"" Life A Bit Sweeter: May 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Little Girl with the Yellow Shirt

Many years ago...and I mean many, many years ago, probably my early college years, I saw a piece of art that pulled me into its clutch.  I've never really owned artwork and always balk at the prices of artwork that I see....but this particular piece, there was something about it that mesmerized me.  Each time I looked at it, it made me so happy and warm.  Years passed and because I never understood art and the whole framing thing, it always remained just a longing.

So the perfect end to this story would be that I'd say, "guess what?  I got the art!"  WRONG.  In fact, I could never remember the name of the art work or the name of the artist.  All I knew was that it was of a little girl with very short hair, beautiful face, and a soft yellow shirt.  Soooo....as I thought about it again, I googled it, guess what, I found it and here she is -- just as beautiful as I remember her...

I'm thinking....it's been about 15 years since I first fell in love with this piece of art, maybe it's time I got it and maybe put it in my daughter's prospective room for a bit to keep me company.   

Hey Tony, if you're reading this, it would definitely make a really nice gift. Click here for the link.  Just thought I'd throw in a subtle hint....it would definitely score you some major brownie points!  smile...(Shameless plug I know but one of my Love Languages is 'Receiving Gifts'....LOL)

Stay tuned to see if it arrives....**grin**

Saturday, May 29, 2010

2 Home Studies Down....2 more to go!

'nuff said!  (BIG SMILE)

Friday, May 28, 2010


I remember when Tony and I first started dating, he took me to a professional basketball game.  In fact, I think it was around the time when the Washington Bullets were becoming the Washington Wizards.  Well, I have never been into sports but Tony was a HUGE sports fan.  Being the sports fan that he is, he invited me to a game.  Well, let's just say I desperately wanted to impress him.  In the middle of the game, he decided that he would go get us a soda and slice of pizza.  I said no problem.  Well somehow, in my air-brained brilliance, I decided that I would pretend that I was following the game.  It must have been from the corner of my eye that I saw he was approaching our seat section again.  In seeing that I had to do something to make him think this little mama knew something about the game.  Well, all of a sudden every body stood up and started cheering and so I did too!  I mean I was rooting and pumping my fist and he saw me.  I knew I was in with him....I mean I had it down UNTIL he reached our seat and said, "What happened?"  Oh my goodness!  I was devastated because I didn't have an answer.  I never calculated in my little quick plan that I would have to keep this charade going....I mean, who told him he could ask me questions!!!  LOL

That experience has taught me well that it is important to be who you are and let people see that in you.  As we approach our home study visits this weekend, I know that these visits are no different.  No matter how bad we want to make a 'good impression' on our social worker and no matter how badly we want this adoption to go through, we have to be ourselves.  We believe God chose US, not our stand-ins or understudies, to go through this journey.  Already, we've had to face our fears of having to be totally vulnerable in our biographies.  There's always the question of, even as we are children, 'Will they still like me if I show them the real me?"  Whether you're dating a man/woman, applying to get into college, or going through the adoption process, the answer has to be....It doesn't matter.  This is who I am.  What God has for me is for me.

The funny thing is that after all of that basketball drama and taking down my mask and showing him who I really was, Tony still chose me.  And you know what, this girl still doesn't know a lick about sports!

Here's a song that absolutely makes me happy every time I hear it and reminds me that I'm okay just the way I am with all of my bumps, bruises, and mess-ups...and in all of that God still loves me....

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me

Free To Be Me

Francesca Battistelli | MySpace Music Videos

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cancelled Checks

They finally took the money out of our account!  They finally took the money out of our account!  Now generally, I'm definitely trying and NEED TO hold on to money but in this exception, I've been anxiously waiting for this money to be taken out of our account.  If you follow our blog, you may already know that on April 15th we wrote a check in the amount of $3,188 to pay for our home study.  EVERY day since then, I've been waiting and stalking our adoption bank account looking to see if our agency had cashed the check.  Somehow, I had it in my head that (1) they would cash the check right after I gave it to them at our home study orientation or (2) they would cash it as soon as a social worker called us to make our home study appointments.  Since my #1 thought didn't happen, I've been WAITING, WAITING, WAITING for #2.  On last Friday, we were informed that our social worker had been assigned and would call us this week (yippee) but so far, no call yet.  (Bummer!)

