Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Our sweet girl is SO MUCH MORE than a diagnosis. She is full of potential and spunk! Today she showed everyone she came across how GREAT she is and that you should never limit her to her diagnosis. This month I will share some things that make Rose, well, ROSE!

Today is also the feast day of Saint Therese , the little flower. You might wonder why I would mention this...

Saint Therese was well known for her "little way". I see that our Rose will lead others to love Jesus, showing others to Him with her sweet smiles and happy personality. If you haven't read about Saint Therese, you really should follow that link (above)!

Rose’s FAVORITE Things
October 1, 2014
Fruit: avocado
Veggie: green beans
Meat: hamburger
Sweet: birthday cake
Drink: apple juice
TV Show: Blues Clues
Toy: riding toys
Indoor Activity: playing iPad
Outdoor Activity: riding in the driveway with her brothers
Vacation Spot: the beach
Animal: her pet gerbil, Itsy

Friday, August 8, 2014

First times for everything!

There is so much to do! Nearly everything is a first. Wednesday, we went to Target to look for C's favorite drink (no luck). Then to the park where big brother pushed the littles in the swings. We stopped afterwards at the gas station for some icees. Then we played in the baby pool and sprinklers! So many first things.

Thursday we took a trip to Spring Valley Beach water park. We all really enjoyed the time spent together on a VERY hot day. There was something for everyone. No lines or waiting, either. A great place to go when you are trying to find something for some good family time. Afterwards, we went to Cracker Barrel. What a fun day!

Today the boys 'meet the teacher' at school. I cannot believe that I will be taking my boys to school on Monday! What a blessing. I am forever grateful to be home.

THIS is why I couldn't wait to get my girlie HOME!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

How can I put this into words?

I am very sorry for the lack of post in the past few days. I have been trying to figure out how to put my feelings into words. I have realized that sometimes, words do not have the power to express some thoughts. Certain things only God can truly understand. Only God has the power to write such beautiful thoughts and ideas...

A week or so ago, I dreamed an idea. I told my boys that I was hoping to be home in time to go to mass with them on Sunday, the 3rd of August. The thought made me filled with joy. Filled with hope. It had been six Sundays since we had been to mass together. Six Sundays of mass in Spanish - grateful to know that they were hearing the same readings, but feeling somewhat lost in another language. Last Sunday I was so grateful - I was able to pull up the readings for mass on my phone and read along in English. I was also able to understand some of what the priest was saying in his homily. I always prayed to be able to understand enough to learn the lessons that were coming across. God heard my prayer.

In fact, God heard every prayer. He knew just what I wanted. He knew just what I needed. He heard the prayers of Paul, the prayers of my children, the prayers of our family and friends. He moved mountains, when they seemed so tall and overwhelming. He calmed fears, so dark and sorrowful. He sent me messages of love through the people who prayed. He sent angels in the form of strangers, helping when we couldn't understand the language.

Constantly consoling. Constantly reassuring. Constantly loving.

Then it happened. Just like that. We were going home. HOME!

Friday started like every day. Just any ordinary day, but with potential. God was ready.

I had heard from the embassy that the visa system was up and running, but that they weren't sure if we would get the visa that day or perhaps Monday, the 4th. That sounded great to me. We can muster patience to get us until Monday!

We arrived at the US embassy and took our spot to wait. Name is called. Presented our documents. News is, the system is working. Tears. Many tears. We wait for our appointment. Name is called.

We walked up to the window. God walks right in. The person working in the window says, "Hey! What part of Birmingham are you from? I'm from Mnt. Brook!" WHAT?!?!?!? Our interviewer, is from less than a MILE from our home. It's at times like that when you feel like you want to fall of the ground. Or fly. Or cry. Or maybe laugh. Anyway, it's something that you can't believe - yet you believe because of God. Only God. And He loves you. He loves you so much that you can't believe it or put it into words. And it's like you know it. Then. Right there in front of the US embassy, with the flag flying high above you. The flag that never quite meant the same to you as it does now. Because you have learned that it's a blessing. Freedom. Beauty. Life.

And a little girl gets to live there. A little girl gets to go home to a new life. In less than an hour from arriving to the embassy, we have her visa.

Packing in the room (like I have never packed before) was thrilling! Who cares if it's a mess. We are GOING HOME. Paul goes downstairs to call Delta. By the time he gets back to the room, I am finished. But God is not.

Paul sits and hints of news. Good news. We have our flight. We have our tickets. Three seats left on the flight, and we have them. Change fees waved. God moved within the man on the phone, who makes three seats appear. Together. In first class. For the price of one seat in first class. Who can make this stuff up?!?!? Only God. A big, giant, loving HUG FROM GOD!

In just a few hours, the three of us were headed to the airport. And just like the details from earlier in the day, things just fell into place. We got our tickets, we got through security (without paying our taxes!), boarded our flight and in just a few hours we were HOME!

What a dream. It's such a beautiful story to share. Only God could have written it. It was perfect. I'm so happy to be able to share this story. His story. The story of a God that loves a little girl so much that He had to make it special. Up to the very last detail.

Yesterday, the 3rd of August, we went to mass as a family of five for the very first time. It was perfect.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today's Update

Does today's require an apostrophe? Hum.

This morning I picked up her passport. Yippee for passport success!!

The visa appointment is scheduled - Friday at 1:30. PLEASE pray that we actually receive her visa Friday afternoon. Chances are that we won't... the visa system is so wacky right now. If we do not get it on Friday, I suppose the next chance will be Monday (unless they are working through the weekends to catch up - which they might).

We go for our IDs (so we can leave Colombia without a pretty steep fine) tomorrow morning. We have her TB test check at 1:30, along with two extra vaccines. Thursday we will go to the ICBF for some conformity letter. Not really sure what it is, and I don't really care. They will also have a form for us to fill out reviewing our process... Do they really want to know?


I'm trying to learn how to enjoy the last few days of 'peace' before heading home SOON. It's hard - I yearn for my schedule of laundry, dishes, grocery runs, etc...

