Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hanging out and enjoying our time together

the big kids getting ready to enjoy some snow time!

licking the beater is always the favorite part

Grace looking cute in her red bow

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One week

We have been home for 1 week today. Some of this week has been a blur due to the exhaustion! But we have been blessed with friends, yummy home cooked meals and continued prayers. I appreciate everyone's love for us and helping to make our first week at home be so easy! Everyone is settling into our routine. We are looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas. There are reports of snow for us in OK so we will see if it actually happens.

We are all just about back on our normal sleep schedule. This morning we made it to 6:30am! I was so excited when I rolled over and saw the time. We are still exhausted in the evenings, around 5pm we all start slowing down and by 8pm we are all ready for bed. But we are powering through and staying up to about 9pm.

I have so many thoughts about what we saw in Rwanda and Ethiopia. As I visit with our friends and family, memories start to come back to me. I plan on sharing some of them with you here. I think that God put us on this journey for a reason. I think that part of the reason is to share with you what reality is in other parts of the world. I think that part of the reason is to plant a seed of adoption or helping out a child in some way. Those thoughts are soon to come...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Check-Up



Gracie had her first US doctor check up today. Our pediatrician said that Grace looks great! She weighs 30 pounds (50% percentile in her age range) and is 36 inches tall (50-75 percentile in her age range). She is actually shorter than the measurements we previously got which was 39 inches. All of Gracie's parts look great and she even has her 2 year molars. A few more tests have to be run...I have to get a stool sample (yuck)! This will test for any parasites that may be hiding in her body.

An update on us...
Today, the kids went to school and Ryan went to work. Grace and I ran some errands after her doc appointment. I put her down for her nap. Ryan has done this every day since we have had Grace (have I mentioned she loves her Papa). I was hoping today's nap would be magically perfect. Unfortunately, she cried for her Papa for 25 minutes then decided to crash. Other than that little bit of sadness, she and I have had fun today. She is talking so much and is really starting to mimic us.

We are so glad that we are home and Grace is too :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Getting Ready...


We have been home for 3 days! I cannot believe it. It has been so good to be home.

Today we were able to finish getting our Christmas decorations up. Since we left on Thanksgiving, I was unable to decorate like I wanted to. So we are doing the scaled down version this year. We have our tree and today the kids and I made decorations for it. K and I had a great time making a paper garland as well as tissue snowflakes. Ryan made the star for the top. It is a very simple tree but it really is beautiful. It fits us perfectly. I will try to get a pic up soon! The stockings are hung and a few other decorations are up. The pumpkins are still out front but I will get rid of those tomorrow :).

I have finished the mountain (like most laundry I have ever done) and almost all is put away. Think 3 weeks worth of clothes, plus the laundry that I didn't have time to do before we left, plus a 2 year olds wardrobe. WOW! It was alot of stuff.

Grace has spent the day just wandering around, playing with toys, getting into my tupperware cabinet. She loves to explore her new place. She doesn't seem afraid at all and goes wherever she pleases. K & C are getting used to having a little one around. K is great with Grace. Cannon is learning that if he doesn't want her getting into his stuff, he needs to keep it put away.

We are headed to church tomorrow and I am so excited to see our church family!







Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update on us...

We arrived home last night! We had a long flight and were happy to finally touch down in OKC. We had a group of friends who met us at the airport. They were all a welcome site! I could not contain my joy of being home. Tears of happiness, relief and exhaustion flowed! It was so good to get and give hugs! None of us have been away from home this long and boy did it feel great to see their faces! Then, we were chauffeured home and we were all amazed at how good walking in our door felt.

When we arrived home, the first thing we did (after enjoying some treats in the kitchen) was go to Grace's room. Our friend has been working hard on our little girl's room. We had painted it pink and I told her the rest was up to her. We walked in and loved it! It is the perfect room for Grace. Unique and girly, a perfect nest for her to grow in. Here are a few pics...

This is above her bed. Her bed is a darling cream day bed!

Her dresser with a beautiful hand painted mirror.

Bookshelf and my grandparents rocking chair. Also, the globe is one from
Ryan's collection and of course it is fixed on Africa!

The AWESOME window treatment. Yes, that is a branch and yes, there is a sweet little bird.
Thanks again to our dear friend for doing this for Grace. We are so thankful and amazed at your creativity!

***
Today we all woke up around 6:30 am after 6-7 hours of sleep. The kids slept pretty good and I think the adults did too. We woke up, had breakfast then started getting ready for school. The kids were excited to see their friends. After we took the kids to school, we went up to our business and saw our friends there. Then we headed to buy a Christmas tree! We usually do artificial trees but this year (since Christmas is next week) we opted for a real tree to save the hassle of taking everything out of the attic. Grace had a fun time in the shopping cart!

We then headed to run a few more errands. I think Grace likes her car seat and she like seeing Papa in his rearview mirror. Now they (R,K,G) are down for naps. C wanted to stay at school and have rest time there. We are all so excited to be home. Our house feels so good and just being "home" is the best feeling in the world. Now, it is time to start getting ready for Christmas and to get rid of the pumpkins in the front yard!




Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Adios Addis!

We are all just waiting. Time is ticking by. We have dinner at 5:30pm (8:30am CST) then we leave for the airport at 6:30pm (9:30am CST). Our flight leaves at 10:30pm (1:30pm CST). My stomach is feeling very nervous. I am excited to go home but not excited about the flight. Cannon got sick on the last flight so I guess that I am nervous about that. Papa will be in charge of Grace since he is her comfort item. Can't wait to be home! Will post when we get there :)


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ethiopia

So we have been in Ethiopia since Tuesday. We have had a tb test for grace, had a positive reading, had a chest xray, had a normal reading. It has been a week of highs and lows for us. We have our embassy appointment tomorrow, visa pickup on Tuesday then on a plane Tuesday night. We arrive home Wednesday late evening.

We are ready to be home with our new daughter. Can't wait until the internet works correctly and I can start posting again :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday


Tonight is our last night in Kigali. We all have confirmed tickets on the 4 o'clock flight to Ethiopia. If we can get Grace's TB test done first thing Tuesday morning we should be able to fly out on Friday as planned. If this happens, we arrive home around 6:3opm on Saturday!

