Monthly Archives: July 2011

CAVH & LJAH

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No, I didn’t let Carson type the title… Those are Kirk & Lori’s initials.  I thought I’d give you a little hint as to what their real names are/will be.  Anyone want to give it a shot?  I’d love to see some guesses in the comments… who knows… there might be a prize or something…

Meanwhile, check out our new number….

$1,189

We’re that far away from being fully funded!!!

12 Days

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Check out this sketch my honorary niece Haley drew of Kirk… isn’t it great?  She was just doodling at the table one night with regular pencil on printer paper.  Serious talent.  Her sister (my other honorary niece) Trina did an adorable drawing of Lori, and I’ll share that one with you when I get my hands on it to scan it in… these two girls put their hands to work doing all kinds of things from sewing and photography, to drawing and knitting. (Haley knitted to uber cute dish rags we gave away in our first fundraiser.)  They have put together their own website called Texas Handmaids (clever, huh?) … so go check it out.  Seriously wonderful family.  Oh, they can cook too, but unfortunately you can’t order any amazing desserts from their website.
Well, we are down to less than two weeks to lift-off!  And if you think I’m running around like a crazy chicken trying to get things done, well… you’d be right.  But I think I have all the travel items we need now.  
Who am I kidding?  I’ll be at Walmart the night before our flight, I’m sure.  But, Kirk’s bed is made, all ready and waiting for him… the bunkbed/loft in the girls’ room is almost finished.  Jeff and I will be building the loft part tonight (well, mostly Jeff, although I can use a power driver now, and I only broke one bit clean off.)  
Okay, (jumping subjects once more) if you were on Facebook this morning, you saw me promise some good news.  Are you ready for this?
Remember when I posted on Friday, our big NEED was $8,572?
Well, money came in over the weekend, and we are now at 
$2,472.
That’s what remains for us to be fully funded!  Wow!  God is GREAT!  I will be updating the thermometer daily now, until we’re fully funded.  So keep checking back to watch it grow and praise God with us!  We’re almost there!
*Update: We’re now at $2,449

Getting So Close!

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Going to meet these sweet ones soon!
I am getting butterflies in my stomach.  My life is a little surreal right now.  I walk out my front door or into the parking lot after coming out of Target and I walk up to a mini-van that I can’t believe is ours.
I scurry around buying luggage tags and toys for K&L and wonder about how much walking we’re going to do and what kind of shoes to wear on the trip, and I scribble notes on my packing list that is taped to my refrigerator.
I can’t believe we’re leaving in 15 days!
I look at my two precious daughters and blink fast to get rid of the squeezing in my throat as I think about boarding a plane and leaving them.  For weeks.
I pull possibilities out of my closet and set them aside.  I toss Nalgene bottles and sanitizing wipes into the open luggage on the floor of our bedroom.
I look at Kirk & Lori’s picture and wonder how much they have changed and what will that first meeting be like?
I buy pink comforters.  For three girly beds.
I hold up a pair of 5T shorts and wonder if they will fit a boy I’m soon to meet.
It’s all happening so fast now.  I can hardly believe it. 
What’s left?
$8,572
That’s how much we have left to raise.  We can still raise our funds while we’re traveling, but we’re coming down to the wire now.  And I would really like to be fully-funded before we take our first trip.  I totally believe in God’s sovereignty, and I believe He answers prayer.  So I am asking you to join us in praying that God would swiftly provide the $8572 we need to be fully funded.
Would you also pass along our blog address to others?  Anyone who is interested in donating can click on Kirk and Lori’s picture on the right, and it will take you straight to our sponsorship page, where donations are tax-deductable, and we are not charged any fees.
I am so excited.  So grateful.  So humbled.  So out of words.
Thank you, from the bottom of our little hearts!
I cannot wait to see what God will do!!

Praise!!

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Well, I have good news!!  Yesterday morning, we received our appointment date for Kirk & Lori’s country.  Our date is August 9th and we’ll be leaving on August 6th.  Woohoo!

In 3 weeks we’ll be meeting the kids!

I’m so excited about this, and frankly, a little nervous as well.  There is a lot to think through in packing for this trip, and we haven’t traveled internationally in 7 years, and never with a child.  Carson will be going with us, and we’ll be leaving the girls at home.   It breaks my heart to do that, but taking them with us would more than double our airfare, and we would have to take along someone to care for them at the apartment, since all 3 children couldn’t go with us to appointments and visitations.  So please pray for my heart – and for Maggie & Lilly, as we have to leave them behind for two weeks or more.

Yesterday was exciting for another reason as well… we picked up our new mini-van!  New to us, anyway. Maggie and Lilly were really excited about this and it’s a huge blessing to us.  And I’m grateful to have that checked off our list.  Now we have a vehicle we can all fit in…. and I don’t have to climb over the center console to get to the driver seat anymore! I was going to take a picture of our new van and post it here, but we’re experiencing some good Southeast Texas rain today.

