Thursday, April 16, 2015

Adoption Update

It's been such a slow homestudy process waiting for our oldest to turn 19. Her  fingerprints and clearances were stuck at the FBI and deemed "unclassifiable" so we had to contact ABI and get that squared away. We are really hoping this home study will be complete by the end of the month since we started it in October....

We also had to make the very difficult decision to withdrawn our letter of intent for Little Panda. It was gut wrenching but God has confirmed that we made the best decision several times even though I don't understand much of it. I've spent the last several weeks grieving for a little girl I never met and most likely never will. I have to believe there's a reason we were connected with her and I hope and pray we find out that reason this side of heaven. Would you please pray that Little Panda's mama and daddy will find her ?  

As for adoption, we are still moving forward but have transferred back to the India program. Once our homestudy is finished we'll start on the Indian dossier. 

Thanks for praying for Little Panda. God hears all your prayers, especially those said for his precious children. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Birthday Reflections

My thoughts were so heavy last week as I reflected on this precious kid and all that's he has endured in just one year with us and three years on this earth...

When he wakes he will be three. On his birthday, I know his first mom must be thinking of the baby boy she said goodbye to... I wish I could show her how much we LOVE him and I pray I'm doing right by him. I hope that she would be proud of how we are raising him. I wish I could send her a picture of him eating spaghetti with tomato sauce all over his face. Could she ever imagine he would be living in the US? I wish I could share a video of him pointing to each person in our family and hear him say the words FAMILY. Could she ever imagine THIS family for him? I wish she could hear him when he looks at pictures of babies or animals and hear the words, "awww cute". Could she ever imagine he would speak English? I have so much adoration for this brave woman. I can't fathom ever having to make such a sacrifice.. This year I pray there are less women in India and around the world that will have to choose adoption for their children. All families should be able to stay together and I'm forever thankful to be Ryan's plan B. We love our little chocolate muffin and can't imagine life without him. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"The days are long but the years are short"

Isn't that the truth?

It sounds so clique but it is really hard to believe our little chocolate muffin has been home for one year.

On one hand, it's like he's always been with us, and on the other it flew by so fast. It's been a difficult, joyful, crazy, hectic, blessed, frustrating, yet rewarding year. I wouldn't change a thing because all of it has taught me PATIENCE on a whole new level. It has taught me how to LOVE in many tangible ways. It has taught me how to be a better MOTHER. In more ways that one, it's taught me how to be more like JESUS.

We celebrated our Forever Family Day in a couple of scattered ways due to the holidays and weekend plans. We went to eat Indian food with family a few days before at a local Indian restaurant. We all ordered Indian food and Ryan had chicken fingers and fries. :)

Our actual Forever Family Day falls on Christmas Eve since that's the day we were all HOME and reunited as a complete family. Since that's such a busy day, we celebrate on December 16 which is the day he left the orphanage forever. 

That morning we had cake for breakfast. Did I mention he loves cake? Like a lot? Can't you tell from this cheesy-I-love-cake smile?

note the tiny fingers entering the shot on the right..

He may have touched the cake here

He's serious about cake y'all

Cake selfie with Big Bro


And our One Year Home Photo. Mom totally bombed months 9, 10, and 11. Those were tough months with a not so cooperative toddler. The afternoons are not his best time so when the reminder clicked on my phone, I just turned it off knowing it was just not gonna happen. I think we are finally out of that rough patch since his language/communication has picked up greatly over the last 3-4 weeks. 

I can't even

He's changed so much in one year - he lost some neck rolls, baby fat from his face, and you can tell he's a little taller in the high chair, too. 

In one year Ryan has gained almost 5 pounds and grown four inches taller. He's finally filling out 2T clothes and he turns three in February. Still a peanut but he's growing steadily and he is filled with so much JOY! He's happy all the time y'all. True story.  :) 

So blessed. Thanks for being a part of our story. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. It's a time to share the plight of the orphan here in the US, watiting in foster care, and those worldwide. Many of you have followed our journey through my (pitiful) blog, Instagram, Facebook and in real life. Many of you know how incredibly blessed we've been in our journey to bring Ryan home from India. Many of you rejoiced with us, prayed with us and have loved our little boy nearly as much as we do. We thank you for being a part of our tiny village.

But. He's just one little boy.

And there are many, many more that need families. Too many to count. Over one hundred million. Imagine the population of Russia, which stands at roughly 143,000,000 people. There are more orphans world wide than there are people in Russia. Let that sink it. 

