Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2 Months Waiting!

Today, we have been officially waiting for 2 Months! I have not seen any referrals going out, so I am "guessing" that we are still unofficially the same numbers that we were a few weeks ago. :(
Just because I haven't seen any referrals does not mean that there weren't any. I will have to wait until our agency sends out the "official" referral report for October sometime next week! I will let you guys know.

But for now... 2 months closer :)

Please keep praying for us!

Oh and Happy Halloween!!

Our little monkey loved trick-or-treating! (actually he just loved riding the hayride, running with other kids to and from houses, and staring at everyone :))

It was a good night!! We were treated by some sweet friends and family to Chili and dessert after trick-or-treating! Hope y'all had a great night!

Our little monkey!


Boo Y'all!

Me & my monkey

Family Pic!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Made To Worship

I love Art.

Some of my deepest times of Worship come when I am painting.

But Art can be... Frustrating. Stressful. Messy. Expensive. Exhausting.

Take a look at our costumes for a Halloween Party we attended last weekend.

I know! I know! The bulldogs got smoked! We still love them!


These costumes were more work than I originally thought they would be. They took longer to make than I ever intended. The whole process got messier than my husband would have liked :) and took time to clean up.

There were times of frustration, physical exhaustion, worry and joy. It was a process. There were times when I wanted to throw in the towel. I learned some valuable "art" lessons. In the end, I found myself putting the final details on the project, listening to music, thanking God it had all come together and I was worshipping!
I wasn't worshipping bc I had finished the project. I was worshipping because I had just received a phone call from Lee that went something like this:

Lee: "Abby, Guess What?!?!"
Abby: "What?" (knowing this was good news based on his excited tone)

Lee proceeded to tell me that someone had spoke with him and said that she had been referred to Lee by a friend. She proceeded to tell Lee that her son had recently been dx with plagiocephaly and would have to wear a helmet. Lee had the opportunity to encourage her purely because he could relate to how she was feeling.
She told him that she had been crying for 3 days straight. He simply said, "my wife did too, but you will overcome all of that. You will make it through this season"
(those probably weren't his exact words but it was something like that)

Those words, "my wife did too" rang in my ears even after we got off the phone. I did. I had cried. I had been sad. And now, I was praising my Father that I had been all of those things so that I can relate to and encourage others who are walking the same path.

Lee wrote me a message that simply said, "Abby, it is so awesome to be used by God to encourage others. I hope He continues to place people in our path."

In that moment, the only human who was capable of speaking words of life and encouragement to that heartbroken mama was someone who had once been in her shoes. Someone who had once ached like she was aching. I am thankful the Lord chose Lee to do that.

All of these thoughts and this conversation were taking place when I was finishing up our costumes.

Aren't some seasons with the Lord like an Art project?

Exciting yet exhausting.
Short yet painfully long.
Joyful and frustrating.
Weary yet gaining strength and knowledge.
Messy... Yet. Perfectly. Orchestrated.

All in all... There is worship.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may DECLARE THE PRAISES of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

1 Peter 2:9

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Countdown Wall

About a month ago we put up this countdown wall.

We planned to countdown our adoption by the months. Well... There has been "talk" amongst families in our agency this month that the waiting time frame is about to increase again. :(
Currently the waiting time frame is 18-24 months, however it is projected to increase to 24-30 months very, very soon. It makes me sad. I recently told a fellow adoptive mom that I hope to have Malachi home in 4 years. Part of me is hoping it will be 3 or less, but reality is that this could really take a while.
The reason for the increase in wait times? Paperwork.
There are still millions of orphans in Ethiopia. There are families waiting on children. The extensive amount of required paperwork is the hold up in getting these adoptions processed. I am thankful for the paperwork. It helps keep adoption ethical. I just wish there were a more efficient process.

So needless to say, it's going to be a while. Please continue to pray for us. It pains us to wait month after month not knowing when this process will be completed.

