Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adoption Update

This week we have had some significant progress with our China adoption. On Monday, we received our I800 approval from USCIS (11/15 approval date). I e-mailed the NVC late Monday evening and I received an e-mail back first thing Tuesday morning saying that we had been cabeled that morning (11/22) and that they would e-mail the pdf file "shortly" I waited several hours before e-mailing again requesting the pdf and it was e-mailed to me within an hour. I immediately forwarded the pdf to our in country coordinator. Several hours later I received an e-mail from the in country coordinator stating that our paperwork would be dropped off to the US Consulate in Guangzhou while we were sleeping (11/23). Our Article 5, which is what the US Consulate will issue after reviewing all of our paperwork will be ready to be picked up in exactly two weeks. Once the Article 5 is picked up, it will be overnighted to Beijing and we will then be waiting for our FINAL approval....Travel Approval aka TA!! We are so close and God has been so good!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My first GIRLY baby shower!

The staff wives at church gave me a "toy shower" tonight. I had a great time opening girly things. Laurel Horton hosted the shower in her beautiful home.

We are all laughing about how fun it will be to play this butterfly game with Bucky (he is terrified of butterflies).
YAY for girly things!

Laura Timmons made the desserts. They were yummy and I especially loved the cupcake decorations.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I800 Receipt Notice

Today we received notice that US Immigration received our I800 application on 10/31/11. Hopefully we will have our I800 approval before Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Sorry I haven't updated the blog recently, I am in my adoption slump which manifests itself in a deep sadness. This slump happened with Xan and it happened with Sasha (it didn't happen with Brennan because we only had three days notice that he was to be ours). It isn't a lack of faith because I am confident that God is working all of this waiting for our good and His glory. God has certainly proved to me in our adoptions that His timing is so much better than mine and I am clinging to Him. I just have the "my whole body aches to have my little girl in my arms." When we were waiting for Xan, this longing manifested itself into chronic sickness and migraines (along with the sadness) because I didn't have three beautiful, rowdy boys to keep be busy and occupied. I am so thankful for my precious sons and how, without even knowing it, they are a constant source of joy in the midst of the sadness and longing for Rebecca. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Magic Kingdom

We had a magical time at Walt Disney World. It was a hot, hot day, but the time just flew by. We waited no more than 15 minutes for any ride. Xan's favorite ride was the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. He loved shooting all the aliens and Zurg. We rode that ride twice.

Xan shooting all those aliens. Look at that concentration!

Sasha liked it too. He and Bucky competed to see who could accumulate the most points. I am not sure who won, however, Sasha would say he did.

Inside the ride. It was really cool!

Xan drove me around the race track. He was so excited about driving his first car.

We rode dumbo. Sasha was not thrilled about having his picture made with dumbo.

This is me and Brennan on the train. This was Brennan's FAVORITE ride...can you tell. We rode it twice just for him. He had this smile plastered on his face both times. So precious!

The park was decorated for fall and I thought these wreaths were especially pretty. I would love to come back when the park is decorated for Christmas.

Sasha favorite ride was Space Mountain and he rode it three times...once with Bucky, once with me and then again with Bucky. Xan and Brennan rode their first roller coaster, Thunder Mountain and both loved it. After the fireworks, we got stuck in the park for a while because the monorail was not functioning. So everyone in the park was trying to leave by boat or bus. It took quite a while to get everyone where they needed to go. We arrived back to Uncle Mike's at midnight.

Beach Day

We made a trip to Bradenton Beach Florida on Saturday. Sorry the pics are not very good because I had the camera on the wrong setting.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Log In Date!!!

Application Submitted to Immigration: May 2, 2011
Fingerprinted: May 16, 2011
Homestudy to Immigration: May 17, 2011
LOI (Letter of Intent) submitted to China: July 22, 2011
PA (Pre-approval): August 3, 2011
DTC (Dossier to China): August 9, 2011
LID (Log In Date): 8/19/2011
LOA (Letter of Approval): should come 40 to 60 days after LID
TA (Travel Approval): should come about 2 months after LOA
Leave for China:
Gotcha Day:
Adoption Day:
Medical Exam:
Pick up passport and other paperwork:
Consulate Appointment:
Pick up Visa:
Return to USA:

Ironing with David Platt

What do you do when two of your children are out bowling with friends and the youngest is taking a nap??? You work on your ironing pile, of course. Now normally when I iron, my children (and husband) must endure a "Pride and Prejudice" marathon, but today I just really wanted to hear some good preaching. And since I have not missed any of DJ's sermon's (he is one the best preachers I know), I decided to turn on some David Platt. The sermon that I picked was from a series called "Next: the gospel and the next generation" and the sermon I picked was Biblical Manhood and Womenhood-Part 2. Here is the link if you would like to hear it in its entirety:

It was awesome! Here are two things that David said that really stuck out to me. One is a challenge to young single guys and the other to women:

David Platt said to single guys, "Grow up and get ready for a wife. Move Halo and X box and Playstation down your priority list and start working your tail off for the glory of God. Work Hard. School, work, whatever it is that God called you to, commit yourself to it. Resist the ever present trend and temptation to prolong adolescence into your 20's and 30's. Grow up! Man up!.."