Watching my little girl jump to her daddy in the pool after FIGHTING for her for 2 1/2 years is emotional. I'm glad for this time we have had with her. It's very special. I hope I can enjoy these last few days and soak in some great memories without stressing out about what day it will be that we can leave.

Soon... very soon...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

What's Next?

Tomorrow the beginning of a race begins.

We will go for Rose's TB test, her passport as well as our cedullas (Colombian ID). I'm very excited. It's a day we will be our doing interesting things and hopefully get everything done on the list. Maybe more.

I have been looking forward to this week for a very long time.

I'm not sure if we will have anything planned for Tuesday - I guess it depends on what we get done tomorrow.

Wednesday we go for the TB test check and I think we also go for her embassy doctor appointment. At least, I hope we do. Once we have the embassy doctor appointment, we can make the embassy visa appointment. I think they do appointments 24 hours in advance - and that's why I really want to have her physical on Wednesday - that makes the potential for going home next weekend MUCH greater. If we can't get the visa appointment Thursday or Friday, we are definitely stuck until next week. That's not terrible, but, well...

Update: We might actually have her embassy physical tomorrow - which means we will hopefully be able to schedule her visa appointment for Thursday... EXCELLENT!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

We are thrilled to announce...

That we are now a family of FIVE!!!

Dana "Rose"
March 30, 2008
officially a member of our family
July 25, 2014

We are so happy! This little one was well worth the fight! She is happy, fun-loving, eager to learn and so pleased to have a Mami and a Papi! We thank each and every one of you that was praying for us and supporting us during the past 2 1/2 years. We can't wait to get her home and begin our lives as a family of FIVE. A family that we have prayed for, worked for and are so grateful to have!

Every child is a gift from God. Please consider answering the call to adopt, if you have ever considered. If you cannot adopt, please research ways that you can help adoptive families and give a child the gift of a family that loves them.

In the past five week of being with us, she has blossomed into such a big girl! She's grown - her feet seem to be a full size larger. Her skin has cleared up and she's almost completely eczema free! Her behavior is SO much better - she no longer spits or hits. She has gained so many tools for good communication - she is signing, talking more and learning so much English... In fact, I rarely have to say things in Spanish and English anymore. It's really amazing what love can do for a child.

Thanks again and please keep up the prayers for our journey. The US visa system is currently running very slow right now, but we have heard that adoptions are getting top priority right now. We are hoping that by later next week, when it's time to start planning out trip home, that it will no longer be an issue.

God Bless You!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back in Bogota

It's great to be back in Bogota - and to know that the next flight will be taking us HOME!

Girlie did GREAT yesterday on the flight. She didn't need to attach herself to Paul and she fell asleep and slept for most of the flight.

We have to get our cedulla, or ID, tomorrow. I thought we would need one and it turns out we do. In order to get out of Colombia with paying a major fine, we will get our ID. It's great to be checking things off the list.

Monday we will take Rose for her TB test and I believe we will also do the embassy doctor appointment. These two things are required to enter to US and get her visa. Wednesday we will take her to have the TB test read.

It's thrilling to be moving in the right direction.

And perhaps... in the next few days, I will have some VERY good information for you. We are waiting now for a very important call that could come any day now.

Pray that the court keeps us going in the right direction!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Do I See A Light??

I am going to try and be very brave and think happy thoughts today.

As of yesterday we have some inspiring news regarding our court process. I am VERY hopeful that we might actually reach the light at the end of this tunnel.

I know that we have no idea about anything until it actually happens. However, sometimes it is much healthier to think happy thoughts about things and hope that it comes true.

Let's just say that there is a chance... I might be home with my boys just in time for school to start. I would be so THRILLED to be able to send my baby to his first day of Kindergarten. I know to some that might sound weird... But, I need to be able to kiss his face and tell him how much I love him on that day. He's my baby...

So let's all think great big positive happy thoughts that God can and will make this happen. He knows a mother's heart! He can change the hearts of others! We have HUNDREDS of people viewing this blog and our FB page. He is hearing our prayers! He can straighten this very crooked path! For two and a half years he has held us and darling, sweet "Rose".

Please Pray! Have Faith!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I ended up being pretty sick yesterday. I still felt pretty nasty today, but started my Cipro last night and after 4 doses I am getting back to normal. Unfortunately, Paul is feeling pretty rotten. It's just the worst feeling in the world - stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. We have one bathroom to share and it's not really private. The food here doesn't help. Most everything safe or good is fried. That doesn't bode well for sick stomachs. We have had to order Gatorade from room service.
Little girl is being SO good. I think she understands that we aren't well. It's the first time this whole trip we have stayed in our room all day. She's been stuck to the iPad or computer the past 48 hours. The manager here is wonderful. He has been doing all he can to help - even told us about their baby-sitting service. We managed to get through it without one, but I had my moments.
Paul has been SO strong these past (near) 5 weeks. Today he shed one tear while in the midst of some nausea and I know he's miserable. We are both so ready to go home. It's tearing us up.
We will have to reschedule our flight and hotel (again).

This just all kinda sucks, you guys.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I admit. I'm struggling.

I don't feel good. My stomach hurts off and on all of the time. I am sad. I miss my boys, my home, our family. I don't understand this ridiculous process. I can't put together in my head why the court process hasn't started yet... when the court has had our case for two weeks. I don't understand while after a full MONTH of sitting around and waiting for jobs to be done, we still haven't even started the court process. WHY!?!?! Then, when he feels like it - the judge gets to say our ten days starts. WHY TEN DAYS AFTER LOOKING OVER PAPERWORK FOR TWO WEEKS??? I really don't get it. Why have time restrictions at all if you aren't going to even be required to use them? I keep hearing the words "unless there are delays" and it makes my mind SPIN.

I feel like a prisoner. I am terrified we will be here another month - or more.

My sweet Christopher starts Kindergarten on August 11th and I fear I will miss it. It's killing me.

Please pray for us. We need to know there is a light at the end... at this point, we have no idea when we will be going home.

