Adoption News Update

We have so much to be thankful for...and that is such an understatement.  Happy, healthy children.  A warm, wonderful home.  A daddy and husband who goes above and beyond to provide for us and works tirelessly to help bring orphans home to their forever families.  Wonderful family and friends.  And an opportunity to journey in, what is starting to feel pretty long, adoption. 

{I interrupt this part of the story to say that I finally cut off Noah David's beautiful, long blond curls.  He was starting to get a few "girl" comments here and there, and because he's so aware and offended, I knew it was time.  My face dramatic you say?  Perhaps, but I really did have to fight back tears for this, people! His curls were one last thing that I was holding onto in his "babyhood".  And while he's long been declaring that he's "BIG", I still know as his mama, he's got lots of good baby left.  The cheeks, the chubby legs and belly, the nursing, "hold me", the co-sleeping, the voice....the curls.  Ah, but the curls had to go, and he looks so old now.  And so adorable.}

There is an excellent "system" we've established for hair cuts.  Each boy gets to pick his color lollipop and his favorite cartoon to watch.  It buys me a good 20 minutes of stillness.  Until hair gets stuck on the lollipop.  Then Daddy is called in for emergency washing.  Then stillness resumes for a brief moment.

His big blue eyes are even more visible and shine right out of his precious round face.  He seriously captivates me.

{BUT!  And I declare, BUT!  God is SO good to me.  Just after cutting this baby/big boy's beautiful curls off (and yes, I did save all of them in a zip loc) and I was sad, Daniel checked the mail, to low and behold discover that our USCIS APPROVAL WAS HERE!}

 Last January we officially applied to adopt and started the whole process.  After waiting 5 long months for fingerprints to return, our home study was approved.  The USCIS approval is basically the United States Government giving us approval to bring in 1-2 children under 15 months of age into the US.  So NOW, we're officially on the waiting list for our baby or babies.  This waiting period could be a few months, 6 months, 12 months or longer.  We have no idea, but we do know Who knows, and we're down with that.  He doesn't just have the whole world in His hands...He's got His big hands holding our baby and holding the birth family and orphanage workers, too.

 One of Daniel Isaac's favorite things to talk about is how God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the only "real" superheroes.  (No fear, we're still really into the pretend ones, too, but let's be honest, they don't hold a candle to the REAL Ones.)  He'll say, "Mommy, God...He's so strong, He can walk right through walls without anyone even knowing it!  And Jesus...He's so powerful, He can dig a huge hole right down in the ground just with his pinkie finger.  And they have all the other super powers, too, like flying and mind-reading, and force fields and super strength and speed.  And they don't even ever have to sleep!"  And I'm all like, "Uh, yeah; you're so right.  How awesome is it that we're on HIS team??"  And he's all, "Yeah, Mommy, because God's team ALWAYS wins!  And we're gonna kick Satan and beat him up!"  For real and amen, DI!  And when Mama is feeling all sad inside because she wishes our baby could just hurry up and be with us, what a fantastic reminder it is that God's timing in the whole entire formation of our family is essential and perfect and wonderful.  And when the boys talk about how they're going to rock and feed and hold and play with and teach and snuggle with and care for their new baby brother and sister, it's such a sweet reminder of the preparation that is taking place...the very necessary preparation.  And when Daniel Isaac explains to us that his favorite pillow pet "Sushi" wasn't actually a birthday gift but was adopted from an orphanage and that's how he became his son, we smile deep within our beings, because he's getting it.  So please continue in prayer with and for us.  We need it, we feel it, and we value it.


Adoption Story...