We had a nice day today. The kids played outside, Denise and I packed. We did have a few instances of Grace throwing little fits when she didn't get what she wanted. But we are learning that when she does this or gets a little grabby she is tired. So, off to a nap we went! She slept for 3 hours! At the orphanage they nap from 10-2 and she has yet to get that amount of a nap since last Monday. So, even though she is sleeping well at night she may not be getting enough sleep.

Today, the CEO of AWAA, Brian Lewis, came into Rwanda. We got to visit with him this afternoon then he joined us for dinner. It was nice to get to visit with him. We had a good dinner at the Bourbon Cafe. This was our 3rd time to eat there. They have really good food and it is very nice. Tonight they (the cafe) gave us dessert on the house! This was a fun treat.

That is all for now. We are all snuggled in our beds enjoying our last evening in Rwanda. The trip really has been amazing. There are so many things we will never forget. I will update from Ethiopia tomorrow night or early Tuesday morning.






Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday & Saturday Update


Friday was a very productive day! We took Grace to the doctor for a checkup that we will need in Ethiopia. We went to immigration to obtain Grace's passport. Then we went to the Embassy to get her information for her visa. We were happy that all of things were able to be accomplished because this means we can leave tomorrow for Ethiopia!

We spent Friday afternoon hanging out at the hotel then we went to the orphanage to say goodbye to the nuns and take a truckload of food. Grace was extremely cautious when we were at the orphanage. I think she must have thought that we were going to leave her. However, after a little while she started laughing and playing. I think she is starting to understand that she will be with us forever!

From donations from friends back home, we were able to buy a truckload of oil, brown sugar and rice. Our POA said that these are expensive items and they would be the best to take. We were so happy that we (with the help of friends) were able to provide these things for the people there.

Today, the group is on a safari. Kay wasn't feeling so good this morning so she and I stayed at the hotel. She is much much better now!

Tonight we are going to a celebration dinner where there will be Rwandan dancers! I am excited that this is our last night in Kigali and that we are closer to being home!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Update

Thursday report: another great day. This morning we got to go on a site seeing tour of the hills of Rwanda. Rwanda is know as the land of a thousand hills. I would agree! The landscape is full of hills that are green and lush. The country of Rwanda is very beautiful.

We all had a great day today. The kids are doing great and so are the adults. We are all tired this evening but are still having a great time. Gracie had another great day and as you can see from the picture above is laughing, giggling, squealing, etc. She is nodding when I ask her questions and mimicking some of our words. She is even starting to get a bit onery....she is a typical 2 year old!

Tomorrow's day is full of appointments. Pediatrician in the morning, then the Immigration office then the US Embassy office. If everything happens correctly, which we believe it will, we will be ready to travel to Ethiopia on Sunday. Can't wait to have be officially done with the paperwork in Kigali.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday

Today is another amazing day! We had a great morning shopping then heard the stories of each of the children were found (3 in our group). It is amazing to drive around the city, see the people, and wonder what their stories are. You can really tell a difference when you move from the main part of the city to more of the "suburbs." It becomes busier and there are people everywhere. We had lunch at the Bourbon Cafe again and it was great! It is kinda like Panera bread.

This afternoon we spent several hours just playing outside with the families. All of the kids (our 3 who are 8, 5, 2.5) then another family here with us (13, 9, 8, 2) and then another family (15 mos). They played tag, some fisherman/deadfish game, freeze tag, etc. The babies and the moms watched from the sides why the dads and big kids burned off some energy! Tonight has been quite except for the crying during Grace's bath. She is just not sure about that big old bath tub. This bath was better than yesterday's though! She didn't scream the entire time, just cried. We are making progress! Tomorrow I am going to try to brush her teeth...one battle a day.

The picture above is Kaylee and Grace today at lunch. Kay figured out how to make her sister smile and laugh. And she laughed alot this afternoon!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday...

Coming on this trip, I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what the city of Kigali would be like, what it would be like doing the paperwork we needed to do, seeing how our daughter responded to us, including our older children that are here with us, what the food would be like, etc, etc, etc.

This trip has been amazing. Everything has gone extremely well. We are all doing great! Grace is bonding with us. The food is wonderful. The waiting while doing paperwork has been minimal. We have so enjoyed having the Spores and Bowers here with us. We have been blessed to have a dear friend accompany us to Kigali and she has helped so much with Kaylee and Cannon.

This afternoon we toured the Genocide memorial. This part in history is just amazing. Amazing in how people survived the tragedy. How God is using these people here in Kigali as well as in the states. We have learned so much about the heart of the people while we have been here.

Tomorrow we get to know how Grace came to the orphanage. We will go to the place where she was found and hear her story for the last 2 1/2 years. This will be a very important day as we want to have all of the information we can for her. I am so thankful for our POA who is an amazing person. She loves these kids so much and really wants for the families to experience Rwanda so that we can share with our kids as they grow.


Here is Gracie tonight finishing her spaghetti. She got the Smith gene of not liking food/sticky/wet things on her hands. She always likes to be clean. She also cleans up her spot if she spills on the table. She is going to fit in perfectly with us!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A good start to today...continued!

Gracie took a great nap today nestled close with daddy. We headed to the Minister's office to get our travel letter around 1:30 this afternoon. We were able to meet the Minister as well as Miss Veronique. They both were so gracious and I am so glad that we were able to spend a little time with them. These women both worked on our adoption on the Rwandan government side. While waiting for our travel letter to be completed, we got a special surprise. I am not sure how it all happened but Kaylee was playing with Grace and Ryan was playing with Grace and then it happened...

We spent the next little while playing with her and enjoying her smile. She is starting to come out of her shell. She even laughed a little. She is starting to vocalize as well. It is really amazing to see her bond with us.

Tomorrow we go to the Embassy to for another appointment then off for some Rwanda heritage learning. Can't wait to see how she progresses tomorrow!

A good start to today~


Happy Monday to all!

We have our Grace and hopefully won't have to take her back to the orphanage. We are going to the Minister's office in a little bit to get our travel letter that will assure this.

She had a rough start this morning not wanting to come to us. Ryan has become her safe haven and we are so thankful for this. They are sitting now reading "your big backyard" magazines. She really likes to turn the pages.

Grace at a good breakfast and we are all feeling great. Not alot of sleep happening but that is expected. Kay, Denise and I were up from 11pm - 3am. We had fun giggling, watching soccer on tv and trying so desperately to fall back asleep.