Friday, July 18, 2014

More Thanks

The other day we got some not-so-good court news and we were feeling pretty ill about it. More paperwork delays. I was feeling those feelings of "we may never go home" and trying to find God's plan in this waiting. Paul and I talked through the struggle of the moment and got our minds back on the mission.

The following day, we were in the midst of another day of swimming in the pool and trying to find some joy in the current moment.

A couple was sitting near the pool, enjoying their vacation. They got up to enter the pool and asked for "Rose's" name. And then God walks right in...

After a few minutes of introduction, we came to learn that they were relatives of a "famous" owner of an adoption house that used to be in Bogota. It was actually a house that Paul and I discussed staying in, back when we started this process. However, sometime between now and then, the house closed. With adoptions slowing down, many of these type of hotels have had to close.

Meeting this couple was certainly a gift. Since meeting them, we have come into contact with some people who might be very helpful in the next few weeks. I was dreading heading back to Bogota without any end in sight. Now with this new contact, we might be able to actually have an enjoyable time.

So thank you, Natalia and Phil. We were so thrilled to meet you and talk to someone with such a rich background in the adoption community here! You are a gift to us - as was the yummy treat and the magazines you sent.

Thank you! God Bless!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thank you, Kristi

God puts people in your life some times. You know? He just plops down people in your path and you might not be completely sure why or how, but you get that feeling that He has a plan.

When Paul and I were in the midst of infertility hell (sorry, it is what it is) we became friends with a family at the beach. We probably had known them longer, since we had vacation spots in the same building - but we didn't really KNOW them until after our marriage. They had just brought home a little darling child from China. Immediately I was drawn to them - adoption was our light at the end of a tunnel. We knew that God would provide children one way or another. We didn't know His timing, but we knew it would happen. And so, here they were... put in our lives to give us insight into the adventure of adoption and to see what a gift it could be.

As I said, we weren't aware of God's plan at that time... and we were given the precious gifts of our two sons. Time passed by, we enjoyed each other's company by the sea while on vacation.

Back in 2012, when we had the eye-opening experience of seeing "Rose" for the first time, Kristi and I were already pretty good beach friends and I couldn't wait to discuss the news of our commitment to her. Kristi and I happened to have something in common at the very same time. They had also began the process of bringing home another little girl from China! They were feeling some discomfort with timing, just as we were feeling uneasy with ours. Kristi and I were able to discuss our fears and doubts - as well as our faith and trust in God.

Sometime in this crazy 2 year journey, Kristi told me to purchase a book. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She wrote the name of the book on a scrap piece of paper, along with her name and phone number, incase I ever wanted to talk. I tucked it away and made a mental note to add it to my Amazon list.

A few months down the road I purchased the book. A few months after that, I opened it.

I'm a firm believer in waiting for God's moment to pick up a book... you know? Wait until it's like He's saying, "NOW!" So when it was time, I picked it up. I started reading and realized that I was going to have to spoon-feed myself the words. It is powerful stuff. So, here I am in this place, living these days... and this is JUST what He wanted me to be reading. Right now. In this moment. It's really incredible. I'm in the midst of chapter 10, incase you want to know. Chapters 8 and 9 were written for this moment. So awesome. I'll probably finish today or tomorrow.

I want to thank Kristi. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for sharing your good times and bad times, your laughter and tears - especially throughout the past two years. This book has been a true gift while here in this place, just as your prayers have been! Thank you!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Last night, Paul and I were having a case of "let's stay up way past normal and review the past 3 weeks in photos". So at midnight we enjoyed looking back and seeing how much our little treasure has changed. In three weeks, she has gone from a little animal (sorry, it's true) to a GORGEOUS little girl!

I really cannot explain how much she has changed.

Our first 24 hours together were filled with growling, spitting, hitting, etc... I knew she had great potential, even in those first few days of struggle. We quickly let her know that we were not llamas and we don't spit. Hands are used for soft/gentle touch. If we had something to say, we use our 'palabras' or we use a sign - no growling! It only took a few days to tackle those few things and GUESS WHAT... she no longer does ANY of those things. It's pretty much miraculous.

Now we have a beautiful little girl that it picking up English like a champ and is using signs as much as she can! It's really amazing. When I can finally show her face, you will see how much she has changed in a very short time. I believe she has gained 5 pounds and her little face is filled out and her cheeks are nice and round, as is her belly ;)

Her eczema has cleared up well and she only has the occasional spot here and there. We took out her earrings about 2 weeks ago, since her little holes were looking pretty rough and appeared to be torn where the earrings went. We can worry about pierced ears later on in life. Her hair is fuller and shinier. She pretty much giggles 95% of the day. Seriously, she VERY happy.

Her little pouting sessions have dramatically decreased. She never has really pitched a fit, but she does this 'statue' move where she stops in her tracks and refuses to move. She sometimes shouts some little 'profanities' of sorts (her own little language, but we can tell it's not pleasant LOL). We tell her no and redirect with tickles and hugs and kisses and usually it passes within a few moments.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

More on our sweet thing

Ok, so now that I have been here 3 weeks and my homesick days are getting a little less extreme, I'll tell you more about our incredible little person...

This kid is SMART! She really is very eager to learn English. She plays "peekaboo barn" on the iPad and can mimic each animal name fairly well. We have a "Priddy Book" with English and Spanish first words and it's excellent with helping her learn the basics. We still have a lot to learn, but I am so pleased with her effort.

We continue with a little Baby Signing Time and Baby Einstein here and there. She loves it.

She has learned that the pool is nice and it gets less scary each day. She is finally trusting that we won't let her drown and that there aren't big scary monsters in the water. She no longer has to wrap herself around daddy's neck while in the water, even if she really wants to...

She is now ultra afraid of bugs and creepy crawlies. We are working very hard to try and play it off like they won't hurt her and that they are no big deal. She doesn't believe it. She wouldn't go near the room door the other day, due to the 1 inch long baby lizard that crawled down the hallway. It was very difficult to convince her that I had put it outside in the plant. The gnats are ultra frightening. They are everywhere and the might, at any moment, cause extreme distress. Tears, screaming and the works.

