Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Tay Day!! {Sunday Snapshot}

I truly cannot believe this day is here!!  Amanda received Taylor this afternoon at 12:00 noon.  It was an incredible emotional 2 1/2 hours as we met, ate with, and bonded with his Foster Family.  Saying goodbye was extremely hard on him, but thankfully, we have gotten many smiles and giggles out of this adorable little fella this evening!

Adoption truly is a miracle.  So thankful to have this little fella and his wonderful parents in our lives!

{The top two photos were taken with my 50mm f/1.4 lens.  My settings were f/2.2 1/320 (full window light from the back) ISO 720 (We had the room lights off, so his face was a little dark without ISO bumped up.)  It is SOOC- jet lag is putting editing on the back burner!  The second photo was taken by a sweet Holt worker, set in Auto ;).}

To see more beautiful Sunday Snapshots, visit Stephanie's blog, Ni Hao Ya'll.

Ni Hao Yall

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sightseeing in Seoul

Last night was a little crazy.  We finally got to our hotel at about 4:50 our home time… I’m not even sure what that ended up being Seoul time… 6:50, I think.  (Seoul is 14 hours ahead of Home.)  Amanda and I were ok until we would be still and then we got overwhelmingly sleepy.  We managed to keep ourselves up till about 9:30 wrapping gifts, then went to sleep in about .2 seconds.

A slept pretty deep, but I on the other hand started waking up at 3:00am, then every hour, on the hour.  I finally gave in and got up at 6:30 to start my day.  I think it’s the earliest I’ve ever gotten up without an alarm clock!

Today was amazing!  We started our morning with just about the best breakfast I think I’ve ever had.  If you could think of it, it was on the breakfast buffet- American and Korean.  Some of the Korean breakfast items included Kimchi, seaweed, rice, broccoli, and salad. 

After indulging, we left our hotel at 9:30 for our city tour and didn’t return until 9:30 PM!!  It was the LONGEST city tour I could have imagined and my feet and back are most certainly paying the price.  But, I couldn’t be more excited to learn more about this amazing place!

We started out with a lesson on the subway transit system… which by 9:00pm, we realized we apparently DID NOT master.  Thank goodness a nice local guy was willing to help us out-literally- instead of just laugh at us.  I think the only thing more frustrating than being lost in a foreign country is being lost underground.

After our subway lesson, it was time for the Palace tour.  It was nice and BIG.  We enjoyed watching a small “changing of the guards” ceremony and then were on our way to the throne room.  By a wonderful chance, we ran into some other adoptive friends, Heidi and Mark.  We were thrilled to spend the rest of the day with them!  (Their gotcha day is also tomorrow-Monday- Amanda/Tay’s is Mon. at 12:00 noon/ Sunday 10pm Alabama/Louisianna time.)

We then visited the Insadong (and several others) market.  There, we ate a traditional Korean meal that was complete with Pepsi (THANK the good Lord above!!) and scissors to cut the meat!  That one was interesting. 

We shopped some more… then took a break for smoothies at a TomNToms.  Sitting was fabulous.

After lots more window shopping, we headed to Seoul Tower to put our locks on and enjoy a view of the city.  We were also able to mail letters from the highest post office ever!  I can’t wait till P gets his post card!!

We then paraded through the subway system like two crazy Americans, lost as all get out, were finally saved by sweet local guy, then literally dragged ourselves (seriously-does anyone know how many stairs this city has??!!  I KNOW I’m going to return home five pounds lighter with Dominique Moceanu thigh muscles!) to the hotel where we ordered pizza and sprites for our room. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ground Hog Day

(I titled this post just so, as this day feels like it has lasted 789,064,378 hours.  We flew, constantly chasing the sun, so I honestly cannot wait until night fall tonight.)

…I am writing this post from 34,000 feet in the sky, somewhere over Japan!!!!

I can’t believe I am even writing a “travel post.”  In a lot of ways, this trip is SO surreal to me.  I cannot thank Michael and Amanda enough for allowing me the honor of going on such an exciting, fun, and life-changing trip!!

