+7 days

It’s been 7 days since we left your country. 10 days since we kissed your cheeks and said goodbye.It feels like it’s been a year, or more.
It feels like it was a dream, or maybe more appropriately, a nightmare. Where we got a wonderful week with you just to be ripped apart against our will.
It feels like we’ll never get back to you.

Our next trip will be for court. We’ll only get to see you 3-4 days for this trip too. We feel blessed that you live in the capital of your region so when we go for court we’ll get more time with you. We don’t know when court will be. We are hoping for August, but we’ve heard that lots of judges in other regions are taking August off.

I haven’t blogged all week because it’s painful. It’s hard to take myself back to you in my mind but know that it’ll be so much longer until we can come see you again.

I started selling little necklaces to help us raise the last little bit of money to bring you home.

Well, it doesn’t feel like a little bit, but compared to the whole total, it’s less. We started off thinking bringing you home would cost about $35,000. Wow, lots of money right? Well, when we got into it, we thought the total would be more like $45,000. But, now since we’re trying to bring you home in the summer, it’s going to be $55,000. Blah. Mama and Papa have wiped out all the easily accessible cash they had. And so many friends and your family have been trying to help too. We’ve come up with about $40k. We still need to find out where we can get $15k more. That’s only 600 necklaces 🙂

Since 600 necklaces is unreasonable, we’re also going to have 2 yard sales. One at grandma’s house and one at our friend Lesli’s house I think. I think we will try to do them on 7/21 and 7/28. We have had a few people give us some great stuff to sell, but we need lots more! Mama and Papa need to go through all their closets too and get more stuff! I’ve thought about going to the goodwill donation trailers at night and taking the donations people leave on the steps, but someone told me that was illegal. I don’t know where else to get donations of things to sell. It’s frustrating asking people for help when I feel like I am guilting them into helping.Maybe the yard sales will help us raise about $1000. Down to 560 necklaces, but I have a few more ideas of things we can try and sell. It’s hard to put myself out there for you when no one but your mama and papa love you this much. I’m so afraid I’m bothering everyone and they will love you less because your Mama and Papa harassed them for fundraisers. 


In other news..

On Tuesday night, Mama and Papa and Happy and Cranky are going to the mountains to see Annie for the 4th of July. The V’s are coming and so are the J’s. We hope to spend lots of time at the lake and eating good food! And it doesn’t hurt that all we have to bring is food and everything else is free.

See how much fun it looks! (Pics from last year)

Okay, well Cranky doesn’t look like she’s having fun here, but when we weren’t trying to get her into the water she loved it!

If you come home in September, then we will try to take a day trip to the mountains so you can see the house and the lake too. We have decided though that until at least Christmas we won’t have you spend the night anywhere but in your own house. We want you to feel secure and comfortable before we ask you to sleep in another bed.

Missing you sweet girl….

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To her mother..

5 years ago, while I was blissfully enjoying my newlywed year and getting ready to celebrate our first anniversary, you found out you were expecting a baby. I’m sure you were scared, nervous, maybe even excited. I don’t know how stable your life was, but I have no doubt that you loved the little life you were growing. Then, on April 4, 2008, she was born. I’m sure she was beautiful and perfect. I can imagine the love you had for her when you stared at her perfect little features and rubbed her little head covered in red fuzz. You named her (hidden for her security) and no doubt she was your princess. She has siblings – are they older? Did you have children at home you were struggling to provide for too? How old were you? Were you married to (hidden)’s daddy? Even with all the questions, I think you took her home. Then, somehow at 5 months old, sweet baby girl entered the orphanage. Is that when you gave her up? Or did something happen earlier and you had to give her up then?  I wonder if you knew before you gave her up what you had done to her. I know you loved her so much and that you wouldn’t have given her up if you thought you could raise her. I know you hoped she would be adopted by a family and taken care of and loved. I hope they tell you that we adopted her. I hope they tell you that this mama and daddy love her so much no matter what. I want to thank you for choosing to give her life and for loving her enough to give her the opportunity to be our daughter. I promise you that we will love and cherish her forever and that we will give her everything she needs. She’ll get to go to the best schools and she will have wonderful doctors. She has sisters who will play with her and annoy her and love her too. I’m so sorry that you won’t get to watch her grow. I know that breaks your mama’s heart.  I want you to remember that in your heartbreak, you’ve added a piece to my heart I didn’t know was missing. 