Back to water talk. She had her first real bubble bath the other day. I'm glad we moved to bubbles after giving her a few days worth of baths to get used to first. She really enjoyed it. I taught her how to pick them up and blow them. Awesome fun.

Food - man she loves food. ALL types of food. If you can dip it into some sauce, then she REALLY likes it. And yes, we double dip.. and maybe triple dip. If you mix multiple dips together, that makes it taste even better. (Think ketchup, mayo and mustard.) Spicy? Even better! Get ready, Nana, cause this kid loves pasta - EVEN ravioli!

Really enjoying getting to know her! Have a great day! Pray for us!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dear Judge

Please accept our case ASAP. Tomorrow it will be a week since you received our paperwork.

Our Family

We are waiting as patiently as possible to hear news that the judge has accepted our case. Until this happens, we are kind of stuck in a holding period. Seems to be our trend, doesn't it?!

As soon as the case is accepted, then things have a "timeline" of sorts. Until then, it's just wait and wait and wait. I feel confident that it will be soon. Hoping by Friday, but at the latest next Thursday. I have heard up to ten days for this step. We are on 5 working days as of today. Many of my friends have been through this step in a matter of 2-3 days, so we definitely have them beat. Ha.

We will be extending our time here by the ocean. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but Paul and I both agree that this is a much better location for us. We are looking at 2 more weeks here... then back to Bogota, for the end of the stay. Deep breath, momma.

Please continue to pray.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Plans? Ha.

We left our hotel yesterday. We arrived without too much trouble at the apartment. However, that wasn't where we needed to be. The neighborhood was rough and we would have needed a taxi to get anywhere. Let's just say we aren't really comfortable with that idea. So... we ended up back at our hotel. And I will just say it's a VERY LONG STORY made short. Ha.

We are fine here, for as long as we need to stay. It's really wild, but it is as if God sent some angels our way yesterday. We were feeling LOW. Out of the blue, we were met by person after person who was compassionate about our situation here. It was a true blessing. I am so grateful for those people who helped us in our struggle.

Thank you God!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Third Sunday

It's my third Sunday away from home and away from my boys.

To think we might be about half way through makes me both happy and sad. I can see that everything will be ok... but it is still very difficult to imagine 3-4 more weeks away from my babies.

I try to keep a running list of happy thoughts. If I can keep giving thanks to God for my gifts, it is hard to also be sad.

Happy Thoughts:

We are in a VERY nice hotel. I feel extremely safe here. The food is good. Too good.

Sweet girl is happy 95% of the time. We all have our moments and she does too, but rarely.

We move from the hotel to an apartment on Monday. It will be nice to have a bit more room to stretch out. I am typing on my computer while Paul sleeps right next to me. It's 10:26 am.

My boys have been at the lake this week. I am glad that they have had plenty of distractions, but I feel VERY guilty for not being there for them. I feel like I abandoned them. My sweet C barely looks at the camera when we facetime. I know it's his personality to be shy... but it kills me to not be able to kiss his sweet face and tell him how much I love him.

Oh my heart.

Friday, July 4, 2014


We got our court yesterday morning! I was so thrilled and knowing that we were no longer in a holding period made me feel a lot better. I was so depressed with the week of no progress - it's hard to be away from the boys and the lack of movement was super upsetting to me.

Hoping that the judge with our case is moved to work quickly and that we can be home in a few weeks.

Please continue to pray!

Thank you.

Simply Beautiful

It's amazing what a change of scenery can do! I had a feeling it would help... boy does it! This actually feels like a vacation. Cartagena is gorgeous. The weather is perfect. We have been enjoying the sights - churches, street vendors, shops and food. It's an entirely different kind of place. If you happen to be following this blog and are planning on adopting in C*lombia... go to Cartagena. Plan two weeks and make sure part of that time is spent in the Old Town, in the walled city. Super awesome. Happen to be Catholic?? Super SUPER awesome.

We have seen two beautiful churches - the Cathedral and the church of St. Peter Claver. Both awesome. Happened to walk in at about the same time mass was starting. Completely random and completely awesome. You can read up on the churches by doing a simple google search.

The hotel we are staying in has a pool on the roof. We have spent the majority of our time there. They serve excellent food, so there really isn't any reason to go anywhere. The views of the ocean and the city are spectacular. It's a pretty hot location and very near the equator, but the breeze off the ocean makes it very pleasant in the shade.

Here are a few fun pics.

Monday, June 30, 2014


We have been here less than two weeks.

In this period of time, we are having our second "vacation" day today. In the US, most of our church feast days are celebrated on Sundays. Not here.

Today is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

So - today is a holiday. No news of court today with the holiday. So, we look forward to tomorrow. Pray, pray, pray for a wonderful court and judge!

The weather is overcast, so we shall see what we end up doing. Most likely this means another trip across the street to the mall. I need a few pairs of shorts for the coast. I am very nervous about making girlie wait while I try on clothes, so I hope that it is a fairly simple task.

Perhaps we can bribe her with some ice cream. She's definitely a fan of ice cream!

Tomorrow, we take our first flight with her. It's only an hour, so I think we will be fine. Pray that she does well and doesn't get too scared. We have been talking all about airplanes, so we are hoping that our ease with things will help he know that all is well.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Goal C*lombia!

It's a great time to be here with the World Cup going on! The place goes wild with every goal and every win. 

We have spent the entire day being lazy - in pajamas - watching the games today. 

We will go to mass tomorrow right downstairs. It will be our second mass together. Hoping it won't rain like it did last week. 

This week will be going for a little trip to the coast. We are so excited. It will be Rose's first time to see the beach, the ocean, a pool! 

We will keep you posted on how it goes!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Passing the days

We are trying to think of ways to pass the days around here. There isn't much to do. It rains 90% of the time. When it's not raining, it's going to rain soon.

