Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas (a little late)

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE Christmas! First and foremost, it is the day that God gave the greastest gift ever...the birth of his son Jesus. I love everything about Christmas. I love to decorate every smidgen of house that I can, I love to bake Christmas goodies, I love wrapping and giving gifts and most of all, I love having time off work to spend with family and friends. We had a wonderful Christmas this year and are so blessed to have such awesome families to spend Christmas with. This year, our little one recieve some gifts. It meant so much to us that he/she was thought of. I feel quite certain that he/she is out there and it kills me that they weren't home this year to enjoy Christmas with us. I cringe at the thought that Christmas for our little one was spent without family and in an orphanage. However, I trust that the Lord has provided them with wonderful care takers that are loving them until we can finally get to them. Next year, hopefully, Christmas will be a whole new expereince for you my little one!

Grammie and Pop gave you this book for Christmas this year. It is so wonderful and you will have it read to you every Christmas as soon as you are home.

This one is from Aunt Staci, Uncle Dwayne, Jennifer and Nathan. They knew how much that I love this book so they got it for our little one this year.

The goods from Ashley, Andy and Alex. I did just realize that the book you got is not with this picture. I must have left if in the bag by accident.

From my secret sister: Ruthie. This is by far one of my childhood favorites.

Shasha made this! No words necessary on how touching this one is. This is already on dispaly on the nursery to be.

All the loot! Thank you everyone! These gifts made my Christmas so much more special. It was so weet of all of you and means the world to us! Our little one is so lucky to have family and friends like you to come home to. Thank you all so much!

Last but not least, we had the chance to get togther with Tara and Jonathan over Christmas. It was so wonderful to meet them and I know that we are going to be great friends. I can't wait until the day that we can get our little Russian angels together for play dates!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thank you for my hubby!

I know that I touched on this in my previous Thanksgiving post, however, I have just been thinking a lot lately and want to give my dear husband the recognition that he deserves. I am so blessed to have him as my husband. Sure I am biased, but I think that I snagged the best husband in the entire world. Do I still take him for granted? Unfortunately yes I do. Benji and I are not the partying type. We are actually quite boring to be perfectly honest with you. It's just the way that we are. But the older that I get, the more that I realize that our lifestyle is not necessarily "just how everyone else lives". I take for granted that I am married to a man that is not a drinker, at all (not criticizing anyone here) but that lifestyle is just not for us. I was raised in a home where there was never any alcohol ever! I am blessed that I have never had to experience either set of my grandparents engaging in these activities either. Yes, there were some aunts and uncles that weren't living this lifestyle, but my parents very much sheltered us from them. If they came around then my parents, ever so discreetly packed us up and we would leave. This was nto a lifestyle that my parents wanted us subjected to. Did I appreciate it as a child/teen growing up? Not so much, do I appreciate it now? Heck yeah! It never dawned on me how lucky that I am and how lucky that my kids are going to be. Thank you God that my kids will not have to ever smell alcohol on their daddy's breath (nor mommy's for that matter). Because, it is such a blessing that I can say that I have never seen nor experienced my parents under the influence of any kind. That is a major blessing in my life. I am ever so thankful that I married such a wonderful man who doesn't partake in this lifestyle either. I can't express enough how comforting that it is to know that my kids will not have to deal with this from their parents. My children will not have to ever deal with a parent that has had a little too much to drink because A) I will not stand for that kind of behavior around my babies and B) I married a man with the same philosphies that does not want his babies subjected to it either.
So I can't thank God enough for sending me a husband that is such a great family man. A man who loves his family with his whole heart, a man who will want to spend every moment that he can with his family. I am quite confident that my children will have one of the most hands on daddies out there (with the exception of diaper duty, HA!). I am so thankful that my children will have a daddy that will be able to go to gatherings and just enjoy being there with his family and not have the need to participate in any alcoholic consumption. Thank you Lord for sending me such a patient, caring, nurturing man that shares the same morals as I do. And next time that he leaves his hat full of change on my kitchen table or his shoes by the door, please remind me that no one is perfect...but he is pretty darn close!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More ramblings while we patiently wait

I am quite thankful that part of our "waiting" period is during the Christmas holidays. I absolutely love Christmas. It just makes me happy. My house is for the most part all decorated, our town's Christmas celebration/parade was this past weekend, we will be doing our annual Christmas goody cooking next week, and Benji and I have vowed to watch a Christmas every night the month of December. So the Christmas cheer has kept our spirits up as we just sit and wait.
This past week, we adopted us a soldier! No, he will not be coming to live with us, taking on our last name and calling us mama and daddy. We recieved his name and address yesterday, and are so excited to send him care packages, prayers and support from home. I personally almost feel guilty enjoying this season so much when we have tons of men and woman overseas putting their lives on the line everyday to secure our safety. We often take for granted the sacrifices that they and their families make daily for us. I am so thankful and so proud of our armed forces, and all that they do.
Last, I got the opportunity to meet (via phone) a new friend last night. Tara and her hubby are on the verge of taking the leap of faith into adoption. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with you last night Tara, and I can't wait to meet you. I hope that by the time that you read this, you will have sent off for your approval or will be doing so real soon. I am so excited for you guys and you will be in our prayers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


So here we are at Thanksgiving. I want to take a couple mintues to give thanks were there is a lot of thanks due. We have so much to be thankful for and just don't express it nearly as often as we should. So here's my list of thank-you's that I don't state near enough!

First and foremost: I am so thankful for our God! I am so thankful that we serve such an awesome God that loves us unconditionally, and is always there to catch us when we fall. I am so thankful that he loves me enough to bless me abundantly every day even though I don't deserve a fraction of what he does for me.

I am so thankful that I have such an amazing husband. I am so blessed to be married to such a loyal, honest, hard working, family oriented man. I want to thank him for loving me even though I'm not always loveable:) I also want to thank him for loving my family. He has such a great relationship with my family and my life wouldn't be near as great if he didn't. Thank you babe for being all that I could ever hope for and then some, you are the best. I am so lucky to be married to my best friend. I love you so much!

