Saturday, June 30, 2012


On Friday, for the first time (of many times I am sure), I became frustrated about road blocks in our adoption journey. Up until now, I have been pretty "patient" with the length of time paperwork has taken. On Friday, my heart was SO heavy for Malachi. In fact, I decided to give USCIS a call to find out exactly what was going on with our paperwork. The conversation left me frustrated. Attempt to track with me for a moment because I would love for you to be able to pray specifically for us.
This is the last (and probably most important) step in our paperwork process. USCIS (US citizenship and immigration services) requires that they have A) our home study. B) our I-600A application and C) our fingerprint results. Once they have all 3 of those they can process our case and upon approval they will send us our "golden ticket :-)" - Form I-171H. A very important form to get Malachi citizenship! So where are we??
USCIS has A) our home study and B) our I-600A application. However, the sweet little USCIS lady on the phone Friday said that our "A" and "B" are apparently in 2 different departments and haven't been placed together yet :( When I asked how long that might take she replied, "we have thousands of orphan petitions coming through so it takes a while to sort through and match things together." (insert knot in my stomach thinking that our paperwork is among thousands of paperwork attempting to find its way together.) So, that's where "A" and "B" are, so where is "C" (fingerprinting)? Well... "technically" once they received our A &B we should have gotten a fingerprint appointment pretty quickly. It's been a month since they received everything and the sweet little USCIS lady checked the computer and said, "no, I'm sorry. They haven't even scheduled you yet. I am not sure why." geeeeeezzzzz!! Not sure why? Come on. Just make up an answer :) ok.ok. Back to the explanation. So. Once we (finally) get our fingerprint appointment, the results "should" be in within a week or two. THEN... Yes, THEN...USCIS will finally have (if our A &B have reunited)... They will have A,B, and C.
Once they have all 3 they give themselves 1 to 12 weeks processing time before sending us our "golden ticket." I know people who have gotten theirs in 1 week, and I know people who didn't get theirs until (gritting my teeth) 12 weeks :(. So... Please, please pray for us.

Pray for:
1) our home study and I-600A to unite!
2) for USCIS to get us a fingerprint appointment
3) for us to receive our "golden ticket" quickly!!
4) for us to get our Dossier to Ethiopia before the rainy season!!

I left the phone conversation frustrated and sad. My heart was aching for my little boy and I felt like USCIS was "holding us up." My poor, poor co-workers on Friday :) they were so patient with this adoptive mama! At the end of my (grouchy) day, I was reminded of something that I claim all the time (except when my thoughts are clouded by emotions). EVERY step in this journey is divinely created. The set-backs and the "speedy" times are all hand crafted by our Maker to align Lee and I with the child He has in mind for us... To align us with our son. Knowing this doesn't make this crazy process easier, but it grants us strength and peace to know that His timing is always perfect! He knows Malachi, He knows where Chi is and how to get him to us.

Thanks for journeying with us! I will keep you updated!! Maybe after this (painful) explanation of the USCIS step, you can rejoice with us when I finally blog things like "our paperwork was united" or "we got our fingerprint appointment," etc!!

Oh and P.S. - even though I was fleshly saying "ugh" when the USCIS lady said they had THOUSANDS of orphan petitions... When I came to my senses later, I rejoiced that thousands of orphans will one day have forever families!! Forgive my selfishness! :(

Ohh and exciting news!!! The Lord moved on the hearts of people to give and Anna (with the 30/30/30 challenge) reached her goal of 30,000 dollars in 30 days!! They reached the goal on day 27!!! Wow!! HE amazes me! Pray boldly. Pray expectantly. Have Faith. Step into His calling!!

"WAIT for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
And WAIT for the Lord."
- psalm 27:14

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Since I became a Believer there have been instances that I literally laughed out loud in amazement of the Lord. Whether it was an answer to a prayer request or just something amazing that He did, my joyful heart in that moment knows no other response but praise and laughter. This morning... I laughed out loud in amazement of my God. My heart is joyful, not because of what HE did, but I am joyful because HE cares and HE hears me.

