We don't dwell on it, we excel on it.

This is a quote from Iditarod tonight...Michael's new obsession. It's something new every week with this guy. I thought it was pretty funny and wanted to share it.

All is well in our household. We are doing pretty good and having so much fun. The kids are getting really into playing baseball, so that is pretty exciting for us. You should see our little girl swing a bat, one-handed I might add. And the boys are having a blast...we do have a lefty which is super awesome.

At first it was hard to relax and actually enjoy them, which was weird for me. I never thought that relaxing and enjoying my children would be hard for me, but I really struggled. It seems like just last week or the week before I started to be able to really laugh at how hilarious they are. Boy how that changes everything! Laughter really is the best medicine!

Prayer requests for now would be:

Paperwork---I stink at it and our caseworker has to call me all the time. She is so sweet and I want to do a good job for her.

A buyer for our house---the duplex is great, but it is way past time to upgrade the accomodations.

Where to live---once the house is sold, we will need to buy and we have no idea where to buy next...Fort Worth, SW Arlington, Kennedale, Rendon...and don't even get me started on the neighborhoods!



I have so many things to say, but no time to say them! Even my communication with Michael is slim to none these days. We are both so tired when we get a chance to talk that nothing seems to come out...even though I think all day long, "Man, I really need to tell Michael about this." I guess that is part of the whole thing. I am working and praying through ways to give myself more time each week. I really want to start jogging again and I don't even remember what a quiet time is. Journaling is such an important part of my life also, but I have not journaled since the kids came. I am starting to get creative, though. I will figure it out. I have to...for the health of me and my family.

Rest assured God is teaching me a million things a day right now. The trouble is I don't have time to write them down and I am probably forgetting 90% of it. Here are just a couple of the things I have learned:

1. Working mothers rock my face off!
2. Praise God for intercessory prayer!
3. "It takes a village" is very true and an amazing thing to watch happen.
4. Girls Night Out is easily the best thing I have ever heard of.
5. Michael is such a morning person! (and such not a night person)
6. Staying calm and in routine are keys to the success of my home.
7. People versus program for sure...even if your house is messier and dinner is
grilled cheese sandwiches. (kids love grilled cheese!)
8. Your eyes say everything.
9. I am hopelessly flawed as a mother, but completely forgiven by Jesus.
10. Motherhood is just like being a teacher, except you are not ever prepared in advance, well-rested, or as patient as you would like to be. Motherhood is teaching, but it is teaching-on-the-fly...while you are super busy and focused on something totally different than whatever you are asked to teach at that moment. You can't walk out of the classroom and go home to your quiet car and home. You can't spend time pondering the exact right way to present the lesson. You don't ever have the supplies that you would want to have to give your lesson. Wherever you are is now the classroom: grocery store, car, bathroom, bedroom, backyard, parking lot. I am so much more of a teacher now than I have ever been!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Don't run away from hard things!

I think we have hit our stride...at least for now. The newness of everything made the kids extra "special" for the first few weeks, but now they seem to be settling in to routine quite nicely. The honeymoon is over though. They are not scared to tell us exactly how they feel about things, and in turn, we are not scared to tell them exactly how we feel about things. There is lots of learning going on around here...us and them. The good thing is that with every day we grow closer as a family, so the disciplining is starting to come from a loving father and mother and not just from random people...this helps a lot. It has been only 3 weeks and we have a long, long road ahead of us, but I do feel like we have made some serious progress in this short time. I am thankful for so many things, but right now I am ridiculously thankful that Michael and I persevered through some of the hardest moments in our life to get us to this point! "But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength!" I took the liberty of adding the exclamation point! Thanks be to God!

The most amazing thing I have experienced is how God reminds me every day where I have been. He is making me aware of blessing upon blessing...how he prepared us for what we are doing now. Everything I have done, seen, heard for my whole life is coming back to me and giving me wisdom in parenting...even when I didn't know I was learning, I was totally learning. As I am going through my day I have memories flash in my mind of a conversation with a mom, of watching someone interact with their kid, of a moment with one of my students, a moment with my parents and how I felt. All kinds of things like that. And every time I am thankful for the preparation that God has put me through. Even our time with Jesse and Conner has proved an amazing learning experience for us as parents...God doesn't waste anything. God be with those sweet boys, even when I can not.

This is a hard thing that we are doing, in so many ways. I do wonder why God chose this path for us and them. Why did it have to take this long for me to meet my kids? Why could I not have been given the amazing blessing of cradling these childen as newborn babies? I don't know the answer to all of these questions, but I do trust God. This world is broken...my inability to conceive and their previous circumstance are a great testament to the brokeness of this world, but look what God has done to turn the bad into good....LOOK WHAT GOD HAS DONE!

Hard things that require great sacrifice on our part, when the Lord is in them, will bring great blessings too. If God tells you to do the hard thing, do the hard thing!


Our duplex overfloweth!

Thank you for all of your prayers! It has been a great transition! I think the kids were just as ready to meet their forever mommy and daddy as we were ready to meet them! It's actually weird how natural and easy it has been. We are a crazy circus over here, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

The oldest had his first day in his new kindergarten class today. We prayed with him Sunday night that God would help him and that he would remember that Jesus was always with him. It was just precious to see the look on his face when the teacher walked him out to the car and exclaimed, "He had a great first day mom!" He was so proud and so was I! For a reward Michael took him to get a library card and even got him a wallet to put his card in. He loves reading books, helping with dinner, and getting special time with mommy and daddy. His smile and laugh are contagious!