I also super thankful for my family. I am blessed beyond measure with such a great family. I could not possible ask for better parents. They have raised me to be the person that I am today. My parents have always been behind me and supported and loved me through anything and everything in my life. They have been our biggest supporters in our adoption journey. Every single fundraiser that we have had to date, they have been right there working their hind quaters off to make it as successful as possible. They are amazing parents. I am also blessed with some pretty great sibling too. I have a pretty fantastic brother and sister too, that I love dearly and who are always there when you need them. Sure we have our squabbles from time to time, but I am so blessed to have siblings, and the older we get the closer we become. And I am so thankful that I have them in my life. I also have some pretty great in-laws. I shouldn't even refer to them as in-laws because they are family to me too. Benji was blessed to be a member of a large family. I fell in love with his family when we were dating. They are very close knit and I can't wait to bring our child into a home with such a great family all the way around. Our child will be so blessed with awesome grandparents on both sides, some really fantastic aunts and uncles, and several neices and nephews that are all my heart and I love each and everyone as if they were my own.

I am also so thankful for friends who are like family to me. I am so blessed with so many great people in my life and I may not say it, but I would be lost with each and every person in my life. I am so blessed with some awesome friends, that are always honest with me and keep me grounded. Thank you for being an extention to my family, thank you for always being there when I need someone to talk to, and thank you for always supporting me. To one in particular (and I am confident that you know who you are), thank you so much for all the laughs. You have been right there with me through all the ups and downs thus far in our adoption, and you keep me laughing even when I really don't feel like it. Thanks for always being an instant "perk me up". I feel sure that I would have lost my mind by now without you. So thank you for truly being the best friend a girl could ever dream of having.

I am aslo thankful for good health for not only myself but for all my family and friends. There are so many people that are fighting some pretty huge health battles right now. There are some out there fighting for each and every day and their families are just hoping to have a little more time with them. So this day and time, I just can't be thankful enough that myself and my family are so fortunate to be in good health. I pray for those who are not so fortunate every single day.

I am such a blessed individual and I can't thank God enough for all that he has done for me. He has always, without fail, provided for me. I am thankful that he continues to provide for us each and everyday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ramblings cont...

So I had finally had a day off Saturday, and it is my last free day until at least mid December. So I took advantage of the day and now my house is almost Christmas ready. There are some Christmas Scrooges out there that will grumble and moan about me decorating so early. But hear me when I say I LOVE CHRISTMAS!! Sorry, but four weeks of Christmas just is not enough in our household, thus we start early. So I have already put out all but two of my Christmas trees (and yes I am the tree in almost every room kinda person), and the house is, for the most part, fully decorated with the exception of the outside. Now I just have one request: "Mother Nature, will you please send us some cooler weather because this 77 degree weather just is not cutting it for my Christmas mood."
Also, I know that I have mentioned it before, but my secret sister at church ROCKS! She is awesome. I just got a beautiful sweater, watch and earrings from her for fall. Also, as she always does, there was a gift for "Baby Rentz". She gave is the cutest little fall plate, cup, and silverware set for our little one. It made my day. I have a nice little collection of things for the baby that my secret sister has already given me. She is really the best!
Oh, yeah and it has almost been one month since our paperwork was mailed. Praise the Lord that I stay insanely busy because otherwise I think that I would have lost my mind by now. I am so thankful that we are in the "waiting phase" because each day that passes means on less day that we have to wait to bring our babi(es) home.
One last ramble...Benji sent me a text a few minutes ago. It read "Ya teb-ya lyoo blyu". HA! For those of you who don't know, that means "I love you" in Russian. So, my dear hubby has been working on his Russian...and that just brought a smile to my face.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My "waiting" rambling shall begin.

So as we are in this period of just waiting, I don't expect to have a whole lot to report. Thus I will be doing random thoughts while waiting.

We recieved our "While you Wait" packet from AWAA the other day. It had suggestions on things to be doing while you are waiting. One of them was to begin preparing you child's room. Wrong thing for them to tell me to do considering I have been buying stuff from the moment that we decided to adopt. I now have a sense of urgency in getting my nursery ready pronto, and hubby dear is having to reel me in a little! I know that it is jumping the gun a little but I am so not a last minute kind of gal. I like things done way in advance. So we have been looking and getting ideas for what we want to do, and I came across a chair that I wanted very bad for the nursery, but it was just a little too pricey for us right now. Benji said that we could go look at it to see if we like it and then we would just start saving for it. When we went to just look at it, there was a floor model (covered in plastic) that they told us we could get for 40% off. So the chair is now in our nursery just waiting on a little one to rock.

I do want to say that I am not one for waiting. Our paperwork was mailed to Russia just two weeks ago and I kid you not when I say that it feels like two years ago. I am the kid that tore the house up looking for my Christmas presents every year. My own husband refuses to give me the combination to his safes because he knows that come Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays, this girl is going to snoop! I do not like surprises! Let me re-word that, do not like surprises that I know are coming. So to know that we will soon be getting the most precious gift in the world, and to not be able to climb in a closet, look under a bed, or crack the code to the safe to see this precious gift isn't going to be easy for me....but I am most certainly up for the challenge:)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fingers Crossed

Benji and I took off to Atlanta once again yesterday to get the last few corrected forms apostilled. So it is all in the mail to the adoptin agency, who will look over it and then forward it on to Russia for translation. We are hoping and praying that everything is good and it will be forwarded on this time. We both are beyond ready to move past the paperchase and move to the next season...paper pregnant/waiting for a referral!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

