Sunday, January 31, 2010

i600a approval

Got our approval in the mail yesterday!!! One step closer!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Feeling better

(please excuse the grainy webcam pic!)

I'm feeling better the last few days AND so thankful for a friend C. for putting the MAT application on the website for me. I have seen a lesser amount of emails coming in for that, which is good for my time management.

I was getting sick of my hair the last few months, and decided to go short. I had it short when J. and I first met in high school, and it's been short off and on. I thought it would also be better for time management. Just trying to get life in order for big things to come!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Well that is not what I wanted to hear!

Fingerprinting from the FBI...we called and they said they can't do anything with them for another two weeks. To call back then. Ugh. If I would have known it would have taken so long I would have sent them in sooner...I never expected this.

Please pray we can send in all our paperwork in a few weeks. I am getting very anxious about everything the more time passes.

Also, we haven't heard from our lawyer in a while and he has not replied to my last three emails. I know he is busy, but hope he will contact us soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some awesome news...

Not BIG news, but good.
  • We got a check in the mail for $700 from friends from our old church! Wow, thank you Lord!
  • I emailed about our i600a and got a call from them a few hours later. They said they will be working on our file and we should be getting approval shortly! Hurray!
  • I got some new pictures of Mercy today. (she is washing the car)
  • We are just a few steps away from being ready to go. Who knows how long it will take to get a court date.
  • I emailed the FBI today too to ask about our fingerprint clearances. Pray we'll hear back soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I admit, I haven't been the best mommy these last few days with me being in a funk and the earthquake news. But I wanted to share something that just made my day.

Today, for the first time ever with out any prompting, E. hugged me and said, "I love you Mom." He will say I love you to someone if they say it first but he has never said it all on his own. It made me feel instantly better after a bad day!

What a week, already!

I got sick on Friday night, it just came on all of a sudden; backache, headache, sinus ache, chills. I went to bed as soon as the kids fell asleep. (they were sent to bed early!) Then I was woken up by two little boys. They usually sleep pretty well, but they chose the night I felt like crap to wake up at 2 am. And of course my husband was working, so I was on my own. I texted him to complain, and see when he would be home. He got home after we fell back asleep, but I heard him tell me he was taking Saturday off! I was so thankful to hear this. I slept in, and laid around most of the day. I missed the homecoming of Isaac and Robert. I went to bed early again. Sunday I still felt bad, but better. J. went to work and I survived. We actually went out to Sarah's house for a little party to welcome Isaac home. It was so fun to see E. and I. together again. They seemed to remember each other, and by the end of our visit were hugging each other!

Yesterday was I was busy catching up on emails. I have had a LOT of people inquire about becoming a host family. I need to figure out a way to get the host family application on the MAT blog. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm not very computer savvy. Sarah suggested maybe scanning it and having it on a jpeg file. I thought that would work, but it's a four page application. We have had a lot of activity with MAT, and a lot of drama with Haitian kids and immigration. Please pray. I took a break from the computer to help E. with a potty accident. He had waited too long to get to the bathroom. As I was changing his pants, I returned to the living room to see S. with a bottle of curry powder (he had climbed in the pantry cupboards). There was yellow powder all over my keyboard and the floor! I was not happy. I felt like I just could not catch a break. I spent last night ordering some childproofing items online at One Step Ahead. And I also bought this... I am sure the boys will love it and it will be great for their occupational therapy! I did have a wonderful chat on facebook with a woman caring for our daughter in Africa. I was so glad to get to know her better and hear a great little story about her personality. (if you want to read my private blog please send me an email- on side)

Today started off poorly too, with both big kids missing the bus, at two separate times! How does that happen? L. forgot to set his alarm, and when he realized he had slept in he didn't want to wake me up. He thought he'd be in trouble! L. is very responsible most of the time, and has never slept in before. I would not have been upset, but now I was, since he didn't let me know he needed me to wake up and drive him to school! J. was working out at the gym and I knew he would be home soon. I waited for him to arrive and he got L. off to school in time. All the other kids were up early, so C. was ready for school in time. Except I noticed she had not changed her clothes! I made her go change, and got her out the door. THEN realized she had come back in to grab another piece of bacon as the bus drove by. Thankfully J. was able to take her to school on the way to work.

