Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Etc...

Remember this post, where I said I was going to Uganda to "visit Kelsey, volunteer with Sixty Feet, etc"? It's finally time to tell you what the "etc" is...

We're trying to adopt from Uganda! Yes, we are getting back on the adoption train for another trip around the world. We are going to try to bring home two children from Uganda, bringing us to a crazy five kids five and under!

At this point, we can't share many details at all. Uganda's process is quite different from Rwanda's, and so requires a great deal of sensitivity. There are also a lot of variables here, and things could work out totally differently than we hope they will.

We really feel that God is leading us down this road. While almost everything has been different this time around, one thing remains the same: God still desires to put the lonely in families, and it seems that once again He is allowing us to join Him in His work.

We made the official decision to adopt from Uganda in October, and have been working on it since. In fact, when I did the Goodbye, 2011 post and said we'd been fingerprinted "about four" times and had updated our home study, what I should have said is that we had been fingerprinted SIX times and updated our home study TWICE. And since then, we've been fingerprinted once more. Phew. Glad to get that off my chest. :) Anyway, we got our I-171H approval yesterday!

I'll share more about the fund-raising parts of this journey later (I know you're waiting for that fascinating post with bated breath)--this adoption will be about half the cost of Laina's, which is great. We won't be able to get grants this time (almost positively), which is not great.

We always knew we'd adopt again. We didn't know what it would look like, or when it would be, but we know the One who writes our story. And He is good. We hope and pray for a smooth, quick, easy adoption this time around (please!!), but we trust His hand regardless. We've got our eyes open this time--no rosy glasses here--which makes it a scarier step to take. But we also have Laina here now, in our arms and our hearts, reminding us daily that adoption, though it is so hard and painful, is also beautiful, redeeming, a blessing. We can't wait to have two more of those sweet blessings under our roof.

p.s. I haven't forgotten that I have still not blogged about much of my UG trip. I'll remedy that in the coming weeks--for my own remembrance if nothing else!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Tonight as I was putting the boys down to sleep, they started asking about heaven. We talk about heaven a lot in this house, but tonight I got some interesting thoughts from them. I told them to think of their favorite place, and that heaven was better than that.

Iain: I would like to have a peaceful, quiet place. Like a garden, with fruit trees. And there wouldn't be any troubles. There would just be one trouble: the grass grows too high.

Cory: I have three. First is Panda (Panda Express, the Chinese restaurant). Next is the zoo. And last is a place all by myself where I can talk and no one would be there b'sept me.
Me: What would you talk about?
Cory: I would rest because I would be so talked out.
Me: But what would you say if no one was there to listen?
Cory: I don't know. And I would like to be in the garden with Iain. And we'd each have a home there, with a grass floor. And a weed. And the weed would grow and grow.

Then I was singing A Mighty Fortress is Our God (love that hymn). We got to the line, "And He must win the battle," and Cory asked who must win the battle?
Me: Jesus.
Cory: What if He doesn't?
Me: He will, because He's God. He's the strongest.
Cory: But what if someone kills Him? Then that would be okay because He already died!
Me: And then what happened?
Cory: He rose from the dead.
Me: And He will never die again.
Cory: But what if He's sleeping and someone kills Him?
Me: Well, the Bible says Jesus never sleeps and never gets tired.
Cory: Will we get tired when we are in heaven?
Me: I don't know. I kind of hope so because I like to sleep!
Iain: But there's no night there, y'know.
Cory: Maybe Jesus will change you so you don't like to sleep.

I love those boys. Bedtime can be fun. Although it ended with me saying, "Stop doing headstands, Cory, and go to sleep!"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cory is Four!

(making the traditional birthday banner)

Seriously, the jump from three to four is a tough one for me. Three is still kind of toddler, whereas four, four is kid. Cory has been counting down the days (minutes, seconds) to this birthday since Iain turned five in September, and Cory couldn't figure out why he had to wait so long for his birthday.

But despite the long wait (him) and the wanting to stop time (me), the birthday arrived. Cory is four.
(Cory on the day he was born)

(he's one!)

(he's two!)

(he's three!)

(he's FOUR!)

Cory requested a dinosaur birthday party, so we played dinosaur tag, had a dino-feet relay (yeah, those craft foam feet fell apart three steps in), and dug for dinosaur fossils in the sandbox. There was a dinosaur bone cake (SO easy!), and lots of raw peppers to eat. Which has nothing to do with dinosaurs. Cory just likes them. Lots of friends and family came to celebrate our big boy.
Dear Cory,
Happy birthday, big boy! I can't believe you're already four. You are an outside-playing, dirt-digging, roly-poly-catching boy these days (when it's not freezing out). You have recently learned to climb trees, and get so high that it makes me just a tiny bit nervous. Iain says he needs to go to your tree-climbing school.

Speaking of school, you have been doing so great in the preschool work we've done this year. You know how to read words like man, cat, mat, etc. You are so stinkin' smart. Sometimes, without looking up from your coloring, you call out the answers to Iain's math problems. You are logical and you think deeply about...everything. You have a great vocabulary and you are creative (a few nights ago, you told us that "the sunset appears to be volcanos in the distance.").

You are so sweet to Laina, and you love playing with Iain. You're a good brother. If Laina's around, you hug her, and if Iain is not around, you can't do anything until you find him. You love your family, and you talk about what Brannons do and don't do, all the time.

We love you, Cory. May you grow in wisdom and stature this year, and in favor with God and man.

Words by Cory:
What is your favorite thing to do? "Watch a movie, and playmobil is the next."
What's your favorite food? "Peppers."
What do you want to be when you grow up? "I don't know. I don't have any guesses."
What do you like to learn in school? "Learning my letters."
What's your favorite color? "Green!"
And he's done. Back to playing playmobil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christmas 2011

Ok, so I am so far behind in my keeping of the blog that it's starting to stress me out. So--Christmas 2011, the bullet-point version:

So glad to have FIVE stockings on our mantle this year.

--We spent Christmas in Florida, first with my side of the family, and then with Jeremy's.

--It was special to go to our old church for the Christmas Eve service this year.
--I got to spend some sweet time with my dear friend Lauren.
--Poor Cory was throwing up sick on Christmas Eve, so he missed Christmas Eve dinner and the present exchange my family does after (this year: socks). And since I was mostly upstairs taking care of him, I couldn't get the remaining non-sickies dressed in their Christmas outfits. Oh well. I had fun making them, at least.

The sock exchange. Nan got a puppy in a sock--a real one. My family is so weird.

--The boys got soccer jerseys from Kelsey in Uganda. They LOVE them.

--I think I expected that having Laina home would be really huge. I mean, having her missing from our Christmas for the two years that we waited for her was so intense in a bad way. I figured it would be equally intense, but in a good way this year. But it wasn't intense. It was sweet and such a relief. It was just...right. Finally right.
Laina loved opening presents!

--The boys had a great time with the cousins, as usual.
Poor little sickie.

--Papa bought some building kits that were a hit. Iain made a school bus, Cory made a school locker, and then they both made a jewelry box for Laina.
--Before we headed down to Grammy and Papa's, we had to hit the go-cart track. Since Iain is five, he can finally drive by himself, which is a huge deal. He was actually quite good, and a bit competitive, running Cory and Haylee off the road so he could win. Laina had her first ride, too, and loved it.
--Christmas, 2011. The End.