Saturday, April 28, 2007


I received the call from our agency Friday morning at about 11 and the rest of the day is a blur. We will soon have Oakley in our arms!! After months of waiting, waiting, waiting, now we race to get everything done before we travel. Our agency has requested a consulate appointment in early June, and based on which date is granted, we expect to leave for China on May 23, 24, or 25. That's less than four weeks away! Once the date is confirmed, I can begin to make accommodations and plans for Hagan and Sullivan, who will remain here with family while we travel. It won't be easy to leave them but my little sister, Marla, has offered to keep them. We are comforted by the fact that they'll be in safe and loving hands while we're halfway around the world.

We were really hoping to be home for Sawyer's Confirmation and Finals Week at school, but it looks like we're going to miss both. Mike and I actually discussed postponing travel for a week but we truly feel that this is God's timing. We trust that everything will work out just the way He intended. Sawyer will also make Confirmation when we return and our church has granted permission for Shelby to remain his sponsor, even though he'll be at Boot Camp and will, more than likely, not be able to attend. Sawyer's fellow confirmation candidates will stand up with him as proxy in Shelby's absence. He may be able to take some of his finals prior to travel and he can make the others up when we return.

We also found out on Friday that our Shaohannah's Hope Grant Request was declined. Shaohannah's Hope is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping prospective adoptive parents overcome the financial barriers associated with adoption by awarding financial grants to qualified families already in the process of adopting. They receive hundreds of grants per month and simply cannot fund each one. I will admit that receiving TA on Friday totally trumped this bit of disappointing news, and as Hagan pointed out, "We probably didn't get the grant become some other family needed it even more than us." Out of the mouths of babes.

We began our adoption fundraising efforts with our neighborhood yard sale last June and it looks like we'll wrap up our fundraising efforts with our neighborhood yard sale, scheduled for Saturday, May 19! We feel fortunate to have another opportunity to raise funds this close to travel. I've been cleaning out closets and cabinets and have a growing inventory of items to sell. We'll also be soliciting items from family and friends who may want to get rid of unwanted items and donate them to the yard sale.

THANK YOU to all who have supported us in this journey of faith through contributions, prayer, friendship, compassion and understanding. We will keep you updated as soon as we know more and will post our travel itinerary when available.

Tomorrow I make my packing list!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

While We Wait ....

I'll admit that most days, it's really hard not to be totally consumed with our adoption journey. But Sunday was a beautiful day and Michael and I took Hagan to Keeneland and enjoyed a glorious afternoon at the track.

LOVE Keeneland. It's a place like no other ... steeped in tradition, fast thoroughbred horses, fine food, and yes ... a little gambling.

A good, clean, wholesome, Sunday afternoon with the family, right?!?

We cashed a few winning tickets, but really, it's not about the betting for me (although I WAS the big winner for the day, coming home with $40 more than I brought). It's more about the atmosphere, the people watching, and the whole experience.

Hagan had a wonderful time, despite the fact that we were part of a business function and he was the only child in the Keeneland Room. I marvel at how he can be so comfortable in most any setting and with most any group of people. He gets that great quality from his Dad.

It's not often that Michael and I get to spend one-on-one time with the boys and we need to make an effort to do it more often. They're MUCH more enjoyable when they're not bickering with one another. They each have their own interests and it's wonderful to be able to foster that. Horses are Hagan's thing ... always have been, always will be.

He was in horse heaven, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our time together.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Room for Oakley

It's not quite finished, but here's a little preview of Oakley's new room. The window treatments aren't in, her memory board needs a little more adornment, and I still need chairs for her little table. But we've made a lot of progress!

Her Daddy put up the chair rail, painted the old hutch and painted her walls. He had to put four coats of the pink paint on ... yup, FOUR coats! I love the colors, and although the room still looks a little stark to me, once we get her window treatments up, I think it will all come together.

Her dresser was the first antique I ever bought. I found it in a little shop downtown when I was in high school and I refinished it myself.

And I spotted the hutch in a little Mom & Pop Diner one day when Mike and I were having lunch before we were married. Although it was being used to display antique dishware, the owners let us buy it right off the floor. We finished lunch, unloaded the hutch and carried it out of the restaurant as we left. It was covered in many coats of paint and Mike stripped it and refinished it. It graced our dining room when we first married, and it's been used in Sawyer's room, Hagan's room and Sullivan's room to store books, puzzles and games. Now it's painted again, and it stores a variety of Oakley's treasures, including her hat boxes!

These are a few of my favorite things:

  • the framed photo of Oakley and Caeleigh on her nightstand - Thanks, Karen!

  • her pillowcase with her name on it

  • her monogram wall hanging -- I found the cute pink matted frames and used my Creative Memories supplies (cutting system and monogram sticker letters) to create a monogram wall hanging.

  • pom poms - on her duvet cover and sham -- on her lampshade -- and you'll see more pom poms on her window treatements

  • her memory board -- made to cover a little door that provided access to attic storage. This door used to really scare Sullivan and we had to cover it up with a piece of furniture. I decided to create a memory board that fits perfectly in the door frame. Once I add polka-dot fabric covered buttons, it will be complete!
Without futher ado ... Oakley's new room. Now we just need Oakley home to fill it with love and a little girl's laughter.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Oh Happy Day!!

Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy Day ... we have received our LOA!!