Adoption Story
Our relationship started in high school as friends and prayer partners in our church youth group.  It eventually grew to more as we spent time with our group of friends.  By college, we knew we wanted to be married and serve the Lord together forever.  We went on a mission trip to and orphanage in Honduras several times throughout college and became passionate about children...especially children who did not have mothers and fathers to care for them.  We wished we could have adopted several from Honduras while we were there, and we were broken-hearted when one little boy drew a picture of a home, his older brother and younger sister and Daniel and I saying, “Mommy, Daddy, Family.”  Two years into our marriage, the Lord led us to work with an at-risk children’s ministry where we served for a couple of years ministering to hundreds of children in low-income areas...almost all of them living in poverty and broken homes.  We became foster parents for a short time, desperately trying to help children in need. Upon leaving this ministry, the Lord planted us at Lifeline Children’s Services, where we truly found our passion connected to our gifts and ability to serve.  We were able to see that children with no hope and future could be placed into loving, two-parent, Christian homes and suddenly have a bright, wonderful future and home.  Finally, we felt effective in our outreach to children, and while difficult at times, we have had the wonderful privilege of seeing loving, Christian couples and families welcome precious gifts from Above into their hearts and homes.  We have seen birth mothers make the most loving sacrifices in the world and choose adoption for their babies.  We have seen adoptive families endure challenges and trials and finally be united with their children through adoption.  It has been a wonderful gift to see the Lord make and create these beautiful families through adoption.  And we count it a special blessing to get to experience this before becoming an adoptive family ourselves.    
We knew from early in our marriage that we wanted to adopt children and that we would love to have a large family.  I had a desire to travel to Uganda since college and was unable to do so, and then Daniel’s first trip with Lifeline was to Uganda where he immediately connected and loved the people and culture there.  Two months after his return from Uganda, we applied to begin our adoption process!  Many times we are confronted with questions of, “How could you love another child?  Why Uganda?  Why adoption when you can keep having ‘your own‘ children?  What if they aren’t healthy?”
And honestly, our heart explodes with love for our child (or children...we are approved to adopt twins) that we do not yet know.  We answer, “How could we not?”  “We love Uganda and have been drawn there for years...the Lord has led and initiated this whole process in our hearts for years.”  “This child will be ‘our own’.”  “If they aren’t healthy, we will consider it a blessing that they were placed in our care so that we can love and care for them to get them the medical help they need.  Same as our biological children.”  We consider adoption an opportunity, a gift, a blessing.  Yes, we are “rescuing an orphan”, but it is so much more than that.  It is our family who is receiving a gift.  It’s we who are being blessed.  We are extremely thankful that the Lord has led us down this path and that He is creating our unique, precious family in this beautiful way.  Our boys are excited and regularly asking to “go to Africa right now.”  We cannot wait to meet our baby or babies for the first time and become a family.  Our hearts, arms and home are so open and excited and ready!  To God be the glory, great things He has done!

  • This Friday Daniel and I have our biometric finger print appointment in Atlanta- this is the last step to getting our immigration approval, which is basically getting permission from US immigration to bring a foreign child (or two) into the country
  • Once we get immigration approval (could be a few weeks after Friday), we are then eligible to be officially matched with a child (which could take a week or over 6 months)
  • Once we are matched, we send our dossier (a big ole bunch of paperwork) to Uganda for their approval, which could take several months
  • Uganda courts then assign us a court date, and we make plans to travel based on that date!
  • I am doing research on Ugandan orphanages and possible adoptable babies.  We can find our own referral, so I'm looking!
  • Get the boys' passports and mine updated.
  • Continue raising money and applying for grants (we have about $20,000 left to raise)
  • PRAY PRAY PRAY for our child (children...we are approved to adopt twins, but still may get one), birth family and orphanage caring for him/her...also praying the Lord continue to prepare our hearts and home for the blessings He has planned!
Noah David is hilarious and hard-headed and chubby and cute and determined and hilarious...did I mention hilarious?  BUT, among all of those, he is so tender-hearted and loving and kind.  He loves to help and serve.  And he thinks about "his baby in Africa" all the time.  This morning he said something he rarely says..."Mommy, I don't want to go to school today."  So I said, "You don't?  Well, where do you want to go?"  And he said quite matter-of-factly, "To Africa."  He tells his teacher and random strangers that we're going to Africa to get our baby.  He pretends to go on trips to Africa.  He sits on his 3 inch boat in the bath tub and says, "Look out!  I'm going to Africa in my boat!"  He is maintaing his preference for a boy baby, yet she we talk about God possibly giving us a girl baby, he giggles and joins in talking about pink clothes and girl toys and hair bows.  He is such a blessing, and I love that our God is big enough to keep an entire universe going, yet intimate enough to prepare the heart of a 2 year old for adoption.  

These four little feet are ready.


Jump, Pops, Jump!

We did something we don't do nearly often enough...Nana, Pops and Grandmother came over to our house for Sunday lunch... (perhaps because I haven't gotten the whole "house keeping" thing down just yet....or perhaps because Pops and Nana are such fantastic cooks and invite us over every Sunday for lunch...or both.)  To say the boys were elated to have them here is quite the understatement.  Showing off random toys, tricks, house hold items....and then the grand finale.  The trampoline.  What you see below is only a portion of Jumping Pops.  Before this, DI kept saying, "Jump, Pops, jump!"  Amazing what a grandparents' love will do.  Without further hesitation....I present to you, "Jump, Pops, Jump!" (The video below is the only one I've posted...YouTube may prompt you to view more after this one.  Caution and view at your own risk!  I've received word some of them are inappropriate!)