Then to women he says, "Incline yourselves toward wise willing submission...For the glory of Christ, live in a way that demonstrates godly respect for men. God's design is for women to desire and receive good, godly, humble male leadership. To respect a man's caring initiative to provide, to protect and to work for your good and live in a way that shows girls how to be women. Show girls what a godly inclination to follow a man's leadership looks like. Show girls how to submit to a man, to a husband, as the church submits to Christ. Teach them to look for men who display the kind of character of Christ. Teach them to guard their heart. Do not flaunt your girls around encouraging them to give their heart to whatever new guy comes their way. It's not Biblical womanhood, its irresponsible, dangerous divorce practice....Mom's keep her under your nurture until some man is able to come along and show that he will provide for her, protect her, love her and lead her for her good and for the glory of Christ..."

You should really take 50 minutes and listen to the whole thing.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Promotion Sunday Emotions

The littles are in bed and Bucky and Sasha are at church till 10pm. That means I have two hours of uninterrupted alone time, but I can't enjoy it because I had to be very stern with Xan right before I put him to bed. You may remember in my last post that I mentioned how Xan does not adjust well to change. Well, tomorrow is Promotion Sunday at our church and Xan will move from the preschool hallway, which is located on the 1st floor of our children's building, to the elementary hallway, which is located on the 2nd floor of our children's building. I, knowing that he doesn't do change well, decided to start talking about the tomorrow's "move". Now, this is not the first time we have talked about the "move". I have been bringing it up for quite a while and making it sound really great and grown up. All of the times I have talked about it before he has seemed ok with the idea and this summer he participated in summer children's choir which was located on the elementary hallway and he did great. But tonight, he completely lost it and fell to pieces when I told him that tomorrow was "the big day". The child could not/would not get self control. For a good 30 minutes I comforted, spoke softly, encouraged and quoted, "The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid." But the more I spoke in a motherly, sweet, gentle tone, the more worked up he became. I had given him a bath and it was time to go to bed and he was still a crying, hysterical spoke really sternly to him. Not in a yelling or sinful way, but very sternly so he knew that enough was enough. But I HATE that to be the way that I ended this day with him. Then, 5 minutes after I put them to bed, he came down and apologized for his bad attitude. Precious little fella! But I still will not be able to enjoy the rest of my evening. UGH!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adoption Timeline

Here is our timeline so far. I will update it as each piece of the puzzle is complete:

Application Submitted to Immigration: May 2, 2011
Fingerprinted: May 16, 2011
Homestudy to Immigration: May 17, 2011
LOI (Letter of Intent) submitted to China: July 22, 2011
PA (Pre-approval): August 3, 2011
DTC (Dossier to China): August 9, 2011
LID (Log In Date): should be here in the next week or so.
LOA (Letter of Approval): should come 40 to 60 days after LID
TA (Travel Approval): should come about 2 months after LOA
Leave for China:
Gotcha Day:
Adoption Day:
Medical Exam:
Pick up passport and other paperwork:
Consulate Appointment:
Pick up Visa:
Return to USA:

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of School

Today was rough for this mama. Today I dropped my baby off at a big school with lots of people I don't know. Brennan did fine, but this mama cried her eyes out for a long time. Because of Brennan's developmental delays, he qualifies for the free preschool that our school district offers and today I left my baby in a big auditorium with a bunch of people I don't know. That was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Thankfully Brennan went in without hesitation. If he had cried I would have just picked him up and walked back out the door with him. But he didn't and what he has been able to communicate with me, he had a wonderful time.

Xan also started school today. He is going to the 1/2 day Kindergarten that our church offers. He did AWESOME as well. Xan sometimes has a hard time adjusting to change and I wasn't exactly sure how he would respond. But when I picked him up and asked him if the wanted to go back tomorrow, he said, "YES!!!" Some of you may be asking why I am not homeschooling Xan this year and I will tell you that I had a VERY hard time making that decision. But realizing that Xan likes structure and routine, Bucky and I felt this was the best option for Xan this year. I could provide the structure and routine he craves during the fall semester, but things are likely going to get a little crazy this winter/spring semester once we travel to and from China. Once sweet Rebecca gets home there will be lots of doctor appointments, a surgery or two and therapy appointments. I was afraid Xan's education may get lost in the shuffle. So, for those reasons we decided to send him to our church's Kindergarten and we will pick back up with homeschooling next fall.

