Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our Christmas Miracle

We have a Christmas Secret! It is password protected. You will have to have the password to log on to www.joyfulplum.wordpress.com to find out our secret!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A baby boy for the Carley Family

I just checked in on my friend angie and they have accepted a referral for a two month old baby boy from Ethiopia!
Hop on over and give your congratulations! What a wonderful Christmas present for them!

www.loveisspokenhere.wordpress.com

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Password for the Wordpress blog

I have send out the new password. The old one will not be used any more. If you did not receive it, you will have to leave me a comment with who you are and how you know me, or slap my hand if you are a regular commenter or blog friend that did not get included in the original email!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Sophia











I am not a proud Aunt at all! We took Sophia to have her picture made at Sears today! Do you see why I haven't been blogging alot? She keeps me busy! I L. O. V. E. her!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hot dog, anyone?


I thought this was too funny not to share! As I am a dachsie momma, I LOVED this picture! This is a tiny dachsie baby, but Zoey Claire was that tiny too when we got her!
Just thought it was cute, I guess this is my favorite photo for friday!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Come on over!

I have set up a separate blog to showcase my bows and tutus. I am still working on a few more designs but wanted to get the ones I have done posted. The link to the blog is on my sidebar.
Let me know what you think. There is a link to email me if you are interested in purchasing any of them. I will make them to order.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coming soon!

My bows and tutus will be posted this weekend on a separate blog. I will make to order, instead of making so many of one bow. I will have large, and small bows, on barrettes and alligator clips, and headbands for infants. I will make a christmas tutu and a sample of an everyday tutus, both infant, toddler and girl lengths.

I am going to be establishing a new password in the very near future. Those of you I "know" will get it automatically. I will let you know when the new password goes out and if you don't get my email, you will have to comment with who you are, your blog, and how you found me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still here, still hoping

Hi, all! I know it has been FOREVER since I have posted. Please forgive me. So much has been going on, physically and emotionally. I have been spending a lot of time with my niece and her new daughter while she was on maternity leave. I know, I know! I cannot believe I have not shared pictures of this little beauty with you. I promise to load them up asap! She really has become the light in my life right now. I have also been fighting a horrible infection all month long and finally went to the Dr. this week to find out I have a bacterial infection and am now on a round of Augmentin. HMMM, many trips to the bathroom! Can anyone relate?!

On the Vietnam front: many of my blog friend families are finally traveling to finalize their adoptions. The US Dept of State reported on their website that no new adoptions will commence until a new bilateral agreement is reached or Vietnam signs on to the Hague Convention. Our agency projects this process to at least be a year. Our agency is also being reconsidered by the Hague committee, so hopefully they will be approved. Our fingerprints will expire in Dec, so we are looking at 900 dollars to keep those current while we decide what we are going to do. I know several families that have chosen to go other routes and some that are having no choice but to wait out this moratorium with Vietnam. I will be posting soon on the other site about our options. You have to have a password to follow. I am also thinking of changing my password, as i feel I may have been too liberal with the first one.

I am really enjoying my Tues. night Bible study. Look for a post coming soon with some things I would like to share with you. It is just so relative to this adoption journey we have been on. It is too good not to share, but it will take me a while to compose on that.

I am going to be making hair bows, tutus, and the like to supplement our income. I may try to set up a website, but will at least be posting my designs here. If you have little girls and like hair bows and ponies, I am working on some designs for Christmas. I promise the prices will be reasonable. I hope to have some pics posted early next week as this is going to be my weekend project.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The wait is over!!

For my friend, Gina, that is! After 10 months of waiting to travel to get their boys they are finally going to Vietnam on next friday! Hop on over and lend your congratulations! There is only one other prayer I am waiting for God to answer now!\

http://www.fiveinthehive.wordpress.com/

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Don't forget those orders!

**** If you want to order you will have to email me and I will have to place the order for you. So leave me a comment with your email and I will get back to you! ***************************

Okay, guys, this is the last week to place a Pampered Chef order. I only have one person who has placed an order for the drawing of the $20.00 gift certificate. Surely there is something that you need! Hop on over and check it out. The link is on my sidebar!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is anyone else getting these ridiculous emails?

I just wondered if anyone else is getting emails that state they found your profile and wanted to get to know you. I am assuming they are getting them from the blog profiles. Any idea how to stop the emails from coming. I have been reporting them as spam, but it is a different email address and I have gotten three now, and not to mentions they cannot spell worth a hoot! Just wondering!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pouring out, pouring in, and pouring forth

It has been awhile since I shared my Bible study with you. Our session Tues night was incredible. Living in the Spirit is all about living in victory and living in the Spirit will change your day. It will determine your mood, it will determine your choices. Begin each morning in praise to the Father, allow your worries and anxieties, your fears and your tears to be poured out at His feet so that you can stand completely pure before Him. I mean, pour out EVERYTHING. Confess all that is consuming you. And then once you have confessed it, allow yourself to accept the forgiveness that God redeems you with. God is our refuge, spill forth all of your concerns at His feet. Once you do that, you will allow Him to pour in all that He is willing to give. This is one thing that you can indulge in. We were created with the desire to be full. Allow the spirit to fill you to the emptiest places, the deepest crevices, the most secret spots. Tell Him what you are lacking and ask Him to fill it for you. We need to live by the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, and keep in step with the Spirit. Once we pour out all that is in us and allow Him to pour in what we need, then we will be able to pour forth His spirit on others and minister to them through the spirit. Letting Him take control, giving Him the worries, will overflow you with peace and and permeate your bones so that you naturally live by the Spirit each day. The Spirit empowers us to fight life's inevitable battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil. In every way and at every turn we are utterly dependen on the Holy Spirit of God.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little girl from Vietnam...

dances to the music on my blog. I received this comment today, although, I have no idea who it is, this has simply made my heart happy, that the songs I have on my blog for Kaylee has brought joy to another baby girl from Vietnam whose momma reads our blog. The post was as follows:

"This is totally unrelated to any posts but I just wanted to let you know that my daughter (adopted from Vietnam this year)absolutelly loves the music on this blog site and dances nonstop when I have the site up. I am not religious and therefor don't tend to listen to christian music . . . however my little girl is directing me otherwise.
September 23, 2008 7:00 PM"

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this little girl dances to my little girl's songs and is showing her momma a little glimpse of You. Please bless this momma and her sweet baby girl.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where two or more are gathered!

Hey, everyone. I would like to make a request for a huge joint prayer at 8:00 (central time) tonite to pray for a very dear family at Children's Hope to receive their G & R date. They are waiting to pick up Sam and Eli and have been waiting since about Feb.
Would you please join us in pray for this family to FINALLY have everything in order to go an get their boys? The family name is Leonard. Her blog is www.fiveinthehive.blogspot.com
Thanks everyone. God says, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, I will hear their prayer".

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A little fun!

I am going to let you know a little about me and then you can make this post on your blog and tell me your answers. I won't tag anyone, I will just let anyone play along that would like to. Just leave me a comment that you are playing and I will hop on over and read your answers!


Reality T.V. or Crime show dramas? definitely CSI: Miami (we know that H. is NOT dead!
McDonald's or Burger King? McDonald's
Satin night gown or comfy p.j's? definitely comfy pjs
Chicken or steak? If i had to choose, it would be steak, but I love them both
Pepsi or Dr. Pepper? If you read this blog, you know it is Dr. Pepper
Plain or peanut M&M's? Plain, in my movie popcorn
Love stories or comedies? Love stories
Reading or blogging? hmmmm, blogging
Red or pink? pink
Camping or hotel vacations? definitely hotel vacations
Fall or winter? Fall
Store brand or name brand? depends on the product
Sports car or SUV? Chevy Tahoe, baby!
Rock N Roll or Country? If I had to choose it would be rock n roll, but I am really a contemporary christian music listener
Original or Extra Crispy? Extra Crispy
Text message or phone call? Definitely phone call.. I just don't get the texting thing
Pepperoni or Supreme? Yuck, who eats supreme? Definitely pepperoni
Candy corn or candy apples? candy apples
Online shopping or in-store shopping? Depends on what I am shopping for
I Love Lucy reruns or Bewitched reruns? I Love Lucy
French Onion Dip or Rotel cheese dip? French onion with Ruffles
Ice cream sandwich or icecream bar? Icecream bar
Oreos or Chips Ahoy? Oreos
With or without cheese? with cheese
Watermelon or Kiwi? watermelon
Polka dots or stripes? polka dots
Manicures or pedicures? pedicures
Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp? Hard decision
Early morning riser or night owl? you take a guess, look at the times on my posts!
Cereal or eggs and bacon? eggs and bacon, if you will cook them!
Baseball or football? Neither
Dog lover or cat lover? What do you think, arfff!
Ice cream sundae or milkshake? Ice cream sundae
Chocolate or powdered donuts? powdered, only from a real bakery
White or wheat bread? white
Going to the movies or renting movies? going to the movies
Alaska or Mexico? Alaska, so I can really meet my friend Jan!
By car or by plane? By car when possible
Cash or debit card? What is cash?
Halloween or Valentine's day? Halloween
House in the city or house in the country? House in the country

Hope you play along

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Party Time!



