Monday, January 28, 2013


These sweet friends are one of the many reasons we love China.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Puzzle Update, Week 12

4 sweet new puzzle pieces sponsored this week!

519 total pieces sponsored = $5190 so far

While this puzzle is a fundraiser for the financial needs of our adoption, it's more than that to us. It is a picture of community, a picture of the body of Christ working together to bring an orphan home.  And that is why we rejoice with each name we get to write down.  (Click the fundraising tab for how to donate and our heart behind fundraising.)

We have worked on the puzzle a couple nights recently, so we are making progress in getting it put together.  So so exciting!  Can't wait to see it all done.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Years Old

 This little guy loves choo choos.
Two years ago today, we were planning on getting induced tomorrow because our baby boy was two weeks past his due date. 
I was huge. huge. very huge.
I started feeling contractions, but refused to go to the hospital until I was absolutely sure they would admit me.  When we finally got there, I insisted on getting an epidural because my epidurals with my first two labors were so wonderful.  
But, I was already so far into labor that the epidural didn't take.
I couldn't believe the amount of pain.  Matt couldn't believe how hard I could squeeze his hand.
Soon, though, Daniel was with us and we were instantly in love.
Everything else disappeared.
They handed him to me right away, slimy and all.
A moment I hope I never forget.

And here we are two years later and I just don't know if I'll ever get used to my babies growing up so fast.  I keep telling myself that I will, but I'm shocked and brought to tears at each birthday.

With welcoming Daniel into our family, we also welcomed more choo choos, cars, and balls than I could have imagined. Our house now has a much more balanced ratio of toy types.  There are dolls AND cars.  There are pink cups AND blue cups.  There are ballerinas AND firemen.

God made our family this way.  He gave us these children in this order for more reasons than we will ever understand.  But I do know that one affect of our family being this way is that we felt sure we were being called to adopt a boy.  We always thought that if we adopted, it would be a girl, but in arranging our family this way, God pointed us to a different picture of adoption.  A boy.  In a way, Daniel's birth was almost like God giving us two boys.  A vision for two boys anyway.

My heart is especially glad about our adoption when I think of how sweet it will be to have two boys.  
Two muddy dirty stinky wonderful boys!!!

Not too many days go by that Leah doesn't say to Daniel "soon, you are going to have a brother to play with."  I love that sweet reminder from a sister who wants for her brother what she has in having a sister.

So, today on Daniel's 2nd birthday, I rejoice and praise God with all that I am for the gift of Daniel.  He is an amazing gift and I love all the little things that make him Daniel.  I cry about my baby getting big so fast.  And, on Daniel's 2nd birthday, I can't help but think about another boy across the world from us today.  I can't wait to welcome him into our family, to kiss his little toes like I kiss Daniel's little toes.  I cry about each day we are missing with him.

Two girls.  Two boys.  Music to my ears.... and to my heart.
Blessings far beyond what we deserve.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


 Adoption Education.  Another step along the way.

China is a Hague country.  The Hague convention established standard adoption procedures in order to safeguard intercountry adoptions.  Click here to read more about the Hague Convention.  Because of this, there are certain education requirements we had to fulfill.

1.  Online Hague Class - 10 hours
2.  Online International Adoption Clinic Seminars - 9 hours
3.  Read The Connected Child book
4.  Read 2 State Department websites: one all about China and one specifically about travel to China

We are happy to report that we both officially finished all four requirements.   I feel like we have a much better understanding of adoption, orphan care in China, what things may look like as we travel and bring our little guy home, what initial adjustments we may face, and what long term issues we may face.

And it was very confirming. We feel even more passionate about this adoption now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Concert Announcement

Matt and I are planners. We plan ahead. We just do. We can't help ourselves.  It's how God made us.  We have been planning our fundraisers since we first decided to pursue adoption.  So, we are excited that wheels are turning and things are happening now that have been in our heads for a long time.  Be on the look out for T-shirts soon (very soon, we hope!) that a dear friend is designing for us (they look awesome so far!!) and...

mark your calendars for the evening of Saturday March 16th, 2013.  

We are going to do a concert fundraiser!  We don't want to share details about who will be playing yet, but trust us that it is going to be a great night of music.  We want you there and you aren't going to want to miss it!!  Lots more details and info coming soon.  Today is January 16th.  Two months until concert day.  We better get busy. :)


Hi friends.  We wanted to post a quick update.  There is no new big news.  We are just waiting right now. Waiting for our home study to be complete.  Waiting before we can move on to the next step.  Waiting.

There are good things that happen while waiting.  We get time to trust that God's timing is right. We get to lean into him.  We get to confess that we don't have control.  We get to a place where we live our lives, but we know that God is working beyond what our eyes can see.  These are good things to get to do.

We know that this is not our only (or our longest) period of time where we will have to wait during this adoption.  We will be waiting lots more.  So, we are thankful to get to practice the waiting now.  

We hope that our home study will be complete in the next week, but it could be more like two or three weeks.  We don't know when it will be finished.