Malachi may be our second child, or he may be our third or fourth. Only the Lord knows! We are thankful that our agency allows you to grow your family through pregnancy or pursuit of other adoptions during the wait without impacting your adoption. However, right now we are just praying for God to do miracles with paperwork. We are praying for children to be placed in forever families. We are praying for Malachi to come home!!!! :)

So why the new countdown wall?
Because I just couldn't handle continually adding months to the wall. It's just too hard.

I decided to use our "unofficial " agency wait list!

I cannot take credit for this precious countdown wall. I found it on a fellow adoptive mom's blog. Hilary was selling them to raise money for their adoption! They are currently #4 for a little boy :))

Look how cute!

The two colors are 2 different age ranges.

The blue is for an infant, 0-18 mos.
We are currently number 82

The red is for a toddler, 18-24 mos.
We are number 38

We cannot wait to begin taking down numbers! Each number represents a child matched with a forever family and will be one step closer to Malachi!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Passions - Helmet Series

Sometimes God allows me to use passions I already possess to encourage others. This could be a passion for art, or for sports, or whatever. These passions are natural and familiar. They're comfortable.

And then.

I am learning.

That sometimes, He births new passions in me. I do not always invite these passions. In fact, at times, I resist them. You could almost imagine me as a little kid with my eyes squeezed tightly shut saying, "please God, don't ask me to go down THAT road." But He does. He often asks me to walk through things that I would rather avoid completely.

And in the end.

He is always right. He is always faithful. My heart is always more full at the end of those journeys than I could have ever imagined.

And I look back saying, "I would do it all over again!"

One example of this is absolutely adoption and a passion for orphans. It wasn't natural. It wasn't comfortable. And in the beginning, I battled the desire to "make it go away" because I was scared. But even now, even before Malachi is home, I am so very thankful the Lord moved in my heart and opened my eyes.

Another journey the Lord asked me to walk through, although seemingly mild in comparison to the orphan crisis, was the journey with Miller's helmet. Ewww did I fight it at first! I did NOT want to have to walk down that path. In the beginning, all I could do was hope for the end. I hoped that it would go by quickly, and we could just sort of "forget" it ever even happened.


God is always up to bigger things. He uses trials as an invitation to Himself. He drew me near to Him. He comforted me during those first few weeks. He encouraged me.


He changed my heart. I fell IN LOVE with my little boy's little blue helmet. Not because it was "cute."
I fell in love with it because it was part of him. My son.

I had never experienced the rawness of emotions that comes with loving someone so much that you would do ANYTHING for their good. No matter the cost, physical and emotional. Placing myself and Lee at the center of social awkwardness, extensive questioning, and emotional expense. All the while, not regretting or resenting any of it because of the love we have for Miller.


No matter what. He is our son!

We love him.

I am in no way trying to "toot our own horn." I am simply praising the Lord for doing a work in my heart and teaching me more than I would ever attempt to put into a blog post.

I often thought that at the end of this, we would close the door, brush off our hands and feet, and walk away. Never really looking back. However, I was wrong. I feel like the Lord is calling us to leave our hearts open to be used to encourage others.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, SO THAT we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God comforted us so that we could comfort others walking along the same journey. This was confirmed in a text message I received from a friend a few weeks ago.

Here is the text:

"Met a family n Chick-Fil-A in Seveirville, TN today. They seemed a little grumpy and I almost didnt stop and talk. The lil girl had a pink helmet. I shared millers story and showed pictures of him with and without helmet. They were encouraged, as they had never met anyone with a helmet or knew anyone else with a helmet. Miller's story made them smile and brought encouragement to their family. Way to go miller!!! Already making a difference in this big world."

My heart leaped. I longed for encouragement during our season with the helmet. We knew NO ONE else. We didn't have the opportunity to chat with other parents about their journey. To be able to offer someone else even a tiny piece of what I so longed for.... Well... There is no greater honor.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Comments

Several people have written me and said that they were having a lot of trouble leaving comments on my blog secondary to the restrictions in place.

