Thursday, July 27, 2017

Spectacular Seven

Oh my heart.

My boy is seven.

This kid. I just love him so. He is funny and witty and dramatic and sensitive and gives 100%, good or bad, all the time.

His great love is soccer and it is SO fun to watch him play. He may be rocking the 22% height on the growth chart, but he plays like the biggest guy out there.

A sample conversation in our house.

Ryan and Jack were discussing a adult basketball rec league.
Jack: "So, what does 'Rec' mean?"
Ryan: "It means recreation, that you play for fun"
Colin, who was coloring off to the side and not in the conversation at all, " I don't play for fun, I play for competition." 
And he means it. The boy lives for his games. He can tell you the exact score, who did it, who assisted and what angle the goal was shot from.

He is also so excited to meet his new sister. He has saved his money to help us get her. He has asked about her, prayed for her and even wrote about her in school. Colin may not be a man of many words, but when he does use them, they are sweet and loving. I am so proud of his little heart during the adoption. He has been the most on board the entire time. I can't wait to see him interact with Maggie.

Seven is a big year and I can't believe that my baby boy is this old.

Happy 7th Birthday, Colin. We can't wait to see you grow!

We love you!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Be Brave, Little One

Dear Maggie~

Today, my daughter, you turn 15 month old. I am beyond excited to know that this is the very last time that you will do that alone. Next month, your sweet 16 month, you will be with me. At home.  Forever.

I have been waiting so long for this day. We have tickets to come get you. They are booked and bought. It is real now. The final itinerary it set. The last travel meeting completed.

We have been working for this moment for 18 months, thinking and praying about it for over 2 years. Hours and hours of paperwork, reading, writing, scrolling, absorbing much information. The reality of being so close to seeing you in person is a bit surreal.

We've seen pictures of where you sleep. The pale pink walls, lined up with cribs. We've looked at the outside building, with it's 3 stories and barred windows. The tile floors and the play room with the boppy pillows stacked high.

We are so glad that you had that place to keep you safe and keep you warm. But, we are ready for you  to be at our home, with our family. Your family.

Your bed is ready, with a very excited big sister waiting to share the room with. The bags are slowly being packed. The car seat installed. Everything is moving forward to becoming a family of six.

And now, my Little One, we are coming. For you.

See you in a week sweet girl.

Be brave, little one.

Be Brave.

Momma and Daddy are on their way.

Love you always,

Monday, July 10, 2017

LAST CALL: Puzzle Pieces for Maggie

We are weeks away from traveling thousands of miles to go get our girl. We are waiting for our travel approval and consulate date from China and then we can book those tickets!!

SO, with those upcoming events happening so soon, we are doing one last call for our puzzle fundraiser.

We still have puzzle pieces available for the puzzle picture that will hang in Maggie and Macy's room.

We will be shutting down our fundraising page soon!

How does it work?

1. There are 252 pieces to this puzzle we created.

2. We are "selling" each puzzle piece. You can buy one for any amount.  It can be $10, $20 or $100. It doesn't matter to us. Anything helps. No amount is too small or too big. We are grateful and thankful for anything.  (If you're wondering, the total cost of adopting from China is approximately $35,000.  We are still trying to raise the last $8,000)

3. For every donation we receive, we will write YOUR name on your puzzle piece. Maggie will be able look at her puzzle and know that you were apart of bringing her home.

4. Once every single puzzle piece has been "sold", we will put the puzzle together and hang it in a double-sided glass frame in her room. It will be a beautiful reminder of who had a "piece" of bringing her home, and all those that joined together with us and became apart of our own love story.

5. If you would like to buy a piece of our puzzle, please click HERE. There are buttons on the right side of the page for any size donation and every donation is tax deductible. If you do not want your name on a puzzle piece but would still like to donate, just let us know.

We are so grateful for your help in our journey to adopt Maggie. We love having people join with us and bring one more orphan home, one puzzle piece at a time!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

And Then He Turned 9....

This handsome boy turns NINE today.

So big.

My baby boy is growing much to fast.

My Jack is funny and smart.

He loves reading and learning and exploring the world around him.

Any subject fascinates him and he prefers to read non fiction over fiction.

I love that he wants to always discover how things work and facts about everything.

He also loves to play soccer with his brother and friends.

Our front yard is always full of boys and soccer balls and I love it.

He is quick with a response, kind and (mostly) looks out for his siblings and friends.

I am so proud of my first born boy.

 I am forever grateful that I get to be him mom.

We love you buddy!

Happy 9th Birthday, Jack!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Her Name Is...

In 2002, I ventured to Kampala, Uganda, as a bright-eyed college student, excited to explore the world. I was going to help build a house that would hold 8 orphan children and their house mother. It was apart of a village of orphan homes that is known as the Watoto Children's home, a modern take on traditional orphanages that creates small families for the orphans while providing jobs for women, usually widows who were least likely to find good employment.

What I encountered left me changed beyond recognition. The climate, the landscape and the people left an indelible mark and changed the way that I saw the world around me. The extreme poor countered by the mega-watt smiles left a paradox that made me question my outlook on life. Such poverty next to such joy. My American ideas were shaken.

On my very first trip I had the privilege of meeting a house mother named Margaret. She was warm and welcoming and ushered me into her home, giving me the best seat in the small, spartan house. She held my hand and talked about two of her boys, both orphans from the government orphanage. Her story, and those of the boys, stuck with me.

Margaret was raised by her grandparents and succeeded in school, becoming a schoolteacher. Shortly after she started teaching she got married, and after the birth of her third child she stayed home to care for them, not wanting to have her babies raised by strangers. 3 more children followed.

"My secret to raising my children was that I tricked them. I just loved them and loved them and I would always try to be there for them," Margaret said. "This is how I would raise them: I would just love them too much."

When Margaret became a Christian, her new-found faith upset her husband and he left her with all of the children. She was forced to move in with her ailing grandparents and jobs were scarce.

She was one of the lucky few who was chosen to become a house mom with Watoto. This ensured that she would have food, clothing and lodging for the rest of her life. Her older children were able to go to boarding school and she was able to keep the youngest two children with her. She moved into a house with 6 orphan boys.

The transition to mothering orphans was not as simple as she had thought. These children did not respond to her love. They were rebellious and did not listen. It was a slow process of them coming together as a family.

One particular little boy named Vincent was very shy and did not interact with the other children. He had missing fingers on one hand. He didn't smile. He preferred to be alone.

Margaret had to pray for grace where Vincent was concerned.

"When Vincent came, I had to pray and pray that God would break the ice between us." Margaret said.

But grace came one chilly morning.

Vincent came close enough for Margaret to pick him up and put him on her lap.
"It was cold and we just warmed ourselves by the stove and I held him close." Margaret said. "After that, the ice was broken, and he knew that I was his mom."

Her story of love and redemption took a deep hold in my heart. I heard the call of the orphans and the widows. The call for love and acceptance, the need for family, no matter how it is formed.

I was able to see first hand the transformation in little Vincent. I met him on my first trip and he would not touch my pale white hand, afraid of my skin color. When I returned almost 2 years later, his little hand grabbed mine and when I looked down and noticed his missing fingers, I was amazed at the bright smiling face accompaning that little hand. He remembered me and I was blown away at the change in him. Happy, confident, smiling from ear to ear. It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen.

There is so much joy in the redemption of children, in the creation of families.

It was in that red clay dirt of Uganda that I knew that I had to do something. The desire to adopt was rooted firm and now, 15 years later, I am preparing to head to China to adopt my own little child, to create my own special family.

And my daughter...

Her name is Margaret.