Travel started early Thursday morning (SO hard to say goodbye to all my family) as I flew from Birmingham to New Orleans to meet up with Amanda.  Amanda treated me to a few travel sites, as it’s been about ten years since I last visited NOLA.  Among those were Jackson Square, CafĂ© Dumonde, some crappy service at a restaurant where we wished we were French ;), and the Lafayette Cemetery that was featured on the movie Double Jepardy-GREAT movie btw… just got done watching it on the plane.

We then headed back to Michael and Amanda’s house for some pineapple and ham pizza and some Harry Potter, all piled up on the air mattress.  It was really great fun!

Then, 1:50am came.  GAG.  Have I ever mentioned that I am NOT a morning person?!  (If Justin is reading this, he is probably rolling his eyes and mumbling to himself, “Well, that is THE understatement of the century!!” ) But, Amanda only had to tell me to get myself up once.

By 2:50, we were headed back to the airport, where we flew NOLA to San Francisco, CA (5hours) and then hopped on another plane (currently sitting in my oh-so-comfy airplane seat with THREE extra inches- thank you JESUS! {and Amanda} typing out a blog post, while simultaneously wishing these three more hours would FLY by, literally-which is a doozie of 12 hours total.)  All in all, by the time we land at 1:00am, travel time will be a whopping 23 hours, 10 minutes, NOT including how long it takes us to travel from the airport in Korea to Seoul. 

And for all my family reading this, I’m dubbing myself a ROCK STAR world traveler!!! :D 

I’m looking forward to SEOUL, KOREA!!!!

PS- Just for my Mommy records…when I spoke to P while on a layover in San Fran, P kept saying he saw my airplane in the sky and waved to me.  I told him that every time he saw my plane flying high in the sky to wave REALLY big and I would wave back to him and blow him TONS of kisses.  I can’t even put into words how much I already miss P and Justin.

Update:  We just got settled into our room.  It is about 4:30 Alabama/Louisianna time.  Drive from airport was about an hour and fifteen minutes.  SO excited about a COLD shower.  Everything is SO hot here!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Leaving...

On a Jet Plane!!!

 (Sub Plans!)

(The care package we are delivering to precious HJ.  This was SO emotional packing.  I monogrammed her blanket and personalized it on the other side.  Again, for her privacy, I didn't show the other side.)

Tomorrow morning, South Korea bound! :D  Well, New Orleans to meet up with Amanda, and then, SOUTH KOREA!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strawberry Pickin' {Sunday Snapshot}

After a long couple of weeks, Justin and I knew that we just needed to take a break and spend a little bit of time just the three of us, doing something fun.  Strawberry pickin' was just the right medicine.  Perry received these tongs from his Auntie Lissa as part of his Easter gift (to go with his grill set) and picked every single one of his strawberries with them.  It was so funny and so Perry.  SO thankful to have such a special memory for just the three of us.

To see more fabulous Sunday Snapshots, visit Stephanie's blog at Ni Hao Ya'll!

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Believe it or not, I'm dealing with something pretty frustrating that really doesn't have much to do with adoption at all.  This afternoon, I was chanting in my head, "There is a purpose and a reason for everything under the sun," while, I'll shamelessly admit, simultaneously thinking, "Honestly God.  Could you pretty please just let SOMETHING go smoothly?  That would be great.  Thank you much."

And then....

I got home and checked my adoption support group on Facebook and found a prayer request that just about knocked me to the floor.

A dear lady named Cheryl and her husband are adopting a beautiful little girl named Blossom from China.  However, not long ago, her husband unexpectedly passed away.  She decided to continue through with the adoption, despite such a devastating loss.  After finally receiving her travel call to bring her precious angel home, she received medical updates that they have found a malignant tumor on Blossom's brain and she is in dire condition.  Then, tonight, she received further updates that her little girl is dying in China due to complete organ failure and not being able to keep anything down.

I cannot even imagine.

Please join me in wrapping Cheryl, her family, and beautiful Blossom in your prayers tonight.