The story :-)

As you all know... Miller has his helmet for cranial remolding. Today marked 2 WEEKS since we received the helmet. Technically he has only been full force wearing the helmet maybe a week or a little over. We had our 2 week follow up (we go every 2 weeks until he stops wearing it).
A little re-cap. Due to Miller's age, they have estimated that it would take him 4 to 6 months (leaning more toward 6 months or more) to achieve symmetry of his head due to the drastic slow down in growth of the head after 7 and 1/2 to 10 months old. Everyone has told us to expect SLOW progress and the specialist told us we may never see full correction because we got the helmet so late. Every time Lee and I take the helmet off we look at each other and say "I promise i think his head looks better." But we would always follow with "there is NO way because its only been a WEEK!" So needless to say, neither me or the Orthotist expected to see anything today.
The orthotist walked in and we chatted a minute. He took Miller's helmet off and decided to make a few small changes. Then he grabbed his ruler "thing". I say "thing" because it's not like a normal ruler. I'm surprised he's even going to measure. It seems like a waste because we've only had it two weeks. Oh well. He looks at me and says, "I am not expecting to see anything, but I'm just going to measure anyway." He measures Miller's head... Looks at the ruler... Steps backwards... Looks at his sheet... Looks at the ruler again and says... "hmmm." There is a long silent pause. Of course I am wanting to scream "what?! What is it?" but I just stay silent. Then he says, "let me measure that again." He measures Miller's head again, and repeats the same silence of looking at the ruler then looking at the sheet of paper from Miller's original measurements. Then he utters words of disbelief and shock. He says, "It is saying that there has been change and that he has more symmetry." I just sit there. Honestly, not believing him. We both sit there in silence for about 30 seconds. Then he says what he has been thinking in his head silently... "the difference from the original measurement is so much that there is no way we were "off" that much in our measurements. If it was only an 1/8 inch I could say we may have just been off a little... But it has changed a 1/4 INCH and there is no way we were off that much!" I just smile. Then he says, "how old is he?" I reply "almost 11 months." He just continues to stand there in silence as if attempting to figure out if it is possible that in 2 WEEKS this child's head has corrected a 1/4 inch! Then he decides to measure the circumference of Miller's head to see if any growth had occurred and it HAD! So, he resolved that the measurements were in deed accurate and we have had positive change toward more symmetry!! Yay!!
Our orthotist is a Believer so although he was surprised today, I am sure he has seen the Lord do lots of amazing things.

What does this mean?
YES, we still have to wear the helmet. Honestly, as strange as it sounds... When Miller doesn't have the helmet on, he looks "strange" to me. The helmet has become our new "normal."

How long will we wear it? We don't know. We will wear it until his head has changed to perfect or near perfect symmetry. Then we will stop. They estimated that it would take 4-6 months for us to see change. We have see big change in 2 weeks so it could be 2 more weeks or it could be 4 more months.

Why (scientifically) did we see change today? Because Miller "COINCIDENTALLY" :-) has hit a growth spurt since he got the helmet! Change and growth can happen all the time but it's slow. You see the biggest leaps of change during a growth spurt. So... Depending on how long this little spurt continues will probably predict how much more change we see in the next few weeks. I "think" we only have an 1/8 or 1/4 inch until we have symmetry! So when we got home I made sure to get him to eat ALL his lunch! Even turned on backyardigans so he would be still and drink his bottle. Haha. I told him "baby you gotta keep growing!" #crazyhelmetmomcomingout!