Here is a pic of Gracie from this morning...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wow~

What a day today has been! We started the day bright and early and headed to the DC Dulles airport. We flew for what seemed to be forever! Stopped in Rome for fuel, another long flight to Ethiopia, then another flight to Uganda then on to Kigali! We arrived here about 3 hours later then expected.

Our POA met us at the airport and told us that we were going right to the orphanage! We stopped at the hotel just so the luggage could be dropped off. Then off we went to the orphanage. We got to see a small part of Kigali as we drove. There were lots of wedding taking place today!

We arrived at the orphanage and within minutes they were bringing out our children. We have traveled with the Spores and the Bowers. First, little Cooper Spore was brought in, then Sonya Bower, then Gracie Smith. The first 2 kiddos did well but when the sister tried to hand me Gracie she started to cry...then Sonya started to cry. I fully expected her not to want to come to me and for tears to flow. After about 20 minutes or so, I was able to hold her. She was very shy and kept an eye on all of us. She didn't want to go to Ryan or the kids for a little why but she eventually warmed up. We even got to see her teeth! She does have them. After about 45 minutes, she started to show just a bit of personality. She went to Ryan and he held her for awhile. We walked around with her, holding her hand.

The kids are of course all excited and just want to touch her. She does have a belly on her! I will have so much more to write as the days go on but wanted to give you just a brief update!

Pics aren't loading so I will try to get it figured out!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Washington DC

We are in Washington DC. We had a great day of travel and landed here at 5:30pm. While in the plane on the runway we could see the Washington Monument as well as the Capitol building. Then while on the highway we could see the Jefferson Memorial. We will count this as our DC tour!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner in the Hyatt lobby bar. Crab-cake sandwiches, a burger and pizza were our holiday menu. There was also a koi pond in the lobby so we are being culturally diverse.

We are all so excited about tomorrow. We take off from DC at 9:30am on Friday. We arrive in Kigali at 8:30am on Saturday. About 24 hours of travel await us! The kids did great today and I hope they continue to do great tomorrow.

Thanks again for all of the prayers! Please pray for little Gracie. Her little world is about to be turned upside down!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ready

We got the call around noon yesterday that we are going this week to Rwanda. After a flurry of activity over the last day, we are ready to go! I sit here and think about what has happened over the last 36 hours and I am just amazed.

To each of you who have helped us in this last mad dash, thank you. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for loving our children. Thank you for meals so I didn't have to worry about cooking. Thanks for folding laundry. Thank you for washing sippy cups and tiny silverware. Thank you for opening packages, boxes, unwrapping things. Thank you for helping me just think through stuff. Thank you for painting our daughters room. Thank you for getting her furniture ready. Thank you for making her a room that she will grow up in. Thank you for praying with us. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for the phone calls and emails of support. Thank you for the generous donations for the orphanage. Thank you for the donations for our family. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You all know who you are and I just can't thank you enough. The last 36 hours we have been slathered in God's love and it just feels so good. I am not good at asking for help and I am so glad that I did. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the love.

We leave at 8am on Thanksgiving to fly to Washington DC. We stay the night in DC then on Friday morning we board a plane for Rome. We then fly to Ethiopia and then to our final destination of Kigali. We should have Gracie in our arms on Saturday afternoon (Saturday morning in the states). Wow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Update!

We are leaving for Rwanda on Thursday (like in 2 days!)! AHHHHHH! I can't believe it!

Flights were available. We are available. We are on our way.

Only a few more days till we have Gracie in our arms!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing....

We are proud to introduce our daughter, Grace Elina Smith. Grace was born on April 25, 2007. She is 2 1/2 years old. Her given Rwandan name is Elina which means bright light. We gave her the name of Grace. We know that we are covered in God's grace in our lives and wanted to honor Him in her name. We are all thrilled that we are so close to having Grace join our family. We still do not know much about her background and how she came to the orphanage. We are hoping to receive that information soon. Thank you for continuing on our journey with us.



K & C - first picture with their little sister

W... (totally skipping V)

We passed court today! We are officially a family of 5! Wow, what a feeling. We leave in about 2 1/2 weeks to pick up our Gracie!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

U....Unbelievable

It is 7am Rwanda time as I write this. In just a few short hours, a judge will decide if we will legally be the parents of Grace. It is truly unbelievable to think that we will soon be a family of 5. It is amazing to think that just over 13 months ago, our life took a turn and we started this adoption journey. It is exciting that in approximately 3 weeks we will meet our Gracie for the first time.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

T...Tasks

Tasks that are complete or in the process...

1) Gracie's room is painted! Dear friends, Andrea, Denise & Jordan, helped to paint her room the perfect shade of Pink Ribbon Pink. It is just pink enough...

2) Another dear friend, Kylie, is taking on the task of decorating Gracie's room. I cannot wait to see what she does. She is so talented and creative!

3) We have our travel tickets on hold for Dec 11-25.

4) I keep adding to my to-do list....

Friday, November 20, 2009

S....So

So, lots of things going on this week!

1) Our court date is Monday! We should know when we wake up if we are legally Gracie's parents! Then we will be able to show her picture :)

2) We have travel tickets on hold for December 11. Ryan is working hard on the travel part but it is hard to plan when we don't know the dates of when we will need to be there! We were told that we would receive tentative travel dates today.

3) Originally it was thought that our Ethiopian consulate appointment could only be on one day. The consulate only has so many appointments on this one day. However, we found out that families with children from Rwanda can go any day at any time! They call them "drop-in" appointments! This will make figuring out our travel so much easier! We will have an appointment made for us but it could be at any time.

4) Friends are coming to help me paint Gracie's room tomorrow! Can't wait to get her room started! I almost have it ready to paint.

5) We are all just so excited to have Gracie home!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

R....Ryan

I want to use today's letter of the day as a shout out to my husband, Ryan.

We have been together for 17 years (we were high school sweethearts, gag, I know) and married for 11 1/2 years. We have changed some in the time that we have been together: physically, emotionally, spiritually. I do think that we are changing for the better in each way! We are complete opposites in some ways and very alike in others.

Through this adoption process, Ryan has been in the background. He has let me take charge and run the show. There were lots of checklists to be done and this was right up my alley, him not so much. I chatted alot on our blog and shocked him with alot of the things that I talked about. I am what you would call "not so good with words" usually.

