Sunday, November 18, 2012

Four Pairs of Shoes


Ok so some of you are wondering about these 4 sets of shoes.  So......WE ARE ADOPTING AGAIN!  It's been hard to keep this a secret for so long.  We have been thinking about this for a while now, but for a couple of different reasons we had not actually announced it yet. 

We had been talking about this since back before the summer.  However, with the adoption law changes in Taiwan that went in to effect on June 1st, we had no idea what this meant for us.  So we waited and prayed.  As it turns out the orphanage we adopted Ava from, we cannot adopt from them again right now.  That's a long story, but the basic gist is that 1) there is a long list for families waiting for second children, 2) the wait would be quite some time due to that, and 3) THOGL is not really doing second adoptions right now due to their long list for families waiting for their first child and the new law changes.  So we started looking at what our options were.  We considered doing China special needs but never pulled the trigger.  Our hearts are just still in Taiwan!

Fortunately God has placed a wonderful godly woman in my life as my accountability partner!  She also has adopted from THOGL.  One day while meeting she mentioned an agency who recently reopened their healthy infant Taiwan program (at this point most programs were closed due to the law changes).  So we looked into it, exchanged some emails with the agency, had a phone conference call with the agency and all came back great!  So we started our process the next day.  This happened basically at the end of August. 

Since then we have started our homestudy.  As we did not keep our previous homestudy up to date we had to start over from scratch.  That is being finalized this week.  We have been basically approved through the agency based on our previous homestudy, although not offically until our current homestudy is completed and reviewed.  We are hoping to have that done this Monday.  We had been waiting for "offical" approval before our announcement. 

We heard from the agency this past week, and while it's not final, it's close enough that we feel ok moving forward with the announcement!  So we are expecting an addition to our family HOPEFULLY within the next 18-24 months! (Please note that we do NOT have a referral yet.)

I will write more details later and as things progress, but for now, just admire the lovely new shoes!

Friday, May 4, 2012

A New Kind of "Good"

The other day I was going back through and reading some verses that I was given during some rough times.  It led me to another verse, and then another.  Anyway, I was contemplating what they meant to me then, and now.  It really is amazing how our perspectives change and how God reveals Himself, all in His timing.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

This verse is a commonly quoted verse, in hard times especially.  It is probably all too familiar to those reading this.  I thought actually thought of this verse after reading some verses in Lamentations:

"Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?  Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?  Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord."  Lamentations 3: 37-41 (emphasize mine)

"For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men."  Lamentations 3:31-33 (emphasize mine)

This all brought me to one conclusion.  What if my perspective of "good" is wrong?  See, I think that I had always thought of "good" in terms of getting what I wanted or what I thought I deserved.  At the minimum, at least, I thought of it as God working things out in my favor somehow.  Quite frankly, this is probably one of the most selfish possible interpretations of this verse.  I believe in effort to comfort ourselves, many of us probably view the verse in Romans this way (I really hope I'm not the only one).  This interpretation often leaves us empty, and even worse, wondering was God is in the midst of our pain.  I'm sad to think this was ever all I got from that verse now.  I'm humbled for sure by the revelation of what is really there.

So I invite you to imagine a new kind of "good".  What if "good" simply meant whatever brings you closer to God?  How would that change our perspective?  After all, our highest purpose in this walk on earth, is to be close to God.  Everything He has done, and will do, is in effort to restore our relationship with Him and bring me closer to Him.  So that really crappy thing that is happening right now, or that really hard time you're having, it's actually "good".  You know, the one deep down inside where you're raising your fist at God screaming, "if you love me, why is this happening to me?"  Yeah, that thing, just might be "good".  I certainly have found that it is in the darkest of hours that I am the closest to God.  And I don't think that's coincidence.  It's much harder to look outside yourself and give God any credit or any mind when all is going well.

I found it very interesting in the verses in Lamentations that it speaks to God bring forth grief and calamity.  Yes, sometimes the yucky stuff is from God.  What's more is I don't think He wants it to be that way.  Unfortunately, we are often stubborn, hardheaded, egocentric creatures--at least I am anyway.  We need the hard times more than we think.  Hard times are where we learn, and how we find God and learn to be close to Him.  Sometimes the worst situations are our own making and us facing the consequences and God's discipline (see Romans 12:5-13).

Sometimes "good" is not just meant for you either.  Sometimes God is working out "good" for the body of believers as a whole--"for those who love Him"--that's pleural people.  So sometimes we have to step outside of ourselves and look at the "good" God is doing in community, not ourselves personally.  That's a tough pill to swallow for me.  That God might give me a trial for the benefit of someone else.  How is that fair?  The truth is, God never claimed to be fair.  And thank God for unfairness, otherwise I sure wouldn't be saved!

Now here's the disclaimer.  Please don't hear that every bad thing that happens is from God.  That certainly isn't true, nor what I'm saying.  The truth is we live in a fallen world, and some of the bad is simply a result of sin.  Plain and simple.  Sometimes the sucky things just happen and we will never know why this side of heaven. Knowing the difference comes from knowing God and closeness to Him.  He gives you the discernment to know which is which. 