The orthotist made some adjustments to the helmet to allow for growth. When he came back in the room he said he went and looked at some of Miller's pictures from the first day and he could tell that his eyes were more symmetrical today :-)

When Miller and I walked out into the parking lot... I just laughed out loud. My soul shouted praises to the Lord! Once again, I was standing in complete awe of Him! I was praising Him because of His faithfulness, I was laughing because I have been prompted to pray for Miller to be out of the helmet in 3 months and honestly didn't believe there was any way that could happen. It's been 2 WEEKS... How ridiculous am I to underestimate the power of my God?!? My confession.... I have been praying that Miller would be out of the helmet by September. I think I initially got that month in my head because we have a trip to the beach planned. But by the beach trip he would have only been wearing the helmet for like 2 and 1/2 months. I felt prompted to pray again specifically last night about September and had to fight the doubt in my mind that that would ever happen. I say it with my lips but my heart was saying "that's impossible, there is no way that much change could happen that fast, it's sort of crazy to even pray that."
2 MONTHS!! Try 2 WEEKS!!

Pleas join me in praying specifically that Miller would be out of the helmet by September - not because we want it... We can live through a trip to the beach :) But pray because we desire to pray the things we have been prompted to pray and we desire to pray believing God can do the seemingly impossible!

"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits-"

Psalm 103:1-2

Also, remember my last post about Anna's 30/30/30? Well last I checked the Lord had provided around 23,000 of her 30,000 goal!! She only has 4 days left of her 30!! If you wanna give - go to my last post and it'll show you the links!! LOVE her story and heart for the Lord!!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I meant to post this last week so many of you have probably already heard about this sweet Mississippi girl who is trying to raise 30 thousand dollars for her 30th birthday in 30 days. She and her husband adopted a little girl from Ethiopia one year ago (Miller's birthday - July 30, 2011)! She is trying to raise money for orphans and widows in ETHIOPIA through the ministry, Bring Love In!! She just reminds me that God doesn't call us to adopt our children from Ethiopia only to bring them home and never think of Ethiopia again. Instead He gives us a heart for the country that will ever be a part of our lives!

Here are some links to read about what she's doing. There's a YouTube video too!



Clarion Ledger Article


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quick Update

I just wanted to write a quick update on Miller and his helmet! He has been P.E.R.F.E.C.T! I mean literally! He has tugged at the helmet ZERO times!! He has cried because of the helmet ZERO times! He honestly has maintained his normal spontaneity and craziness :) even when the helmet is covering his eyes he just goes on with life like normal! Truly truly an answered prayer! Last night was his first night to sleep in the helmet. We were so worried that he would wake up! He didn't!! He slept til 9 am! This child!! He is something! The Lord KNEW that I was weaker than I thought I was cause let me tell you - if he was tugging at it and crying I might would have had to be medicated to get through these 6 months! Seriously. This new mama didn't know how broken she could be over a little blue helmet!

A few funnies:
(public conversations will be interesting!)

Mom took Miller shopping and said one woman came up to her... Looked at Miller... Then back at my mom and said "skull fracture??"

Las night we ate with friends at Genghi's Grill (very good!) and we were running late (of course)! It was very crowded and our friends were already seated. We walked through the doors into a huge crowd and were immediately greeted by a smiling waitress who says (before we speak) "your party is outside, you can follow me right this way." :) She led us right to our friends and I said to Alicia, "you must have told the waitress to look for the blue helmet!" she laughed and said yes!!

Another friend "sees" us eating on the porch of the restraunt as she drives by in her CAR. I said "how did you see us in all these people?" She sweetly replied "I'm not gonna lie. I saw Miller's blue helmet!"

Another positive: We are easy to locate these days!!

Oh and my "sweet kiss" from the Lord on Thursday!!
Of course on Thursday I was still super stressed about the helmet. I was talking to my neighbor and he said "I saw where Miller got a helmet." I replied, "yeah" (insert monotone speech right there :) and he says "my daughter had one of those when she was little." He had a very similar story to ours! It was very encouraging to hear! And his daughter has a sweet little round head today :-)

Miller during a "helmet break"

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Miller's Helmet

       I'm sitting in the kitchen floor watching Miller play as I write this blog. I don't deserve him. He is much too precious for a broken person like me. I'm so thankful that the Lord entrusted him to Lee and I for his life here on earth. We got his helmet earlier today. It went well and honestly Miller's little world hasn't changed much. He is still the same boy with and without the helmet. I have been following him around the house (on the ground) just waiting on any sign of discomfort from the helmet. I get below his level to make sure he sees me and knows I'm there. It's overkill because he's looking at me like I am the crazy one! This kid hasn't even NOTICED the helmet! He's God's goodness wrapped up into one little 24 (or more) pound package! I will be honest. I am still emotional about this helmet. I don't know why - just am. BUT I am committed to keep pushing forward! I'm still committed to have fun with it and enjoy the journey, but for today I'm a little blue :) Please keep praying for us and for Miller. I pray that he will be just as content once he realizes the helmet is here to stay for a little while!

