Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye, Bye 2009

Just a few more hours. Hard to believe!!

We were painting this morning and Eli says, 'Dad, were there colors in 2001?"
Mark: Yeah, there were colors in 2001.
E: Were there colors in 2000?
Mark: Yeah.
E: Were there colors when you were a kid?
Mark: Yes, there have always been colors.
E: Well, then how come on TV it seems like it was real and there weren't any colors?

Too funny.

We are so thankful for 2009. We had a GREAT year. We are so looking forward to 2010. We are planning on another GREAT year!

Happy New Year's Eve everybody!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Breaking Point!!

Many of my fellow adoption friends might think that title implies I’ve reached my limit with this ‘referral wait’! But actually, it’s much more about all the posts I’ve stored up in my heart. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t posted them. Maybe I had not sorted out all the thoughts in my own mind? Maybe I was afraid of offending someone? That’s not my usual nature. I can say like it is. But in a blog forum you can’t really gauge anybody’s reaction unless they comment. It leaves you feeling a little vulnerable. But I’ve reached my breaking point. Too many thoughts. Too many emotions. In no particular order. So, here it goes. You may want to go grab that cup of Joe.

I grew up in the South. That’s no secret. I still live in the South. That’s not either. It has once been said that when you are from the South, you consider yourself as belonging to ‘a certain piece of the earth’. There is deep tradition. There are many things unique to the South. We eat grits. We wave at people we don’t know. We say ‘y’all’ and ‘fixin’ to’ as in I’m fixing to go outside and water the grass.’ Or I’m fixing to go to the movies. We teach our children to say ‘Yes, sir’ and “Yes, ma’am’ and get irritated if another adult says ‘You don’t have to call me Ma’am’ because we have implicitly told them that it is rude not to. Our children call their friend’s mothers “Miss Kim’, ‘Miss Holly’, and “Miss Christi’ even though all of those individuals are married. I love the south.

But there are also some things about the south that remain that aren’t so great. For instance, attitudes of people who like to believe they are forward thinking, even have the mind of Christ, and yet are stuck in Pre-Civil war, hand-me down attitudes that are ridiculously out of date and have very little to do with the Gospel.

My growing up years were full of decorum. I attended an Episcopal private school, played tennis, and had lots of friends who were the children of my parent’s high-school peers. I went to a public high school and cheered. I was also a card-carrying member of the Cotillion Club, Debutante Ball, and we were members of a private-no-blacks-allowed-as-members-Country Club. The MaĆ®tre’d with whom we spoke to by name every Sunday afternoon as he sat us down for lunch after church was also the father of a boy who I sat next to in homeroom for 4 years. I cheered for him on the football field. But never interacted with him socially. I never, ever thought of my family as racist – we never used derogatory terms, were kind to people of all races, and gave of our time and resources to local ministries that helped others ‘less fortunate’. But clearly there were many unwritten rules about the South I knew and loved.

I have to shift gears for another thought before I return to the Southern stuff. I’ll bring it back around – I promise.

Many people adopt because they have a heart for a specific country or they are called to fulfill the scripture ‘take care of widows and orphans’. I must admit for me it was a very selfish decision to adopt. We simply wanted a little girl. We have 2 boys. My pregnancies were ridiculously hard. And we wanted to adopt. We knew dark-skin. That was our heart because we think black skin is BEAUTIFUL. Not for any other sanctimonious reason. HOWEVER….after the Lord led us to Africa for our daughter(s), all of the above mentioned followed. I have found myself in love with the country of Ghana. I have found a passion for the world of adoption that I never knew I had. I have found myself realizing that I actually have a deep passion for things of this world that are unjust!! Through our adoption (before it has even happened!!!) the Lord has revealed things in me and about me that I never knew existed. That is just plain awesome. We started out a journey with a pretty selfish goal and have found ourselves amidst passions galore!

Back to the South. All that to say, we are not adopting to prove a point to anyone. We are not adopting to heighten awareness of adoption, Africa, or any other just cause. We simply want to add to our family the children that the Lord brings to us.

1 Starting Point, 2 Men, 2 Very Different Decisions…

I want to brag on my Daddy. He’s going to flip when he realizes I’m blogging about him specifically but he’ll love me anyway. My Daddy grew up in the South. Just like me. When I told him about our plans to adopt last Christmas, his words were very affirming. (After he looked at me and said, “Is Mark kidding?”) But I know my Daddy and I knew there were deep reservations there. Perhaps they are justified. We’ve had several great candid conversations in the past year about the adoption and the fact that we are going to be a ‘transracial’ family. I appreciate greatly his candor and honesty paired with compassion and love. He recently started reading ‘The Hole in Our Gospel’ and can’t put it down. I think it may be changing his entire worldview. In one book. This Christmas, he asked specifically if there was anything he could be reading to ready himself for our adoption. I was THRILLED!! And put together an ‘Adoption Packet’ for both sets of our parents.

This Christmas season we also had a close (Southern) friend say to us, among other things, that our adoption was ‘unjustifiably costly’. As in, you shouldn’t be doing it. Unjustifiable? A human life in need of a forever family? Huh? A Christian friend. A huge disappointment for us. Not because we need his approval but because we expected better. I could write an ENTIRE blog about this but will show some restraint here.

So, here’s the Good News: As I shared with my Daddy, the comments by this other man and his response was not ‘I told you so” or ‘You better think twice about this’. My Daddy said, ‘That’s gonna happen, but you can’t let it bother you.” I wanted to stand up and do a CHEER! I wanted to squeeze his neck! I was so thankful for his response.

2 men of the same southern culture. The same starting viewpoint. A very different choice to see the world through HIS eyes – not ours. Thank you, Jesus.

I could probably go on and on. The Lord has done so much already. I’d love to hear your comments (as opposed to wondering!!) If you gotten this far, thanks for reading. We are a work in progress but love the adventure He has us in!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Letter to Relatives

Dear Adoption Blog Friends,

I need your help! Awhile back, someone in our circle of blogs posted a letter that was written by an adoptive parent/couple to their relatives, parents, someone. I've tried to find it but can't seem to locate it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about or know where I can find it?? I thought maybe it was on Laurel or Kami's blogs but can't find them??? Anyone? Bueller?


Monday, November 30, 2009

World AIDS Day - Dec 1

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. Check out Join Red on Facebook. Learn about how to support someone by paying for their medications. Lots of organizations allow you to do so easily! Give what you can!

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Prayers for our daughter(s!)

A smidge of adoption news. We have been told that we can expect a referral soon. We are anxious with anticipation! Who is she? How old is she? What does she look like?

After we heard that we may have a referral soon, Mark decided it would be a good idea to spend some quality family time praying every night this past week. While we have been praying and talking for months now with each other and our kids, we felt it important to 'ready our hearts' as a family. So, precious. So, each night after our bedtime routine, the 4 of us (and sometimes Anna, the dog)would gather on the boy's floor, hold hands and each of us take a turn to pray out loud. It is so interesting (and hilarious) to hear our boy's hearts and prayers.

