Thursday, December 20, 2012

All I Want for Christmas

Can't believe Christmas is less than a week away!  What an exciting season!

Yet... there is a yearning this Christmas that has never been so strong.  5 Decembers ago, we had a (surprise!) miscarriage.  There has been a special place in my heart ever since then for Baby Flagler. 

Especially this year: we've come SO FAR in the adoption process.  Lots more paperwork, doctor visits, fingerprints, home visits (x4!), fundraising, final approval, and w a i t i n g. 

Are there things that I want for Christmas?  Sure. 
But there's ONE thing that I really, really, really, really, really, reeeeeeaaaaaaaally want!

Any guesses?


In Mariah Carey's words:
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You baby

In all seriousness, in this Advent time of anticipation, I'm anticipating... that phone call or email that will change our lives forever.  It's a very special place to be in this season of celebrating Christ's birth.  Jesus was a miracle baby!  And we're waiting for our own miracle to arrive!
We've been praying for a 2012 baby.  As there are only 12 days left in 2012, we are starting to realize that God leading us to pray so specifically might not have been so we would see our prayers answered... it might have been for our faith to grow through these prayers. 
God has definitely been drawing us closer to Himself, and for that, we will always be thankful!  Whether or not our prayers for a 2012 baby are answered, we know that God can do it, if He chooses... but even if He does not, our faith in Him will not waiver. 
(The passage from Daniel 3 illustrates a similar confidence in the ability of God and surrender to His will... God's taken me to this passage several times recently.)

I want to focus on Christ during this season... not my yearning, my anticipation, my desires.  Not on our future child(ren) or our calling to adopt.  This is the celebration of Jesus's birthday. 
I will choose to celebrate HIM!  Can you help me if I get distracted?  Seriously. :)

Source: via Mari on Pinterest

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Red and Yellow, Black and White...

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

I grew up singing that song... did you?  
It's a nice song to sing, but it's even more important to believe the words in the song. 

When we started this adoption journey, 2+ years ago, we were open to lots of things, but pretty limited when it came to the type of ethnicity we would 'accept'.  It never felt right, but we knew there were members of our family who would have a serious problem with a child 'of color' being in our family.  And we want our children to be loved as much as they possibly can... from us and from our family members and community. 

A few months ago, things changed.  We had gotten several emails about children available, and they were different races than us.  We didn't respond to those first few emails.  But in June, there was an email about an African American boy.  Something was different, and I knew we were supposed to respond.  I called Matt (who was up at Liberty for school that week), and we discussed it and agreed to spend some time praying and we would talk about it when he was finished with school that week. 

On my way to meet Matt, I literally saw 4 trans-ethnic families.  (You know how you notice things more when you're looking for them or thinking about them?)  At the restaurant we met at and came to our decision, there were 3 other trans-racial families in our view.  In a small way, it was like God was saying, "it's not as different as you think."  We both came to the conclusion that we would respond to that email.

We texted our immediate family members, and they all responded in very appropriate ways.  Some with joy and excitement, others with concern.  None of their responses were wrong... they are entitled to feel how they feel.  For the most part, we know they are looking out for us--and even for our future children.  

Ever since then, we've joyfully responded to almost every email, no matter the type of skin the children have.  (The only ones we haven't responded to have been if there are significant extra costs involved...) I'm so glad the LORD changed our hearts.  I'm so glad He reminds us of the truths in the lyrics in childhood songs. 

This is 2012 (almost 2013).  People are people, no matter what kind of skin they're wearing.  Children without families need families... whether they're red, yellow, black or white.. green, purple, or tie-dyed. 

More importantly, the Lord has been placing people in our lives whose families don't necessarily share the same genetic material.  We know plenty of families who represent different parts of the world, and we're getting to know even more.  Our children will have some hardships (all children do).  But they won't be alone in their struggles.  No matter what color our children are, they will be LOVED... by us, by our family, and by a community of believers who already love them.  