The middle child is the investigator in the bunch. He has opened or tried to open every drawer, cabinet, you name it, in our entire house. Thank goodness for those baby locks. If there is something dangerous within a mile radius I think he will be the one to find it. We were wondering in the woods behind my mom's house and he found an ant hill with ants crawling all over it...he stared at it intently for like 15 minutes...so funny. He also had fun picking up sticks and digging in the dirt. Also, he is super sneaky...you gotta watch this kid around play-doh. He has the biggest brown puppy dog eyes and he knows how to use them!

And then there is our little girl. She is just a little thing, but she holds her own pretty well against the boys. Her favorite word is "no" spoken in several different tones...pouty "no", silly "no", playful "no", and mad "no". She even cries the word "no". I think once her vocabulary gets a little bigger the use of this particular word may decrease a bit. She does love to cuddle and have mommy or daddy all to herself. Her tiny voice and big smile will melt you!

They are all completely adorable, yet totally different, and we are just thrilled!

Michael was off to work yesterday and he probably called 100 times. You should have seen the madhouse when he got home! It was like wrestle-mania 5000 and I nearly cried for joy at the sight of him! That last hour is pretty ridiculous with all 3 here and trying to get dinner ready. Michael is the most amazing dad and I truly love and adore him! He is so helpful and understanding. We are a great team! Except last night when he couldn't read my mind and I was too tired to speak...room to grow!

Love all of you,


More News

Okay...the kids will be here at 10am on Friday. Michael is taking off of work for Friday to be here with us. Their caseworker is bringing them over. I am sure we will be looking out the front blinds and then we will greet them on the front step. Basically, we will watch them get out of the car and that will be the first time we will have ever seen them...talk about walking by faith!

I am planning on staying home with the two youngest this first week for sure and then playing it by ear to see when we should put them in their ELC classes.

We have heard that the oldest is very curious and articulate. I think he asks a lot of questions. The middle child is very shy and quiet. Today we found out that the little girl can have a bit of an attitude...feisty like her momma! All of the kids have blonde hair. We are just ready to meet them and see for ourselves what they are like.

Oh yeah, they have used the word "active" to describe our kids also! We're perfect for each other!

The rest of this week I will be preparing everything at work for my absence, visiting the oldests new school, buying school supplies, and probably cleaning like crazy.

This whole thing is emotionally very draining. I am so excited, and yet I am reminded of Jesse and Conner. God be with those sweet boys and prepare us for this next adventure.


Here Comes Trouble!

We heard last night that they plan to bring the kids to next Friday, September 12th! They are still confirming everything and we will hear finalized information on Monday. We are so excited and I really think that having this week to sort of process and think through everything is really good. A week is just the right amount of time...not too quick and not too far off.

We will have next weekend with all of them and then come Monday morning Chad is off to kindergarten! This is so scary for mommy because I feel very under-experienced in the whole elementary school scenario. Michael and I have been working through all of the logistics involved this morning already.

Michael is probably the most un-organized person I know, so keeping him focused on any sort of schedule is super hard. Also, he absolutely refuses to make decisions on the spot. He likes to think on them for a long while ususally. I asked him lots of questions already this morning and he finally just pooped out. He is having a nap right now. I guess all of that thinking and organizing can wear a guy out. We are trying to decide who will take the oldest to school, when we need to get his school supplies, school dress code issues...you name it! We will get it all figured out, we just might need to take several breaks for Michael to rest...so funny!

This is just another great reminder that sometimes I can be a little too much for the poor guy...especially in the last 6 months or so. I have organized, re-organized, packed stuff up, and then un-packed it about a hundred times. I think I am grasping for control in a situation that is completely out of my conrol. I just want to be as prepared as possible for this gigantic leap forward that my life is about to take. No carrying a child in my belly for 9 months, no having one infant enter our life first and then a gradual growth into a family of five. Next Friday, three kids ages 5, 3, and 2 will be dropped off at my house to come and live with me forever!

The only thing that keeps us moving forward in such an insane process is knowing most assuredly that we have been called to this by our Heavenly Father...most assuredly! I am so thankful for the clear direction that we have graciously been given. The first day that Jesse and Conner were taken Michael and I, in our grief and distress, questioned our decision. That was a Thursday, when they were taken, and by Sunday morning we were both ready to get back in the game. That doesn't mean that we were not still mourning our loss and that I haven't cried everyday for those boys. It just means that, regardless of the pain that we have experienced and may still experience in this process, God has put a call on our life and we will answer that call. Meeting Jesse and Conner only served to motivate us even more to be a part of what God is doing in the life of these precious children.

I will update everyone when I know exactly what time the kids will get here! Pray for us as we meet our kids for the first time!


No news is good news?

No news is for sure not good news for me. Our caseworker was on vacation last week, so we were hoping to hear something today. We are waiting to find out what the time frame is...meeting the kids, visits, getting to bring the kids home with us, etc. I actually consider myself a reasonably patient person. This has been a real test for me...and guess what I am failing miserably.

I have been telling myself all day today and ever since we heard about these 3 kids that God's timing is perfect, but let's face it people...I just flat disagree with God right now. The sad part is that I know He is right and His ways are perfect, so my disagreement is a huge waste of my time and energy.

This reminds me of when I was a kid and I would be in an argument with my mom or dad. Usually at some point in the argument they would start making a whole lot more sense than me (usually) and that's when I would get really mad. I wanted to be right so bad, but I knew I was wrong. Did that stop me from arguing for a while longer? No way! I wanted things my way, even though I knew they had the best for me in mind. I've got a lot of fight in me. We all do, don't we?

It's just like that with God, isn't it? I really do know that He is good and perfect, but I want it my way! I want to meet my kids now! I can be such a brat! The truth is that God has orchestrated the perfect time for them to enter our world. He loves those kids more than I do, more than I can imagine. He knows what's right for them and for us. I don't understand His ways at all...not a lick, but I do know that He loves me and my children.