Why help?

TODAY IS DAY 3 OF 5 OF OUR GIVEAWAY! 
CLICK HERE FOR THE GIVEAWAY POST OR CLICK THE 50 PRIZES TAB ABOVE!
You can also read this post to find out more about why we are raising money!


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We heard from our agency last night that they think we will be travelling on June 17th. That’s 11 days. 11 days to organize PTO from work, request a visa to enter her country, book plane tickets, organize transportation, fill out hours of paperwork, pack, prepare gifts for the orphanage workers and Sweet Girl. Not to mention, prepare our house to leave for a week, catch up on laundry, prepare to leave Cranky and Happy and spend time with them so we can continue to be engaged and present parents before we rock their world by bringing home a sibling. Rather than do all those things, I’m worrying about where the money will come from.
So, you’ve been seeing my millions of updates on our giveaway, you’ve been clicking through to read about it and you’ve read some of the rest of the blog. Of the 1000 of you that have clicked, we have about a 2% entry rate. We’ve raised $725. That figure is pretty awesome, but if you add up everything we’re putting out for some of the larger prizes, we are barely over our break even point. $15 over actually. And then when you consider that we’re shipping prizes, we’re kinda in the red. Someone asked me today why their $5 mattered.  No, 1 donation of $5 won’t make much of a difference, but if the 1000 of you that have read about our giveaway would have donated $5 we’d have had $5000 to help us bring Sweet Girl home.
There is a story that has dozens and dozens of variations floating around out there called The Starfish Story. I think it’s premise applies here.

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

 

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

 

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

 

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

 

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

 

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

 

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

 

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.

 

I can’t save them all, but I’m trying to save one. One sweet little girl who without us will grow up in an orphanage. She will never be adopted in her country because of her special needs. She will be cast into the street and forgotten. She will become a statistic.
We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. -David Platt
I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
– Edward Everett Hale

 

Is this you today? Did you feel like your $5 wouldn’t matter? Will you help us? All I am asking for is $5. But, I won’t complain if you can give more than that 🙂

Happy’s Story

We wanted one healthy baby. That’s what we told the doctor. As he started the ultrasound it took him less than 10 seconds to say, “We’ve got twins!”

I know some people wish for twins, I was not one of them. As soon as the doctor uttered those words all that could go through my mind was: How are we going to pay for two? How high risk is this? Will they both make it? What if I have to go on bedrest? What are we going to tell our families?

These thoughts quickly turned to morning sickness and for the 10 weeks that followed, my main priority was trying to consume enough food and water to keep myself and them alive. I wasn’t doing a very good job. I was so sick and so dehydrated that I found myself pulled out of work and on bedrest for several weeks. I was in and out of the hospital for fluids and trying to figure out if this was something more serious than just severe morning sickness. FINALLY, at 16 weeks, after I lost more than 15% of my body weight, I turned a corner. I almost overnight went from barely being able to get myself to the bathroom to feeling up to go back to work.

I had begged God for weeks to keep these babies healthy and He granted me my prayer. Every ultrasound confirmed they were growing on track and gaining weight. We had 16 weeks of preparations (including building a house and moving!) and then, on a Saturday night at 2am when I was just 32 weeks, my water broke.

We will skip part of the story here, but Cranky and Happy were born 10 hours later on Feb 13, 2011 at about 3.5# each. Cranky was Baby A and Happy was Baby B. We lovingly referred to Baby B as our “bonus” baby. Her middle name is Grace because it’s by the grace of God that we were blessed with her (no, we don’t know which baby implanted first and which was second, but we feel like being ‘baby B’ she got the bonus status).

Hi world!
What she looked like when I first saw her.

We had normal concerns over their health, but for 3 days everything was as blissful as it could be with babies in the NICU.

on CPAP, but peaceful
This is what 3lb 9oz looks like.