In the meantime, we are continuing our puzzle fundraiser.  We want to cover this puzzle with names, ya'll.  We want your name on it!  You can sponsor a piece by using the paypal button on the right or by giving us cash or a check.  $10 = your name on one piece.  We are so so so grateful for all the names that are already on it!   We are so blessed by you guys.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Puzzle Update, Week 10

We posted on Wednesday wondering if there were 11 people out there who would sponsor one piece each to help us get to our goal of being half way by today.   We didn't know if it was possible for that to happen in one day or not.  But it did!  Praise God!  It actually wasn't 11 people, but 4 very generous friends who sponsored our 26 pieces yesterday!  The puzzle is over halfway done, everyone!  Yeehaw!!!  :)

515 Total Puzzle Pieces = $5,150 Raised

If you still want to sponsor a piece, you are not too late. There is still time and there are still lots of pieces left of our 1000 piece puzzle.  We would truly love to have your name on our puzzle.

We are so so grateful for this amazing puzzle progress!  Leah said at dinner one night this week that "adopting is hard. There is so much money to raise and people who have to visit."  She was referring to the social worker visits, which apparently were a big deal in her mind.  It is so interesting to see this whole adoption process soak into the kids sweet little brains.  And, Leah is right that it isn't an easy process.... but it was fun to remind her that it will all be worth it!  Leah talks about her new brother a lot and I think she is the most excited about him of all the kids.  She gets it.  He needs a family.  And we can't wait to have him in ours.

Thank you, friends, for joining us on this journey.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

One Puzzle Piece?

We are at 489 puzzle pieces sponsored.... SO close to the halfway mark.

We were wondering if there might be 11 people out there who would be willing to sponsor just one puzzle piece ($10) before our puzzle update on Friday.  We know budgets are tight but we want you all to know that every single $10 is a blessing that we are so grateful for!

We truly want this puzzle to represent the community involved in our adoption.  You are all such a sweet part of our lives and we rejoice to see your names on our puzzle, as you help us bring our son home.  We want your name on our puzzle because we are so thankful for you and because we love this picture of community.  (If you have no idea what the puzzle is, please click on the Fundraising tab for a full explanation).

Think about it - $10 for your name one piece - we need 11 of those to reach our half way mark.  Maybe one is you?


PS - Fundraising is hard and humbling.... and our intention is not to pressure you!  We want to communicate well about our needs and let God work in your hearts.  But, there is no pressure and we totally understand that everyone has a different financial situation.  Joyfully give, if you feel led... and if not, that's okay.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Home Study

We really want to be open and vulnerable about what this adoption process is like.  It is important to us that we are open books about it.  We love to talk about it and answer questions about it, so please don't hesitate to ask.  One of the really fun things about adoption has been learning so much.... and we want to share!

There are two main sections in an international adoption:  home study and dossier (pronounced dos-ee-ey).  There are lots of little steps within those bigger steps, but those are the 2 main sections.  The dossier is your collection of documents that goes overseas.

The home study is a detailed written report about your family completed by a social worker.  It is 8-9 pages long and the information in it includes medical, financial, family life, marriage, childhood, criminal clearance, house info, and more.  The social worker gathers this info through interviews, paperwork, and house inspection and then writes it all up.

China requires 4 visits for a home study.  Our first visit was a joint interview, our second visit was Matt's individual interview, our third visit was Lisa's individual interview, and our last visit was our home inspection. I've heard that your home study experience totally depends on your social worker.  The social worker really shapes what that time is like.  We are so thankful that our social worker has been wonderful!  She is sweet, easy to talk to, and communicates well.  I enjoyed the interviews.  It was therapeutic to answer her questions and to have her listen so closely.  I loved that.

The home inspection was a different story. I was so nervous!  Something about someone opening all the doors and inspecting each room of the house made my stomach turn upside down.  I was talking to myself in order to remember that I did not need to be anxious about this, that I needed to lean into Christ and trust him.  The inspection happened this morning very quickly without any major problems.

Outlet plugs were definitely things she was looking for in each room.

We are still gathering some paperwork that our social worker needs and completing our adoption education.  But, we are hopeful that our home study will be finished in the next week or two.  That will be a happy day!

Totally unrelated to the home study, I thought I would give you a peak into our lives today, here are some pictures of the girls this afternoon. They each set up their own house on their beds:

My favorite part of their room is this hanging on the wall. I pray the never forget that they are wonderfully made..... I hope this constant reminder in their room will help it to sink deep down into their hearts!  And, I am excited for the day when I get to teach that to my sons, too.... although it won't be in such a pink flowery way. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

i like adoption

Each time I watch this video, I notice something new in it.  And it gets even sweeter.

I recommend watching it at least twice.  It's about 6 minutes long and worth every second.

Oh how He loves us.

Puzzle Update, Week 9

90 new pieces sponsored this week!

489 total pieces = $4,890

Some more very generous donations this week and the puzzle is almost half way sponsored.  So excited to see our sweet community come around us in this.

Before last week, we basically just had the little man in the boat done.  Here are some pictures of the puzzle as it is now.  Love it!