I was in a pretty bad mood this morning. I don't like waking up to children fighting, not doing what I ask, or them talking back to me. I don't like feeling overwhelmed and buried in paperwork. I don't like burned toast or bits of burned sausage in my scrambled eggs. And I don't like when my 2 year old won't stay out of things and has knocked three of my pottery dishes on the floor by climbing on the table! I don't like that he doesn't "get" that it's not safe to climb up or into things. (we have still not determined if it's a cognitive delay or just that he's a very active two year old boy) I don't like waiting for papers for our adoption. I don't like that UNICEF is causing hang ups for adopted children from Haiti to come home to their families. I don't like that my house can never stay clean for more than a few minutes. I don't like that this precious little girl lost her life way too soon. I don't like that there was a devastating earthquake in my boys' country of origin effecting millions of people, some whom I know well.

It really helps to blog about my rough times. But the best therapy is reading God's promises. I especially loved reading this verse in the Message translation:

Philippians 2:14-16
Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing.

Wow! Is that convicting or what?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Please pray for adopted children

There has been so much happening the last few days. Things are not looking good for Haitian adoptions. Please please just pray!! Last night we had 5 of our kids leave and now 2 of them are being held in "protective" custody 3.5 hours away in a GROUP HOME. One of these little boys has to take medication every day and we only packed a few days worth. The family was going to take him to the doctor right away. We have two more babies flying out this morning.

Daryl has not yet gotten to PAP. His charter flight keeps getting pushed back. He is now scheduled to arrive tonight as long as everything is still a "go". He is still going to try get to the embassy, but we have been told they are no longer issuing any humanitarian parole's. He may get turned away right away without even trying. PLEASE pray things change. If he gets turned away from the Embassy he is going to try get to CAP to help out there. We have some people stateside that are still trying to help get all our kids out. We just don't know what is happening with any of it.

Send to all your prayer warriors you know!

UPDATE: Daryl is in Haiti. He is riding a bus to get to Cap. tomorrow. Please pray for him!

The Message

"'...I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me...I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'" -Jesus speaking in Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)

Gotta love facebook!

Had a great chat with one of Mercy's caregivers. Here is the highlight!


Mercy was really great yesterday in church by the way. She has a hard time staying in her seat during worship, she rather move around greeting and hugging in the church, so I made her sit on the chair behind me. When the song "so good to me" started she jumped up, ran past me and started this really joyful dance in front of the church. It was so wonderful to see!

She was so adorable!


oh how sweet! We love music and dancing in our house, so she'll love it!


She really will!


I love when Mighty to Save comes on the radio,

it reminds me of her, is that her favorite song still?


Oh yeah! Big time!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This week....

Praying it's the week we can check off most or all of our to do's! I have been fortunate to join a group on facebook of wonderful people also adopting from Uganda. We are banding together to pray for each other and adoption. Friday was the first day we committed to this, and already we have two families traveling to Uganda for their court dates! I also had the absolute pleasure of seeing my friend's new addition home from Haiti tonight. What a blessing!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adopting Haitian Orphans

I received this email and thought it worth passing along:

Adopting Orphaned Haitian Children

AdoptUsKids has received a number of inquiries from families that are interested in adopting Haitian Earthquake Orphans. At this time, the first priority of government and disaster recovery officials is to address the immediate medical and physical needs of the people affected by the earthquake and assist in the reunion of family members who have been displaced or separated by the disaster. Therefore, it may take a long time before children affected by the disaster may be available for adoption. The U.S. Department of State provides information on the adoption of children affected by natural disasters and conflict on their website at:

You also can locate contact information for adoption agencies that place children from Haiti through our resource list of U.S. Adoption Agencies That Place Children From Abroad at:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mercy's health

Mercy is doing great! I got an update from her caregiver, and she is currently not having seizures on her medication. Here is what the email said:
We feel that her concentration got less since she is on this medication. She forgets things faster and because of this she seems frustrated and because of this she cries more often. We feel that she needs more attantion for this and we can not really offer that.

