Friday, March 23, 2012

Lucky Number 7

Mercy Alive! Does anyone else think Jen Hatmaker is a flat out rockstar?! Geez, Loise. Wow! As I sit here and look upon my five piles of laundry larger than Mt. Everest (only a slight exaggeration. I think Justin, Perry, RUBY!!, and I have more clothes than any other family on the planet. Ok, maybe we don’t have Beyonce beat, but I’m totally convinced the tally’s pretty darn close!) How did we get so much CRAP in our house?!
The thing that hit me the most was when, in her most recent book, 7, she said something to the effect of, “It’s not like some stranger just waltzed into my house one night while I was sleeping and put it all there. I’m the one that accumulated it all. So when I’m angry that all of this junk is here, really, I’m disappointed in myself.”

Yep- I SO get that.
But, the kicker is, we continue to bring in MORE. As humans, we like nice things. I swear to you, if you were to put 6 different trash bags in front of me, without knowing the price or name brand, I would without-a-doubt, pick the celebrity $15 per bag pack of garbage bags. That’s just how I roll. Just ask my poor husband. But the thing is, Jesus commanded us to love thy neighbor as our self. And frankly, I/we as Americans are doing the crappiest job of that. Our ‘neighbors’ do not have the things they need to live life and we are drooling over a new bass boat. And by me, I mean my sweet husband. I’m drooling over a new camera lens.

I was watching a commercial last night that just flat out embarrassed me as a human. I won’t name the store since I actually do shop there and do happen to think they have good prices, but the actress said something like, “At ***, I’m always guaranteed to find something I want.” Gag! (BTW- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE know I shop with the best of ‘em and am SO part of this problem with the world…America. My Lent sacrifice this year actually has to do with less accumulating and more purging/giving.)

How sad is it that we are all but guaranteed everything we WANT in America? But more so than that, we convince ourselves that we NEED the $100 pair of Jessica Simpson shoes or the $200 pair of Costa SUNGLASSES that are going to be sat on anyway if I’m the owner. I’m SO throwing 2 people in my immediate family under the bus here. My downfall? Vera Bradley bags. BAGS! Without a doubt, I have no less than 8 and that my friends is stupid, ridiculous, sad, and selfish.

Selfish. That’s how I’m feeling today. I’m now putting my couch up for sale.

You think I’m kidding.

PS- Jen Hatmaker- 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend it. It will TOTALLY rock your world!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

He Isn't Surprised

“Stupid Money”  I say that in my head ALL the time. I mean, would life not be a bigillian times less stressful if money didn’t exist and everyone played nice with everyone (for cryin’ out loud!)?!

It is no secret we are scrapping and scraping every little penny to go towards adoption fees. This morning, I had to take our English Mastiff, Jasper, to the vet, as he was so very lethargic and completely not himself. I knew the bill was going to be high due to the massive amount of tests they were conducting, but when I got to the register and she said, “That total comes to $498,” I honestly felt my knees get a little shaky and my stomach literally topsy-tervied and went “ish”.

I immediately felt the tears welling up and luckily made it to my car before calling my mother and sobbing to her about our vet bill the entire way home. (I would like to say how blessed and thankful I am that paying for such an absurd bill was even possible for me when some people in the world do not even have food to eat. And, I’m so grateful that our Jasperagus is going to be perfectly fine. But it was just a slap in the face (at the moment) as we are so desperately trying to budget wisely.)

I was still “getting a grip” when I sent an “I’ve officially gone over the edge” text to my sweet friend, Amanda (LOVE her to pieces, don’t know what I’d do without her intelligence, SO thankful God sparked a friendship between us, Amanda.), Her reply was “yada yada yada (all sweet things)… Just know that this didn’t take God by surprise.”

I think from now on, I shall just call her “Gandhi”.