Dear God,
Forgive me for my stupidity, selfishness, and shear "not-getting-it."  I am so so blessed and I'm so humbly grateful for your undeserving love and abundant blessings.  I have it SO good and sometimes, I just don't "see it" because I'm too busy whining and worrying about the future.  Forgive me for forgetting I'm here to SERVE YOU in ALL walks of life.  Please be with Cheryl, her family, and beautiful Blossom.  Grant them the peace that passes all understanding and wrap Blossom so tightly in Your unconditional love.  I pray that You grant Blossom the healing that only You can give.  Forgive me and help me to be a light for you in such a broken world.
In Your Most Holy Name,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Q & A

First of all, I want to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU!!! My FB and email inboxes were FLOODED last night with so many adoptive parents reaching out to me and sharing their stories with us. It’s amazing to know so many people who have gone through a similar situation. I am working hard on responding to each and every one of the emails/messages. Though I hate anyone would ever experience pain like this, it is also so comforting to know that we are not alone in knowing what’s it’s like. I am also, again, so humbled and appreciative for all your prayers and kind words. I don’t know how we would have gotten/get through this otherwise.

Among the outreach, several people have also had questions, which, I’m ok for people asking honestly. I’m sure I’d be curious and concerned too. Again, I don’t plan to answer all the questions out of respect and privacy reasons for both her and us, but I thought I’d address just a few of the bigger/easier/more appropriate ones here for all to read. Again, I’m in no way offended or hurt by any of the questions/comments that have been asked/said, there are just some things that I’m not comfortable with sharing and don’t think would be fair for me to answer.

**I would also like to ask that you insert an understood “As of today” before each of my answers. Things have been so up, down, back, front, left, right, inside, outside that I have decided I’m going to stop trying to be definite. God will work and could very well change these answers tomorrow-this afternoon for that matter. We are just focusing on being flexible and listening to His will…**

Are we still going to adopt?

Absolutely! And, we are EXCITED about it! I don’t see God ever changing this desire and plan for us.

From Korea?

As of today, yes. We feel that is where God wants us right now. Though, I’ll be honest… God has really had Haiti and Ethiopia on my heart a lot lately too… though we in no way meet the requirements of those countries right now. Maybe down the road??? And as always, I think I’ll forever have this unexplainable love for China, which is where our precious Caroline lives. But for today, Korea.

Do we think we will get another referral anytime soon?

Realistically, no. (And my earthly mind says my heart needs time to heal anyway.) To be incredibly frank, we were a smidge bit traumatized by this recent situation. We have drastically changed our SN preferences. Our agency has shared with us that they are not getting many Korean girl referrals at all, let alone ones with such minor/correctible needs, such as the ones Justin and I feel equipped to handle. However, I know that God is in the miracle business. Statistics don’t define when we will/will not get a referral. Right now, we are back to waiting. In six months or so, if there is absolutely no sign of movement we will reevaluate and see where we stand. God is bigger. If He wants us to wait, we’ll wait. If He doesn’t, we won’t. If He leads us to change programs/preferences/paths, we will. As of now, we’re “being still and knowing He is God.” Psalm 46:10.

Still a girl?

Again, we still think God has a daughter for us. We dream of almond brown eyes and black silky piggy tails tied up with pink ribbons. We are also already approved for a female child. We would have to do Home Study updates if we changed to be approved for a little boy. However, we are praying ferociously that if God wants us to be open to either gender that He move our hearts in an unmistakable way. I also want to clarify that we don’t value ‘girls’ more than ‘boys.’ We do, in fact, already have a little boy that we love more than life itself. Boys rock. We just are feeling our Ruby-Grace is still out there.

Are you still traveling with your friend to Korea to bring home her little boy?

Yep! Can. Not. Wait!!! I think it will be so good for me and hopefully, I will be a big help to her and Tay as well. Geez, I cannot even express how excited I am about this opportunity. And to be submersed in Asian culture for a week? Eeeek!!!! TC anyone?!

Will you “pu-leez” journal your experience in Korea?

Ummmm- we shall see. I definitely want the focus to be on Amanda and Taylor. However, as I stated yesterday, I seem to feel better after I write, so maybe? I hate to say one way or another. I know the experience will be very emotional for me even though I think it will be in an awesome way. And I may have a tail-kickin from jet lag. I’ve never traveled across the world before. So, I’m open to it. Again, taking it daily.

How are you, really?