Please keep praying! Every day I feel like we are making progress on gathering all our paperwork. Only a few things left to go.

My friend S. is traveling tomorrow to Uganda for a court hearing for her son. A few months ago I sent her a package for her to bring to Mercy. The court date kept getting postponed and now she and her husband are finally going! I am so happy for her and excited that Mercy will get our gifts from us, including a photo album of our family.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One more thing...

We need our FBI fingerprint clearances for our paperwork too. I found out today our social worker does not have them. They do have clearances from 2008, but not our new ones. They told me the FBI is taking 10-12 weeks to process them. I mailed them mid November. Please pray they get back soon.

Chocolate fix

I had a emotional breakdown after driving home from my adoption support group yesterday. I am so anxious for our friends trying to bring their son home. So sorrowful for the Haitian people who've lost everything. So helpless. I ended up going to my friend's house last night for a last minute sleepover. There is nothing a little wine and chocolate can't solve, right? We woke up early to the phone ringing and changing every minute. I am so glad there are so many people trying to help them out. Read Sarah's blog for updates. Pray for them please.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Please pray for Isaac

and his parents (our close friends). Go here to read about how they are actively trying to get their son out of Haiti. Pray for safety. Pray for mercy. Our friends have been waiting for over three years for their son. E. wants his best bud home soon! It's almost been a year since they last saw each other.

Monday, January 18, 2010

M's story

My friend M. and I have been in contact with each other since we were in process of adopting our E. She was a volunteer at his orphanage and has a real heart for Haiti. She gave me permission to post her email she sent the other day, describing her recent trip to Haiti.

Thank you all for your patience in waiting for me to find the words to tell the story of our adventure last week. It is still very surreal to me that Little M. and I were in Port Au Prince, Haiti when the earthquake struck on Tuesday. The destruction to Port Au Prince is devastating and the suffering of the Haitian people absolutely incomprehensible. And yet Little M. and I survived the inital quake and I felt protected at every step of our journey over the next few days. For that, I praise God. And I write, not to sensationalize the event, but to personalize it and to ask you in the coming weeks, as the media moves on to other news, to continue praying for and supporting the Haitians through their recovery and rebuilding.

Last month I had planned a short trip to Haiti for some meetings regarding Little M. Our American Airline flight into Port Au Prince landed half an hour early at 3:45 pm on Tuesday and we deplaned quickly because the airbus flight was only 3/4 full. I had only checked one small bag so Little M. and I were out of the airport by 4:30pm. We went straight to the Visa Lodge hotel (which is only a 5-10 minute drive from the airport). I checked in, quickly dropped our bags in our room, and returned to the patio restaurant of the hotel. I had just ordered food for Little M., when the shaking started. Ceiling fans and panels fell around us and chaos immediately broke out on the street below- people screaming, dust clouds billowing. At first we werent sure if it was an earthquake or if a bomb had gone off. I even initially felt relief with the first aftershock, knowing that we were not dealing with a coup or chemical weapons. Most hotel guests immediately went to the pebbled driveway/parking area of the Visa Lodge. An American pastor also staying at the hotel had an iPhone that worked intermittently for the first few hours after the earthquake. That is how I immediately knew the magnitude of the quake and was also able to send a text message that Little M. and I were safe. The American Airline staff arrived at the Visa Lodge later that evening reporting that part of the control tower at the airport collapsed and that their offices were destroyed. Had our flight not been early or I had chosen another hotel or we had been in a different part of our hotel, our outcome could have been very different.