You are invited to my Pampered Chef party, via internet, of course! Although, I would love for you to actually hop on a plane, drive in the car, or catch a bus if you would like to come in person! I just LOVE Pampered Chef! Even if you don't cook much, there is ALWAYS something you can find useful. So click on the link below and browse the online catalog.


Here is the guest special this month:




#GP87 Mix 'N Chop - FREE with purchase of $60 or more! A $9.50 value! - $0.00 A Pampered Chef® exclusive! Unique, beveled pinwheel blades efficiently chop and crumble foods for even cooking and seasoning. Its high-quality nylon design follows the curves of your cookware and won't scratch its surface. A soft grip and thumb rest help you comfortably grasp the handle and chop more easily. Heat-resistant to 428°F. 11". Dishwasher-safe.



But that is not the best part, keep reading!

Just click here to go to my page on my consultant's website. This will ensure that I get credit for your order.

And since you are not able to join in the fun in person, I am going to offer anyone that places an order of $20.00 or more from my show the chance to win a $20.00 gift certificate to Pampered Chef! That's right!

After you place your order. , you will have to leave me a comment with your order number and I will put the order numbers in a bowl and have my consultant draw the winning number the morning of my show.

The deadline for placing an order is October 2.

My show is on October 4.

I will email you if you won and the gift certificate will be mailed to you directly for you to spend on a future order! Does that sound like fun?

I hope you join in the fun! I will post pictures of the recipes and the recipes themselves the day after the party along with the lucky winner! Happy shopping!

BTW- there is a new post on the other website.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow! I got an award!


Today I was honored by my friend affectionately know in blogland as Lala to receive this esteemed award. She was blessed with a referral of a baby boy from Vietnam about a month ago and hopes to travel soon. She has been a faithful encourager to me and she is one of my most favorite blogging friends. I love you , Lala, and thank you for my award. I do try to display a cheerful attitude, I do love everybody, I definitely make mistakes, I love learning from others, I love contributing honestly and positively to the blog world, I love life and I am mushy in love with kids!

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

These are the rules for The Smile Award.
1. The recipient must link back the the award's creator
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

The creator of the award is Mere

Now I need to nominate 5 people. This is so hard because I know so many who make me smile !
I will award this smile award to the KIDS that make me smile and their moms!

Vietnam Lucy and her mom Kelly- Let me tell you, when I am feeling down, I pop on over to see Lucy and I immediately find a smile! Thanks, Lucy, and your mom is always encouraging me and an awesome photographer!

Sweet Katie and her mom Beth- I love this kid! That about sums it up, and her mom is very precious to my heart!

Baby Lulu and her mom Emily- This is the sweetest toddler ever! I could just eat her up each time I see her picture! Her mom is always inspirational and funny sharing everyday Lulu life with us, not to mention a fabulous photographer. Thanks, Emily for sharing Lulu with us!

River and his mom Lauren- River has just recently come home from Vietnam and I simply love this awesome family. Lauren has always been very honest and encouraging to me!

Sam and Eli and their mom Gina- These sweet boys are currently waiting to come home from Vietnam and Gina has done her fair share of waiting. I know she will be smiling soon. Her honest heart and humanity really touch me and we are all going to be smiling when they get on that plane to go and get those boys!

So kiddos, share your awards with Mom, Okay! But it is YOU that truly makes me smile.
Did I mention that I was truly mushy in love with kids?!!!!

I do have several friends that ALWAYS make me smile when I get an email from them and you know who you are. This award is yours also! Some of you don't have blogs, though, but you know that I love you dearly!

Protected posts

If you want to see if a post has been made on the other blog, just click on the link at the top of my sidebar. It will be easier than me alerting you to a protected post. Thanks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sharing my study- Influence

Today's treasure: " Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to reamin true to the faith. 'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God' they said" Acts 14:22. Wow, how is that for being relevant? And this was just the first verse of study! Today's study focused on the power of influence and why we need to stay rooted in the Holy Spirit. Did you know that we can possess the very character of Christ? You have to grant God an all-access pass to every part of your life and when you do you will never be the same. Think with me if you will about this. God entrusted women with the most wonderful and terrible gift- the power of influence. Think about Eve in the Garden? Why did the serpent approach her and not Adam? Think about the power of feminine influence. We are the bearer of children, women overwhelmingly staff schools, MDOs, daycares, and Sunday Schools. With the divorce rate up, mothers are the primary influence in children's lives. When we use our influence at best- we encourage, nurture, teach, evangelize, and disciple others. At the worst- our influence can cripple and kill. The line becomes very fine between the two. God exhorts us to have gentle and quiet spirits, meaning we need to think before we speak and act. These warnings in scripture are no provided becasue we are so lowly, but because we possess such an awesome gift.
How do you use your gift of influence in your home, at work, and in your church? Learning to live by the Spirit can refine our influence to be used in positive ways and gentle ways. Please pray that God will help you to wield your influence ONLY under the authority of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you!

{Some statements are taken directly from my study guide and some are my wording.}
Please let me know if you enjoy me sharing these tidbits or not. I just love studying the fruit of the spirit because it is relevant for every day living. And it also helps me study when I share a small portion with you. So speak up! If you don't care for it, I won't share quite as much! But I hope it helps someone out there! I will tell you that this particular study is available for online study and www.lifeway.com if you would like to watch Beth Moore and download the study guides. After two days, I am already feeling refreshed.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

God is already speaking to me

Wow, can I say here that only after this first session of Beth Moore's "Living Beyond Yourself" that I came home reflecting already on how He spoke to my heart. This study is about learning to live in the fruit of the spirit, living beyond what we alone are able to do. God has called us to live beyond ourselves. When we are filled with the fruit of the spirit, it makes us immediately different. When you are filled with the fruit of the Spirit, you will find God making you reach out and press forward to your goal. There was one verse in particular that spoke to me in regard to this adoption journey. In 2 Corinithians 1:8-9 it says in part " We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired in life." God brings us far beyond our ability to endure and when we reach the goal we can say without a doubt that GOD IS GOD because it went way beyond our natural talents and abilities.
" The essence of an abundant life is God abundant in our lives."~ Beth Moore
"If you are still breathing, God is still happening".
God has called each of us to live beyond what we are able. I am looking forward to immersing myself is God's word and allowing the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow on my face. If your unrelenting daily demands are beyond yourself and you find yourself having a "here we go again day" stop and fill yourself with the sweet fruit of the Holy Spirit. It will change your life, it will change your day, it will change your mood.

I look forward to sharing my daily studies with you. It is so refreshing to soak up God's beautiful word and see where He has already brought me beyond myself with this adoption and I will continue to trust that God is God and He is still happening and it is far beyond my own ability to endure this journey, so I will put God in control and allow Him to teach me what He would have me to learn. I hope you will enjoy sharing my studies with me. The fruit of the Spirit is probably my favorite study ever because it relates to everyday living and provides and immediate growth in my walk with God.

Getting refreshed


I am starting a new Beth Moore bible study tonight. I am looking forward to hearing what God will have to say to my heart. Being in a very vulnerable place is usually where He brings you when He really needs to speak to you. I looking forward to refreshing my mind, my spirit, and my heart. I so desperately need to be consumed in His love right now. I am at such a low point today. I am still faithful, just feeling down. I know that the fellowship of Christian ladies and prayer, and teaching of God's word is just the ticket for me right now. You see, I am so extremely busy each Sunday that I do not get to attend Sunday School or service as I am overseeing the nursery, preschool , and elementary departments. It is way too easy to get detached when you are not pouring yourself into God's word. It is time for me to come to the well and let God pour His love out on me so I can gain a new found faith, trust, and endurance for whatever lies ahead in our adoption journey. This Beth Moore study is on the fruit of the spirit. I am so looking forward to it. I plan on sharing tidbits of my study here with you so that you may be refreshed also.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

From a friend

I recieved this from a dear friend of mine and I wanted to share it with all of you.