For now, my world has been rocked by a new kind of "good".

Monday, April 30, 2012

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

My how time flies!  Little Ava is, well, not so little anymore.  At least it seems that way.  She is going on 21 months now and a very busy girl!  In so many ways she is easy to entertain and at the same time, some days I find it difficult to find something for her to do.  And so my Pinterest obsession started.  I had alot of friends getting on there and finally I checked it out for myself.  I have not been able to stay away since!  It started with a few toddler ideas, then recipes, then clothes, then home ideas, then....you get the idea.

Anyway my little lovebug, as I call her, really loves to help these days.  Anything we do, she wants to do--wash her hands, throw away trash, carry the laundry hamper, put her clothes in the hamper, put her diapers in the diaper pail, etc.  It's quite cute really.  Sometimes it does create some challenges, for instance cooking dinner and keeping her occupied or helping with the little things.  I know they say cooking with them at this age is great, but I have not mastered the art yet.  (Also it doesn't help that I hate big messes, which cooking with a toddler usually creates.)


We've had some great weather recently, an early spring really.  It's been so fun as Ava is loving playing outside and exploring!  She loves to go on walks riding her tricycle or wagon.  She loves slides and swinging at the playground.  She also loves watching the birds at the birdfeeder, watching Daddy mow the grass, chasing bubbles, and "painting" the deck (as you can see in the picture).

Miss Ava also has a quickly expanding vocabulary.  She's not talking alot yet, but it seems daily there are new words, this past week anyway.  Her favorite word is "hot", all food is hot and she will blow on it to cool it off.  "Arf, Arf" for dog is the best!  She will see a dog (although not our dogs) and start saying "arf, arf" repeatedly.  "Whoo Whoo" for owl, and she loves seeing them in books!  Yesterday we were driving home and she was fascinated with her shoes and kept saying "shoe", then she point to it, held up her foot and said "off"!  So cute, so I took it off and she thought that was so funny.  Today she said "ball" while we were playing with all different colored balls.  Some other things she says are "ah oh, duck, baa baa, moo, go, mine, duck, mama, dada" and I think there are some others that I can't think of right now.  Of course she understands a ton more than what she can say!

Daily I am amazed at God's blessings!  I'm so thankful for Ava and the pure joy she brings to our home!!!  She is so precious, sweet, beautiful, smart, and fun!!!  I just love her snuggles, all her hugs and kisses!  My biggest wish is that I could slow it all down a little!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Long Time No Speak....

Wow I can't believe it's really been almost 5 months since I posted anything. I guess mommyhood has me busy or something, lol! So alot has happened in those months, all of which I cannot blog about in one post, so I'll have to hit some highlights!

Little miss Ava is growing... A LOT! She started crawling on April Fools Day, which was funny to call Chris and tell him. That was just shy of her 8 month birthday. She was slow at first but now can crawl across a room in no time flat. She currently has 4 teeth, the 2nd of which to come in was a bear! She was up one night every 20 minutes, that was one rough night, and 2 tired parents the next morning. Otherwise, teething hasn't been that bad--the first tooth came in without any major notice, and the 3rd anf 4th tooth, you couldn't even tell she had teeth coming in except for a lot of drool. The funniest part is that she got her 2 bottom teeth then she got her right "fang" so she looks kinda like a little vampire. Her fourth tooth has just recently broke the surface and is her right front tooth. She is also cruising and will walk holding onto one hand. I'm convinced that she will be walking very soon, she just needs to perfect that balance a little more! Her hair has also grown in quite a bit and I can get one little twig of a ponytail on the top of her head now! She is a very sweet baby and happy the overwhelming majority of the time! We have been so blessed by her joining our family!!

In the past few months we have traveled quite a bit. We went to Colorado to vist our friends Mike and Kate and their 2 little ones, Charlotte and Cameron. We had a blast and Ava loved playing with them! Of course, I love Colorado and it was very hard to leave. Chris always teases me that the first half of the trip home, I talk about how we can eventually move back there. This trip was no different, we weren't out of Denver 10 minutes before I started.


We also went home to Nashville for the 4th of July. That was so much fun! Ava got in the lake for the first time, met her cousins, and got loved on by Mimi, Papa, Paw Paw, and Uncle Mark! She loved the water and we learned a valuable lesson about swim diapers vs. regular diapers. Apparently if you forget the swim diaper, a regular diaper will just not do--it explodes and gel substance erupts from it! Mom and Dad also got some fun time in on the jet skiis with a free babysitter, Mimi, loving on Ava!


Our most recent trip was to St.Louis for a THOGL reunion. Several of the families in the surrounding states/area met up at a park for some great fellowship and then back to the hotel to hang out. We got to meet many of the families we've only corresponded with via Facebook or Skype and it was just so wonderful to finally meet them in person! The kiddos were so fun to see run around together and play! It truly was beautiful site to see everyone united in their families, and to see all the kiddos so happy and growing! Several of the THOGL workers were also there and got to see how much the little ones had grown since they last loved on them in the orphanage, they are all such a blessing to us!



