories in that place for me. It was a HUGE relief to walk out happy.

The baby measured 8 1/2 weeks.....a little farther than I thought we were. That was a good feeling. I found out that I was pregnant so early, it feels like I've been pregnant FOREVER already, and I can't wait until I can legitimately just give in and wear maternity clothes instead of trying to squeeze into the last two pairs of pants that fit. How can the baby only be the size of a grape, but all my clothes are already too small? I guess the 30 lbs I've gained from adoption stress doesn't help the situation. : )

When Karissa got off the school bus today, she came running up to me and said, "Hi,, Mommy! Is our baby still alive?" I laughed, teared up, and reassured her that our baby was still alive. We all are longing for this baby very much. We'll just have to take it one appointment at a time. Our next one is January 30th.

I'm a little blue tonight. I built this appointment up so much, and now I don't know what to do with myself now that it is over. I guess I just need to go to bed and get some sleep.

I've been stalling going to bed because there is a writing contest sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries that I so wanted to enter. The deadline is tomorrow morning, and I'm not going to make it. I'm just so drained from the emotions of today and got hit with a terrible case of writer's block. I prayed a lot about the opportunity because I do have a desire to write, but I kept trying to force the writing out without inspiration. I think watching this opportunity pass me by has added to the blues. I need to continue to trust God with my dreams and wait for His perfect timing.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Cutie Pie and Monster Truck

At dinner tonight, my girls were debating whether or not our baby is a girl or a boy. I have been calling our little one, Baby, but Amy said, "You mean Cutie Pie. That's what I call her."

Karissa, who insists that the baby is a boy, said, "Well, I call him Monster Truck!" Needless to say, we all had a laugh over that one!

We'll have to wait until March to see which girl is right. Will it be Cutie Pie or Monster Truck? : )

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Adoption News:

Rachel emailed me from Acres of Hope. The Liberian staff is hoping to have JJ's case finalized in Liberian courts this month! It was so encouraging to have news. Rachel warned me that there are several cases needing to make it through this month, so we'll have to take a wait and see approach. I'm just thankful to know where we are at in the process. After finalization, we have three final steps:

1. Apply for and recieve JJ's passport to leave Liberia and travel internationally.

2. Apply for and recieve JJ's visa, giving him permission to enter the U.S.

3. Have him escorted HOME!!!!

Unfortunately, it is still impossible to predict how long these steps will take, but I'm hopeful. : )
Baby News:

My first ultrasound will be this Thursday at 8:30 AM. I hope to have an ultrasound photo to post on Thursday of our little Peanut.

My Big Kids:

Karissa has taken off with her reading. I can not express how much fun Pat and I are having watching her reading. It amazes me that our little girl, who came to us as a blank slate, learned to do that! Her favorite books to read right now are the Step Into Reading Books (especially the Disney Princess ones). They are leveled Steps 1-5. She's reading the Level 2 Books pretty well right now. Instead of reading her a bedtime story tonight, she read to me!

This was my bedtime story tonight. She bought it with her Barnes and Noble giftcard from Grandma and Grandpa Morton- Thanks Joe and Nancy!

I have used the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book for both of my girls.
Amy (4) loves to do her reading lessons with me and is 1/4 of the way through the book. The lessons are completely scripted and take less than 15 minutes. I was very inconsistent with Karissa. We started the book when she was four, right in the middle of my season of miscarriages, and it got pushed aside. The thirty lessons or so we were able to do gave her a great foundation for doing a lot of self-teaching after that. The teacher in me is having so much fun with this! : )

We are also having a blast with the Fancy Nancy books. If you have a preschool - early elementary aged little girl in your home, you've got to check out Fancy Nancy from the library. We did and ended up buying two from Barnes and Noble to own. (more Christmas giftcard from Grandma and Grandpa) : )

These are fun books, but I also am having fun reading the girls the Oz books as our bedtime stories. We are on the second book, and I've loved seeing how much they are enjoying the adventure and how good it has been for them to be exposed to higher level vocabulary. I like having balance in the books we read, so that not everything is simple sentence, picture books. There are some great classics that I'm excited to read aloud to the girls. Ok....enough teacher talk.