More praise… ready for this?  We made over $1700 at our garage sale this weekend!  I was overwhelmed at the amount of donations we had, and helpers… friends and family and church family were up at the church eating pizza and working late into the night organizing, sorting, pricing… it was loads of fun!  And despite the monsoon on Saturday morning, people still came. We were mightily blessed.

More news to come!

Diamond Necklace, Anyone?

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Oh, not from me.  It’s not me giving away a diamond necklace…

Yes, we’re still fundraising, and we still need at LEAST $3800 raised in the next two weeks in order to make our first trip to Kirk & Lori’s country.

But life isn’t all about us – and we’re not the only family working hard to bring children home to their forever family.

And sometimes you just gotta spread the love.

So today, I’m asking you to hop on over to this family’s blog and check out their giveaway.  They are giving away a family heirloom for the chance to raise the $5000 they need – and they will be traveling soon to K & L’s country, too.

Giveaway ends Sunday!!

Storytellin’ & Fantastic News!

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Okay, I have to admit I am more than a little excited about this!!!  Two bits of news I am bursting to share!

First, for those of you who haven’t already heard via Facebook, or in person, we received an email late Friday afternoon… Kirk & Lori’s country voted on Friday to OPEN ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS back up.  It will be made official this week, and that means that (I quote from the email) “you should be getting a travel date in coming weeks.”

AAAHHH!!!

So, instead of being delayed for 3 months, it looks like we might possibly be traveling by the end of this month!  When I read the email I almost jumped, squealed, cried and panicked all at once.  (Okay, maybe I did do all of those things… just a little bit.)

What this means is that we are now full-force fundraising.  We basically have to be ready to get on a plane, and we are not at our fundraising goal just yet.

Tons of friends are stepping up and helping us throw a HUGE garage sale at our church this coming weekend, and I am ridiculously excited about that – the opportunity to purge items from my house/attic/garage, and work to bring my kiddos home! I cannot think of a better way to spend my weekend.

But it’s likely that even after this weekend, we will not yet be fully funded, so we have a few more tricks up our proverbial sleeve…

Which brings me to my second piece of news I’m bursting to share…

I wrote a Book!

Well, technically, it’s an eBook, as no publishers have been scrambling to sign me up, as of late…

And technically, I suppose it’s an eBooklet, since it’s short & sweet, and an easy read.  Here’s the scoop…

A few years ago, as we were going through the girls’ bedtime routine, I was sitting on one of their toddler beds, and we were telling them a Bible story, as had become our habit.  And I felt the Lord clearly lay an idea on my heart.  This will happen from time to time – the Lord will speak to me about writing something, and it gets added to an ever-growing list of works-in-progress in my head (and on my iMac.)

I think it was the very next day I sat down to begin writing Tell Me A Story, in which I share how our family came about telling Bible stories to our girls, and how that has become a cornerstone in how we disciple our children.  I felt the Lord laid on my heart that this would be a useful tool in helping other parents – especially busy, working parents  – teach the Bible to their children as well.

The little book lay almost complete on my faithful external hard drive for over a year.  There was something just keeping me from finishing.  But just in the past few months, the Lord revived the project in my heart and mind again.

So now, for anyone who would like to make a small donation towards our adoption, you can ‘purchase’ the Tell Me A Story eBooklet straight from our blog.  At the top right corner of our blog (above our family picture), you can click the ‘Add to Cart’ button and set your own ‘price.’  


So… I think this is an exciting way to start off the week, don’t you?  Would you help us spread the word?

Stay tuned for Jeff’s next installment of The Day We Met.  (I think he’s having fun with it.)

‘Night Ya’ll!

Jeff’s Take, Part 1

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Sorry! It’s taken a few days longer than I thought it would to get this next post up because I’ve been hunting something dead in the garage. No kidding. The sad thing is I haven’t found it yet. No kidding. I’m obviously not much of a hunter.

Webster’s defines prejudice as “preconceived judgement or opinion”. We all have our prejudices, mostly based on some experience that is related to what we are pre-judging.


I must admit, I was going into my tour-guide play day with some prejudices, and it was not a good way to start. You see, I had just spent a month with a great group of Americans who really struggled with being in a country so…un-American. By the end of their trip, they wanted to sleep in an American bed, wake up and have an American breakfast, and speak only English all day long to everyone they met. These are not unreasonable things if you are in America. However, they weren’t, so these things just weren’t going to happen, and that caused them stress. (This is culture shock.)

I assumed that the two girls I’d be with were experiencing the same culture shock, wanting to change their environment to something more comfortable for them. I was…wrong. I had pre-judged Shannon and B based on other, related (recent!) experiences. They weren’t culture shocking; they were getting over being sick. They were actually a joy to be around, but I’ll get to that in due time.