"Jesus, I pray she is courageous.'
Jesus, I pray she is little because I've never had a little sister and I want one.
Jesus, I pray she is healthy.
I pray she likes carrots.
I pray she doesn't bite.
I pray she is being taken care of really well right now.
Jesus, I pray she is well-behaved.
I pray she comes home to us really soon.
I pray she speaks English......or Spanish, because I really want to learn Spanish.
I pray she likes to read books.
and the list goes on.....

SOOOOOO precious. In a season of thankfulness and hope, we are HOPING!!!!!

Stay tuned......
Love to all!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Did Adam speak Spanish?

Asa: Mom, who made up all the words?
Mom: What words?
Asa: All the words we use.
Mom: Well, God allowed Adam to name all the animals and creations, etc.
Then a second later, I said, "I don't know how so many different languages came about."
A few seconds later, Asa: 'Well, maybe Adam knew Spanish, too."

HAAAA! Fortunately, we recreated this conversation for Mark and he reminded us of the Tower Of Babel. Sheesh. I can't keep up with all of Asa's deep ponderings!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's E's Birthday!

It's Eli's 7th Birthday! Big day! The only problem is he has been driving me nuts! His 3-4 week motto has been "That's not fair!" or some version of 'Whine, whine, whine..." or crying about nothing! Hopefully, this is just a phase? What is this? Hormones? A 7-year crisis? The only problem is....he is so stinkin' cute! I want to squeeze him and kiss him while telling him to shut his trap ALL at the same time!!!

For many of you this sounds like a broken record. Sorry. Your story is your journey, right? So here it goes anyway....we tried to get pregnant for a few years. When Asa FINALLY came along, I was overwhelmed by grace. Not something I earned. Not something I deserved. Simply Grace. A son. THANK YOU JESUS!! I still see grace in Asa's eyes.

Here is the kicker. I truly believed I would have to do it ALL over again to have another child. Years of agonizing over infertility, marital tormoil, and spiritual confusion. I was not looking forward to it. And yet, when Asa was 8 months old, we found that I was surprisingly pregnant! THANK YOU JESUS!!! Mercy. It flooded my thoughts. It overwhelmed my prayer life. A merciful God we have. I still see it in Eli's eyes. My child of mercy.

Here is what I know of Eli after 7 years long...
*A zeal for life
*A lover of people
*A boy who loves to be active
*A boy who fall asleep the minute his head hits the pillow...bc of the above issue!
*A persistent and overt lover of family time
*An infectious smile
*A boy who is INCREDIBLY athletic
*A boy who is falling in love with the One who created Him.

I could go on and on. I'm sure you have a similar list for yours.
Happy 7th Birthday Elijah. E. Li. Bigg'Un. Noggin'.
You are amazing.
I love you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm still here!

Before you all abandon my blog altogether - I thought I'd better update it!! Here are snapshots of our life -

Adoption Update- Still waiting to hear about a referral. We had hoped we might be receiving a referral in September of an adorable sibling set but they rejoined their biological family. We are back to 'square one' in our hoping. I promise to blog the minute we accept a referral.

20 Year Reunion - I attended my 20 year High School reunion this past weekend! I had a blast seeing all of my old friends. Everybody looked great and I don't think I've stayed up that late...since I was in high school!

The boys - Asa is playing soccer. He's played before but seems to have found his niche in playing goalie. He is rocking it!! Eli is playing flag football and of course is amazing. He threw his first completed pass this week! (They usually just run the ball). School is great. They both love school still which is SUCH a blessing.

Fritch - doing awesome as always. Big GP sponsor event coming up at the end of November. Enjoying our fall season together.

That's all I got! Nothing funny - nothing deep - just some updates!
Love to all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Garage Sale - Super Success!!!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! We had a super successful garage sale weekend! Over $1700!! Thanks to all of you who donated items for us to sell. We were crazy busy all day. We continue to enjoy our fall and look forward to the time when we 'know' who will be joining our family!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

4th Time's a Charm!

So...we got to go out on the river again Labor Day weekend with our great buddies! Eli is my child who is uber-atheletic - He got on water skis for the 1st time this weekend! I was so proud of him! He was so proud of himself! I was bragging on him when he got in the boat about how great he did and he calmly said 'Yeah, but I didn't get up until the 4th time.' Hilarious. He's 7. I think the 4th time is pretty darn good. Our friend, Tom, was in the water with him the whole time coaching him. He said E looked at him after about the 2nd time and said "I think it might be easier if I just try it with one ski!" His optimism paired with his persistence is amazing to me. That was really what I was the most proud about - his persistence. It will take him far in life. That and his atheleticism. And white, blond, hair. And blue eyes. And infectious laugh..and....

Asa signed up to play soccer this season. Eli and his buddies wanted to play flag football but Asa was certain about soccer. The thing is at age 8 - we go play on the mainland instead of on the island. Most kids in our area drive over to a different island for soccer but we aren't ready for that level of competition and commitment yet. He didn't know anybody out there when we went for evaluations last week (because the coaches 'draft' the kids at this age but that's a whole 'nother post!) But when we got there without our brother or friends in a sea of 8-10 year olds - my Asa jumped right in there - made friends in one hour and had a blast! I was SOOOO proud of him! I told him the whole way home how impressed I was that he was confident and kind and REALLY GREAT at soccer! We find out who drafted us this week and then start our season. Asa's confidence will take him far in life. That and his blond hair. And blue eyes. And incredible kindness to others..and...

I love my boys. I'm not ashamed to say it!

Garage Sale this weekend! Seriously - my garage is OVERFLOWING! Get over here and buy some stuff, people!!

PS - Congratulations to Camille and Aaron on the birth of their new baby girl!!
MBY Youth - check 'em out on FB!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ok - I mean, Sat. Sept. 12!!

Our Garage Sale is actually Sat. Sept 12th! Thank you to my dear friends who keep me on my toes! Our garage is filling up fast! You guys are amazing. Keep it coming!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Garage Sale - Coming Right up! Sat, Sept. 11

Hey All!!

Short & sweet, this post will be! We are having another garage sale on Sat. Sept. 11. If you need to clean out, start now! Bring us your stuff! Our garage is already starting to pile up! We made $1300 at our last sale in May for the adoption. We are giving it one more go round!

Thanks for all your love and support!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great school start!

Well, now I've just become a blogger-slacker - a slogger, if you will.

We started to school last Thursday and have had a great few days to start us off. My boys are in 1st and 2nd grades and I am so fortunate because they LOVE school.
E has the same 1st grade teacher as Asa had last year and we are thrilled about that. She goes to our church and loves on them so much. She's also a great teacher :)! Asa got the teacher he wanted as well. A teacher who lives in our neighborhood and also talk about her faith frequently. We go to a public school but we live in such a small area - it feels like a private school to us! Even though there are 5-6 classes of each grade, it still feels like a small community. Great moms - great teachers- great support.

