Sunday, December 16, 2012


This weekend I grieve...

for the women who so desperately want to be a mother but struggle to conceive

for the child who has a mother but wants her to act like one

for the birth mother who chooses to give her child a better life than she can provide

for awaiting adoptive families who just want to hold their new child in their arms

for families that have lost a child and just wish they would have had one more night

for Conneticut...
          for all of those who hurt.

An outpouring from my heart

My heart is raw. The past two weeks have been very
difficult for me.  I started this blog as a way to share our journey with family, friends and other adoptive families so I want to be honest here and share my heart, pretty or not.

This past week we changed our request back to one child. It was a long time coming and something we really struggled with. A day later in our agency, there was a referral for a sibling set and then a few days later another sibling set referral, both were within our age ranges. To be honest, this was hard. I wish I could say that I was praising God and celebrating for these families, sending them heart felt words of encouragement. But I wasn't.....I was sad and angry and hurt. Knowing that if we had not changed our request we would have two new sons right now was difficult. Yes, I have three amazing wonderful children in my home who I love and cherish- but in that moment I missed our Ethiopian child(ren). My heart sank. I felt like we had lost something, we had missed it.

To say adoption is easy is a lie. This is tough stuff and I mean gut wrenching, pain in your heart, earth shattering longing like you would never believe hard. Seriously- hard stuff people.

But out of this pain and hurt, I get to see how much God loves me. If we love this child so much before we even know them, how much more does our heavenly creator who adopted us! I can place my trust in God and know that he has plans for us. The boys that I cried over and missed were never really mine, they were intended for their new families and have been heavenly matched.
Now, can I say this every moment of every day? Nope- some time I just want to throw up my hands and run back to the days before I felt that half my heart was missing. Back to the days where I had hidden the knowledge about oorphans and hunger, extreme poverty and AIDS. Back to the days when I thought three was just fine with me. No constant e-mail checking, cyber stalking other adoptive parent blogs, or constant research on race or health or behavioral interventions.... But then, no one said life was going to be easy, pain free or boring. Our child is out there somewhere and he is waiting for us too!  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A little quiet time

Today my boys are out hunting, I have one girl asleep and another enjoying her own coveted tv time. In this quiet time I am reflecting on all the things I am thankful for and am just amazed at all I have. We really have so much in America and sometimes we forget how much we really do have. I have jumped on the facebook bandwagon and writing things that I am thankful for and I know I am not even skimming the surface.  How do you encompass an entire life and everything in it into 30 days? I am at a loss...

This moring was the Christmas parade in Lebanon. I was able to enjoy it with a gppd friend and lots of little children. It made me think about this Christmas and all the shopping that is to come But. this year I am choosing to focus on how I can incorporate fair trade products in my shopping and my ability to give to others. (So friends and family- be prepared because you may get some not-so traditional gift this year!)

In my midst of seeking for fare trade I have found many different shopping sites. Here are a few:

The Brave Collection sells beautiful jewelry that helps support survivors of the sex trade in Cambodia.

  You can help African children get shoes, and help people create jobs for themselves through learning how to make shoes.

Buy the Change USA sells goods created by women in the developing world who were victims. Their mission is to encourage consumers to buy goods that support undervalued women.

  We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships.

Umoja Women’s Shop sells traditional, glass-beaded jewelry made by women from Umoja, Kenya who have escaped abusive lives in favor of a violence-free community in Umoja. All the color combinations are preserved from their ceremonial jewelry.

Shop With MeaningConnecting shoppers with products that support causes.

Bajalia sells authentic handmade products war-torn countries. All products -- women’s accessories, shawls, wall art, handmade paper, baskets, and more --  are fair trade.

Or you can go to one of my fellow adoptive momma's boards and check out over 200 stores!

And, if you (and by you I mean I) really can't say goodbye to Target, GAP or Sephora then there is an amazing website called Pure Charity that you can go throught ot purchase items straight for the store and a percentage of each of your purchases goes to charity and the amazing part is- YOU get to pick the Charity! How cool is that!

