Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Teensy Favor, If You Please?

We are coming close to the one-month countdown on our Wild Olive Tees fundraiser to help us raise our remaining adoption travel expenses. I've been greatly restraining myself from a twice-weekly check in with the gals over there at the Wild Olive headquarters. I've been hustling to share the information in the creative and appropriate ways. I created a snazzy flyer to hand out. I've included links to it in my on-line yard sale. I'm pushing The Boss to hustle and share away, too. And as we get down to the line on this effort, I'm wondering if you'd consider helping us out with a teensy favor?

Would you consider sharing about our fundraiser on your blog? Or on your F@cebook feed? Or tweet out about what we are doing? Give them the link to our blog and tell them about the snazzy button on the sidebar that will bring them Tell them our family code is WHITNEY407? That the tees are really beautiful and created by some really beautiful women who are trying to change the world, one tee at a time?

Look at the beautiful F@cebook pic that they created for Fundraising Families, after I mentioned that a cover pic for the new Timeline format would be awesome and another great way to get the word out. I love it and can't believe they used my suggestion. They really rock that way, ya know?

How gorgeous is that picture? I asked. And because they believe in what they are doing and in what we are doing, they found a way to do it. I love that!

It's so humbling to me that folks in this adoption community all work so hard, in such a united manner, to help build families. To help build our family. I don't take that lightly. NOR do I take it for granted. It's not how I pictured this adoption progressing, but I'm learning that God knows better than me about these things. (Heh, I knew that. But I'm learning it anew. And in new ways. Know what I mean?!) Cuz truly, nothing about these last three months have been how I pictured them. I'm being as real as I can about this season. And I'm bein' really real when I tell you it's been hard. H.A.R.D. But God is proving Himself over and over and the kindness and generosity of the Body around us has been His proving tool. Beautifully.

So, I'm asking. It's a teensy favor, really. Just a link to a friend. A post. A tweet. A status update. And remember, it IS my blogoversary.  I'm just sayin'......

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hitting Triple Digits

May has been quite the milestone month for this gang. I became the mother to THREE teen-agers under one roof. We survived our first son's first car accident. We saw our dossier compiled and completed. Now we are just waitin' on the word that we are finally DTC (Dossier to China). Our Shaggy has been officially accepted to YWAM Denver for the fall Discipleship Training School. Sigh.We muddled through another month of three part-time jobs between the three oldest of us in the house with only 2 regularly reliable cars. We are down to 11 days of school left. I haven't killed anyone my alarm clock yet.

Aaaaand The Gang's All Here! hit a couple of really important milestones too.  On May 17th, this blog marked its 5th anniversary. You can read my first goofy post here. Really, I can't believe it's been five years already!!! I have been looking forward to this occasion for months, but with all the crazy irregularity goin' on around here, it completely slipped my mind the week of... I'm so bummed that I wasn't more on top of things to make a big deal of the occasion.

And then last night, whilst I lay moaning and groaning in abdominal agony on my couch, my follower-ship hit the 100th follower!!!!! I hit the triple digits with followers!!! Yay, me. Yes, I know. It felt a little anti-climactic, given that I basically missed the actual moment. I'm frustrated that I didn't get it together enough to have a fun event over that one in advance either. Life seems to be happening faster than I can type it out :)

So, in an effort to still mark these wonderful moments, I'm backpedaling and you get to help!

In honor of the auspicious occasion of my 5 Year Blogoversary, please get yourselves down to the comments and let me know how you found my little corner of the blogosphere. If you can, tell me your five favorite things about hanging out here or the five reasons you keep coming back. I know it sounds self-serving, but I am really interested to know what keeps this little blog chugging along for you all. And it IS my anniversary, ya know?! It's the little things that make a gal happy 'round here. And that? Would make my supremely happy.

AND to celebrate the triple digit-ry of The Gang's followers,
it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to the actual 100th follower:

Her blog is called "Ramblings And Photo's of Family Life" and it's relatively new to the bloggy world. Head over to the above highlighted link and give her some comment love to get her started off on a good note. I'm especially pleased to be able to connect you all to Theressa because she is a fellow adoptive momma of a sweet special needs daughter from the Philippines. She lives in Australia (how cool is that? The Gang's All Here! has gone international on several occasions now!), is the parent of a brood of three and reached out to me as a means of networking with other parents of children with hearing loss.