"A child sat on Jesus' lap in the splendor of heaven.
The child asked, "Is it time?"
Jesus parted the clouds, looked and said,"No, not yet child.
"The child asked "When will it be time?"
Jesus replied, "When lessons are learned,hardships endured, and loneliness lived,then it will be time."
Time passed.
The child asked, "Is it time?"
Jesus parted the clouds, looked and said,"No, not yet child."
The child asked, "When will it be time?"
Jesus replied, "When maturity is reached,self-worth affirmed and spirits strengthened, then it will be time."
Time passed.
The child asked, "Is it time?"
Jesus parted the clouds, looked and said,
"Their love is strong and their hearts are open.
Yes, now it is time-Your parents are ready."~author unknown

Thank you, Laurie, you are such an encourager! Maybe God will part the clouds soon and tell Kaylee "Their love is strong and their hearts are open, Yes, now it is time, your parents are ready." We are ready, Kaylee.

Lord, hear our prayer

Protected post. Click here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The End of One hope

This day, THE day that held such significance for all of us in the Vietnam prospective adopting world has come and gone so quietly. Many of us are holding broken hearts for the dream of the Vietnamese child we have dreamed of for so long, for us, well over 750 days. We are left to pursue other avenues if possible and those whose only hope was the Vietman program are at the mercy of two governments to reach a new agreement and reopen the program. It was stated today that the program has been suspended indefinitely. Such an open ended time frame. Many of us will grieve the loss of the child we had already adopted in our hearts and renew our strength to start over a whole new process with another country. There are families who have been left today wondering what it will mean for them to not have obtained their official referral letter and have grown to love the face of the child they have been provided to be faced with the possibility of their child being assigned to someone else. There are families celebrating the fact that they were the "lucky ones" to have received all the proper paperwork to be able to proceed with the adoption. There are even families who have brought their children home, who in light of all the corruption exposure may pause to wonder if their child was truly an orphan as reports of their child's province or orphange is brough under scrutiny.
My heart is very quiet tonight as I reflect on the dreams we held so dear of the child from Vietnam that we had no doubt we were going to bring into our family. As I have watched families before and after us become families, the joy becomes bittersweet. My mind fills with questions of "what ifs " and" if we only" to the point of craziness. There is no sense in asking these questions because what is is what is. Trusting wholly in God is the absolute only sense in this whole mess. I don't feel in my heart that we are never getting a child. There is just going to have to be a new focus and new set of strength to come from this whole terrible mess. That is what I really feel this has been. We were given so much hope that this Vietnam adoption was going to be a sure thing. We were told we would get a referral, they just didn't know when. And here we are, no hope of a referral from Vietnam, thousands of dollars sunk into this adoption, months and months of fruitless waiting, totally at the bottom of the valley. I am asking God to reach down and bring us out of this storm, praising Him for whatever it is we are to learn from this experience. I know it is certainly easy to praise God when you are standing on the top of the mountain, looking at all you have accomplished, but when you are in the valley looking up to the mountain, your heart cries out to God to show you what you are to learn and then you thank Him for bringing you to this place so that when you do reach the top of the mountain, you will know that HE is the only one that could have brought you to that place. His mercies are wonderful and His ways are not always for us to understand. I do know that God NEVER makes any mistakes, He never forsakes us or forgets about us, He will never leave His children. He only asks us to TRUST in Him, even though our own understanding cannot comprehend His ways. I am trusting God to bring us to the top of the mountain, to bring us to our daughter. It is very hard starting over somewhere else but at this point, we have to endure the changes and press on to a new goal. The months ahead will show us where to go. Those updates are posted on the password protected blog.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for us to find our daughter. If I had never started this blog, I would not have the support today that I have. You all are very special to us and we hope that someday soon it will be our moment and our day that we share with you the news of a daughter that God has led us to. Keep praying for us that we find our direction. You are all truely awesome and wonderful friends.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kaylee, Where are you and what are you thinking of? Are you tired of the waiting too? Please tell mommy where you are. We want to know you. We want to see your face. We have been waiting a long time for you. Please let mommy know you are there!

God keeps bringing families together

My heart if full of so much happiness for all the families around me that God is bringing together. My friend L. received a referral for a little girl from Vietnam and her DIA letter by the deadline. Truly God's doing. My friend Tina, a fellow CHI family, has been blessed with a pregnancy while they wait out the Vietnam program. Others have been able to receive the proper approvals for their Vietnam babies or approvals with other country programs. God is good. I just have to keep focusing on the fact that God is never late, He is never early. He has every single solitary detail already planned. How much longer are we going to have to wait to be a family? I don't know. When will I finally see my little plum's face? Only He knows. I find myself going to the One who made me to begin with and trusting in Him to bring to fruition my only heart's desire right now. I have no idea how much longer we are going to have to wait but I do know that He is giving me the strength to hold on.

I do look at those around me and silently wonder why it has not been our time yet. Why has God chosen for us to continue this waiting process? Is there anything I could have done differently? Is there anything I can do now? The only answer I know is to keep my face to His feet and with ferverent prayer lift my daughter up to Him that He will choose to bring us together. My heart hurts for her, my eyes long to see her face, my faith will waiver and then grow strong. He is my provider and strength. This too shall pass and I will have my joyous day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome little peanut!





video

My sweet baby niece was born today at 4:11 a.m. She weighed only 6 pounds and 3 ounces. Quite the little peanut. This was the most amazing and incredible experience I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. It is absolutely a miracle. This little tiny head, peaking through, ready to come into the world. Then all of a sudden she is here, right here, quivering and crying. I loved her before she was born, but I LOVE her like no other love. My niece was such a tough little thing, not one single solitary complaint. I am so proud of her. I cannot wait to be a part of this little angel's life. She is just so incredible. No words can express how much I love this little girl. She has an amazing mommy and nana. I am truly honored to be her aunt. She is more of a blessing to me than she will ever know. I will say she took her own sweet time making her appearance, though. Lyndsey was in labor from 9 :30 a.m. on Tuesday till 4 :11 am on Wednesday. I don't think there is any greater miracle than that of childbirth. I am so grateful to my niece for allowing me the opportunity to experience this with her. I never dreamed I would be sharing in her motherhood joys before my own, but God is always on time, and today was Sophia's day. Hopefully one day soon will be Kaylee's day.

Sophia Scarlett Renee,

You are the most amazing little girl. Thank you for being in my life. I will count it as pure privilege to watch you learn and grow. You have an incredible mommy and you couldn't ask for any more love. We love you and look forward to watching you grow and learn so many things. I love you so much, little peanut.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sweet baby


My heart was really broken tonight to watch a 15 year old walk into my office at church with her new 2 month old baby. This baby was so precious, the mother so young. I scooped that little baby up and she just snuggled me close. Very content. I asked if I could take care of her during church and the mother immediately agreed so she could go and sit with all the youth that she had not seen in a long time. For 66 minutes I was in pure heaven. This little tiny baby reached up and wrapped her tiny little hand around my pinkie finger as I was feeding her a bottle. Dwayne was sitting beside me and happened to look over and see her holding my hand and he quietly shed tears. Sitting there, holding her in my arms, listening to her sweet little sighs, and patting her little diaper bottom, my eyes welled up with tears for this moment to be my own. I felt in this time somehow a great peace came over me that Kaylee was somewhere in the near future. That I would have my own moment soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

God is blessing families!

Well, God is good and He is definitely hearing some prayers! My friend Melissa did get her letter on time! YAY! However, some prayers still need to go up for her and her son since her son was born in Tu Du hospital and this announcement was released yesterday :http://www.jcics.org/Vietnam.htm

I am anxious to see if any new information is available with our agency's update tomorrow. I did have one fellow Vietnam PAP tell me that her agency (not CHI) has encouraged them to look into some other options and are not being very optimistic about an agreement anytime soon. There are certainly going to be alot of families making hard decision in the next few weeks. My prayer for all my fellow PAPs is to listen to what God would have you do. All of our lives are in different places and some of us will have no choice but to wait it out, through the closedown. Some of us may have other country options, domestic options, or fertility treatment options and may be able to move on to another choice. However, we are all in this together and need to support each other, even if God is blessing some now and having some wait. We just have to remember that He already has everything planned out and we just have to wait to receive our blessing when He wants us to. God is good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Protected post: Could it be?

Click here for post

As the deadline approaches.......

I am interested in seeing what other Vietnam waiting families are going to do as the deadline approaches. I just really do not understand why there has not been more communication on this issue. My heart is really going out to the families who are waiting on their DIA letter. If you are out there reading, how are you doing? Email me or leave me a comment, or if you want your comment to be protected, you can click on the other website and leave it there! Just wondering where every one's thoughts are.

GREAT NEWS! My friend, L., got a referral for a baby boy! He is 7.5 months old! We need to send up some prayers for the DIA letter. Hop on over and lend your congratulations!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Houston, we almost had a problem!