We are here; we are here!

I feel much like the little people on the clover in Horton Hears a Who.  We are here!  We are here!  Oh so small in a world so big but still very much here.  I am doing the kind of floating that's bumpy and rough and earthquake-ish.  Definitely flying by the seat of my pants and ready to settle into some type of routine.  Yearning for stillness and quietness and "p.j. days" as my DI calls them.  

A "real" post is coming soon.  But for now, I leave you with a few precious pictures.

Inspired by none other than Nacho Libre himself.  ND has one, too.  Don't worry.

He's funny.

Not much beats puddle splashing.


Close up profile shot of DI's rockstar hair.  This is a regular occurrence in our home.  First the hair, then the blaring music and us dancing around and singing and playing air guitar and drums.  

Rock on!


He captivates me.

"Enjoy today. Just today. Tomorrow will be another favorite day when it comes...but don't be done with today until you have squeezed the last juice 
from its rind." -Poppa Rik 


Stella & Dot • An invitation to style and benefit our adoption

Don't you love a great pair of earrings?  Stella & Dot • An invitation to style

Or a beautiful necklace that also holds sentimental meaning?  Stella & Dot • An invitation to style

Awesome "statement" ring?  Yes, please...  Stella & Dot • An invitation to style

There's something so beautiful and classic about a little girl in jewelry... Stella & Dot • An invitation to style

My dear friend Ginny Gaberlavage has generously asked to hold a Stella & Dot show where all of the proceeds go straight to benefit our adoption.  Yet another gift from Above, another member of our "village" helping us bring a cherished little one home into our arms from Uganda.

So if you like jewelry or want to get some early Christmas shopping done or buy a "just because" gift AND help us bring our precious baby (or babies) home from Uganda, please come by this Thursday night...

Girls Night Out Stella & Dot Adoption Benefit Trunk Show
Thursday, August 11, 2011
6:30-9:00 p.m.
Kathy Beams' home
2013 Evans Drive
Opelika, Alabama 

We can't wait to see you there and enjoys some eats and beautiful jewelry...and adding another memory to our scrapbook of preparation and "look how many people loved you before they knew you and helped us get you home" for baby.  

Spread the word!  The more the merrier!

Can't stop by on Thursday but still want to be involved in getting some great jewelry and helping us raise money for the adoption of our sweet baby?  You can shop online!


Thank you.

Stella & Dot • An invitation to style

Stella & Dot • An invitation to style


Adoption Update

We announced back in January 2011 that we were officially beginning the process to adopt a baby from Uganda.  Since then, we found a home study agency (we can't use Lifeline for our home study since Daniel works there), began all of the paperwork, and have been working on raising the $30,000.00 needed to bring our baby home.  Seven months later, we are nearing the end of our home study process after waiting 4 months for our CANs to come back, 4 months for my fingerprint clearances to return, 5 months for Daniel's fingerprint clearances to return, reading and researching adoption, attachment, Uganda, etc., and gathering lots of paperwork for our social worker.  While it seems like a really long time already that we have been on this adoption journey, we honestly rest in the assurance that every single perceived delay and every piece of paper and task are all actually a very intentional part of the Lord's plan to unite us with the child He has created for us. 

We are very eager and excited about meeting our baby, holding him/her, introducing him/her to our family and friends, and we continue to be touched by the outpouring of love and generosity that has been shared with us on the journey thus far.  Love in the form of pouring time and hard work volunteering at our yard sale, donations for us to sell there, customers at Daniel Isaac's lemonade stand, friends baking cookies for him to sell, monetary donations given via this blog, checks in the mail with priceless letters, prayers, inquiries about our process.  It's all a part of the big, unique picture of adoption and of our baby coming home.  His/her story won't have the details of me feeling flutters and kicks within my belly or my "last" meal before delivery, or naps with his/her brothers along the way with them talking through my bellybutton to him/her.  No details of labor and delivery...of visitors in the hospital. We may never know what our baby's first days, weeks and months entailed.  But what we do know is how we were being prepared and loved on while we waited.  We will have stories of how our church, family, and friends prayed.  Stories of how everyone eagerly anticipated his/her presence in all of our lives.  Stories of how loved he/she has been before we even knew him/her.  Stories of how he/she was created for a purpose and has a beautiful, bright future.  Stories of big brothers finding pennies on the BK playground in the midst of playing and running them over to us to be sure to keep safe to save for our adoption.  Stories of Noah David telling everyone, "my baby A-fa-ta...plane...go get it."  Stories of mommy overhearing Daniel Isaac telling a newly made friend at the park, "Yeah, we are adopting a baby from Africa.  So I'm gonna be a big brother again and I'm gonna teach my little brother Noah David how to be a big brother."  Stories that tell our baby's beginnings from this end of the world.