So I just want to say thanks, babe, thanks for taking this ride with me!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Q....Quickly

Q is a great letter for today! Since 9am this morning, things have been moving very QUICKLY! We received word that our Act of Adoption is done and that our court date is next week (probably/hopefully Monday) and we can plan to travel in 2-3 weeks. Wow. I just can't believe it! Gracie will definitely be home before Christmas!

We have been so busy with other activities/events/obligations the last few weeks that I just haven't had time to get things ready. We do have some winter clothes ready for Gracie thanks to our awesome lifegroup but other than that...not much. So, my friend Ellen helped me to make lists of all that needs to be done! This helped a ton so now I have a plan. I like plans. I have recruited some friends to help with painting Gracie's room on Saturday as well. We need to paint, arrange furniture, and get her room ready!

I need to start packing for the 4 of us to go, laundry, donations for the orphanage, sort through donations that I already have, etc. etc. etc! I am glad that next week is a holiday week so that we can get some more of this stuff done!

Thank you also to Amy for shopping in Cali! There are no summer clothes to be found here in our state so she is finding clothes for Gracie to wear while in Africa! This is another huge relief!

So glad that this part is moving....QUICKLY!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

P....Prayers

What a week it has been since we found out who our child is! We have been blessed with little Gracie and can't wait until we are all together.

Emails have started coming in over the last few days and the excitement is starting to build even more. We have formally accepted our referral as of today. We signed those documents and shipped them off to our agency! Then this afternoon, we received our first travel email. We should receive our tentative travel dates this week sometime. We could travel in just a few weeks if it is His will. I am of course really hoping that it is!

I would like to ask for prayers during these next few weeks. Prayers for my patience as people in America and Africa do what they need to do so that we can bring Gracie home. Prayers for our family as we grow from a family of 4 to a family of 5. Prayers for our Gracie as she joins our family, how different her world will be soon. Prayers for her biological family as they have given her the greatest gift they can. Prayers for others who are thinking about adoption. It is truly a magnificent way to show His love.


Monday, November 16, 2009

O....Oh my goodness!

Late this evening (early morning in Kigali), we received Gracie's medical information! Gracie seems to be healthy and tested negative on all the things they tested her for. So now we can proceed with accepting our referral formally. Thank so much to our POA who is working so hard to get these adoptions complete!

Our next step is the court date. Our POA will stand for us in court and the judge will decide if we will be able to become Gracie's legal family. The Dorband's POA went to court today and ended up passing court today! God is definitely working in Kigali!

We really are praying for a November court date! The Rwandan courts close for December. So in order for us to be home in 2009 we need to have a court date in the next 2 weeks. Also, once we pass court, we will be able to show our little Gracie to everyone!

Hoping to have some more exciting news soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

N....Nesting

My favorite new past time is nesting! We (Kaylee and I) are in full nesting mode. I think it is definitely a girl thing! One of the first things Kaylee said after finding out who Gracie is was "what color are we going to paint her room?" So I have spent this week figuring out what her room will look like. Gracie's room will (of course) be pink! We are settling on a little not to dark pink. Her bedding is on it's way as well!

Kaylee and I have had fun looking at clothes, pajamas, and little shoes! We have had fun looking at toys, testing them out, and figuring out what else she will need! It has been a couple of years since we had a toddler in this house and I have forgotten! So this week I will stroll the toddler isles at my favorite store and see what else she will need.

We have had a great week full of congratulations, tears, hugs, and just gazing at our sweet little Gracie. We are praying for a November court date and for the end of process to go smoothly and quickly. We would love to have Gracie home for Christmas!




Saturday, November 14, 2009

M....Marvelous

He is marvelous..He is wonderful...He is everything. We are thankful....oh, so thankful.

Friday, November 13, 2009

L....Love


Love, we are in love with our little Grace. We talk about her all the time, we can't quit thinking about her, we can't wait until we can have her. We are in love.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

K....Kaylee


Kaylee is our first born daughter. She is 8 years old going on 30. Kay is very much a type-A personality. She likes order, rules, schedules and structure and does not do well in the gray area. She is much like her mother and much like her father.


Kay enjoys piano and gymnastics. She is a great student and loves to read. She is my helper whenever I need it and for the most part is nice to her brother.


Kaylee had wanted a little sister from the beginning. Though, at one point she did say that she wanted a brother because then maybe Cannon would quit wrestling her and wrestle him.


Kaylee will be a great big sister to Grace. She can teach her about being a girly girl, play games with her, play baby dolls. Oh, what fun they will have!



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

J...Just In Case

You wanted to know.... Here are the kids responses to us telling them about their new little sister.


Kaylee was so excited. She really wanted a little sister! On the way home, her thoughts started going crazy. She asked "What color are we going to paint her room?" then followed with "we have so much to do!" This is a girl after my own heart :). Getting excited for all the little details that we need to do before we bring Gracie home.



Cannon was excited too. He seemed to take after his father with a quiet excitement. He did gaze at little Gracie's picture for awhile. He did say on the way home "I wanted a brother so that we could wrestle." I then reminded him that he will need to be strong and protect Gracie. He will be her big brother. On the couch yesterday, we were looking at Gracie's picture. I told Cannon, "You both have brown eyes, you match!" He then followed with "and we have the same color hair!" So, I think he is definitely coming around to having a little sister.



We are all just so excited that we know who our child is. Her face is stuck in my head and I just can't get it out. I think of her by name now and look at her sweet picture multiple (MULTIPLE) times a day! And as Kaylee said, we have so much to do!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I...Introducing

We received our referral yesterday. I had been up since 7am Florida time looking at the computer every few minutes. We had gone to breakfast and came back around 9:45 to get the rest of our belongings then head to the shuttle to the airport. We have been in Boca Raton, Florida for a long weekend. God ended our trip with an email that I have been dreaming about for quite sometime. I actually dreamt about it yesterday too, but my dream was that we didn’t receive the referral email.


So coming back to our room, I open my email one last time. I start taking care of a few things while waiting for it to load. My phone rings. Heidi, another adoptive mom, calls. I tell Ryan to “ANSWER IT!”. He does and says “It’s Heidi.” I had a wave of emotion come over me because I know the reason she would be calling would be because the referrals had started to come. I had asked for someone in our group to call me because we would be traveling most of the day on Monday. (Thank you so much Heidi for calling!!!)