So....Happy Christmas Shopping!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

DTE Update and some Fall Fun

So I completely missed our 6 months DTE update and we are almost to our 7th. I think I was wallowing in a little in denial over not being matched with our new child(ren) yet and I thought somehow if I didn't post then we may get "The Call".

A few months ago Gene and I really felt even more at peace about raising our age range and together decided if we had not received our referral by 6 months then we would feel comfortable increasing our age range to 0-7. So a few weeks ago we sent in an e-mail to our coordinator and up-ed the age (again). Now, you may be thinking "You started off this journey requesting 0-2 and now your 0-7, in a Joey from Blossom voice: Whoaw- big jump! " 
And yes, you would be correct! For those of you that know me really well, you know I love babies and would love to have like a million of them another one. However, God gave me this amazing husband that has really had his fill of the baby days. In the amazing way that God does things, he has helped both of us acknowledge that He has a plan for us better than our own...

So, trusting in him, we know that we continue to leave our age range open, knowing that he will give us the child (or children) that are for us. So with that, here are the numbers, knowing that God is the ultimate mathematician...

  For an Infant Boy

    For an Toddler boy

   For Siblings (still hard to predict given the variety of  
                                                  ages and gender)

                 For a boy child age 4 or older.

(Want to know where we get these numbers- see the post DTE month 4)

So we continue to pray, study, prepare and celebrate with each referral that creates a forever family! (More to post on a specific family soon!)

While we wait, we decided to take some nice fall family pictures. Enjoy!

We heart Ethiopia!

Can you believe we got the two big ones to hold our hands!

Love this man!

Wherever you go...I will follow

Our three home grown

Off on an adventure


Friday, October 12, 2012

Polio, MMR and Hepatitus

Gene and I had the pleasure of a fun date night in Springfield a few weeks ago and we shared it by injecting live deadly virusis into our bodies.....

                                            Hep A, Polio and Yellow Fever for Geno!

                                (I think the virus may already be active in that crazy face!)  

                               Hepatitis A and B, MMR, Polio and Yellow Fever for Amanda

                      That HEP A/B combo stung like a.....(this is a family blog people!)

    Our Battle Scars also known as band-aids....

Although our insurance did not cover our "Ethiopia Travel Vacines" we did have a very nice nurse that allowed us to be in the city limits according to our rental properties so that we could pay $600 instead of $800.

Now please understand, I am just to thankful that we live in a place that we can access vacines and modern medicine and technology. Let me share with you what I have learned about the health of the developing world....

For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are:
      640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3)
      400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5)
      270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7)

Love Life and Lollipops- Dirty Water

Worldwide: 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized
          (Anup Shah, Poverty Facts and Stats, Global Issues, Updated: September 20, 2010)

So How can you Help???



Sunday, September 23, 2012

A year in passing....

    A year ago, on the 20th of this month we officially were accepted in to AWAA Ethiopia Program. We had planned to have infant home by the Summer of 2013 and I am ashamed to admit we just thought the idea of adopting an orphan was kind of a good deed mixed with wanting to add to our family. We felt God calling us and so if we are " christian enough" we could do it and if God adopted us, it's what we are supose to do, right?
      I mean, I'v birthed two babies and raised a son, this would just make us "the modern family"  and why not just try adoption for a spin....[rolling eyes at myeslf now ]...little did I know how much God was going to work in both of our hearts thru this journey. 

   First, those were all naive but decent reasons to start our process but once we started preparing we realized adoption is so much more than that for us. Adoption is about giving a child a forever family that loves them unconditionally expecting nothing in return. It is the way God loves us. International adoption is about an immediate band- aid fix to bleeding orphan epidemic that is a result of poverty and desperation. Ethiopain adoption is about honoring a birth country and a culture that is thousands of years older than mine. It's about learning and sharing and showing respect to a country that is kind and proud but has suffered pain and hunger for much too long.  
   I have poured over my bible this year and found verse after verse of following God's will and trusting in him. Prov. 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of neec.