God, I pray for the patience I need to endure this moment in my life. I pray that you would not bring those kids to us until it is time. Forgive me for putting up a fight. I want what you want. It just takes me a while to figure it out sometimes. I'm still figuring.

Hopefully we will hear something soon...hope...there is that word again.


3 kids!?!

Chad (5), Brett (3), and Kaylie (almost 2)! God, are these our kids? We have been selected for these 3 kids. They have told us that they want to place them this week, but we have been given no timeline as of yet. We are hoping to bring them home on Friday night. Please pray for us to be patient in this process. Our caseworker has something like 30 families on her case load and Michael and I could dominate her with our excitement and anticipation alone. We have to remember that there are several other families in our same position right now. We are waiting to hear when we can meet our kids!

We have been so blessed by everyone around us. Our only needs are hand-me-down clothes. They just sent me these sizes.

Kaylie: 24 months through 2T, shoe size 5 to 5 1/2, size 3 diapers

Brett: mainly 3T, some 4T, shoe size 7, size 4 diapers at night

Chad: 4T & 5 clothing, 4T for pants/shorts is better, shoe size 8 1/2 or 9

Please don't spend any more money on us. Everyone has been so generous and we are so thankful! Hand-me-downs are perfect!

lots of love,


Boom Goes the Dynamite!!!

Please watch. This will brighten your day! Boom goes the dynamite!

Harder days

I mistakenly thought that I had prepared myself for all of the awful reminders that were possible. I knew I would get a lot of people congratulating me because they had not heard the bad news yet. I know that there are still some congratulations out there. I feel somewhat prepared for that...it's never easy, but I can handle it. I really believed that my devious mind had already thought through every horrible incident that was possible. I really believed that until yesterday.

I was in my cubicle trying to focus and work when my cell phone rang. I answered it and they asked for Mrs. Kashuba. When I clarified that I was Mrs. Kashuba, they reminded me of an appointment we had made for Jesse. I was shocked and embarrassed to have to answer back, "We don't have them anymore." I quickly got off the phone and after a few deep sighs and prayers went back to work. I think I actually forgot all about it after only 5 minutes or so...that was until about an hour ago. I answered my phone only to be reminded of Conner's 4 month check-up, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

Now why in the world did these 2 calls have to come less than 24 hours apart? I will never understand the timing of everything. The call yesterday is one thing, but the one this morning...YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

It's amazing how much I had already planned ahead in our life together. The first doctor's visit went so badly...Conner screamed the whole time. I had already planned that there was no way I could take both of them by myself. Michael was for sure going to take off of work for this appointment. Conner was supposed to get more shots.

We have a couple of parties that have been scheduled for a while coming up. I had already thought through what it would look like to bring the boys with us...naps, feedings, etc. I just want to hurry and get to the point where I have not already included the boys in my plans. Every time one of these events comes up I am reminded of what I lost and I am sad.

I miss those boys. Not everyday brings such reminders, though. There are hard days and harder days. Today is just a harder day, but who knows maybe tomorrow will be full of sunshine, laughter, pretty flowers, puppies, and cute earrings...some of my favorite things!


Hope Junkie

I think I have decided that false hope is better than no hope at all, at least for a hope junkie such as myself...at least in this world. I would not recommend relying on false hope for your salvation. My hope for salvation is solid and secure because of Jesus. I am talking about hope in our circumstances. I rely on hope everyday. I am too much of an optimist to settle for no hope at all. Hope for a family, hope for the home we will do life in, hope for what adventures God has in store for us...all kinds of hope really. My belief that God will one day bless us with children is what allows me to keep on going. If I did not really believe that, then I don't think I would be able to get out of bed most days. See, my greatest ambition in life is to serve God well by being a wife and mother...and by doing whatever else He asks me to do. There have not been too many moments in my journey through infertility and now through adoption where I lost all hope for my future family. The down side of being such a hope junkie is that in a moment where all hope is gone, the burden can be unbearable. The up side is that I don't stay in that place for very long. I will find hope in almost any circustance.
The truth is that the only hope we can rely on is the hope we have in Jesus. The work He did on the cross paves the way for us to have eternal life if we accept his free gift. I know this to be true. "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:26 As good and wonderful as my dreams for a family may be, they are ultimately dreams for this world. At this point in my life I do believe that God has called Michael and I to adoption and that God wants to use it to bless us and our children, but his ways are greater than my ways. I do not pretend to understand what He is doing in my life or in anyone else's life. I praise Him, not because He gives me good gifts, but because He is God!
I also believe that God does provide, in his graciousness, hope in our circumstances. He doesn't have to. We don't deserve it, but sometimes He brings it anyways. Several times in the last month and a half, I have felt myself slip into the pit of no hope. The night before Jesse and Conner came to our house, I was there. The very next day we got those sweet boys. He brought me hope when I needed it. Now I know it all ended suddenly. They were not meant to provide me with my long-term dream for a family. They gave me a precious taste of motherhood. They provided me with some needed hope. It did not take us long to pick ourselves up after the boys were taken, mainly because of the hope we have for our family...our kids who are still out there. But then after being back on the list for over 2 weeks and hearing nothing, I was starting to feel hopeless again. That was yesterday. I had a meltdown with some sweet friends and then within an hour we got a call on some more kids. Nothing is official yet. I do not know if these are our kids, but God knew I needed hope and He provided. He is so gracious! God let me always remember how you provide in this world and let me always remember my solid hope in Jesus! When you feel hopeless, start looking for that little spark of hope. Our God is a god of HOPE! "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

much love,

Gone, but never forgotten

Yesterday was one week since we said good-bye to Jesse and Conner. We will never see them again in this life, but we will continue to pray for them as long as we live. We believe that the love we shared with Jesse and Conner, for almost three weeks, mattered for eternity. I was talking to a great friend right after we got the boys about my fears of losing them and what that would do to me. It makes you want to hold back your love in some way to protect your own heart until the adoption is final. She understood my fears and listened to me for a long time and then she said, "No matter what happens, God would never want anyone to withold love from a little child". She said, "He will always bless you for loving". And so I decided that night on my couch that I was going to love them with all I had and my God was big enough to heal even the most broken of hearts. They were mine for almost three weeks. I was a mommy for almost three weeks. And it was pretty amazing. And my God is big enough to heal my broken heart. He has already begun. God will never waste love.