Aftershocks continued through the night and we spent it outside in the driveway (open space) of the Visa Lodge. The kitchen of the hotel was destroyed in the earthquake and the main buildings had large cracks in the walls. At first light Little M. and I, 2 American pastors, and a few other guests from the hotel caught a ride with an airport shuttle that was taking some pilots to the airport to survery the damage. We all knew the international side of the airport would not be running flights that day. But we were initally hopeful that the small airport, which normally runs small airplanes back and forth to other cities in Haiti, would be cleared to at least fly its planes out and we could get to Cap Haitian. After a few hours we realized that was not going to happen and that we were also not going to be allowed to leave on the private plane of a man from the DR who had offered to take us. One of the other Visa Lodge guests who was at the airport with us was from the DR and had a pickup truck parked at the Visa Lodge. At that point he decided to try to drive to the border and he graciously allowed us all to go with him. It was 12 people total by that time and we must have been quite a sight piled into that pick up truck with all of our luggage, too. We had no idea if roads would be passable and I wondered if I would have trouble getting across the border. The critical care nurse part of me was pretty disgusted leaving a place in such dire need. My heart was torn over the unknown whereabouts of many friends. But it seemed the only option as I had no way to provide safe refuge or clean water for Little M. for more than a few days.

We saw small bits of the destruction in PAP as we passed out of town. But by the time we were a few miles outside, it was eerily quiet and undistrubed. The rest of our trip to the border was uneventful. Our time at the border was tedious but no one questioned us and we all passed through within a few hours. From the border we drove 5 hours to Santo Domingo. Once we were across the border into the DR cell service returned to the iPhone and we were once again able to send a text to family and also (unbelievably!) rebook our plane flights to leave from Santo Domingo Thursday morning. We found a hotel in Santo Domingo by 7pm that evening. And our travel from there to Miami through customs/immmigration and to home on Thursday was smooth... another amazing occurrence.

Little M. and I had an adventure last week. An adventure we will not forget. We were protected from harm and safe during extensive travel. I thank the Lord for that. And I am deeply indebted to the pastor whose preparedness for his trip (iPhone with an international plan!) allowed us to contact family and who provided help and protection in countless other ways. We will continue to process our experience for a long time- but at this time I feel, above all other things, blesssed. Thank you all for your prayers, support, and encouragement this week.

In closing, I want to offer a few suggestions for practical ways to help Haiti in this time of great need:

The most efficient and effective way to donate to the immediate relief effort is to give money to organizations that are already in place in Haiti and prepared for this type of situations. Organizations that I recommend include Partners in Health (, Doctors without Borders, Real Hope for Haiti (, Feed My Starving Children (, and Water Missions International.

One of the next greatest concerns at this time is for the NGOs who run orphanages and rescue centers in Haiti. Many of them survived the earthquake but are concerned about access to necessary supplies (infant formula, medications, food, soap) to continue caring for their children and the ones they will receive from this crisis. If you are interested in helping in this way, please send money to Children of the Promise ( or Real Hope for Haiti. And if you are interested in collecting basic supplies, please contact me for more information.



It's been a while since I have updated the blog about my grocery challenge. I have really fallen behind on that but I believe I am still on track. The whole Haiti thing has really put things in perspective for me and I realized that in the big picture I would rather spend my time volunteering for the Medical Advocacy Team right now than record grocery spending! I have been glued to the internet and news... and heard great news tonight that orphaned Haitian children who were in the process of being adopted will be granted a visa or humanitarian parole! How exciting for these waiting families. I knew that something good would have come out of the rubble. I have been quite depressed the last few days, after the reality of this sunk in. People I have met, and places I have visited are forever changed. The footage and stories I have heard just break my heart. And yet, our lives here continue on. The Medical Advocacy Team is working full force to get things lined up for the kids we were working on before the quake. There may be more coming. It will be interesting to see how this all happens. My inbox has never seen so much action! There are many people wanting to help. I also created a facebook page for MAT, so you can join and keep up to date there. My home and kids have been a bit neglected this week, but they are just as concerned for the Haitian people as I am. They have been asking about the kids we have helped in the past. I have heard that Clepson is ok, but have not heard from anyone else. I would love to know if S.'s birth family is ok.

Pray with me please, and praise God that there are so many people who desire to help!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things to do...

  • Wait for our i600a approval
  • Get a letter from MAT about how we heard about Mercy (almost done)
  • Wait for a final draft of our affidavit (lawyer still needs to get a few more details)
  • Get my college transcript in the mail soon. DONE
  • Get a letter from a doctor saying Mercy needs specialized care. (emailed doctor and he is going to work on that for us)

Then when we get our final affidavit and other paperwork, we will take in the copies and get them notarized. Make more copies, and mail it all to Uganda. Then we wait for a court date...try to arrange for last minute travel plans, and go!