I run to my computer and look. Sure enough, at 9:13 am (4:13pm Kigali time), the Minister sent us our “Adoptee Matching File.” I immediately open the email, see the letter from the minister, continuing to scroll down to see a picture. A beautiful picture of a sweet little girl. She is dressed in a white flowy dress and sandals that are too small for her feet. Her hair is cut short, real short. Her eyes are beautiful. A deep brown that have a shine. She has full lips and sweet little cheeks. I say to Ryan “How old is she, what is her name?” We scroll back up to the letter from the Minister. Ryan finds her given name. Emotions over take me at this point and I am so excited that I can barely stand it. Even as I type this my heart rate is accelerating and I am getting all excited again.


Her name is Grace (Rwandan Name) Smith. We will call her Gracie (Ryan says that he will call her Grace but I have a feeling he will end up caving and calling her Gracie too). She seems to be around 3 years old. The file with her details didn’t come through. I am hoping to have that information soon. Ryan has spent some time trying to figure out how old she is. She was pictured in front of a brick wall. He thinks the bricks are 2.5 inches tall and she is about 11 bricks which would be 36 inches. He then went online to look at growth charts and says that according to the charts she could be around 2 years old or up to 4 years old based on age and percentiles.


We are both overjoyed with our new daughter. Ryan is quietly showing his excitement and I am bouncing off the walls, dancing, clapping, smiling from ear to ear. This is one of the moments we have been waiting for for almost 13 months. This is the moment were we become parents of 3 children. This is the moment when God has completed our family (for the time being).


We are not allowed to post her picture until she is legally ours, which will hopefully be in a few weeks. Here is a picture that I took yesterday. I took a walk by myself down the beach. I prayed, watched the waves crash, and was in just awe of His creation. I wrote all of our names in the sand....here is HER name.



*this picture was taken on the beach at Boca Raton...before we knew who she was.

Monday, November 9, 2009

H....Holy Spirit



I am reading the book "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan. I am a huge fan of Franny (as I like to call him) and in so many ways, he has helped change my life (meaning he confronted me with God's will for my life, click here to read that post, and God does the rest). His new book is about the Holy Spirit. How we as Americans forget about him.

My most memorable account with the Holy Spirit was in the summer of 2008. I had a physical burning in my hear, in my chest. This burning, I believe, was the spirit telling me to adopt. That it was part of God's plan for our family to adopt. This burning was so strong, so intense, so God filled. Only after I talked to Ryan, and after we decided to adopt, did it stop. It was amazing....

Here is a passage (pg 49) from the book that I think will speak to everyone. Wherever you are in your life this is applicable. It is about praying to God and trust. It is about what we think we deserve and what God's will is for us.

There is a huge difference between believing what God has promised and praying for things you'd like to be true. I encourage you to pray confidently for what God has promised. Don't put your hope in what others promise or what you have been told you'll "get" if you are a "good Christian" (e.g. a good job, financial success, the perfect spouse, healthy children, a big house, etc.). And ultimately, you need to stake your faith in God alone, not in the gifts (good as they may be) that he gives. It really comes down to trust. Do you trust God that when he says no or "not in this way" to you, you still believe and that he is doing what is best?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

G....Grace

This last week has been an interesting one for me. Lots of promises from people in another country that didn't come through. I expected this to happen, though I wanted the opposite to happen. Thanks to my ever loving hubby and to God for not letting me fall apart (again). I had been in a mood the last few weeks and had finally started to come out of it. God's grace has been on me as I didn't let myself get too excited for what could or could not happen. God's grace showered me as the day came and went and nothing happened. God's grace is on me today as I prepare for another week of what ifs and promises that may or may not happen. God's grace will get me through no matter what...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

F...Friends

One thing that our adoption process has done, is widened and deepened our circle of friends.
Our church friends (aka church family) have been with us every step of the way. They have supported us emotionally, spiritually and financially. They have come beside us to walk with us through this journey. I love to see how much they love our child. I love to have conversation regarding our process. I love that the adoption process has created relationships that may not have otherwise blossomed just because it is difficult to know everyone in a congregation of 1000. I love to (hopefully) be planting a seed for other children to come home. We are thankful for each one of our church family!

Another very important group of friends, is our core group of friends. My girlfriends and their families, have been another tremendous source of love. These women have been there every day to hear my excitement, frustration, and will be with me for the preparation once we know who our child is. I appreciate these friends more than they will every know!

Our lifegroup is also a group of people that provided much needed support and prayer. Each week we meet and each week they love on us and our child. I think that they are as anxious to get our child home as we are!

The last group of friends that have become every so dear to me, is my blog world friends. Families who are in this process with us. Families who we hopefully will travel with in the coming weeks. We are experiencing a life changing event together. We will always be connected by this adoption journey!

To each of our friends, thank you! Thank you for supporting us. Thank you for praying with us and for us. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for loving our child.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New News

Ok, so here is the up-t0-date information that we have regarding our referral. It will not be coming today (obviously..it is 9pm). We were told by our agency that we will receive an email directly from the minister (instead of it going to our social worker then us like previous thought). We can expect to receive our referral "very soon." "Very Soon" in Rwanda means early next week, the next week or maybe longer. Soooo....

We are still hoping for this next week though so that we can make sure to get a court date before the courts close on December 5th. From another family's POA, the Minister is doing what she can to ensure that this happens. However, I am not believing anything until it happens!

I will be over the moon to have our child home this year. If it needs to be in 2010 for His Glory, then so be it. I will cope.

E.....Expecting

The word on the blog street is that the referrals for 12 families will come Friday (today) or early next week. I know better than to expect this to happen. If you refer to the post from yesterday, Ryan has reminded me of how many times I have heard of something going to happen and then it doesn’t.


Because from my head to my toes I am an optimist, I hope that we receive our referral in the time frame we have heard. Hope to post some good news soon!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

D....

As we were driving to the airport today, I asked Ryan to help me come up with a “d” subject. Some of his suggestions were “delusional”, “disconnected from reality”, and ”“disillusioned.” And for those of you who know my husband, this will not surprise you. Ryan calls himself a realist. I call him a pessimist.


Ryan helps me to keep realistic expectations. When I get all excited about some blog buzz, he not so sweetly brings me back down to earth. There have been so many times throughout this adoption process that things have not gone as planned. So many times where someone would say something would be done by a certain time and then it isn’t done when they said it would be. Ryan expects this. I am crushed by this.


We are getting so close to having our child home from Rwanda. We are getting so close to seeing their little face and knowing who they are. We are totally devoted to this child and are dependent on God to see us through the rest of this journey.


