Thursday, December 31, 2009

Big News......














We leave on January 19 and will return home February 5!

just in time for the Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas


From our family to yours-Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. We are praying that Christmas brings us news of when we will travel to China to meet Andrew. It is hard to believe that next year there will be 5 in the picture with Santa. We are so very blessed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Article 5

We rec'd an email today letting us know that our Article 5 has been issued and that our papers are with the CCAA. Praise the Lord! He is faithful! We are so grateful to have this step of the journey behind us. We were starting to worry that something was wrong. Now all we wait for is our Travel Approval. This typically takes around 2 weeks so we are praying that we will have it by New Year's Eve. We are so ready to book our flights and know the exact day that we will meet our sweet Andrew. Each step brings us closer to him. We can't wait!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Provisional Approval

Got a call today from our caseworker with Hague that our Provisional Approval had been issued on Tuesday, November 14th-exactly 5 months from the date that we sent our referral in for Andrew. I was thrilled but VERY disappointed that she did not email it to me. She sent it out by "snail" mail so we will not receive it until Saturday. At this point of our wait EVERY day makes a big difference. Our agency will get it on Monday and send it to China with our signed LOA. We need things to move very fast so that we can leave for China on January 19th. Please pray with us that this will happen. If we are not able to leave by then we will have to wait until March to travel because of Chinese New Year. We do not want our sweet boy to be without us until then. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hope Project Update

Hope has become a reality for over 60 children from the China Hope Project. Many of these children are already home with their forever families. There are still boys and girls of all ages waiting, with, and without, special needs. You can see their precious faces, watch video, and read about them by requesting access to our password-protected site. The Hope Project is a unique opportunity to choose your child from China. Our hope and prayer is that each child will be placed into a loving family of their own. Also, we anticipate in the first quarter of 2010 that more children will be added to the Hope Project » We rec'd this update from our agency.

This update made "my heart smile" as Anna Grace and Hayne would say. I am so grateful that we are in this process. That God called us to this journey and we get the special privilege of being Andrew's parents. I am so thankful that the other children on the list are also coming home. If you have ever thought about adoption, this is a great opportunity. A new list is coming in the New Year. I am praying that God is preparing families now for these sweet children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Stork(aka-UPS) has landed!






Today was a very exciting day. We were thrilled to see the Big Brown Truck pull up at work. Our sweet UPS guy had no idea that he was "delivering" our baby :) What a relief to have that precious piece of paperwork in our hands! Spent the afternoon checking and re-checking that I had completed everything needed to apply for our I800 Provisional. That one package contained 38 pieces of paperwork-WoW! I said alot of prayers over that package(and Nana did too) before I dropped it in the Fed Ex box. Prayers that God will move our paperwork at lightening speed-at such a rate that there could be no other explanation but God! I am perfectly at peace that it is ALL in HIS timing. I just keep praying that HIS timing will have us leaving sooner than anyone imagined:) We have a wonderful agency and they have helped us so much. We were completely prepared for all that had to be done today. We are hoping that we will get an update or another picture of Andrew soon. They are going to ask but a picture will be hard to get. Our last picture is from March of this year. I can't imagine how much he has changed. This mommy is sure ready for that last piece of paperwork to arrive so that I can go get my son!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It is on it's way!! Woo Hoo!

Dear Families,

Your LOA packet is being overnighted to you and you should get it tomorrow before noon.

The best email I have rec'd in a long time! We are so excited. As of tomorrow we will begin a new wait---the wait for TA(Travel Approval) The average wait time is 10-12 weeks. We are praying it is much quicker. We are so thrilled that we are getting so much closer to our sweet Andrew! Thanks for all of your prayers!

Monday, November 2, 2009

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com

Can you hear me shouting HIS praises--I just rec'd an email from our agency that our LOA will be here tomorrow! I am so excited I can barely type-can't quit crying-we are not lost-we are going to China within the next 12 weeks! WOO HOO! Hold on sweet Andrew, your family is getting closer!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day 62

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com


We have now officially been waiting for our LOA for 62 days-How is it that time seems to go by so quickly yet it seems so slow? We are so ready to have our LOA in our hands. Once we receive it, it will still most likely be 10-12 weeks until we are able to travel to China to meet Andrew. We are praying that it comes so that we can travel in January. We do not want to get held up because of the Chinese New Year. Travel is pretty much out for February because of the celebration. I can't imagine having to wait until March to travel. I am just praying and believing that it will be January. It is going to be sooooooo cold in Beijing in January. Temperatures drop below zero during January. We went this weekend to start looking for gloves, hats and scarves to take with us. It is going to be much harder to pack for cold weather. When we traveled for Anna Grace it was miserably HOT---Like hotter than we had ever experienced. It was easy to carry shorts and tank tops---not so sure about 3 layers of clothing and coats, hats, gloves and scarves for 7 people. I am thinking we are going to have some serious "over the weight limit" charges from the airlines :) All is know for sure is that, if needed, I can be packed and ready to go within 24 hours :) I can't wait to be in China with my sweet boy. Praying that this is OUR week and our LOA arrives soon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