It is difficult to get excited about all this, since the horrible earthquake in Haiti. I have been working hard with MAT, even was interviewed by MSNBC. I have had MANY inquiries about becoming a host parent in the last two days. I don't know if our sons' birth families have survived. My son Sammy's original paperwork is all in a destroyed government building. We are waiting for answers. Trying to help as best we can from here. And praying.

Medical Advocacy Team on facebook

I created a facebook group for the Medical Advocacy Team. Please join us, anyone is welcome.

Friday, January 15, 2010

moving along

We heard from our lawyer this morning who sent us an affidavit that we need to get together. I have most of the paperwork in order, but can't find my college diploma! I have been searching all morning and now am going to order an official transcript just in case it doesn't turn up. We will send in all our paperwork to Uganda once we get our i600a approval.

Our fingerprinting appointment was uneventful, except the security guards found a nail care kit in our diaper bag (with scissors!). So we had them toss them out. We were in the building for a half hour. The drive was 2.5 hours one way! We took the kids with us (minus the two in school) and they did great. Please pray we get approval soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chicken Pox

Mercy's friends and "siblings" have chickenpox right now. She is fine. Please pray she will remain healthy. I am not sure what having a high fever would do for her epilepsy. It probably wouldn't be good. I also got some new photos and we are traveling to get our fingerprints today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help for Haiti

The Medical Advocacy Team's website has a list of places to donate funds for Haiti. A team of people is being coordinated to go there to help as well. They are looking for nurses, doctors and other medical trained people who can travel there soon. Here is the link.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pray for Haiti

My heart aches for Haiti after hearing the news of the earthquake this afternoon. Prayers are with friends and loved ones there, especially my boys' birth families. I can't even imagine... *warning, graphic images*

Psalm 100
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Monday, January 11, 2010


the kids playing in the woods

I have been feeling like an airplane spiraling out of control these last few weeks. The adoption process, dealing with a very busy toddler and a preschooler, and the whole schooling issue has been a lot. I feel like my house is always dirty, the kids are never getting along, our daughter in Africa will never come home, and no one is ever happy. I know that is not true, but it's how I feel. I love God's promises in His word:

Matthew 11:28-30
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

For today, my goals are
  • spend time in God's word
  • take a nap
  • clean, declutter and childproof (even more) the living room
  • pray for my husband

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More clarity

From our lawyer.  I feel better about things:
I should have ur affidavit ready by end of this week, am
sorry that it has taken a while, i will make sure it is ready this

I talked to S. and it seems they are well prepared and only lack a
license for the orphanage, that is something i think we can work
around and even do without, i will send someone to S. within the
next 2 weeks, we shall get to read through the file and know how we

Please keep in touch.

The Ugandan side of things is relatively easy to handle.

God Bless,

Friday, January 8, 2010

A new email...

from our lawyer. I am not entirely sure what this means. Pray things will come together soon please. I asked for clarity and an explanation of what needs to be done to get things ready.
Hi, am sending someone down to see her, i think she is not 100% ready
as yet, but once ur ready we shall go for it.

Please keep in touch.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What's it take to get some help for my child?

E. got some mail today. Registration paperwork for speech therapy. I heard back from them the other day and found out there is waiting list. He will most likely not get an evaluation until March or April. Ugh. The only people who can really understand him is our family. Everyone assumes he is two years old. He will be four in April.

The OT therapy is not doing much good at all. I find it a complete waste of time.

I found three + wads of paper shoved in his ear canal last night. Really? What is he thinking? Everything goes in his mouth, up his nose, or now in his ears I guess. He still holds his hands in a fist or pinched finger sort of thing when he is nervous or stressed out. He touches everything, even after I tell him not to and he repeats my instruction so I am sure he understood.

This morning he took K.'s makeup out of her purse and smeared it all over my carpet. I remember when my son L. did that, but used my lipstick tube to color on my bedsheets!

Bedtime is better, but with the help of melatonin.