If you didn't know that Miller was getting a helmet and are wondering what is going on - please read THIS POST!
Now to the part y'all actually care about! Pictures!

Disclaimer:  When looking at Miller's helmet you will probably notice that it is not exactly symmetrical - it's not suppose to be. A perfectly round helmet would not do anything to help shape his head. The helmet applies more pressure to certain areas and has "gaps" in other areas to allow for re-shaping. The eyes are still a little low but they didn't want to cut anymore because over the next several months Miller will GROW and a helmet that fits perfect today will not fit at all in a few months. Just FYI in case you were wondering. 

Enjoy the PICS! Oh and don't forget about our fundraisers! Courtney's painting and the bottles!


pure sweetness

He is STILL into everything - including the cabinets!

I love HIM!

Still loves to laugh and "wrestle"

He is EXTRA hot in this helmet!! So we will prob be in a diaper most of the summer!

Pray for his little head :)

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Monday, June 11, 2012

How precious are the feet....

       On Friday all of our paperwork had officially arrived at USCIS. Now we are waiting on them to send us a fingerprint appointment. Fingerprinting is the next step in our journey. Please pray for everything in the next few weeks with our paperwork to go smoothly. Our goal is to have our Dossier submitted to Ethiopia before the rainy season (when courts close) which I think begins in September. We greatly appreciate your prayers.  Some exciting news! A sweet couple I know just received a referral of a little boy from Ethiopia. You can follow their journey to bring home their son in the next few months on her blog HERE!

       This past weekend we had a baby shower at my house for my friend Keri who is due to have her little girl in August. For some, the beginning of summer may signify "wedding season" but for me this year it signifies "baby season!" Got lots of sweet babies on the way!  It was so good to see all of my friends that I don't get to see much anymore. We all come from different walks of life and have journeyed through different seasons together. Our sweet friend Emily, had literally just flown in from her mission trip to India at 8 o'clock a.m. and made it to the shower at 10 a.m. - props to EM :))  I mentioned Emily and her trip because I had one of those "time freezes" moments when she was talking about her trip. I love those moments. A moment when all of a sudden everything in life is put into correct perspective and you realize what really matters in life. It's like time freezes and you realize that so much of the junk you worry about day in and day out means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Emily does not know this (other than my facebook post) but the Lord spoke to me while she was talking. I could not shake the emotion of that moment for days! Here is the story:
       Emily was recalling something that happened on her trip. Forgive me if the details are incorrect EM :) They were praying over people. Over families. A man was praying over a family who happened to be Christians. He said he felt something on his feet, but didn't want to be distracted so he just prayed even harder. I am assuming what was at his feet did not stop because he finally paid attention to it. He said that it was one of the family members - a woman. She was on her knees kissing his feet. At first he was afraid that she was worshipping him so he told her "no,no,no!" She looked up at him and made a statement to explain herself. The interpreter told the man that she was saying scripture, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7 As Emily revealed what the woman said, she was crying and those of us who were listening had tears in our eyes. It was then that time froze. You see... we weren't crying because it was a "feel good story." We had tears in our eyes because deep in our hearts we believe the same thing the woman does. How BEAUTIFUL are the feet of those who bring good news. Their feet are beautiful because they worship a beautiful savior. That moment just felt "right." All of my being agreed with what was said and I loved to see the hearts of my friends revealing the same thing! Eternity is what matters. Revealing the gospel to other is what matters. Here in the States we take the Gospel for granted. People in other parts of the world are persecuted for being a Christian. To receive salvation in places like this means to receive persecution. Not just being made fun of, but true persecution. Pray for our brothers and sisters around the world. Pray for those meeting in underground churches. Pray for the Gospel to continue to be spread. Pray for the Lord to send out workers into the fields.
       I confess that sometimes I get lost in all the busyness of adoption - fundraising, blogging, paperwork, etc. Saturday reminded me of WHY we are adopting. We didn't decide to adopt because we thought it would be a "good thing to do," because someone inspired us (we knew no one), or because we attended a church who supports adoption (our church had NEVER mentioned adoption from the pulpit when we were called). We are adopting because we BELIEVE with everything in us that Jesus is the Christ. Salvation in a moment became our journey for a lifetime. Our relationship with HIM is the very reason we are adopting. This life is a temporary assignment. One day we will stand before God and recall all that we have done. Thinking about this moment drives me and keeps me awake at night. I do not want to stand empty handed before my King.