So perhaps, just perhaps, we'll get a call before the Memorial Day break from our social worker to schedule our remaining home study appointments.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Adoption Traffic Light Game

I remember when I was a little girl, my siblings, friends and I used to play a game called "Red Light, Green Light".  Do you remember that game?  One person would be the human traffic light while everyone else stood far away waiting for the traffic light caller to turn around and say...Green Light. We would run towards him/her like crazy.  That is, until they would say....Red Light.  Calling red light would stop us dead in our tracks and we would have to freeze.  The goal was to reach your destination.  In our case, the destination was tagging the live traffic caller.  Well, we're headed to a destination in this adoption journey and just like a real traffic light, we are governed by the rules of those 3 colors on the light - RED (Stop), YELLOW (Proceed with Caution), and GREEN (Go).

In the adoption journey, I've summed up all of the traffic lights sort of like this....(lights can vary from family to family....smile):

Red Light:  STOP!  There's a problem.

Yellow Light:  Okay, keep going but something may arise so be prepared.

Green Light:  You've got an approval!  Go, baby go!  Things are lookin' good so run like the dickens!  (smile, okay maybe run like the dickens is a bit exaggerated but you get my drift!)

Well on Friday, we went from Red Light as we waited for a decision about some of our paperwork to Yellow Light....your assigned social worker will be calling you next week!  Woo hoo!  Yep, it's yellow but this girl is lovin' that yellow light right now.  She'll be calling next week so you know what that means for me....girl, get the house in order!  Start cleaning!  Do the rest of the laundry!  Scrub the kitchen baseboards!  Bake some cookies!  LOL!  We'll try to relax but I don't know.....

Hey adopting/adopted moms and dads....what did you do to prepare for your home study and how did things go?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hague Training is Done!

Whew...that was one, hot steamy date!  If you remember from our last post, Tony and I were embarking on a rendevouz through our laptops to complete our Hague Training.  It was so crazy because as I shared there were 7 modules to the test and I had received prior feedback from others that the test was a doozey and quite depressing.  Well, I wanted to be my own judge.  We got through modules 1 and 2 and I said, this was great information!  What in the world are they talking about....this is awesome...and then it happened!  We hit MODULE 3....YUCK!  Can I say HATED IT!!!  While it was good information and I think it is very important for parents to go into adoption, especially international adoption, with both eyes WIDE OPEN, this was a bit much.

Imagine being pregnant (literally) and you are REQUIRED to complete a 7-hour training session before you can give birth.  It's the happiest time of your life.  Well, as you go through this training, they bring to your attention EVERY SINGLE terrible thing that could go wrong with your pregnancy.....I mean everything.  Well, that's what this is like.  FOR ME AND TONY, it really had us on edge.  It didn't make us re-think our decision to adopt but to be honest, by the time I completed the course, I was sooooo emotionally drained.  I felt like the life was sucked out of me.

Well we passed the training on Sunday afternoon and one thing I know for sure....whatever challenges we might have at the end of this journey as new parents, after going through this intensive training we definitely cannot use the excuse...."I didn't know!"

Sooo glad we've jumped that hurdle and so proud we definitely did it together as a team.  (Hey Tony...love you babe!  That was rough but we did it!")

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Computer Love

Well tonight, Tony and I have a BIG DATE. This is one we've anticipated for a while but we're a bit apprehensive too. Why you ask? Well, this BIG DATE we have planned tonight will be shared in bed....but hey....hold your horses. Don't get carried away. This training will be in bed with two laptops as we go over our online Hague Training for the adoption. Hague Training...that doesn't even sound sexy or appealing, right???

If you're not too familiar with adoption lingo, let me brief you on this one really quick. For prospective adoptive parents, one of the requirements is approximately 10 hours or preparatory training and education on inter country adoption. From what I've heard from other adoptive families, this training is far from a walk in the park. In fact, some have labeled the training as depressing and even feel that it paints a bleak picture of international adoption. Although that's some feedback we've received so far, we'll share our thoughts after we take it.

