Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Pics 2010

Tonight I took Noah to get his Christmas pictures taken. I have been taking him to the same studio since he was 8 months old, so he is very comfortable there! They do a great job and the best part is that your pictures are done and ready to take home in less then 30 minutes!! Of course tonight it took a little longer with the amount of people who were there getting Christmas pictures done, but we weren't complaining. It gave us a reason to go grab some dinner with my sister, her 3 kiddos and my mom. We all always have so much fun together!! We also got my niece and nephew's pictures taken tonight, along with a few group shots of the 4 grandchildren for my mom. I couldn't help but think about how exciting it will be this time next year when I have both my boys home together, getting Christmas pictures done!! If only that sweet boy God has chosen for me knew how much he was already loved and thought of!!

I love how the pictures turned out, but I think for our actual Christmas cards I am going to take Noah to a park near our home and take some shots of him myself for our card. That is what I did last year and I really liked how they turned out. Ordering the amount of Christmas cards I need from the studio is just too expensive. PLUS let's not forget we bloggers get those free 50 cards from shutterfly :) So it looks like one day this week he and I will be venturing out for a mini photo shoot! Enjoy the sample of pictures below!!

Adoption News- Please be in prayer for a fellow Arise family. Kelli and Vince left for Ethiopia today to pick up their boys and bring them home!! How exciting!! You can read their story and follow along in their journey by clicking here Pray for safe travels and a smooth transition for this wonderful family!!














Friday, November 26, 2010

So Much To Be Thankful For

I have tried to think of the words to express all that I am thankful for this year. God has done such amazing things in my life, and for some there are no words to describe my gratitude. Even in times of trials and weakness he taught me how to rely solely on my faith and HIM to make it through. The beginning of this year was a time of different "test" that have since added great strength to my TESTimony. The experiences he brought me through taught me that no matter how unsure I may be of my ability to make it through the hard times, he will give me strength that only he can provide and I CAN make it through anything with him. Matthew 19:26

I am thankful for the honor he has given me to be called Mommy by my precious little boy. To be told when you are a teenager that you will never have children of your own, and then to be blessed with such an amazing gift is truly just that, a gift! Life with Noah is a wonderful adventure, one that I savor every minute of. He brings such joy to my life and I could not be any prouder of the little boy he is growing into. I pray God uses him in mighty ways as he continues to grow in HIM. 1st Peter 3:18

My family whom without life would be very boring, lol seriously though, in their own way each member of my family have helped shape me into the kind of person I have become today. They have supported me, encouraged me and have always been there for me. I will always consider myself blessed to have such an awesome family to call mine. Matthew 6:21

God has shown me through the years that friends are not a necessity in life but an added bonus to this adventure we are all on. I will always consider myself lucky to have a hand full of people who I know I can count on no matter what, instead of having numerous friends who are quick to run when problems arise. Proverbs 17:17

I will always be thankful that God has provided a wonderful church where I can go and get fed his Word, learn more about him and worship and fellowship with my church family. This last year God has opened my eyes to a lot when it comes to the church and the church body. My prayer is that I will take what he has shown me and continue to look to him for guidance and direction and be his continued disciple in helping to grow his kingdom.
1st Corinthians 12:12-26

I continue to thank him and praise him for the burden he placed on my heart so many years ago about orphans of the world and adoption, and how he has used life's experiences, friendships and the testimonies of complete strangers to lead me to this amazing journey I am now on. Had you told me a year ago that at this time I would be preparing for my home study and preparing my dossier, I probably would have laughed in disbelief. Of course you know what they say. " You wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans" The further into this process I get, the more excited I get!! Proverbs 31:28

I can't talk about the adoption without talking about the amazing people God has brought into my life through this process. Not only has he given me an awesome agency to work with, but with that wonderful ladies who have been there to help me, answer questions, support me and remind me to take it one day at time, because yes it is overwhelming at times :) God has also given me a new group of people who I look forward to continuing to growing friendships with. Amazing people who have either already been blessed through adoption or are in the process as I am. It has been wonderful to hear their stories, get advice, support and encouragement from all of them. God couldn't have chosen better families for these precious children. I know God is going to use this experience for his glory as he already has in so many ways. Psalms 68:5-6

Of course yesterday, today and everyday until his return I will shout it from the roof top, THANK YOU Father for the amazing gift of your son Jesus Christ, whom without him I am nothing. You have blessed my life in ways I never thought possible. I don't deserve all you do for me. Thank you for your mercy, your grace and your LOVE. Ephesians 2:4-5

I hope that each and every one of you had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving with those you love. May God bless you and keep you and be with you as we move into the wonderful season of Advent. Isaiah 7:14

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ornaments Are Ready!!! Who Wants One?!?!