Well, my friends, this is a smidge bit of a loaded question. Heartbroken? Yes. Sad? Yes. But, I am honestly ok. And I smile lots throughout each day. God has truly granted Justin and I the “peace that passes understanding.” However, as I told another friend earlier today, there is the occasional episode in the Home Depot Lighting Department where I’m sobbing my eyes out for no apparent reason. Thank goodness I have a WONDERFUL husband who is willing to give me a squeeze and an “I love you. It’s all going to be ok,” rather than being embarrassed and acting like he has no clue who that crazy lady is over there. Grief has no agenda and seems to rear its ugly head in the most random times/places. It will take time. To me, that should be a ‘given’ statement.

A question/statement combo.  Why don’t you , Can’t you or You and Justin should just have another baby./?

Welp- at this point, we don’t feel led to attempt to get pregnant. As far as we know, there would be no reason we couldn’t, per se, but to us, we just don’t feel led to go down that road at the moment. We do hope to one day actually birth another child (as I not-so-secretly hope to also adopt a second child.) But who knows? What’s that old saying? Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans? Again, we shall see, but we just aren’t feelin’ it at the moment.

Are you still running the auction blog/taking donations?

Yes and yes!  We are still doing all we can to raise money for the adoption.  I would be SO humbled for an adoption auction donation.  If you have something you'd like to donate (nothing too big or too small), please email me at  I do also have a few things sitting on my kitchen table that I need to list.  Ever since the holidays (were they really FOUR months ago?!) things have been CRAZY and I put the auction on the backburner.  I will make that my weekend goal and will do a big post once I've got a bunch of new stuff posted.  There are definitely some things you don't want to miss out on!!!

And the one that seemed the most random, but I guess is somehow relevant: How old are you and Justin and how long have you two been married?

I’d like to say we are a very mature ;) 25/27 year old couple who will be celebrating their five year anniversary this upcoming May 12!

As always, I do want to be as open and honest as I can (while keeping in mind that this is on the world wide web for all to see) with our lives on this blog, I do want to throw in a few occasional jokes and ‘happies’, and I do want to share my love of Jesus Christ in hopes that it may turn someone’s eyes toward Him. I hope this little Q&A answered some of the questions that may be flowing through your mind. If you have something specific you would like to know about adoption or our specific adoption journey, I’m happy for you to ask, and if I feel its appropriate or would benefit you/me to answer, I’d be happy to do so.

Again, thank you beyond words for your prayers and kind words. We’d be honored to continue to be lifted up. I’d like to close by saying that I believe God is doing GREAT things!!! We cannot wait to see all that He has up His sleeve!
God of wonders, beyond our galaxy
You are holy, holy
Precious Lord, reveal Your heart to me
Father hold me, hold me

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is my 255th post.  Never has it been so painstakingly difficult to hit "Publish."

I’m honestly not quite sure how to write this post.  My heart is just broken.  Justin and I (and my family, and bless them, anyone who knows me in the “real” world) have just had a devastating past two and a half weeks.  Without a doubt, there has been good in those two weeks, but ultimately, they have been the hardest days of my entire life.  Last Tuesday was, without a doubt, the lowest I have ever been. 

It is with such sorrow that I tell you that beautiful HJ will not be coming home to Justin and me.  Through our sadness, we are both entirely grateful that God allowed us to be her Mommy and Daddy, even just for the shortest of times.  We know without an ounce of doubt, that He has a reason that He needed us to say ‘yes.’  We believe fully that, ‘yes’ was the right answer.  He had a reason for having us open up our hearts and love her beyond reason and lavish her (and will continue to do) with prayers.  We do love her.  We will never stop praying for her.  We know that God has a plan that is out of this world.  And we accept and understand that we may never know the purpose of all this, this side of heaven.

Although this precious little gem is not our Ruby-Grace, we are still planning to adopt from South Korea, still working with our amazing agency, and still seeking God’s will each and every day for the child that will one day be our Ruby-Grace.  I know this probably doesn’t make an inch of sense and I’m sure it never will.  But, we know we are following where He is leading. 

I have taken down HJ’s picture for her privacy and out of respect for her and her future forever family, though we will keep this photos we have of her forever.  Each time we see them, we pray for her and all that God has planned for her life.  However, I still want to leave up the stories about her referral and our acceptance.  They are a part of her story and ours. 