With God we can weather these storms

The past week has been, once again, a crazy week. We were approached, once again with a domsestic adoption. It was of a baby girl to be born in December. We were hesitant at first because we are so far into our Russian adoption. But then the more that we thought about it, the more that we felt as though we should at least look into this option. From both, the paperwork to the finances, our Russian adoption has constantly hit roadblocks. So we began to think that maybe the Lord was allowing these road blocks because just maybe we were to explore another option. So we did just that and we sent a profile to the birth mother. I'd be lying if I said that we both didn't allow ourselves to become a little excited. Could this be the child that God is sending us? Financially it would be so much easier for us to go this route, plus it would be soon, very soon. We would have our baby by Christmas. We are at a point in our adoption to where we can get a good portion of our money back. Then yesterday, Johnna (our adoption coordinater) called to tell us that she was going to go on and mail our dossier for translation and we'd add the remaining forms later (one form I am having a super tough time getting from the state). This is the point that we have fought to get to for 15 months now. We had to ask her to hold off for just a little bit until we knew a little better what the Lord is calling us to do at this time.
So over the past week, I have tried really hard to seek the Lord. I have spent as much time in prayer and reading my Bible as I possibly could. I found an adoption devotional that I had forgot that I had. In my readings it said that sometimes it is easy to become "child" focused rather than "God" focused when you are adopting. This really ressonated with me because that is exactly what I have done. I have become so focused on getting our child that I have lost sight of seeking God in this.
This morning I recieved an email to inform us that the birthmother decided to go with another couple. I wont lie and say that I wasn't dissappointed, because I surely was. The thought of having our child by Christmas this year was scary yet sssooo exciting. However, I know that God has other plans for us. This was not the path that he wanted us to take. Therefore, he has a much better path out there for us. Could we sit here and get mad that it didn't work out, and could we be mad with the Lord allowing us to stop our focus and have to endure this terrible emotional stress that this situation brought on us? Absolutley! However, we choose to just say "God needed us to hold up for just a bit because the baby that he has for us is just not ready yet." We are willing to wait as long as it takes to get to the baby the the Lord is preparing for us. Someone once sent me something that states "there's always rain before a rainbow". Well we are definately in some rainy weather right now, but that just means that our rainbow is soon to follow!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When doubt consumes us

I want to take a minute, not to complain, but to kinda open up to what has been going on with us lately. We have been overcome with doubt here lately. Not because we don't still want this more than anything in the world, but rather we are beginning to wonder if we were truly listening to the calling of the Lord or not. For the first time in a year (when we first started the process) I have really begun to question if we are following the Lord's plan for us. Not only is the paperwork never right when we send it in (as you can tell, our agency called and we still have to correct a few more things), but we have been slammed financially here in the past few months. Being able to afford this adoption has been a heavy burden on our hearts from day one, but we have always felt that if we are following the Lord's calling that the financial aspect will just fall into place. For the most part up to this point it has (one way or another) fallen into place. The concerning part for us is that the largest portions of the financial parts are coming up. In the past couple months: the transmission has went out in my car, we rear eneded a car and had to pay our deductible (which we do hope to get back because the accident wasn't our fault), this past week we realized that we had a major moisture problem in our house that had to be immediatly taken care of. Then last night, it would appear as though our air conditioner has decided that it is tired of servicing us. So for two months now our pocketbooks have been heavily hit, and on top of that we have sent dossier paperwork 3 times only to be told that it still isn't right. So I think that this would have any human scratching there head and reassessing their situation.
Our biggest fear is that we are not listening to the Lord and he is trying to tell us that we are traveling the wrong path. Yet on the same hand, what if we are on the right path and the devil is trying to stop us from what the Lord has for us? So the other night, we sat down to talk and we decided that we had to make a decision to either hold up on the adoption before we get any further in, or to proceed fighting tooth and nail until we succeed. Part of me is ashamed to admit that I am so close to throwing in the towel and giving up. But we both decided that we are going to push through this and fight as hard as we have to. We both come to the conclusion that if we weren't doing something right, then the devil wouldn't be trying so hard to stop us. So that's where we are right now, and this is what we have been dealing with for a few weeks now. Today my aunt sent me a message:
Hey Shanny, just wanted to share this with you today. In our service today, Bro. Billy was talking about being adopted by the Father and he mentioned a little girl that was adopted and she that adoption was "when you grew in your mommy's heart not her tummy". I thought of you and how special that you are to be ready to give your heart someone (ones) that really really need your love. God is working on this as we speak! I love you!
Shasha: You timing was impecable on this. It was what I needed and when I needed it. Thank you so much for sending that today. Love ya!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back on Track

It has been a long, difficult and quite stressful summer. In the frustrations that this summer has brought on, I have allowed myelf to loose sight over who is in control. Thankfully, we were able to go on a family vacation this past week that has allowed me to take some days to rest, relax and unwind. Vacation could not have come at a more perfect time. We had hoped that we could mail off the second round of dossier documents prior to vacation, but it just didn't happen. The remaining documents that we needed were in the mail when we got home. So yesterday, Benji and I took off to Atlanta to get everything apostilled. It is in the mail as of an hour ago, and will be with AWAA tomorrow for a final review. So praise God we are back on track and hopefully moving forward.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I know that it has been awhile since my last post. Life has been very chaotic the past several weeks. Right after we recieved notification that we had several documents that needed to be changed, we had Kids Camp at our church. I had to get through camp then I could refocus on the paperchase. I have found myself very exhausted with this adoption process and very discouraged lately. Thus one of the biggest reasons that I have not posted because I do not ever want to sound negative, and I don't want to complain. But this has been one of the most difficult couple of months that I have ever endured. We have had a very difficult time with a few documents (which we should finally have everything in the next couple of weeks to resend to our agency). In the middle of being at a very low point in this process, the transmission went out in my car. We are still dealing with that and hopefully we will have the car situation taken care of soon, as it is about to drive me insane in not having a car. I have stated several times lately that I know that God doesn't give you anymore than you can handle, but I am beginning to believe that he seriously overestimates me. HA! Then this past weekend, my mom had to have a little stay in the hospital for what we though was a heart issue (praise God it turned out to not be a heart issue). So for now, we are trying to deal with one issue at a time. I am in the words of my dear friend Ashley (and no she did not direct this comment at me, HA!) putting on my big girl panties and dealing with it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


So we still are not ready to submit our dossier to Russia. There were a couple of documents that were not worded as they wanted (ie: they were missing my middle name), and a couple that had wrong dates, and our police clearances were not what they wanted. The police clearances have given us a fit. Russia wants clearances on state letterhead and we can't seem to find anyone that can do that for us. The GBI and the FBI both say they do not do police clearances. Our local police department did do them but they can only put it on county letterhead...not state. So until we figure out what to do from here we are stuck for the moment. I have concluded that until the day that you recieve a referral, it is best to leave your emotions at the door, otherwise the process can completely wear you out. I have decided that until my phone rings to tell me that there is a precious little one waiting for me, I will not get excited nor will I get angry or upset or sad. I will continue to keep my eyes focused on what I feel like God wants us to do, and no matter what obstacle the devil throws in our way, we will keep pushing forward!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The best secret sister ever!