Sometimes, you just gotta hear it from someone else. I just wanted to pass that piece of comfort on to someone else today. And if you are the one that needed to hear it today, I hope it brings you as much “ahhhh” as it did me today. And, I’ve actually already told it to someone else today too! (Thank you Amanda for making me sound all intelligent and such!) I just think it’s so true and such a great comfort. God knew it was coming. He isn’t surprised. He can handle surprises and equip me to handle them as well.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'd Like to Thank the Academy {& some prep tid-bits}

I just wanted to drop in and say a quick thank you to those of you who have left sweet comments or emails lately, letting us know you are praying for us. They truly mean more to me than you could ever know. And I truly feel like I can feel them. I know, without a doubt, that there is NO way I could be this calm and collected about the pure craziness that is adoption, on my own. There is without a doubt some divine intervention goin’ on in me. There are SO many ups, downs, highs, lows, twists, and turns, tunnels of darkness and rays of sun shining bliss when it comes to adoption…and life for that matter. Even since my last “I’m going to Korea!!!” post, things have made several loopty loos and I need ….. yes, you guessed it, more prayers. Does this constitute me as a prayer hog? I’m so terribly sorry, honestly.

I haven’t written much in the past few days because there are some privacy issues regarding the adoption as well and honestly, it is ALL that is on my mind. I’m so excited about going to Korea that I’m having tons of trouble sleeping!! So, I lie there in bed praying. For my family, for me, for Ruby-Grace, for her foster family, for her birth family, for her country. I’m sure God definitely knows my voice now-as if He didn’t before-and might possible try to pretend to be asleep whenever I start “calling”… again. Poor God. Has anyone ever thought they are SO thankful they aren’t God?! What a job! Especially when you’ve got me as a kid! I digress… and kid. SO thankful that God is a God who LOVES me unconditionally and ALWAYS wants to talk to me!

In preparation for the trip, I have been sewing Miss Ruby some clothes for her care package and gathering some other gifts for her and her foster family. There is no way to put all the love and gratitude that we have for Ruby and her foster family in a box, but I’m making a HUGE attempt to squeeze as much of it in as I can! I made a few desperate emails to two incredibly kind ladies yesterday BEGGING for some items, like, immediately. And like an answer to my prayer, both assured me the items would arrive in time for travel. Once they come in, I plan to talk more about the items and what they mean to me, not to mention how AMAZING these two women are. I definitely would recommend shopping with them! … More on that later.

I. Am. Ready. To. Get. On. The. Plane! I am NOT ready to leave my Perry or Justin. But, I also have a few tricks up my sleeve to let them know I am thinking of and missing them too. There’s a pretty good chance I’ll be gone over Easter this year. Thankfully, my sister’s pretty handy with a DSLR! And I’m going to work on a Skype account tonight. I think that will be super duper fun.

What else?

Oh- that tiny little thing called a Passport. It is supposed to be here tomorrow, per the sweet lady on the phone last night. I’ve only left maybe twelve voice messages at the National Passport Center. I wish (and I’m SURE they wish) I was kidding.

Packing- I hate packing. And, I’m not really good at it. I just never know what to bring. I’m totally going minimal for this trip though. Less is More. AKA- I also have to actually carry all the crap I bring because Justin won’t be there to do it for me. Gag.

A 17 hour flight? Normally, the thought of that would already have me doubled over in an I’m going to be sick stance. Right now? I am SO ready for 17 hours of nothing. Ahhhhh….. Bring. It. On. What I’m scared to death about? The pain I have in my sciatic nerve. (I’ve had a bulging disk in my back from a fall I took about a year and a half ago that puts pressure on my nerve.) The pain is always there, but quafriplies when I sit for a long time. I will be certainly be packing some pain meds.