They are done!! Well the first 24, but who's counting, Ha!! Noah was SO EXCITED to "help" with the ornaments. He was so sweet, with every ornament he helped make he would look at me with that sweet smile of his and say "Mommy when can my baby brother come home?" Of course trying to explain this process to a 5yr old can get pretty interesting. My famous answer has become "When God is ready for him to come home" So now his prayers include "God please bring my brother home real soon" Oh how I can't wait to see my two boys together!!

This is the finished product!! The ornaments are stuffed with yellow, green and red. The colors of the Ethiopian flag. Stamped with a heart in the shape of Africa, enclosed with a heart around it. I have to say I am pretty proud of them.
I had to get creative with how exactly I was going to get the shape on the ornaments. I went to a craft store this afternoon and picked up the supplies I needed to hopefully do the country justice when stamping it on the ornaments. Hope I did :)

The only thing I have to say about this tool is.......there is a reason I am a nurse and NOT a surgeon!! You should have seen me all hunkered down with my "scalpel" in hand trying to cut out the shape of Africa out of the foam brush I bought.

After cutting, sweating and praying I think I did an okay job. What do you think? I will admit it took longer then I expected to do the first 24 ornaments, so my plan is to get those sold and then spend next Saturday finishing up the rest I have sitting in my dining room. Thankfully my niece is real big into crafty stuff, so she has already asked me when she can help stuff more ornaments?
FYI- The ornaments are selling for $6.00 and I WILL ship them for you if you don't live in this area. Just e-mail me @ ethiopiaminusone@gmail.com
I hope everyone is anxiously preparing for a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday, where we reflect on ALL God has done for us this year!! God Bless~




Saturday, November 20, 2010

Home Study Interview

I know I am late posting about this (for those of you who read on facebook 2 days ago about it) but Friday was jammed packed with errands, Noah's Thanksgiving program/feast at his school and then we went to our town's big shopping center for Light Up (insert name of shopping center) Anywhoo, let's just say by the time we got home last night I was exhausted as was Noah!!

SO, let's see if I can remember everything I wanted to make sure I mentioned, Ha! With my brain that might not happen, but I can try!!

In true nursing fashion, I was a little late for my appointment due to a meeting at work that went WAY too long. I was so thankful that the 2nd shift nurse offered to do my last treatment for me so I could get out of the door and on my way.

Noah and his Grammy were meeting me there, because Noah had to be interviewed as well. I can't lie I was a little nervous about this. For those of you who know my child, you understand my fear, Ha!! He is such a little goober and you NEVER know what will come out of his mouth. Since I was running late, the case worker went ahead and started interviewing Noah. To no surprise of mine (I'm not partial at all, lol) Noah did great! My mom said he was his little charmer self and was so excited to tell the lady about his little brother. Below are a few of the things I wanted to write down and remember, because they were just too cute!!

Lady- So Noah does your little brother have a name yet?
Noah- Well if you ask Mommy she will tell you his name is going to be Silas, but I don't like that name so I am going to call him Isaac, (I'm sure at this point the lady was thinking great, this poor child is going to have identity issues, Ha!)

Lady- So Noah what happens when you get in trouble at home?
Noah- I never get in trouble
Lady- Oh now Noah, all little boys get in trouble sometimes
Noah- Nope, not me
(I'm still laughing at this one, lol all though Noah finally fessed up and admitted that yes he does sometimes get in trouble and when he does he has to sit in time out)

Lady- Noah what are you most excited about?
Noah- Bringing my little brother home. When is he coming home? Can we go get him tomorrow?
Lady- What are you worried about?
Noah- Mommy going on the airplane (that response added to something I had already been thinking about and will post about later)

All in all the case worker said she thought Noah was a laid back, well adjusted, funny and loving little boy. She said she thinks he is going to be an awesome big brother!!

Now my interview on the other hand, it last a little bit longer, lol I think it is safe to say whenever it comes to being "interviewed" we all get a little nervous! Of course before going in I say and had some time with God, so I felt a little better when it was my turn.

The interview went really well. The case worker is so excited to be going on this journey with Noah and I, and the last 20 minutes we actually spent just talking about Noah and how excited he is about bringing his brother home!! Below are some of the questions she asked me.