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Liebster Award: 11 Things

I was nominated for the Liebster Award by a new blog friend, Ashley. She blogs over at Expecting Miracles so go show her some love. Thanks for thinking about me, Ashley!

  This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers...the award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.

11 Things About Me:
1.  I don't like eating meat from a bone. 
2.  I love to travel and learn new things about different people and cultures.  
3.  Fall is my favorite season because I can wear sweaters and flip-flops at the same time.
4.  Matt and I met in 1997 when he was in 7th grade and I was in 9th.  When we first met, he was scared of me because I was kind of a punk. We had band together that year in school. 
5.  My best friend is Ginger who I met when we spent the summer together on 'Summer Project' with Campus Crusade for Christ in Gatlinburg, TN.  
6.  I used to love riding horses and hanging out at a horse barn and everything that involves.
7.  I have super sensitive smelling powers. 
8.  We've lived in our house for almost 3 months and haven't done anything in our yard.  I'm afraid we're going to get kicked out of the neighborhood. 
9.  I love being a big sister to my 2 younger sisters... and so thankful that we have all become close friends. 
10. I am NOT a plant person.  Every plant that has ever been under my care has met an early demise... 
11. I confuse myself by being an introvert who loves people and a task-person who is not nearly as organized as I used to be. 

Ashley's Questions For Me:
1. If you had to choose one of your 5 senses to give up, which would you choose?
    This is hard, but I think I would give up smell. 
2. What is one thing on your Christmas wish list this year?
     A Pyrex dish with a cover and a carrier so I can make stuff and transport it easily.
3. What was your favorite subject in high school? Least favorite?
     English was my favorite... anything science was my least favorite.
4. If you were a crayon, which color would you be?
    Purple Mountain Majesty... why?  I have no idea.
5. What is your favorite home cooked meal?
     "Mrs. Judy's Chicken" which is Parmesan-crusted chicken in small pieces. 
6. What is your favorite movie of all time?
     Way too hard to choose just one... favorites are LOTR trilogy, Gone with the Wind, 
    Sound of Music.

7. Do you have any tattoos?
     No. I'm a chicken. Matt has 4 or 5, and I've been with him for 2.  Does that count? :)
8. Have you ever traveled out of the country?
     Many, many times.  My earliest trip was when I was 9 months to London.  My longest 
    time overseas was 9 months in Central Asia.

9. What is your dream vacation?
     Alaskan cruise.
10. What scripture or quote has been the most encouraging/inspiring to you in life?
     Ephesians 2... especially the first 9 verses. 
11. What is one of your goals for 2013?
    I don't really do goals. (Maybe I should.) But one of my hopes is to complete our first

My questions for my Nominees:

1.  What is your favorite thing about the Christmas Season? 
2.  Do you like shopping? 
3.  Where is the farthest you've been from home? 
4.  Aside from your spouse or child(ren) (if applicable), who is the family member you are closest to? 
5.  Would you rather eat out for a week straight or have someone make you meals at home for a week straight? 
6.  Who are your top 3 non-profit organizations to joyfully give money to?  (In other words, is there an organization you enjoy giving to?) Why? 
7.  Describe yourself at the age of 16 in 3 words. 
8.  What's your favorite part of a beach vacation? 
9.  Last movie you saw in the theaters?
10. Most helpful thing you could pass on about money management? 
11. What's your favorite Christmas song? 

My New Nominees*:
Mindy at Mindy's Non-Adventures
Jeannene at La Casa de Pacheco 
Kristin at Kristin With an I
Debbie at the Lowthers
Gracia at A Committed Follower

If you receive the award, there are a few rules to follow...
1) Each blogger nominated must post 11 things about themselves.
2) Then answer the 11 questions the tagger has asked
3)Blogger must then create 11 questions of their own to ask the bloggers they decide to nominate
4) They must choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them on their blog post
5)Bloggers must be notified of their award!
6) No tag backs!