I can’t think of anything more to say. If you are still reading this, you clearly are not ADD. :) Go you!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Labor of Love {Sunday Snapshot}

In February (yes, it has taken me that long to finish up my edits and get this posted.)  My sweet friend, Molly, asked me to photograph her daughter's birth.  Ok, ok... I begged and begged and BEGGED for her to let me in the delivery room to photograph!  And I am SO grateful that her and Pat said yes!  Ya'll- I absolutely had the time of my life!  It is hands down my favorite thing to have done photography-wise, so far.  It was amazing.  And beautiful.  And SO filled with emotion!  Ah!  All you pregnant women out there, just hit me up!  I cannot WAIT to photograph another special delivery!!!

 First Daddy Kiss!

First Mommy Kiss!

First Family Photo!

*Newborn photos coming soon!*

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

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our Other Sweet Girl

We got our quarterly report for Miss Caroline and are happy to report that she seems happy and healthy and growing into the cutest little thing! We were so anxious to get her measurements (we were not able to get them when we first started sponsoring her), so that we could put together a care package for her as well.

Although God has not placed Caroline into our arms to physically love on and squeeze, she’s still very much a part of our family and we are doing our very best to love her from afar until her forever Mommy and Daddy can find her! If you are interested in sponsoring a sweet child, please visit Pearl River Outreach or Compassion International. We have so much respect for both of these amazing programs!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bass Pro Shops-Round Two {Favorite Photo Friday}

Justin took of work early last Friday to have a little Daddy/Perry date.  There venue of choice?  Bass Pro Shops, of course!  Perry scored a pretty cool play set, complete with a real working four wheeler.  The only problem?  It didn't work.  So, Perry and I decided to have a Mommy/Perry date on Sunday.  With a promised trip to Bass Pro Shops to swap out his goods.  Instead, Perry chose a pretty rad airplane.  He was SO proud of it, and despite the box being as large as he is, he insisted on carrying his purchase all the way to the car, all by himself. 

The only problem?  It fell to pieces the minute he started playing with it.  After a little hot glue, all is well.  However, we will not be buying toys from Bass Pro Shops again.  :/

To see other Favorite Photos, please visit my friend Lisa's blog HERE!

the long road

Thursday, March 15, 2012

If Only Good Things Came in Fours...

After such exciting news, this pill was a little hard to swallow.  We’ve waited and prayed since last October for EP’s to be reset and babies to start coming home. However, last night, after just SEVEN days of EP’s being granted, our agency stated that as of yesterday, EP’s would no longer be given out, that the quota for 2012 (for our agency, at least) had already been met. HUH?!! To say we were upset would be a great understatement. We’ve been waiting for FIVE MONTHS and EP’s lasted SEVEN DAYS. First of all, I think that is a true testament to how many babies are stuck in this mess waiting for their forever families to get to them and love all over them. What does this mean for us and little Ruby? We will not travel until sometime in 2013.

Now, I’m going to put this out there. I believe in God the Father, Almighty. CREATOR of heaven and Earth. And I FULLY believe with all my being that if God wants RG home in 2012 then by all means she WILL come home in 2012, government agreement or not. I also have an incredibly strange peace about the situation. Am I sad? Yes. Do I want her home, ummm, yesterday? Yes. But I’ve already seen the tiniest bits and pieces as to how God has illustrated Ruby’s story in HIS timing and I have my utmost trust in HIM that He loves her and wants her home billions times more than I do. She is first and foremost His child and He will bring her home according to His good and perfect plan. If He wants her home in 2012, done!  If He wants her to wait until sometime in 2013, HE has a reason.  And a plan.  And you know what?  It's not only good, it's PERFECT!

Until the day I get to throw my arms around our precious girl, I will continue to pray that her foster family is loving on her to pieces and spoiling her rotten!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

But Wait, There's More!

As if things couldn’t get any more exciting last week-they did! Our good friends, Michael and Amanda, are also in the process of bringing their sweet Taylor home from Korea! We met them in Birmingham last year and immediately became great friends. Then, at the first of the year, they moved back to their hometown in Louisiana to be closer to friends and family. Needless-to-say, I was very bummed, though we definitely plan to keep in touch and visit LA after Tay is nice and settled in.