We tried being adventurous yesterday and got a taxi to the Children's Museum. It was closed. CLOSED. On a Tuesday. For no reason! Ack! I guess the reason could have been the C*lombian futbol game happening later that afternoon. Bah.

We ended up in Park 93, which in my opinion, is MUCH nicer than our area. We might end up there at some point in our trip.

That little day trip took every ounce of energy for me. I was so glad to be back to our room. Comfort. This momma isn't much for the unknown. Funny how I ended up here. HA!

Apart from that, things are perfect. We love this little girl and we are pretty sure she is starting to love us, too :)

I took some ultra-cute pictures today. I wish I could share them with you. Soon!

Tomorrow we have integration. It's basically the end of the bonding period. Hoping for everyone to be having a good day tomorrow and get our case into a court! Please pray the meeting goes well.

As far as courts go right now, the general consensus looks to be a 3-4 week time period. I'll take it. If we get a court this week or early next week, that puts us home by the end of July. Awesome. Please pray for a quick court and a wonderful judge.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Getting to know you

I'm getting used to being second favorite person in the world. 

My Christopher treats me like a queen and it seems like Miss Priss is going to have a king - her Papi. 

It's taking a bit of time to adjust to this new position in the world, but it's actually a beautiful thing to see a little girl love her Daddy so very much. 

Daddy is a bit under the weather today, so we are spending a bit more time together just us girls. We have painted, watched Dora and read a few books. 

We have a little hello/goodbye game we are playing right now... She leaves the bedroom and I cry for her. She thinks that's pretty awesome. :)

Two pictures that pass as non-identifying to share :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Our little girl

I know it sounds odd when someone tells you that their adopted child was made for you, but I think it can be true. 

Paul's late grandmother, Theresa, always told us we would have a little girl. We always hoped we would, but we were thrilled with our precious boys. When we saw Rose's face we felt an instant connection. Paul was drawn to her sweet smile immediately. After reading her file, we realized how much she could fit nicely into our family. 

When we arrived at the office where we were to meet her, we walked in the door and there she was! She was sitting with a few ladies from the institution and they knew who we were and started pointing and telling her 'Mami y Papi'. She motioned to is to come and sit down with her. Especially Papi. After a moment, we were forced to go our separate ways so we could be told more about her from the institution staff. 

Surprising to me - most of the staff looked half my age. No joke. These teenagers were telling me all about my daughter... She plays well, she loves water, she loves sweets - no veggies, she likes to sing and dance and she calls the boys her 'bebes'. Her favorite picture we sent was of the beach and they think she will love it there. She loves rice and pasta. Instant Italian, right?

After a question and answer session, they brought her in. 

She ran right to her Papi and we sat together and opened her gifts. There was a pop up tent thing of a school bus and she had us both crammed inside of it in no time. She's very playful and imaginative.

After a few minutes, I was asked to sign some forms - Papi wasn't allowed to leave her.  She had him wrapped around her tiny fingers from the first moment. 

And just like that, after two long years, we could take her with us. 

She basically ran to the car. She was ready to go. We had a car seat for her to use (which isn't typical in C*lombia) and she refused. Papi's lap is the best seat. She did great in the car. 

We came up to the room and settled right in. I brought a few toys for her and she was playing in no time. She ate a banana and drank some juice - good eater!

I know it's hard to imagine, but she did great. Her first day was a success. We even ate in the cafe downstairs and she didn't even cause any trouble at all. She FaceTimed with her grandparents and brothers and had them all in awe at how she was able to call Nana and Nini all by name. Happy, happy, happy. 

Day 2 was another great day. She woke up after a restful sleep with her Mami and Papi on either side. I've never seen a smile bigger than the smile on her sweet face. It's just as if we could see her thoughts! "They are still here! Mami and Papi!" 

We took her on her second trip to the mall and she ate nearly an entire hamburger and fry by herself. It's great to know she's happy to eat! 

We went to the little park outside our apartment and she was very nervous. I think she assumed the loud barking dogs would come and get her there. And the ferocious birds. Ha. So we tried to help her see it was ok, but when she reached her limit, we went back inside. Baby steps, right?

Over all, this has all been a dream come true. We have had a few issues with letting Mami help with teeth brushing or hair styling, but after a few sí vs no episodes, she gave in to Mami's requests. 

After a homemade dinner of ham and cheese quesadilla, she went to bed fairly easily. 

And now we begin day three! 

Chao! Bye-bye! (Rose's phrase)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Just a few more days!

In a matter of DAYS we will meet our precious girl!!!

Please pray for a smooth transition for all of us. I expect that she has suffered some recent trauma, so let's specifically pray that she will be filled with peace and calm.

All that is left to do is hop on that plane!

Thank you to each and every one of you that has followed us along this journey. We are almost there!

Praise God!

One of our sweet girl's Aunts got this doll for her! Perfecto!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not much longer, now

Dear Sweet Love,

Mommy is so excited to see you soon! I am constantly thinking about you and praying for you! Much like a mother anticipating a birth, I am filled with so many emotions.

God has written this story and I am so excited to see how it goes.

I know it won't be easy and I pray He calms your fears.

I love you!

Hugs and Kisses!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Recent Thoughts

God has certainly been protecting me from some thoughts in the past two years. Because recently, they have been flooding in! I attribute this to knowing that she was moved to the 'school' from her foster home (which breaks my heart).

One major realization has come from comparing Rose and C. Her life in the past 6 months and his life in the past 6 months.


She was just a sick little peanut when she was taken in by her foster mother. Just 3 months old and teenie tiny. Just about like this:
C at just a few weeks old

This foster mother took time to dress her so cute and love on her. She provided the love and nurturing to help her grow and progress. She baked cakes and celebrated birthdays. We have proof - photos from her celebrations throughout her 5 years with her. Much like this: 

C's birthday celebrations...1st, 2nd and 3rd
Then, most likely the government organization that looks over children in the foster system decided she needed more care than her foster mom could give. The decided to take her out of her home and move her to a government-run 'school' for children with special needs. Look at C's face. Imagine what it would be like for that darling, precious child to be taken from everything he knows and put into an institution. No more goodnight kisses, midnight snuggles or dried tears. Does anyone answer her cries? Does anyone show comfort when she is sad? Or lonely? Or hurting? 