This verse was from my Quiet Time this morning :) -
"The law from Your mouth is more PRECIOUS to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold."
Psalm 119:72

More news!! Lee just called and said that we got approved for the "adoption grant" from Pinelake!! Yay!! what a huge blessing!!

Also, here are two fundraisers we are doing!

My sweet friend Courtney Anders painted this cross for me to auction! Auction begins now and lasts until Thursday at noon! Please facebook, text, or email your bid. I will keep you updated!

Here is another fundraiser we are doing! These bottles have been passed around to several families in the process of adopting! We get to use them now :) Basically we are passing out bottles to families and businesses and asking people to fill them with their loose change!  If you want a bottle or know someone who does just let me know! We have lots of them.

Thanks for journeying with us!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Recap Of Last Week

Last week was interesting. Yes, that's a good word - interesting. I'm going to give y'all a recap of last week!

To begin the week - our HOME STUDY came in the mail!! Yay! For us, that didn't really signify a step in paperwork because our agency already sent our home study to USCIS for us, BUT it does mean that we can officially apply for a grant through Pinelake's Outlive fund!! We are super pumped about that!

Monday was Memorial Day. Lee had to work, but Miller and I went to Decatur to Lee's family's home and went swimming. Sweet Miller loves the water.

Miller also got his FIRST HAIR CUT

Tuesday was our anniversary :) and by the way, our "anniversary fundraiser" did/is doing well! While we were at the movie our little man decided he would start trying to learn to walk!! Below is the link to a video Kelli (lee's cousin) filmed while she babysat him that night!

Video of Miller

Now if that video doesn't look like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time then I don't know what does :) don't ask me why I thought of a deer, but Miller's legs sure are wobbly!

Wednesday is when things got "interesting." I'm going to try to be as efficient with this explanation as I can be. When Miller was an itty bitty baby, for one reason or another, he preferred to lay only on one side of his head. By the time Lee and I noticed, his head had begun to flatten a little on one side (a condition known as positional plagiocephaly). We notified the doctors (this was at about 2 months old I'm guessing) at an early age. They told us to do what we could to keep him off that side and we did. We wedged him, we did all sorts of stuff. Each month we would ask the pediatrician about his head. Our pediatrician hoped that it would "iron out" on it's own, however, at our 9 month visit he referred us to the specialist. So Wednesday was our visit with the Specialist! I could probably write a book on all the details that that visit entailed from all the medical details to the emotions that Lee and I both went through - but I will spare you all the details and skip straight to the verdict!  Miller will have to wear a helmet for 4 to 6 months for cranial remolding! Although he is older than the typical child who receives a helmet (age 5 to 6 months) we are praying that we will still see results. The specialist is confident that we will see some improvement, although he is skeptical about 100% correction. Miller will wear the helmet 23 hours a day for 4 to 6 months... in the summer time... in Mississippi. Yes. Hot. Are Lee and I excited about this? Absolutely not! But we, along with the doctors, feel like this is the best thing for multiple reasons. Please pray for our hearts and our journey! If you are interested in getting a "sneak peek" of what the helmet will look like, you can google "Starband Helmet." June 12th is the tentative date that Miller will get his helmet.