On day 4, my faith was tested. I was scheduled to be discharged and going through the normal emotions of having to leave my babies in the hospital. We had gone down to see the girls one last time. I remember thinking how this would be the last time for awhile we would all be living under the same roof. They were sharing a little NICU room and a nurse. We were able to see them both at the same time and go from bed to bed easily. We were commenting on the fact that Happy had a little outfit on and how cute it was. We said we needed to go buy some preemie clothes. The Nurse Practitioner came and said that Happy had had some residuals after her recent feeding. This means that they fed her 10ml (1/3 of an ounce) but an hour later, she had some left in her stomach. She actually had a concerning residual. They had only put 10ml in, but there was 15ml in her stomach. The NP said this was cause for concern and they’d be performing more tests.

We said goodbye and I went back to my room. I cried the whole way. This was our first unknown, our first setback. When we got to the room, my nurse was waiting for me. I don’t know her name, but I’ll never forget her. She said the attending physician is on his way to talk to you. This is like the head doctor. We had yet to speak to him at all. And no doctors from the NICU had come to see me before. When he got there, he told us that Happy was being tranferred immediately to Brenners Children’s Hospital. He said the surgeons were waiting for her and she would need emergency surgery that night. Apparently the additional tests they ran indicated that Happy had a major blockage of her intestines. This is a life threatening thing and if not fixed immediately the baby will die. We rushed back to the NICU and the transport team was already there going over her records. We watched as they packed my little 3lb 9oz baby girl up and placed her into an travelling incubator and wheeled her away. They told us that it would take over an hour to get her moved and settled (the children’s hospital was less than 5 miles away) and to go there in a couple of hours or so and they would talk to you about what was happening and about if she needed surgery that night.

We gave Cranky kisses and went back to our room. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, I thought I’d just said goodbye to my baby. I was a mess and then my sweet nurse asked if I wanted to leave. I thought yes I want to leave. I want to leave this time and go back 2 hours where my babies were tiny but healthy and the only thing that I had to worry about was leaving them. I signed the discharge papers. She said it’s hospital policy for an attendant to wheel the new mom down to the exit. I said no way. I’m a mess and I’m perfectly capable of walking to the car myself. She went and got special permission, let Him borrow a cart to push all our stuff and off we went. We got back to the house and looked around. This was a temporary house. We were 2 weeks from closing on our new house that was being built. We had nothing set up, nothing prepared.

I sat down and had just started to breathe when I got a call. It was the doctor at the children’s hospital. He stated that they thought Happy had a malrotation of her intestines in addition to the blockage and could he get consent over the phone to take her into surgery immediately. I said of course, but that we were 5 minutes away, if we left now could we make it? He said to hurry.

We left immediately and were at Happy’s bedside in the NICU within 15 minutes. They were unplugging everything and piling all of it on to the cart. She had been on CPAP so they switched her to one that ran on a battery. I remember thinking about what would happen if that malfunctioned. Then I saw a nurse throw a “bag” onto the cart and I remember being relieved that they were thinking of everything. We followed along as they took her down the elevator into a pre-op area. There were painted kids murals on the wall. It was not cheery. We stayed here for about 20 minutes while we talked to the anesthesiologist. The surgeon was just wrapping up another surgery and was on his way. We were told this was emergency surgery, but we found out that being in surgery within an hour of arriving at the hospital was extra fast. We were told that they couldn’t guarantee she’d make it. We were told about the risks of performing surgery on a baby that weighed less than 4 pounds. We kissed her sweet head, told her we loved her and off she went. We went and tried to eat. Walked around the hospital and waited. And prayed. And waited. And prayed. And waited. We didn’t let our family know too much about what was going on. We were too overwhelmed to deal with anyone but ourselves.

Finally, we got the call 4 hours later that the doctor was coming to talk to us. I remember searching his face for any signs of emotion. The first thing he said was that she was stable. She made it. She did have a malrotation, but it wasn’t as severe as they thought. She did however have a duodenal web which caused her blockage. The duodenum is where the stomach and small intestine meet. She had a web, or constricture here that prevented anything from passing through. She would have died from this. This was the first time I thanked God that he gave me preemies. If she would have been full term and we just took her home, it could have been too late before we knew anything was wrong. Oh, and he said he took out her appendix. He said there was no reason to get all the way into her belly, inspect it, and then just leave it there. At least we might have saved her surgery when she’s older! They let us see her. It wasn’t super shocking, but it was hard that just 4 hours ago my sweet baby was looking around and had fewer wires. She was being sedated so she wouldn’t fight the ventilator so she could no longer grab our fingers either.