Theressa, welcome to The Gang's All Here! I hope you and your little corner of the bloggy world down undah find lots of connections and support in the blogging community and specifically within the adoptive blogging community. Thanks for following along! It's a great world and I'm proud to have been a part of it for these past five years!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recurring "Trauma"

Edited to more realistically portray the level of "trauma" and drama
and give my attempt at the light-hearted view of the actual events.
Really, it was not nearly as traumatic as it was dramatic.
I promise, I am not torturing my child with my need for pretty shoes.
Nor am I oblivious to her sensory issues. She has them. This is one of them
And we work it out with her. A little at a time. Truly.

Every May, for now the 4th year since Li'l Empress came, she has had the strangest reaction to something that most girls LOVE about spring and summer:  She freaks out about going barefoot and wearing sandals. I kid you not, the reaction to the change is so extreme and it startles me every time.  I've said it before, I'm a little slow on the uptake like that. Booo hisss. 

I should have known it was coming, between the previous spring-to-summer transitions she's gone through with us AND the slightly anxious conversations she's been having as the weather has gotten nicer and nicer. Questioning my choice of footwear almost daily since Mother's Day. Comparing her choice of shoes to mine, to LadyBug's, to Shaggy's, to anyone who has bare foot showing. Aaaah, the gift of hindsight.

I started to get a bit more of an inkling of her stress the other day when I painted her toenails. She was so anxious to put her socks back on and she didn't even care that to do so would mar her pedicure. I made her wait for a specific amount of time and then tried to distract her when I started to get an inkling of what was going on. No dice. No way. No how. She is one seriously focused and intentional kid. I suppose that will come in handy when she is a world-famous nuerosurgeon some day. But now, in a pre-schooler? It ain't pretty. Neither are the sock prints on her little toes. Heh.

But yesterday took the cake. We were given an adorable pair of brown leather sandals by a good friend. (And by the by, while I'm thinking of it, what is with brown sandals for girls in the stores? WHY on EARTH are they so stinkin' hard to find these days?!) As part of our yearly "desensitizing process" (yes, we have a process whereby we slowly introduce the concept of naked piggies and strappy shoes that bare her feet to the world!), I showed her the sandals from our friend and asked her what she thought of them. Heh. She was indifferent, in a "I'm trying to show you how indifferent I am" kind of way.

When I took them out of the bag and asked Li'l E to try them on for me, her whole demeanor changed. I am not being dramatic here. She stiffened up, got a shaky tone to her voice and begged me to give them away. I admit, I was a little surprised at her response. She begged me to let her keep her socks on with the sandals. I declined, nicely, and asked her just to give them a try. I reminded her that her pretty brown and green sundress needed a snazzy pair of sandals but she was adamant. "I dohn want dem, Mommy. No sanks."  I persisted; I just really wanted her to figure out that it is SO.NOT. the big deal that she makes it, before it even actually happens to her. I wanted her to taste the confidence of conquering a fear or anxiety again, as she did when we switched the kids' rooms. Or when she had to get used to Daddy driving her to school when he came home full time. I knew she could handle it, we'd been through this same issue last year. And the year before. AND the year before that.

Through her tears and shaking little hands, she chose to heed my request and tried them on. I congratulated her for choosing to give them a try, thanked her for trying to obey nicely and helped her fit them. Then The Boss came to my aid and properly "oooh'ed" and "aaaah'ed" over them, complimenting her pretty purple toenails, mentioning the pretty flowers on the sandals. She ate that up. Truly, I could see her fighting the excitement over the pretties while she was also fighting her frustration over naked toes.

Sheesh, you'd have thought we were torturing her or asking her to eat raw squid.  It was THAT dramatic.

So I made a deal that she didn't have to WEAR them all day, as long as she'd just try them out while she was eating her peanut butter and honey sandwich. I'd even give her some extra honey drips on the sandwich if she could try for me. 

She reluctantly agreed and commenced eating that sandwich through her sobbing and slobbering. Hiccuping through her tears that the sandals were too tight and they were hurting her feet. Then that they were too big and falling off. That they were not pretty. That she needed her socks. OMYLANDS. It was PIT.EEEEE.FULLL! Again, I am not exaggerating. It didn't last all that long, but it was so pathetic and dramatic. I was pretty deadpan and matter of fact. Just reminded her that lunch is quick and she'd make it through. That she did it last year, she could do it again today. And I went silent.