The call came in this morning and I couldn't be happier! Truly, I've been floating pretty much all day. Michael and I have both signed off on the document, checked the box indicating that YES, WE STILL WANT OAKLEY, and it's back in the capable hands of our agency.

We are still really hoping to travel next month. The CCAA offices are closed a full week at the beginning of May for China's Spring Festival, but maybe they'll process paperwork really quickly prior to the holiday.

Sawyer will be travelling with us and he has spent months preparing for Confirmation at church, which is scheduled on Sunday, May 27. My dream is to be home, with Oakley, to see Sawyer celebrate this Sacrament. Wouldn't that be wonderful?!? I would really hate for him to miss this event, but understand that we could very easily be travelling then.

His cousin and my nephew, Shelby, will be sponsoring him for Confirmation. Shelby has enlisted with the U.S. Marines and leaves for boot camp on Monday, May 28. I'm so very proud of him and we really want to be here to lend our support. I ask that you keep Shelby in your prayers as he prepares to serve our country.

I hope that everyone waiting for referrals, LOA or TA receives good news soon. I know firsthand how excruciating the wait is and thank God, my Savior, for the many blessings bestowed upon our family.

We're coming soon, Oakley!!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Our Special Sauce

It's been a REALLY hard week for me. Many families posted on Monday that they received LOA, some with log in dates a full three weeks later than ours. I'm so happy for all who received good news -- happy that these babies will soon be united with their forever families. But I found myself fighting back tears with every post -- my heart aches for Oakley and I'm ready for the journey! I knew the wait would be hard, but I had NO IDEA how difficult. I called my agency on Tuesday to ask if they'd notify me when they receive their next package from China. I'm praying there's something in there for us, but good news or bad, at least I'll KNOW. Grace assured me that she would contact me.

We have believed from the beginning that God is preparing our family for Oakley, and Oakley for us. I completely trust that all things will happen in His time, although lately, I seem to lose sight of this in the midst of my little pity parties. Today I received the following story from a fellow Mom, who is adopting from the same orphanage as we are. Congratulations, Mystina, on the arrival of your LOA, and thank you for putting things in perspective for me.


I was sitting at the drive-through window at McDonald's this weekend. I did the usual thing; I drove up to the menu and ordered. I proceeded to the first window and paid, then drove to the second window and waited for the order. After sitting there for a few minutes, the clerk slid back the window and asked, "Will you please pull over to the side; your order is not ready."

I was a little upset and even impatient, but I pulled over and waited. I thought, "How come other folks ordered and drove straight through and I have to wait." I waited for another two or three minutes. It seemed like hours. Just as I was about to give up and drive away, the clerk finally ran out, tapped on the window, and handed me the order.

Of course I asked , Hey, what took so long?"

She replied, "You wanted the Special Sauce, which meant that it had to be specially made for the sandwich, it doesn't usually come with that one."

This scene is a reflection of our prayer life. We made our request to the Lord. Our menu is His word, where He has listed promise after promise. We stand before Him and request and plead and, sometimes, even beg.

We go to the first window and pay, sometimes with fervent prayer, sometimes with prolonged suffering, sometimes with obedience, and sometimes not at all. We then move to the second window and wait for our order. If God doesn't answer within a few minutes, we become upset. You know the phrase, "Jesus, it's 5:00 p.m. Friday; I prayed to You yesterday, and You still haven't answered. I can't wait much longer." Why is it taking Him so long? I've seen people drive up before me and they received their orders right away! We even go so far as to tap on the window and ask if He has forgotten our order. We become impatient. We become upset. We become downright mad.

Lord, I asked for a mate ten days ago and I don't see him/her anywhere.

Lord, I've been asking for a new job for two years; others have passed me by!

I've been waiting on a financial blessing for ten years; others have passed me by!

Where are You and why haven't you blessed me?

Just when you think He is giving you the answer, He pulls back the royal curtain of Eternity, and states, "Please pull over to the side and wait a while longer." This one frustrated me to no end, made me mad, made me want to give up, made me want to holler; that is, until the clerk brought out my sandwich...Then, the revelation became clear.

Do you know why the Lord has put you on the side?

Do you know why you have had to wait for this blessing longer than before?

Do you know why He has put you through more this time than ever?

Do you know why it seems like you have had to go through more tears, more pains, and more struggling this time?

Because this blessing is a Special Sauce Blessing! This is an Overflowing, Pressed Down, and Shaken Together Blessing! You made a Special Order and God has been putting together a Special Sauce Blessing for you and He has to prepare it for you!

That mate you wanted ... He's putting together a Special Sauce!

That job you wanted . . . He's putting together a Special Sauce!

That financial blessing . . . He's putting together a Special Sauce!

That peace on the job . . . He's putting together a Special Sauce!

That deeper anointing . . . He's putting together a Special Sauce!

That promotion . . . . He's putting together a Special Sauce!

That Baby Girl.......... He's putting together a Special Sauce!

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you hope and a future......Jeremiah 29:11.

How many people have driven away before the clerk brought their food, and how many people have missed their blessings because they did not wait? Hang on in there. Keep on waiting. You made a Special Order, now wait on God's Special Sauce!

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."...Isaiah 40:31.

They who wait shall receive a Special Sauce!

Our agency is closed tomorrow in celebration of Good Friday, so I don't have to jump every time my phone rings. This weekend I will make Oakley's memory board for her room, color eggs with my boys, celebrate the Easter Season and the rising of our Lord, rejoice in my blessings, and wait patiently as God prepares our Special Sauce.