The other day, I said I probably wouldn’t write too much in the near future but I have found that writing (even just in my personal journal) is a great tool for me.  So rather than saying I will or I won’t, I’m just gonna say I will take it day by day. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your prayers for me, Justin, Perry, and little HJ.  We literally have had people from all over America praying for this situation and your prayers have physically been felt.  I’m so thankful and truly believe in the power of prayer.

 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths staright.
Proverbs 3:5-6

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord.  "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, April 5, 2012

God is GREAT. ALL the time.

I hate to keep you on such a crazy ride and dragging you through the sunshine and then mud, and I didn’t want to write because I feel like I have been all over the place lately with good news, bad news, good news, and then bad news again, but we DESPERATELY need some prayers regarding the adoption. If you have ever felt the inkling to pray for us, please do it now. And please pray for this AMAZING little girl half-way around the world, that God so desperately loves, even more than us. I’m not sure I will write anytime soon. And at this point, it is just entirely too exhausting to try to give any details. God has all this in His hands and for that, I can find rest and safety. I am still planning on traveling to Korea (any day now!) and will most definitely be blogging our time while there, though I’m 99% sure I will be leaving all of my Korean experience off the blog. At least for now. But without a doubt, I want to keep everyone up to speed with the homecoming of precious Taylor.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:18-25

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Quick Update

A Quick Update

This past week was my Spring Break and I quite enjoyed my 7 days as a stay-at-home-mom. Time with Perry NEVER gets old!

I took a mini-blogcation for a few days, mainly because our internet modem went bad and I had to order a new one, I have filled up all the space on my Mac again due to do many RAW photos (I am SO bad about organizing and getting photos off my computer….mainly because I don’t understand my external hard drive and it makes me a nervous wreck to put stuff on it and then delete it from my computer.), and the fact that I was just really enjoying my time with Perry and Justin.

I hope to fix the photo issue this week so that I can download the photos I took this past week and actually get some of “Perry” back on the blog. I know it has really focused a ton on Miss Ruby (which I LOVE), but I also thoroughly enjoying posting about all things P as well, since he is obviously the child I have at home right now and can photograph like crazy. I think it will be much easier to balance the journaling/photo aspect of this blog between both my children once little miss comes home.

Speaking of little miss….

I have SUCH exciting news. Our agency told me I couldn’t spill the beans until it was all official, but after a “Maybe” and then a very discouraging and firm “NO,” they have cleared it for me to get to meet Miss Ruby when I travel to Korea!!!! TWICE!!! But only for one hour each visit. (They don’t want her attaching/bonding and then me having to leave her.) Ahhhh!!!! I’m SO excited!!!! This adoption journey really is up, down, front, back, left right, loop, curve, repeat.

Honestly, when the agency told me that I wouldn’t get to meet her, it didn’t discourage me because I knew that God had a plan, whether I got to meet her or not. Imagine my surprise and excitement when just days after “No way, Jose!” did they call and tell me otherwise. Seriously, how cool is that?! SO thankful to be working with such a great agency that advocates daily for these precious children and their parents!

In the way of news, we also got a medical report on our little one about a week and a half ago. I haven’t been able to talk to a med professional yet, but in a nut shell, her latest MRI showed some incredibly concerning things. I haven’t quite decided yet if/when I will share of all Ruby’s special needs, but I’m really leaning on the “sharing” side. I realize that it is “her” story, but I also want to educate people as much as possible on adoption and be an open book about our story. Not to mention that no matter what, I believe that Ruby is “fearfully and wonderfully made!” I also know how much other blogs dealing with different special needs have helped me. They helped Justin and I when we did our initial special needs evaluation for our agency on the needs we thought we could/could not handle and now, they are helping us understand a little better the needs Ruby Grace has been diagnosed with.

Random-If anyone knows how to do blog settings to where I can reply straight back to a comment, please let me know. I read every single comment and try to respond to as many of them as I can, but for some reason, a lot of the time the hyperlink will not take me back to the other blog. Then I get flustered and just say a mental thank-you to your comment. :D Happy Monday!!

Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
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