Finally, as she was turning the corner from anxious and sad and getting quite rude and defiant, I figured out that there was something else going on. Again, I'm slow on the uptake like that. She had been up quite late the night before and up early for school that morning. So I encouraged her to go somewhere else with that noise and anger because Daddy had an important phone call to finish and she was interrupting him. She stood in the garage and cried and muttered with angry bursts and sobs. For all of three minutes. Seriously. Three.LONG.minutes of sobs. What on EARTH?

But all of a sudden, she decided she was done - just DONE, so she came in. She climbed up into her chair. She finished her sandwich, had a bite or two of my left-overs, and drank her juice. She chatted away, in her "over the top, look at how cute I am, I will win you over" manner and as SOON as the last bite of that lunch was done, asked if she could take off the sandals. NO distraction on my part would work. NOT.ONE.

So Daddy and I gave her the go ahead. We thanked her again for at least trying them on and seeing how they felt. (She was happy to tell me that they felt "TERRIBLE." Yes, she said "terrible." Oy.) Daddy extracted a promise from her to give them another try another time, just to see how she felt about them later. She grudgingly promised and sat right down to remove them. She happily ran them upstairs to her shoe bin and dropped them in and walked away.

And the whole thing took less than 15 minutes. I could have sworn it was four hours. Suffice it to say, it's not just the sandal issue either. She HAS to have socks on every night for bed. She could be so hot that she's stripped down to just her Kai Lan undies but she WILL.HAVE.THOSE.FEET.COVERED! I have never ever figured out what is going on and later, when I asked her if she'd need to wear her socks out to the patio and even in the pool she looked at me like I was insane. She scornfully said, "Moooooommmmmeeeee, you don't wear socks in da pool. Dat's just silly."

Heh. Yeah. And gagging on a pb& honey sandwich while you cry over cute new sandals is so sane.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {Clover Crowns}

Such a patient big sister,
to make these for the girls!

If only The Boss were as excited about
the presence of the clover as the girls were!

For more Wordless Wednesday fun,
head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Then Sings My Soul!

One of my most cherished memories is of a Sunday service in the teeny tiny 3-car-garage-turned sanctuary of my Dad's first church. We had only been home from my grandfather's funeral services and family time for a week or so but we were all still very tender and bruised over our incredible loss. For the first time in my life, I was dealing with real grief, the permanency of loss, and the awareness that while this was hard for me to grapple with, it was THAT MUCH harder for my dad to process through. He was very close to his dad and enjoyed a very loving, connected relationship with his father. It's one of the first times that I remember being so keenly aware that my dad was in a kind of pain and sadness that wouldn't just "go away" with a sweet card or a sunny day. That my dad had to deal with our collective pain on top of and connected to his own grief.  It was a profound week or two for me, coming to terms with watching his sadness and realizing that my pain was joined to someone else's pain.

On that Sunday morning so long ago, I was full of all kinds of heightened emotions and struggling to connect with the worship time. And then, out of the corner of my eye, I see my dad's arms go up wide and outstretched. Tears were flowing freely down his face and he was singing through his brokenness:

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

I will never forget that picture, as long as I live. To this day, when that song comes up on my iPod rotation or across the airwaves of our local Christian music station, I am instantly transported to that moment. When we stand in church singing these words in our own worship service, I am arrested and can barely sing through my own tears.

I've mentioned before that The Boss and I are in a bit of a tough season right now. Looking for a new career position. Waiting for Brynna's adoption process to come to fruition. Anticipating Shaggy's graduation in less than a month. Trusting HIM for finances for the adoption and for Shaggy's future plans. Walking through lots of new stages with the other kids that aren't bad but are certainly very new. Tough stuff that has had the tendency these last few weeks to distract me and weigh me down.

So yesterday, when our worship team began this song, I knew God was speaking to me.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

In the peaceful beauty of a starry still night, He is greater.
In the roar of life's greatest storms, He is greater.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

In my desperate state of heavy burden and ugly sin, He was great.
He is greater.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

In my earthly struggle, bound by the circumstances of my human condition, He is great.
This is all real life stuff. But this is NOT my home.
And He is greater.

I'm so everlastingly grateful for the example of my Dad, for the chance to watch him walk through that great pain and, later as I grew, other painful difficult circumstances. Difficulties that would have broken a lesser man. Grief and hardship that would have distracted a less-intentioned man from the Truth. Instead, my dad let those circumstances drive him into the Truth. In my view, that song is my dad's lifesong.

