Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family pictures!


We had a great time at Portrait Innovations today!  They had a photographer and a ‘child wrangler’ and all the kids did great!  I have been pleased by their staff both times that we’ve gone, and the prices are SO MUCH better than the other places we’ve been that have ‘comparable’ service. 

My parents came along today as well (I was at their house when I made the appt yesterday and we were thankful for their help!). 

Enjoy! :)

In no particular order… (Family pic’s, pic’s of the 6 kids, and photos of James are all on the MyNormalFamily blog…)


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0051 0053 0055 0056


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0071 0074 0076 0077


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**Emma is not walking, but she can stand stationary for a few seconds and even will occasionally move a foot to take a step or two when she loses her balance!  These are the first pic’s of her standing alone and we are so proud of her!  As you can see, I wasn’t far away ;)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Monroe Has a Family!!

God has touched his family’s hearts and spoken to them!  He used their pastor, this Sunday, to confirm the call.   Not having spoken with their pastor yet, they had just prayed that God would use someone on Sunday morning to give confirmation one way or another about whether they were supposed to adopt Monroe.

You see, when it’s not a question of “can we” but instead “should we,” the answer is sometimes difficult!  Monroe’s family was waiting for that little extra push from God that says “yes”.  And this is what they heard in the middle of their sermon on Sunday:

“This picture I took represents to me the broad path and the narrow path, and all of us have opportunities to make decisions.  Today, when you leave here, you’re going to have the opportunity to make a decision, this week you’re going to have all kinds of opportunities to make decisions.  Will you choose the path of least resistance, the broad path, or are you going to trust your heart into God’s hands and follow him into whatever path He leads you in?  It’s a matter of trust, and you cannot have love without trust.  God wants us to learn to trust him.  His ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts higher than our thoughts and when we learn to trust him because of His love, it’s easier to follow him, down the road.  Learning to live in God’s love…”

At that point in the service they looked at each other and laughed, knowing that God had provided the confirmation and peace-at-heart that they had prayed He would provide, and on Sunday afternoon they committed to Monroe!

Still wondering who that family is?  Or… were YOU at church with us on Sunday? :)


In the first week that he was available, I didn’t even read his profile.  I saw his photo, announced his grant, and was amazed to hear he didn’t have that family I thought he would have in 48 hours.  It wasn’t until I sent out my second plea on my bl0g that I went and read more into his profile and looked at the older photos of him.   Then, prompted by Shelley and Lyndi (yes, I blame them LOL), I sent a link to Michael.  They asked me how he was going to decide to adopt him (since they apparently had this all figured out even though *I* said we weren’t adopting again right now) if he didn’t even know he existed?  Well, I said sure- I’ll send his profile to Michael, and wrote him an email saying “pray for a family for Monroe.  He has a full grant, is in a good orphanage, and just needs a family.”  And he replied “I will pray about it.”

That was Monday… Friday we went from “really not thinking this is us, but praying for a family” to the basic response to our prayers which was “quit praying and act, I’ve provided for you to be his parents!”

God opened the doors that we prayed would be firmly opened or closed, and the two biggies were our social workers.  Our homestudy social worker was immediately excited for us (homestudy should be to me next week to be sent to USCIS) and James’ case manager was very supportive and excited as well.  Two big “YES” answers there!

I’ll answer questions later on… that’s probably information overload already, right? :)

We are excited to introduce you to the ‘newest’ pursuit of our hearts, Monroe :)

July 2010


Summer 2009

monroe-1 monroe-2

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wow, it's already Thursday

This week has FLOWN by!

And been filled with so much activity that I'm not even sure where to start...

So rather than type up a post that will take you 5 days to read, I'll leave you with this:

The Lord has blessed us abundantly. His hand has moved, and He has answered our prayers. He's heard the cries of our hearts and confirmed His paths for us. He's brought us to a place of new submission, of new following, and of new acceptance of His will.

And a quick little prayer request- Micah has surgery for another set of ear tubes in the morning. Would greatly appreciate your prayers that he will have a quick and easy time of it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Part III Q&A

How was the conference??
We had a GREAT time!  It was wonderful meeting families that I’ve spoken to only via email and forums in the past, and putting faces to the names of some that never post their own pics ;).  It was a treat to listen to Dr. Capone speak about behavioral things with Ds (specifically leaning toward kids with Ds and autism) and to ‘tour’ the expo center where different vendors displayed their products for education, advocacy, and just plain fun for kids with Ds!  I was able to SEE some of the Talk Tools items and ordered another Honey Bear (we had one but…) and a cup with a ‘cut out’ in hopes of getting the boys both off the bottle SOON!  I loved some of the reading materials for teaching a child to read and learn sight words and plan to look into those more in the near future, and made some wonderful connections with a group that we had a God-ordained meetup with!

What is this about a Ukraine Mission Trip??
Yes, we’re headed to Ukraine!  Reece’s Rainbow’s Connecting the Rainbow director, Shelley Bedford, and I will be doing a quick trip in the end of September to meet up with a conference being put on by the group mentioned above (more later!) and we’ll also be meeting a group that has opened a “special needs club” for families of special needs children in the region that we adopted from :).  I’m looking forward to being back in Ukraine for a short time, and to getting to meet some of the birth parents in Ukraine that have decided to RAISE their children with special needs even when the culture they live in expects for them to give up their children.