I think I'm going to start painting! Ha! I took art lessons growing up and loved it. I think I'm super mediocre at a lot of things. I can pick up most anything and be pretty good at it - but I haven't mastered much!!! But yesterday, I went to a painting place in Charleston with some friends from work. It was a blast! It's called Bottles N Brushes. We painted for a few hours and I think I may have a new hobby! Maybe I'll post some of my artwork...if you're lucky.

That's it. Adoption news is still. They've had a few children become available in the past couple of weeks but they are all the same age as E & Asa. We aren't in a hurry. It's a good thing!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Need to Post

I feel like I need to post. It's been over a week. But I'm in a pretty bad mood today about our adoption. I really want to have a temper tantrum. I want to cry and stomp my feet. I want what I want and I want it now!

There. Shew. I hate feeling like a brat.

Now, let me resume being a responsible, faith-filled adult. When we went through infertility, I feel like I 'failed' in the way that I handled things. I operated in a constant attitude with God like the paragraph above. I was in my twenties. Ten years have passed since then. I'd like to think I learned something about God's faithfulness. His Grace. His Mercy. So, at the risk of giving platitudes - I'm going to post things I know to be true. It's all I've got today.
* God is in control.
* God knows everything.
* God's timing is always best.
* I never want anything that hasn't been sifted through the hands of God first.
* God put us on this path of adoption.
* God loves me and my family.
* God is a good God.
* God sees things in an eternal perspective.

So...I know God is not in a hurry for His best. We will continue to wait. We covet your prayers. To all my sisters who are in the same 'waiting' room, I keep you in my prayers, too!
Love to all - a

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Help with a Quick Click!

Hey Everybody!

My friend, Jennine, is getting ready to bring home her son from Ghana soon. They have entered a pet contest to help raise some of the travel costs! (ingenious!)

Will you take a minute and vote for 'Batman' the Guinea Pig?

I can't get my link to work on my post on the 'Going Ghana Gone' link in my sidebar. The link in her post will take you to vote. Click and enter your email. You can enter once a day per computer/email.

Raising funds for the ginormous cost of adoption is one of the biggest things that keeps people from doing so! Please help them out! Vote as many times as you think about it!

Thanks y'all!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

50 Years...A Rare Breed

A Beautiful Weekend, A Beautiful Couple, A Beautiful Marriage

Frank and Dixie renewed their vows on the exact day of their 50th wedding anniversary last Sunday! We had all of Mark's family down to the island last weekend for a 4-day celebration. (It's taken me a week to recover to blog about it!)

They are a rare breed in this day and age! 50 years of love. 50 years of laughter. 50 years of tears. 50 years of decisions. 50 years of building a life together. 50 years of challenges. 50 years of joy. 50 years of family. 50 years of mistakes. 50 years of learning. 50 years of prayer. 50 years of smiles. 50 years of LIFE. 50 years of COMMITMENT. 50 years. 50 YEARS.

God is so good. What an example. I love my in-laws. They are amazing. Enjoy the pics below!

All 5 grandsons stood as witnesses to the renewal.

I love this picture where they are praying and the stain glass of Jesus is in between them, high above.

Speaking the words.

Sealing the Deal!

We're looking forward to the next 25!! We love you, Frank & Dixie!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I usually like to laugh my butt off. But sometimes I have a week where I ponder deeply. I don't think I articulate those musings very well. Which is a little bit funny considering that I teach people how to communicate for a living!!

My first child is a 4-legged Bassett/Beagle hound mix. Many years ago, a co-worker rescued her from the dumpster at a hospital. She is completely beautiful to me. She has the shape of a basset with the head and tail of a beagle. She is super smart. Almost human. She has deep, dark tattoo-looking eyeliner around her eyes. She looks at you in a way that says, "I completely understand but what can you do?" She's the first 'real' pet I've ever had. (These pictures don't do her expressions any justice but since we went digital I find myself really just taking pictures of my human children.)

Jantzen is the best dog ever. When we got her in our 2nd year of marriage, my husband said, "Does 12 years sound like a long time to you?" 12 years was the time our vet had just told us was the average age for a dog her size. At the time it seemed forever. We were in a new home, new marriage, new jobs, new town, new dog. I couldn't even see into next week much less next year.
Jantzen is 12 years old this year. She is beginning to show serious signs of arthritis and old age. Her front paw is beginning to 'fuse' due to arthritis which is making her hobble as if she has a hurt front leg. It makes me sad. It also makes me realize once again how precious life is. 12 years has flown by.

Have you ever been in a time in your life where you thought, "I can't wait until.....!!" We are in a place where we 'can't wait' to see who God has planned for our family through this adoption. My gut reaction as I think about this is sadness that it takes so long to find that out. But then I remember how long it took to have my biological children. I remember my first thought in the first moment that I held Asa was that I would do it all over again just to have Asa. Not any child. Asa. I would endure all that waiting, crying, and speculating just to have Asa. If you've heard my testimony with my child-bearing years, you know that E came along just as easily as possible. Asa was only 8 months old when we learned we were pregnant with Eli. Mercy, I always say.

For this next phase of adding to our family, God is writing a different story. I could spend it crying and speculating. God knows we've done enough of all that. Yet, we have so much faithfulness to point to. We KNOW He is in control. We KNOW He is the One who will shape and mold our family. I trust Him. I trust His timing. I will wait for the children that God has for our family. I'm sure I'm going to have my moments (may have already but I'm not telling!! :) but I'm going to trust and I'm going to wait.

In the meantime, I hope and pray that I will make everything of the time I have as a family of 4. I have very few regrets in life. But I regret that I was unable to love life with just me and Mark in the couple of years prior to our children. I was very busy wrestling with God. And what huge blessing and sanctification for both us He has done in that process. But I would hope that I've learned my lesson!

So, how's that for deep. Somewhere in there, my 12-year old dog's arthritis is related to God's faithfulness. At least in my mind, it is.

This has been SOOOOOO random. If you made it this far, thanks for doing so. This adoption thing is really so unique to anything we've ever done so far. (doh!?) Thanks for letting me process outloud during your blog reading time.
So, here's a few family pics of how we are enjoying our time!!
July 4th on the Boat
My true first born
Mark thinking he is going to stand up and surf on the tube behind the
boat like his 6 y.o. phenom son.

Our 6 y.o. phenom son 'surfing' the tube while the boat is pulling them.

This pictures cracks me up.
Eli and Grant (friend) laying on the tube waiting for us to go.
We are totally anchored eating lunch.
Not having any intentions of moving yet and every 5 minutes,
they shout 'Are y'all ready to go yet???"