1,185

1,185 Days---3 years, 2 months, 28 days---28,480 hours--
That is how long my sweet Andrew has been waiting for a family to come for him---I am praying that it is not much longer until we can get approval to bring him home----Claiming this verse Mark 11:24 "
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."


Monday, October 26, 2009

Trunk or Treat





We attended our 1st Halloween Trunk or Treat tonight. The kids had alot of fun dressing up. Ashton is always such a big help with Anna Grace. She fixed her hair and made her a beautiful Arial. Ashton looked beautiful wearing her China T-shirt and her Uganda beads(I told her she was dressed as an adoption advocate :) Hayne was thrilled to be King Peter from Narnia and Adam went as a "Gold" medal swimmer! We had alot of fun and even met up with Scooby Doo-AKA Kamden & Jodi. Anna Grace was thrilled with her bag of candy and I think I will have to be hiding it all soon-all she wants to do is eat candy :)

Day 56--Please let the end be in sight!

Another week has started and we are praying hard that we receive our LOA this week. I am at complete peace knowing that it will all happen in GOD'S PERFECT TIMING but yet my heart aches for my little boy. He needs his Mama and his Baba. He needs to be with his brothers and sisters playing in his new bedroom. I keep thinking of how sweet it will be to rock him like I have all of my other little ones. I can't wait to feel his little arms around my neck-to kiss his sweet little face and to hold the hands that I have a picture of---In my mind I keep thinking about how he needs us but in reality I know, it is me that needs him. This mommy needs to have all of her children together in our home. I am so blessed and I cannot wait until our family is complete. I am so grateful to the One who has called us on this journey. If you had ask me 10 years ago about my plans, I can assure you I never imagined this would be in our future. I can honestly say that the great thing about God's plans are that they are such much more perfect than ours. I can't imagine missing out on the blessing of adoption. It is one of the greatest miracles in life. In my plans, I was going to get married, have 2 kids and live happily ever after. In God's will, I was surprised with my 3rd pregnancy and sure that Hayne was our last child. How sad life would be if Hal had not continued to pray that God would touch my heart and open it to the blessing of adoption. There are no words to describe the joy that Anna Grace has brought to our family. She has opened our eyes to a new world and a new need. We have made wonderful, life long friends on this journey and for that alone we will be forever grateful. We long to encourage others to join this journey with us. We cannot pretend that we do not know the need of the orphans of this world. So many people look at us as if we have lost our mind because we are adopting our 5th child-to those I will say, I follow a God who is always faithful-He does not call the equipped, He equips the Called. I could not do this on my own. I have to trust that He will provide and strengthen us each step of the way. I am so far from the mother that I need to be, but I believe that God will honor our obedience. He will give us all that we need to make sure that we meet each of our child's needs. I feel like the luckiest mommy in the world and I cannot wait to hold my son in my arms. I am going to spend my life doing all that I can to ensure that all 5 of my children know how very much they are loved. I want them to love God and help others. That is the desire of my heart!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Painting Party
















We had so much fun at our Pumpkin Party! The kids loved carving their pumpkins. I think the girls had the most fun at the candy table while the boys played football all night. We are blessed with such wonderful friends and family. The best part of the night was when the Tigers beat Miami in overtime-woo hoo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 52- LOA Cheer!



Today is day 52 of our wait for LOA---So close to the "average" 60 day wait! I so want to be quicker than average :) Each day I wake up praying that today will be THE DAY! I am so ready to be in the final wait for our travel approval. My baby needs to come home! I am still praying and believing that it will not be much longer. They are laying carpet in his room today-Yippee! So very happy to be able to put their Castle bed together. I can't wait to see the finished product. Then I will be able to start shopping for all the things our new little man will need. I want his room to be perfect for him when he gets here. A couple of weeks ago, our friends came over for dinner and to share our referral videos. We are praying very hard that we will be able to travel to China together. We were in the same travel group when we went to meet Anna Grace. We were just able to spend the last couple of days of the trip together since the girls were in different provinces. Both Anna Grace's had fun playing together and Kathleen and I enjoyed talking about how wonderful it will be when our babies are home and are families are complete. Since it was "Football Saturday" we needed to support our teams. I bought an ice cream cake from Brusters and they decorated it for us-Instead of choosing a team to support, I decided to cheer for an LOA---You know----Give me an L- L- you got your L you got your L---Give me an O-O- you got your O you got your O--Give me an A- A- you got your A you got your A---What do you WANT----MY LOA!!!!! Let's hope that this blurry pic brings us some serious luck in the next few days!!!! Thanks for letting this crazy waiting mommy entertain you today :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Andrew & Hayne's Room