What’s the update on Monroe?
At the moment, no real news.  He does not have a committed family right now (an anonymous comment was left saying he did, I didn’t publish it because that is not the case).  Many inquiries have come in but Andrea has not gotten a commitment.  If you are interested, PLEASE inquire!  And continue to pray for Monroe and for his forever family!

Will Monroe be able to be adopted after he’s transferred?
I am not 100% sure.  We know where he’s being transferred, and although we’ve had “some success” in that part of the country, we haven’t had any adoptions from the specific place he’s being transferred.  It’s a 50/50 in my eyes, though I guess the chances could be better.

You had a lot of issues with Micah with feeding and bowels and such.  Is all of that straightened out now?
YES!  Micah is pretty much 100% NORMAL now in that area!  Thank God!  That was a very difficult time, but the antibiotics seem to have taken care of the H. Pylori bacteria and he is now even… occasionally… going on the potty!! 

Did you find a kids’ toilet that you liked that was plain?
YES, but then we hated it :(.  I bought one that had a small soft ‘ring’ insert and a seat and a bucket and a bowl that could also be used as a step-stool.  There were many varieties including a ‘plain’ one at Wal-Mart.  BUT… for Micah (he got the new one) to sit on it, his little tinkler almost ALWAYS was over the front of the TINY little ring!  So if he had success, it was on the floor.  It lasted a week until I got frustrated with it and we ended up with a “Frog” one that doesn’t have a lid.  Small sacrifice!  It was $12 and it works better than most of the others (except the seat can’t be used later on the toilet, which I don’t care about!).  The front is high enough to catch any ‘stray sprays’ that our little boys tend to have.  The only drawback is that the kids can’t get on and off of it easily.  Which can be good if you have an escapee!

New background :)

Because somehow my other one disappeared. I like it, but can't wait to create my OWN with PhotoShop! (Which I now can run again after a year without it!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Is your YES on the table?

Or are you waiting to be asked the question before you decide?


It's been a week since Monroe's grant was posted, and still... no family :( Please share the word about Monroe! Please pray for his family to know they are the ones to go and get him, and soon! We are praying he will have a committed family this weekend!

Monroe's timeline is very short at this point! He will be transferred to an institution (the WORST that I am aware of in his country :( ) likely around December. But his country doesn't accept dossiers from November to February. So a family would have to have their entire dossier done in about 10 weeks in order to mail, translate, and submit before they close down! This gives a very tight timeline for him to find a family before he is inevitably transferred to the institution.

Having met "Misha" (now Micah Malone) before he was transferred to the institution, and then seeing the child that Chris and Mary met when they got him after a few months in the institution, I am very hopeful that a family can get to Monroe before he has to be transferred! Monroe is not where Misha was, but the conditions are the same (or worse since Monroe is completely dependent for all of his needs).

It breaks my heart to even imagine him in such a place! Please pray for Monroe's family to know that he is theirs!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What now?

Now we're preparing for school, preparing for the end of the summer, preparing for finalization of James' adoption, preparing for James' first birthday home, preparing for Micah and Lynae's birthdays, preparing to have Patrick back for a bit, preparing for a mission trip to Ukraine (more details later!).

Mostly, we're in preparation mode!

We appreciate your prayers because alongside the preparation mode, we are also in BIG TIME prayer mode! Daily life often presents more opportunities for prayer and needing God's discernment than we realize, and knowing what things are Christ's leading and opening doors for our family and what things are just pieces to the puzzle that we're supposed to pray through... it's hard!

I promised more Q&A's and have several more questions waiting to be answered, so those will come in the next few days :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One little Q&A

Ashley's Mom has left a new comment on your post "Monroe needs a family- and has a $20k grant!":

I really don't understand the policy of only married couples adopting. Is it a requirement of the country or of Reese's Rainbow?
I am the single parent of 5 children, three with significant disabilities. My children are thriving and learning and loving.
Would it be perfect to have a married couple to parent them - perhaps. Is a single parent a better choice than the institution you describe - definitely.

The single parent policy is that of Monroe's country, not of RR. There are several countries that allow single-parent adoptions including Russia, Bulgaria, and Serbia. There is no question that every child deserves a family and that a single parent can effectively parent children!

Random photos :)

Here are some random photos of our last 2 weeks!

We built-2-dogs at build-a bear!  One for my kids to keep, one for Patrick to bring home :)

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P at the therapy center!


Playing at home

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The photographer’s self-portrait!


The Friday gathering at our home!

The Dickenson girls and Patrick having lunch


The Andrews girls enjoying hot dogs!


The Andrews Family


The Dickenson ladies


The Smith family


Shelley Bedford and Patrick Shupp (our two ‘singles’!)


The “A” Team of child-wranglers!

Denise, Maria, Anna, Rachel, and Sara!


Most of the RR gathering folks!


Two Smith boys having a sword fight ;)