In these hard times, during these stretching moments which I freely admit are NOTHING to contend with when compared to the pain I've seen my parents walk through in this life, I am choosing for it to be my lifesong also.

I'm lifting my eyes above the job loss. Above the uncertainty. Above the long wait to see my daughter's face. Above changes I know are coming to our home as Shaggy enters adulthood. Above the tensions and stresses of the everyday-ness of a busy life. Above the weariness and the frustration. Above the circumstances. 

I'm choosing to lift my eyes and sing to the heavens, arms up wide and outstretched.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Save The Adoption Tax Credit

I rarely discuss political issues here on the blog. I choose to keep things here on the lighter side of life most of the time, because, frankly, I choose to keep my eyes and mind focused on the positive and the uplifting. I think we'd all agree that there's enough to drag us down out there on the internet. I don't really need to add to it and if I'm being frank, much of what I might have to say regarding political issues would have the tendency to bring out the snark. If not in me, then I am sure in others. I choose not to go there.

But this issue, currently going before the Ways and Means Committee in Washington, is important to me. And I'd like to encourage you to educate yourself about it and the issues surrounding it. There are several really great resources you can use to do that and I've listed them below. But what I really want to encourage you to do is to ACT upon what you learn once you read up on the topic. And I've added a "form letter" of sorts for you to do just that.

To learn more about what the Adoption Tax Credit is (specifically HR 4373, The Making Adoption Affordable Act of 2012) head to Creating a Family. The highlighted post is a "primer" on the credit and the proposed changes. But the site itself is chock full of great information to educate yourself.

To learn more about keeping up with the activities surrounding HR 4373, head to this blog post and follow the suggestions at the bottom of the post.

If you are active on F@ceb00k, you can "like" the "Save The Adoption Tax Credit" page for regular updates, ways to share information with others, and contacts for finding your representatives in Washington to urge them to act as your representative in this issue. While you are on FB, consider joining the Creating a Family site there, too. Again, great information and great support for all issues related to building strong families.

Finally, if you desire to contact your representative(s), below is the letter that I sent on behalf of The Boss and I. I am completely fine with you using my words, using my letter as a jumping off point, or as an example to share with others. I just want you to strongly consider doing SOMETHING with what you know.

Dear Representative XYZ:
I am writing to you today to ask you, no, to urge you, to please consider throwing your whole-hearted support behind the proposed HR 4373 Making Adoption Affordable Act. Currently it is before the Ways and Means Committee, with cosponsors, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and Steve Rothman (D-NJ).
As one of MANY adoptive families within your district, we are living first-hand the joys and blessings of one finalized adoption. And we are well on our way toward our second adoption. We are blessed to be able to fill our home with the love of this beautiful sweetie God has sent us and are anxious to meet the next one He is preparing for our home. As a citizen of a nation that is built on the institute of strong families, it is our strong opinion that the kind of support that HR 4373 offers for building healthy families is in the VERY BEST interest of our nation. We hope that you agree and will consider representing us well over this issue.
Again, we urge you to speak out to your peers in the legislature, support the act, and represent families like us WELL by supporting HR 4373, Making Adoption Affordable Act.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Gang's Momma and The Boss

Thank you for taking some time to read this. I sincerely hope that you will consider speaking out in one or many of the ways listed above. This issue is near and dear to The Gang's heart and affects many, many families that we know and love.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {my clever boy}

Today's Wordless Wednesday needs a bit of back-story....

Dr. D's student teacher for Honors English assigned the students to write a poem
by one of the characters from Cyrano de Bergerac to another character
in the play in the writing character's "voice."

My son turned this in.

I'm so everlastingly glad that the teacher had a sense of humor!

head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Mission

Whew. I am finally recovering from the insanity of the last ten days.  Here at The Gang's house, we've had some of the craziest happenings we've ever experienced in just this one 10- day time period.

Shaggy had his first car accident. He's fine. But the car isn't. So Momma is back on taxi duty. For his job, for Dr. D's football lifting schedule, and for all the other stuff that The Boss can't help with when he's at his part-time job.

The Boss has had several interviews and is working lots of hours at his part-time, fill-in-the-blanks job. He's also managed to finish his part of Baby BlueEyes' room and knock some random little jobs off his "Honey Do" list. Today, he's starting Li'l Empress's new room. We are getting SUCH a kick out of how cheaply we are able to transform these rooms.  Really, it's a sickness, I think.