We have been working on adding a bedroom to our house since the beginning of September. We have enclosed part of our garage and created a bedroom and mudroom. Hayne and Andrew will share the new bedroom. Hayne can't wait! He has begged for a knight and castle bedroom. We were excited when we remember that our paperwork states that Andrew loves playing in the castle outside at the orphanage. It is his favorite thing to do. We thought it would be really special to create a bedroom like his favorite toy. I searched on the internet for ideas for their room. I found a beautiful castle loft bed but it was WAY out of our price range. Imagine my surprise, when I found the same bed listed on Craigslist for a quarter of the price. We were so excited! Hal drove to Ashville and picked it up for the boys! Hayne was so excited when Hal pulled up with it on the back of his truck. He ask me to take his picture with it. It was so sweet. I can't wait to see my boys in this room, playing knights, swordfighting and just enjoying being together. We are almost finished-carpet needs to be put down and we can start moving in furniture. Each day we are closer to Andrew!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Things to do While you wait!

Things to do(or things to drive you crazy) while you wait for LOA!

*Check emails once every 15 minutes-This accounts for a total of
at least 60 times per day-
*Stalk the Rumor Queen site each time you check email to see if ANYONE has any idea that a package is on its way!
*Look at every chart available that gives you an average of how long each family has waited and try to predict where your name will fall
*Call your husband every couple of hours and demand "Are you sure you still feel positive we will only wait 45 days?" (It's like I almost believe he has some type of power to predict:)
*Call your friends who have been through this process and drive them crazy :)
*Call others in your potential travel group and try to guess where your paperwork is at today
*Resist calling your agency and begging them for a "guess" on when you will hear something
*Run to your cell phone each time it rings, cause you just KNOW that this is THE CALL!

Please realize that these things truly happen each day although we were told the average wait is 60 days. I am a dreamer and I just can't quit dreaming that we are going to come in at "less" thank average during this wait :) Some days I am so grateful that we are already approved for this adoption, cause I am sure if a social worker knew how crazed this was making me, we would not be in good shape :)

Note to the ones in charge of signing our LOA'S----Please, please, please send ours this week-Toss this stressed out, internet stalking, dream chasing mommy a bone-we want to bring our boy home!

Day 44-Waiting

Today is day 44 of our official wait for LOA! Hal is guessing that tomorrow will be the day-I am not so sure. I sure hope he is right-he has said all along that we would only wait 45 days and I will owe him big time if he is right :) The average wait time is 60 days so we are getting closer to that everyday. We so want to get our LOA so that we can start the wait for our TA(travel approval) We are still praying to travel by the end of the year. It will be hard but at this point still possible if we receive our LOA soon. We are so ready to bring Andrew home. We know that he needs to be started in speech therapy and we want to make sure that he is getting all that he needs. We have been told that he is in a wonderful orphanage and we are very grateful. Due to the swine flu scare, things have changed alot. Someone has said that the outside therapists are not allowed into the orphanage and so we are worried about how long he has went without it. I know that this is ALL in God's perfect timing but it is so hard to wait when you know your child needs something. I am so thankful for the wonderful people who are caring for him right now. It is obvious from the pictures and videos that the children are well taken care of and loved. We are blessed and we can't wait to head to China!

Monday, October 12, 2009

i heart faces- Week 40

This is my very first i<3faces entry.
The weeks theme is excited and I knew the perfect picture.........

I took this at the beach this summer the day after we found out we had our PA! Oh how excited we were!


Go here to look at other excited pictures!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Ashton!


