Friday, January 28, 2011

Show Us Your Life - Adoption Stories

Today over at Kelly's Korner, she is doing Adoption Stories. You can link up and share your adoption story and/or read all the other stories that people have posted! I am so pumped about this today.

I wish so desperately that I had the time to read everybody's stories, but I definitely will read as many as I can.

I was tweeting with Kelly a bit last night just telling her how this is such perfect timing for us.

We are just about licensed for foster care. We should be licensed in the next few weeks!! As exciting as this is we, are feeling very much like we are at a cross roads praying fervently for direction. I don't know if it's my own fear of the unknown or if it's the Enemy trying to thwart an amazing plan the Lord has for us, but over the past 2 months I have been inundated with doubt. Questions like:

Are we sure foster care is for us?
What if we get a kid that we aren't equipped to handle?
What if we get a kid that we are madly in love with and then CPS comes and takes them away to pass on to somebody else?
How am I going to continue to work and do this?
Why does the process have to be so difficult?
Why is the wait so long?
Should we go a different route?
How is Ella going to be able to handle all of this?

The list goes on and on. I find myself constantly fixated on this doubt which then turns into gripping fear.

Why can't I surrender and trust?

But this is exactly what the Lord is teaching me right now. He has brought me to this place to teach me this very thing.

Never in my life have I had something so completely out of my control that makes me HAVE to trust and rely on the Lord. Isn't that kind of sad? That for 31 years, I've pretty much lived my life in control of what I do. This wasn't a conscious thing most of the time, I really just didn't realize I was doing it. Everything has just kind of clicked and worked together in my life. Looking back at things, I know a lot of that working out stuff was because of the Lord's hand, sometimes without me even realizing it which breaks my heart.

Suddenly now I am faced with a situation that is completely out of control. I can not will myself to get pregnant. As much as I have obsessed over it and prayed for it, I can not force my body to conceive. It's out of my control.

As much as I have this perfect scenario played out in my head of the foster kid(s) we will get and be able to adopt, I can't force that to happen either. It's out of my control.

What is in my control however is if and how I am going to trust that the Lord is in control. And that is exactly what I am choosing. Trust! I will trust in the name of the Lord because He is my refuge and my fortress.

Isaiah 26:3 is my verse for this year that I am clinging to. "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on YOU, because he trusts in You." My God promises to keep Heath, Ella and I in PERFECT peace if we trust in Him.

2011 is going to be an interesting year. I am thankful for 2010 and the way it's hardships revealed changes I need to make in my life. And I am thankful already for 2011 and the sanctification it will bring. At the end of this year, I pray that I trusted the Lord fully for whatever He brought our way. Whether we have a new baby or not, whether that is through domestic adoption or foster care. Whatever His plan is for us, I want to trust Him because He promised that He works it all out for the good of those who love Him.

So thank you Kelly for today's adoption stories. I'm excited to read and be inspired and encouraged all over again! I look forward to the adventure He has for us this year!

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Playing in the leaves

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Santa On The Roof

One of our yearly Christmas traditions is Santa on the Roof. One of my besties, Kristin, puts this on every year with her sister. They invite tons of families to their house to sing carols and eat yummy desserts. Then Santa gets on the roof and has a present for every kid that is there.

It's really fun and so cute. Santa calls out the name of the child and they walk up to the house and he throws the present down. They kids love it!

Ella with her gift that Santa just threw down.

Joshua and Ella with their presents.

Ella and Laney with their presents.

Ella telling Santa what she wants for Christmas!

Sweet girl!

Okay, I put this on my blog EVERY year when I do this post because it is one of my most favorite pictures of ALL time! This is Ella and Laney's first Santa on the Roof on December 6, 2007! It's just priceless. We definitely felt a little guilty snapping this shot, but we quickly rescued them.

Ella, Laney and Tessa (Laney's little cousin)

Sweet friends!!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas Day this year was at our house. It was really fun to host Christmas for the first time in our home. We started some new traditions this year because of it that I'm really excited about.

Christmas Eve, Ella set out our cookies and milk for Santa.

And the reindeer food outside!

This is Christmas morning after Santa came. My sweet girl has my sleeping genes. So she did not wake up on Christmas morning until 9:30. Heath and I were just waiting and waiting in anticipation. This did however let us get a lot of stuff done and kind of get ahead of the day.

But when she finally woke up she was awake and energized! Pouring out her stocking. She got a bunch of those squinkies. Do y'all know what those are? I'm not sure exactly what she is supposed to do with them but apparently they were a hot seller for this year.

My delicate little girl is crazy about Sponge Bob. I would never had thought that she would love it so much, but for whatever reason she does.

Love her morning hair in these pictures!

After we opened gifts from Santa, my parents, Heath's mom and sisters came over to spend the day with us. Then Ella got to open her presents from the family!
She got Tiana.

And Rapunzel.

And Flynn Rider.

And the big gift we had been anxiously waiting to give her was finally opened.

Rapunzel's tower! It was the one thing she had asked for this year. Apparently lots of little girls asked for this because it was quite a task trying to find it. But Heath and I were on a mission and we finally tracked one down.

Ella is really into blankets! She has 3 specific ones that she has had since she was a newborn and sleeps with every night and takes with her most of the time. But they are little blankets and they aren't covering much of her body anymore. So Heath's mom had some big blankets made, still with the silky edges she likes, that hopefully she will take a liking too like her beloved ones.

They were a big hit.

I made these fun name blocks for the family. They are so super easy to make!

As soon as we were done opening presents, Heath put her tower together and Ella immediately went and put on her Rapunzel gown that she had gotten the day before. She stayed in that gown the entire day and played with her tower! She was stinkin' adorable.

Ella's other big gift was a much needed swing set for the backyard. We didn't have a chance to build it before Christmas, because it takes 8 HOURS to build. 8 HOURS. So we had to give it to her like this. We really just need to hire somebody to build it because I have no idea when we are going to have a solid 8 hours to build this sucker. But she is very excited. I can't wait to get it up.

Later in the day, Heath, Ella and I delivered Christmas breads to our neighbors. It was really fun. I think it's going to be one of our new traditions.

Still sporting her Rapunzel gown and the Rapunzel doll had to come with us also to deliver the breads. :-)

After all the presents were opened, we started on dinner. This is a fun pumpkin dip that a friend of my aunt's made for Thanksgiving. It's ridiculous. It's like pumpkin pie goodness in dip form. I knew I had to make it for Christmas. However, mine did not turn out as yummy as the one I tasted at Thanksgiving. I need to figure out how that one was made. But man it's good.

Heath decided for this year he was going to try to smoke a turkey. We have never tried this before. But Heath is the ultimate smoker of meat, so if anybody could do this without any previous turkey smoking experience, I knew he could. This is early Christmas morning as he puts the turkey in.

And this was the result! It was by far the best turkey I have ever had, even over deep friend turkey. That is a perdy turkey.

After dinner, we all settled in and played a wild game of Catch Phrase. I have to apologize to my family. I don't think I've ever played this game where I don't get all worked up. I think I permanently damaged my sister in law's right ear. She had the unfortunate spot of sitting next to me. :-)

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