Lastly, Ava is turning 1 in a week from today! I just can't believe our little girl is going to be 1! She is hardly a baby anymore, and getting so independent! She loves to giggle, be close to Mom and Dad, play, and kiss Linus! She is eating solid foods and would eat blueberries until she exploded! We're planning a ladybug themed party and I can't wait to see her dive into that cake!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's Ava doing now?!

Well little miss Ava is growing so much these days! I was looking back at pictures from when we first came home, and I just can't get over how much she has changed! Her hair is finally starting to grow in, she's getting really tall, and gaining weight--she is in the 90% for both! She is also becoming so much more interactive and staying awake for longer periods of time too! In general she is a very happy baby. She is bonding with both Chris and I very well. She lights up when either of us comes into the room....and she sometimes cries if we leave the room too. She will also reach for us now too! She loves to smile and giggle. Her verbal skills are really starting to shine, particularly in the evening and out at restaurants. We took her to dinner with us and another couple that lives down the street and she talked very loudly the entire time! We thought it was hysterical (the other people around us may not have)! Her favorite toy is this turtle bath toy thingy that she puts the whole head of in her mouth to chew on; it's quite humorous. And although she's chewing on everything in site, she has no teeth to show for it! We keep thinking any day now, but alas, every morning we wake up to no teeth.

video

Our biggest challenge these days is sleep. She was sleeping through the night when she first came home, but every since she got sick around Christmas, she has not slept through the night. Some nights she wakes only once, other nights 3, 4, or 5 times. We are not sure what's going on, she's not hungry, she's not wet, all her needs are met. The biggest thing is she turns herself over, and while she can roll back over, she won't. She just cries in the crib until we come in and turn her back over. She will usually go back to sleep after that.

We have also recently started her on baby food! So far, she likes everything we've given her--rice cereal, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes. So I'm hoping this easy going gal keeps it up and doesn't develop any picky eating habits! So far so good! She's so cute when she eats too, she's like a little bird and just opens her mouth for you! She continues to take a bottle at each meal and then at bedtime. She's always been a good eater and so far the trend is continuing!

Chris is determined that she will crawl soon. He gets down in the floor with her and puts her in the crawling position and then helps her get to a toy. He does all the work for her, but I'm sure those little wheels are turning and she will figure it out soon! She is also sitting up independently now and has been for several weeks, if not a month! She's really good at it and rarely tumps over.

We are also starting to teach her baby signs. We checked out a Baby Einstein video called My First Signs and have been watching it with her. So we are all learning. So far, she doesn't get it, but they say it will be several months before she will actually sign anything, but this is the perfect age to start teaching them. Their little language centers are starting to develop around 6 months and supposedly can understand almost 400 words! We're hoping that teaching her baby signs will decrease her frustration later as she tries to communicate her needs.

Well, that's about all I can think of for now! Until next time, God bless!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Christmas, National Championship, and Milestones

Well, again I find that we have been so busy, and thus the blogging has been neglected. Man, I wish I were better at this. Well, let's see, we've had Christmas and Ava has been sick since 2 days before Christmas. Mom, then got Ava's sickness 2 days later. While I'm better outside of a lingering cough, I can't say the same for Ava. Amazingly though, she is still her sweet, fun self for the most part. I really don't think she knows what a bad mood is!


Christmas in TN was a ton of fun! Ava met her Uncle Mark for the first time as well as several cousins, great aunts, great grandparents, and of course saw Mimi, Paw Paw, and Papa! Her first Christmas was even a white one!!! TN got snow and it was so beautiful! She got to see deer and wild turkeys outside Mimi's window too!


Chris and I went to see Auburn play in the BCS National Championship game--and WIN!!!! That was a trip of a lifetime and we had so much fun! We met up with my best friend, Audra, and a couple of my friends from college, Kat and Brent Curtis. The atmosphere was unlike anything, so electric and so fun! We went to Tigerwalk only to find out the crowd was so big the team couldn't get through. I got on top of Chris' shoulders and it was blue and orange as far as the eye could see. I've never been so overwhelmed with people to say War Eagle to since I was in Auburn! I relish those moments to say War Eagle now that I'm out of the South and most people around here don't even know where Auburn is much less what War Eagle means!


While we were gone to Phoenix, Nana and Papa Earhart kept Ava and she rolled over! So sad we missed it, but she has reached a new milestone and has rolled over several times since. I wouldn't say she's discovered as a mode of transportation yet, but I'm sure she will soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Has it really been that long?

Wow! I can't believe our last post was almost a month ago! There has been a lot happening in these past weeks, which is probably why there's been no post. I feel like we've been out of town a lot in the past few weeks and of course the holidays. Ava met her Aunt and Uncle over Thanksgiving as well as her 2 cousins! That was so fun to see her with them.

We were even able to get a 5 generation picture with Chris' great grandmother who is 101!