Try again! My post disappeared, but it is back now!
Protected Post: Click Here

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Honesty and prayers

I just read the most honest post from a family who is waiting to travel to get their boys. Short form is this: They have had their referral since about Feb of this year and they have just now received their travel approval, which means their boys are considered orphans. However, they are now being told that they could wait up to an additional 8 weeks for their Giving and Receiving date, which is the date you have to have before you can travel. They have been up and down through this whole process, the boys' paperwork had delays, etc. and I just know they are exhausted already with what seems to be needless waiting. My heart is very heavy for this momma. I need prayers for this family. This family's heart cannot take waiting another 8 weeks. I know she is hurting because little River was in the same orphanage that Sam and Eli are I can only imagine how heart wrenching that would be to know that someone was right there with my babies and could not bring them home for me. My only words of encouragement to this family is that God is all knowing and He is compassionate and He knows all our hurts and holds all our tears in the palm of His hand. He says " NEVER will I leave you or forsake you" "Trust in me with all your heart".

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." --James 1:2-3

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perserverence, perserverence produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5 :3-5.

Be assured if God waits longer than you wish, it is only to make the blessing all the more precious" - Unknown

It is in our pain that God will reveal Himself to us. I will choose to be very honest here. Although my trust in God is prevelant, there have been some VERY hard days. With every tear that I have shed, has also been a prayer for the daughter that I so long to hold in my arms. There have been A LOT of what ifs in this journey. What if we had listed with another agency? In our time frame we could have probably already completed an adoption. What if we have chosen another country? We could have already completed an adoption. What if we had started our adoption journey years before we did? we could have already completed an adoption. And the list goes on. Here is God's answer:
This journey is MY journey for you. My timing is perfect. My ways are not your ways. You choose the path, but I plan the steps. You have to trust me that I WILL lead you to your heart's desire. It is NOT my plan for you to never be parents, it IS my plan for you to wait right now. It will be my blessing alone to give you the most precious gift. You can do nothing to speed up the process so , let Me show you my greatness is giving you the most precious treasure ever. I promise you that I will take care of you, I will never leave you to go at it alone, I want you to need me. I want to hold your tears, I want to hear your prayers. I want to have the chance to reveal myself to you in the most unexpected moment. You are my child, and I will take care of your every need. Trust me, I take care of the smallest bird I will surely care for you. I am always here for you, always listening for your call, always wiping away your tears. Your day of joy will come, but only after the tears. Let me hold you and show you how great my love is for you. You are my child, I am your Father. I never break my promises.

This is what God tells me. Talk to Him, ask Him for comfort and direction. He already knows what you are going to ask, give Him a chance to answer. I am finding peace with facing the possibilty of starting over in yet another country to find our daughter. Yes, I am exhausted, Yes, I am tired, Yes, I just want to be done. But, the love for my daughter, wherever she is, is so strong that I will press forward to find her. In the midst of what we thought was the end of a journey has turned out to be yet a new beginning, a new hope, and new comfort. We are praying for the will of God to be done in our lives, that He will help us make the right decision. It is hard not knowing what to do. I still wish He would send me an email or stick His hand down from heaven with a sticky note telling us what to do, but He does not make it that easy. This is where the endurance in our suffering comes in. This is where I lay it at His feet, literally. On my face at His feet in tears asking for His grace and mercy for the child we so desperately long for. Will we find our daughter- YES, when, I do not know. But I will look to God for direction and He will bring her to us, and He will recieve all the glory and she will never be taken for granted.
I thank God for bringing us on this journey, for meeting so many wonderful families and children, for allowing me to shed tears, for touching my face with peace, for wrapping me in His loving arms of comfort, for all He has yet to do.

PAP s requested to fill out survey

Dear Families, Friends and Colleagues,
As we all know, the families who lovingly made the decision to adoptfrom Vietnam or Guatemala continue to face unimaginable challenges.Joint Council, through such initiatives as the Guatemala 5000 and AChild's Right Campaign, has continually advocated for families and thechildren who need them. As part of our ongoing efforts, we havejoined forces with Ethica and the National Council for Adoption toprovide a new tool in our collective advocacy initiative. Twosurveys, one for families trying to adopt from Vietnam, and one forfamilies trying to adopt from Guatemala, are now available through theJoint Council website. These surveys are a vitally important means ofgathering the information our three organizations need to properlyadvocate for adoptive families.Unfortunately much misinformation exists regarding the number offamilies still waiting to complete their adoptions. In Vietnam, forexample, no reliable information is available on the number offamilies with dossiers registered with the Department of IntercountryAdoption. In Guatemala, no one knows the number of families stillawaiting the release of their case by the PGN. With calls asking forassistance continually coming into Joint Council, Ethica, NCFA, CCAIand Congressional offices, it is vitally important that we, asadvocates, have the information needed to fully support adoptivefamilies and children.These two surveys will allow us to gauge the situation in eachcountry, assess the number of families in each stage of the process,and provide accurate data to those seeking to advocate on behalf offamilies and children. The cumulative data (no personal informationwill be shared unless specifically indicated on the survey) will beprovided to organizations such as the Congressional Coalition onAdoption Institute and other advocates such as the CongressionalCoalition on Adoption and individual Members of Congress. Thecollection of similar information was gathered during the closure ofintercountry adoption in Cambodia and was instrumental in thecompletion of virtually all adoptions. While no one can make promisesof such results, we do feel confident, through our discussion with keystakeholders, that the survey results will be an important tool inpositively resolving many outstanding issues. These surveys willassist the families as well, by providing them with a new, accurateperspective, as well as relevant information regarding the status oftheir adoption compared to other adoptive families.In order to be most effective with the survey results it is criticallyimportant that all families currently in the adoption process withVietnam or Guatemala complete the appropriate survey by Friday, August22, 2008. The surveys can be found via a link on the homepage of theJoint Council website (www.jcics.org) or directly at Vietnam Survey orGuatemala Survey. Joint Council, Ethica and NCFA encourage allfamilies to participate in this very important initiative.We also encourage everyone to distribute this information to allfamilies via email, websites, blogs and other media. Copies of thisemail announcement may be forwarded as needed in order to distributethis information.Lastly, Joint Council, Ethica, and NCFA offer our thanks for your rolein making this initiative successful as we continue to advocate forevery child's right to a safe, permanent and loving family.

GO TO www.jcics.org for survey

Tom DiFilipo, President & CEO, Joint Council on InternationalChildren's Services,
Linh Song, Executive Director, Ethica, Inc.
Chuck Johnson, Vice President for Training and Agency Services, NCFA
Sincerely,
Anna RoughChild Advocacy Program Manager
Joint Council on International Children's Servicesannar@jcics. org(703) 535 8045

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sign this petition please!

This is one last effort to plea with Vietnam to hold all dossiers at DIA instead of returning them to the families. This petition does not guarantee an agreement to be reached, only that Vietnam not return the dossiers. This will benefit waiting families to not have to pay to have a new dossier sent back to Vietnam. So please take one small minute to click on this link below and petition the Prime minister of Vietnam on this issue. After you sign and submit, just close your window. It will ask for a donation, but you do not have to donate. The petition will only be open until Monday so please copy and paste this information and get it to anyone who would be willing to help. Thank you so much.

http://www.ipetitio ns.com/petition/ continue_ vn_adoptions/

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dept of State responds to letter

Here is the response to the letter that was sent to Condelezza Rice to all members of Congress.
It does not sound like we can expect an interim agreement before Vietnam asseeds to the Hague Convention. In fact, they are stating that this process could take several years. You can read the actual letter here:

http://www.jcics.org/response%20from%20DOS%20to%20vietnam%20adoption%20letter.pdf

I will be anxious to see what our agency has to say about this. There is also a quarterly meeting our agency rep is to be attending I believe tomorrow. I sure wish they would make a final announcement already so everyone can make much needed decisions and move on.
Some of you are still asking for the password, which is fine, but you are not leaving me your email address. So , if you still have not gotten the word- I probably need your email address because I could not link a blog to leave you a comment. Thanks!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A kiss and a prayer

Protected post. Click here

God is amazing!

God has been making Himself evident in the past few days! I have seen one dear family finally become a family of three with their son after 15 weeks of prayer. Now, my friends, the Leonards, to whom I just asked for prayer last night, woke up to their approval this morning! Can you believe it? They are waiting on their G & R. God is answering my prayers one by one. All the families that I have become close with are all being united with their children. This is so fantastic.

Now, I have two friends, Melissa and Tracy that are both needing their official DIA letter before the cutoff date! I also have a dear friend Lori who is #2 on her agency's list for referral and they are hoping for their referral by the cutoff. So this new set of prayers is to make everything official for these families so ensure these babies find their way home!

