Friday, April 27, 2012

Brett turns 30 today. So in honor of him, I have highjacked his phone and uploaded some random pictures he's taken over the last few months.

So here's a glimpse into Brett's world via his camera phone.


Please enjoy my favorite picture of all time. Of all the pictures ever taken in the entire world this is by far my favorite.  It's my favorite because Brett and Jude are twins. It's my favorite because this was taken about 6:00am just after waking up.  It's my favorite because it was taken the day after he got the new phone and tried using it, but the flash went off unexpectedly.
And my favorite twins have the exact same expression. I love them so!



Why is reading so much better when lying on your back? Not sure why, but it's a fact.










Sharing some popcorn and watching Sunday night football...


On the subway, and Jude leaning on a stranger...




Enjoying the sirens outside our window...

He's a monkey I tell ya...




Giving Momma a freshly picked flower...

Asleep on the airplane...


Happy Birthday to my best friend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Motherhood

Here's a pic just because he's so stinkin' adorable, and because I don't want to forget how he treats the bathtub like a swimming pool, and because I never remember to actually take the camera into the bathroom during tubbie time.


Just look at that adorable face. This pic was taken on Sunday night. You would never know that yesterday was a horrible day for toddler and mom. One of those days where everything went wrong, and in the late afternoon Jude contracted a super high fever for no apparent reason.
And because of that this blog post was refreshing and convicting words to my tired heart this morning.

Momma's, take a few minutes to read and enjoy:
The Everyday Question of Motherhood

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday was supposed to be wet, rainy, and high winds. We expected to stay in all day.
However, the weather people got it way wrong and so we headed to Central Park to see the last of the Cherry Blossom blooms.
Oklahoma has some beautiful Redbuds, but they really need some of these Cherry Blossoms...




Jude wasn't the least bit exited about all the pinks petals, and all the pink petals snowing down on us.
He was more interested in the Woof-Woof...


Oh wait.  Here he is noticing the pink petals.
No actually, he's interested in the engineering of the stroller and the wheels...


We picked up some of our favorite neighborhood food before driving to the park. But Jude fell asleep instantly in the car, so he munched on his Colombian empanada stroller style. Why is he so cute when he eats?...






Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making Adoption Affordable Act

On April 17, 2012, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) introduced the Making Adoption Affordable Act. The act will permanently expand the federal adoption tax credit to $13,360, an increase of $1,000 over the current credit, and make it refundable.  The current tax credit is non-refundable and is set to expire at the end of 2012. 


Basically this means that if this doesn't pass, we will receive NO help from the federal government to help towards our adoption. If it does pass, this means a substantial amount of the costs to get our little girl home will be refunded by the government. 
It also means that if it doesn't pass, many other families considering adoption won't follow through because the costs are too high to tackle. 


Please take a moment of your time today and tell your Representative to say YES to the MAKING ADOPTION AFFORDABLE ACT.  


You can find your representative HERE.


We are so thankful to be a part of a country that wants to help the 147 million orphans worldwide find a family! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Warm Temperatures

I must say I love the summer.

I love it because I get to take Jude to the playground each and every day, and in the hot temps watch his little cheeks get red, as he has a blast running like a wild man.
Summers make me so very happy.
He gets a bath every day (in the winter he gets a bath about twice a week, and I swear he's not even dirty when I give him those baths). But in the glorious summer, he comes home filfthy and magnificently stinky.

Just look at those knees...

I love it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mountains

Our little action plan of tackling our Home Study and Dossier, included a "Paper Signing Party" for our Saturday night fun.
You see, that's what I do to get my husband and myself motivated for torturous work.
So we anticipated, planned, and built up Saturday night to a Paper Signing Party. I cooked a yummy, fun, meal for my husband, put the kiddo to bed and we set down to a pile of papers.

Brett had asked how long I thought our party would last and I said, "Eh, maybe 30 minutes, not sure."

Well 3 hours later and we were picking the last paper off the stack.

Halfway through the signing Brett said, "This is the worst party I've ever been to."

Well, that can't be entirely true, can it?

Last night was one of those times where it seemed we were looking head on to a colossal mountain. Moments like that hit us. They hit us just like the sweet moments of anticipation hit us. Just when we think we've got this thing handled, the mountain grows right before our eyes.

The paperwork seems like a mountain.
The warnings about institutionalization, malnourishment, and attachment disorders seem like a mountain.
The "no guarantee" of a time frame of when we'll see our little girl, seems like a mountain.
The $35,000 seems like a mountain.
Each and every notary and apostille seems like a mountain.

And all of a sudden we're facing the Rockies.


What I've discovered to feel so daunting in this Paper Pregnancy, are the never-ending questions that ask us, "Are you sure?"
It seems that we've signed about 40 pages of documents asking us repeatedly, "Are you sure?"
Of course this paperwork has included much more than that, but at the end of a long night, and an inch-high pile of papers, that's what it feels like.