We just got back from Mall of America in Minnesota with our friends Matt and Rhiannon. That was tons of fun even though they got the worst blizzard they'd seen in 20 years while we were there. The last 2 nights we were there, the wind chill factors were like -16! Ava was all bundled up and probably the warmest one of all of us with her layers of clothes next to our body heat and under our coats as well! She did wonderful in the car up there and learned to really sleep in her stroller while we were there. We couldn't believe how big the MOA really was! 3 floors of shopping and a 4th floor with several restaurants, and a good sized amusement park (25 rides and at least 3 large roller coasters). We had Ava's picture with Santa taken there, she loved Santa and they had a great conversation; although I'm not sure what they talked about.

For Christmas we will be traveling to Tennessee to visit my side of the family. Many of them have not yet met Ava, so that will be very fun and exciting! I can't imagine what runs through her little head as she meets all these new faces!

Ava has great head control now and sits in her bumbo well (not sure how much she likes the bumbo, but nevertheless). She is all smiles in the morning and has begun to giggle every now and again! We love watching her grow and seems that each day brings something new! In the past couple of days she's started sticking out her tongue at us, that's rather funny! Also in the past 4-5 days she's started teething, which I think in the grand scheme of what teething can be, she's doing well. She had her 4 month check up today along with a couple of shots, which she took like a champ! We are continuing to breastfeed 3-4 times a day and she is really beginning to get the hang of things. She is latching on much easier and seems to much quieter during the feed. Of course, Daddy still feeds her a couple times of day and loves to read to her. He loves to come home and hang out with Ava and talk to her quite a bit, they are so cute together!

Seems this month has been full of blessings and firsts! I pray that as we go into this Christmas season, you will reflect on the best blessing of all--our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is after all the reason for the season which often gets lost in the gift buying and bustle of the holidays. How thankful I am that such great blessings start in little packages! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Update with the LC

Well today was my date with the lactation consultant. I actually called last week to set this up, and prior to her latching on. But I decided we should go anyway, because I figured there is room for improvement and I did have a few questions.

She was very nice and easy to talk to. And as odd as I thought it might be to breastfeed in front of a stranger, she made it comfortable. She was quite surprised to see how well Ava was doing and in her words, didn't have any suggestions. She did give me some resources for getting some nursing wear, as I can't find anything in my size at a reasonable price. So looking forward to see what it yields.

At any rate, Ava is improving with her latch day by day and I think she enjoys nursing. I'm beginning to be able to relax once she is latched on, which is making it more enjoyable for me as well. So thanks for the prayers as we continue on our journey!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A New Journey



Now that we're home, we have so many firsts ahead of us. I feel like we have many new journeys to embark on, but there's one in particular I'm going to write about today.

Many of you don't know this, but since we received our referral, I have been preparing to breastfeed Ava. I know that this might seem crazy or even impossible to some. However, it is becoming more and more common. I will say, that usually it is tried with babies adopted domestically at birth. It is, of course, a lot easier to teach a baby to breastfeed if they start right away. It is also possible to start breastfeeding later, best chances for success are if you start before 3 months old. Although, not impossible later on, just harder.

You probably are wondering how you can produce milk if you've never been pregnant. It is possible with a lot of work to induce lactation, which I have been working on. I may never produce enough milk to completely supply Ava's needs, but any is benefical. To supplement what I don't make we use a supplemental nursing system called the Lactaid. It is a bag filled with formula or breast milk that has a small feeding tube that comes out by the nipple of the breast. When she latches on to the breast and sucks, formula comes out the tube. This keeps her breastfeeding, even if I never produce a drop of milk. It's not all about the milk though, it's about bonding. There is a tremendous benefit for the emotional bonding that takes place through breastfeeding, both for mom and baby. Because I may never have a biological child, this may be my only opportunity to breastfeed, but more importantly, I want that chance to bond with Ava. So we have been working on it.

The past 3 days, we have been successfully breastfeeding. Quite to my surprise, after only trying 2-3 times, she latched on and took an entire feeding! This is a huge success for us!!! It usually takes weeks if not months to accomplish this feat. So I'm super excited! So we breastfeed now unless we are in public. Then I use a special bottle called the Breastflow by First Years. This bottle actually helped me teach Ava to latch on. It is the only bottle that requires her to latch on just like the breast and suck just like at the breast--using both compression AND suction.

All that to say, we are celebrating our new journey and success at breastfeeding this week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Welcome Home Ava

"Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth! He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises." Psalm 47:1-4, 6

I found the above scripture interesting as it is Psalm 47, the Psalm that comes after 46. Psalm 46 is the psalm I read over and over during the loss of Lillian. It was so hard, my world did feel like it was falling apart, but Psalm 46 reminded me that the Lord IS in control--no matter what is going on in our lives. Psalm 47 is about rejoicing in the blessing the Lord has given. The Lord does bless! How fitting that after such a great storm comes such great joy! I will sing praises to the Lord for what He has done--richly blessed us!