Happy was on a ventilator for 7 days and then slowly weened off of that. She fought it every step of the way.

She spent 5 weeks and 2 total days in the NICU before she went home. 

She’s the happiest, most joyful little girl and we are so blessed to be her parents.

We love you sweet baby!

The Aftermath

Oh Sweet Girl! You would be so excited to know how many people are so happy you are coming home soon! I know it’ll be very overwhelming to have to meet everyone and personally thank them for their prayers and support so I’ll try to get it done before you get home for you!

___

The most common statement I’ve gotten in the last 18 hours is, “I’d love to adopt one day!” If you are interested in international special needs adoption of a waiting child, Reece’s Rainbow (reecesrainbow.org) is a fantastic resource. It’s where I found sweet girl and they are the driving force being allowing us to offer you a tax deductible way to contribute to us financially.

The next most common question is, “How can I help?” Honestly, the thing we need the most in this is for you to spread our story and our journey far and wide. Email your co-workers, share the blog on facebook, etc. The thing we need 2nd most is money. It’s a sad reality and one we don’t want to talk about much. We weren’t planning on adding to our family so soon after the girls were born but we’re on the path of following God now. In the last 24 months we’ve gone through a high risk and very expensive pregnancy, a high risk and very expensive birth, a 3 and 5 week stay in the NICU (that costed my insurance more than my house and us personally enough to buy a cheap new car) and to add the icing to the cake, I changed jobs. Yes, this was my choice, but I took a small pay cut to take a job that would require 5-15 fewer hours a week so I could spend that time with my young family. When we made all those financial decisions it was not looking forward that the very next year (or month as the case turned out) we would need to find $50,000 in cash to ransom a Sweet Girl from an orphanage. And $50k in cash, pronto. We are using every available resource to make this process go as fast as possible so she doesn’t spend one single NEEDLESS hour without a family. That costs a little more. Could I have sent some things standard fex-ex and not overnight? Sure, it would have added 2 weeks to our journey just so far though. 14 days of going to sleep without a mommy and daddy, 14 days of not knowing what true love feels like, 14 days of being one of many, 14 days of subpar health care, 14 days without a family.

Have I ever talked about what life is like for an orphan in Eastern Europe? At age 4 with special needs, Sweet Girl is very very very unlikely to ever be adopted by someone in her country. Without the advocacy of Reece’s Rainbow and other sites like it, no one would have even known she existed. She would have turned 18, and been cast out into the street with no support system, no housing, and a small piddly sum of money that would last her less than a few weeks. For Sweet Girl, being female there is a 50% chance she would turn to prostitution. A 40% chance she would be forced to other crime to survive. A more than 50% liklihood she would be homeless and a 10% chance she would commit suicide within one year. Is adoption always the answer at fixing the system? Never. Even if everyone I know adopted one of these children, it wouldn’t fix the system. The change needs to happen at the family level. Prevent teen pregnancy, educate the youth, and support mothers who want to keep their children with special needs. The change hasn’t come fast enough for Sweet Girl though so we are opening our family to her. It will be a huge adjustment for her. I’m ripping her away from her home, her culture, her language, her food, her friends and the only caretakers she’s ever known. But “caretakers” aren’t enough for a child – she needs access to better medical care and a family. This wasn’t a decision we took lightly. If I thought there was a way that she could have a family in her own country, that would have been better for her. The sad reality is that she won’t ever have a family in her own country. So with that, we’re bring her here.

But really, I’m not doing this for her, I’m doing this for me. She doesn’t know I exist, but I’m the one that can’t live without her now.

Anyway, back to how to help. The big things coming up are the Giveaway next week (Prizes include iPad, Kindle Fire, a dozen gift cards, pay it forward chances, homeade goods!) and if you are local to us, we’re having a yard sale in July that we are accepting donations for (we’ve got a truck! we’ll come get them! even if you are embarassed to be giving it away, someone might want it!). Also running constantly are our resale of gently used baby clothes gear (sorry, mostly twin girls since that’s what I’ve got) and soon our Sweet Girl Shop. Something very easy also is donating us your Hilton Honors points. It takes less than 5 minutes and we can use them while in eastern europe or redeem them for airline miles.