I don't ask for a lot of prayer for Dwayne and I, but God is working right now. You will have to go here to learn more. Just keep us in your prayers that we are listening to God and following the direction He would have us go.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sweet dreams

Over the past few days I have had this really overwhelming feeling of calmness. I really don't know why because nothing has changed in the Vietnam world. There is a meeting set for this week with all the agencies in Hanoi, so maybe some new information will come from that. But, it would seem that there would be some kind of indication by now what we could all expect from this situation. Not only the Vietnam situation, but I am just really bothered by the fact that our agency is having trouble getting Hague approval and we have not been given a status on that situation. We are keeping our face to Christ and our faith strong to know which way to go.

Now that River has been united with his family and God has answered that prayer, I would like to offer up many prayers for Sam and Eli. They have receive acknowledgement that their i600 has been received, so now we must pray for a swift referral. It is time for these boys to come home already. I know God can bring these babies home in the wink of an eye. Please keep this family in your prayers.

I dreamed of a sweet little baby with dark hair sleeping. Still faceless. But close to my heart. I love these sweet dreams.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Isn't this the most beautiful sight?


The Biehoffers became a family today. They waited 15 weeks for their I600 approval. This is the most beautiful sight I have seen in the longest time! Congratulations, River! You are such a cutie pie! This picture was taken 1 1/2 hours after they got off the plane! I think they look great! Of course, long awaiting happiness might have had something to do with that!
Password protected post: click here

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 730 has come and gone!

I cannot believe that I missed posting on our 730 day anniversary or 24 month anniversary. That's right, 24 months have passed filled with days of hope, followed by days of tears, followed by days on my knees in prayer, followed by renewed hope, followed by heartache, followed by days of tears, followed by days on my knees in prayer, followed by renewed hope. That is where we are right now. In a place of total trust in God the Father to bring to us the most incredible little baby girl, my heartsong, my little joyful plum. God's plan may still be for us to find her in Vietnam, after all, there is still 3 weeks until the impending shutdown, and God did create the whole entire world and everything in it in only 5 days. You see, it would be just like my God to open back up the Vietnam door on August 31st. It is often when we are at our lowest point- reaching up to Him, that He will reach down and pull us into His arms and say " I told you, my child, that I would never leave you or forsake you. For I created you and I will always take care of you." Isn't He awesome? Or, it may be His plan to send us to another place, only He knows. And all we can do it keep searching for His ultimate guidance in our journey to our daughter.

Let me say again, that I am still so enamoured with the thought of all of you who want to continue on this journey with us. It has just amazed me how many people know our story and think of us. I received the most beautiful handcrafted dragonfly today. It came from a very special friend who recently traveled to Vietnam for her twin babies. I am just so overwhelmed at her remembering us while she was in Vietnam, when she was meeting her babies for the first time. Thank you, Heather, for such a beautiful gift that I will treasure forever.

Speaking of dragonflies, my goodness, for the past few days there have literally been swarms of them in the yard. One stopped in midflight right in front of me as if to say "She's out there waiting for you" and then she flitted on her way, so happily. Of course, one or two have found their way to the front grill of my Tahoe and I don't think they were very happy!

There was no new information released today from our agency. The only thing they did say was that all agencies were asked to be at a quarterly meeting in Hanoi in a few days and our rep was going to be there. There was a meeting last Friday between the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, the US Dept of State, and USCIS with members of congress about issues related to intercountry adoptions in Vietnam and Guatelmala, and the whole meeting reportedly was focused on Vietnam. The meeting was led by Michael Valverde, CIS-Chief of the Children's Issues Branch, International Operations, Michelle Bond, Dos- Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizens Services Carrie Rankin, CIS- Presidential Management Fellow, Children's Issues Branch, InternationalOperations, and Gerry Fuller, DoS- Unit Chief for Adoptions.

The following was reported from the meeting:

There was "standing room only, two people deep" and though it was scheduled to last 1 hour in total, tocover Ethiopia, Guatemala and Vietnam, 1 1/4 hours were consumed by discussion of Vietnam. DoS members in DC seemed "compassionate" and "get it".
2. DoS appeared "shocked" by the overwhelming turnout and "'intensity" of the crowd
.3.One of the staffers attending (no name available) is himself attempting to adopt from Vietnam.
4.DoS "painted a stark picture of how difficult it has been to work withthe Vietnamese government." The frustration is that there not acentral authority from which to obtain information. DoS is currentlywaiting for a response from the Vietnamese government on the following:- how many of the 1,729 applicants are waiting to be matched -what are Vietnam's intentions regarding PAP who are not matched bySept. 1, Could those families not matched by Sept. 1 be placed first inline for upcoming referrals? Could children be matched prior to birth?
5. DoS has received authorization to permanently double its staff size inVietnam in anticipation of an potential flurry of referrals by the endof August.
6.DoS will enhance communication on all levels via the internet, possibly establishing a specific website for Vietnam adoption,
7. CCAI is following up on this meeting by writing an other letter to the Vietnamese government addressing the concerns brought up at today's meeting.
8.DoS, again, voiced concern about using its limited time for answering questions versus processing adoptions.

Again, no one has made an official announcement to any of this, these were just notes from an attendee as to what was discussed and this is NOT an official announcement. Some are encouraging, some are discouraging. But we will only take it for what it is worth and until an official announcement emerges, we will keep following the current path we are on. Did I mention how big my God is and that He can do whatever He wants? So, well, God we are listening!
Don't you just wish God would reach down with a sticky note on His hand telling us what we are to do? I am still up for sitting on the street corner with a sign that says "Will Work for Baby".

What will tomorrow bring?

Well, first of all I had absolutely NO IDEA how many of you were out there rooting for us! I just can't get over it! I think I have sent all of you that requested the password. You can still leave me a comment with your name and email and I will send it to you.

Our update from the agency comes out tomorrow. Since our program director was on vacation last week, I will be anxious to hear what the latest is. I have been reading about a few referrals from other agencies, so let's pray for these families that they will recieve all the approvals they need before Sept. 1. I am still trying to soak in the fact that we are facing starting all over with another adoption if this one does not pan out. So many what ifs right now not only with the program but with our agency.

Again, your kindess has overwhelmed me and knowing that you all are praying for us means a whole lot. I truly believe God listens to every prayer, but He really listens to multiple prayers about the same thing. I do trust Him in and for everything! He is taking care of my daughter right now. I am listening for His direction.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The word is out!

The password that is. I tried my best to get the password sent to everyone that requested it. If you did not get it, leave me a comment here so I can include you. There is no big news yet, but I just wanted to get the other blog set up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Finally...Good news from a far off land!

My dear friends the Beihoffers are FINALLY going to get baby River. They waited 104 days for their travel approval, too long in my book, but that is all behind them now and River is coming home. Hop on over to www.wheretheriverflows.wordpress.com and give them your congratulations. If it is password protected, you can leave her a message here and I will send it to her.
Another bloggy friend, Tracy, recieved her referral of her 4 week old son! Her agency is hopefull all the letters will come through by Sept 1. Hop on over to www.seniorfamilynews.blogspot.com and lend your congratulations.
We are still pursuing our options and as soon as I have some news, I will be password protecting my post, so make sure if you want to be included that you have left me a comment with your email and blog address. I have had several of you respond and I am overwhelmed at the number of people who are wishing and hoping for a referral for us from somewhere in the near future!
I also gave my blog a facelift, sometimes it takes a while to load, but I think it is pretty cute. Want a cute background? Click on the link in the top left had corner for Cutest Blog on the Block and grab you up a FREE background, tons of them= FREE! I will be changing my background pretty often.
Don't forget to shop my AVON store (link on the sidebar at the very top). Email me and I can give you a code for FREE DIRECT SHIPPING! You can't pass that up. Lots of great things! You can shop the brochure or shop by product on my site. Thank you to some of you that have already been to my store! You should have received your products! This month, if you place an order by the end of August, you will be entered into a drawing for some great FREE Avon products valued at 20-30 dollars! Isn't that fabulous? I will automatically enter you when I receive your order! My four long distance online customers that ordered in July will be entered into this drawing as well! This has really been good for me, to keep me busy!
I know this post has been just a little of this and that, and not a whole lot of encouragement, but I will be posting a more serious post in a few days!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My heart, my dream





"May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the
laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.”- unknown




I LOVE this quote! It need no explanation. My love hidden deep inside my heart will find the love of my daughter waiting in my dreams. I believe that with all my heart. Tomorrow is already bringing the laughter that is wiping away the tears in my yesterdays, although I am sure that there will be some of my tomorrows filled with more tears. But, without sorrow you would never know true joy. WHEN I find my daughter all the sorrows will fade and new happiness will finally find it's way to my heart.




Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beyond 725 days.....