When we first met Ryan, he just was existing. He walked with a shuffle, barely lifting his feet. In fact, I thought there was something wrong with his leg or hip. He had never run in a grassy backyard or kicked a soccer ball or run on the beach with sand in his toes or even wore shoes appropriate for running. He didn't appear to have a purpose, he was just there. He was missing the love of a family.

As you can see here -

And now - he's filled with so much joy! He laughs and squeals when he's happy, he smiles gigantic smiles that light up his face, hugs big bear hugs, gives sweet kisses and ... He runs. He RUNS! It might not seem like much to some but to witness him go from shuffling like a little old man to a streak of joy running all over the place makes my heart so happy!

On Orphan Sunday we encourage others to be the village for an orphan. Not everyone is called to adopt, but here are a few ways you can choose to be a part of the solution:

  • working in orphan care ministry through mission trips and child/family sponsorship 
  • advocating for those that have no voice to friends and family and on social media
  • coming along side and helping others who choose to adopt by praying for them 
  • offering heart felt emotional and financial support to adoptive families
  • host an orphan through organizations such as New Horizons 
 We can all do something to change the world for the least of these. 

Please take a few minutes to watch this video. It will change the way you look at the orphan crisis, through the eyes of Jesus. 

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday we received an email from our new agency telling us our application had been accepted! We are going to be a pilot family for an agency that has extensive experience in over a dozen countries but they haven't worked in India yet. We are thrilled to be able to help pave the way for future India families! Next week we will have a conference call with our case worker to discuss our next steps. Realistically, we are still looking at probably two years before we bring our next child home. We know what to expect this time and we'll just roll with it. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Coming Soon - a big sister!

Oh India. 

Throughout our adoption journey with Ryan we didn't think we could muster the strength for another India adoption. They're brutal. The unknowns are terribly difficult and the lack of consistent timelines can make anyone insane. It's definitely not for the impatient. ;) I think we tested that theory a time or two. But once we went to India, we knew God would call us back. We knew he placed India in our hearts for a very distinct purpose. While we may never know all of those reasons, for now we know he's called us to adopt a sister for Katie, Braden and Ryan. In the past several weeks God has opened so many doors and we are boldly walking through them, anxious to see where this will lead. We know this will be difficult and we know the sacrifices involved. We also understand that if we don't adopt, who will? There are too many children waiting for families. Far too many. Some of them die because they don't receive the care they need. Some of them have absolutely no future if a family doesn't come forward. To us, that's unacceptable. 

“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” – Radical by David Platt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to school

Ok, hi. So as you can see blogging has taken a backseat lately. School started a few weeks ago for Ryan and I haven't had time to share about that. We spent several weeks leading up to the start of school visiting Ryan's preschool. There weren't any teachers or kids there so we would go and look at his classroom, play at the playground and talk about what fun he was going to have. We did this for several weeks. He became so used to seeing the general area that one day when I drove down Main Street, Ryan looked out the window and said, School School!  At open house big sister stayed with him in his room while the parents went to the sanctuary for our little briefing. The first two days of school Katie went with Ryan and they stayed for half the day. IAC recommended we do that for two weeks and gradually get him accustomed to school but we didn't have that option. The first day was hard and daddy was a little choked up dropping Ryan off with scared eyes and a sad face filled with alligator tears. It became easier and easier though and after the first full week, Ryan was running into his class and not even looking back to daddy for a hug. He really seems to love it. His teachers say he's very sweet and cooperative. The only thing we've heard is he doesn't play with toys or play outside on the playground equipment. We've noticed at home he still doesn't voluntarily play with toys. Since he didn't have a lot of time for purposeful play before he came home, we do a lot of modeling and hand over to hand to show him HOW to play. We play WITH him a lot at home. Kids that come from orphanages often don't know how to play as odd as that sounds. So far that's the only concern we've heard of. His teachers are very supportive of helping him adjust to school and we're thankful for that!

A welcome home like this is priceless! He loves his Daddy!

And when Mama gets home ---

Towards the end of the summer, Ryan started showing signs of wanting to learn letters. He loves educational apps on the iPad and he enjoys puzzles, blocks and books with letters. He even knows a lot of letter sounds. I took this video a few days ago. He can name some of them verbally but he can identify all of them by pointing to the letter. He has an amazing memory and he's obsessed with letters!

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