You got through the words, here are some pictures to reward you 🙂 These are the many faces of Cranky in cell phone pics. I’ll work on some of just Happy tomorrow, but that child moves so fast it’s hard to catch her. Praying the day comes quickly for me to share photos of Sweet Girl’s many faces too 🙂

5 days old
She is so excited to be a little sister and very excited for her pigtails!

I’m Sorry Sweet Girl & Facebook Official

I’m so sorry Sweet Girl. I got so caught up that I didn’t remember. I have spend the last week doing things I felt were important. I have been so busy doing things I felt were so urgent, that I forgot to remember you. Oh, I think about you all day. You are on my phone background so everytime I look at my phone I see your face. It still makes me catch my breath when I see you on there too! You are the reason that I spend my night when we get home from work blogging, fundraising (well, preparing for fundraisers), researching, facebooking, filling out paperwork, researching flights and on and on. These “things” have started to consume me and they made me forget that you are what is more important. I stopped talking to you, I stopped praying as much for you, I stopped wishing you a good night when we all go to sleep. I got so caught up in bringing you home, that I forgot that you are living a world away from me right now. I promise Sweet Girl, I will remember that the focus here is you and not all this other stuff.

And with that, I want to introduce you to some people. Mama and Daddy made you “facebook official” today. That means that right now, lots of people from our lives, and soon to be your life, are reading this right now. They might be a little confused by what’s going on too. So with that said, facebook, meet Sweet Girl:

Sweet Girl is 4 years old and lives in Eastern Europe. She is soon to be our daughter as we are in the process of adopting her. If you’d like to follow us in this journey, we’d love to have you along. We would also love your support and your prayers. On the right sidebar, you can follow this blog. I will also start sharing new posts on facebook. There are several posts in here already about where we are in the process and some about what led us to Sweet Girl so go back and read if you like. If you have any questions about why adoption, why Sweet Girl, why we aren’t sharing her country or real name, the adoption process, etc, let us know – we’d love to share more – we just aren’t sure what people want to know!
And STAY TUNED, we are launching a HUGE giveaway on Monday 6/4. There will be tons and tons of great prizes and it should be very exciting!

REGISTRATION!

I wish I could post a picture of myself right now. I’m a ball of nerves. 


When I saw Sweet Girl move to my family found me, it felt like when you get a positive pregnancy test. It was very surreal and exciting, but there was still a great deal of doubt and hesitation. You knew there was this life growing inside you, but you weren’t sure you’d get to keep it. 


This morning at 7:43am I got an email from our adoption agency. Keep in mind that I’ve only gotten a handful of unsolicited emails from her (meaning I asked a question and she was answering). The last email I got from her stated that Vita (our eastern europe coordinator) would be unable to register us until 6/12. It made my goal of June travel very unlikely. She said we’d ask Vita to ask the officials for a June travel date. Anyway, so when I saw the email this morning I first assumed it would be word from Vita that we could request a June travel date, but that there were no guarantees, blah, blah. What I call a no promises email. Adoption agencies like those. 


Anyway, I was rushing out the door so I wouldn’t be late for work like I was yesterday and quickly glanced at the email. I had to read it twice, I was so confused. It said “Your registration documents were accepted today! ” I was so surprised that I couldn’t process what she meant. I thought, they weren’t supposed to be registered until 6/12? But, it’s true! We are officially registered! They accepted our documents on the spot! They have 10 days to issue us the official referral and we’ll get a travel date then. June is looking likely!


The first thing I did was call him and tell him to turn down the radio. I expected a “Great news!” from him. Instead I think he was just as shocked as I was. The thought of all that has to be done in the next few weeks added on to the fact that this is becoming more and more of a reality is sinking in.


Back to my analogy… It feels like I just heard my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Such a sweet happy thing, but oh so overwhelming at the mountain we still have to climb.