My Fritch Men!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Just cruising along

Summer has been fabulous - The Gathering Place is rocking and rolling. I told a friend once that 3 years seems to be a magic number for a new job. The first year, you have no idea what you are doing. You are just trying to get through it and learn all the ins and outs. The 2nd year you try to adjust to what you learned during the 2nd year. You can anticipate some of what will happen but still aren't in a 'groove'. The 3rd year, everything 'settles'. You've worked out the kinks. You can concetrate on actually doing your job well - improving the little things, enjoying the ride. We just completed our 3rd year at The Gathering Place. This is our 4th summer. We are enjoying the ride. Thank you, Lord for your grace and goodness. For knowing our family, better than we know ourselves. Our lives are dependent on you.

We've put our emotional selves on an adoption break. I'm trying not to read blogs and material quite as much. I threw myself into the adoption with all that I am - for those of you who know me well, I know that's not hard to imagine!! With our busy summer, we've decided to try and not think about it until we have some more concrete information. We continue to trust that the Lord has called us to this and that His timing is perfect. And moreoever, He knows exactly who will become part of our family - forever. I am with great anticipation to unwrap that package. We welcome your prayers for our family.

Lastly - for those of you who know Frank & Dixie - my in-laws - they are celebrating their 50th Anniversary this July! Unbelievable! The whole family is coming down during the middle of July for a week for a big celebration. They will be renewing their vows. Mark will perform the ceremony and all 5 grandsons will 'stand-up' as groomsmen for them. How precious! My mother-in-law recently told me that in her prayers, she has always prayed for her GrandSONS - but now she has started praying for all her grandCHILDREN - especially the ones in Africa who've yet to join us. She is so precious in her love for us. What great heritage of great long-lasting marriages, Mark and I have to pass on to our children. My parents have been married for over 40 years as well! A dying breed in our generation. We are grateful for their dedication to each other and their obedience for decades to the Lord. What a legacy. It will ECHO for generations to come!

Not much to report. Just a taste of SSI for those of you who've berated me to update. :) Love to all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pick a Number

The boys and I drove to Marietta this past week. In our 5 hour drive that lasted 8 hours, we played games. Pick a Number is one of our favorites. One person picks a number, tells everyone what it is between and everybody gets a guess - closest is winner and gets to "Pick a number" next.

Heard on the way:

Eli: I'm thinking of a number it's between 1 and 20hundred.

Asa: That's 2000, Eli.

Mom: 82!!

Asa: 10,000!! ( Mom's thinking 'between 1 & 20 hundred, Asa!')

Eli: It was 3.

All die laughing. The kids have no idea why.

Here's another game. The ABC Animal game. 1 person starts with A. says animal that starts with A, next person B, so on....

We get to "P" - it's Eli's turn. Can't think of one. Taking FOREVER.
So Asa chimes in with, 'I'll give you a hint! It starts with 'PUUUUUU' (thinking of Puma)
Eli: 'You said POO!!!!"

Both boys die laughing.

Too funny.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I-171 Received!!!

Hey Everybody! We received our I-171 from Dept. of Homeland Security today! Woohoo! This is our pre-approval to bring an orphan into the US. We will have to file our actual I-600 once we know names of children to put on the forms.

I was SO excited. Our new phrase in our house is forward motion. We may still not know very much about the end result of this process....but as long as we are moving forward.

We still have our 'eyes' on a set of siblings. Would you pray for them with us? One of them may be very sick and we are waiting to hear a final word on this - hopefully within the next month or so. We are feeling more and more drawn to these children. We just want it to all be the Lord's idea!! His are always the best ones, right?

Our hope and prayer all along (from the very start in January) was to have our children home by this Christmas. A local magazine called yesterday who heard our story back in March from a friend of mine - she had considered putting our family in the May issue about Mothers but decided against it and never called us. So, I thought it was just a passing thought for the owner of the mag. No biggie. But she called yesterday and wants to feature us in either Nov. or Dec's issue. She wants to have pictures of our new children with our family in the issue. November's issue is about families. But Decembers!! December's issue is about a Season of Miracles!!! Of course, it is!

We are believing the Lord for a season of miracles. He has orchestrated so much already that Mark and I couldn't have tried to write this many details into a story if we tried. I was thinking the other day about 'our adoption' story. A friend recently said to me, 'This isn't really your story. It belongs to your children." I LOVE that. I love that God is allowing me to walk this side of a journey of how a child is 'born' into a family.

He knows who will belong to us for their time on earth - I can't wait to squeeze them!!

Thanks for your prayers!!
a for the Fritchmans

Monday, May 25, 2009

The sounds of summer...

We have 3 1/2 more days of school left. And yet, the sounds of summer are already here.

I'm laying in my bed with my laptop after a LONG day of preparing food, cleaning house, doing laundry, and changing sheets and I'm listening to the sound of 15 twenty-something-year-old college students in my living room singing their hearts out to Jesus. That is the sound of summer.

Our college interns arrived this afternoon. And they are precious! Every last one of them! They came over for team-building stuff in the backyard and burritos/taco salad. And then as I'm getting my kids ready for bed in the back of the house we are serenaded by the sounds of God's people worshipping Him with all their heart. Most of them just met each other - I had commented on how quiet this crowd was as they were getting to know each other. But not during worship. During worship, they sang with all their heart. They worshipped like they knew Jesus. My kids sang along with a few songs as they prepared for bed.

I pray that God's spirit would always be welcome in our home! That all who enter would find rest in His peace.

I know that the summer is 'fixin to' explode with craziness - busy, fun-filled activities - non-stop people - comings & goings -

but tonight - we are resting in His presence. Tonight, I am thankful that my husband is one of the most Godly men I know. I am thankful that he has a heart that is longing for people to find the One who created them and knows them better than they know themselves.

Tonight - I am thankful for the sounds of summer!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nanny? Summer? SSI?

Hey All - I have a friend with 2 kids 6 & 8 who is looking for a nanny for the summer. Room would come with the job - Super fun!!

You could hang out with the Fritchie's at the beach all summer.....any takers???

Email me!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The update is that there is nothing to update. I should probably just end my post there - ha!!

Adoption update - we've been able to see pictures of most of the children at Eban House who just arrived. They are the most precious smiles! We have our eye on a couple but we are just praying that the Lord will bring us who we are meant to have! They still aren't referral ready - just waiting. So then, so are we.

Summer - it's on it's way. 2 1/2 more weeks of school. The beach is FULL every weekend with visitors. I'm already looking forward to our Wednesday - local, weekly, play, beach date of moms and kids of all ages from toddler to teenagers. It really 'caught on' last year and it was a great time to see people and hang out.

The GP - Our college interns arrive the day after Memorial Day. Mark's gearing up, preparing the housing, busy, busy, busy. If you think about us, pray for us and our family. We always feel a little stressed and 'attacked' during the few weeks that lead up to the summer. It's the transition month - going from the steady, weekly, school year schedule to the unpredictable, wonderfully busy, blissfully free summer schedule. I do love having people coming in and out of our house all summer. I love fixing meals on a whim, having out-of-town friends coming to stay at the house. I love the summer.