Thursday Miller woke up with 103* fever. He maintained a high temp all day. Lee brought him to the Pediatrician and we ruled out strep and ear infection which left us with the all too common diagnosis of... you guessed it... Fever Virus! Basically, baby has a virus which is causing a fever but doctor isn't sure what the virus is and it will usually go away within 3 days. If not, bring baby back in! :)) But I do have to say that the Pediatrician visit allowed Lee and I to address several "questions" we had regarding the helmet issue (mainly revolving around why Miller didn't get it when he was 5 months old). Again - that's another story :) Lee and I felt better after talking to our Pediatrician. No, nothing was resolved and my baby still has to wear a helmet, but it felt good to conversate with him and understand more about his perspective. Then late Thursday evening I got a sweet kiss from the Lord. I didn't go into detail earlier (b/c it would literally be a book) but on top of Miller being at the VERY END range of age for getting a helmet, the orthotics people couldn't get Miller in for a week to fit him, then it would be another 2 weeks before he got the helmet, leaving him 11 months old :(. So all day Thursday me and friends were on the phone trying to SQUEEZE my baby in for an earlier visit and it just wasn't happening. They were too booked, but very sweet (and consoling to a crying mama)! So, the sweet kiss.
I had JUST walked back into my department and was talking to my boss. I faintly heard a pager beeping. Now, normally I would have completely ignored the pager for 2 reasons - 1, I didn't even know whose pager was beeping and 2, it was 4:30 in the afternoon and by that time most stuff waits til tomorrow. But something in my gut made me tune in and go see if it was mine. I walked back to my office and sure enough it was mine. I called the number back and it was Orthotics! All he said was "bring him tomorrow at 1:30." Do you know how excited I was?? Probably not fully because I spared you all the emotional details, but just trust me that I was COMPLETELY OVERJOYED!!

FRIDAY... The long awaited switch from paper charting to computer charting took place at UMC. You may have seen the word "epic" on some of your friend's facebooks! This is what they are talking about. One word... Craziness! More important topics - My Miller Man!
1:30 on the dot, the Blackburn crew (lee, Miller and myself) walked into URC for Miller's helmet fitting! What did this helmet fitting entail? Well, they made a cast mold of Miller's head. They took a bunch of measurements, then used plaster (the stuff they make casts out of) and molded Miller's head. Miller sat in my lap while all this took place. We were very anxious about how this would turn out and let me tell you... HE...WAS...PERFECT!! He had to sit STILL for approximately 12 minutes while they put plaster all over his head and allowed the plaster to harden. Of course someone held his head, but he didn't fight it!! He was great. I almost cried several times because he was so good! Lee and I had prayed so hard specifically that he would do well so they could get an accurate mold. Our prayers were answered before our very eyes! It was awesome. The mold was a success. They said it looks perfect! So they mailed it to whoever will make the helmet and hopefully we will get it June 12th.

 This was him waiting to get the mold done! If that isn't the cutest baby you have ever seen then I don't know who is!!! They put that stocking over his head so the plaster wouldn't stick to it.

This was him post-helmet fitting. Believe it or not this picture was taken between sweet smiles! That's one proud mama in that picture!

We don't have any pictures during the fitting because Lee videoed the whole thing. I am trying to figure out how to get the video off my phone.

Friday night Lee and I were talking about Miller and the helmet. We both agreed that we had been sad long enough and we refused to continue that through the next few months! Don't get me wrong - I am not in denial that there will be very hard days and the entire thing is a big inconvenience, however, this is where we are. This is the path the Lord has laid before us. This will be our journey for the next few months and Lee and I both agreed to just have fun with it! There are tons of mamas who have blogged about their baby's helmets, made stickers for them, etc. So we aren't going to try to bury our heads in the sand for 6 months! Instead, we are going to embrace this journey and hope that one day we look back at pictures and smile!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
                                   - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18