Registration Update and Nighttime

I wanted to write a happy post today, something uplifting for this holiday weekend, but the fact of the matter is that life isn’t happy for millions of orphans. As I drifted off to sleep last night, I couldn’t help but think about how sweet girl’s nights might go.


For my own girls, it’s pretty simple. We get in pj’s, read a couple of books (or just throw them), get some snuggles in, sing Jesus Loves Me and then it’s off to dream land with their seahorses. Sometimes, after bath, we read without PJ’s too. They love it. 



 And, well, sometimes it’s off to sleep before we make it upstairs too.


But then I think about sweet girl. How does her nighttime routine go? Does she get any individual attention? My heart hopes so, but my brain knows better. Does she cry herself to sleep or rock to sleep? Does she suck her thumb? Then, what if she has a bad dream, or can’t sleep, or doesn’t feel well? Do the staff care enough to go sit with her or rub her back so she can get back to sleep? Does she get yelled at or punished for waking up or getting out of bed?  Almost certainly the staff is minimal overnight; and it seems that most of the orphanages are under-staffed as is. I don’t know what they can do, if there are only one or two adults and several children happen to wake up at the same time. (And in one big room, probably when one kid cries they all wake up). She been there 4 years now, it’s all she knows, but does that make it okay? What if she has an accident at night? Do they go change her & her bedding — if so, are they rough about it & angry with her? Is she lucky enough to get a hug, to be told it’s ok, no big deal, we’ll get cleaned up and tell a story while you go back to sleep? (The last, I suppose, is unlikely.) What if she’s hungry, or thirsty? Can she get a snack or a drink of water? 


She deserves so much more than this. We are racing to get her because every night I spare her from that place is worth it.


We got an update from our agency, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear, you’ve been submitted. Or, at the very least, you’re being submitted next week. Instead, it was you won’t be submitted until June 12. That’s more than 2 more weeks. The probability of June travel is pretty much out, although I will still pray for it because who am I to keep my God from performing a miracle. 

A camping we will go!

One of our favorite family activities is camping and we’re lucky enough we’ve got a great (and growing!) group of friends who loves to go with us!

We used to think this was a cheap way to get away for the weekend, but we are realizing that we like to eat well while camping so it’s not as cheap as we always think it will be 🙂

So without further ado, here’s the awesome pics (that I shamelessly stole from others because I didn’t upload my own yet). 

Our speed demon
And her cautious sister
Nighttime cuddles
Yes she got the twizzler, no she didn’t get the Coke.
Sitting on the dock
So sleepy
Kiss the fish
Bike trailer riding!
Tomboy at heart, but not when it comes to kissing the fish
My sweet family
The most awesome baby play yard ever – this is only like 1/4 of it!
Breakfast at the table Daddy made for us

While we were camping, we also got a surprise. A new pic!!! Doesn’t she look like she fits right in and could have been out there with us? Love this sweet face and this sweet girl – we’re coming baby! 🙂

 

Welcome!

So who are we? We are us. Hmm, that was easy.

How about a little background? He is my soulmate, he is my strength, he is my protector, he is the most wonderful father of my children. He is loyal, and devoted. He is stong and quiet. He is so quiet that I doubt he’ll ever post on this blog. He is sensitive. He is shy. He is a researcher, and a planner, and a saver. I think his favorite place is playing with his girls or playing in his shop. His favorite presents revolve around tools. He loves to be outside no matter the weather. He loves his family and I love him.

Doesn’t he look like all that?

Me.. hmm.. harder. I am her, wife to him, mother to Cranky and Happy. I am stubborn, passionate, and shy. I will go out of my way to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations when I can. I want to to make a difference in the world, but don’t know how. I love to read, to watch tv. Oh yeah, He loves TV too. Especially if it involves Alaska, gold, alligators, cars, or any other random reality tv show. I try to be strong, but sometimes I break down. I am compassionate and will bawl when I read other blogs.

Here I am. I’m rarely not behind the camera so these pictures might be few and far between.

But togther we are just 2 people who love God and our family. And those two things have led us to a sweet girl halfway around the world. And we pray and hope that God sees us fit to be her parents because we’re gosh darn going to try to bring her home.

On our last childless vacation.

That’s good for now, we will get into how we met, our marriage and our sweet girls next!