As most of you know, I am such a people person. After last weekend, being so sad and staying home, I knew it was time for me to be with people again. I went to the Women's Bible Study on Tuesday morning at my church. We are doing the 5 Love Languages this summer. It was really great for me to be there for lots of reasons, but the teaching that morning was of particular significance to me. We were learning about acts of service which is so not my love language. (I am quality time all the way.) We were shocked to find out on Wednesday at 3:30pm that we would not be keeping the boys forever like we intended to. Thursday at 3:30pm the boys were picked up from our house and that was the last time we saw them. In that 24 hour period I learned more about acts of service than I have learned in all of my 27 years. I think most mother's understand this love language pretty well. I mean mother's are constantly serving those that they love. I think the reason those last 24 hours stand out so much to me is because until we got that call we were serving the boys and serving ourselves. We have prayed and prayed for a family and so this felt like the biggest blessing to us...to be able to bathe and feed and serve these children, our children, was an answer to prayer. We felt completely and entirely loved by God and so our love was not completely self-less. But when we knew we would lose them and we still had to take care of all of their needs and give them the same love we had been giving. That was the greatest act of service I have ever and probably will ever give. I have never felt so completely self-less in anything I have ever done. It was excruciating to love them, knowing we would lose them. I prayed the entire 24 hours I think...just for strength to die to myself...to put my feelings aside for the good of Jesse and Conner. We are all capable of so much more than we allow for God to cultivate in us. I pray that I never forget what I am capable of because of the power of Jesus Christ in me. "Serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

Life is hard, but God is good! We are back on the list, waiting for another chance to love a child...and waiting for God to answer our prayers for a family. With God, there is always hope. Let us never forget where we have been.


Worst day of my life

The boys are gone. We are devastated. Please pray. Hopefully soon we will be able to explain more of the details. As for now, we are living a nightmare. Last night was the death of a dream...the dream of the family we have prayed and prayed for and the dream of watching these precious boys grow. God will help us pick up the pieces, but right now it seems impossible to hope again. We don't know what God is doing, but we are clinging to Him and his goodness. Even though this does not feel like the goodness of God, we can be confident that He is here with us and that He is always good.

Jesus loves me this I know,


An embarrassment of riches!

Tomorrow will be one week since the boys came to stay! We are all adjusting very well. The last 3 days have felt quite normal actually...a new kind of normal that is! Conner wakes up once a night around 1 or 2am. He gets a bottle and a burp and he goes back down until around 6am. Jesse goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00pm and sleeps like a rock until 7:30-8:00am...what a blessing! Tonight was the first night he started to be a bit of a stinker about going to bed. He just wanted to play and be crazy instead of laying still. He was just rolling all around the bed and giggling. It was so cute! He gave out just before 8:00pm, though. I had to call in the reinforcements (Michael) to get him to lay still. He was just cracking me up! Michael has been so good with him. Between the hours of 8am and 8pm it's a whole lot of eating, washing, holding, laughing, feeding, playing, crying, dancing, teaching, and most of all loving! And we wouldn't have it any other way!

It is so weird to get to know your son when he is already 20 months old. Jesse is such a ham...he loves to show-off and he will do anything for a laugh. And he for sure knows how cute he is, which is good and bad. When he gets into trouble by not listening to mommy and daddy he has to sit in the naughty spot. If he catches you looking at him while he is in the naughty spot, then he gives the biggest cheesy grin ever and then he laughs...such a stinker. Jesse is becoming more and more affectionate everyday. He follows Michael all over the house and if Michael goes outside, then Jesse stands in the front window and watches him. Starting Sunday night, he gave me so many kisses and hugs when I layed him down and that has continued every night since...precious. And just today, for the first time, he wanted to hold my hand while we walked. He is such a boy! Jumping, throwing, crashing, splashing, running: these are his favorite things. We play a children's worship CD during breakfast and it really gets him going. The first day he just kind of watched me dance around to the music and grinned. Now he asks for the music by pointing at the CD player and thanks to Aunt Heather he has now started dancing...his first move was the 360 degree spin! Heather quickly taught him some nice shoulder movements. Michael and I are working on teaching him the classic booty shake and my personal favorite-the head bob. He is a handful, but worth all of the work and worth the wait!

Conner is just a smiley little baby boy. When he is not sleeping, eating, burping, or being bounced he loves to lay on his back or his belly and check everything out. He is always cooing. What a sweet sound that is! When we talk to him he gives the biggest smile and it just melts us. I can't believe how quickly he has gotten to know us. I did not expect for him to attach to me so quickly. God has an amazing way of working all of that out. He has already grown a lot. He is getting some serious chub. I feel like his double chin just came up over night. Conner loves to cuddle with momma and momma loves to cuddle with him. I am thrilled to watch him grow and see his little personality start to develop.