In our church, the ladies all have secret sisters. I have no idea who my secret sister is, but she is one heck of a wonderful secret sister. I don't know if she reads this blog or not. But I just want to say thank you for all the encouragement, prayers and all the little gifts for our "little one". Every time that my secret sister sends me a gift, there is always a little gift in there for our child-to-be. Each time it gives me such a boost and just makes my day. There was one gift in particular that has just meant so much to me. For the 4th of July, she gave me a book by Twila Paris "Bedtime Stories: Prayers and Lullabyes". That is on the best books ever. It is a book for a child but it is filled with some of the sweetest things. I read a prayer or a lullaby almost every night. So, to anyone one out that that has little ones, check this book out, you will not be dissappointed. It has touched me and lifted my spirits when I needed it the most. So thank you so much to my secret sister, I love you!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dossier Mailed!

Finally! Benji just called to tell me that he has just dropped our dossier paperwork off at Fed-Ex. The adoption agency should have it by Thursday, maybe Friday. Pending everything in it is correctly prepared, it will be on it's way to Russia for translation. I am so excited, yet a little reserved. It seems like everything we have done thus far has been met with some opposition, some hurdle to cross. So I'm not going to get overexcited until Kristen calls and says it looks good and it's on it's way to Russia. I am going to be a little more prepared for things to not be a smooth as we hope. We know that we can over come any hurdle with God on our side, so we will deal with them as they come up. We certainly wouldn't have made it this far if we didn't have the Lord on our side. He has been what has gotten us here and we know that he is going to see us through this.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Motivational Boost

We are getting close to sending in our paperwork. We had actually hoped to have sent it in by now, but there are a few things that just ahven't quite fallen into place as we had hoped. However, we know that the Lord will provide...he always does.
I feel like the devil is attacking from every angle that he can. There are very few apsects of my life that he is not attacking at this moment. Which is wearing me out, but if I weren't doing something right then the devil wouldn't be trying so hard to bring me down, right? I woke up yesterday morning with some time to spare (as those who know me, know this NEVER happens. HA!) With a few minutes to spare, I decided to start my day off with a little bible reading. The Lord knows my frustrations and I went to prayer before I began to read. I just asked God to give me something that I needed to hear, something to let me know that things were going to be alright and that things were going to fall into place. I just opened my Bible and began to read wherever it opened. I began with Matthew 6:25, which was entitled "Do not worry". HA! As I read further, I came upon Matthew 6:33 "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." My sister and I used to sing this verse when we were little girls. Can we say God knows exactly what we need when we need it? I honestly think that he wanted me to see those exact verses yesterday, and it was exactly what I needed, and I have truly felt so much better since reading that. I did get some news today of another change coming sooner than I had hoped. But it will all be okay. The Lord always provides and he has seen me through every struggle in my life thus far. I can rest assured that he is still with me making plans for me as we speak. Thank you Lord, for being the awesome God that you are.

Monday, June 29, 2009

God Bless America

My how we take things for granted! Benji and I were blessed to have company this past weekend. A client of Benji's and his wife (whom we consider friends) came down to stay with us from Michigan. They are originally from Romania and have been Americans for many years now. We had a wonderful visit with them. During our visit, they told us stories from Romania before they came here to America. At the time they lived there, it was a Communist country. In talking with them and hearing their life story, I realized just how good we Americans have it. We are so blessed to have the freedoms that we have. As we are approaching Independence Day at the end of the week, I want to say how grateful that I personally am for our country and to all the the men and women in our armed forces who put their lives on the line everyday to protect our country and who fight for our freedom. God bless you all, you are in our hearts and in our prayers. And we thank you God for the child/children that we will hopefully be bringing to this country very soon!

Also, just a side note. I have been blessed to meet some families that have already adopted from Russia through our agency's online forum. I just want to take a minute tell Heather how special that she has become to me. She is such a great source of support for us and her information is always such great help and inspiration to us. Thank you Heather for everything! And thank you a million for the books. I recieved them today. I was so excited to start looking through them. You gave me such a boost when I have been a little frustrated lately. Your support and encouragement means so much to us. Thank you for everything!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We are apostilled!

Yay! I was able to make a quick trip to Atlanta today to pick up the documents that we left and have them apostille a few more. So we are ready to send in our dossier! It has taken us what feels like eternity to get to this point but praise God we are moving forward. I feel a huge weight lifted off of me having all of this done and ready to be sent. Thank you Lord for getting us to this point and keeping me sane (most of the time anyways. HA!). We are looking forward to what is to come and praying the be "paper pregnant" or "expecting" real soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Almost apostilled

Benji and I drove to Atlanta on Friday to have everything apostilled. There were two papers that we not quite right. They gave us updated forms for both and we just have to get them notarized and we can overnight them and hopefully everything will be back to us in another week or so. Even though we were unable to get it all done Friday, we are still closer that we were a month ago.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's here, it's finally here!