Baby BlueEyes' room is all but done. A few pictures to hang and voila! I also have to find a bulletin board and a couple lampshades. A big reveal post should be coming soon. If it stops raining and I can get out to my local B!g L@ts on the way to Shaggy's night shift, that is....

Li'l Empress has successfully and even cheerfully navigated the change from her tiny, cozy little room to the bigger room she will eventually share with Brynna. She experienced a couple bumps but a smooth transition over all. Even after we moved BBE over into his new room and she re-adjusted to sleeping in a room alone again.

The Boss chaperoned a trip with BBE to historic sites around Philly with the whole 4th grade. He did it with the older kids too and I'm so, so grateful that they had a safe, fun time. When I asked BBE what the best part of the day was, he replied, "Seeing the Rocky statue." Ugh. That SOOOO would not be my answer!!!!

We had a big "Happy 13th" birthday party here for LadyBug. I took it easy on myself with the crazy schedule I've been keeping and just ordered pizza. You'd have thought THAT was her gift, she was so happy to consume pizza with her cousins!

LadyBug had not one but THREE major concerts in less than a week. (Really, what is UP with that?! THREE IN FIVE DAYS!) The final one was a competition with the organization called Music in the Park and was outstanding! Both sets of grandparents got to hear her ensemble perform, which was such a treat for all of us.

The best part of the competition is that the day included a trip to Dorney Park. It was the actual day of her 13th birthday and I chaperoned the trip. It was fun hanging out with her and her two friends. Such sweet kids. At the end of the day, there was an awards assembly and her ensemble won both categories that they were entered into, resulting in some pretty neat trophies.

My on-line yard sale is still running, but it has slowed down a bit so I've been creating some sales and incentives and trying to get creative with moving all that stuff out of my garage and into someone else's home.

Today, I've set aside the day to reclaim the counter-tops from the flowing piles of paperwork. So far, I've accomplished the following, all before I ate my late breakfast:

  • updated my freezer inventory
  • planned about 1/2 of the meals we need for the remainder of the school year
  • made a rough grocery list
  • updated all my sale sites on FB and on craigslist
  • cleaned off the front of the fridge

Man, I hate the cluttered mess that my fridge and my counters become when things are busy here - scraps of notes and reminders all over the place. It makes ME feel scattered and phrenetic.

I call it reclaiming my territory. This time around, it really felt like the land was taken over by crazy alien invaders and I had to go in with a conqueror's mentality. Slaying the dragon of chaos. Vanquishing the enemy of order and peace. Restoring order to the kingdom.

Yup, today it's all about recovery. That's my mission and considering the condition of things around here, I have no choice BUT to accept it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So Weird.

I had the weirdest dream.

I dreamed that The Boss did ALL of the Christmas shopping for ALL of our children. I dreamed that he proceeded to wrap ALL of said Christmas presents in terrible, gender-neutral, black and white and red wrapping paper with NO bows (gasp!).

I dreamed that The Boss then allowed ALL of our children to open ALL of their presents WITHOUT me even in the house, let alone in the room.

It gets worse: in this dream, nay, nightmare, of these gifts was age-appropriate, gender-appropriate, or developmentally appropriate for of ANY of our kids. All of the toys were generic in the most generic way possible. I'm talking black and white and red, generic.

I woke up deeply stressed.

I am obviously a troubled soul.

I am so weird.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Series Worth Your Time

I have been following this series over at the Love Without Boundaries blog. It's really worth reading. It's hard to read, but it's worth it. It's helping me see again and more clearly (in very real and practical ways) that adoption starts with loss. With great grief. And it makes me ache to find my girl and bring her home.

The highlighted link above is for the most recent in the series. Scroll back in their archives or enter "realistic expectations" in the search bar for the other "Realistic Expectations" posts.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gettin' Our Verse ON!

I am OVER DA MOON to announce that The Gang has been selected as a Wild Olive Tees Fundraising family!  It's no secret that I have LOOOOONG been a fan of this amazing, creative team of ladies that make the world more fashionable and more beautiful with artistic, meaningful tees. At last count, I currently own 5 or 6 of my own pretties and have given several as gifts to friends and family. I just can't get enough!

Ever since we began this journey to our girl, I've been anxiously waiting for the opportunity to partner up with this amazing company. I love their heart for orphans. I love their heart for adoptive families. And I love how they network with so many other wonderful organizations to support and care for the precious little ones who are in need all over the world. I hope that you will head over to their site and peek around their site for yourselves to read all about their mission and their passion. It will be time well spent. But do that after you stick around to read the rest of this post... Cuz it's about you.  Yeah. YOU.