Boys - we thought Eli broke his arm today. It was bound to happen, right? At the skatepark, he fell. Our friend who is a doctor who also happens to live next door (handy!!) looked at it. Says it might be a hairline fracture but it's not broken. Shew.

Asa is in a play at school this week. Actually, both boys are in the play - Eli is singing with his class (he's an army ant!) and Asa is a praying mantis and has a speaking part!

I think of things to blog about all day long. And by 8:00 pm when I actually have time to blog - I forget.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Success!! Thank you!! More good news...

What a great weekend for our garage sale! We made $1300 on Saturday! Wooohooo!! Thank you SO much for all of you who donated so much 'stuff' for the sale! Our garage was crammed full from the front to the back - fromt the top to the bottom and only a fraction of it was really ours!

It was a beautiful day and there haven't been many garage sale weekends yet so it was perfect! We had a great time hanging out with friends - we had a sign up telling people that we were adopting internationally. It was great fun to talk with people about that - hear other stories of how they adopted 30 years ago - one lady said that she was 'the product' of an adoption and was very thankful - all very encouraging stories.

The second lady that came to the sale told us about an endowment that she thought her local church has that might help us fund our adoption. So, I took the information and called today. The endowment actually serves another function (helping folks attend seminary) but the pastor was SO kind and generous. He asked very detailed questions and without hesitation said that he had a discretionary fund that he would start putting some money away for us and to call him at the end of the summer. He wanted to help us 'put a dent' in the cost of the adoption! Thank you, Lord!! I am amazed at how God knows where EVERY penny is coming from. I am not anxious - I am anticipatory. I am watching & waiting. So far, the show has been exemplary!!

The last piece of great news is that the USCIS stateside is now able to communicate via computer programming with Ghana embassy/govt regarding I-600 forms. I could try and explain this but I wouldn't do a very good job and you would only leave with WAY more questions than you have now. Here is the bottom line - once we receive a referral - we can file our I-600 (Petition for Orphan Adoption) here in the US - they will have the approval in Ghana as soon as it is approved in the US - We will ONLY HAVE TO TAKE ONE TRIP TO GHANA!! Yea!! This is great news both emotionally and financially for us! Once we travel to 'meet' our children, we will also be able to bring them home with us in that same trip. Again, thank you, Lord!

Such great news. Please keep praying for our children. His timing. My patience. I trust Him completely. May my emotions reflect that trust!

Thank you again, for being a community of believers who is loving on us so unashamedly as we move through this process!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Garage Sale! THIS Saturday! May 2

For all in our area! BIG Garage Sale this weekend - All kinds of stuff -

Oven - Microwave - Office Desk - Office Chair - Computers - Toys - Twin Headboards - Kitchen stools - Clothes - Nice teenage boy polo shirts - Home Decor - More! More! More!

A Big thank you to all of my GREAT peeps who have given us stuff to sell.

So...come see us starting at 8:00 am this Saturday morning... if you need directions, send me your email.

See you then!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Warm weather, good friends, and Hope

What a great Spring Break week we had last week. It started out slow as we were recovering from my busy travel week to Austin and a 24 hour jaunt to my parent's house. But when we returned home to the island, we returned to 2 families who are dear friends from 'home' - Marietta. The Pinto's and The Powell's were both on the island last week and we just played and played! Unfortunately, it was too cold to swim in the ocean. But that didn't stop us from having a party! We commandeered a home that belongs to one of my best buds on the island who was in the Dominican Republic for Spring Break with her family who has a great party house with a pool! So Thursday, we had a big, low country boil with lots of kids running around swimming. And of course, we did lots of laughing.

The Powell's have just adopted a black, baby through a domestic adoption. The Pinto's adopted domestically 3 years ago a baby boy with a Panamanian heritage. I could just envision our 2 little ones running around in the sea of straight, blond hair and curly, black haired kiddos! The new baby is 10 weeks old and he is PRECIOUS!! His middle name comes from a good, friend of all of ours who has been a missionary in Ghana for the past 8 years. With every day and week, my heart falls in love with children I don't even know yet. In that way, this part of the process definitely feels like the 'pregnancy' period. (For all of you that are pregnant, don't throw anything at me!! ahem, Suzanne.) My belly's just not that heavy! :)

Today, Mark and I drove to Jacksonville to have our fingerprints done at the Dept of Homeland Security. That should finish our application for the I-600A. Hopefully, we'll receive approval for that soon.

Yesterday, I found out that there might be 2 children at the orphanage that match our requests. Please be praying for us and the child or children that God has already picked out for our family! His timing. His plan. That's our hearts! These children won't be referral ready for 2-3 more months as they just arrived at Eban House. There is also another couple with a similar request ahead of us so there are still some pieces to fall into place. However, I have to remind myself that I truly feel like God has put us on a ride that is on it's way no matter what!! It's not in my hands and that's the best news yet. Truly.

More good news - Our good friend with a little well known band has agreed to come do a benefit concert for us in the Fall for the adoption! It is going to have to be fairly small - Mark and me and 200 of our closest friends :) - please be praying that we are able to raise all that we need that night! What a blessing that would be! We are accepting large bribes for an invitation for that night.....;)

Next week - my KTB is getting married. KTB was, for all intents and purposes, my nanny with my boys until we moved to the island. She is incredible. From the time my boys were infants, I worked out of my home with a really flexible schedule. However, things would come up unexpectedly. She was 16 and I could text her at school and she would come by after school to help - I could walk out the door without so much as a note or word of instruction - she would have my both my boys - fed, bathed, and asleep AND the house clean by the time I returned. Everybody needs a KTB - but this one is mine. One time a week, she would come over and they would have Mac&cheese and Mulan night! She used to give them popsicles in the bath - instant clean up!!

She is getting married!! I am so happy for her. We love her new husband-to-be. We get to go to the wedding and be part of the family. Her mom is one of my dearest friends and I can't wait to be with her next weekend during such a monumental milestone. Her man has just won the major prize. It's gonna be fun! My KTB....

Well, that's about enough rambling for one day! Adoption is in motion. Life is going along swimmingly. Easter service at our church was amazing.
Warm weather, good friends, and hope...what more could one ask for?!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Waiting at Hartsfield

This week's end thru today I have been in Austin, Tx recruiting SLPs for our 8 states of school systems. I love conventions but after the first day and 1/2 you just get plain 'ol tired! Today, I'm a good bit sick too- ick. My friend/co-worker and I didn't even go have fun at the hot spots bc we are both moms who were just glad to have a hotel room to ourselves!! So, I'm sitting in Atl in Hartsfield waiting for 3 more hrs for my flight home!! I want to lay down on the floor here and take a nap!!

2 of our cab drivers this week were from Nigeria. They were both very kind. We asked about their journey here and how long they have been in the states, etc...I told one that we were adopting 2 children from Ghana this year. He seemed genuinely pleased and said "You will make those 2 girls very happy!". It was so encouraging to me.