I hope you can 'hear' the urgency I feel. I am so grateful that God protected me from these realizations. These thoughts would have driven me mad if I had known where she was all these months. 

Everytime I snuggle with my buddy, I think about that gorgeous little girl who waits for her forever family. I am not even sure if she knows that we are coming. It's killing me. I am so glad that this process is winding down now and that in just a few short weeks our beautiful girl won't have to be alone any more! 

Praise God!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

DS-260 Filed!

I was able to sign in and complete the DS-260 this morning. I was frazzled, since I had no idea HOW to fill in the blanks, but a friend responded to my cries for help and sent me a 'how-to' file from her agency. I did my best!

Hopefully, the US visa people will be forgiving if I made any mistakes. I sent a copy of the receipt to our agency and hopefully they can do damage control if anything was incorrect. Ha!

Some people say that the next step (receiving Article 5) goes pretty fast. Typical timing is 2 to 3 weeks. Then, you get your official meeting date! How exciting!

Paul and I are keeping busy with the boys while we wait for this next step.

Who wants to place bets for THE DATE??

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Good news!!

I sent an email to our Hague caseworker this morning, to check and see if she received our paperwork and to check our status. 

And goodness gracious... We received approval on the 23rd!!! That's 10 days from receipt! Awesome!!

We are all on cloud 9. It's amazing. It won't be long now!!

Thank you, Jesus!

Kristi - I'm blown away! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ants in my Pants

I'm just so excited!

Our I-800 receipt date was May 13. Praying for a super fast approval - specifically by the end of the month.

It might actually happen.

Which might put our encuentro (meeting) date at late June or early July!

I am staying pretty busy - feels like nesting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

So Blessed

Our paperwork made it yesterday morning. It's a funny story, actually. I got a phone call from a random number, and decided to answer it - which was great. It was our MAIL CARRIER. He said he had a package for us and wanted to know it I wanted him to bring it or wait until our normal delivery.



 He came on over with it and within a minute, Paul and I were looking at a stack of her precious pictures. They are so sweet. I have a photo that looks like it must have been shortly after her heart surgery. She is on oxygen and has a nasal cannula. She looks about 3 months old. Tiny! I have a variety of infant and toddler photos. I have pictures from her 1st, 2nd, and 3rd birthdays! Each one shows her sitting with a large cake in front of her. I am unsure how recent my most recent photo of her is... maybe last fall? She was moved in October to another 'home' and I am thinking that all my pictures were at least that old.

However, I do have recent measurements. She is a peanut - just 38 inches and 35 pounds. She is nearly the exact same size as Christopher. That's really ironic, since I have always felt that they would be very similar in size. He is 40 inches and 30 pounds! It's perfect for what I am planning on taking with us. I had planned on taking 4ts. She might have difficulty keeping pants up, just like Christopher! I know that I usually have to stitch an inch or two in his waistbands. So, I am well-training in small sewing jobs. I'm planning on taking a travel sewing kit just for this purpose.

We immediately signed the acceptance letter and scanned it to our agency. I worked on the I-800 and it was overnighted to Texas last night. Typical timing for this document is 4 weeks, but it could go faster! I'll keep you posted.

My brain is mush now. I scheduled Christopher's 5th birthday party for the same night as a concert Paul and I have been planning on going to for months. Now I have to figure out what to do...

Adoption brain. Please pray I can remember the REALLY important things. LOL.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Referral on its way!

Tracking says it's on its way. So, it's nearly 6am and I am up and ready! It would be great if it came before PV and C go to school, so they could see the pictures. 

Yesterday at mass, I had all sorts of wonderful, blog-worthy thoughts. Right now, all of those beautiful thoughts are a jumble as I sit and wait. 

I would like to share a quote from Rev. Fulton J Sheen as a belated mother's day thought.

"A woman is capable of more sacrifices than a man. Man is more apt to be a hero, through some great passionate outburst of heroism. But a woman's love makes a thousand small sacrifices, sprinkling them through the days and the months; their very repetition gives them the character of the commonplace. Not only her soul, but her body, has some share in the Calvary of Redemption; furthermore, she comes closer to death than man, whenever she brings forth a child." Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, (Life is Worth Living)

I really love this quote. Our daily tasks lead us to Christ... it's not a awesome event that makes mothers heroic, but a lifetime of giving and sacrificing. 

Happy Mother's Day. 

I'll get back with you later today and share a detail or two on my sweet girl!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Should I Even Be Surprised? ***UPDATE***

Well. No translations.

They are currently sitting in customs in Cincinnati. Why? I have been told that it has NEVER happened to anyone's adoption documents. (Shocker!) Our packet contains about 50 photos (that's wonderful) and perhaps that is why it was 'flagged' and sent to the customs office. I kinda chuckle at the thought that someone would send something *illegal* disguised as adoption paperwork. I guess it could happen... coming from her country. Hahaha.

So - I cried and I laughed at the INSANITY of it all.

I guess it will be another week. Another test of patience and another week down the drain.

Time for a glass of wine. Cheers!


Sometime around 1am they RELEASED it from customs and it's on it's way to the agency!!! Praise God! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Let's Move Some Mountains!

This week we are anxiously awaiting those lovely translations. I have been told (not really promised, but almost) that they should be here on Wednesday. Is it Wednesday yet?

As soon as... and I mean as soon as... they come, I will send our acceptance letter to our agency and fill out all the blanks on the I800 form. Then, I will go fast as possible to the FedEx to send that off to the USCIS.

The USCIS should receive them the next day and hopefully I will get my lovely lockbox email the following day. I love email notification. My only question is, why can't they provide that lovely service for all USCIS steps? It would be easier for the adoptive families and for the USCIS case workers that are forever answering the annoying status inquiry emails from adopting families. Anyway...