I will go before you and make the rough places smooth... Isaiah 45:2

725 days of trust and hope, a heart full of wonderful friends, and faith that God will lead us to our daughter. I could sit here and dwell on everything that has not turned out for us, or feelings of despair, but I will choose to remain on the road and follow where God is leading us. I won't say that I have not had my "I don't understand why we are going through this" stage, but I know that everything is not for us to understand, only trust. My heart is still hurting for all my dear Vietnam family buddies that are along the same journey as we are, but I am so excited and encouraged to hear that many of you are moving on to find a positive outlet for your dream to become parents. We just all have to stick together and encourage each other to do what is right for each of us. We may not go down the same road together, but I will ALWAYS love each and every one of you. This journey has brought me joy to find the ones who will forever be dear to my heart and have blessed my life beyond measure. I have been truly amazed at the outpouring of encouragement and concern from people all over who finally introduced themselves to us. We are ready to pursue another adoption avenue and I am currently trying to obtain the preliminary information to get the process rolling. I am going to be using WORDPRESS to protect some of my posts, so you will need to leave me a comment with your blog, name and email if you want to be able to access these posts. Those of you to whom I email on a regular basis will receive the password from me. I will not discontinue this blog, but when it is necessary, I will link you to wordpress and the protected post. I am just going to be a little more private about the new process and want to know who is reading.

The past few days have been spent in reflection on where we started in this journey, how long we have waited to be turned down another road, and earnest petitions have been sent up to God to bring us to our daughter that we so desperately wait for. I know that God has our future already fashioned out, but it is so hard to sometimes let go and let Him be in control. I know He is going before us and smoothing out the path for us so that when He is ready, our steps will be swift and steady. Please, Lord, show us the way to our daughter. She is all I have been dreaming of for so long. We trust You wholeheartedly and know that You have the most precious sweet baby waiting for us. Thank you for our journey, and should be need to go a thousand more steps, we trust You and will follow. Amen

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finding a new beginning

******Some of you are asking for me to email you but your address does not come through with your comment. Please include your email with your comment or you can email me zotdachs@comcast.net *****************************************************


This past week has been spent trying to digest all the information we have received in regard to our Vietnam adoption. Our agency has officially announced they will not be releasing any new referrals until an agreement is reached, that only major special needs cases will continue to be processed, but they are not even sure how many or when these will continue. They are hopeful that an agreement will eventually be reached, but there is no way possible to predict when. Our agency has not been able to obtain their Hague accreditation, and if that approval is not reached before the Vietnam program starts up again, they will not be able to complete our adoption and we would be transferred to another agency. So, with SO MANY uncertainties, Dwayne and I are focusing on some new options. We might possibly leave our paperwork active while pursuing another adoption as we will not be given any refund for pulling out anyway. I have very strong feelings on that subject, but in a nutshell, if we are having to look at another option, and the options that CHI has open for us to transfer to- Russia and Ethiopia- are not where God is calling us, then I think it really stinks that we have lost ALL the money that we have faithfully put forward. If we were chosing to close our adoption for personal reasons, I would understand forfeiting all the monies we have put in with them. But we are having to seek an alternative and we have lost nearly 8000.00 to this program. If we were younger and had the time to wait endlessly, then it would not be so bad. But we are 40 and 45 and even the prospect of waiting another two years is hard to swallow. But emotionally my heart has got to find a solution, an end to the heartache and a beginning of happiness. We are not going to make a final decision on what to do until after the Sept. deadline, as there has been NO official announcement from VIETNAM yet and there could be a small chance that dossiers would get grandfathered in, but it is not likely. The US also decided that an official referral means recieving a letter from the DIA office in Vietnam and this is usually what happens toward the end of the adoption process right before you are allowed to file the form to classify a specific orphan as your relative. That means our agency would have to file our papers with the child's papers and not give us the referral until that time and if we refused it, the child would have to wait another 3-5 months while another family's papers were filed and then they accepted him or her. It is all really crazy.

I know that the burning question on everyone's mind is what are our options? Well, I believe in my heart God has NOT destined us to be without a child. We are looking into Taiwan, Nepal, and domestic. I am really not sure where God is leading us. We have been seeking His face this week and He has been gracious to grant me peace with this transition. I have been grieving the child I have dreamed about from Vietnam. Although, through my tears, I have thanked Him for all the wonderful families He has blessed me with on this journey. For that, I have no regrets. I would love to call all of you by name, but I am afraid I would leave someone out and you know who you are. I know that alot of us are in the same position, trying to figure out what to do. My prayer is that all of you listen to your heart and do what is best for you. I don't feel like we are ending our relationships simply because we are going in different directions. I know I will need ALL of you for encouragement in whatever path God leads us. However, I am thinking about moving to a password protected blog in the near future as our new journey I may want to be more private about. There are still some very dear families that are waiting on travel approvals and i-600's that have children waiting for them in Vietnam. I am praying every day that this horrible wait will finally come to an end for you. To those of you near the very top of your waiting lists for referrals I pray that you will find the child you are waiting for and everything will go according to plan through the transisiton in this program.

It is so hard to understand why God leads us the way He does. We have been on this journey for 721 days and we are now have to go another direction. It is only up to us to not rely on our understanding of this situation, but to simply trust God with our whole hearts that He has a plan for us. Our children may be in the most unlikely of places, one that we have never given a single thought to. He has been making us strong for journey still yet ahead and He promises to never leave us. Where are we headed? I don't really know. Is Kaylee waiting for me? YES. I am determined to find her, I have just had to let go and let God take the lead.

Do you think I could stand on the street corner with a sign that says "Will Work for Baby"?
Just a thought.

This weekend will bring bittersweet moments as I am hosting my niece's baby shower at my mom's house. I made an incredibly cute cake and tons of fun stuff. I pray that God will let me enjoy her happiness as mine will surely come. She is like a daughter to me and she deserves her special day. I know in my heart I will silently be wishing upon my own happy day, but I have faith that will soon be.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This was posted today .

This was posted today on the Department of State's website and also on the JCICS website:

Prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers should be aware that the Vietnamese Department of International Adoptions (DIA) suspended the acceptance of new adoption dossiers on July 1, 2008. The DIA will continue to process cases received prior to July 1, 2008. The bilateral adoption agreement, required by Vietnamese law to authorize adoptions between the United States and Vietnam, expires on September 1, 2008. Prospective adoptive parents who have been matched with a child (received a formal referral) by September 1 will be allowed to process their adoption to conclusion. Dossiers that have not received a referral by September 1 will be closed and returned to the adoption service provider. According to the DIA, a referral occurs when DIA sends a letter to prospective adoptive parents informing them that both DIA and provincial authorities have agreed to the match of a specific child. Any case where this letter has been sent to the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) before September 1 will be considered as having a referral and will be processed to completion. DIA has reported that there are more than 1,700 applications pending as of July 1, 2008. According to DIA estimates and prior adoption trends, it is likely that referrals will be completed before September 1 for approximately 50 percent of these applications. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, will process to conclusion all adoptions that meet the Government of Vietnam’s criteria and deadlines. The United States is strongly committed to processing legitimate intercountry adoptions from Vietnam. We have indicated to the Vietnamese our interest in negotiating a new agreement. An important goal for the United States is that any new agreement must establish enforceable safeguards and a transparent process which ensures that the children and families involved in the adoption process are protected from exploitation. The Government of Vietnam shares this concern. Both countries acknowledge that more needs to be done to address deficiencies in the current system. It is not possible, at this time, to predict when a new bilateral adoption agreement may be negotiated and signed.