Our homestudy has finally arrived! It came in the mail today. So after 5 months it is finally here! Can you detect my excitement? I have everything ready for our dossier (with the exception of our police clearances, which hopefully I can pick up today and it is the right thing). Everything has been faxed to Kristen and if she can look over and approve it today, we will be headed to Atlanta in the morning to get everything apostilled. Once it is apostilled, our dossier will be sent to the adoption agency then on to Russia for translation. This has been a really rough week, a curve ball was thrown to us (I wont go into great detail) but we asked God to send us a burning bush and he did. So to get this in the mail today, was just what I needed. Thank you God!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Homestudy is finally on it's way!

I recieved an email from our homestudy agency stating that they were putting our home study in the mail today. Finally! I have everything that I need for our dossier, except for our homestudy. We began our homestudy back in Janurary. To be honest, I have no idea why it has taken this long. We have turned everything in within days of being asked. The only explanation that I can come up with for our lengthy home study time is the Lord's timing. At this point, I don't care how long that it has taken all I care about is it is on it's way and that puts us a step closer to bringing home our baby/babies. Praise God it is on it's way!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Church BBQ

This past Saturday our chuch had a BBQ plate sale as a fundraiser to help us raise money for our adoption. Words cannot express our gratitude towards everyone who helped make this fundraiser the success that it was. We are truly blessed with an amazing church family. We are so touched by their love, support and dedication in helping us to bring home our baby/babies. We can't thank everyone enough for giving up your weekend to come out and help us try to raise money for our adoption. Also, a big thanks goes out to everyone that sold tickets, bought tickes and helped promote the fundraiser. I truly hate to call names because I am so scared that I am going to forget someone. However, I want to specially thank those that worked so hard: Benton and Ruthie: You guys made this happen. Thank you for getting the BBQ together. You are two of the most amazing people that I have ever met and we are so blessed to have you in our lives. A big thanks to my parents who played a big part in this fundraiser also. You guys have been at everything and worked so hard to help with every fundraiser that we have had. Eddie, Patti, Gayle, Addison, Julianne, Tina, Myrtle, Hal, Angela, Byron, Trina, Carl, Pam, Bob, Danette, Terrie T, Tim and Lora...thank you guys so much for everything. You will always hold a special place in our hearts for all that you did to help with this BBQ. To Shasha, Erin, Mema, Papa, and Mickey: thanks for coming up. Your support means so much to us and we love you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Getting Closer..

Kristen (our adoption coordinator) called today to review all of the documents that I sent to her. There were several minor things that needed to be changed or updated. I spent a good portion of the day getting as much as I could fixed. There are very few things left to do at this point, and everything left has to come from the home study agency (which I'm confident that the new company will be quick in getting me the things that I need). Kristen informed me that we were really close to submitting our dossier, we just have one major thing to figure out. As many on here may know, Benji was a twin (his twin sister died at 8 months old). He, as well as myself, have always had a heart for twins. So we are at a point to where we must decided wether to register for one child or two. It is really a huge decision for us. So in the next couple of days, we must decide for our registration forms. We are trusting that God will lead us in the direction that he is calling us. We are really aiming to have everything sent off and hopefully be registered to a region in Russia within the next month to month in a half. I have been so excited all day. I feel like we are finally going somewhere. We have spent the last 5 months working on our home study and preparing our dossier (which I truly thought would take less than 3 months). The longer that it took and the more speed bumps that we hit, the more I was becoming discouraged. Today, I was very encouraged. I got the boost that I desperately needed...praise God!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Home Study Complete!

I just recieved a call from our new home study agency. They have finally recieved a copy of our homestudy from the previous agency. It has now been completed by the new agency as well as all of the other paperwork that we needed from them for our dossier and it has been emailed to me. I have forwarded it to Kristen (our adoption coordinater) for review. Once Kristen approves it we will be ready to get everything apostilled and then sent to Russia! The money is still a pretty big issue but we completely trust that the Lord is already making the preparations for the money to be in place when the time is right. I'm just so excited that we can move forward now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More Progress..

We went to Atlanta Friday to get fingerprinted (biometrics as they call it) for USCIS. We were in and out in minutes...nothing to it. That's one more step in the right diretion. We are still waiting to get our homestudy finilized. It is seeming to take forever for the homestudy to get completed. It has been finished for a few weeks but getting the two companies to finalize it has not been an easy task. I sure don't want to complain because both agencies have been wonderful to us; but we can't even apply for financial grants nor submit our dossier to Russia until the homestudy is comeplete. I know that everything will happen in God's timing, and I'm okay with that. I know that this process is more than likely going to be a little long. Sometimes the human nature kicks in and it feels that it is never going to happen.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More progress

A big hooray: Benji's passport finally came in today. That is the last thing that we were lacking (from what we can do) to complete our dossier. We have an appointment with Homeland security to get our biometrics done, for this Friday. We were really hoping to have everything completed so that while we are in Atlanta we could get everything apostilled then we'd be ready to submit our dossier to Russia for translation. However, there are a few things that are beyond our control that just have not fallen into place. We are still hoping that we can get everything done, but it's looking like we may just have to take another trip to Atlanta later to get documents apostilled.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Russian Language

For my birthday last year, Staci and Dwayne (my sis and bro-in-law) gave me a Russian Language book and CD set. I started working on it a little a while back and had no success. The Russian language is hard! The letters in the Russian alphabet look very little like our English letters. Now I took Spanish in high school and the Spanish alphabet still looks quite similiar to the English alphabet so it wasn't so bad (then again I was ten years younger and my brain was a little more resilient). To this day I still sing our alphabet rather than say it, and I still sing the Spanish alphabet if I ever need to recite it. So I decide last night that I'm going to make a tune and sing the Russian alphabet to help me learn it better. Do keep in mind that I am one of the most musically challenged people on this Earth. So Benji and I are sitting on the couch last night watching American Idol as I am trying my best to come up with some sort of tune to help me learn this darn Russian alphabet...he's laughing so hard at my music "inabilities" that he can't take me seriously. Let's just say that translators will be crucial for us as we are in Russia. After many attempts to even learn common phrases, the only one that I can seem to remember is "nyet" which mean "no" in Russian, but when written looks like "Her"...go figure! Well at least I know how to say no! Hopefully soon, I can report back with more Russian phrases, and who knows I may even record my Russian alphabet song. HA!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