God has an amazing plan for all of us and that includes Jesse and Conner. They are an amazing gift from God and we are humbled to receive such an amazing blessing. We got the boys last Friday night and the night before I had a melt down. I just cried out to God in anguish. It was such an emotionally hard week. Our adoption agency kept calling us every day with different names of children that we may be selected for and they kept falling through one by one. I guess my patience just finally crumbled and I lost my faith in God's amazing plan for my life. After waiting 4 years and never conceiving and then being called to adoption and then the long and hard road to adoption...I felt like I had been patient for long enough I guess. When Michael called me on Friday afternoon and told me about the boys, I didn't even get excited at first. I thought it was going to be just like all of the other ones and it wouldn't work out. If I had only known what God knew. I cried today when I thought about my lack of faith, and then I realized that if that had not happened Thursday night, then I may have been tempted to think that the boys were my reward for being so faithful...ridiculous. Because of Thursday night, I am not tempted to think I deserve any of this. I know for sure that these boys came straight from the Lord. And they are the culmination of years and years of prayers. Over four years ago, we started praying that God would bless us with children. We had no idea at that time the journey that we had begun and what God had in mind, but little by little he started to reveal his plan and now here we stand in awe of it all! It is just incredible how quickly God can change everything when the timing is right. What an amazing celebration of praise! God is so good! Let us never forget His goodness!

To our family and friends:
We could not ask for more love and support. I am overwhelmed by all of the prayers, meals, calls, and gifts. All of you are a large part of why Michael and I felt so blessed even before Jesse and Conner came into our life. First we have Jesus, each other, all of you, and now Jesse and Conner. We are overflowing with love and praise! Thank you for loving us and our new sons!


p.s. Monday I am flying solo for the first time. Michael is off to work.

Jesse and Conner

For those of you that haven't heard we were placed with two beautiful boys yesterday. I received a phone call at 2:50 pm and by 7 pm they were in our home. Before I take a nap I figured I should add some pictures for all to see.
Jesse - A little cowboy. After breakfast this morning I got him dressed and he headed straight to the box with shoes and dragged out his trusty ol' boots. He is 20 months old and is extremely outgoing and loves to climb.

Conner - He is the youngest of the two boys. He is 2 1/2 months old and absolutely loves to cuddle with his mom. He had a great nap this morning after a restless night.

We will update and add pictures as soon as we take some more. Right now.....I'm taking a nap.

Maleah & Tyson?

So I had a dream the other night that I got the call telling me they have found our kids! It was the best dream ever. I so did not want to wake up! In the dream, they told me that we were getting 2 twin boy 2 year olds. I was so excited I could feel my heart beating in my throat. The dream was so crazy...they actually told me the names of the boys. I can't remember what the first name was, but I remember thinking that I really liked it. And the second name was Tyson. I had already decided in my dream that we would just call him Ty. When I awoke from this exciting dream, my heart was still beating so hard and I could not stop smiling. Oh, I am so excited for the day they actually call me. It was 4am when I woke up, and I could not go back to sleep at all. I got up and decided that God wanted me to be awake, so I went into the living room to pray for our kids.

Names are such a big deal to me. It has been quite a process for me...learning to be okay with a name that I may not choose. People ask me all the time, "Are you going to change their name?". My answer is always the same, "It depends on how old they are and how terrible the name is.". And that is still my answer. It's just that I really don't want to change the name. I don't want to take it away from them. Their name could be the only gift they ever get from their biological parents. We will change their middle names, and of course, their last name. My prayer right now is that when I do hear their names, I immediately feel like that is the right name. That way I would not even want to change their name. We'll see though...I am open to changing the names or not changing the names.

Another name that came into my head randomly, like 4-5 months ago, was Maleah. I have no idea where it came from, just like Tyson. I have never even heard of anyone named Maleah. It's so weird. All I know is that if I get a call for a Maleah and Tyson, I will wet my pants right there!

Seriously though, I really think that all of this is just teaching me more and more about how I can let go of some of my fantasy notions of what parenthood will be like. I can let go and it doesn't have to be a sad thing. I can let go because I know that what God has planned for me is far greater than anything I could ever dream up. And I am not only letting go of things, I am gaining some even grander things. I am not trading down. I am trading up! God's way is always better!

We never know how or when God is going to answer our prayers. I think most of us have a pretty good understanding that God does things in His time, not in ours. We fuss and moan and sometimes trust, but we know that in His time He will answer. I think our problem is that we are expecting one thing and He may never answer in the very way we expect. It's just like the Israelites. They were waiting for the Messiah to come and they expected him to be a warrior. So when Christ came on a donkey (of all things) and spoke of love and forgiveness and then chose death to save all of us, many did not believe he was the Messiah. God sent the Messiah, but He didn't look or act like they thought He would so many missed Him. How many prayers are answered and we just miss them completely?

Michael and I could have never dreamed of all that is happening to us right now through this adoption process. I was going to bear children that we would name and we would have them from their very first breath...oh and they would look just like us. These are just a few of the things we expected. And these are not bad things to expect. This is usually the way things go down, but sometimes among God's many blessings there is a suprise waiting! We serve a creative God! He doesn't always answer prayers in a usual way. He answers prayers in the best way possible--because He loves us so much!

So many of our prayers have already been answered. I can't wait to see what God's going to do next!

We are still not officially approved. We should be in the next two weeks or so. Thanks for your constant support!

Hurry up and wait!