I had also assumed there might be something “broken” or unappealing about them, mostly because I had observed that before in single seminary women who were involved in missions (especially as a career). Again, I was wrong, and I’m saying it.

As I was riding in the taxi to our rendezvous point, I probably said some dopey prayer like, “Lord please give me strength to make it through this day and to be a help to these poor girls.”. The lesson, in hindsight, is that I’m a dork.

Shannon, the hat, and some friends she made over in the big country

As the cab slowed down at my destination, I noticed Shannon. Oh man, did I notice Shannon. I told the driver, “Stop here, please,” to which he responded, “What?”. You see, my first glimpse of Shannon made me forget where I was, because I started speaking English to some guy who couldn’t understand me at all. Well, that was quickly resolved; I talked to him correctly, he stopped, and I began to make my way toward my destiny.

The first thing I noticed about Shannon was this crazy bucket hat she was wearing. The thing looked like someone had splattered it with every color paint you could imagine. It’s the kind of clothing article that catches one’s eye in a crowd. Well, I noticed her.

Which brings me to the second thing…. her eyes. Her amazing, stunning, beautiful eyes. It’s not just that they are this gorgeous blue color – they are almost always so full of life (unless she hasn’t slept well or I’ve left the toilet seat up, or…wait, I’m getting off subject here). Anyway, beautiful, expressive, vibrant eyes. And a smile that lit up the whole park. And I nearly called my team leader that very moment to thank him for forcing me to come meet this woman. Then I quit daydreaming, my thoughts turned to reality and I thought, “This can’t be who I’m supposed to meet.” (prejudices. dumb.)


the eyes have it


I wasn’t sure what to say to her. How do you talk to someone like that? Fortunately, I was saved from looking too silly by someone else. There was another woman talking to me; someone in between me and those eyes, talking, talking, talking…

Oh! The girl I was supposed to meet was talking to me! Pay attention, Jeff! As it turns out, I was looking for both women; the talker turned out to be B, and the eyes turned out to be Shannon. “Nice to meet you, Ladies. Ready for a few adventures?”

I sure was.

Jeff’s Take, Prologue

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Over the next week or so I will be telling the story of the day we met from my perspective. However, today I will be telling about the month and day before the day we met, to give a bit of context. So today is the prologue, and Part 1 is coming in a day or two…

As Shannon has already said, I was a backpacker at the time we met. More specifically, I was part of a group that was doing something akin to anthropological cartography. That’s a fancy way of saying we were looking for people. Specific people. Have you ever seen those ads in the paper where the government has “lost” or “unclaimed” money and if your name is on the list, then call this number? Or perhaps a better example would be the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. Have you ever wished they’d come knocking at your door with some great, big news that would change your life forever? Well, that’s kind of what I was involved in. We had some great news to share with a group of folks, but first we had to find them. I was one of the finders.

We would take public buses to the end of the bus routes (small country towns that would be similar to county seats), and then from there we would hike all over each area, going to every village we could find, and determining if the people we were looking for lived there. We compiled this information in a way that would be easy to use and follow.

This was a big job that required a lot of manpower (By our estimates, there could have been as many as 250,000 people we were looking for!), and we would often have people come and help us look for our people.

The day before I met Shannon, one of the busiest months of my life was coming to a close. I was on the road for about 20-24 days that month, leading a volunteer team of mountain bikers that discovered along the way they were being re-tasked as backpackers. That discovery, along with food, health, language, and culture adjustments made for a challenging trip for them (and, by extension, for me). We had accomplished quite a bit, but we were physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained.

Yet hope was rising within me! I was going to take a scouting trip with some co-workers up to a really cool, way-out-there border town that a few of us were about to move to and use as a base of operations. It would be my first city adventure in this Big Country, as well as the first time I got to see where I’d be moving to. My bus ticket was purchased, and I was packing up my things when I heard a knock at my door….

My team leader was there, and he had a favor to ask: would I be able take on a little project the next day? He had two volunteers who had a pretty rough few weeks and needed a nice, relaxing, fun day to end their trip on a positive note. Could I play tour guide for two female seminary students, taking them to see the local sites, do some fun stuff, and help them sort out all that God had been doing in them and through them on this trip?

Well, I told him, I already had a project I was involved with; could he use someone else? (I even offered a few suggestions) The short answer: no one else could cover this assignment, and he would find a replacement for me on the road trip (which, by the way makes no sense in hindsight).

If I had known that I was meeting her, I would have paid money for the assignment. A lot of money.

I felt kind of trapped, actually, and wasn’t happy about it, but agreed to do it. (Thanks be to God Who saved me from that awesome adventure my buddies had with the cool crowd in the border town. And I absolutely mean that.). I prepared for the next day, packing my backpack, setting an itinerary, making sure of bus schedules, etc., and then had a relaxing evening before heading to bed. It seemed like a disappointing assignment, but I was going to make the most of it. I had no idea, really, that the next day would be one of the most profoundly significant ones of my life…