We will be re-screening him this spring for developmental preschool but I am not sure he is delayed enough to qualify for services. Right now he is delayed in speech and gross motor skills. I am anxious to see what happens.

Hearing and vision evals. both showed some issues, but because he can't cooperate he must go back in six months. Story of my life. Why can't anything get resolved NOW?

I have seen great strides with E.. He can actually hold a conversation with us and is beginning to learn how to pretend. He has a silly sense of humor. He is getting better about playing independently, but still doesn't prefer it. He will listen to books. He is learning to say please and thank you. He is learning boundaries with strangers and will shake their hands (and say nice to meet you) instead of giving hugs and kisses. He will hold our hand in the parking lot of a store and (most of the time) will cooperatively walk beside us. He will share if we remind. He is completely toilet trained except at night. He is excellent at telling us when his brother S. is up to no good!

Keep your prayers coming!

So far, God has answered all our prayers and has had His hands guide this whole process.

First of all He heard our prayers for a daughter. We had felt that our family was not complete and a little girl was who God had laid on my heart for the last two years.

The country of Uganda has been in our hearts since we welcomed three sweet little girls into our home for several days. They were visiting with the Ugandan Orphan Choir and we were coordinating the group's stay in our area. They were so beautiful and full of joy. They stayed in my girl's room. Every night they would pray, then worship, then pray some more in Lugandan. It was spirit filled goodness. Both Jeremiah and I talked of adopting from Uganda after they left but at the time it sounded near impossible. And we were waiting for Elijah to get home from Haiti. Little did we know that God heard our desire and had a plan in place for the future.

When we heard about Mercy through MAT, we knew she was an orphan. We were open to helping her however we could. A few days later decided we were dedicated to try to adopt her if possible. There were so many unknowns and questions about what the best decision would be for her. We were unsure if a medical visa would be best (we really thought it would be) or if just doing a legal guardianship would be the solution to getting her here quickly. God answered our prayers for a clear answer and we got one several weeks later.

We also prayed for Mercy's health. MAT came in contact with a doctor in NC who wanted to help. He was able to look at Mercy's MRI results and through the internet told Mercy's caregivers what kinds of medication to try. He also was willing to spend some time with me on the phone, answering to the best of his ability some of my questions. Mercy has been on one type of medicine that has helped with her seizures. They are almost completely gone. She still is walking into things and slurs her speech. She still needs medical help very soon, but she is doing so much better!

The Lord has provided for us financially when it didn't seem possible. We have had many wonderful people make donations for her and our family. The fees that we have had to pay so far has all been there when needed, either through donations or Jeremiah's over time.

The home where Mercy lives needs to get government approval so we can do the legal guardianship. They received their Non Government Organization approval (step 1) several weeks after we heard about her! That was great news. Now they need approval from the Ministry of Gender (step 2). They needed to go around and collect letters from people (references I believe), then turn them in. I think they need to have an inspection and then hopefully they can get approval. Today I learned that the prayers for the letter collecting were heard and they were able to gather them all. Tomorrow they will turn them into their lawyer. Hurray and thank you Lord!

Now, here is what we need prayer for:
The Ministry of Gender approval
Our i600a approval to be expedited (fingerprinting is next week!)
Mercy's health and protection
God's provision for the remaining fees (travel and legal fees)
our family and Mercy's heart to be prepared
our children and home while we are away
that we will not need to stay in Uganda for more than a few weeks

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We are going to start collecting donations for kids in Africa. If you want to contribute to helping gather some of these items, it would be much appreciated!
summer weight clothing in children's sizes 3-12
lightweight children's socks
plastic cups, spoons, forks, and bowls
diapers (larger sizes)
lightweight sweaters and jackets
infant and children’s Motrin, Tylenol and Benadryl
toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss
Band-aids and bandages
school supplies
hair care products
play dough, bubbles, etc.
picture/board books
hard candy, non perishable snacks

spoke with Mercy

We started the day by calling Mercy on the phone. They were getting ready for church, so I felt badly we were disrupting things. But she was so happy to hear from us and kept saying she is coming to America! I hope things move smoothly and quickly so she will not lose hope. She is still doing fine.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Unknown donor

I received wonderful news this afternoon that someone I don't know (just their name) donated $200 for Mercy on the Medical Advocacy Team blog. I am a volunteer for MAT, which is how we found out about Mercy. We started with working toward getting her a medical visa. When we found out she was an orphan and the best situation for her would be a forever family, adoption was the best way to try to get her home quickly and legally. We were very unsure how it would work out, but stepped out in faith, knowing God would provide for us. I am so grateful for people who have given to help us and Mercy.