Well, during an adoption process, it is a PAIN to do anything out of the ordinary. Sometimes, I’m even scared to breathe without our agencies permission, let alone move states. But, Michael and Amanda took on the challenge completing updated paperwork, fingerprinting, fees, and other randoms. Among everything new also meant finding jobs in their new town. Amanda hopped on at a new company pretty quickly, however it took Michael a little longer to find the perfect new fit for him. And although starting a new awesome job last Monday was a HUGE answer to their prayers, it also threw in a bit of a kink in their plans.

You see, little Tay was lucky enough to score one of the very first coveted EP’s, which means as soon as Korea starts letting parents travel to go get their babies, Tay is one of the first ones that gets to come home! The downside, Michael really isn’t in a position to leave his brand new job and cross the world for a week, to immediately be thrown back into a very demanding job the day after returning from a 14 hour difference time zone!


Amanda called me two Thursdays ago and asked if I would consider going with her. To be in my daughter’s birth country for a week. And soak up the Korean culture. And breathe in the same air that my littlest baby breathes in. And take LOTS of pictures of Amanda and her new baby boy during their first seconds and days together. To be a friend to lean on when the journey gets a little bumpy. To see her become a Mommy for the first time!! Ummmmmm… let me think for a second… YES!

Then, as always, logistics came into reality and I had to immediately (like as soon as I hung up the phone-which explains why my new PP photo looks like a grotesque mug shot, and I’m 99% sure we are going to get stopped at every security station as it CLEARLY makes me look like a terrorist. I would post a photo but seriously, it’s THAT bad and I just refuse to succumb myself to such embarrassment.) go apply for a new passport (old one has my maiden name on it.) We also had to have me approved by our adoption agency and the Korean government since I am actually in the adoption process right now. SO many legalities to it all.

At first, we were thinking that there would be a chance that I would actually get to meet Ruby-Grace and her foster family, but since some family in the past two weeks breached their adoption agreement of contacting the Korean ministry directly versus going through their agency (what were they thinking?!), there is now a 99% chance I will not. Which, I’m honestly completely ok with. I was already having a hard time accepting loving on and holding my baby and then having to give her back to her foster mother and leave her country when it could very well be a full year before seeing her again. I’m pretty sure I would be a mental disaster.

We are expecting a travel call literally any day now. I already have everything approved by my principal, emergency lesson plans ready to go, and have started packing my first care package (that I get to HAND deliver to the agency in Korea!!) and of course my own luggage. I am so sad already at the thought of saying goodbye to my sweet P for a week, but I know that he will have SO much fun with Justin while I’m gone. I just could not say ‘no’ to what I see as an opportunity of a life-time!

So thank you Michael and Amanda from the very depths of my heart for your extreme generosity and for, of all people, thinking of and asking me to be that privileged person to go to Seoul. I know that I could never replace Michael being there, but I am going to do everything I can to help Amanda during such an incredible time in her life, and believe me, I’m going to take TONS of photos so that EVERYONE will feel like they have just visited Seoul! Seriously lots ya’ll… think motion picture flip book! ;)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our Road to Ruby

Even before Justin and I were married, we have always known we wanted to adopt a little girl from Asia. After years (literally) of researching, we finally decided that South Korea would be the best program for us. We had contacted Holt International to let them know that we wanted to partner with them as our placing agency and explained to them that I would not be 25 until November 2011 (tiny tot-I know…), but was there anything that we could be doing to speed things up in the mean time? (Typical adoptive parents…not even started yet, but wanting the process to go faster.) At the time, they told us that indeed we would have to wait until my 25th birthday to start the process, but in the meantime, I could read some suggested reading. So, I hit Amazon.

Then, unexpectedly, one day in March, I got an email from Holt telling us this upcoming May (about 6 months before my birthday) to go ahead and apply and we could start working on our Home Study. (They were willing to allow me being 6 months younger than the minimum age requirement to begin!) Our HS just couldn’t be finalized and submitted until November 2nd.