Today is my sweet Ashton's 14th Birthday-I can't believe it has been 14 years since God blessed us with our 1st child. I will never forget the wonder and magic of holding her for the 1st time. It was one of the greatest days of my life. Ashton and I were able to stay at home together each day and explore the world. We had so much fun those days-shopping, making pottery, doing crafts and just being together. We spent almost everyday with Jodi and Max. It seems in the blink of an eye she has grown into a beautiful, talented, compassionate young lady. She is so grown up. I so wish I could freeze time right now. I want us to stay in these moments forever. I am so blessed to be her mommy.
In honor of Ashton I am going to list some of the things I love the most about her-there are so many, many more but these are some of the most important:
1. She is my Firstborn-My heart and soul-she taught me to be a mommy-she taught me that you can mess up and your children will still love you-
2. Her beautiful heart-Ashton has a love for others-she wants to help orphans around the world-she has a deep desire to travel to Uganda and be a voice for the children there-
3. Her laugh-when Ashton gets tickled, she has the funniest laugh-once she starts, she can't stop
4. How she helps us at home-she is the 1st one up in the mornings and she helps get everyone going-she will dress Anna Grace, pick out the boys clothes and pack diaper bags.
5. Her love of adoption-Ashton prayed for us to go back to China from the moment we brought Andrew home-she is the best big sister
6. Her amazing voice-Ashton has an amazing voice and I love to hear her sing-
7. Her amazing computer skills-Ashton is so talented-she loves taking pictures and editing them on the computer-she is awesome at this-
8. Her blog-Ashton has kept a wonderful account of our lives during the last 3 years on her blog-she has a gift with writing and designing beautiful posts and I will always treasure this-
9. Her love of family-Ashton loves her family-she is a wonderful daughter and sister-she loves her grandparents and all of our family and friends-
10. Her gift of gab---Ashton is the only person I know that talks as much as me-She loves sharing adoption with others-I believe that God is going to use her in a big way to help others-

I love Ashton with all of my heart and I am so proud to be her mommy-I can't wait to watch her life unfold and see all that God has planned for her-I know it is going to be amazing!

Monday, September 14, 2009

2 weeks Down!

Today we have officially been waiting 2 weeks for our LOA----14 days down and hopefully we are 1/3 of the way there! Still praying that we will get processed quickly so that we can travel by the end of this year. Each day gets a little harder to wait on Andrew. I want to bring him home so bad. I find comfort that he is in a great orphanage and he is receiving speech therapy but I think a family would be the best therapy ever. I miss him so much. The wait is much harder this time than with Anna Grace. We only waited 8 weeks to meet her from the time we saw her sweet face. It has been 4 months and 13 days since we 1st say his face and almost 3 months since we accepted his referral. I so wish I could share his sweet picture with you so that you could see our precious son. His room is coming along quickly. Hopefully within 2 weeks it will be completely done. I can't wait to pick out bed sets and colors for his room. Hayne is so excited to share a room with Andrew. He is going to be the best big brother. All of the kids pray everyday that he is taken care of and that we can travel soon to be with him. I cannot wait to hold him and tell him how much his family loves him. I will post pictures of their room soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

We will not forget!

MEET ME IN THE STAIRWELL


You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001. Neither will I.


I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Goodbye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK ... I am ready to go." I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe on Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was with the Firefighters, the Police Officers, the Emergency Workers. I was there, watching each brave step they took.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor. Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; "Come to Me...this way...take My hand." Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.


I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well.

Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go." I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

~~~ God ~~~

Written by: Stacey Randall

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One More Day

Today is the last day my sweet girl will be 2! Can you believe it? I am just still in shock. I have enjoyed this year with her so much and can't wait for the many more that are coming! Here are pictures of her through the Year.

December

February

May

July

August


Today: September 10
The last day she will be 2

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Things I've Learned About Having A Family of Six

1. Dirty floors don't matter.

2. The bath at the end of the day washes off the day's meals.

3. I hear "Wow, you have your hands full at least 100 times a day." It makes me smile.

4. My husband is the most patient man alive.

5. Groceries that would last other families a month are gone in a week.

6. Lots of "letting go".

7. Cherish the tiny handprints on the wall. They don't last forever.

8. Oxy Clean is my best friend.

9. With 4 kids who has time for the gym?

10. The more LOVE you give, the MORE LOVE YOU HAVE TO GIVE.


Things I've Learned About Adoption

1. It is a miracle

2. Patience

3. Your kids will find you.

4. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

5. Love is all that really matters.


I love being a family of six but I can't wait until we are a family of seven! One day closer to our sweet Andrew!

Friday, September 4, 2009

LID




Just rec'd the most wonderful email from our agency----Our Log In Date with China is Monday, August 31st!!! Woo Hoo! So very, very happy! One more step down in our journey to sweet Andrew in China.
Please pray with us that we will receive our LOA(Letter of Acceptance) in a speedy, record breaking time. We truly need to be able to leave for China on December 22, 2009 and it will take a BIG God size Miracle for that to happen-I believe HE can do it. This is the only way that we feel it will be possible for the kids to travel with us since we have to be in China for almost 3 weeks this time. The average to receive LOA right now is 60 days so we need it to be much quicker---Please pray with us. We want to bring our boy home.
Had lots of fun taking pictures to celebrate!