New Pictures of Mercy

birthday celebration

pushing his dump truck

S. standing on the table showing us his new stroller!

Reading a card from family

Singing a favorite song in our house!

We had a quiet celebration at home for S. on Sunday. After church, we ate lunch and went to the store. S. helped pick out his gift from us. I baked a chocolate cake with cream cheese/chocolate frosting. The kids played, we ate dinner, and then had cake. S. really liked it when we sang "Happy Birthday" to him. He can almost sing it too. He nearly blew the candles out by himself but needed a little bit of help. The boys had a bath (what a mess) and then got into their pajamas. S. opened his gifts. He got a few fun gifts from us, Grandma and Grandpa A, and Aunt and Uncle (and cousins). We got him a dump truck and a mini trampoline. G&G got him a wooden cookie playset and a doll stroller (he's been stealing his sister's since Christmas!). He got a card and money from Aunt and Uncle. He was so excited to open his gifts and play with them. You should see him jump on the trampoline! What a great way to burn off extra energy!

E. kept telling us that he needed a present and tried to sing "Happy Birthday" to E. We reminded him that it was S's birthday and that soon it will be E's. He was great at taking turns with his brother, and his brother was great at sharing his new toys. I am so proud of them both.

Happy Birthday big two year old boy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Yellow Fever

Jeremiah and I went to the doctor today to discuss travel medicine. We got our yellow fever shots and a prescription for anti-diar. medication. Once we have more details on our travel dates we will call him and get a prescription for malaria meds.

Homeschooling again

We pulled K. out of school today. I feel a bit sad, since she seemed to enjoy it so much at the beginning. As months passed and especially after our parent/teacher conference, I have had a feeling things were not working out as well as we hoped.

K. is behind her peers in reading. She is reading, but not at the level expected. Which meant she was pulled out of class to have a special class for her and another boy. This was hard on her but great at the same time. She thrived on the one on one instruction, but felt bad for being singled out. She had a hard time sitting still and completing her work. Her teacher was not very positive during all the times I had interacted with her. I had volunteered in class several times and had several meetings with her. She just was not very compassionate or understanding about K's situation (being in school for the first time).

I did not have intentions of homeschooling again this year even though we were experiencing these issues. I thought we would just work through them. I wanted to teach my children that quitting was not something we do when things get rough. Until K. approached us during the month of December complaining about going to school. Then the vision problems came along. She got her first pair of glasses this summer. She is far sided and her prescription is quite strong. I was surprised that we had noticed any problems prior to this year. Last month she went for a six week check up after patching her right eye. The doctor said her vision was getting worse! How could that be? We rescheduled another appointment and will check again later this month. I am sure this was effecting her classroom behavior and performance. The school nurse even sent home a note from a screening: right eye 20/60 left eye 20/100 WITH GLASSES ON! The test was performed two times.

There was also some anxiety K. has had the last year. She acts out in several ways. But I think the worst part was some disturbing current events in our area that has effected my husband's line of work. This has really troubled sweet K. in a horrible way. She will stay up late waiting for her daddy to come home, making sure he arrives safely. He will tuck her in and every night she'll ask questions involving his day. If he has to work late, K. will make up every excuse in the book to not go to bed.

We told K. we would all pray about homeschooling again during winter break. We decided last weekend to withdraw her from classes. This morning I called the school. I went in to drop off school books she had and ran into the principal. She and I had a pleasant conversation about what was going on and she offered her help in however they can.

Today I have three children and home, and K. was able to focus and complete about 10 worksheets in an hour! It's break time now and she's having a great time with the boys.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Natural cleaners

My friend emailed me this list of natural cleaners. Thanks!