So, what does this mean for us? Unlikely that we will get our referral. I just don't see our agency getting nine baby girl referrals in six weeks. My heart is breaking. I have been crying my eyes out since I read our agency's update that basically said the same thing. I don't know where to begin or end. This information is going to have to sink in and I have decided it is time to speak directly with our agency's Vietnam director. We have been one of those quiet families, rolling with the flow, but I think it is time to try to get some answers, to try to find out where she thinks our case stands. My heart is just grieving right now because I have prayed and imagined and dreamed this child being from Vietnam. God is drawing me to Him in my desperation. We only have one other avenue. After we see where we are by this time next month it will be time to make some decisions because this heart needs some closure. Hanging in the balance of uncertainty is taking a toll on me. I am exhausted and emotionally drained through all of this. I need to renew my strength and faith. Where is my daughter? What path is He leading us down> It is so hard to stay focused on God being in control. I know there are other families going through the same thing we are: the uncertainty, the questions with no answers. I am sorry there are no encouraging word today in this post. Everything we have worked for the past month just seems to have been for nothing. When I find my peace again for the 100th time, I will share it with you.
I need to spend some time with God instead of this blog and find out what direction we are to go.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In a quiet place

My heart is in a very quite place tonight. My mind has really been focused on Kaylee lately. We are approaching our two year mark in August on waiting for our referral. Things in the Vietnam adoption world has been very, very quiet. Although I am feeling peaceful, sometime my mind does wonder what we will do if we do not make the September deadline. I am trying to stay focused on the fact that the feedback from the letter send to Condelezza Rice was positive and that there is great hope for referrals to continue after September 1. But the really human side of me is fighting with a few doubts. Now don't get me wrong, I am not giving up on Kaylee. In fact, we already have an alternate plan ready to go if the program should shut down indefinitely. You would think that the closer it gets to the deadline, that there would be a little more communication on the part of USCIS and our agency. Oh, I love our agency, I just feel like there has not been as much communication between our local office and our case. I guess I feel like we just have not had the follow up that we should be getting. We do get weekly updates from the Vietnam director at the home office but I am not really feeling the personal contact that we initially experienced when we we at the start of the program. I have figured out though, that every family preceeding us (families 1-8) are all asking for infant girls. I am not sure of the age ranges, but more than likely there is going to have to be 8 infant girl referrals before we receive ours. This is why we may not make the deadline. I believe that it has been about 3 months or so since our agency has received a healthy infant female referral. I know, however, that God is control of all of this. Dwayne and I pray every single night without fail that He would bring her to us. But, if an interim agreement is not reached and dossiers are returned come Sept 1 and we are still without a referral, we are just going to have to ask God to guide us down the path He wants us to go.

I am really enjoying getting my AVON business started. Three of you have been to my store and placed and order with me! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Who knows, you might receive little goodies from me! I know I sent out some Grand Opening announcements to those of you whose email address I had. If you did not get it and you would like to be on my email list for Avon specials, etc. you can leave me a message or email me at mmcculleyavon@comcast.net or you can go to my online store ( the link is on the top of my sidebar) and register and you will be automatically added to my address book. I am really loving it and the products are just wonderful. This is just what I need to feel important again after leaving my job in 2006 because I thought my new job was going to be being a mommy.

You know it is amazing at the things God will reveal to you when you dedicate a day to Him to simply pray and ask for His loving hand to guide your steps. In the past few weeks amazing things have happened in our marriage. I prayed to God that through this adoption journey He would bring Dwayne and I closer than we have ever been: last week we went on our first vacation in 15 years and renewed our marriage. We have started praying together every night for Kaylee and for God's graces and other things that are going on in our family. I prayed to God that there would be a resolution in the agreement between Vietnam and the US: We have received reports that there was a good response from Congress to the letter submitted to the Department of State. I prayed to God that the families that have been waiting so long to travel would finally receive their approvals: two of the four families I have been praying for recieved approval last week to travel. He is listening. There are many other requests I have made of Him and when He chooses to act upon them He will. I am going to have another day of fasting and prayer one day next week. I will be sure to post the day for any of you who would be interested in participating. I do believe God loves to hear multiple prayers.

Our weekly update will not come out until Friday this week. I would love to say that I feel like we will move to spot number 8 or maybe even 7 but I am not going to get my hopes up on that. Check back tomorrow because I will let you know and if we do move on our spot, I am sure you will have no problem hearing me scream with excitement.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

712 Days- If I had a wish for every day, it would be the same one: to finally be graced with my daughter's face and know what it feels like to be a mother.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Our ways are not God's ways

Proverbs 16:9"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

Wow, how powerful and especially fitting to this adoption journey. As I look back on the start of this journey over 700 days ago, I thought it was going to be so easy: a simple approval, filing paperwork, getting matched with a child, flying across the ocean, and returning home for a new life with my daughter. We often plan our own course, and at any minute God will change it on a dime. You know how you sit down and say "In 5 years from now......". Well, 15 years ago I would have said "Five years from now we will have children..." and then it became "7 years", then it became without a doubt "10 years". Well, here we are 15 years of marriage and still not parents. Our ways are not God's ways and often we do not understand God's ways at all. There is so much that He does not allow us to understand, yet wants us to put our full trust in Him for the perfect outcome. Even more recent, I said at the start of this journey without a doubt that we would have already had Kaylee by now: New program recently opened up, vibrant and alive with many prospective adoptive parents, referrals right and left, homestudy done without any problems, papers filed in record time, confidence is the uptmost high place. And then: BOOM! All of a sudden, slow downs in the program and the number of referrals dropping drastically, turmoil among the countries, reports of illegal referrals, what???? How could MY God allow more heartache for a heart that just wants to be a momma? How could MY God let my heart feel hopeless in the only means of becoming a parent? How could MY God lead us so close to the end of our journey to close the door on the only hope we have had in fifteen years to become parents? Then, through my tears, I thank God for all He has done for me asking Him to provide the trust and the faith that I need to make it through this journey. I know He is magnificent, that He has every single tip-toe, every single giant step already planned out for this journey. I know that He has given me strength in entire weakness to hold on to His love and to trust Him to bring Kaylee to us. He is my steadfast Rock, my everlasting stronghold, He is my Savior.

I surfing the blogs tonight, my heart is heavy as I ran across two blogs that reported their referrals being retracted from them. I am at a loss for words. For these families my heart aches and is broken as I know what kind of intense waiting your do until the day you finally see your child's face and you eat it, dream it, and sleep it. I cannot fathom the depth of loss these families have felt over losing the precious child referred to them after waiting so long to receive her. The only words of comfort I can even muster for these families is that for such a short precious time this child was placed into your heart and will always be a part of your life and for some reason God allowed you to know this child. God will heal your heart and will allow room for the very precious child that is still waiting for you. I don't know what else to say.

My two very dear friends that are waiting on travel approvals and to file i-600s: In the same token, God is planning every step of the journey and I pray peace and a heart full of strength and hope. He is a caring and loving God and He know what is best for us and although we often feel cheated or forgotten about, He is as close as the mention of His name and He wants us to cry out to Him for mercy and graciousness. You are never, ever away from my thoughts and these precious boys will be home soon.

I had someone ask me today how could we wait so long? My answer: It is not easy. I see families coming together all over the blogs and wonder why in the world is it not our turn already. I pray for the eight Children's Hope families that are ahead of us on the list, only one family do I know personally by name, that God would send us an overflowing of referrals so that we can be united with our children and finally see the faces of these babies we have been waiting so long for. My only refuge is that He is in control of EVERYTHING and He absolutely makes no mistakes, whatsoever. Even though I have my plan, He is placing each step for our feet to trod on. I praise Him when all is as it should be, and I praise Him when the road is dark. But He is there every single minute waiting for me to call out His name and ask for His guidance. He is a loving God and He takes care of His children. I know that wherever Kaylee is, she is being loved and cared for by wonderful nannies and that God is watching over her until the day we are to meet.

Thank you, Lord, for loving us so unconditionally even when we doubt Your ways. You only ask us to be faithful. Please forgive us when we get frustated when we feel like things are not going the way we think they should. We love you, Lord, and we know that you are preparing us for the most amazing gift ever. Please continue to grant us strength and perserverence to wait for our daughter. You are our light, we put our trust in You. Thank you for loving us. Amen

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ding, Dong, Avon Calling!

That's right! I took the plunge into becoming an Avon representative! I am so excited and proud to be involved with such a well-known company. I was looking for something to do that would add a few bucks to the Kaylee budget! What is exciting is that anyone, anywhere in the United States can be my customer! That's right, YOU can be my customer. If you like Avon then check out my website and access all the products, etc. You can order directly on line, it is submitted to my account and ships directly to you for just a small fee of 3.00! And the first five customers to place an online order will get entered into a drawing for $30.00 worth of free Avon products from me! Just leave me a comment that you have ordered online (however, it will also show me the order on my account) and I will enter you into the drawing! The best thing is, YOU will get to pick your $30.00 worth of free products and then I will ship them to you after I order them! Also, if you would like to receive special email notices for free shipping and promotions, just log into the site and sign up, or leave me a comment with your first and last name and email. Or email me directly at mmcculleyavon@comcast.net So start shopping, ladies!
Here is the link: www.youravon.com/melaniemcculley

Home, Sweet Home

We are back, everyone! Refreshed, renewed, and TIRED! We did not sleep well because everytime you turned over in the bed it squeaked! I have an unpacked suitcase on the couch, shopping bags on the floor, stack of mail to go through, and a HUGE pile of laundry to do! Going on vacation is hard work when you come back! Oh, and my babies were so excited to see me when we picked them up, they left a little present on the lobby floor of the vet's office. Sorry, Dr. Lisa and Doc! Thank you for taking such good care of my babies, though! They look fat! I wonder just how many special treats they were given? HMMMMM?