I have been readin "Inside Transracial Adoption". It is a hard read for me! Anybody else read this? Should I push thru it? I've read lots of stuff that shows what I thought were both sides (great things and hard things) but this book is a Debby Downer!

Also, we had a consignment sale on the island last weekend and I MIGHT have bought some cutie patootie girl clothes!!

For now, I just can't wait for my plane to hurry up and take me back to my boys!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I-600A Received

Nothing much to post about - just a quick update! We received our letter from CIS yesterday saying they have received our I-600A (and cashed our check!) so that process is underway!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I-600A: Done!

Yea! One more step completed!

Yesterday, I just mailed off our I-600A - Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition to the Dept. of Homeland Security! Not sure how long this takes to get approved? Adoption land? Any answers for me?

We also mailed off our Online Adoption homework plus a big fat check to AAI yesterday.

We have almost completed our Dossier and then we will be in no-man's land. The waiting period. Where there isn't much (anything) we can do to move the process along. Only wait.

I'll likely revert back to posting about our daily antics - the boy's crazy comments - etc.

What you can be praying for during the wait period:
*Our new children - that God will bring exactly who He has planned to join our family and we will KNOW.
*Finances - pray for wisdom on when & what to fundraise. We are believing God to show up in a big way!
*Timing - His perfect timing.

I'll let you know when the dossier goes out!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I can cry if I want to!

I don't want to. It's my birthday so I could if I wanted to!! I am a whopping 38 today. I don't want to cry but I do want to brag about my boy Asa. So, please indulge me a birthday moment.

Asa is a few months shy of turning 8. Lately, his attitude, in general has been less than desirable. My boys typically get along beautifully but lately he's been quick to anger and selfish. I could try and sugar coat that but it's not worth sugar coating. We've all been a little over it - I think even Asa is over himself.

But today!! What a JOY!! What a birthday present! My morning started with breakfast in bed! Cereal - Honey Bunches O' Oats (my fave) initiated and completed my sweet Asa. He was also already dressed for the day!! Another chore as of late. After I ate my cereal, we all laid around in our bed watching cartoons and talking. THEN, he got my brush and started brushing my hair while I laid on my pillow. FOR 30 MINUTES!! Who in the world doesn't like THAT???

After church, Mark asked me where I wanted to go for lunch. I picked a new Japanese place on the island. Eli gave a little whimper or 2 about Mexican and Asa says, "Eli, it's Mom's birthday and she gets to pick!" Asa doesn't even like Japanese!!

THEN, we get home and Asa has been wanting to earn money to buy books from the book fair at school. They earn a small allowance each week and we also gave each of them a set amount for the book fair but he wanted more. (He loves to own books.) In the past, he has NOT been interested in long-term money earning projects. If it cannot be completed in 15-20 minutes, then forget it. Today - He has been blowing leaves and bagging them for 3 HOURS in the front yard today!!!! Who is this kid??? Where did he come from??? The job was all his idea!!!

I am so proud of him. It reminds me that everything is a season. Thank God that He doesn't leave us where we are when we get in that funk where we can't even stand ourselves.

He's proud of himself. You should see him smile!
What a great birthday present! Maybe I should cry! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dossier is next...

We received our notarized copies of our homestudy in the mail today. I am in the midst of putting together our Dossier that will then go to Africa. Everything is almost complete. We are mailing off our I-600A this weekend also. We haven't been able to do that in the state of GA until we had our notarized homestudy in hand.

I am in such anticipation of this upcoming year. I have a dream that many families in our area will begin to want to adopt from Ghana. I would love to have such a wonderful support group of children that are from their birth country.

Boy news:
We have a new skatepark on the island. My boys can't get enough. I took some pictures the other day. We got a fancy camera for Christmas and I'm still learning how to work the manual modes. Once I figure it out and take some blog-worthy pics, I will upload them!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


We got the phone call yesterday! Mark is speaking at a Youth Retreat in FL this weekend, we were car-packed and walking out the door when the phone rings. I was just about to ignore it when I glance down and realize it is AAI! Can't ignore that! It is the social worker who approves the home studies. She says some super nice things about the pic of our family and then says we are ready to go! We should have our 4 notarized copies by this week's end and then on to the next steps.
We have been working on our Dossier docs and the only thing we are in need of is our certified birth certs which I ordered a few weeks ago. Guess its time to follow up on that. I am typing this from a rustic camp on my Blackberry! HA! I'll post more news on monday when we have some! The good news is we are REFERRAL READY!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Crazy week! Hurry up and wait!

We have approved our home study report - the financial figures we needed finally got worked out with our home mortgage - we have started working on our dossier -Mark's major community/fundraising event was this week - Mark's radiator broke - I was an emotional wreck this week!!!

I tiptoed into this adoption process during the first of January. My only prayer at that point was 'Lord, we think this is you, if this is not what you want us to do, please slam the doors shut!". Everything was smooth sailing. Our home study papers were collected so quickly. Then a couple of weeks ago - I had 2 different worship experiences where I felt God's pleasure and felt confirmation that we are definitely doing what He has called us to. Right about then, it felt like everything started falling apart!! On Thursday, during my quiet time with the Lord, I resisted the notion to ask Him to confirm it one more time for me. I thought it - but I resisted the idea of writing it in my journal and making it official. :) I immediately thought of the Israelites and all the times they kept asking God for a sign when there were signs all around them! I decided I would have faith enough to believe Him the first time!

Our God is so good and merciful. This morning in church, there were 4 distinct things that happened that were amazingly 'coincidental'. I smiled at how He works. Mark preached for Jay this morning - God used his sermon, my children, a specific worship song, a specific scripture, and a specific 'term'....Journey Home.

I'll just share one. I had just finished my online adoption course yesterday that was required of Mark and me. I had decided I would title my 'adoption'/'baby' book 'My Journey Home'. When I got to church this morning, there was a BANNER in the worship room above the altar with the words 'JOURNEY HOME". ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

I love God. I love a great adventure. I don't like being confused and frustrated and God doesn't want me to be!! He showered me with love and encouragement this morning. I am His Beloved.

Mark's GP Community Event was the biggest in Gathering Place history!! We had 1000 people there and the night was fabulous. I was so proud of him.

I wish I had more news. We are in a waiting mode for the approval of the homestudy. When we get the official approval from AAI - we will let you know!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Update & Random ramblings

Well our social worker called today and the homestudy report is finished! YEA!! We had a hiccup (that's a nice word for what I really want to call it) with our mortgage in the past 2 weeks. It was a mistake our lender made when we refinanced a year and 1/2 ago. Without getting in to details (and risk raising my blood level), I will just say we are waiting on our mortgage lender to approve our new house payment amount. This should occur this week. Prayerfully!! We had already filled out all of our financial paperwork and are having to redo it. The silver lining - if there is one - is that the homestudy was not completed and official, otherwise, we would have had to pay to have it revised!!! Yikes!