Weed killer: Did you know that dumping vinegar on weeds instead of chemical weed killer will do the same job without poisoning the ground and getting into our water systems? It will.

I have also dumped boiling water on weeds, instead of letting the water go down the drain when straining pasta.

Toilet cleaner: Rather than using the chlorine-laden can of toilet scrubbing powders, take a pint or quart size canning jar, fill 3/4 full of baking soda, put a straw down the middle of the jar into the baking soda, and pour about 20 drops of lemon essential oil (or tea tree, lavender, or orange) into the hole the straw made. Put the lid on and shake, then take a small nail and punch about five decent-size holes in it. You have your own 'shaker' of cleaner that contains NO CHLORINE and works even better!

Antibacterial all-purpose cleaner: Mix 20 drops lavender essential oil with 1 cup water in a spray bottle.

Dishwasher detergent/stainless steel cleanser: Mix 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup borax in a plastic sealed container. Be sure to label!

Drain cleaner: Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain and follow up with a thorough rinse with boiling hot water.

Glass cleaner: A solution of equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle - it works great.

Powdered Laundry Detergent:
1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap equals ½ a bar (usually with the regular body soaps)
1/2 Cup Washing Soda or baking soda (buy at a bulk store for cheap, 12 lbs about $5)
1/2 Cup Borax
For light load, use 1 tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons. For really dirty clothes add ¼ cup extra borax to the load. For whites add ¼ cup baking soda.

Fingerprinting appointment

We finally got our notification in the mail for USCIS fingerprinting! It will be on Jan 14th. I am glad it is not too far off. I hope they can expedite approval after they have our prints.

No news lately from Uganda. Praying we will hear from someone this coming week.

I have been very thrifty lately. You can read about it on my other site if you like.

Spending less

I have thought about how I was going to keep track of my food budget to share with you. I might have broken down how much I spent on each meal, or how much I spent each day. I figured it was be way too much work to keep up. So, I am just going to budget spending $400 a month. Some weeks I may spend more that $100, some weeks less. I have to admit we did a bit of stocking up, not really on purpose. Last week we heard a friend was selling a 1/4 grassfed organic beef. We bought it for $200, making the price about $2.50 a pound. I also made a trip to Costco and spent $100. I went BEFORE the start of the year, but we are eating food I bought from there now. So how do I count that? I think I will just keep track of all I have spent in Jan. 2010. It will make things much easier.

Yesterday I made bread with my bread machine, using ingredients I had in the pantry. I made soup with ingredients in the freezer, fridge and pantry. I actually used dried beans! (I used to use canned, much more expensive) I did use some of the tortilla chips (3 lb bag!) I bought from Costco to crumble on top.

This morning I made oatmeal for breakfast. I think we will be eating a lot of that in the coming year. I cooked it in the rice cooker; what a great way to do it! I put in 4 cups of water and 2 cups of oats. It was ready in 20 minutes and had a more creamy consistency. We are having leftover taco soup for lunch (I also froze some for later). I will be throwing some beef in the slow cooker and we'll have some beef and broccoli with rice for dinner. Yum.
I came across this site for cheap cooking ideas.

Also, I switched to cloth diapers ONLY. I refuse to buy disposable again. I should hopefully only have six months or less of diapers so this is do able. I haven't bought diapers in over a month! We also are using cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels. I am planning on making my own laundry detergent again. I made the Duggar's recipe in the past. I didn't like the way it separated. It worked well though. If anyone knows of a better recipe please let me know!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Birthday Boy...

Soon, little S. will turn two. He is such a crack up! He's a handful, demanding and challenging. But at the same time he brings us such joy! We are so thankful to have S. in our lives.

2010 Goals

This year I have some big ambitions...I can't see what the Lord has planned for us!
  • This is the year I will finally get in shape and reach my goal weight.
  • We are starting our grocery challenge: $100 a week.
  • Spend more time reading the bible and praying.
  • We pray we can travel to Africa in the next few months to bring home our daughter.
  • Be better stewards of the money God has blessed us with.
  • Use my time more wisely.