We sent our paperwork to USCIS (United States Citizens and Immigration Services) on Janurary 12. Well, it has been sent back to us three times. Each time has been because it wasn't quite right (note there is nothing stating what all needs to be done or sent anywhere on any of the literally have to guess). The last time we sent it off, I was sure that it was accurate. Well effective April 1, they will only take money orders. Did it tell me that when they sent the paperwork back in March? Nope? So of course they sent everything back once again and had a letter stating that we needed to sent a money order that personal checks were no longer accepted. So, we made another attempt to get this paperwork correct, because it is quite crucial in an international adoption. Yesterday, there was an envelope in the mail from Homeland Security. This time instead of a letter telling me that they can't process the documents for whatever reason, it had a letter stating that everything was properly sent and that they are processing it now. So that's a big YAY for us!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A little progress

We recieved the rough draft of our homestudy this week. There were just a couple of small details that needed to be changed. So now agency # 1 is finalizing it and sending it to agency # 2 to retype it all so that it will be legit for Russia. The process is taking a good bit longer than I had hoped but we trust that the hold-ups in the process are God's way of getting the timimg perfect for the little one/s that he already has chosen for us. As frustrating as it has been, we just have to rely on the fact that God is already preparing the way for us.
We have recently found out that our church is doing a BBQ fundraiser for us next month. We are so touched by those who have taken this on to help us out financially. We have a great church, and we are really blessed with a great church family. So a huge thank you goes out to our church family as well as a few of our friends who have also helped out with selling tickets.
Benji and I are so amazed by everyone that God has placed in our lives to help us with this adoption. We both have great families who have supported us 100% and who have worked very hard to help us raise the money, we have a great church family who is taking on this BBQ fundraiser to help us, we have an extended church family who has already done one amazing yardsale fundraiser for us, and we have some of the best friends in the world that have given us support from day one and who have also been a part of each fundraiser. We thank God for each and every person that has played a role in this adoption. We love you and are so thankful for you!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Claiming our victory

Our home study has now been sent off for approval. We have a few more things to finish on our dossier, none of which should take too much time. So we are moving right along. However, there is a little road block that is fast The next step is about $6,000. We have no idea where it is going to come from or how we are going to have the money but we are claiming now that we WILL have it. Last week I read a blog of a family that is also persuing a Russian adoption. They have already gone for trip one and met their precious child. They have a court date coming really quick, Russia wants them back within 2 weeks to pick up their child. I can only imagine how excited that they are. Yet they are lacking about $11,000. Without the funds, they will be unable to get thier child. If they can't come up with it soon, the child will be adopted by someone else. I am crushed for them. I can't even begin to imagine what they are feeling right now. So I do ask that anyone reading this blog please pray for them and their finances.
Today in church, Pastor Addison preached on claiming your victory. He was saying that you need to go on and say thank-you even before you recieve what you are praying for. He called everyone to the front and had everyone call out their need at the alter. Benji and I headed down to the front, both knowing that we are about the face a huge financial wall in our adoption. I have no idea what he called out. As Pastor Addison called the congregation to call out and thank the Lord for needs and burdens. I said thank you to God for the financial miracle that he is sending in regards to our adoption. Everyone else was calling out their own individual needs. I couldn't even hear my own voice so I knew no one else could hear me either. Pastor Addison came down from the pulpit and touched Benji and I and said a prayer for us in bringing our baby home...and our finances in getting our baby home. He really has know idea how soon this financial "road-block" is approaching. So it was amazing to me that he came to us and only us in the back of the crowded alter to pray for exactly what we are needing. After church, a church family member approached Benji about listing his home...God is moving and he is moving fast.
So I am claiming it now, that the $6,000 that we are going to need to proceed, will be in place very soon. I can't wait to report back on this blog that God has blessed us and answered our prayer...and I will be reporting back because I have all the faith in the world (even though it waivers from time to time) that God already has a plan set in motion to get us through this, and to get our babi(es) home.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Final Home Study Visit

On Wednesday Benji and I went to meet with the owner of our new home study agency. She informed us that she was bringing Donna on as an employee of her agency so we will be able to continue to work with Donna for the home study as well as for our post placements. This is great news for us because Donna is great and we hated having to lose her. All around this home study situation did set us back a few weeks but it is working out great for us.
Then yesterday, I had to go to Athens to do my final interview with Donna. It went very well, but she makes conversation so easy. Thank you Ashley for riding with me, and making the day very eventful and less stressful.
So we are now done with everything that we can do for our homestudy. We should have the completed homestudy within one to two weeks. At that point we will be waiting on our passports to come in. It is still going to take about 3 weeks for our passports to be in. That should be plenty of time for us to finish up the dossier requirements. So it is our aim to send everything to Russia in the next 4 weeks or so. It is at the point that we have to send the paperwork off to Russia that we have to have another rather large payment. We are hoping to be approved for some grant money but we are not sure how long it takes for the grant money to come through. We trust that God has a plan set into motion for the money to be there when we go to submit our paperwork to Russia.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Moving forward

So after the last post, we discovered that the home study agency that we had found to help us out was not accredited, and we must use one that is accredited. So back to square one. Thanks to Renee and her super internet research skills, we found one more company. This company is accredited and has agreed to take us on...and get this...possibly cheaper than the original home study (praise God!). Yesterday we had our conference call with Kristen (our adoption coordinator). We were able to get a better feel of the process and estimated time frames. She told us that we are pretty far in and that if we really push it, we can be sending our dossier (paperwork) off to Russia within a month or so. So within the next two months or so (and yes this time frame is a slight stretch, but very possible) we can be waiting for our referral. We now have the green light on the home study issue, and we are moving forward. I've been excited, but after our conference call, the excitement level has been really boosted.
I know that it is really pushing it, but we are praying very hard to have our babi(es) home this year. It is more reasonable to think maybe this time next year, but we are praying very hard to that this all falls into place this year. With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hopefully a solution has arrived