But AHH HAA! I think I have fixed the problem!!

From now on when you want to leave a comment it will make you "choose a profile."
Just scroll down until you see Name/URL and click that. You can just put your name in. You don't have to put in a URL.
And BAM! You're done!
No more crazy "prove to me you're not a robot" pop-ups!

Yay! I hope it works for ya!

As for us... We are WAITING! We haven't seen any major movement in our agency this month so I am anxious to see how many children were referred at the end of October. I have a few updates on "our wait" but we will save that for another blog (because it may not be exciting news). :((

I am, however, finally picking up a book that my heart has longed to read for a really long time. I hope my emotions are ready for it! :) I'm only in chapter 2 and it is proving to be worth the "hype."

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I woke up this morning just needing some encouragement for adoption and I saw this video that a sweet family from our agency had just posted!

I watched and I cried and I cried!


 Possibly years from now.


 I will pull up to this very transition home in Ethiopia  and meet Malachi for the first time ever! I cannot wait! But for today, this is enough! I've posted the link to the video below. Check I out!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Street Kids

Do you remember THIS POST about giving shoes to kids in Africa?

Well, today as I was taking a spin through Facebook, I saw this post by the missionary in Ethiopia that the money was given to.

It made me smile! I could just imagine the sweet smiles on the faces of those children!! This image has been marked in my head all day.

Street kids - This is often so far from my mind. In all honesty, the thought of kids living on the street is almost "movie-like to me." That could not be farther from the truth. These are REAL kids. They are living and breathing this very minute... suffering from poverty that most of us will never, ever even come close to experiencing.

Could you just join me in praising the Lord today for meeting the simple needs of these children and for making them smile?!

If any of you gave.... Thank you! You may never see the fruit of your giving on this side of eternity, but rest assured that there is a sweet child in Africa walking around with a new pair of shoes on today because you gave.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

He is Faithful... Despite Me - Helmet Series

"My confession.... I have been praying that Miller would be out of the helmet by September."

"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."

"Please 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!"

Those quotes were from my blog post on JUNE 26TH - A.M.A.Z.E.D.

I prayed fervently that Miller would graduate by September.... for a little while. Over time, my mind twisted and my thoughts became selfish. I formulated a selfish goal that not only would he graduate by September, but that he would graduate by the beach trip (first week of September). Needless to say... he didn't. We loaded that little helmet up and headed to the beach. "MY" goal for helmet graduation was over. He didn't graduate by the beach trip. However, God's whisper was "September" NOT "the beach trip." I was unfaithful in continuing to pray and believe. I lost sight. God didn't. He intended to fulfill the very word He had spoken into me back in June.

September 25th, 2012. Miller Graduated.

Sadly, on the way to the hospital that day - it never occurred to me that this was the last opportunity to bring to pass what I had prayed back in June. I was too busy thinking of other things.

Sometime later that day, I remember thinking.... today is still September! I looked at Lee and said, "God did what He said He would."

I re-read my blog post from June 26th and it made me smile to see how specifically and sweetly God was speaking to me when my emotions were still raw over the helmet. It made me sad to see that as time passed, I had become unfaithful to continue praying.

I am thankful to serve a God that is faithful depsite my lack of faithfulness.

Thankful for this lesson learned :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Miller's Helmet Graduation Day!

I am thinking that saying goodbye to the helmet may take a few posts so I figured I would begin with a simple recap of the day he graduated!

September 25th, 2012

Miller's appointment was at 1:00. This was his 4 month follow up with the Plastic Surgeon. Honestly, I didn't really have a "feeling" one way or the other regarding the possibility of Miller graduating from his helmet. I had gotten my hopes up before and just didn't even feel like "going there" this time. So to me... this was just another appointment. 
I must insert here that I had become a bit "jaded" if you will. We had survived the scorching heat of the summer... constantly being stuck indoors... the stares... the questions... and countless doctor visits. Our major family outing (the beach trip) was behind us. We were just kinda... jaded.