Ava Mei is finally home! We are so thankful to the Lord that we have our daughter home and are starting to settle in. She is precious and an absolute joy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Labor Pains


Hello everyone! By now you've probably figured out that we are here in Taiwan! The plane ride here I liken to labor pains. It was a long flight, and I got very little sleep (Chris, of course, slept fine). Once we landed in Taipei we started the drive THOGL--I consider this the pushing portion. As we turned down the driveway to the home, I felt the rush of adrenaline and excitement! We were about to meet our little girl, Ava, for the first time!!!!

We got out to the car, opened the door to the orphanage, the workers were all lined up on the couch with the babies and one baby in a walker, and the other on in a bumbo seat on the floor. I start working my way down the line and....no Ava! Where is Ava, where is she?! Almost in unison, they all said she's behind you! I turned around and there she was, sleeping, so precious. Oh how much I wanted to pick her up and love on her!!!! But being the good mommy, knowing sleep is important, I just stared at her--then, everyone said, go ahead pick her up! So I picked her up and she popped open those precious eyes and stared at me! Words cannot describe that feeling! I tear up all over again just thinking about it!!! What a wonderful, precious, unforgetable moment!

Then I handed her to Chris to hold....what a natural Daddy he is! He's great with her, and I love watching them snuggle! She's going to be a little Daddy's girl, I can already tell!

I will post more on our journey later, but for now, know we are loving every minute with precious Ava and she is a wonderful baby!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane!!!

Well, I'm late posting this, but it seems it has been a whirlwind since we received the call. What call?! The call to travel to pick up Ava, of course!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday morning we received a call from Ted saying that our first court documents had arrived and he was going to call AIT to get an interview date set. Tuesday night we received an email that our AIT interview was set for Thursday October 27th! First thing Wednesday morning we contact our travel agent and started the all day long process to book flights to Taiwan!

We will leave for Taiwan on Saturday night the 23rd and arrive in Taiwan Monday morning the 25th (arrival is Taiwan time, it's Sunday night here in the States). We will be holding our baby girl, Ava, by mid morning Monday!!!! Oh the long awaited bliss of that morning!

Since then we have been packing, calling family, arranging for our dogs to be cared for, setting up someone to take us to the airport, finalizing work schedules, turning in FMLA papers, and a million other things! What a joy and a blessing it is to finally be doing all those activites! I must admit though, that now that it's sinking in that we will have our little one, I'm starting to freak out a little. In a good way of course. How in the world do you begin to prepare for parenthood and the rest of your life with this tiny little miracle?! I just can't wait! I've also been super emotional, I cry just listening to the radio. Man, I feel crazy!

Can't wait for our next post with Ava in our arms! Blessings and praises to the One and Only!

Friday, October 1, 2010

God is Faithful!!!

Well, I know that I'm a little late posting this, but our court date for Ava Mei went great! Both parents showed up and relinquished rights for Ava as well as waived the 10 day waiting period!!! So now, we patiently wait for a phone call from Ted to tell us to travel.

However, there are a couple of steps that have to take place before we can travel. The final court documents have to come in and then Ted has to take them to AIT (Americans in Taiwan, basically like the US embassy) to apply for Ava's visa interview. Once the visa interview date is set then we can travel. We have to be in country for the visa interview. Ava has to have a visa to come to the USA because she is not a US citizen until she touches US soil. In order to get her on US soil, she has to have a visa because she will obviously be staying longer than 30 days :)

We are very excited that we are so close to holding our precious little girl! We cannot begin to express the relief we feel knowing the court date went well. Our Lord is definitely faithful!! We will continue to praise Him for the blessings He has given us and ask that you join with us in thanking Him for Ava!

Hopefully we will travel in the next 3-4 weeks, so stay tuned for the travel announcement! In the meantime, we will slowly be packing our little one's things for the journey home!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oh Happy Day!!!!

Ted's very fitting verse: "Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land." Proverbs 25:25

We are just absolutely elated this morning! We woke up to an email from Ted with our court date in it! And the date is...... September 28th at 8:15pm (Sept 29th 9:15 am Taiwan time)!!!! This is wonderful news, it's only 2 weeks away!

Ava's timeline has been much quicker than Lillian's. Last time we waited 3 weeks just to get the court date set, this time it only took 9 days. Last time the court date was still 4 weeks from the time we received word it had been set, this time it is only 2 weeks away. Praise the Lord!!!

Oh happy day, oh happy day! Our little Ava Mei MAY be in our arms by Halloween! I would love to put her in a ladybug costume...it would be so fitting! She would be 2 1/2 months old, so tiny, so precious, so perfect! God is GREAT!!! Oh how He has compassion on us!

"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion, who live in Jersulam, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'." Isaiah 30:18-21

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Patiently Waiting for Ava

Hello all....well, not much to report as of right now. We sent the adoption documents back to Taiwan and they arrived on Monday. We are just waiting now to hear when the court date is. The waiting is the hardest part now, because there is absolutely nothing we can do except, of course, wait. There are no documents to work on, no phone calls or emails we need to make, no more trips to get anything done. So just waiting. Hopefully we will hear word of something soon.

We did receive a couple of pics of Ava with her care package that we sent over there. She has her tiger, Yi, and her blankets and outfits. She's just a doll and we can't wait to bring her home!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

TECO Done!