Well, really, it's about how YOU can help us
in this grand adventure as a Fundraising Family.

First, you can head HERE (and only here on this page of the site, for it to count toward our efforts) and pick some tees out for you and your family. For your kids and your sisters. For your sisters' kids. Or maybe for your neighbors. Ooooh, and don't forget those end-of-the-year teacher gifts. Get creative, get crazy and have some fun spreadin' The Word. We'd be so incredibly grateful.

Just remember: When you purchase a tee, you MUST use our family code IN THE COUPON CODE option under the shopping cart. (That can be found in the pink tab to the right of the screen). You can also be sure the code is noted by entering it into the comment section (it's not necessary, but it's for added security when they are calculating orders). This code will not provide you with a discount. Rather, it will track sales that can be credited to the Whitney Family Fundraising efforts.

Are you ready?
The Family Code is WHITNEY407.
Got it? Goooood.

This button will take you directly to the page for the fundraising tees.

Wild Olive Adoption Fundraiser Tees

Second. you can feel free to help us spread the word about The Gang's efforts by sending this link to folks whom you think might love adoption.

Or whom might love really artsy, hip, and creative tees with GOD's Word on them.
Or whom might love The Gang.
(And really, who doesn't love The Gang? They are mighty cute, if you ask me.)
(And yes, I know I'm biased. But really. We have some seriously cute kiddoes.)

You can share the updates and links I'll be posting with folks in your neck o' the Facebook woods. You can contact me for other creative ways to help us get the word out, if you are interested. The sky is the limit. The world is your oyster. But only till June 29th. Then? Well, then the fundraiser is slated to be over.

Finally, you can pray. Pray, pray, pray. We are (as I mentioned in my post last week summarizing where we are in our journey to Brynna) more earnestly seeking the Lord for the specific file of the child HE has been preparing for our family. We are praying for financial provision (through this and the other jobs I have taken on during this journey). And we are praying for full-time, career-position employment for The Boss.

Our faith has been stretched in ways we did not envision in this season of our life. We are trying to stand strong; although it is indeed very stressful to switch from full-time corporate life to part-time, seasonal retail work. We know it's temporary, so we are making every effort to stay united and connected to each other and to The Father. It isn't easy and in fact, these last two weeks have been really, really hard. But we know He is in control. Of The Boss's job. Of this adoption. Of our future. And we are trusting Him for it. For all of it.

Thank you so much, in advance, for the prayer and the support.
We are truly blessed by all the love that we have felt in this season.

Now? Go. Get Your Verse On!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Going LIVE Tomorrow!!!

Stay tuned for a live launch of a big project. It's for The Gang and my sidebar should give you a great big ole hint... But don't do anything just yet with the hint you think you know. Come back tomorrow for the full run-down of how you can be involved.

See ya in the a.m.! I'll be here, bright and early with my big Tigger mug and fuzzy slippers. Will you?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Looking for that "Flourishing Finish!"

We're trucking right along with our adoption journey to our Brynna Rose. In the last few weeks, we've received our USCIS approvals and we are now waiting for state seals and notaries from the Chinese Consulate. Our agency takes care of all that for us, which is a good thing considering the crazy schedule around here. I don't even know how we'd squeeze trips to the state capital and New York City in this month's calendar.

Once those seals are affixed to our dossier (that's the name for the big huge pile of paperwork that tells China's adoption program all about The Gang, inside and out!), then we will get a notification from our agency that we are "DTC." We can expect that notice in about two weeks. DTC (Dossier to China) means just that: our dossier will be winging its way to the governmental offices called the China Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption (CCWA). Within two to four weeks of our "DTC" date, we should be given an "LID" date. That means that the CCWA has received our dossier and has placed it officially in the waiting line for being matched. When we have an LID, we will be eligible to start poring over files from the Shared List. The Shared List has over 1900 children with varying ages and levels of special needs. This is the "pool" from which our agency will be searching for our match.

This link is an excellent resource for those of you who are unfamiliar
with the process of Chinese adoption. A couple of you have asked
for the "steps" we are taking and this site should help you
understand it far better than I usually can word it to you!