We did get confirmation that the courts will close in Rwanda on December 5th and will stay closed through December. Please join our family in prayer that our referral comes in the next few days, that a court date is set for before December 5th, and that God continues to guide us with his strength and love.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

C....Cannon

There are lots of C words that I could talk about today...Christian, Calling, Crazy, Christ. However, there is one C word that popped into my head immediately. That would be Cannon.

Cannon is our (soon to be) middle child. He is very sweet, loving, energetic, and ALL BOY! He is very funny and alot of the time the rest of us look at each other and say "where did he come from?" He does not have the same personality as Ryan, myself or Kay. He comes up with the craziest things and is very, very imaginative.

Here is a picture of Cannon when he got my camera. He said he wanted to take some pictures of himself. These pictures totally capture his personality.

When asked if he wants a brother or sister, he will always say: I want a brother so that we can wrestle. Cannon is 5, almost 6. I love this boy. Daily, He melts my heart and also makes me want to pull out my hair! But that's the life with boys!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

B.... Beloved

Recently someone said to me that they didn't see how a mother could love her adoptive child as much as a biological child. To say the least, I was blown away by this statement.

You see, I have loved our child since we began this journey. It is a love that has grown stronger and deeper each day that passes. I feel no different towards Kaylee and Cannon then I do towards our Rwandan child. There are no walls that divide my love. My heart overflows with love for each of my children. My heart aches to know our Rwandan child. My heart yearns to be with them.

Here is a question I would pose to people that think the above statement is true, if you have multiple biological children, do you love any of them more or less than the other?

In my opinion, love does not know how a child came to your family. Love doesn't know skin color. Love doesn't know blood family from God's family. I don't think that God's love is biased...he loves us, his adoptive children, as much as he loves Jesus, his only biological son.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A....Anticipation

The definition of anticipation:

an⋅tic⋅i⋅pa⋅tion
  /ænˌtɪsəˈpeɪʃən/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [an-tis-uh-pey-shuhn] –noun
1. the act of anticipating or the state of being anticipated.
2. realization in advance; foretaste.
3. expectation or hope.
4. previous notion; slight previous impression.
5. intuition, foreknowledge, or prescience.


There is some unofficial information that something might just happen this week. I am not counting on it....but there is a sense of anticipation (#3) stirring within me. Trying to suppress it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009




Well, November is National Blogging month (I have recently learned). Bloggers are to blog every day for the month of November. I think I will try it! I love blogging and enjoy reading other people's blogs. It is definitely therapy....cheap therapy! In order to have something to blog about every day, I think that I will blog the alphabet. Meaning, tomorrow, I will blog with a subject that starts with "A" then the next day "B", and so on and so on. This will be fun. And I need a little bit of fun! Ryan keeps asking me why I am moody (even though he really knows why) so this will be a good way to keep my spirits up every day! So tomorrow it will start....the letter A. Hmmm...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Some more not so great news

We have heard from another adoptive family (who is adopting independently, not from an agency) that the courts in Rwanda will be closed for the month of December. I have not heard this from our agency or been aware of this closing. If we do not get our referral soon and a court date in November, we will not travel until 2010.

Great...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quick Update

Our agency had the Rwanda program's monthly conference call today. Really no "new" information. Just that it is taking the Minister longer to process all of the paperwork because of a small staff, technological difficulties and because there is so many referrals. Our agency could not give us a new timeline on when the referrals may come through.

So we have absolutely NO idea when our referral will come, when we will travel, or who our child is. For this planning girl, that is hard. My new hope is to have our child home by Spring Break of 2010. I know it is 5 months away but at least that gives them ample time to complete the process AND I can't be disappointed if it doesn't come before then.

If the process does not get moving, we will have to redo our Home Study in January and several of other documents that will soon expire. Most of these documents are only good for 1 year and we shipped off our dossier to AWAA in mid-February so we are right on that timeline. So I guess that will keep us busy too.

Still optimistic here, just trying to be realistic as well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adoption

This blog has become a type of therapy for me. I bet you've noticed the roller coaster of emotions that I seem to blog about. In real life, I am not good expressing my feelings. But for some reason, this blog allows me to talk about things that I would never usually talk about. This has been very therapeutic for me. It has allowed me to examine myself, my walk with Christ as well as my daily relationships.

So here is another therapy session about to take place. I grew up without a dad (he died when I was 13 months old). I do have a grandfather that was/is amazing. He was definitely my father figure growing up and I was blessed to be able to spend alot of time with him and my grandmother. However, it is not the same.

I remember as a child yearning for a father. I remember going to friend's houses and pretending to be a part of that family so that I could see what it might be like if I had a dad. I remember being jealous of my cousins because their dad called them nicknames. I remember feeling left out when friends talked about things that they did with their dads.

As I have grown, there are more things that I have not been able to experience. I wish that I would have had that relationship. I wish that I would have had those arms to fall into. I wish that I knew what that relationship is like. I look at the way Ryan is with our kids and think "oh, that is what it must be like."

Then I am reminded of something. Something so deep and powerful that it rocks my core. Even though I do not have an earthly father, I do have my Heavenly Father. He loves me more than anyone ever has. He ADOPTED me into his family regardless of my sins. He has the ultimate arms to fall into. And even though I am fatherless here on earth, I have a Father who is waiting for the right time to call me home.



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Daily Bread

This is my daily bread. Trusting God. Trusting God to reveal His plan for my family. Trusting God to reveal His plan for my family in His time.

Daily, I am reminded of how this adoption process has been a journey of faith. Whether it is in conversations I have, songs that evoke powerful emotions, pictures that make my heart ache, words of my children that make my heart smile, it happens every day. Every single day.

Without notice my mind will shoot to our child in Rwanda. Are they happy, sad, hungry, tired, lonely, sleeping, laughing? Then I come back to reality of two children and a husband that need me here. How I long for all of us to be together. Trust and faith...my daily bread.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Didn't get my wish

Well, my birthday is just about over and no call from our social worker or information from our agency. I am bummed at this point. I am sad, frustrated, want to yell at someone to give me some info. But then what good would that do? None. So I am just going to bottle up these negative feelings and try to enjoy the weekend with my sweet kiddos (and eat cake!). Ryan is out of town until Sunday so we have lots of time to fill!