So, back to my story, the GOOD NEWS is that our report is complete save our financial statement. Next step, we will then have 3 different sources approve the drafts - us, our homestudy agency, and our adoption agency. Then the final copy will be drawn up.
Y'ALL!!! That means that we will be REFERRAL READY VERY SOON!!! WhoopDeDoo!! Yahoo!!

So what does that mean, I can hear you all asking - because that is what people have been asking us in person :). As best I understand it, we will then be able to discuss the children at the orphanage in more detail with our adoption agency social worker. She could tell us that there are 15 people in front of us who want 2 kids under 5 and there are none that fit that description in the orphanage right now. OR she could tell us there is no one in front of us and there are 3 sets of siblings under the age of 5 there right now and which ones do we want?? I'm sure it's not that simple. I'm sure it's somewhere in between. I don't really know. We're taking one step at a time here, people.

Asa and Eli are continuing to process this in the sweetest ways. Eli says his prayers and thanks God for his sisters. Asa is beginning to notice other families that have mixed skin colors among them and saying "Hey, Look, that family is adopted too!" I love that he is saying the whole family is adopted. It's true, right?

I teach at a University a couple of hours away once a quarter. As I was driving there on Friday, I was listening to all my 'old school' worship music from about 10 years ago. I was immediately taken back to the years of our infertility...the many hours I spent pouring my heart out to God, crying at the altar for the Lord to hear me begging for children, laying my desires before him and asking them to take them away if he was to choose to not give me children. And yet, today, I am overwhelmed by His grace and goodness. The answers to my prayer. His perfect timing. His ability to know our dreams and desires. His plans. And now, we are on the brink of doubling the number of our children. I truly never dreamed of having 'tons' of children. But I've always dreamed of having a dark-skinned child. It has to be a God-given passion. As I cannot even begin to articulate where it came from. It gave me peace in this process. That no matter what twists and turns it may take, I feel certain that we are in the certain of His will. And in Him I will trust.

As I ramble my thoughts from this weekend, all is not lost that there may be those of you reading this who are experiencing that longing of desire yet fullfilled. May you be encouraged that God is a God who created you, knows you, and loves you. He is faithful. This I know to be true. Everything else is a mystery!! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Home Study Complete!

Woohoo! Our homestudy interviews were completed yesterday! So exciting. The boys were amazing - considering they had been stuck inside with yucky weather all morning and she didn't come until 3:30!! They watched a movie quietly for the first part in our room and then came out and answered all her questions as if we had spoon-fed them the answers. (We might have but we'll never tell!) We were super proud and rewarded them with the caffeine infused drink they had been begging for all morning!

Valentine's Day was fairly uneventful - we celebrated our 13th anniversary Tuesday night with a really swanky restaurant date. Valentine's was spent as a family affair at home.

Our social worker says that our report should be completed within a couple of weeks. I think we start working on our dossier next. Not sure exactly all that a 'dossier' contains but I'll be sure to let you know!

Keep collecting ink,laser cartridges and cell phones!! We will be mailing out our 2nd batch this week. We plan to collect through the summer time!

We'll let you know!

Friday, February 13, 2009

25 Random Things....

Hey all-

Look - FB is infecting Blog world! Can't be left behind! You know the drill - here is my already made list (sorry if you've already read it on FB) Skip on down, my friend. I'm not tagging - too lazy today - if you've read this - consider yourself tagged!!

25 Random Things About Me...
1. Laughing until I cry is my most favorite thing to do in the whole wide world.
2. I married one of the funniest men I know.
3. I have 2 of the funniest boys I know.
4. People who don't have a sense of humor make me mad.
5. I drove 7 different cars between the ages of 16 & 25. My 1st car (in 1987) was a '72 Oldsmobile White Station Wagon!
6. I hate stepping in puddles with socks on in the house...melted ice, dog bowl drool...must change socks immediately.
7. I just learned that men don't know that women flush toilets in public restrooms with their foot. Does your man know that?
8. I had kidney stones with both my preganancies. I don't recommend it.
9. We had approximately 600 people at our wedding. It was the wedding of my dreams at the time. If I did it all over again today, I would do everything differently!! HA!
10. I, too, have a secret dream of being a rockstar. We're good friends with a real rockstar and clearly I am not one.
11. I love to hang out with women who are wiser than me.
12. I love to be with a group of girlfriends who love Jesus.
13. I love to be with Jesus!
14. My best friend in high school and I live parrallel lives. We can go without talking for weeks, months, or years, depending on the season and then find out we bought the same furniture, clothes, and hairstyle!
15. I have worked for the same company for 8 years and plan to work there forever.
16. I put my nephew, Dean, to bed the night his mother died when he was 5 years old. He is now 15. It was the single, greatest, privilege of my life.
17. I was homecoming queen.
18. I LOVE making new friends. You can never have too many.
19. I always said I'd never live in Atlanta. Until I did. Then I loved it and never wanted to leave. Until 8 years later. And I did.
20. I now live at the beach. I can't think of any other place that I'd want to live. It's heavenly really. Perpetual vacation. What more could you ask for?21. I rarely go home to Augusta and regret losing touch with my dear childhood friends.
22. I saw Mamma Mia last year and am dying to be IN the movie. Especially the Dancing Queen scene where they run through the resort grounds and finish the big number on the dock and jump in the water. I could do that.
23. My best day is spent with my 3 boys.
24. My husband hates the beach so the first month we moved here, I bought one of those rolling cart things. I call it my husband b/c it carries everything to the beach for me. Now my friends call their carts their husband too!
25. I seriously believe we are just 'passing through'. While I love life and enjoy all it involves - I can't wait to get to heaven!! We just think we're having fun now!!

Last Home Study meeting tomorrow at our house! Say a prayer! Went to get the boys passports today at the post office. Spent all the time before digging up picture type IDs and such for the boys - and then the post office guy is a 'friend the Gathering Place' so he already knew us. Didn't need any of the documentation except their brith cert. Nice!

I am hoping we will be 'referral ready' soon! As soon as the home study report is completed....I think!

25 things about you ...let's hear 'em.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tag! You're it!

I've been tagged! Photo Tag...
Here we go! The game is this:

Here are the rules:
1. Go to the 4th folder where you keep your pictures on your computer.
2. Post the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the photo.
4. Tag 4 fellow bloggers to join the fun.

Ok - Now I have to admit that this is in my 3rd folder bc I only have 3 folders on my laptop! Ha! I'm not cheating on purpose! Just felt compelled to confess.

This is from this past Thanksgiving 2008. We had a Fritchman first - we rented a house on a lake just outside of Atlanta for 7 days - just the 4 of us and our 2 dogs. It was the most heavenly thing we have ever done. Our 'pre-Christmas' present to each other was a brand new SLR camera and this was part of my practice session with the boys in the woods. It was taken with my zoom lens - Eli is trying to 'catch' a roly-poly. He's beautiful.