So, we'll see how things go on our big date over the computer tonight. Hopefully, love will be in the air...maybe our love tonight will be focused more on baby girl instead of quick stolen glances at each other over the lids of our laptops. In the meantime, while you wait, here's a little computer tribute from Zapp & Roger to those babies from the 1980's who enjoy R&B music as I do....remember when this was hot! Uh-oh...I'm showing my age now!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Special Musical Treat from Jae Franklin

Remember Jae Franklin from my post a few weeks ago (see it here)?  Jae is an American artist currently performing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for 6 months.  Well, Jae has some exciting news from Addis Ababa that she'd like to share!  Since she's been in Addis, she has released her new album and it's available as a FREE download just for you!!!

To hear the music and download it in one of a multitude of formats for your listening pleasure, simply visit: http://jaefranklin.bandcamp.com

As shared on one of her sites, Universal Language: Prelude 1 is the first promotional project for Jae Franklin. This project and its tracks present a full view of social woes in America, including war, racism, and inner city decay while also relating to love and being personal in nature.  Universal Language: Prelude 1 is a project that encourages you to travel wherever the music takes you.

I've listened to the tracks and I have to tell you this is a HUGE treat!  Be sure to jump over to the site right away before they realize that they've given away for free an amazing gem!  (BIG SMILE).....but seriously, I'm downloading my music right now!  Gotta go!

Oh...but don't forget to stop by Jae's website or facebook page to show her some love and say thanks for such a great gift!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Check out this adoption seminar....

If you're in the Maryland, Virginia, or District of Columbia and are a little curious about adoption, it's a perfect time to join representatives from our adoption agency, America World, for an informative session.

Check it out here:  

If you'd like to find out about an upcoming seminar in your area, take a look at America World's events page:  http://www.awaa.org/events/

To learn more about America World adoption agency, go here to learn more about the programs where they currently specialize:  http://www.awaa.org/programs/

ALSO -- If you know about reputable agencies that work within the United States (adoption or foster care), please leave a comment here to share their information.  Although we've chosen to adopt internationally, our prospective child is just one out of the 147 MILLION ORPHANS in the WORLD, and yes that definitely includes the United States.  Please pray about making a difference in the life of an orphan.  

If you happen to go to America World's seminar either in the MD/DC/VA area,  check it out, let me know what you thought!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Seeing Her Face...that was a GREAT Mother's Day Gift!

WOW!!!  It's 2:40am on Mother's Day morning and I just woke up from THE BEST dream I think I've ever had in my lifetime!  In this dream, Tony, the boys, and I had the computer outdoors with us when we received an e-mail with information about our daughter.  The great thing about this e-mail was that WE ACTUALLY SAW HER FACE and were given her full name.  I still remember her face so clear and every part of her name.  Although I think we've picked a name for her already, when I heard her name for the first time and it rolled off my tongue, I said to my husband, "I don't want to change her name.  Let's keep it exactly as it is."  It really was a spectacular dream.  I fell in love with her instantly.

What a wonderful, wonderful gift for me this Mother's Day.  I said it once and I have to say it again...It was an absolutely beautiful dream.  Many times, what I dream about is based on if my husband left the t.v. on before he fell asleep...and I assure you, I've had some crazy dreams in the past.  But last night, he fell asleep downstairs and when I woke up, our bedroom was pitch black and peaceful so there was no television influence this time.

You know, I don't know for sure the end result of how this adoption journey will turn out for our family.  While I'm praying, praying, praying that we will be blessed to have the opportunity to open our home to a little girl, only God has the answer to that right now.  While her face was simply...oh my goodness beautiful and I could just eat her up....if we are blessed at the end of this journey with a daughter, I'm not sure if it will be the same face from my dream early this morning.  But as Oprah can say....What I know for sure is that this dream that has me up typing at almost 3am, was part of an amazing Mother's Day gift and this mama couldn't ask for anything better.

If you've been reading my blog for a little while now, you know I love music and that I often share videos with my blog posts.  Steven Curtis Chapman's song "When Love Takes You In" captures part of what I'm feeling so perfectly this morning.  Basically, he's singing to an orphaned child and in some of the verses says:

And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart

And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

As I sit here typing and crying, I'm just overwhelmed by this gift called love that God graces us with if we are really open to being vulnerable to love.  Being vulnerable to love means that you are willing to risk looking foolish and sacrifice the safety of your emotions to love someone else.  Little girl, I am so in love with you already.  While you're not growing in my tummy but your other mommy's right now, my heart grows in love each day for you.