Yesterday turned out to be a great day! As you know, Tuesday we got our paperwork from Taiwan for Ava and we took them to the SOS to get authenticated. Yesterday we drove to Kansas City to have TECO authenticate them as well. Normally this takes at least a couple of days for them to do. They have even posted a sign now that says to allow for 48 hours to process documents and they no longer do same day processing. The lady that works there remembered us from last time and asked why we were back. We explained the situation with Lillian and that we now have our new little girl, Ava, that we are working on getting home. She was so excited for us. We asked her if there was any way to get the papers done that day since they had already authenticated them once, the only thing different was Ava's name on them now. She said she would see what she could do. She said she would call us when the papers were ready.

So we walked down to our car, hoping to be able to pick them up that afternoon. We made it to our car and the phone rang! She asked us if we could come back up to the TECO office. We thought we must have forgotten something. Instead she asked us to stamp all the papers so that she could get them to her boss by noon so that there would be a chance they would get done today. I guess she must have been real busy, but really wanted to help us out. So we helped her out and stamped all the papers!

We went shopping around KC for a little while. We bought a glider! I'm so excited!!! It's so cute and comfy...it's a light sage green with swirls in the fabric. Very whimisical. We ate lunch at Oklahoma Joe's. Then we went to the Plaza and walked around for a while. Then we decided to go to Maggie Moos. This is like my most favorite ice cream joint in the world!!!!! So good! I don't get to go there often because there is not one near where we live. So whenever we're in a town that has one, Chris tries to take me there.

We were sitting in the parking lot at Maggie Moos, it was about 4:15pm. I looked at Chris and said she hadn't called yet and that I didn't think it was gonna happen today. Not 2 seconds after I got those words out of my mouth did the phone ring! It was the TECO lady (sorry I keep referring to her as that, but I don't know her name)! OUR PAPERS WERE FINISHED!!!!! So we picked them up and went straight to FedEx! We mailed them back to Ted at THOGL and they should arrive on Monday! What a great day and a blessing!

Next step is we wait for the court date. Once Ted receives the papers back, he applies to get the court date for Ava. So then the waiting begins....again. We can't wait to have our little girl home!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tour of Missouri

Ava's papers arrived from Taiwan today. I don't know if you remember, but there were about 6 documents that we had to have signed, notarized and authenticated after our first referral. Well that is the paperwork that has to be redone. So excited that it is already here!

Today I met Chris in Jefferson City after my class for work was finished. We went to the SOS (Secretary of State) office and had the documents notarized and authenticated. Tomorrow I will get up early in the morning and head to Kansas City to have the documents authenticated by TECO (basically the Taiwan embassy here in the States). We are hoping and praying that they will be able to do this while I'm there in the office tomorrow. If that happens we would be able to mail them back to Taiwan tomorrow! However, last time we had to leave the documents there for 2-3 days and then come back and get them to mail them off. Either way, we are blessed to live so close to both SOS and TECO as the process is several weeks shorter than most people's because we don't have to mail them to each place then wait for them to mail them back. So we are hoping to have the documents back to Taiwan by the middle to end of next week!

Once the documents arrive in Taiwan, Ted will take them and apply for the court date. Then, the waiting begins.....again. We really are blessed and praising God that little Ava was planned for us, and this soon! No matter what, we know and trust that the Lord is in control and His timing is best. (We can hope for sooner rather than later though!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Birthday Gift....

Well, my birthday was Thursday the 26th. Chris took me to St.Louis, we made a Build-A-Bear for Ava and went to PF Changs. I LOVE PF Changs!!! But the best part was my gift. It definitely ranks up there with one of the best gifts I've ever received.

A little background first.... The year I got saved, my Mom gave me a Study Bible. I loved that Bible! It was my first real study Bible after I got saved. I had written special dates in it, I had my notes in the margins, I had written prayers in it that were very personal to me, I had written my list of characteristics I wanted in a husband in it (along with dates and specific guys I had prayed about). It was just very precious and sentimental to me. Well after we were married, I left it up on the kitchen table one day. I came home and the dogs had somehow gotten it off the table and ripped the cover off of it and the first several pages out of it, along with a whole section in the middle that while was intact, was ripped away from the binding. I was so sad and I was devastated. I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, so it's been sitting in a drawer in my nightstand for these almost 6 years.

After we ordered dinner, he gave me my gift. I opened it and it was a brown leather bound book that snapped together in the front. I unsnapped it to find my precious, sentimental Bible rebound with all but 10 or so original pages from the front that could not be repaired/replaced. All my notes, all my prayers, everything there, rebound. Oh I can't even describe how wonderful it was, it brought me to tears. Great gift!!! (My Christopher has always been a good gift giver!) He had 4 place maker ribbons put in it for me. If you could see my current Bible, I have weird things in it to mark various places in scripture I like to go back to or am reading frequently at the time. So thoughtful! Man! Do I have a catch or what!!!!