All of our work is done for now. The home study went great! Stephanie was so sweet! This last weekend was eerily quiet. We did not have any thing to do and that is exactly what we needed. I am having to adjust back to what "normal" was before adoption took over. The hilarious part is as soon as I get adjusted back we will probably get the kids. After that, I am sure that life as we know it is gone for good. Although the physical work part of this process is over for now, the emotional work part of it is getting heavier every day. It's really amazing how much this decision has stretched us in every way you can imagine. The latest struggle I have been dealing with is the fear of losing Michael. It's weird how these things just come out of nowhere...or maybe I watched P.S. I Love You the other day and that stirred all of this up. Who knows? The only thing I do know is that when I saw that movie in the theaters last December it did not send my mind reeling, like it is now. I guess the thought of parenting our kids without him scares me a bit. My friend Heather always reminds me that, "Fear is not of the Lord." And she is right, by the way. My security should not rest in Michael or anyone else in this world, but only in Christ. How many times will I screw this one up! Me and Jesus...we can do this thing! We can totally do this thing!

so much love and gratefulness,



Okay, so yesterday, Tuesday, April 29th, our case worker called me on the way to work. They finally heard back from the FBI about our fingerprints, so our home study will be next Tuesday, May 6th at 4:00pm. She is going to interview me first, and then when Michael gets home at 5:30pm she can interview him. Then she can interview us together. We are going to be all interviewed out when the night is over! I have talked to our case worker several times on the phone, but I have not actually met her yet. I am excited. She is totally sweet and funny on the phone. It will be great to see her face! My biggest prayers are for Clover to be on her best behavior and for us to be able to communicate well with our case worker. I want her to really get to know us! She is a huge part of the decision making process. I know that she prays everyday for wisdom from the Lord. Let's pray with her! Her name is Stephanie!

We have a busy weekend. I need to put the finishing touches on the kid's room and do some minor organizing/ cleaning here at the house. I will be sewing curtains and pillow covers. Of course, Michael wants the yard to be perfect. First things first, right? And I don't want to have any dust or laundry laying around, you know what I mean? The home study is the last step in this huge process. After next Tuesday, everything is out of our hands, where it should be.

I am so aware of God's timing right now. He has orchestrated the exact time that we would be done with our paperwork and ready for kids. Ever since we started this whole ordeal, we have made ourselves deadlines. We have actually missed every single deadline along the way. And the FBI took way longer on the fingerprints than they normally do. It hasn't even bothered me, even though I am so anxious to get my kids. I just feel God's hand in every detail. He has the exact kids and the exact moment picked out and we can't screw that up! Thank you God for loving us so much that you would not allow us to miss such an amazing opportunity! Thank you God for not allowing me to screw anything up! I feel more and more confident everyday that God is right in the midst of this thing. Not my will, but yours!

Continue to pray that God would soften our hearts and the hearts of our kids. Pray that God would ready all of us to accept and love each other the way that we are called to. Pray that God would be honored in our home always. I have an overwhelming feeling lately that my kids are safe and happy. I am so thankful for whoever is taking care of them. Pray for their foster parents right now. Thank you God for these kind people that are loving my children well. I pray for so many blessings for my children's foster parents and for all the other foster parents who are on the frontlines...loving orphans...just as we are charged to do. God be with them all.


What are my kids doing right now?!

Michael and I went on a little trip this weekend to the Hill country. This was sort of our last trip together before our kids enter the picture. We went with some of our best friends to camp out at Enchanted Rock and then into Fredericksburg the second night at a B&B. It was way fun and a great time with friends. We had a blast! I was talking to my friend Lauren while we were away about the adoption stuff and she excitedly said, "I wonder what your kids are doing right now?". It was so funny to hear her say that she thinks about that too. It was funny and totally encouraging at the same time. I just love the fact that I am not bringing kids into just my life, but into so many other people's life as well, really amazing people. We have been so blessed with friends and family that are just as excited as we are to meet our kids. Since Lauren said that, I have thought about it even more often than before. What are they doing this very second?

Are they being naughty? Are they telling a joke? Is anyone laughing at their joke? Are they sad and lonely? Are they playing outside? Did they get a hug today? Do they love Dora or Diego? Are they in time out this very second? Are they sleeping peacefully? Do they feel well? Was somebody mean to them today? Do they know that Jesus loves them?

It's so weird to me that my kids are alive and running around somewhere and I have not even met them yet...so weird and so exciting. I can not even express how amazing it will be to meet them and begin to learn who they are. Who are they? What is their little personality like? I am such a people person. I love meeting people and asking them so many questions. I love how different we all are. I love it that we all have these hilarious quirks that make us who we are. I love watching people and learning more about them. I even love it when I meet people who are totally freaked out by someone like me who asks a million questions. That just makes me want to know even more about them. People are so interesting. I just plain love people! My kids, they are people too. I am going to be allowed the privilege of getting to know these particular people better than anyone else in the whole world. God has chosen them specifically for me to raise as my own. God loves me so much. Who has he chosen for me? What an amazing gift--to serve a God who knows each of us so intimately.

We recently saw the movie 'August Rush'. It's about a woman who had a baby and was told the baby died. She finds out after the boy is like 9 years old that the baby lived. She goes searching for him and eventually finds him. At first, I liked the movie, but didn't really feel I could relate at all. I mean I am not my kid's birth mom, you know. But yesterday I was thinking...my kids are out there in the world just like her kid was. And she had never met her kid, just like I have never met my kids. Not conceiving my kids, doesn't make them any less my kids than if I had conceived them. In God's economy, we are all His children. He just entrusts children to us as earthly fathers and mothers anyways. They are not ours, but His. A friend told me once, "They come from Him, whether He puts them in our arms or in our bellies. They come from Him."

So what are they doing right now anyway?...hopefully sleeping.


We are just finishing up our picture book for the kids and waiting on the call back to schedule our home study. We should hear this week. They are just waiting to hear back from the FBI about our fingerprints. Once the FBI clears us, they will schedule our home study. After they process the home study, we will be officially waiting. They will start trying to match us with some kiddos that very day! Whoa nelly, so soon! I can't wait!