I tag:

Leah from Canada

Robin Dodd

Caroline B.


Let's see those pics!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I think we passed

Today went well. Only 1 more to go! For those of you who know my housekeeping skills - this might be the hardest meeting yet!!

Our social worker interviewed us separately today. And while we have absolutely nothing to hide, it felt a little unnerving. It wasn't like we were tricking somebody into a green card or hiding any CIA secrets but to be interviewed separately felt weird. We felt compelled to try and come up with questions we might be asked on the hour long drive to meet her. We couldn't think of anything that would trip us up so we finally relaxed. Seriously, we'd tell a stranger our whole life story if they just asked. What are we hiding? Nothing. Exactly.

So, Valentine's Day. That's our final homestudy. In the home. They will also talk to the boys. That should be interesting. I'll let you know.

The 1st official recycle box went out today. The final first # was $62!! That's great for 1 week of talking to your friends! I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the number of people that have asked for boxes for their offices and churches. We had a friend of The GP call today and say he heard about the adoption and wanted to give us a microwave and stove to sell and keep the $$. Thanks Lord!! We'll take any creative way He wants to provide! It's starting to remind me of when Jen Pinto and I did the whole Katrina relocation thing at RiverStone. We were literally awed moment to moment in the way He provided. We were in the rush of the river and it was the MOST exciting place to be!! Can't wait to see what else happens on this journey.

Keep praying for all the next right steps!!

Eli and Mark are sitting 1 foot in front of the TV watching The Police in concert. Eli is playing his for real red electric guitar and Mark is playing the 'drums' with 3 foot long red sticks that were part of Eli's obstacle course for his birthday. It's awesome cute.

We'll let you know!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Moving Right Along

My boys and neighbor are in the front yard 'selling' cokes poured in styrofoam cups and McDonald's figurine toys in the driveway on a Sunday afternoon. It might be the cutest thing I've ever seen. People are stopping. How could you resist?

Adoption Updates for this week:

We have our 2nd homestudy meeting on Tuesday. Hope we will have the 3rd next week.

We received 'approval' (pending the homestudy) from AAI today with our contract and a few more signature pages. This was exciting as it made me feel like we are making progress!

We have just started brainstorming and sending out the information about recycling this week. We got $50 in ink cartridges this week just from 4 different people!! Woohoo! This thing might actually work!! We have asked Stonebridge & Riverstone in Marietta who both said they will help us collect. If you have any great ideas for placing boxes in businesses that would be great! Once friend who works at a dentist's office brought us about 20 different cartridges this morning! Thanks Janie!!!

On other news - I had a Director's meeting in Atlanta this week. Lots of changes going on with our company. All good - change is never easy. We have nearly tripled in 5 years and we need to accomodate ourselves to manage the growth as efficiently as possible! The economy is just now hitting our industry.

Mark's is 3 weeks away from our big Community Event. We would appreciate your prayers for a large turn out and for the budget to be met!

Keep saving those ink cartridges and cell phones!!
Love to all!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cell Phones, Ink Jets, and Toner Cartridges!!

Hello All!

We have had a very good, non-eventful week. We will be meeting with our social worker in a week & 1/2 for our 2nd meeting. All of our paperwork has been completed so now we are waiting for our application to be processed with AAI and to finish our last 2 meetings for home study.

Here is our 1st Fundraiser!

We are collecting old cell phones, ink jet cartridges, and toner cartridges. Save! Save! Save!
If you are in our area - we will start a large scale deal soon!
If you are in our Atlanta area - save them and give them to Caroline!

We have found a place to recycle all of these and earn some money all at the same time! It's a win! win!

So, if you know of groups that are looking for a project - here's a great one!!

On the boy front - Anna (our yellow pup-lab) mangled a mole in our front walkway yesterday. As I pondered what to do with the struggling rodent - Eli decided he wanted to shoot it with his new bow and arrow! HA!

E is still rocking the basketball court. Asa is reading like crazy. Mark has his big community event coming up soon. Dan Reeves will be speaking - if you wanna come - let us know - should be good times!

Love to all! Holla back!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Whole New World

Dear Friends,

We have made a major life decision in the past few months. We have decided to adopt!! This has always been in our hearts since before Asa was born. This past fall, Mark and I began to discuss it as a serious option and over Christmas, we made the announcement to our families!! Our plan is to adopt 2 children from Ghana, West Africa - with at least one girl!! I'm 'Ghana' get some more pink in this house!! Everyone has been very supportive. Asa & Eli are ecstatic. E is particularly excited about being a 'big' brother! We have requested 2 children under the age of 5. Ghana is not an infant program so we could possibly get children between 3 & 5. We feel very settled and at peace in what we feel like is a calling in a new stage for our family life. The community on the island is very excited.

We are in the initial stages of this journey. We have started our homestudy process with an agency from Atlanta who has a social worker/agent in Savannah with whom we are working. We've had our first meeting and have 2 more to go. The paperwork was fairly extensive and God allowed all of it to be collected easily and in a timely fashion. The only thing we have left to do prior to our last homestudy meeting is take a HIV test, TB/Skin test, and a Urine Drug screen. I hope we pass. :)

We are working with a placement agency in Washington State called Adoption Advocates International. I have 'met' our director via email and her blog and she seems fabulous. She loves Jesus and is in Ghana right now at AAI's orphanage. Our application is complete with AAI and we should hear from them soon. Once our homestudy is complete and our application has been accepted with AAI, we will then wait for a referral. This could take anywhere from 6 - 18 months.

Ghana opened to American adoptions in 2007. There is a precious community of families that network by blog who have either already brought their Ghanaian children home or are in the process of bringing them home. I have been keeping up (that reads blog-stalking) with them and have found them to be incredible, Jesus-loving, encouraging women of God. I feel privileged to learn from these women and hopefully in a few years I will be able to encourage someone in the way they have me. We never know who is watching us, right?? Some of their blogs are listed over there. Take some time and read their stories. We serve an amazing God who is calling families to amazing things.

So, what can you pray for?
1. Our children in Ghana. Although we do not who they are yet, all 4 of us are finding a strong tie to pray for them, their birth parents, their current circumstances.
2. Our home study process to be complete in a timely manner
3. For God's timing in His referral for our family. (Someone will need to remind me of His timing if it takes long!!)
4. Our finances. While we have the finances to care for 2 more children in our home - the upfront costs are staggering. We expect to pay around $26,000 (conservatively) once it is all said and done. We know that when God calls, He provides. We are beginning to do some things to help raise some of that money. There are tax credits. Please be praying with us for Manna for today.

There are so many other things to share. I'll save them for a new day. Let me hear from you!

By the way - what do you think of my new Blog!!??!! It took me forever. Seriously. I'm no Annie Downs.

Love to all!