Lady- One of these questions you left blank? Why is that? The question was "What don't you like about yourself?"
Me- There was only one perfect person that walked this earth, Jesus Christ. I feel like God uses are imperfections to help mold and make us into the type of disciples he wants us to be. He can use all the gifts, trials, test and imperfections to grow his Kingdom, so why would I not like who I am, because I am exactly the way he wants me to be. I think when most people see that question they think about losing weight, changing their hair color, or something that the world looks at, but that's just it. The world looks at the outside, but our Father looks at the inside. He doesn't care about the shirt we wear, he cares about the heart that is behind that shirt. The case worker told me she was curious before talking to me to why I would leave that question blank, but after talking to me, she was really impressed with my answer. I was glad to hear that, seeing as the look on her face before I started talking was a look of "you left this blank, why??"

Lady- Have you thought about what you would do if someone walked up to you in Target and asked you why you have a one black child and one white child?
Me- Do you want me to answer that honestly, lol.........If I were to be honest I haven't even thought about that question, because when I think about those situations I don't see a black child and a white child. I see my boys!! Two little boys who God has given me the honor to love, raise and teach his ways to. (Plus if I had to be honest if that ever happen, the look on my face of "you actually came over here to ask me this" would probably be enough that they would just turn around and walk away, Ha) We are all God's children, that is how I am raising Noah and will raise Silas when he gets home! When I first started thinking of adoption, I showed Noah some pictures of children from Africa and asked him what he thought about having a brother from there. His only worry was would his brother likes his toys?? Love it!!

I left the interview happy and that much more excited about bring my son home!! The case worker was nice and reminded me that when she came on the 14th that I would need a check ready to give her. As if that thought had left my mind, Ha!

So, speaking of fundraising. A couple of big announcements. This weekend I will be making ornaments to sell. They are turning out pretty cute I think, and I can't wait to take a picture and post it. I will post purchasing information when I post the pictures. Also, T-SHIRTS!! I have changed the printer I am using, as well as the design and the PRICE!! I can't wait until I have a picture to post along with all the information on how you can get your hands on one, two, three or more :) I am stepping out on FAITH and pre-ordering 100 shirts!!! Trusting that God will provide and that they will all sell, plus some!! I am going to stop boxing God in on what he can do with this adoption, and stop allowing doubt to creep into my brain, and instead move forward in this journey knowing it is God driven and God will work out the details, I just need to continue to trust in HIM!!

WOW, this is a long post, Ha!! Noah and I are off to get his hair cut and head to a birthday party for a sweet little boy who came home from Ethiopia this year. Noah is so excited!! We stood in the toy department yesterday at Target for what seemed like forever, while he decided on the perfect gift for his buddy as he kept saying :)

I hope everyone has a very blessed weekend!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cards For Christmas (For Free)

I had a hard time believing it too, but it is true!! For all you bloggers out there if you post on your blog about Christmas cards from Shutterfly.com you will get 50 FREE Christmas cards of your choice!! I was so excited when I found out. I have worked with Shutterfly's site for about the last 4 years and I just love the cards they offer, and the best part is they have SO MANY to choose from!! Below are some of my favorites from their site. Click here for more information on how you can get your free cards! I can't wait until this time next year when I will hopefully be ordering Christmas cards that will hold a picture of BOTH of my boys!!










Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Fundraising Idea (From A Fellow Ethiopian Adoptive Family)

So I have to be honest with you, this last week has been rough. Fundraising is not going like I thought it would, and I can't lie doubt has snuck into my mind a couple of times. I received an e-mail from my case worker who will be doing my home study, and she was reminding me that I will need to pay for my home study in full in just 2 short weeks when she comes to my home. The scariest part of that.........I have only $25 raised toward the $1,600 that my home study cost. BUT instead of freaking (which I already did, Ha) I have decided I am NOT going to box God in on what he can do!! Instead, I am going to continue to think of new ways to fundraise and pray that he will work the rest of the details out.

SO, with that said and thanks to a family who's blog I came across one night. I decided to follow in their foot steps with a fundraiser they are doing, because I just think it is a really cool idea!! I went out in search of a really neat African puzzle and as you will see in the picture below, I found one!! Anyway, I am going to be offering a piece of the puzzle to be sponsored for $10, with each piece that is sponsored I will write the name of the person who sponsored it and once the puzzle is complete I am going to glue it together, frame it and hang it up in Silas's room!! How awesome is that?!?! I love the idea of their being a little piece of Africa that he can look at everyday!! Even better, I love the thought that he will be able to see ALL the names on the back of the puzzle of people who prayed for him and helped in bringing him home to his forever family!! I can't wait to watch this puzzle come together with each piece that is sponsored.