 So we started opening our eyes and listening to our hearts seeing Adoption as what it truly is. We began to research ways of making a difference in the lives of these children and their families. We began sharing what we were learning with our friends (thank you for still being my friends!) and with our family. We dug deeper into why God called us to adopt and our pre-concieved ideas and how they lined up with reality. All this time we still thought an infant, and then....

two boys and a choir that forever changed our family. God used these children to open a part of us that was so afraid and scared. We read and prayed and researched and prayed some more. We saw the need for older children and sibling adoption and changed our request to reflect that.

Our friends and family joined us in our fundraiser and orphan awareness event, showering us with so much love and support.

So now we continue to learn and grown and prepare. Knowing an idea of what lies ahead and where our child comes from. Remembering that we have been called by God to Look after the Orphans and the Widows in their distress (James 1:27) and for us that mean to adopt. Focusing not on ourselves and fufilling our own desires but reminded that this journey is about our child and what they need.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Coffee with Karyn and other memories from Empowered to Connect

My adoption buddy Erin and I packed up and traveled to Nashville, TN for a two day conference on connecting to children from hard places. My brain has completely turned to mush as I try to process all the great things that I learned at Empowered to Connect. I'll spare a few of you and make a separate blog post about what all was covered.  

Dr. Karyn Purvis (my new bestie- but more about that in a minute) is the author of The Connected Child and has done years of brain research to aide families and therapists to have a deeper connection and create attachment in children coming from traumatic backgrounds. If you have an adopted child or are a foster care parent, this is a MUST read! 

Now, if I haven't lost you yet in this entry, let me tell you this was also an amazing weekend to connect with other adoptive families.


Here are all the AWAA girls that attended the conference. We all ate together for a yummy dinner and shared our stories then met for lunch to process all that we had learned. So nice to have that community of believers and fellow adoptive mom's to share with.

Now.....I do have to say, Dr. Purvis and I are like best buds since we had coffee together. Some Debby Downers nay sayers people may comment and call our "breakfast date" with Dr. Purvis aka my buddy Karyn a simple hello, but I am here to say it was so much more :) Erin and I were having coffee and Dr. Purvis walks by in our hotel lobby, stops and says hi to us (I happened to be wearing a Show Hope Shirt!) and asks us about our adoption. I somehow blurted out that I loved her and told my husband I wanted to marry her  .  We were able to have a few minutes to talk with her and ask her some questions. She is an awesome woman and recovering from breast cancer. She is such a great impact in vunerable children and thier lives- will you please pray for her recovery?

We headed back home late Saturday night and had a great time....until my darn throat problem surfaced and poor Erin spent the next 7 hours driving thur the dark in the rain listening to me throw-up and spit while I tried to breath through my choking, stopping every hour to get me a new barf bag. Two more hours later, a change of clothes and an ER trip with my husband, I got a soft muscles relaxer and barium x-ray made me a better Amanda. Now I just sounds like Kermit the Frog and our car will never be the same! Ahhhh, the memories, Erin Jay- you are heaven sent !  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I have died every day, Waiting for you...

Darlin' don't be afraid
I have loved you for a thousand years....I'll love you for a thousand more.

Today was hard.

A compelation of a lot of things and events but I was breaking today. I miss our child(ren) and this song wrapped up exactly what I feel.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Month 4 DTE Update

As school went into full swing this month we have been one crazy busy family. We had fun with my cousin Ray and his wife Dessa and thier hansome 10 month old son Baby Ray, so sweet to see the kids play with him. Of course Kellsie was in heaven! I am grateful for the rain we have this weekend and the peace in our home that only a rainstorm and baking cookies seems to bring. 

When you check out the numbers this month you will see it has been really slow for referrals in our agency, only 5 this month so our numbers barely changed a little this month...with the exception of the last number! But, what that doesn't show is the 20 children that passed court and the 20 children that came home this month. It was so exciting to watch week after week as families announced their new children's beautiful faces and celebrated forever families being made. There is some more great news about a referral (not ours but amazingly awesome!) but it will have to wait until the next post, man I can't wait to share with you!!!   