Have a good night, bloggy friends. : )

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy First Birthday Blog!

Today is my blog's first birthday! I posted my very first blog post on this day one year ago. Thanks to all of you who have been reading since the beginning.

You can click here to read my very first post: Our Journey Begins

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trying Not to Cry Over Spilled Milk

Lovely spilled milk
Since I just read my comments from the last post, I realize that my faithful blog readers are demanding (and deserve) more consistent posts. So here you go, TWO posts in one day! How do you like them apples. : )
So, I thought I'd interrupt my life as supermom, to share with you a glimpse of the last two days and my shining achievements.
The Bus Cannot Be Here All Ready!
Am I the only mom on the planet that is incapable of getting her child to the bus on time every morning?, My dad used to accuse me of "being slower than a seven year itch," and I'm afraid slowness is still an issue for me. Unfortunately, I think my daughters have inherited it, also. I knew I was doomed yesterday morning when my neighbor and dear friend, Daiquiri, called to tell me the bus was already there and where was I? I think I just need to move to Liberia where nobody cares what time anything happens.
Adventures on the Way to Pick Up my Children From a Playdate:
Later yesterday afternoon, my girls were at a playdate for the first time, and I told the mom I'd pick them up at 3:00. Knowing my difficulty with getting anywhere on time, I left with plenty of time to pick them up. As soon as I got in the car and started to drive, I knew something was wrong. I felt dizzy and had a pain in my chest. I was having a hard time breathing and felt nauseous. I pulled over three times and then decided to go home and call the playdate mom. I didn't make it past Daiquiri's house before I had to pull over and knock on the door. I scared her to death, by saying, "I don't know what's wrong with me." She made me lay down on her couch with my feet up. I started getting all shaky. I went to the bathroom and threw up two times and miraculously came out of there feeling all better. What a great friend I have! We laughed about how gloriously pregnant I am, but of course I was late AGAIN picking the girls up and ruined the nap schedule for new playdate mom. Will I ever make it anywhere On Time....or dare I hope....EARLY??
Today's Issues With Milk:
Today, I was determined to regain supermom status, so I got Karissa to the bus just in the nick of time. Daiquiri admitted to wanting to call me to make sure I was on schedule, but held her born organized self back. After successfully getting my first born on the bus, I went home and got dinner in the crock pot, and spent all afternoon mopping my expansive kitchen floor. I get so frustrated with said kitchen floor. It is in constant need of sweeping and mopping. It never ends. I have been procrastinating mopping it forever during this messy winter weather, but found the motivation to conquer it today.
The crock pot meal I made for dinner had a final step to do 1/2 hour before had to put in the dumplings and add 3/4 cup of milk. Earlier today, Pat and I used up the last of the milk for his mocha and my pretend mocha (pregnancy safe caramel hot chocolate). I had to call Daiquiri to ask to borrow the 3/4 cup of milk. (Are you starting to get the picture that I could not live without Daiquiri?)
After Karissa went down the hill to borrow the milk, she walked in the door and spilled the milk all over the newly mopped kitchen floor. Then I had to send her down the hill to Daiquiri AGAIN to borrow our second 3/4 cup of milk. See what I mean? I'd be helpless without this woman. She sent Karissa back with the tupperware of milk strapped to her hand with rubber bands. : )
I finally got dinner ready and decided to make a batch of homemade biscuits. I have been craving them for days, and I knew I could not go one more day without fulfilling my NEED for them. Of course, all of you know where this story is going. I mixed up the batch of biscuits, fantasizing about the warm, fluffy, carb-loaded, wonderful things I was going to bite into in mere minutes. Guess what the last ingredient for biscuits is??? 2/3 CUPS OF YOU GUESSED IT!!!! MILK!!!! Oh brother!
Well, I guess I better run. Bible study starts in 5 minutes and I think I'm going to be late! : )

Oh No, Not Again!!!!! Template Header Problems!