Please remember our baby and his/her birth mother and family in your prayers. 

Once our home study is officially complete (hopefully by August), we can move forward with additional paperwork and grant applications.  We hope to have a more specific timeline and time estimates for when we will know WHO we are adopting and when we will get to travel later in the journey.  We will continue to post updates on Facebook and here. 

Thank you so much for your prayers and for being a part of this special journey. 


Noah David is 2.

It really does seem like moments ago that I took my last nap with Daniel Isaac as an only child.  Snuggled in his twin bed, we dozed for a couple hours, which was a fabulous pre-labor treat.  After which,  Daniel and I dropped him off at Grandmama and Papa's home with lots of hugs and kisses and knowing I would miss him like crazy...and anticipating a second child...and what all that would entail for him.  Daniel and I went to Provino's for my "last meal" before labor, and as usual, I devoured every bite of salad, drippy garlic butter rolls and ravioli.  Then on to the hospital...I was a week late, and I was about to meet my second son.  We'd talked to him for months (through my bellybutton of course...thank you Daddy and DI) and dreamed a lot of what it would be like, but much like never having Daniel Isaac and imagining it, I never could have fathomed all that Noah David's little life would bring.  Holding him, kissing him and never wanting to let him go as soon as I delivered him will forever stay etched in my mind.  The eternally long wait in my mind while he was in the nursery getting cleaned up and having his first pediatric check up made it hard for me to relax.  But then once he was back in my arms...oh, that feeling.  It took a lot for nurses or anyone to pry him from me for, well, for almost a year-ha!  I'd be lying if I didn't say I had tons of fear about my second born feeling overshadowed by his big, very outgoing amazing brother.  And I'd be lying if I didn't admit my fear how Daniel Isaac would feel sharing us.  But the beauty of their relationship...from the moment DI met ND helped soothe and nearly completely dissipate those fears.  I'll never forget Daniel Isaac cradling Noah David in the hospital and whispering, "I love you, Baby Noah," with that priceless trademark twinkle in his eye.  And today, it's laughable that any of those thoughts ever even entertained entering my mind.  As Noah David is quite clear...sometimes overboard clear...on what he does and doesn't like.  He won't be overshadowed.  And as the brothers love each other dearly and play together amazingly well...Noah David adoringly calls DI "Bubber", and DI has taken him under his big brother wing.  The occasional "it's MINE!"  or "he took that from ME!" breaks out, but overall, they are best friends, and Daniel and I get to marvel in wonder as our boys grow together and love each other.  With that being said, we have so much to celebrate in Noah David's life.  He brings us to belly-laughs on a regular basis....and then he melts our hearts sharing his sweet kisses, hand holds, hugs and big batty blue eyes.  He is independent and feisty.  He is walking that fine line between baby and boy, and we are getting to hear the beautiful harmony his exploration.  Many of our dear family members and friends gathered last Saturday to celebrate his life...the light he exudes...the precious man-in-the-making he is.  I've grappled all week trying to find words to describe how I felt when I saw him being loved on and celebrated in such a magnificent way.  Seeing his face light up and his dimples permanently decorate those squishy cheeks for his whole party was oh so joyful for this mama.  The Opelika Fire Department is my hero for more than the reason of risking their lives to keep us safe...they made my boy's day.  Even Sparky the fire dog (and to say that ND ADORES Sparky is a grand understatement) braved the heat and came...graciously allowing multitudes of children to pull on his jacket, step on his fire boots, and play with his hat.  The firemen let all the children climb on their shiny red truck, making each kiddo feel so special and big.  Cameras flashed, children squealed with delight, and parents smiled at all of our littles enjoying the fun.  And the most precious moment of the whole party...when everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to Noah David, and he stood, all grins and eyes shining and very proud and thankful for his personal birthday serenade. My baby is 2, and he knows he is loved, celebrated and special.  Below is the picture recount....  

Grandmother, our oldest party member, ND's great grandmother...almost 94. 

Our youngest party member...Charlie...almost 4 weeks.