Dedicated to my forever love, Christopher!
Love you babe, Amy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ava Mei

Ava Mei was born 8/9/10 weighing in at 6 lb 2 oz. She is a cutie and we are excited about adding her to our family! We don't know a lot of details as of right now, but we look forward to learning about her, watching her grow, and getting to know her personality.
Our timeline as of now starts over from the referral point. All of the baby specific paperwork has to be redone. So we are looking at probably 4 months before we are able to bring Ava home. What a wonderful Christmas present though!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New News

Well, we received a call this morning from THOGL. Seems God has a new little girl to add to our family! We are excited to annouce Ava Mei Earhart, born August 9,2010. She is 2 weeks old and we are looking forward to getting pictures by morning! Will write more later, but for now this is your teaser of God's plan!

PLEASE DO NOT POST ON FACEBOOK!

Blessings,
Chris and Amy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Love and Support

We want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we've experienced from everyone! We have received so many encouraging emails, messages, and phone calls! We are truly blessed and feel the hand of God through this, through you all.

We left Friday evening and went to St.Louis for an overnight gettaway. I lost some money playing Texas Holdem--my once a year random casino fun. But in the words of Chris, that's why you go there isn't it?! We sat in the hot tub. We rode gokarts, ate some food, and did a quick walk through a couple of stores at the mall. Overall, it was nice just to enjoy being together and doing something just plain fun!

We know the Lord has something up His sleeve and we will wait patiently for it, although maybe waiting a little cautiously as well. It is hard to see why He chooses the path that He does for us sometimes, but ultimately, it is not for us to understand. One of my many issues is control--I love to know what's going on, what the plan is, and generally feel some simbliance of control. The Lord has been slowly teaching me how to let go of control and be okay with it. I'm not there yet, but baby steps right (no punn intended).

So that is where we stand for now. Continue to pray with us for Lillian and her family, as well as for THOGL and all the babies there.

Love in Christ,
The Earharts

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Court Date

Lillian's birthmother decided to take her back. We will pray for both Lillian and her birthmother. We wish her the best and pray that they both know and love the Lord.

We are hurting, but are learning to accept the Lord's will, as hard as it might be. Thank you for all of your prayers, support, and encouragement.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Praying Scripture

Here is a list of verses I have really honed in on this week. I am praying them diligently and praying that the Lord fulfills the desire of our hearts.

"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." Romans 9:16

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.' The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. ...Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust--there may yet be hope. ...For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show his compassion, so great is his unfailing love."
Lamentations 3:21-24,25-26, 28-29, 31-32

"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit interedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:24-27

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, thought its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. ....Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolation he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46: 1-3, 8-11

Thank you to those of you who have shared some of these verses with me. I have been so thankful for all the encouragement and support we are receiving. I look forward to seeing how the Lord unfolds His story. In the meantime, join with us praying these scriptures.

Blessings,
Amy

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And the Date is.....

Well, an answer to prayer finally arrived today! We are super excited to announce that Lillian's court date is set for August 19th at 11am Taiwan time (August 18th 10pm our time)!!! We are another step closer to bringing precious Lillian home! This also helps us gage when we get to travel to pick her up. It looks like it will be mid to late September. Possibly even the week of our anniversary--Happy Anniversary to us! Could it possibly even get better than getting a baby for your anniversary?!

So here are a couple of prayer requests...
1) Pray that the birthmother shows up to the court date
2) Pray that the birthmother's heart would be prepared for signing the papers to forfeit parental rights (that has to be so hard)
3) Pray for our peace in the process
4) Pray that we get the "fast" judge, so our paperwork comes quickly
5) Pray for the AIT interview to be set quickly after the last set of paperwork arrives from the court. (The AIT interview must be set before we can travel--it is the interview that allows Lillian to obtain her visa to come to the US.)
6) Pray for the health of Lillian and the workers at THOGL

As always, your prayers are precious and coveted. We are so thankful for everyone who is walking this journey with us and the encouragement you give! Blessings!

Baby Shower in Joplin

We went to Joplin, MO this weekend for two events! Saturday was a THOGL picnic where multiple families who have adopted from THOGL get together for fellowship. Sunday was Lillian's baby shower. Both were so much fun! It was wonderful to connect with everyone and to meet some very special people as well!

We we able to met Russell and Kristi Ball who were instrumental in our adoption journey. They followed God's leading and shared with David and Vicki about THOGL, which in turn was relayed to us. Thus our journey to bringing Lillian home begins! What a blessing they are to us, and in so many ways, we will not be able to repay them! It was such an encouraging time for us! During the shower there was a prayer time for Lillian, THOGL, and other adoptive families and their process.


It was a good weekend! My best friend, Audra, also came in and surprised me for the shower! We were driving to Joplin Friday night after I got off work. We stopped at a gas station in Kansas City and out she pops with a flashlight in my window! Scared me to death, I thought it was the police, but was so excited when I realized it was her! She stayed all weekend and then went back to Charleston yesterday. She painted a picture for Lillian's room too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Patiently Awaiting Lil' Sis'


So today I was on Ebay looking at decorations for Lillian's room. I found the cutest rug and wall art. So I was trying to figure out what size rug would be best based on the options given me. So I taped up the floor in the 2 sizes of the rug options. When I was done I looked up and saw Linus laying under the window. It was sooooo cute! I thought, he's just sitting there patiently waiting for his little sister to come home! I wish I could be that laid back about it! LOL!