I can not believe that my header has disappeared again!!! JJ's picture has shrunk again. All I can see this morning is his mouth and a portion of my quote.

Missy, I think you are right. It must be time for a custom header. Actually, I think my blog has become somewhat boring. I think it is in need of a major make-over. I have been reading Jamie's blog from Fully Operational Battle Station and I've got blog envy. Her blog is so much more fun and exciting. Hmmmm.....I don't know how yet, but for my own sanity, I think this blog needs some major changes.

Our adoption story is so uneventful right now. Wait, wait, waiting, waiting some more, Oh yeah, waiting. Did I mention we are waiting? Then there is the no news, more no news, and did I mention no news? Um, then there is my typical response of "Not even sure where in the process we are." Sooooo.....if my news is boring, I better make the actual blog a little more exciting. :)

But part of the problem is that with pregnancy, I always become introspective and all my creativity goes out the window. Is there anything else happening in the world other than the miracle that is taking place in my womb? Is there anything else to think about or talk about? Hard to imagine. : ) I'll give this blog improvement a try between throwing up that is!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Scare and Some Christmas Pics of My Blessings

I read this wonderful quote on Mrs. MK's Musings tonight. (Which is one of my favorite blogs. I love her beautiful photography)

Wait on the Lord, wait quietly, wait trustingly. He holds every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year in His hands. Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for He is already there. -Elisabeth Elliot

It was just what I needed tonight. Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed that I was spotting a little bit. I was so convinced that it meant the end of my pregnancy. My first instinct was to call my husband at work, but I felt like God was calling me to come to Him this time. I sobbed and prayed.

I didn't sleep much last night. This was what got me through the night:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
-Psalm 121

Today, the spotting has stopped and I can't even write how relieved I am. I've learned that spotting is a really common thing for people who are using Lovenox injections during pregnancy. I am praying that it is nothing.

It may sound bizarre, but I am grateful for this scare. It shook me up and showed me how quietly and easily I had drifted from the Lord lately. I've been so distracted with this pregnancy, my excitement and fears, and the holidays. Last night I was broken and had to run to Him. This pregnancy more than ever, I am aware of how helpless I am and how much I need Him. It is all out of my control.

Tonight, I have been going through my Christmas pictures. These two melt my heart. I love my girls. :

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sorry I've Been A Bad Blogger

I'm sorry that I have been a bad blogger lately. We went out of town last week for the holidays, and my husband and I decided to leave our laptops behind. We really wanted to focus on the real live people in front of us and we both know our weakness for disappearing into virtual world. I think it was a good decision and helped me to re-evaluate how much time I spend online.

We had a great Christmas. I'll try to post some photos soon.

There isn't any new adoption news. We are still in the phase of waiting for our case to make it through the Liberian courts. After that, we will need to apply for and wait for JJ's passport and visa.

As I was reflecting on 2007, I was wondering what this year's legacy was. What will I remember about this year? All I could think of was adoption. It has been officially a year now, and I was surprised at how much the waiting consumed my year. This blog will turn one year old on January 11th. I'll have to celebrate. : )

Thank you so much for your prayers for me. I have moments of panic and fear, and have been really spiritually distracted, but for the most part, I feel peace, great hope, and a trust that I know is coming from outside of myself. It is a supernatural, stubborn peace that I know is the result of your prayers. Thank you.

I have started to really feel the pregnancy fatigue and sickness, but I love it. It reminds me of the miracle baby inside of me. I love being pregnant. It is such a gift to feel a part of something so miraculous and precious.

I do worry a lot about my selfishness and how much things are about to change. I want the change. I want both of my babies home. I'm just nervous about the change and how easy I have had it for so long. I'm afraid of not being enough for my kids, all four of them. I am scared, but so thankful for the promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."