So, we applied to Holt and also applied to Villa Hope (our HS agency) in May and by June 5th, we were accepted into both programs and meeting with our first social worker for the HS paperwork process. It took us two months to gather all of our necessary paperwork to complete our part of the HS. We’re talking birth certificates, marriage certificates, physical examination forms, insurance/tax documents, our dog’s vet records, etc! (We would have been done nearly a month sooner if it hadn’t been for the people in our insurance company having no clue in the world how to provide me with all the necessary documents we needed. It was both frustrating and sad that they don’t deal with adoption enough to know the proper protocol for handling such needs.)

On September 6, Justin hand delivered our HS paperwork to Villa Hope. There was no way I was putting all those precious documents in the hands of our mail carriers! Especially since Tropical Storm Lee had omitted power in so many different homes/buildings in our area.

Our social worker was so swamped (babies coming home-YEAH!), that she wasn’t able to do our Home Study visits until October, but by my birthday on November 2, everything was completed! On November 14th, we got the Home Study to Korea approval and the wait for a referral officially began.

Now, I don’t think the waiting would have been quite so hard except that when we started the process in June, the waiting child program from Korea was running incredibly smooth and quickly. However, the Korean government is trying to go to all domestic adoption, so they are only allowing so many children to leave the country per year. Well, they met that number last October. EP’s (emigration permits) were scheduled to reset on January 1, 2012 and children would begin coming home to families once again. But they didn’t reset. Then, they said Feb 1, and they didn’t. Then they said Feb. 15th and they didn’t, so needless to say, everyone was getting pretty distraught and antsy. Also, the longer this EP crisis went on, the longer the entire adoption process was becoming. See, when EP’s reset (which FINALLY happened on March 5th-Praise the Lord!!!!), Korea has to start back from last October and pick up where they left off. (I hope this is making the teensiest bit of sense.) So, instead of being matched with a baby in just a couple of months and then going to get her about four months later, the matching process was said to take about eight months for a referral, with an additional eight-twelve months wait before we could travel to bring her home. So- to reiterate…the longer EP’s took to start up again, the longer our wait was getting each month we were not matched with our precious Ruby-Grace. Clear as mud? Great!

So…. On February 16th, I had had all I could take. Literally, I was so drained praying and waiting and holding my breath that this might be the day. Honestly, it was just a terrible morning of anxiety and frustration. I got to school, and actually cried a few silent tears. I laid my head on my desk and prayed a prayer of serenity. It had only been a wait of 4 months for a referral, which truly isn’t that long at all in the grand scheme of adoption. The problem? I was trying (stupidly) to control each day (which is truly impossible). So, I vented to my support group on FB, and then I did what I should have done in November. I truly gave it all to God. Knowing that His timing is perfect, I asked Him to help me give it up to Him. To stop worrying and fretting and being disappointed every time I got an email that wasn’t our adoption agency. I wanted to REST (literally) in knowing that He was in control and would bring us to our little girl when HE was ready to.

And honestly, in one of the most profound, movie-esque ways, my burden was literally lifted right then and there. And I had one of the smoothest, calmest, most carefree mornings I had had almost ever. For the first time in a looooong time, I felt truly at peace with the whole she-bang.

School was going good, I had a conference on my break with one of my sweet parents, and as I was walking her to the door, my cell phone rang. I just figured it was Justin. His break ends at 12, and mine begins at 11:55. Normally, we don’t get a chance to talk during the day, but I just figured that maybe he took break a little later and had a chance to chat. I was SO excited to see Holt Adoption pop up on my caller ID!!!! I snatched up my phone and said something to the effect of, “Hey! How are you? (the other person had not even had a chance to say hey, so I had no idea who I was even talking to). It’s so good to see your name on my caller ID! I haven’t talked to anyone from Holt in months!” …I’m sure they thought I was a nut. And honestly, I didn’t even care if they had bad news to tell me. They fact that Holt was calling was excitement and good enough! So, Ms. Palmer and I chatted for a few minutes about nothing really… I still had no clue what was about to happen. Then, she said, “Well, let me get to the point. We have a little girl that we think would be a great match with your family. Would you like to take a look at her file?” Ummmmm, let me think. YES!!! :D