I have been told that recent USCIS timelines for the I800 vary from 2 weeks (WOW) to 4 weeks. We can pray for 2 and realize that it will likely be 4.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Brushing Up

I'm starting to go over some of those very important things we learned as part of our adoption education. I found a great blog that goes over some key points. I thought I would post the link for inquiring minds.

Attachment and Bonding

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Getting Things Together

I love packing. I love putting outfits together. I get all excited to see things progressing. Here are a few photos to show my fun!
Coming Home Outfit!
Seeing if we can actually use the Ergo - YES!
Little outfits - ready to pack!
An assortment of toys and games for travel - with more on the way!

Mommy's having FUN. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paper Pregnancy

I can tell you a major difference in the past few weeks. The whole paper pregnant thing is for real. Today I went to mass with the school kids. Just about everything made me want to cry. No joke. Not because of sadness, but because of overwhelming joy. I'm just so excited, I can barely contain myself.

Everything is moving in the right direction for the very first time in a very long time.

We hope to get the translated referral this week. We got our USCIS approval last Monday. We got new photos of our precious girl last Tuesday... and she is absolutely gorgeous. I am truly going to have a fun time with that little girl - she looks to love dresses and all things girlie. I see manicures in my future. I have started pulling out the clothes that I will want to take when we travel and I am in heaven. I have been waiting for this for so long - it's surreal. I sent her a small photo album today! EEEK!

As soon as we get her recent measurements, I will have a better size guestimate, but according to the old info we have and if she has followed her curve on the DS growth charts, she is nearly the exact same size as Christopher... about 35-40 inches and 35-40 pounds... which puts her in a 4/4t. All I need now is her little footsie size :)

After the translation comes, it's I-800, Article 5, Visa and TRAVEL....


Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Heart Is Bursting!

Yesterday was a very, very busy day. I was running around like a crazy person getting ready for Paul Vincent's birthday celebration. He was having a school party (cookie cake) with his classmates around noon. Then, after school, I would be picking him up with three of his friends from school - movie, pizza and cake. I was in a frenzy of picking up party things and the cookie and such. As normal - I always would have a few thoughts of my daughter as I do my daily tasks. Typical daily stuff...

Then it happened.

I jumped in my car to get the boys from school.

I tapped my mailbox on my phone and tuned the radio and was on my way.

As I made my way, I glanced down at my phone. 

And I had to pull over. 

An email. Titled "Happy Easter". From our agency. I closed my eyes and prayed to God. I asked Him for His will to be done and to guide my ways with this coming information.

And I opened my eyes and read the email.

"Dear Katie and Paul,

Today our office in C*l*mbia received the referral of "Rose" made by the ICBF
region of B*g*tá.
The official referral includes all of the adoption documents for the child,
medical history and social background with a letter from ICBF.

The next steps with approximate time frames are..."

And I couldn't read any more. I was too excited. And I was crying. Boohoo tears. Mixed with "Thank you, Jesus!" and "Praise God!" I frantically tried to reach Paul. I couldn't! Who could I tell?? I couldn't share until Paul knew!! I was a mess. 

I dried my eyes and pulled back onto the road. I made it to the carpool line and managed to contain myself. I was slowly entering the next phase of receiving news of this matter... shock.

The boys got into the car and we made it back to the house - so that I could FINALLY tell Paul. We both shared our excitement, and a little disbelief, that after nearly TWO YEARS OF FIGHTING we will meet our daughter. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waiting for Our Officer

We are waiting for our USCIS officer. I check daily by email. Every day I get a speedy response of "no". Yesterday's email even told me to check back in at the END of next WEEK! No way!! I'm not going give you a break! You will know my name! You will memorize my SIM number! At night, when you sleep, you will see my email address. LOL!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


There are many 'little' things that add up to make big things in the adoption world. One little thing is the biometrics appointment. You get an appointment to an office - an office you can barely even tell is there - for electronic fingerprints. It's quiet, clean and very orderly. It takes *maybe* 5 minutes. To a parent going through international adoption, that 5 minute appointment is HUGE. If you are lucky, your local office that might let you in a few days early. In our case, our appointment was scheduled at just the right time. We had been out of town for Spring Break and would not have been able to get in any earlier. Thanks be to God for the perfect appointment date!

After our appointment, I immediately sent an email to the USCIS office and let them know it was complete and I also asked if we had been assigned an officer. I got a quick email back and was told we do not have an officer, but to check back in as often as I wanted. I had to laugh. In my head I thought... Every two hours?? Ha. I will check tomorrow, but I am praying that we will get our officer today! Please pray with me!! The faster we get our officer, the faster we get approval.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Birthday Girl

Today is my precious girl's birthday. I am going to try and keep my chin up. Pouting cannot change anything. I have a stack of gifts waiting for her when the day comes. Until then, my thoughts and prayers will have to be enough. She's turning six. It's been nearly two years of fighting to bring her home. I know it's not likely that I will ever get to fully explain to her how hard I have fought to bring her home, but hopefully her guardian angel is whispering sweet things to her, preparing the way for her heart to be open to the love of her forever family! 

Happy Birthday Sweet Rose!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's out of my hands

I was so happy to send off our paperwork to USCIS. It feels GREAT to have it out of my hands and someone else's responsibility. Of course, this doesn't stop my mind from racing and trying to stalk I-800a timelines of other adopting families. I know that I will wait very impatiently for an email letting me know that our paperwork has entered the 'lockbox'. Hoping that we will see movement with that this week.

Another thing I just have to mention - I need help with something. I cannot shake the feeling of bad things coming. Could you pray that I could have a renewed sense of peace regarding this process? I am having difficulty feeling good about this, since we have had so many bad days in the past. It's terrible to be trying to stay focused on God and His will, while having this nagging feeling.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

As Usual

As usual, everything takes longer than you think it will. Ha!

As of today, our home study update is complete. Thank you, Jesus!!!