For now, we are looking at the smattering of files that are on our agency's site and checking out advocacy groups like Love Without Boundaries and An Orphan's Wish. We're not certain that our daughter is waiting on any of those sites, but it is helpful to get a working knowledge of the needs that are populating the lists and the exposure that the children are getting by these advocacy groups is phenomenal toward the cause of uniting them to their families. If you can handle looking at all those pictures of sweet little ones waiting for mommas and daddies, that is. Which, I usually can't. Sigh.

We are fairly certain that if we find a child on a site like one of these and we sense strongly that she could be our Brynna, our agency will work with us on the ins and outs of the process that would require. However, we also strongly feel that finding our girl will be all in His timing and His plan so we are trying to balance that as we do our research and look at all the sweet little faces out there.

Your prayers for wisdom, patience, and great discernment would be so appreciated. We want, more than anything else in this whole process, to be confident that He is leading the way to the final steps of this adventure. We want to remain submitted and alert to His nudges and His call in the search for our girl.

On Monday, I sent off a big check for the dossier fee and the balance in the adoption account dipped really low. I don't mind admitting that my faith wiggled and wavered a little bit when I saw that reduced balance. I mean, by far the biggest expense of this journey is still ahead of us. I know He has His hands all over this adventure we are on, so I threw back my shoulders, spoke The Word over my doubt that a dear friend suggested several weeks ago and moved on with my day.

"Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.
Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.
I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us,
believing and proclaiming God's Message,
from the day you heard it right up to the present.
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind
that the God who started this great work in you
would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing
finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." ~ Phil. 1:3-6

We're so grateful for opportunities like this to build it back up. Please, feel free to share the site with your F@ceb00k friends and blogging community. It's a darling little book and I am proud to be connected with its mission.

You can get to the book's home site by clicking on the link on my sidebar, also. When ordering, and to make sure our adoption account gets the credit for your support, be sure to click on the "Personalize? How did you hear" link on the Shipping Address page. Enter "Whitney Family Adoption" and we'll get $5 for every book ordered.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {not this time either!}

We snuck away for a quick weekend trip with the kids.
It was mighty cold, but the sun coming up over the lake
was utterly beautiful.

Yes, they are wet.
Yes, they jumped in.
Yes, it was really, really, really cold.
Don't ask.

It was too cold for the fish.
Even with yummy smoked turkey franks as bait. 

These two had the right idea.
Snuggled up and cuddling together all weekend long.

For more Wordless Wednesday fun
that is never really wordless,
head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.
And don't forget, their
Mother's Day event is still going on...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Building the Nest

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the awesome non-profit called The Sparrow Fund. I blogged about it here when they launched and am so excited about the growth they've experienced over this year. They have been able to sponsor grants for medical reviews for files of more than 10 kids in 2011 and they are already on track to blow that total out of the water for 2012.

For a really cool example of a comprehensive program
that offers medical reviews for a potential adoption file,
check out CHOPADOPT. We love them!

What that means is that lots and lots of folks gave generously to support the "building of the nest" from which those grants could flow. What that means is that the families welcoming home these kids have tools, resources, and information to properly meet the needs of these precious children. What that REALLY means is that 11 kids have come home to forever families in part because The Sparrow Fund exists.

And they are gearing up to build the nest again this month. Over 50 businesses and individuals have come together to offer special discounts and savings with a portion of their proceeds for the month of May heading to The Sparrow Fund. Which means that more families can have access to thorough reviews of medical files when considering a referral for adoption. That's amazing. And inspiring.

And YOU can be in on it all!

If you are a business-owner who has a heart for families, a heart for adoption, or a heart for children with special medical needs, then helping build the nest in this month's event might be right for you and your business. I'm pretty sure it's not too late to join the effort! Click on the button above or on my sidebar and contact Kelly. She's more than happy to get you involved!

If you like to shop and love to know that your purchases are going to a great cause, then head over here and help build the nest that way. Let the business owners know you are there because you heard about The Sparrow Fund. There are beautiful gift items there, and Mothers' Day is just around the corner. As is graduation, Fathers'  Day, and well, who doesn't love a "just because" gift once in a while? Ahem, Boss, if you are reading this, that was for you.  :)

Most importantly... If you like to pray, then join me in praying for amazing multiplication of the resources that Building the Nest will bring in to The Sparrow's Fund. These medical reviews are essential to helping families properly equip themselves when of reviewing a potential referral file of a child. There's no easy way to describe to you just how important it is to have these professional reviews done in the adoption process, particularly of international and/or special needs adoptions.

Go. Click away. And shop. For The Sparrow Fund's sake. Shop!