I do want to say something to my readers. I am thankful for you. I am thankful for my friends (both blog andy real life). I am thankful for my church family. I am thankful for my regular family. You all have rallied around us during our process. Many of you have offered support to me during my emotional waiting times. Many of you have given encouraging words. Thank you for this. Thank you for loving the four of us and for loving our child who is waiting for us. We love you all and know this process would have been a lot tougher without you!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wishing

Today is my 33rd birthday. Can you guess what present I would like for my birthday? Only time will tell if Veronique will give me this gift today. I am not getting my hopes up though...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No call anytime soon

Well, it has been confirmed by our agency that the Minister does indeed have the referrals. However, another source said that the Minister said that she is going to go through all of the referrals (there were 12) then send out the referral information. The Minister also said that this could take awhile. So who knows how long "awhile" is and when the call will come.

This is disappointing because I really thought that they would stick to their "approximately 2 months" for the referral process. We waited 5 months for our approval that was supposed to be 2-4 months then changed mid-wait to 3-5 months. Guess that is what I get for thinking positively.

So I am sad today as I prepare for another wait of who knows how long. I just want to know who our child is! I hate not knowing when all of this stuff is going to happen. Breaks a momma's heart.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Emotions

Well, the last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions, from the expectant to the relaxed. Early last week I really thought that we would hear of our referral. Monday was 2 months since our approval date. The Minister had said that the referral process would take "approximately 2 months." Then news of the Minister having swine flu hit the blog world and so the emotions went back to relaxed. I do feel that I have been much more relaxed during this wait as compared to the approval wait.

Monday has come and gone. I know that we will hear nothing today. Excitement starts to build when I think that tomorrow could be THE DAY! However, I have to calm myself because we just don't know when the call will come. I find myself hoping that Amber's, our social worker, phone number pops up on my cell phone every time that I hear it ring. Then I have to deal with the disappointment when I look to see that it is not her. Even today Ryan said that he was ready, ready to know who our little one is.

I sit here and ask myself why I have the feelings that I do. Why I can't control my thoughts better. This is what I have come up with. Yesterday was the year anniversary of our family starting the adoption process. The day that we said yes! we want to be parents again. It was during these first few days in 2008 that I started loving this child. The love has just continued to build and my heart overflows with love for this child. It is so hard to explain but I so desperately want to know who they are. I want to call them by their name. I want to picture their little face. I want to see their little face staring back at me from the back seat.

I know that this is a part of our story; the waiting, the wondering, the believing. God has scripted a beautiful story for our life. Though it looks messy sometimes, when I look back on our last year, this journey has just been amazing. I feel that my faith has deepened and my love for Christ has grown. From the outside this is a story about our family expanding, but from the inside, it is about me becoming a better believer. About me being broken down then letting Him build me back up. About me falling deeper in love with my Savior.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

House Party

Our House Party was a great success! It ended up going from an afternoon to an entire week. I loved having everyone over and being able to share about the products and the people that the sale benefits. $3800 was raised for communities in Africa. If you are interested in the items that I had, here is a list with the websites so you can learn more about the non-profit organizations and then help support them by purchasing items (just click on the links below). Thanks to all who came to the House Party!





Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shots, Round 2

(I have a tank top on under my black shirt, just in case you were wondering...)

The kids and I went for our final round of shots yesterday. They each got 2 and I got 5 - WOW! All of our arms are a bit sore this go around. Must be the typhoid or the meningitis. The pharmacist even treated us to ice cream afterwards! Now if we could just get that referral call we would be just about ready to go!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A little bit longer...

Well, I was hoping that this would be the week that our family finds out who are sweet child is. Word on the blog street is that it will be at least another week. It is rumored that the Minister has the swine flu and is out of the office. The head nun at the Home of Hope has made an appointment for Friday. So hopefully on Friday the referrals will be given to the Minister and hopefully soon thereafter the Minister will approval the referrals and our case workers will be notified. I am so ready to know who our little one is!

Thanks for going through this journey with us. We appreciate you and your prayers!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hopefully the home stretch

So on August 20th, we received our approval letter from Rwanda saying that we could adopt a child. This letter was dated 8-12-09. The letter also stated that we should receive our approval in "approximately 2 months." Depending on how you count (8 weeks vs 2 months), tomorrow - October 7 - is our 8 week date. Next Monday - October 12 - is our 2 month mark. So hopefully, HOPEFULLY, we will hear something in the next week.

Ryan and I are off to Catalyst in Atlanta, GA. I am so excited. It is the 10th Anniversary and I have heard some big things are planned! I would love to get the news while we are with 30 of our closest church friends~

Hopefully, my next post will be the big exciting news (who, how old, what kind!).

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Call and Obedience


Today's Oprah show was a great voice for adoption! I do not agree with all of Oprah's opinions/shows. However, today was a great one for the adoption community and any who are thinking about adopting. Here is an excerpt of the adoption story that has brought home 44, yes 44, children home from Liberia...it really is amazing to see God working in people. I stand amazed at the powerful call of adoption and the obedience it takes to take this walk.




Liberian Orphans Find Homes in North Carolina

Over the past 23 seasons, Oprah has met hundreds of families and heard many heartwarming stories, but she says this is one of her all-time favorites.

In 2003, Lysa, a North Carolina mom, and two of her daughters attended a performance by a boys' choir from an orphanage in Liberia, a West African country ravaged by 14 years of civil war. As they sang, Lysa says she felt God speak to her heart. "[He said,] 'Lysa, two of those boys are yours,'" she says. "I did not go there for a major life change. I went to hear this concert, but God had different plans."

After the concert, Lysa and her girls met two of the boys. "They wrapped their arms around me and gave me a big hug and they just called me Mom," she says.

Lysa called her husband, Art, and told him about the teenage boys who were calling her Mom. Although Art says he was initially "shell-shocked," the couple decided to welcome the boys into their home.

At first, Lysa says her four best friends were skeptical about her decision to adopt…until they went to a choir performance and met the boys. "As they started to sing, something happened," says Genia, Lysa's friend. "I just realized that there is a strength in them that resonated with me."

Genia and her husband, Rob, already had two adopted children, but after some thought and discussion, they decided to welcome Robert, another Liberian orphan, into their home. Lysa's three other friends also decided to adopt—including empty-nesters Debbie and David, who adopted six kids!

That fateful concert was just part of the miracle that was about to happen. By January 2007, 14 families from the same North Carolina community had adopted 33 children from the same orphanage.