Being away this week, away from the everyday worries and schedules, has really brought Dwayne and I to a new level in our marriage. We prayed together every night for Kaylee. She is going to be the absolute love of our lives. I am not even sure yet what kind of love it is going to be. I have never experienced a mother-child love and can't even imagine the depth of it. I know how much I love her already, but what am I going to feel when I actually see this little peanut's face? I am sure that will be a whole post, hopefully some day real soon.

On the Vietnam adoption front, thank you so much for the calls to your Senators and Congressmen. Both of my senators and my congresswoman signed the letter to Condelezza Rice. The letter recieved many signatures. You can read the letter and the signatures here. I hope it is enough to make an impact on the decision to allow adoptions to continue in Vietnam. There is a Children's Hope family in travel right now to pick up their son, Eli. Please keep them in your prayers. Allison said she was going to kiss all the baby girls for me in case one of them was Kaylee! hehehehehe! Our agency did not receive any new referrals this week, but expect some soon. Come on, baby girl referrals!

I know I have asked for prayers for these families before, but please lift up the Leonards and the Biehoffers in prayer. They are having to wait ridiculous amounts of time for their approval. The Biehoffers are waiting on their travel approval to get River and the Leonards are waiting to file their 1-600. These families have done their fair share of waiting. Please pray that they will get the approvals they are longing for! One thing I have been thinking about and especially when I think of these two families is, once we do finally reach the top of our mountains, we can look back at the valleys and see all the faith, hope, courage, tears, prayers, and strength that was laid down for our feet to walk on. God is good and He is so faithful to His children. He promises never to leave us in our most vulnerable times, He promises hope for the future, and He promises to grant the desires of our hearts if we put our delight in Him. Gina and Lauren, God is not going to let you down. Each day of waiting brings a stronger faith. He is true, He is in control. Hold on to His promises, be faithful, and soon your children will be home.

As soon as I find the USB cord, I will post about my favorite parts of our trip and all the fun we had. Oh, by the way, Miss Kaylee girl racked up on her some clothes, with her Daddy's blessings!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We are having a blast!

Hey, all! Just wanted to give you a quick shout to say that we are having a FAB-U-LOUS time!

We have eaten out ALL the time( yay, me! But I think that means two weeks of straight home cooking!), walked up a gazillion hills( I mean there ain't no flat land around here!), sweated a gallon of water, and laughed a million gazillion times! This has been the best medicine for us. Tomorrow is our last day and we are hitting the malls! Yep, I am making Dwayne shop! (this is SO not his thing!) But somehow when I say, "I want to go see what I can find for Kaylee" he kinda lights up! Hey, I am just breaking him in for all that great shopping we will be doing WITH Kaylee in Vietnam. Our hotel is great( we are on the very end of the hall in a suite and it is some kinda quiet! however, when I want some ice it is ALLLLLLL the way down at the complete other end! ) and Dwayne has really been wonderful. He is not a very patient person by nature and if you have ever been to Branson you know the main drag is only one lane both ways, and they only time we have really run into congestion is after all the night shows let out. He has been great! Almost wrecked the car making a u-turn, but otherwise great!



We are hitting th outlet mall, the Krispy Kream store, going to play putt putt, and go see one more show tomorrow night before heading home on Thurs. Thursday morning we are going to skip breakfast and head to Lambert's Cafe, home of the throwed rolls, in Ozark, Mo and then pull it on it and go pick up my babies! Yes, the hardest part has been boarding my babies, but this trial run will be good for the BIG trip hopefully soon. (No there is no new news on that yet. The update comes out on Thursday, so I will have to update you then) .



Well, tata! I will be posting way more details of our time together over the weekend with pictures. I wonder how much money I can spend tomorrow when I have to ask Dwayne for some
cash! hmmmmmm!



{Zoey Claire and her new playmate from the vet. Zoey to Allie" MY shadow is better than your shadow!}





{ My handsome boy enjoying some freedom from the leash in a fenced play yard at the vet's!}







{Oscar says"this is NOT my grass!" Zoey:" Hey, who does this chick thinks she is? I am the cute one!"}



We'll be home soon, babies! I promise!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

700 Days, 1000 tears, 1 million prayers, 1 heart



In 700 days, I bet I have shed over 1000 tears and prayed what has seemed to be 1 million prayer and still have 1 heart so in love with a faceless Vietnam baby. The one thing I have learned in 700 days is that I can control nothing, God can fix everything, and that shedding tears is okay. This has been by far a simple, carefree journey. However, in this journey, my life has been uplifted and made richer by all the friends I have met along the way. There have been plenty of days of desperation coupled with days of hope and faith. I have never had to depend on God solely for one particular thing. He is the only one that will bring this journey full circle. He takes me to such a deep and desperate place that I have to shed all my bravery and become very vulnerable in order to see the blessings He continues to pour out on me until the day of the ultimate blessing: The day I become a mommy. I always take refuge in knowing that when I am stripped down to nothing, God is usually up to something!

I really feel like this process is starting to turn around and good things will be happening soon. Another CHI family has recieved travel approval and will FINALLY be going to get sweet Eli man next week. This family has waited for what seems like forever. I am over the moon for them. Her blog is private on Journey to Me, but once again if you want to offer your congratulations do so here and I will make sure she gets them. I am not sure what orphanage Eli is in, but leave a comment if you are waiting to travel and what orphanage your child is in and she may be able to take some pictures for you. Her name is Allison. Yay! Allison, I am so excited for you guys! Go and hug your son! I know he wants you guys right now! Hurry up and pack those bags, You're leaving on a jet plane!!!!!

Please continue to be in prayer for my other friend Lauren as they are waiting endlessly on their travel approval for River. How much heartache is one momma supposed to take?

In a recent post, I asked for ideas on how to make this 700 days post interesting. A few of you asked how Dwayne and I met. Well, I love telling this story. I was 25 at the time and he was 30 years old. I was working nights at Walmart and for an advertising clearing house by day. I normally worked in the Health and Beauty department, but was trained to be a back up cashier. This particular Thursday night, I wasn't even supposed to work, and the girl from my dept called in and I had to go work for her. There was also a shortage of cashiers, so as usual I got called to the front to help check. Well, here came this 6 ft 3 in man through my line with 2 fifty pound bags of dogfood and a huge box of Tide detergent. When he wrote his check (yes, this was before debit cards!) I noticed his address. It was in a town not from from mine. I mentioned which town I lived in, as I was writing down his information and made very small talk. I finished the sale and he was on his way. He was with some friends that night. A few days later I was setting up the suntan lotion display when the assistant manager that was helping me looked at me and said " It's you he was talking about!" I said who? It turned out that she lived down the street from Dwayne and he had driven up to her house to ask about the cashier named Melanie. She told him that we did not have a cashier named Melanie. He told her that he was positive that was the name on my nametag. He had even driven over to my town to try to find me! Like how was he going to find me? I wasn't going to just offer my address out to some stranger. He could have been a serial killer, although, I don't think many serial killers buy 100 pounds of dogfood and a family size box of Tide! Then, I guess it just hit her that it was me he was talking about. She asked me if I remembered checking him out (like ringing up his sale, silly, not "checking him out!) I told her that I did remember. She asked me if I minded giving him my phone number. I said okay and the rest is history. I often ask Dwayne what he thinks would have happened if he had not come into the store that night or if I had not had to come in for someone else. I guess we will never know, but that is okay because I LOVE my hubby. He is the best! 15 years later, we are still going strong! I hope I did not bore you with this story, but that was the way it happened.

I can't tell all of you how much you have meant to me over the past 700 days. Most of you I have only known a short period of time, but every day you have been in my life, my life has been made that much richer. So many of you uplift and encourage me when the wait ahead of you I am sure seems endless. I thank you so much for that. This is a network that I cannot live without! My best buds, ( too many to name, but you know who you are because you email me quite often! ) I could not make it without you guys. We still have a long road ahead of us even if our referrals comes in a few months. So don't go anywhere because I am sure I will need you!

I am SOOOOO ready to go on vacation. This is the first one in 15 years and the first one Dwayne and I have gone on together. We are leaving on Monday morning and coming back on Friday. I can't wait! The reservations have been made, the bags are getting packed and I am sittin' on ready. I am sure I will be checking in as I am so addicted to blogging and my bloggy buddies. I am taking the laptop so the vet can email my pictures of my babies each day. This will be the first time they have stayed anywhere away from home. So everyone have a great holiday weekend and I am sure I will be posting from Branson, but if I don't, it is because we are having too much fun and I would be too exhausted to type. But I will promise a nice long post when we get home. The distraction is going to be great. Maybe we will come home to some good news. Our agency is reporting that they are expecting some new referrals soon, hopefully it will be 9 baby infant girls! hehehehehehehehe!