Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Easter Pictures, 2010

If you go to my mom's house and look at the walls of her office, you will see pictures of my sisters and me in our Easter finery, displayed in a row around the top of her office walls. She took a picture of us every Easter, often - way too often - in matching dresses. 

Oh the years we had! Big, poufy bangs, hats, polka dots... the list goes on. As the years progress, we add people in slowly: first, Jeremy (I think his first year was the corduroy jacket year), then Iain, then Cory, then Curtis (my sister Jenna's husband), and then Isaiah (their son). And my mom has stopped making the pictures Easter ones - now whenever all of us are together, she says it's time for an Easter picture. She swears she only takes one per year, but I know it's more than that. It rarely happens on Easter anymore. But this year, it did! (Although when our little girl comes home - hopefully this year! - she'll take another one. See, two in one year!)

Every year, there is no small amount of...um... discussion about what we should wear. This year, one of my sisters chose black and white and denim. Here's the result:

Poor Iain wiped out in the parking lot on the way to the train track and bit his lip. It was pretty bad, but he was a trooper and even smiled for the pictures. And - his white shirt didn't get any (noticeable) blood on it.

After pictures, we headed to 7-11 for slurpees, of course. We liked the brick wall, so we coerced my mom into a picture with us. I'm sure she won't hang this one on the wall however. She never makes it onto the wall of pictures, somehow. :)

My uncle Randy came with us to help get the kiddos to smile. This was, hands down, my favorite picture we took. Please let this one be the Easter picture for the year!

A few candids:

(Cory sharing his slurpee with me)

Anyway, despite my mocking, I like the Easter picture idea. My mom took the boys' picture this year, in their Easter finery. Cute, huh?

Love Cory's face in this one:

And the years past...

Easter, 2009 (I realized just now that I don't have this picture - Kelsey or my mom does... I'll add it in when I get it from them...)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Rest of the Grammy and Papa Visit

Our visit with Grammy and Papa (last month, the week before Easter) was busy with loads of fun boy-activities. We got to their house late Sunday night, with both boys still awake. It took about two days for them to get back on their regular schedule, and Iain had a fever all day Monday (from tiredness? He does that sometimes.). So we laid low and played with "fishing poles" and boats in the pond out back.

By Tuesday, we were about ready to party. :) Phil and Kelly came to visit, and I have not a single good picture of that visit. Ah well. A good time was had by all.

And Papa made submarines with the boys. How fun to have a science teacher for a grandfather!

On Wednesday, we took a trip to Jungle Gardens (see previous post). The boys loved it, and they still talk frequently about the "bad flamingo" who tried to peck at them. Well, it's true, he was a little testy.

I think this is the only photo I have with a boy and the bad flamingo.

The rest of the day was spent asking if each animal we saw bites, and if it would be a good pet.

And then another highlight of the trip: shooting a water-filled bottle rocket with Papa. My goodness how they loved it! Iain kept calling himself "the famous guy."

(If you look carefully, you can see the bottom of the bottle rocket at the very top of this picture.)

Thanks for a great visit, Grammy and Papa! Up next, the beach, Disney, and time in Orlando...
Recent funnies:

Iain, to me at bedtime: You are the goodest mama. All the other mamas are not good enough.

Cory, who was eating raisin bran, offered Jeremy a raisin. Jeremy declined.
Jeremy: I have my own cereal, Cory.
Cory: This raisin is not called cereal. This raisin is called raisin.
Jeremy: That's true. (eats the raisin.)
In adoption news, we are three months DTR today (dossier to Rwanda). We are in the thick of the longest wait in the journey to our little girl, waiting for a precious email from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion in Rwanda containing a non-objection, or approval, letter. This letter states that we have been approved to adopt by the country of Rwanda (we've already been approved by the USA). The original wait time from DTR to approval was 3-6 months, so we're in that window now. But... now the wait time is being estimated at 7-9 months. We are praying and hoping that the approval will come soon! The Ministry has a lot of responsibilities, many of them non-adoption related, so we pray for them as well!

We want you to come with us on our next vacation, little daughter! You'd love it....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Brave, Brave Sir Corrin!

(April 7, 2010: at Jungle Gardens in Bradenton, during our stay with Grammy and Papa)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adoption Blogger Day!