*I understand everyone is busy, especially during this time of year. Don't feel like you have to participate if you can't find the time. I would love to learn more about you, though, if you can!

Friday, December 7, 2012

LoveGave Hope

$100,000 in 58 hours?!

The LoveGave organization, which is awesome in itself since it's a collaboration of multiple churches in the Charleston area is taking on a cause that's dear to our heart this year... the fatherless

PLEASE take time to check out LoveGave Hope between now and December 8th.  If you're local, you can go to the West Ashley or Goose Creek Wal-Mart to be part of it.  You can also always watch online (always entertaining!) as they are live-streaming, and you can give online as well.   

Our goal is to raise $100,000 in 58 hours to provide hope for the orphans in our area. You know what?!
God can do it.  
Will you be part of it? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Very Special Evening

Many have asked about our fundraising dinner and silent auction.  I've still been processing it so wanted to take some time before I wrote.  

From the beginning planning stages, I felt that this was something the Lord prompted us to do... and that it wasn't supposed to just be about us or our adoption journey. I wanted it to be about adoption in general and a night where God would be glorified and where He would use the stories of others to prompt some to consider adopting. I don't know whether or not the latter happened, but I definitely think it was God-honoring.  

A room full!
Like all big events, not everything went according to plan.  There were 2 families we asked previously to share their stories who weren't able to swing it.  Then, a few hours before it started, one of the families that was planning to come to share their story called and said they wouldn't be able to make it.  Many others were kept from coming due to sickness, work and traffic.  We didn't follow the timeline exactly.  Some moments of me in front of the microphone were definitely awkward.

But, overall it was super-encouraging!  The food was delicious thanks to a great deal from Sticky Fingers, who also hooked us up with the great location... the grand ballroom at the Holiday Inn, Mt. Pleasant. The room was beautiful thanks to some special ladies who decorated!  

Kathie and Theresa... decorators extraordinaire! 

What made it incredible was all the people who were able to make it.  We had friends from all different seasons of our lives in the same place, and that is always special.  It was even more special because these people were gathered together in support of our future child.  Just the presence of so many people (around 70) meant more than we could have imagined.  We are not alone in this journey, and this past week proved that. 

Everyone enjoyed music from a friend, Brian Vanoy.  And our friends, the Hyatts, shared about adopting their son Will from China.  We also had some new friends, the Fischers, share about doing foster care and adopting through the state.  I'll never forget their stories... 

The Fischers have had over 30 children in their home through Foster Care and have adopted 4!
Also, we weren't planning on sharing about our adoption at all, but there were many new faces and some had never heard about our adoption process... so we did end up sharing.  Actually, Matt shared out story, which is incredibly touching to me because of how much he has changed towards adoption.  Hearing him share his heart in front of the folks gathered did something in my heart that is hard to explain.  I wish we had recorded the whole evening! 

The Silent Auction part also went well.  We didn't make anything off the dinner portion, but we made about $1,500 on the Silent Auction (with possibly more still coming in).  Though it didn't finish off the final adoption costs as we had hoped, we are very thankful for the wonderful evening we shared with so many people who are special to us and who already love Baby Flagler. 

Aunt Valerie, Aunt Laura and Uncle Steven hard at work!
Thank you so much to everyone who came and made it such an unforgettable evening!  And we missed those of you who couldn't make it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Closing out BBQ & Bids

I promise a more detailed update soon.  But for now, I'm copying the Thank You post I did for the event...

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this fundraiser! 
So far, we've made $1,466 towards our adoption! 

We do have a last chance offer for a couple of items.  

If you are interested in any of these items, you can do a "Buy It Now" Option through Monday, 12/3 at Noon.  First person who claims these items at the price listed (by Monday at noon EST) gets it! 

Buy It Now Price: $185

Buy It Now Price: $7 

Buy It Now Price: $10

Buy It Now Price: $75

Also, if you weren't able to participate but want to make a donation towards our adoption, you can do that through this link.

Thank You! Thank You!  Thank You!!