Sasha started 9th grade today too, but he didn't want his picture taken. LOL! Perhaps because I was crying my eyes out, Sasha was very sweet to me this morning. He turned music on for while I ran (and cried) on the treadmill and he made me a huge bottle of ice cold water when I was almost done. He is such a sweetie!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tennessee Vacation

The littles and I went to Tennessee last week to spend some time with family. My dad owns a trucking company and Xan and Brennan were super excited to get to take a ride on a "BIG truck". You can see the pure delight in the pics.

Then on Wednesday my mom and I met my friend Laura and her two kids at a hotel in Sevierville, TN for some summertime fun.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sprinkler Fun!

A few weeks ago the chemicals in the pool were out of whack, but it was just too pretty to stay inside and too hot not to be in the water if you were outside. So, I pulled out the sprinkler and the littles had so much fun.

Xan insisted he wear his goggles...he is such a funny kid!

Precious little hands and fingers!

Brennan is so full of life!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"That was why!"

Today was Nightlight Christian Adoption's annual adoption picnic at Parris Mountain State Park. I had a wonderful time talking to fellow adoptive moms and dads. I got to talk at length with a mom and dad who have already adopted one cleft lip, cleft palate child and are in the process of adopting another. They were such an encouragement and source of some much needed information to calm my fears as far as feeding a child who has cleft palate.

I also got to speak to a couple who hosted two Ukrainian orphans at the same time we hosted Sasha. They ended up adopting those precious girls and traveled in January of 2010. They had a rather turbulent visit to Ukraine because it was the middle of winter. There was snow and ice everywhere all day, every day. She said taxi rides were scary, it was bitterly cold and they were not able to get out and go sight seeing because the sidewalks were pure ice. It was during that conversation that God very clearly said, "That was why, Julie!" You see, this family started the adoption process at the same time we did, however, they got to travel three months before we did. That was three less months away from their daughters. We, however, hit a three month road block in our adoption process for Sasha....we didn't have Brennan's birth certificate. Our homestudy could not be "complete" without that birth certificate which means our file was stuck. Nothing could move forward until that birth certificate arrived. By the end of that three month wait, the Louisiana Vital Records office knew me by name. I called them nearly everyday to make sure our application was not "falling through the cracks". BUT now I know why! We would have been a miserable mess if we had traveled in January. I would have quite literally pulled my hair out if we were not able to get our two and four year old out of our apartment everyday for fresh air and sunshine. But God knew that! So, He worked it out so that we would arrive in the Spring time when the air was warm and the snow and ice were no where to be seen.

God is good and His timing is perfect!....You might have to remind me of that if/when we hit road blocks with Rebecca's adoption.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Well, we have once again been fingerprinted. I think this makes our sixth time. Our homestudy should get to USCIS tomorrow and then our file will be complete. They normally approve files in 30 days. I, of course, am praying for less.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Soccer Pictures

I LOVE the boys soccer pics. They are precious!

Friday, May 13, 2011

One Step Closer

Just over three weeks ago, our adoption agency e-mailed me two tracking numbers. One of the numbers was to track our homestudy to the S.Carolina Dept. of Social Services Office in Columbia. The 2nd tracking number would activate once DSS approved our homestudy and sent it on to Homeland Security (USCIS). I have been clicking that 2nd tracking number all week because I knew it normally takes three weeks for them to approve a homestudy. Last night I decided to click it one more time right before we went to bed and it had been activated, our homestudy IS on its way to USCIS. We are so excited to be one step closer to Rebecca.

Monday, May 9, 2011

We got the call!!!

I never imagined that we would receive our referral call on Saturday, but we did! Last year when we were anticipating our travel call for Sasha, I changed the ring tone on my phone for our agency so that my heart would not jump into my throat every time the phone rang. I could not believe it when my phone starting ringing with that strange ring tone on Saturday. My first thought was, "what is that?", then "that sounds like Nightlight's ringtone", then "why would Nightlight be calling me on a Saturday? This can't be a referral call." But it was, it was our referral call!

Here is our Rebecca Eden born September 10, 2009. She was born with cleft lip and cleft palate. Her cleft lip was repaired at Maria's Big House of Hope, the hospital that Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman started in memory of their daughter Maria.

Look at those chunky thighs! I can't wait to get my hands on her!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Swim Of The Season

The guys decided it was time for the first swim of the season yesterday. I still think it is a bit cold, 78 degrees, but they were determined. Sasha lasted about 10 minutes. Xan and Brennan lasted nearly an hour total, but their teeth were chattering.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Soul Surfer

Bucky and I went on a date last night and yes it did include a trip to Lowes. What date as a married couple would be complete without a trip there? But we also went and saw the new movie Soul Surfer. It was awesome! I really like how the movie brought out that when you are facing circumstances in your life where you can't see God's reason why, it is not time to wallow in your pity party. Instead, start serving other people. Start feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and caring for the orphan and widowed. I also liked that her dad, played by Dennis Quaid and her youth minister, played by Carrie Underwood did not try to answer all Bethany's questions of why, but instead told her to simply trust. Trust in the God who created her.