The Death-Defying Drop

Have you ever been on a roller coaster where you go up and down a few hills and in the back of your mind you start gripping the handles a little tighter, knowing that a big hill is just out of site? It's amazing how fast emotions changes. We are soooo excited knowing that God has picked out some kids just for us. We've been up and down some hills with the various trials of life (infertility, loneliness, insecurities). Little did we know that God had placed something like adoption in the path of our life, and I'm so grateful that He did. God's grace and timing is so amazing. If we were to stand in line and see the large death-defying drop we may have backed out of the line (at least I know I would have.) God in His mercy has used the ups-and-downs along the way to prepare us for adoption. My emotions are bouncing off the walls. It's been hard to sleep at night knowing that our kids are out there, and are probably going through the biggest death-defying drop of their life, in a much different way from us.

We are excited and anxious. /They are probably scared and fearful.
We're ready to have them in our home. /They don't know where home is anymore.
We worry about life's minimal decisions. /They're fighting for their lives.

God in His mercy and wisdom uses opposites to strengthen each other and minimize weaknesses. It's just like in marriage. Amanda is strong in areas that I'm weak in, and I'm strong in areas that Amanda is weak in. But together.....wow......we're dangerous. Our prayer is that we will compliment our children in the same way...providing what they need. We can look forward with confidence knowing how God has provided in the past. Like Paul, who when given the chance to speak, spoke boldy and confidently, often reciting God's provision for the nation of Israel and himself. He remembered his past and it helped him to be bold in his present. What confidence we can have, knowing that God has walked with us, carried us, and walks before us know.

-We have completed all the necessary paperwork and are lacking only fingerprinting, a homestudy and a picture book (to give to our agency, the state, and our kids.) We are hoping to have everything done by April 25th.

Things you can pray for:
-That are homestudy is complete before April 25th. We are going on a little weekend trip on April 25th, sort of our last trip together before parenthood. It would be amazing to be done with all of the hard stuff before then.
-Wisdom, patience, and rest as we wait on the Lord!


Adoption....the story of our Christian Life

The past couple of weeks I've spent a lot of time pondering the idea of adoption and what it represents. I guess in light of Easter and Christ's amazing gift it's hard not to think about our relationship with God and what it really means. I've heard it said time and again that adoption gives us understanding into our relationship with the Father. Sounds great but it's not something that can be easily grasped. It's like children that were raised in Urban areas and their understanding of the agricultural parables that Jesus told. It's hard to grasp the full concept and all that it entails when they've never been emerged in that world. I have found myself working through the idea of adoption. Being raised in a loving family with two parents and two brothers and a dog, it's hard for me to understand the full depth of adoption. I thank God that He allows us to get a glimpse of these concepts every now and then.

The thing that has really been on my heart is the idea of acceptance. The training we have received has been focused on loving the children and showing them unconditional love to establish a relationship with the children. That's the basis. Until basic needs are met it's foolish to focus on behavior...as behavior tends to be by-product of survival instincts. God accepts us as we are. He knows that are behaviors are a by-product of our sinful nature. That doesn't mean that He likes the behaviors, it just means that his relationship to us is more important than our actions. That's the starting ground.

Once that base is established then the behaviors can begin to be addressed. Through loving discipline and consequences He trains us to be more like Him. That's why we need a Savior. The old testament was written to show us the ultimate folly and behaviors of a sinful people. Christ came to establish a personal relationship in which the focus is on the relationship and not on all the legality. They taught us in the adoption training that behaviors will go away as the faith and security in the relationship grows. This means, as we draw close to God and realize that He supplies all our needs then we are able to grow in Him...we want to do right not because we're told to, but because we want to honor our Heavenly Father.

The process of acceptance and then discipline seems so tolerant....short term. If the goal is for a short term fix then stern discipline is the solution....short term. If the goal is for a healthy relationship, then it's important for both parties to spend time building the relationship. After the relationship is established, the discipline doesn't come from a strict dictator but from a loving Father. Perhaps that is why the 'Hellfire and Brimstone' sermons do so well in the short term but fail in the long term. They focus on the discipline and not the relationship. Jesus came so that we could have a relationship with our heavenly Father. My pastor always says, "He loves us to much to leave us the way we are." Thank God that He loves us enough to begin a relationship with us...because after all...it's all about Him.


Brain overload!

So, I got up Sunday morning and went straight to the kitchen to take my thyroid medicine. Somewhere along the way, they discovered I have thyroid problems. Anyways, I always take my thyroid medicine right when I get up in the morning because I have to wait an hour before I eat. Eating breakfast, for me, is a non-negotiable. I need all of the nourishment I can get to keep up with those crazy kids!
I keep my medicine on my kitchen counter, all 5 bottles of it. I take as many pills as my grandparents these days! For some strange reason I decided to read all of my pill bottles Sunday morning and I discovered that I have been taking some of my medicine wrong for almost 2 months! When they diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) they put me on metformin, which is a diabetes medicine....don't ask. I just take the medicine. Anyways, I was supposed to take 1 pill a day for the first week, and then go up to 2 pills a day the second week, and then 3 pills a day the third week. So basically, I have been taking 1 pill a day for 2 months, instead of increasing like I was supposed to. When I made this discovery, I did the only thing I could...ran into the bedroom and woke my sweet husband up. I was so upset and annoyed at myself. The sad thing is that I have been oh-so-proud of myself for remembering to take all of my medicine everyday. All of my pride was a farse! I messed up my medicine again!
Ughhhhhh! This scheduling and medicine taking and paperworking and errand-running and regular jobbing and trying to maintain a normal "healthy" lifestyling is making me crazy! I feel like my brain cells are being eaten alive...eaten alive by the infertility monster!
Oh well, what can you do? I am starting the 2 pill a day thing. Please pray that I remember to go to 3 pills a day next Sunday (Easter). And I guess I can turn up some loud music and dance! That's always a great alternative to screaming at the top of my lungs! We devised a paperwork plan tonight. I have to implement it tomorrow. The ridiculous errand-running will commence tomorrow at 9am. I have my list ready and then it's off to work. Gotta get ready for Good Friday and Easter services! Good thing God is in control! Lord, help me focus tomorrow at work and provide me with amazing help Friday and Sunday with the kids. And don't let me forget in all of my madness that there are little children coming this weekend that I am charged to love and teach the gospel to. Also, Lord, I really want to sit in service on Sunday with my brother and sister-in-law. That's right people...Mayson will be in the house on Sunday! My fiery, little, red-headed niece is sure to liven things up a bit!
Love you guys,