It goes something like this:

Remember, we can't give you a guaranteed time frame. Are you sure you want to do this?

We can't guarantee you'll have a little girl under the age of 3. Are you sure you want to do this?

And let me explain what institutionalization can be like...and malnourishment...and attachment disorders...and communicable diseases. Are you sure you want to do this?

Remember, we're working with another country, another government, another language...we can't guarantee anything. You sure you want to do this?

Under no circumstances can you get pregnant during this entire process. Are you sure you want to do this?

Here's another stack of paperwork. Are you sure you want to this?

And oh yeah, another payment is due. Are you sure you want to this?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!! Yes to everything!

It's different with a pregnancy.  You see the two pink lines on a pregnancy test, and there's no turning back. When you have the thought three weeks later, "What have I done?!" There's no turning back. It's official.
But with this, with each new piece of paperwork, and each new hurdle, it seems like we're getting asked that haunting question. This process seems to take so much resolve, so much prayer, so much confidence, and a bit of tenacity that only comes from that place of internal, instinctual love that forms out of the gut of a mother.
At the end of the day, I do all of this because I have a girl that needs to come home and I have a Savior that  conquered every single mountain and threw it in the sea. Hallelujah!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Paper Pregnancy

We're so excited to report that we are overwhelmed with paperwork to get our little girl home! I for one, am  just so glad to have a job. The days when I don't have anything to do tangibly to bring her home any quicker are long for me. I so badly always feel a need to be doing something practically.
Well, on Wednesday night we got a very detailed email from our Social Worker with all the specific details on how to start what is so endearingly called the "Paper Pregnancy." I was told the paper chase takes about 4-6 months to complete the Home Study and gather all the necessary paperwork for the Dossier. And honestly in my mind I thought, "Yeah right. We'll see about that. I'll set a record, just wait and see."
Well, let's just say that after 2 hours or more of Brett and I reading and re-reading the documents we were entirely overwhelmed and shocked. We had a few minor freak out moments, a few laughs, a few prayers, and ultimately a motivating little action plan...along with more dreaming about what it will be like to have her finally home.
So we're learning new words like "apostille," organizing our little action plan, breaking these steps down into smaller steps and taking this one day at a time.
A trip to Staples and a walk down the school supply aisle was just what my nerdy self needed today to get organized. We've got accordion style folders, multi-colored paper-clips, a dry-erase calendar, and energy to tackle this paper chase!

This weekend Brett and I will be writing our own 4 page autobiographies, and making copies of everything important in our life.
Last week we sent out fundraising letters and prayer cards to help us reach our goal of $28,000 to $35,000. We've started to see the money trickle in today to help us reach this enormous goal.
We get an email from the Finance department at our agency every time money is deposited. And each and every time I opened the email today, I cried. Few people will ever know what it means to be on the receiving end of these donations. My words will always fail me in what it means that so many people have sacrificed for our little girl. I know our donors are on their own journey with adoption, and it thrills me to know that our family and friends can be a part of a religion that is pure and faultless, that they're spending time out of their crazy days to pray for us and to pray for our little girl, and taking money out of their budgets to get her here quickly.  It is my hope that these donors can tell our story of adoption, and in essence tell the story of the Gospel....how God sacrificed everything, and pursued with every means possible to adopt us.  With each donation, I'm brought to my knees in thankfulness, humbleness, and inexplicable excitement.

I can't wait to tell our little girl about our times at the kitchen table making maps of India, sealing envelopes, and dreaming about her. I can't wait to tell her how everyone came together to bring her home. I can't wait to tell her how much we longed for her, sacrificed for her, prayed for her, and how terribly anxious we were to have her in her own bed.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing..." ~Psalm 68:5-6

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My very talented step-sister, Christin, took some photographs of Jude while we were in Tulsa last month. It was one of those days that we unexpectedly ended up at the ACD factory. And then as usual we ended up staying there for hours.
Christin was taking professional pictures of some of the cars for auction, and Jude was using the cars as his playground. So she so kindly took some pictures, and they're pictures I'll treasure forever!
If you're in the Tulsa area, you have to look her up!






Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter

We enjoyed a few rounds of Easter egg hunts over the weekend and soaked up quality time with family...


Jude loved piling the eggs in the dye and then just moving the eggs from one color bowl to the other...





And this is my handsome little man on Sunday morning...

And this is one of my favorite pictures ever. (Brett running backwards, and Jude running after him, while Brett's also snapping pictures...)







Jude was not gentle with his eggs...



Discovering a real live caterpillar....


Loving that little caterpillar...


You may not believe me, but this is in fact how one gentlemen drove to church on Sunday. And he so kindly let Jude take the driver's seat...