So here's a little teaser of what I'm looking at on Ebay....

Not sure yet about whether or not we will get it, but it sure is cute and too perfect!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cutest Smile Ever

This is the most recent picture of Lillian. We received it this morning. Apparently since we sent a care package, we get 2 pictures this month. They forgot to sent the second one to us, so they sent it to us today! She really has the cutest smile ever!!!!

I can't wait to meet her and see that smile in person! I just stare at her in awe! How amazing is our God!!!! In some ways I just can't believe she's ours! Here's hoping and praying we see her soon!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love that Smile!

This is my precious baby girl's July picture! She got her care package 2 days ago and this is one of the outfits we sent her and Wu! Man, I just love that smile!!!!! She is just the cutest!!! I can't wait to love on her!!!! Can you tell I'm super excited?!!


Thank you for all the prayers, you guys are good (and fast)! God is definitely answering prayers (not that that was in question,lol)! She got her care package, that was one request on the list. Next, we got our I600A approval today as well!!!!! Such wonderful news all the way around! I can hardly contain myself. Other good news, I think we will get our court date soon. Another couple who requested their court date 2 days before us, received their date today. I think ours will follow soon! My guess is the court date will be August 2, Chris thinks it will be July 30. We'll see, only time will tell.


In other news, I painted Lillian's room this past weekend. It is a pale yellow. And while it is by no means done, it's a start. As you might remember, my aunt is making the bedding. Chris asked me one day about the curtains.... I forgot about the curtains?! So I went back to the fabric store and bought the last of the main fabric I picked out. I embarked on an educational journey and made the valance and curtains myself. I did have to rip a few seams out and do some things twice, but you live you learn! So you can enjoy my work in progress!

Thanks for all the prayers, and keep praying!!! Pray for Lillian, the court date to arrive soon and the birth mother to be present, pray for the workers, pray for the other families picking up their children and those waiting like us, and of course pray for us! You guys are doing such an awesome job! We feel your prayers and it is evident each step of the way! We are soooooo thankful for all of you and the support you've shown us!!! Blessings and Praise the Lord!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Papers Arrived in Taiwan

Our papers (translated and authenticated POA, adoption contract, Lillian's visa application, homestudy) were received by THOGL in Taiwan yesterday! They have already taken them to the court to apply for a court date!!! This is wonderful news!

The next steps are to receive the court date, have court date (with birth mother present), and get the court decree back saying Lillian is ours. After those steps happen, provided we have our I600A approval, we can travel in about a month. The court date will take 2-4 weeks to get set, then the actual court date is usually about a month later. There is then a 2 week period after the court date where anyone can contest the adoption. Sometimes the birth mother can waive this waiting period. We are hoping that we will be able to travel by the beginning of September! We'll see, it all just depends on the timing of the next few steps.

Prayer requests:
1. Pray for our Lillian to continue to grow and develop healthy
2. Pray for the workers, adequate rest and health
3. Pray that our court date would be set and received soon
4. Pray that the birth mother would show up to court, for her heart to be prepared, and that God would bless her for her decision
5. Pray for our I600A approval to come through soon.
6. Pray for us during this wait, it is extremely difficult to know she is there and we can't hold her and love on her
7. Pray for the other families picking up their children this week, and those waiting to pick their children up just like us.

How great is our God!!! I tell you what, just processing our adoption process it makes me think of what our Lord has gone through to bring us home. Not only did He have to die for me, He waited 19 years for me to join His family! I can't possibly imagine loving Lillian from a distance for 19 years, wondering if she knew who I am, wondering if she would love me and choose me. I can't imagine waiting 19 years for her to come home! How much I would miss! And yet our Lord waits patiently for us, longing to hold us and love us! Amazing, it really is amazing! How thankful I am that I have Him to lean on and trust in this wait, He has been there! Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 21, 2010

TECO DONE

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!" Psalm 113:9

This morning Chris went to Kansas City praying that our TECO papers were signed! He left on faith that they would be done, not having heard from the office yet. He had lots to accomplish back here with work so he had to leave early. I also worked today, so I could not go. He was 20 minutes from the TECO office when they called to let us know our documents were done!!! He picked them up and then went straight to FedEx and mailed them to Taiwan. Yeah, one more step closer to bringing Lillian home!!!!!!

Well, I think I'm finally done registering..... I really have no idea, so if you notice I'm missing something I really need let me know! We are officially registered at Babies R Us, Target, and Walmart. (Walmart is primarily just diapers and wipes and things of the like.)

I guess next is trying to pick the color for the walls. Oh the paint swatches! Anyone who knows my history with paint knows I'll have like 50 swatches painted on the wall to try and figure out which one I like. Oh yeah, then I'll stare at them for weeks on end, lol!