I tell you, my heart is just totally broken in a very good way for a little girl that I don't know yet but wow, tonight, it was so nice to go to dreamland and get a little piece of her.  Happy Mother's Day to you my friends!

By the way, in case you were curious, here's the song....

...and when you have time, PLEASE listen to this clip from Steven Curtis Chapman's testimony about their adoption.  It's a little long but it is so worth it. The song he references at the end of this clip is the one above.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Whirlwind of Blessings

Well, after 3 days of sheer craziness and heaviness in the beginning of this week, it was as if God released a flood of blessings on Thursday.  The issue with one of our forms was miraculously worked out and we are ever so grateful for your sowing seeds of prayer and interceding on our behalf.  Your prayers strengthened us and kept us calm during the storm.

Along with the amazing news of that form issue being worked out, very unexpectedly, I started getting a flurry of requests from individuals who wanted to order Glass Tile Pendants.  Wow!  And then....(yes, I know you shouldn't start a sentence with the word 'and' but this is worth the grammar violation)...so I'll do it this one time.  AND then a beautiful mom surprised us with a donation towards our adoption.  Although she felt it was small, it was HUGE to us.  Orders are fantastic and please keep them coming!!!  We've been able to do so much because of the t-shirt and necklace orders.  The AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME thing about straight-out donations is that we get 100% of those funds (minus PayPal's fee of course).  With straight-out donations, we don't have to take out material costs like we do for our t-shirts and pendants. 

We also received the first part of our background checks for the state which was great.  I celebrated that day because it just felt like so much movement.  BLESSINGS ABOUNDED!

While we don't deserve another blessing from God, it's oh so good to know that He desires to continue to bless us and move mountains that we can't budge ourselves.

While we have had this bounty of blessings on Thursday, on Friday, we found out that there is something that popped up that has us baffled and now we have to iron out those details but you know what....I'm not worried.  My God who delivered us on Thursday is the same God who can move this mountain too.  So keep praying for us.

In the meantime, please consider continuing to support us financially in bringing baby girl home.  Here's how you can support her journey to a forever home:

  • T-Shirts:  These t-shirts not only promote an awesome cause but they're so comfy, they feel like your favorite pair of blue jeans.  Check them out by clicking here!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Putting Away Childish Things

Just pondering uncertainties in life can sometimes really tire your body and your mind.  In the past 3 days, it seems like there have been some heavy things happening in my life and in the lives of those who I really care about.  On Monday afternoon, our youngest son was involved in an accident after school playing basketball which left him with a very large bump above his eye.  Tony took the night shift with him because we were told by our health care team to wake him up every 2 hours to make sure he was still coherent.  On Tuesday afternoon, we received unfavorable news about something related to our adoption process that has halted things for a bit unless a solution is found.  Tuesday night, we were on the scene of a really bad car accident with a close family member.  Yesterday morning, a good friend informed me that her dad was tragically killed this week.  So much to handle that you wonder, God what is going on?  By the time I got home yesterday from a long meeting and made dinner, I was zonked.  I went to bed around 8:30pm.

When I got up this morning, my heart was still a little heavy just asking why so much heavy stuff all at once.  I started thinking about how much better it would be if God would just fix all of this for me, my family, and friends...RIGHT NOW, right?  I don't want to experience this pain and I certainly don't want my family and friends experiencing any of this either.  It seems like this storm of life right now is so huge and the raindrops are pounding ferociously.  What ever happened to the simplicity of life when we could sing, "Rain, Rain Go Away"?  Remember this....

In looking at this little nursery rhyme and its 'cuteness', I'm also reminded of what is written in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."