If you can join me in prayer that we can get a super speedy USCIS officer who is moved by the Holy Spirit to complete our paperwork as soon as humanly possible, that would be fantastic.

I will overnight it and continue to keep you posted as I get details.

So far, no new news from her country... which is fantastic. I know that sounds odd, but we REALLY need USCIS approval prior to hearing anything else. Weird, huh?

There is one more thing that is so very important to me...

I need to say THANK YOU.

Someone out there in the world has felt called to help us when we finally travel. Our FSP funds are specifically for travel and fees. This includes paying for flights to her country, paying for two months of accommodations - which will most likely be an apartment, paying for our meals (which I hear is pricey in her area), agency fees and paying for flights back home. So these donations are certainly appreciated and I see them as a gift for our daughter. Especially since...

Rose turns six years old at the end of the month.


That's six years without a mommy and daddy. That's two years since we saw that precious face and fell in love.

So, THANK YOU to the people who have felt called to help us on this journey. We look forward to the day when we can tell her how very loved she is!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baby Steps

We are **this close** to finishing up our home study update!! Super hopeful it can be ready by TOMORROW so that we can overnight the I800a and have it submitted early next week. I'm pretty sure it takes about two weeks to get a biometrics appointment after it's submitted.

Overall, I think it could take 8 weeks for USCIS approval... so maybe by the end of April...

I have turned in our FBI fingerprints and gotten Paul's updated employment letter. Only thing I need to do now is get the updated physician's letters. Once I have our FBI report, I need to get apostilles.

So... Baby Steps!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Home Study and Stuff

I am going down my list of to-dos and there are quite a bit of things that we need to get finished with FAST.

We have to finish up our home study update. We have our second home visit (of the required two) tomorrow evening. I am hoping that we can wrap up this in the coming week. **please pray**

It would be FANTASTIC if we could get our I-800A out the door as well. We have to have a complete copy of the homestudy for this to happen. **please pray**

Typically, you get a fingerprint date (for the I-800A) in 2-3 weeks from submission. Sometimes the people there will let you squeeze in before you are actually scheduled. **please pray**

When we completed our last I-800A, the lady who handled our case (Brenda, I think?) was fantastic and fast. I hope that we get her - or someone equally nice and efficient! **please pray**

We may or may not be able to get Rose's referral until AFTER this is all complete. That means, we might have to wait another 2 months to get all her information and officially be matched with her. I am hoping that they will have mercy on us and we will get this information sooner, rather than later. **please pray**

While this is happening, I must get our regular FBI fingerprints updated (takes up to 8 weeks), our medicals updated (less than a week) and Paul's employment letter updated (less than a week). After these things are completed, they must also be apostilled, in Montgomery. This can be done in the same day. All of these documents must be current (less than 6 mo old) at the time of travel. No big deal, I have done this 5-6 times in two years. I am getting to be a pro. Ha!

Where does this leave us? Honestly, I have my secret hopeful timeline that NEVER EVER WORKS OUT. So, I have learned to "Let It Go" and let God work on that without my help. As a dear Colombian Mommy friend recently reminded me... "the big hurdle is behind you. The rest are just details. She IS your girl! Focus on that and the rest will come together."

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! They have meant so much to us as we have traveled this path and continue - from today until the day we hug our precious girl!

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's a really good day.

Today we were made aware that the documents have been received and the appeal was successful. The national level has revoked the region's denial of our match with Rose.

I have to tell you a very awesome story that goes along with this.

On January 23rd, I was having a very rough day. We had been waiting SO long and I was definitely feeling like all hope was lost. I felt abandoned, depressed and stuck in a hold pattern. I reached out to my fellow adoption mommies and told them that I really considered throwing in the towel. I wrote our agency an email (probably pitching a mini-fit) and got a phone call from her soon after. She calmed my fears, told me that we are not only fighting for our daughter, but for all of the other children with special needs in her country. I felt SO much better and asked God for the the strength to carry on.

On January 23rd, in her country, they made their final decision.

While I was feeling this great turmoil, God was moving mountains.


We now wait for the official referral. We know it could take a few weeks to get this information, but it works out well, since we have some things to get together here to complete our home study update and re-do our I800a.

It's a wonderful day. I cannot wait to tell my boys who have been waiting so long for this news. They cannot wait to meet their sister!

Friday, February 7, 2014


We have been told that they have MADE THEIR DECISION. Thank you Jesus!!! We are waiting for the answer in writing. I will allert the world as soon as we hear. 

Please know how much we appreciate your prayer. 

Praise God!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why all this waiting?

I have found myself becoming extremely frustrated with all of this waiting. Yesterday I hit a bit of a wall. I emailed our agency and pitched a little fit. She quickly called me to help calm the growing storm.

I found out that there have been several position changes in major offices. That explains a lot. It doesn't make it easier, but gives a bit of a reason why we have been sitting for THREE months waiting on a reply on our appeal. Every time a new person sits down at a desk with our paperwork on it, the whole process pretty much STARTS OVER. So... now that someone new is involved, that could mean several more weeks of waiting. Extremely frustrating, but understandable.

I also put two and two together and realized that there is NO way that we will be able to spend her 6th birthday with her. That really rocks my boat. She's turning SIX YEARS OLD and I should have been with her since she turned five. That bites.

Right now I am just praying that we get approval by then, so that she can know she has a mommy that loves her and so that I can send her a little something to celebrate.

Speaking of birthdays, it's nearly that time of the year around here... Birthday season. Mine is in March, then Rose, then Paul Vincent, then Christopher, and finally Paul. My big boy will turn 8 years old. My sweet little guy isn't so little and he will be 5. AND I just registered him for 5K, in the big school, where he will wear a uniform. A UNIFORM! He will be the only 5K kid in size 3T pants. LOL. Just the thought of this makes me cry.

My baby will be in big boy school wearing big boy clothing... UG.


Please pray for us. Pray for my sanity. And pray that Rose's guardian angel continues to keep her safe while she waits for her forever family.

Thank you.