The past week has been very hectic. We found an agency willing to take over our case, then they found out where we live and it was just too far away for them to service us. We have talked to agency after agency, with no on willing or able to take us on. I really hate to admit it, but we were both to a point to where we didn't think that there was going to be a solution at all. We had talked to several agencies that were not able to pick up where our agency left off but they were unable to help us even start over. Several were on the "ban" list, some only did domestic adoptions, some were already out of business, and some just weren't able to work with us due to travel time to get to our house. I'd be lying if I said we weren't questioning God's calling. If this is what God was calling us to do then why was every door closing? Then yesterday we found one last shot. There was one more company left to try. We called as well as our current home study agency and they have agreed to take over where the other company left off. They will charge for their service, so we will be coming out of pocket a little more than expected but it's really not bad at all. It sure beats starting all over. Now everything is not set in stone just yet with the 2nd company, but they are trying to get on it and get it done fast. So yesterday, we went to the social security office because I have, after seven years, still failed to legally change my name. We were in and out of the social security office in five minutes. So now my name is legally changed. Next stop was the birth certificate office (we needed 2 copies of our birth certificates for our dossier), which I went to a few weeks ago but it was so packed that I left, but on this day there was no one else there. So we were in and out quick. A funny tid-bit: They lady at the vital records office asked why we needed our birth certificates. When we told her, she said and I quote "Maybe y'all will get twins". Then we went on for passport pictures, and we got a discount. This week sure has been better than last week. Things really seemed to just begin to fall into place yesterday...just when I was begining to second guess....shame on me.
I also want to note that my dear friend Ashley moved back home this week from Illinois. I personally think that God sent her back here to help me with the insanity of this process. She'll keep me laughing even when I want to cry.
And also, we want to thank Gayle. I have read the letter that you wrote three times already today and it has choked me up every time. Thank you for your donation and your part in helping us bring our baby home. You are so special to us, we love you and the girls like family.
So we have so much to be thankful for right now. God has really shown us just how much he is in this with us. Every night, when Benji and I pray, we ask God to hold our hand through this adoption. He as done just that. Even when things seem like they are falling apart, he's right there. Holding our hands tightly, telling us to hold on, another door will be opening soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm too blessed to be stressed

So we are still in limbo over the home study situation. We have one more chance and that is only if another company will agree to take over our case. I'll call that company tomorrow and hope for the best. However, given this week's craziness, I just do not feel bad about our situation. On Monday, my aunt found out she had a hemmorage in her eye. Tuesday, my mom's friend had to bury her mother. Wednesday, one of mama's 3 yr old patients died and mama's best friend (the one that buried her mother on Tuesday) found out that she had terminal cancer, then one of my very near and dear friend found out some very discouraging things about her teenage son. Thursday, my aunt had to have eye surgery to take care of the hemmorage. Now all this is what I call real problems....not my little adoption set back. All I'm looking at is losing money and a few weeks time. I'm not burying a child, having to deal with a loved one with a terminal illness, having to undergo surgery, I'm not homeless, I'm not lonely. I have a wonderful husband, a super duper family, some pretty amazing friends, a roof over my head, food in fridge, and clothes on my back. I have three jobs in a market where others are losing their jobs daily. All I can say is, I'm on heck of a blessed person. And even if this home study problem does not work out, I still serve an amazing God who has blessed me far beyond anything that I ever deserve. If God called me home tonight, I will go lacking nothing. I am just too blessed to grumble over a set back, when there are so many others out there with "real problems". As the song goes..."this isn't a stumbling block, it's just a stepping stone".

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I never have liked rollercoasters

So the rollercoaster has begun. I posted a few hours ago that everything was seemingly resolved. Well, it's not. Our case worker just called and said that this was not as easy of a fix as she had previously thought. For now we have cancelled our meeting tomorrow. Her director is meeting with our agency this afternoon to discuss our case. We just pray that this matter gets resolved once and for all and that we can move forward without having to take 10 steps back. It's in the Lord's hands and he will work it out one way or another.

God is great...but he almost gave me a heart attack

Let me start by saying thank you God! He is always there to pull us through when we need him. Our adoption agency called this morning to tell us that there was nothing that they could do. Our homestudy agency would not be approved so we needed to stop now and find a new home study agency. Luckily Benji was here at the office when we got this call, because I was really beginning to have chest pains. So I had no choice but to call our case worker and tell her that we really appreciated everything but we were forced to go elsewhere. I go outside to call Donna on my cell, as I'm calling her she's calling me at the office. Donna said that they will get this issue resolved. We have a few options here but they said that they would make this happen even if they have to contract it out to an "approved" company. So that's where we stand right now. God is amazing and even though he tests us sometime, if we just trust in him, he will pull us through. Thank you to every one who has lifted us up in prayer. The family and friend's support is what gets us through these little bumps in the road. We love you all very much!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A major frustration/possible set back.

I recieved an email today from our adoption agency. She said she was processing our paperwork today and that our coordinater would be in touch soon. Yay! Exciting! Then she asks about our homestudy and who we were using because they just recieved a list last week of home study agencies that Russia is refusing to work with. Guess who's agency is on that list? Yep...ours! We have already completed all the paperwork and vistits, with the exception of my interview...which is scheduled for Wednesday (2 days away). Needless to say, our home study agency has already been paid...non-refundable (as it shouldn't be, they have already done their job). I realize that this journey is going to have it's ups and downs and I'm okay with that. I'm not happy about loosing a month's worth of work on the homestudy, tons of time time getting paperwork together and interviewing with the social worker, but I can deal with this. What I can't deal with is a total loss of $1300. I'm am beyond frustrated right now. The adoption agency is checking into this now and she is supposed to call us back before lunch tomorrow, but it sounds like there's not much that they can do. I have not for one second ever doubted that God was in this adoption, and I don't now either. We just really need him to show how much that he is in it right now in helping us get through this speed bump (even though it feels like a mountain). God can and will help us through this. This was a leap of faith from the very begining and we will hold to our faith that he will either help us get an exception or provide the funds to be able to start a new homestudy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Home visit Complete!