For those of you who have asked or e-mailed about the shirts. I am currently looking for a different printer to work with, and I actually think I have found one, so it may be a few more days before they are ready to order. It would help me though, if those of you who are interested would e-mail me, so I can get a ballpark number on how many I will need to order to start out with. As soon as I can, I will post with more updated information concerning the shirts.

I wanted to take a minute to thank my fellow Arise families who have encouraged me and prayed for me during this process. Especially JT and Natalie over at http://www.5millionminus1.blogspot.com/ Be sure you go and check their story out and show them some love!! Did I mention how super cute their little guy Tedi it :) They are such a sweet family, and have given me a lot of good ideas for fundraising!

I hope everyone is having a blessed week!! I pray that if God is weighing heavy on your heart about the adoption crisis, that you will really try and listen to him and move forward in FAITH!! Together we can END the orphan crisis!!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

How I Told People!!

I couldn't help myself! I had to post this picture of my sweet boy in the shirt I ordered for him. This is how I told people I was adopting. Noah LOVES this shirt and even wore it to bed the first day he wore it!! If anyone is looking for a shirt like this, feel free to e-mail me and I will get the information to you. I actually found it on etsy.com but I have the direct contact information for those of you who are interested!!


Not Much Change, BUT A Lot Of FAITH

You'll have to forgive me for the short post. I wish I had more to update, but with the week I've had I did good to make it through work in one piece!! I am still moving a long, trying to get as much checked off my to-do list before my home study next month. I do have a few things to share, but they will have to wait for tomorrow. My present work schedule has caught up with me and I am feeling it. So for the first time in a LONG time I am heading to bed before midnight!!

I am longing for tomorrow, to be in the house of our AMAZING God, to worship, praise and sing to him!! Giving him THANKS for all he has done and continues to do. I find myself needing him more and more as the weeks go on. So much is going on in my life right now, and I am realizing I can't do it alone and I don't want to. I just pray that my eyes are always open and not blocked by all the world throws at me. My FAITH rest in HIM and his WILL!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Been One Of Those Days!

As much as I wish I haven't, I have. It's been one of those days where doubt has snuck in and made me question myself. Just as quick as it kept sneaking, I kept pushing it out. Reminding myself that our God is a FAITHFUL!! Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow!! He is faithful!!

"Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken" Psalm 55:22

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Arise Reunion 2010

My adoption agency held their 2nd annual reunion yesterday. I was so excited to go and to meet all the families that have already brought their sweet children home. It was such an encouragement to hear the families talk about their stories of adoption. The best part was hearing all the amazing ways God worked through all of these adoptions.

I was blessed to sit and talk to a man and his wife who brought home 2 boys from Ethiopia last year. They were able to give me some great advice as well as answer a lot of my questions I had. The best part was watching Noah running around playing with all the kids. It was the sweetest thing and it made me so happy to think of Noah and Silas running around, playing and laughing together once we get him home!!

As I sat there listening to a super sweet couple talking about their adoption process with their daughter and now their two boys who they are waiting to bring home from Ethiopia I was reminded of why I feel such a burden for these children. There are so many sweet and innocent children who are alone, needing a family to call their own. I long for the day I get to meet my son for the first time, and even more for the day I get to bring him home forever!! Until that day though, I continue to think of different fundraising ideas to help get Silas home as soon as I can.

I have been thinking and praying so much about the 147 orphans still out there and what I can do to help? I think sometimes we find ourselves thinking we are too little to do anything, but what we forget is that we serve a BIG God who can do anything. I have something that I have really been thinking and praying about, something that will help get more people involved and educated about the orphan crisis going on. I have a meeting tomorrow to talk to someone about something that has been on my heart and I am hoping it goes well, but like everything else it is in God's hands and if it is meant to happen I know it will. I am just planting those seeds and allowing God to work it out as I know he will. Trust me though, as soon as I know more, you better believe I will be posting about it. I am so excited to think of what this little idea could turn into!!

I know I keep saying it, but seriously, THANK YOU to all of you for your love, support and prayers through this journey!! You will never know how much it all means to me!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Preparing For Silas!!