So, trying to shorten up this post since I’m sure I’ve already lost 98% of you by now, Justin and I spent the next two weeks researching and reaching out to all sorts of different medical specialists. Over all, there are still some unknowns to our sweet girl’s case, but that’s where the excitement comes in. OUR SWEET GIRL… OURS!!!! We just knew she was ours. Good, bad, ugly, good. We will help her get through whatever comes her way.

We happily ecstatically accepted this sweet little one and returned our acceptance paperwork, which I overnighted to Holt. Everything should have been submitted to Korea on 3/2. Except, I got a few things mixed up on the paperwork and had to redo a few things, and overnight them for a second time. So, our Acceptance to Korea officially happened yesterday on 3/9. (My Mom and Dad’s 26th anniversary!)

So, when do we get our precious RUBY-GRACE? We are hoping and praying by the end of this year, but our agency is telling us about 8-12 because of the EP delays. We should have our baby girl snuggled and loved in our arms by this time next year!

And…if you are thinking you have just read the most exciting part of this story, just think again. The unimaginable happened this week and I have even MORE exciting news to share. Nope, not a biological sibling and Ruby isn’t a twin. Just wait. It’s SUPER exciting!!! :D

PS- I just had to share... my new little one was actually born in July, which also means her birthstone?  Is a RUBY! :D

Friday, March 9, 2012

Our Beautiful Ruby-Grace

Monday, March 5, 2012

*Insert Jeopardy Theme Song Here*

I used these words when describing myself to my photography teacher last week: HOT MESS!

And unfortunately, I still haven't cooled off.  In the past threeish weeks, I think I have experienced every emotion known to man.  For about a billion different reasons, not just adoption related.

But seriously, I've been a basket case.  A nut job.  A fruit loop.  And a loon.  A happy, elated circus clown.  And a panicked schizophrenic.  A grinning from ear to ear cheshire cat.  And a moping, whiny Eeyore.

And, my poor Justin boy is so so sick.  We're thinking maybe even the flu.  :/

Serioulsy ya'll- I was boo-hooing so badly in the post office today because my emotions and stress just eventually escaped my body.  This sweet, sweet lady came over and wrapped her arms around me and prayed the sweetest, sweetest prayer over me and my family....all while we held up the ridiculously long line.  It was perfect!  I didn't even ask her her name, but so wish I had.  I was crying so hard I could barely speak.  Poor lady probably thinks I've lost it-which I pretty much haven't even 'had it' in the last few weeks!

Good, Bad, Ugly, Lots of good.  Lots to talk about.  Just not tonight.

But, as always, I'd be more than thankful for a prayer or two.  Always God's will.  Not mine.  :D

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Waiting Mother's Prayer

I wrote this a few days after we received our referral.  I wasn't sure if I would acutally post it or not because it felt so personal to me, but I decided that I wanted to show my heart during this time in our lives.  I'm hoping that in some way or another, it will help another family making tough decisions as well.  In the days to come, I plan to give more of a look into our decision process reguarding this little cutie. 

Dear Lord,

Please guide my mind and my heart. You’ve shown us this beautiful little girl who I desperately want to be mine. I don’t want to be scared by her medical prognosis. I want to trust in You and You alone. I know you are bigger than any doctor or medicine. Please guide my and Justin’s hearts as we make this decision for her and our family.

Lord, please be with HJ, even if we are not her Mommy and Daddy. Please whisper to her heart how special and loved she already is. Comfort her and nourish her. Help her grow strong, healthy, and happy. Instill in her a hope for the future and an inner joy that no one can take away from her. Protect her, even if I cannot.