We all heard the news. The little boy, adopted from Russia into an American family, and then... sent back. The adoption community is reeling at the news, especially because now it may endanger the many Russian adoptions that are currently in-progress. As I wait - impatiently - to see my little girl, to hold her, and to bring her home, I am so sad about the uncertainty that many families are facing. And as I think about my daughter, I am even sadder for the many children who are so close to joining their families... will they get that chance?

The Joint Council on International Children's Services has issued a call to action known as We are the Truth. They have declared today an adoption blogger day, so if you have an adoption story, or know of one, blog or facebook about it today - so that the positive adoption stories can start to stand out as much as the sad ones. (Click on the link above to read more about the situation in Russia.)

Also, you can sign this petition, asking both our president, and the president of Russia to allow adoptions from Russia to the USA to continue uninterrupted. And you can pray. A lot.

My adoption story looks a little different than some because we still don't have our daughter home. But her story has already changed us in altogether positive ways. While the journey to adoption isn't an easy one, it is one that stretches our hearts, lifts us out of our comfort zone, and opens us up to the world beyond our borders. Africa, always a place of beauty and mystery in my mind, is now a place where my heart lives - because my daughter lives there. I am connected to Rwanda, to Africa. I am connected to an orphanage in Kigali, and to the tireless workers who run it. I am connected to a woman who carried this child for nine months, to that woman's family. I am connected to the father of my child, and his family as well. I may never meet them, but my heart is tied to them still.

My sons will not remember, most likely, not having a sister, and they will never remember not being an inter-racial family. Their world will grow with the addition of this little girl. They will grow. They will learn to have a sister, to protect her, to love her, to teach her and to learn from her. They already talk about her and pray for her. Last night, we moved Cory into Iain's room - now called the boys' room, so they would have time to get used to sharing it before "the baby sister" came. Cory asked me as he was trying to go to sleep in his big boy bed, if the baby sister was coming tonight. How I wish it!

And for our daughter... right now, it is almost 8:30 pm in Rwanda. She is probably sound asleep, lulled by the nighttime noises. She doesn't know that we painted her bedroom green, or that we already have dresses for her. She doesn't know that she has a doll and hairbows, or that I'm making her a blanket. She doesn't know how much we love her. But soon, soon she will know.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A218 Night of Worship

Last Friday was our fundraiser hosted by ACCESS218. The group from Jacksonville came and led an awesome time of worship, Jeremy and I shared about adoption, and Derrick (from A218) gave a very challenging word about putting action behind our beliefs. The total amount raised for the night: $1700! 

Thank you to the ACCESS218 band and volunteers for putting this night on for us. Thank you Mr. G and Caleb for running sound and lights. Thank you Mom for feeding the band and for securing the location for us. Thank you Walter family for all your help with church logistics, and for making brownies. Thank you Joe and Jana for the bake sale items you brought. Thank you everyone who donated time and money to make this event happen, and thank you to everyone who gave to us to help bring our daughter home. We're so thankful to you all! 

Before the event, the team sets up:

The display (designed by my sister Kelsey) in the foyer reflected the idea of the nations and God's love for them.

Our sound team:

I really enjoyed the time of worship. Jesus, be glorified!

The boys were up past their bedtime and were so tired, but loved the music. Iain danced his way to the stage more than once, and Cory asked in the silence in between each song, "What is the next one called?"
Jeremy and I shared about adoption for a few minutes. And yes, I cried. Drat. 

Here, for posterity, is our outline:

A218 Adoption Fundraiser Talk

Jeremy: (3-4 min)

  • Introduce us; mention Rwanda
  • God’s heart for adoption: (Ephesians 1:3–7 ESV) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”
  • Adoption is a way of seeing and understanding the gospel and salvation.
  • God thinks about us in advance. God initiates.
  • God brings us into His family because we have none.
  • Adoption is a redemptive act.
  • Tie in what you’ve learned through the adoption process

Allie: our story and what I’ve learned (4 min)

  • Why we’re adopting
  • Why Rwanda
  • Brief timeline
  • Adoption tenderizes your heart toward the hurting in the world

Adoption Challenge (2 min total)


  • Not a checklist – as you enter into God’s work, you also have a chance to enter into His heart.
  • Being a part of fundraising efforts for adoptive families – as they are doing tonight.

 Allie: Compassion International

  • Sponsor a child

 Jeremy: Foster Care

  • Finding ways to be involved in the foster care system

 Allie: pray about adoption

  • Pray about adopting
  • Thanks and farewell  

Thank you again to everyone - may the songs that were sung and the words that were spoken bring joy to the Father's heart and challenge us to action.