So here are our numbers this month:

For an Infant Boy

        For a Toddler Boy

    For Siblings ( There are only a few families open to a child above six so this one is still kinda tricky)

 For a Boy over 48 months! And this is the best part
We are Number........

For a Boy age five or six!!!!!!

Can I get an Amen!!!!

So how does this happen....well some numbers go down because a family receives a referral and some numbers go up because a family changes their request (for example changes request from 0-2 to 0-4 ) or announces themselves on the America World Yahoo group that maintains an "uunofficial-official waiting list" and have a DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) date before ours.   

So how much longer? Lord knows! and I wish he would tell me! but really only God knows. It could be a week from now or it still could be months from today. Whatever the time frame is, we continue to wait, learn, enjoy the way our family is right now and know that somewhere out there we have a son (or two) and we dream.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time slips away....

This is not my official "DTE update" but I am thinking of time lines. I am so thankful that we have such supportive friends and family. It warms my heart when each one of you ask how our adoption is going and our movement. It is depressing sad to say that our agency has had no referrals in August so I have nothing to report as of today. However, please keep asking and acknowledging our process. Not a hour day goes by that I don't obsess think about our future Ethiopian child(ren) and pray for them so it feels so good to know that you are thinking about it too!

Since there is no movement in the adoption front I thought I would share with you what we have been doing to keep from going crazywith anticipation ourselves busy.

I enjoyed the month of July off and then returned back to Lebanon High School August 1st. I Love watching how my awkward freshman become confident sophomores, my sophomores getting it in gear and going into juniors and my juniors awed and the possibilities they now have as seniors and then meeting all my new freshman and their families. As a counselor in the schools I have such a unique relationships with teens in our community, I am so thankful God placed me there!

Geno is still hard at work and finished up teaching a class with some new solders. He started running this summer and I have to brag and say....I have one HOT hubbie who can run a 5k in under 23 minutes! Oh yea....We also celebrated our 9th year of marriage. Man does time slip away!

Our three homegrown kids continue to do just that...GROW! Kellsie finally learned how to swim, Jacob spent some good time with his mom and Saria had a great time running cross country and actually ran a half marathon. Yes- my 13 year old daughter ran over 13.1 miles! Oh yea....

And I just calculated I have five years left until Jacob and Saria are ready to go out into the world themselves and Kellsie will be their time really slips away!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DTE 3 Month Mark


We hit our third month of DTE. I have to say this past month has had a lot of emotional up and downs. The struggle of the unknown is very hard for me. I know God is doing a work on our hearts. Starting out we knew our wait was going to be at least 12 months if not longer of waiting, however since we have upped our age range and added the possibility of a sibling it has moved us up in those areas and made this wait be unpredictable and feel forever longer. 

Its actually really ironic because one among the many reasons we choose international adoption is there is a timeline and a waiting list. You are matched with a child thru a very lengthy process but in the type of domestic adoption we were looking into you wait for a birth mother to choose you so there is no waiting list, just she chooses you or not. Somehow I thought we would have more control in that....haha! I know God just gave a smirk because he is the one who matches us in the first place....and here we are now adopting thru Ethiopia with such a broad range we could have one child who is five or two siblings age one and ten!

Here is the latest breakdown of our numbers.....
     Infant Boy

  Boy Age 18-47 months

 Siblings under the age of 10
                          (Out of those nine we are the only family that is open all the 
                                            way up to one child age 10 and age 5).

  One Boy age 48 months and up 
                                   (Out of those 5 only 6 are requesting boys so we
                                               are really #6 in line for a child 48 months and only
                                               2 families are open to a five or six year old so we are
                                               really #2 for a five or six year old).

So when you start looking at siblings and older children as you can see, the need is much greater HUGE for those children to have forever families. Thank you for loving on us this month and always asking about our adoption process. I may not always have news on movement but it is so nice to have you ask about it !

To help keep sanity in our house, I am back to reading a few verses and meditating on them in the morning and limiting myself to electronic media ( I really may have an obsession with the waiting child list for our agency) and finding things to do to occupy my time like fun adventures with the kids and organizing.