Clover, it's like she knows

Clover is my furry baby, my sweet pup. She gets me, like no one can. We got Clover in January 2006. She was so good for me. I was just starting to peek my head out of the hole I had put myself in when we brought her home. One of my biggest struggles in the beginning of this infertility thing was getting out of bed in the morning. I fought so hard to get up every morning, but my body was fighting against me. And then when I would give in and sleep longer, I would feel so guilty. I would beat myself up all day long for sleeping so late. Here's a hint: It's not good to beat yourself up over anything. It only makes things worse. If I could have only allowed myself to sleep in every now and then without feeling so guilty maybe I would have been able to get up the next day. I perpetuated that problem for sure.
One of the other things about me was that I was a clean freak, not a neat freak, a clean freak. There is a huge difference. As many of you know, puppies can not hold it for very long, and since I was so not okay with Clover relieving herself in my house, i would get up and let her out. When she had done her business I would want to go back to bed, but her cute little puppy self would make me smile. One sweet look from her and I was up and at 'em. She needed me. I think I needed to be needed.
I was not alone anymore. She became my jogging buddy...my riding in the car buddy...my cleaning the house buddy...my reading buddy. She was always doing whatever I was doing. And when I got home at night and Michael was in class until late, Clover was there to greet me. That's the great thing about dogs. They are so excited to see you, everyday, it never fails.
And sometimes I talk to Clover, sounds so crazy, I know. It's kind of like talking to yourself, but it's way better because you actually get a response from something. Clover totally turns her head and trys to make out what I am saying. She's probably listening for Sit, Stay, Come, Down, Kennel, or No because that's pretty much the extent of her vocabulary, but it's just the fact that she really wants to listen to me...so cute! She perks her ears up. She gets excited if I sound excited. She lays her head on my lap when I am quiet. She knows her momma.
I know it sounds like the most ridiculous thing in the world to most of you, but this dog helped me get over the hump and get back to life! And now we are best friends! ha/ha
P.S. Michael and I finished our last training day on Saturday. We are finishing up our paperwork this week. Because of Spring Break I get some extra time off, but I started not feeling so great Sunday afternoon. I think I have some kind of virus, my stomach is not okay right now. Hopefully I will feel better soon. I have work to do!

Moving Forward

Well, we got this blog thing so that we could keep everyone updated, so here goes. This last week we have been up to our eyeballs in paperwork. Our goal is to have everything done by March 15th, which is our last training date. We are a little overwhelmed, but just tonight while I was baking Michael a cake (he needed a cake...or maybe I needed a cake) he exclaimed from the dining room table that he was "motoring through the paperwork". I think that means that it is going a lot faster than he expected, and so we are encouraged once again. God is good for that. He takes us to our breaking point and then He reminds us that with Him we can do anything. Not only do we have to fill out mounds of paperwork, but we are required to get a home inspection, a fire inspection, a doctor's evaluation, fingerprinting done, and to read a couple of books. We have about 2 weeks to do all of these things...it's totally possible!
The kid's room is almost done...just a few minor details left. I am going to make some pillow covers and curtains. I have a few crafty friends who are going to help me. Oh, and I want to paint a verse up above the bunkbeds. I think I have settled on Psalm 9:1, "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders." Maybe I have some steady-handed, crafty-painter friends who can help me do that.

I just learned how to cross-stitch! I love it, by the way, only a little distracting from everything I should be doing, but then again maybe that is a coping mechanism. I am good at creating distractions. Aren't we all!

Can I just say that we have been overwhelmed by all of your support and encouragement! Michael and I sort of kept this whole adoption thing on the down-low for like a year. We wanted this decision to be between us and God. I am so glad we did that, but when we made the decision, we were nervous to tell everyone. Well, yet again, we had no reason to be nervous! We are so excited to share all of this with all of you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your love and support!

A whisper...

A whisper....that's how it begins. It's something in the back of your conscience that is easy to ignore. Does it really matter if you acknowledge the whisper? Perhaps it was something mumbled during your day, or perhaps the whisper had been waiting for such a time and place to be heard. I once read, 'God whispers to us'. Simple enough. He doesn't choose to yell over the noise, but rather sits and whispers. His whisper may be correction or it may be instruction, but one thing is for certain...those words were meant for that person. Perhaps that is why He doesn't yell...he wants it to be an intimate conversation, not a public discussion. For the past year and a half Amanda and I have been listening to a whisper from God. His sweet words are refreshing and encouraging. His words speak of hope and joy. His words give wisdom and provide peace.

So what happens when you listen to a whisper? For one thing your ears become more sensitive. Just as a little child leans in to hear a story from his grandfather, so too we have leaned in to listen for His direction. His words become louder and more definitive. Words that re-affirm the calling of our souls. Adoption...a word that seemed so foreign has become the calling of our hearts. To love children the way that Christ has loved us by adopting us into his family.

We are confident of this calling...not because of our own ability but because of the sovereign God who knows us personally and who has prepared us adequately for His calling. Our job....continue to listen to the whisper.