Please be with her foster family. Guide them as the take care of her little body. Help them to make the best choices for her. Prepare their hearts for her future adoption. Give them joy and peace in knowing that she will have a family, forever, one day.

As we attempt to patiently wait for more doctors’ opinions and advice, please whisper Your will loudest to our hearts, and give us the strength and courage to rely solely on you.

In Your Most Holy Name I pray,


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rules are Made to be Broken

This morning, I came in and started my day at school just like every other day. Attendance, lunch money, restroom break…

When things finally settled a bit, a little girl raised her hand and said, Suzy (fake name) is being mean to everyone. She says she hates going to school here, doesn’t like any of us or you, and wants to go to school somewhere else.

I immediately knew something was wrong. First of all, I adore this little girl to the ends of the earth and back. She hardly ever does anything wrong, so I never have to fuss at her. Why would she not like me? Ironically, just last night I was telling Justin about her and how if her Mom came to me today and said for whatever reason she could no longer care for her, that I’d be her mother in a heartbeat! So, naturally, it stung to hear that she said she didn’t like me.

As soon as I said, “Suzy- surely you don’t really mean all that,” she burst into tears. Not only did I call her up to my desk at that moment, but I wrapped my arms tightly around her in a big bear hug, then pulled her up into my lap. There, she proceeded to bury her head in my hair, clung tight to me in an equally impressive bear hug, and just sobbed.

After I gave her a minute to cry and just be snuggled, I asked if she had had a bad morning. Turns out, she had gotten into trouble (don’t know why) and just came to school sad and upset. She liked everyone, had friends, and loved me too- just got a little grouchy. I assured her I wasn’t angry at her and that I also loved her very much. I wanted her to know that it is ok to be sad and upset, but we still don’t need to hurt others when we are feeling that way. Then, I let her sit in my lap just a little longer while I told her all the reasons she was amazing and fabulous. And, she truly is. She isn’t the smartest, coolest, or most popular little girl in school, but she is amazing and perfect just the way she is!

You see, this morning, I broke the rules. Since the earliest of college days, I, along with my colleagues, have been taught not to touch the children. That’s how you get sued and fired. Seriously. They tell you that if you just have to touch a child, just gently rest your hand on their shoulder to get their attention. I do and have always found this absurd. Absolutely, in this sue happy world, you should be intelligent and not do stupid things. However, children need to know you care. They need to feel your love and care for them. They need hugs when they do something great and they need a warm lap to sit on when they are sad and upset.
When I was in Kindergarten, I proved that girls truly were smarter, wiser, cooler, more intelligent, could do more than boys, etc. by swatting down an art piece that was hanging from the ceiling. My teacher had a friend in her room and was talking while I was in my reading station minding my own business. The boys, however, were trying and trying and trying to jump up and yank this thing down. Irritated at their stupidity and lack of triumph, I marched over there, jumped up once and ripped that sucker down. Then, I marched back over to my station to complete my work- like a good Kindergartener would do.

As I continued to dot my I’s and cross my T’s in my reading station, I had a sense of “wa ha ha- I showed them!” My teacher, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly impressed…

I spent recess that day sobbing at my seat. My teacher finally came over to my desk, picked me up, carried me to her rocking chair, where she let me cry and cry over my yellow clip. (I only got my clip moved two other times in Kindergarten and both deserve an equally entertaining story!)

My point is, out of all the lessons I learned in Kindergarten that year, when I hear the word “Kindergarten” that moment is always the very first thing that comes to mind. The fact that my teacher was compassionate and cared that I was upset. That she took the time, instead of grading papers during our recess, to console and rock me in her lap. Assuring me that, even though I made a bad choice, she loved me so much and it was ok to mess up. As long as I learned from my mistakes.

So, if showing compassion and love to my students means breaking the rules, so be it. And if I lose my job for hugging a child, Ok. I don’t want to refuse to live my life and hide the love Jesus has given to me out of fear by this world. And, I truly hope that Suzy knows how much I love her.

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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