"We're not famous. We're not wealthy. We're just ordinary people," Lysa says. "Yet when these boys were in front of us, it was no longer a remote social issue. When you see this child in front of you that has real tears and real hopes and real prayers for a mommy and a daddy, we just couldn't walk away."

In the two years since Oprah first heard their story, eight more families in the community opened their homes to 11 more children—a total of 44 children, with more on the way!

The Schwag-Heart family is the largest family of the bunch. They have a total of 10 children and are waiting for their 11th child, a Liberian boy, to arrive. "I have always desired to have a large family," says Sonya, the mother of this blended family. "I think from a very young age, God instilled in my heart that adoption would be part of that large family."

When Bob and his wife, Elizabeth, decided to adopt in 2008, they traveled to Liberia to meet their two children for the first time. There, Bob says he was struck by how much they had in common. "I was overwhelmed first by a sense of, 'Wait a minute. This is not different at all. These are people that are just like me.' They happen to be living in a post-conflict country, but we play the same," he says. "We like the same things. We can talk about the same things."

The families all say they've gone through an adjustment period, but the Liberian children are thriving. In June 2009, 10 of the adopted teens graduated from high school. Many plan to attend college, while others continue to work in the community.

"You all continue to inspire a nation—our country and everybody else who's watching—about what it means to extend your heart in kindness and graciousness and open up to a new family," Oprah says.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Round 1 of shots

Today the kids and I got our first round of shots. The kids got yellow fever and I got yellow fever and MMR. Monday we go back for Typhoid and then I also get Hep A&B. The kids did fabulous and were very brave! Jack at Razook's really is a good shot giver. Didn't hurt at all. Then we were off to get some ice cream as a treat! Here is our after pic...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No new news...

We had our monthly Rwanda conference call with our agency today. This is where AWAA takes questions from their adoptive families and any new news to share and shares them with all of the families at once. This is our 3rd call and I am so happy that we have this communication. The last 2 calls were full of new information for me. Today, not so much. But that's okay. This far into the game, I am hoping most of our questions would be answered.

The call could come at any time now... Hoping it will come when Ryan is in town (he will be out of town for a few days coming up). Otherwise, we will have to Skype and find a time that works for both of us to see our referral. Ack!






Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just a bit longer, maybe...

The excitement continues to build. We are certain that our child has been chosen. We are positive that the news will come soon, so soon. Our 2 month count down ticker says just 1 week and 3 days until our "approximately 2 months" is over. The call could come at any time. We are ready, so ready.

While waiting this is what we have been up to...

Kindergarten Flag Football


AND Planning a House party to benefit some non-profits who help people in Africa.
This all started from my purchase of Sseko Design sandals. I was really moved by their story and I wanted to get involved. I looked around on their website and this was a suggestion (house party). So this week I spent some time contacting other non-profits for the House Party.

Our line-up includes:
Sseko Designs - sandals handmade by Africa woman who are going to University
Thanda - amazing jewelry handmade by African woman, really amazing
Daraja Choir cds (our families favorite cd!) - orphans from Kenya, wonderful voices for God
963 Missions (coffee & hot chocolate) - fair trade coffee, grown in Africa, roasted here
Mocha Club shirts - shirts that help educate us and provide funds for education/clean water in Africa

If you are interested in coming, let me know and I will give you the details. It is going to be a great afternoon of shopping, helping others, and giving God's love! Can't wait!




Sunday, September 20, 2009

The kid's perspective


It has been awhile since the kids voiced their opinions about the adoption.  I asked them a few questions this afternoon.

Kay was first...
1) Do you want it to be a boy or girl? either
2) If you could choose, which one? a sister
3) How old do you think they will be? 1 1/2 or 2
4) What are you looking forward to the most? Going to Rwanda to meet them
5) What are you excited to teach them? How to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on the piano
6) What has been your favorite part of our adoption journey so far? The approval, because it was nice to know we would get to do it (adopt)

Now Cannon's turn...
1) Do you want a boy or a girl? boy
2) Why? Because I really want to play with him and I can share my legos with him.
3) How old do you think they will be? I would say about 2 or 3.
4) What are you looking forward to the most? Let's see, to hold him and play with him.
5) What are you excited to teach them? a little Spanish
6) What has been your favorite part of the adoption journey so far? the approval, because I want to find out who it is.


Friday, September 18, 2009

New Shoes!

Have you seen these shoes? They are by Sseko Designs (click or go to www.ssekodesigns.com). Amy at Ethiopia or Bust  put this on her blog today. I read the story below then visited the Sseko website. I ordered the pair pictured below.  This is an amazing opportunity to help the women of Uganda.  Read the story below, take a look at their site, and order some!  You can switch out the fabric and you can tie them any way you want (not just the way pictured). Very versatile and fun!
Here's a bit of their story:
The Ugandan school system is designed with a nine month gap between secondary school and university. These nine months are intended to allow time for students to earn money for tuition before continuing on to university. However, in an impoverished and male dominated society, many of these young women struggle to find fair work during this time.

Sseko Designs hires recent secondary school graduates for this nine month period to live and work together, while earning money that will go directly towards their university education. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and ravished by a 22 year-long war.

Sseko Designs is a for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country's educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda.

Although consumerism makes many empty promises, responsible and proactive consumerism has the ability to change lives. Like the lives of Mercy, Mary and Rebbecca.

Every sandal has a story. This story has only just begun, but with your help, it will be a story of hope, success and change


The shoes come in solids and pattern and look really cute. Read more about Sseko Designs on their website... there is more about their story, the women that are benefiting from the sales of the shoes right now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Family Pictures

Kay and Can have recently come home with family pictures. They were asked to draw their families and this is what they came home with...

This is Cannon's. He went to art camp this summer and this was the backside of his invitation to his art show. There are 5 little stick people on this invitation. He said "Mom, I wanted to include the baby." 


Here is Kaylee's. I was cleaning out her backpack last week and found this.  She has drawn the US then outlined Oklahoma. Then she drew Africa and put a cross where Rwanda is. She then drew 5 people.  4 of the 5 are in yellow crayon and then the little one is in brown crayon.


I am amazed how much my kids "get" the adoption process.  We talk about our baby alot. Kay and I have had so much fun browsing little boys and girls clothes, shoes, toys!  I just love that they are so inclusive of their sibling who is not yet with us.  Makes a mom's heart smile!