November is going to be a busy month for us! Not only am I preparing for our home study, but we are also moving the first week of December!! Our current 2 bedroom home has proven to be too small with an active little boy and even more so with a very active puppy!! So we are moving into a 3 bedroom home and couldn't be happier!!

With our new home both boys will be sharing a room, which absolutely thrills Noah :) I knew I would need to get a new bed for the boys, and it just so happened that last week Ashley Furniture was having an amazing sale on all their furniture. Noah has wanted a bunk bed for the last few months, and has actually been praying for a set :) So needless to say he got super excited when I told him we were going to look at some different beds to pick one out for his new room that he will be sharing with his little brother.

We found the perfect bed!! (after 2 crazy hours in the furniture store, Ha) It is a beautiful dark expresso bunk bed that Noah loved the minute he saw it. Not only is the bottom bunk a full size bed, but it has some great storage underneath as well. I can't wait until it is delivered and we get it set up!! I love thinking about my boys sleeping soundly in their beds, the sounds of giggles and laughter as they go to sleep and the many prayers of thanks that will be said every night before bed. I can't wait until that day!

I am on a small mission to find a matching bed set for the bottom bunk to match the set I recently bought Noah a few months ago. I already have some wall decor as well as curtains that match his bed set, so I am hoping to find a bed set for Silas's bed. I ordered a very special piece of art from Lifeway that I plan on putting in the boy's room. I got so excited when I saw it and knew it would be perfect in their room!! I will be sure and post a picture as soon as it comes in.




Adoption Fund Raising News- I am going tomorrow to work on the design of the adoption shirt and will hopefully have one to bring home and take a picture of to put on the blog for those who would like to order one (or more) in support of bringing Silas home!! So be sure and check back tomorrow for that post!!
A BIG thank you to all of those who have posted the blog link of their facebooks, for those who have already donated money and most of all for all the prayers being said on behalf of this amazing journey!! I can't wait to share with Silas about all those who were praying for him and helping to bring him home quickly!! I feel so blessed to have such amazing people in my life.
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you" John 14:18


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Update!!

WOW!! The blog is up and running full force!! Thank you SO MUCH to Becca at Jumping Jack Design for the amazing blog design!! I am blown away with how it looks!! Anyone who is looking for a great blog design be sure and visit Becca and check out all the unique designs she has done, and so much more!!

So I thought I would give everyone a little update as to where things are with the adoption. First let me answer the most asked question. "Do I know who the little boy is I will be adopting?"

No, I don't. The actual referral process where a picture/information about a perspective child is sent to me won't happen until I get approved by Ethiopia. I am currently working on that now. My home study is scheduled for December 14th and after that is done I hope to have all my paperwork signed, sealed and delivered by the first of the year!! Prayers for this process are much appreciated!!

While I don't know what my son looks like just yet, I do have his name picked out. I knew I wanted him to have a strong biblical name like Noah and I have always liked the name Silas! I have prayed over this little boy God has chosen for me and I know this name will fit him perfectly once I have him in my arms forever. Although this could change, at this time I plan on keeping Silas's birth name a part of his new name. After talking to a sweet lady who has adopted two boys from Ethiopia, I decided to keep his birth name as his middle name. That way he will always have a part of Ethiopia with him :)

Noah is beyond excited about this entire process!! It melts my heart to see the joy in his face when he talks about his little brother coming to live with us and to hear him praying nightly for God to take care of his little brother in Africa and to bring him home soon! I can't wait to see them together. I know they will have a very special bond!!

I'm sure you have noticed the ChipIn on the left hand side of my blog. Please know I don't expect a hand out but the harsh reality is that adoption is very expensive. I know that God put adoption on my heart and I know he will provide throughout this process. After much consideration I decided to add the ChipIn should anyone feel lead to donate. It is very easy and please know anything you choose to give is very appreciated! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

I am currently working on different fund raising ideas to raise money as well as designing a shirt to sell. As soon as the t-shirt design is finished I will post a picture as well as information on how to order one, two or more!!

Well, that about does it :) Thank you in advance for your prayers and support as I continue this amazing journey to bring home Noah's little brother and making Ethiopia minus one!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Official

The blog is ready!! I am so excited and I can't wait to fill in the blanks on here, to catch everyone up on this amazing journey I now find myself on!! God is hard at work with this adoption and I can't wait to see all he will do through this journey!! Enjoy exploring the blog and all the information it holds.
 
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