Donna came to our house this morning to complete our home visit. I think that it went very well. She didn't point out any problems. She had to check every room to make sure that there were no saftey hazards, she had to make sure that all guns were properly locked away (which even with 2 giant gun safes, was a task in our house) and she had to pet our dogs to make sure that they were not vicious. There was really nothing to it at all. Now we can enjoy our weekend with our super clean house. I need to tell Donna to come by weekly. HA! Benji went ahead and did his individual interview today. So now all that we have left is my individual interview and a couple more papers to turn in and we will be done with our end of the homestudy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Joint meeting with our case worker

Yesterday we went to Athen to meet with Donna, our home study case worker. We met with her for about two hours, where she asked us tons of question all about us, our families, our jobs, our religion, our church family, how we fight (HA!), how we plan to discipline, etc... Donna is such a nice person. She has a way of making you feel totally comfortable. I think/hope the interview went well. As usual, I talked excessively (mostly from nerves), hope she didn't think I was a nut case. As usual, Benji was more laid back and relaxed. He really does better with these things than I do.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A heart of gold...

God presents himself in many different ways. This past week, God has presented himself in a man willing to shave his head to help us raise extra funds to help bring our child home. Kyle Shell, an man with a heart the size of Texas, volunteered to shave his head once he raised $500 to put towards our adoption. Well he did just that last night. As I sat there and watched him loose his hair bit by bit, I felt so blessed. Anyone that know me knows that I am not one for tears at all, but as I watched Kyle get his new "do" I was fighting tears. I am blown away by this act of genuine kindness. For someone to do this just amazes me. I thank God for people like Kyle who are willing to sacrifice to help someone else out. Kyle, you are a true man of God and you will be in our hearts forever. Thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for following your heart to help us in bringing our child home. You are an amazing person, and we pray that God pours out his many blessing on you. Here are a few pictures of Kyle's sacrifice:

Kyle Before

Getting ready for the new "do"

Halfway throught the haircut.
The Aftermath

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Yard Sale # 2

This past weekend, some amazing people did a yardsale for us at Fleming Baptist Church. The amount of stuff donated to this yard sale was mind boggling. I hate calling names because I'm so scared of forgetting someone, however, these people certainly deserve to have the names called out. Heck, they need their names on a plaque. To Erin, Shasha & Jimmy, Denise & Tracy, Staci & Dwayne, Mama & Daddy, Mema & Papa , Don & Ann B., Gena K., Tammy J., and the Fleming youth group: Words just don't seem like enough to tell you how much we appreciate all of your hard work. There is a special place in heaven for people like you. We are so lucky to have all of you as family and friends. So thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, for this yardsale put us so much closer to bringing our child/children home. This yard sale was just another prime example of how God is working in our adoption, and how he is using others to help get us there.

Ashley: Thanks again for your "text-support". Every event that we have had, you have always been there texting me throughout the day with your support. I know that if you weren't a gazillion miles away in the frozen tundra of Illinois, you would've been there!

Here are a few pictures of the day:
The sign in front of the church (thanks Mr. Don and Denise!)
The youth girls.
Dwayne, Benji and Daddy...the money men (of hagglers, which ever you prefer)
Dallas and his lovely pink jump suit...compliments of the yard sale donations.
Erin and Denise at the food counter.
All the stuff!!! (except for the furniture which is behind the camera).

Hard workers!

Monday, January 26, 2009

First Call...homestudy has begun!

We got a call from our case worker for our home study. She was so nice and just gave me a great sense of peace over the process. Having someone "inspect" every aspect of your life can be quite intimidating. She let us know that she was here as our partner to help us achieve our goal, not to try to prevent it. She is coming for the home visit in two weeks. Yikes! I have got to get on the ball and get my house "home visit" ready. Plus we have a ton of other things that have to be done before she gets there (TB tests, recommendation letters, drug tests, financial records, pet vaccinations, letters from our employers, criminal background checks, and tons more). I am so excited to finally be doing something. Even if it is super hectic, I'd much rather be doing something rather than just sitting around waiting. I thank God that the proces has truly begun and that he sent us Donna, our case worker, whom I love already!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another yard sale coming up!

I'm posting this as my thank you more so than an announcement. I really don't even know where to start to be honest. I just want to thank everyone who is putting this together in advance. Shasha, Erin, and Denise (and any others that I'm not aware of), I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the time and effort that you guys are putting into this yardsale. I pray that one day I will be able to bless you guys, as you are blessing us way more then you will ever know. When we started this process, I always knew that God was going to provide. However, I never thought that he'd provide by so much effort from others. I just thought that the real estate market would pick up, a few good real estate sales and poof, the money would just be there. Never did it occur to me how many people that God had placed in our lives that were going to help make this happen for us. So for those of you who are coordinating this yard sale, words do not even begin to descibe the gratitude that we are feeling right now. You will always have a special place in our hearts, and we will be eternally grateful for your part in helping bring our child/children home!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The process has begun....

Today is marks the official beginning. We are mailing our initial paperwork off today! Coincidentally, it is our 7 year anniversary. Can you detect the excitment in my writing?
Below is a picture of the evelopes of our paperwork that will be in the mail momentarily. I hate pictures of myself but Renee and Ruthie forced me to do this one. HA! I fought them hard but they made me post this picture instead of a picture of just the paperwork (and the flowers hubby sent me for our anniversary...thanks babe...I love you!) It has been a good day! Just please keep us in your prayers that this adoption will move forward quickly and that the finances will be in place when the time is right. What we sent today is a drop in the bucket compared to what we need (but we know that God is going to provide). We still have a long road to travel, and we are praying for God's guidence, and thanking him for getting us to this point, as well as putting people in our lives to help get us to where we are today.