As I have matured and grown, I am realizing that although the 'rain' (problems/challenges) sometimes prevents me from going out and having fun (living life the way that I want), the rain is necessary.  If we had sunshine outside all of the time, we'd also have drought and famine.  Now I don't want drought and famine either so guess what, I need to rejoice even when the rain comes. Over the years, I've seen how the rain in my life has produced character in me, forced me cling closer to God, and allowed me to see God show up in my life in ways that were unbelievable.  Although I know this is right, I would be lying and will probably sound a little schizophrenic when I say that some times although I know God can and will deliver me, I often feel like finding a corner and cowering in it when the rain starts pouring and feels a little too heavy.  Yet, even in my fear, I have to believe that this season of rain in my life will be no different from the other seasons where God has showed his faithfulness and brought me out of my adversity.

If you haven't heard it before, the group Mercy Me has a song out called "Bring the Rain".  It's so contrary to the nursery rhyme "Rain, Rain Go Away" that I was taught as a child but guess what, I'm no longer a child.  If you've never seen it before, take a look at the story behind the song and then the song itself.

Lord, I wouldn't choose challenges in life and I certainly don't understand why you allow some things to happen.  Yet, I have to trust you and also know that you will use even the bad to work towards good to teach us and bring us closer to you.  

The Story Behind the Song....

....and the actual song with lyrics....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trusting Him When I Can't Trace Him

Yesterday, I received some pretty hard news about one of the forms we were waiting to be completed.  It was something that really caught me off guard and stopped me dead in my tracks.  Let me assure you that it's not something related to our health...we're okay. 

I'm still not even sure exactly how I feel because I'm just still trying to process it.  I'm not angry.  I'm not bitter.  I'm just.....hmmm....I still can't find the right word yet.

Yet, in the midst of this huge uncertainty, I have to force my heart and mind to do what I've heard my Pastor,  Keith Battle and his Pastor, John Jenkins say time and time again...."You have to trust Him when you can't trace Him."  Debbie, a really good friend reminded me of those words last nights.  It's friends like that and those in my agency's yahoo support group and even my facebook and twitter world that sometimes help me to process some of the heartaches of this journey.

Trust Him, when I can't trace Him.  Trust Him, when I can't trace Him.  Trust Him, when I can't trace Him.

What's next in our adoption journey....to be honest, I really don't know but I'll keep playing this song in my heart right now....(thanks Liz for sharing this song with me last week....didn't know I'd need it this week...smile)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Today, I'm hoping, hoping hoping...

It's the beginning of  a new week and it means that hopefully our home study coordinator is back in town!  Now, of course, I'm sure that may mean that he's got a lot of catch-up to do BUT just PERHAPS he'll get to our file and JUST MAYBE he'll decide that we have enough paperwork turned in to get our home study visits scheduled....a girl can hope, right?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jumping Hurdles

I've been M.I.A. from my blog but it's because I've been knockin' out paperwork...yep, this girl has been on it!  In the adoption paperchase, the not-so-fun part is the specific way in which papers must be signs and documented.  Many require official seals from agencies and often a notary public will become one of your best friends.  It has been a huge challenge but you know what, with God's grace, we've been jumping hurdles and it really does feel good.

 There's nothing more I can do on my end, it's more so up to others so I'll wait.  Basically, here's a list of the paperwork that I'm waiting to get sent to our adoption agency.

  • Tony's Verification Letter of Employment from his job
  • 3 Reference forms to be sent by our agency to 2 friends and one of my son's teachers and then they have to send them back to our agency
  • Signed guardianship paper from the beautiful, beautiful couple who is the guardian of all of our children in case anything ever happened to me and Tony
  • Home Sanitation Survey - I don't think I'll have to complete this but our home study coordinator is still checking on it.  Apparently, it appears that the county in which we live do not offer this service of visiting your home to see if you're clean...wait, is that a good thing??? lol
  • Home Fire Safety Inspection - Yet again, it's our county again.  I have to wait to hear from our home study coordinator to see if our county will come out and do this for us
  • Medical Reports for me, Tony, and the boys are just waiting for our health care agency to complete and then the doctor and notary public will sign. 
  • Fingerprinting and background checks have been completed on our end.  They are now being processed through the FBI and other agencies.
So that's it.  I've finished everything that's on our list and trust me there were 24 items on this checklist that were very detailed in the way in which it was submitted.  So now....I wait.

So...now that you've been in my business for the last 5 minutes...lol, may I get into some of yours?  What are you currently waiting for and honestly, what are you doing to pass the time?

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