Here is sweet Miller waiting on his doctor.

The doctor and his crew came in. They immediately took Miller's helmet off and began observing his head. Then Dr. C. looked up at us and said, "his head is rounding out nicely, I say just keep wearing the helmet until he outgrows it." We smiled and nodded our heads in understanding.
He proceeded to put the helmet back on Miller and he noticed that it was rotating to the right significantly. He asked me if it always rotated like that and I replied, "yes, it has started doing that over the past 2 weeks." He observed Miller in the helmet very briefly, then he quickly took the helmet off and tossed it across the room to Lee. As he tossed the helmet, he uttered the words "y'all are done!!"

The moment was very surreal. So many emotions rose up in me all at once. I did the only thing I knew to do.... I asked him if he was sure and then assured him that we were more than willing to continue wearing the helmet if it was best for Miller.
He smiled and sort of chuckled a little. He explained to us that Miller's head looked great and had already achieved near symmetry. He told us that over the next several months we will actually continue to see more improvement even without the helmet.
In a nutshell... he told us to put it in Miller's scrapbook!

We talked a little more, sharing helmet stories and such. Then they left.

Lee and I just looked at each other. Shocked. Giddy. Sad. All in ONE. We were grinning so big!

The weirdest... saddest... and sweetest part of leaving the hospital is captured in this little picture right here.

His first few moments HELMET FREE! We put that sweet little helmet on the stroller and wheeled out. Seriously. Our emotions were so mixed. We went from smiling to frowning repeatedly.

HOW... WHY... would we EVER be sad to see the helmet go? That seems ABSURD huh?

I will fall short on every single attempt to explain our emotions.
I refuse to exhaust myself, but I desire to journal a few of the details of our journey (especially for those of you who were on the Front Line with the helmet).

The journey with the helmet was ultimately an invitation to draw near to the Lord and it was all for His glory.
Although Miller's physical journey with the helmet ended on September 25th... our call to encourage others who are walking through this same season has only just begun.

stay tuned for the "helmet series"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just for Fun!

Our adoption agency does not have an "Official Waiting List." However, there is a yahoo group for our agency and families over the years have created an "Unofficial Waiting List." Although EVERY single family adopting from our agency may not be on this list, I believe the majority of families are. We were added to the list this week and I thought it would be fun to keep up with our progress! So here are our UNOFFICIAL wait list numbers! Just for Fun!


For a little boy age 0-18 months!!

                                                         For a little boy age 19-24 months!!

Don't be fooled by the numbers :) They don't really give an accurate timeline. However, they will allow me to better express the movement each month (good or bad) within our agency!

Hope you have an awesome weekend!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1 Month Waiting

We have officially been waiting ONE month for Malachi. We took the number 24 down from our countdown wall :) - leaving 23 more months currently on the wall. Sadly, I anticipate for us to have to add more numbers to this wall. I pray that I am wrong, however, on a recent conference call our agency warned us that this is a possibility. Ethiopian adoptions have drastically slowed down over the past year as the country made strides to make international adoption completely legit and ethical. Unfortunately, the little ones are the ones who suffer while they wait extra months in orphanages without their forever family.
Oh well. All we can do today is celebrate being 1 month closer to our little man.

Another reason to celebrate.....

Miller Graduated From His Helmet!!!

I FULLY intend to do another post telling all the sweet details of his helmet graduation. I am sad that I haven't already gotten around to doing it. I absolutely hate this excuse but gonna use it anyway - "just been busy lately" :)

Just look at that sweet little graduate!

I don't know that I am emotionally ready to talk about the helmet graduation.

Don't get me wrong. The graduation was sweet and perfect, but there is something very bitterly sweet about all of it. Ugh. Just looking at this picture of him in the helmet makes me want to cry. A season of his life is gone. That was my child for 4 months!! All things blue :)

I am kind of an emotional Mama tonight (for Miller and Malachi). I will give you guys a better post at a later date!

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven"
Ecclesiastes 3:1