Monday, February 28, 2011

Tax prep?

Need help preparing your taxes? This business has offered to donate $20 to our adoption fund for each return we refer to them! Check them out!

Marino Tax Prep

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I don't know what else to say but wow. Yesterday was amazing, incredible. We had a huge fundraiser for our adoptions. We had a yard sale, inflatables, face painting, pony rides, vendors will all kinds of goods and services, live concerts, and so much food! I have no idea of the numbers of people, but my engineering husband estimates there were at least 1500 people there. Wow. So many people came that had only seen us on tv. They said they saw our story and had to come. It was beyond moving and emotional. God did a great work. I was most excited to talk to many people interested in or seriously considering adoption. I am praying for each of them that I had the chance to speak to, but also those I didn't. I am hoping they will have the courage to take that first step out in faith to do God's work.

I am overwhelming thankful for my amazing friends who came and worked--late into the night, early in the morning, in the cold, and in the blazing sun. They suffered sunburns, aching feet, and tired bodies to help us bring our 2 little ones home. I don't have the words to say what that means to me. We had businesses and individuals donate everything we needed-down to poster board and masking tape. We had people come by the droves from before we opened till after we closed. Just wow. Let this be the start of a great movement in Birmingham. A movement where we make a real difference in the orphan crisis around the world. And we hope to pull this all together again next year and bless a local family in the process of adopting and facing the daunting task of fundraising. Get on board now with the Hope Project.

I am sure next week is going to be difficult to me. I have been so consumed with this project that the lack of distraction next week will hit me hard. Eli's first birthday is Saturday. I can't even talk about it without the suffocating pain hitting. That day was beautiful and amazing and I celebrate my baby boy, but it will forever be tied with losing my baby girl. I desperately wish I could go back to this time last year. I wish I could be celebrating him with all my children. I ache for you Abigail. I hope we did you proud yesterday baby girl.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Why go there?

We've been asked, why go across the world? Why not adopt here? My first knee-jerk reaction to this question is to say to the individual, "wow, how wonderful you are adopting domestically!! how many children are you adopting?" But most of the time, the truth is, those people are not doing anything to help children-here or otherwise. Distraction is a way to ease that conviction in one's own life.

But the less snarky answer is, while there are many, many reasons why God calls different people to different types of adoptions, and I strongly believe that ALL children need families-domestic and international (I'm praying for that day!!), the short answer for our family is


These are the children God has called our family to. I will go to wherever in the world they are. I will climb mountains and swim oceans for these two. My children happen to be in Eastern Europe. They are not lacking any value because they were born across the world. ALL children deserve families and love, even if they were not born here. God loves ALL equally.

And the truth is, if we all stepped up, there wouldn't be children waiting on families--not in our community OR in those countries around the world which are suffering from poverty unimaginable to us in our cushy, comfortable lives-whether that be in Africa, Asia, or Eastern Europe. If your heart is in domestic foster care or adoption, I am happy to help you get started in that process! I have researched it extensively, and I am positive God will lead us down that path one day. At this point though, we are just trying to hang on for the ride He has us on, and to live sacrifically for His purposes, while aching to hold our two children across the sea that we love even though we have never met. What child are you helping?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I couldn't sleep last night. Contrary to popular opinion, I do love sleep. I would quite happily nap 3 hours a day and sleep 10 at night. That doesn't usually happen because of the insanity of our schedule but restless nights are just not something I've ever struggled with till last April. Now those nights are all too common. My go to place when I am alone with the darkness and the loss is usually facebook. It is a great distraction. But lately, I've been trying to make myself take control of my memory-not just run from my memory. When those times of desperation hit, I want to dwell on thoughts of her, not shut down. But I want those thoughts to be of her dimples, her eyes, her smile, not death and hospital beds. Those horrifying images like to creep in during the night, and they can be so terrifying that they can rob me of beautiful thoughts of my baby. So I'm focusing. I'm trying to recall one specific memory and dwell there.

Last night I focused on her walk. There is no way I can describe to you how my little bit walked when she had business she wanted to take care of. She hunched over, put her hands on her knees, and did this march step, all with such a serious face. Abigail knew what she wanted, what she needed to do, and she wasted no time in doing it. Even when pushing her babies in strollers- she didn't take a mothering, nurturing, dainty stroll. Oh no. Not my spunky one. She hunched down and barrelled through the living room, and anyone in her way better move soon. Don't slow her down. She has places to be. Every step she took was purposeful, even in play.

I tend to stay busy. God, direct my steps. Make them purposeful for things of You, not just busy for busy sake. I am trying to learn the lessons my little one taught me-boldness, passion, purpose. Abigail-I miss that walk. You always made me smile. I'm so thankful I was able to just watch you so many times. I love you baby girl. When thoughts of you come to me in the night, I look forward to dwelling on those details I adore so much.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Those darn trees

If you are local, but even if you are not, you might have heard about the disgusting and ridiculous poisoning of the famous trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn. I have to say, my first thought was-does this guy not have something better to do with his time?! Seriously?! To drive all the way to Auburn and covertly poison a few trees, and then take the time to call into a radio show to broadcast it. Wow, I really feel sorry for him if that is his life. Read the crazy story here if you don't know about this.

But as the evening went on and then the next day, and all I could see everywhere was this story, my pity shifted from just this individual but to the whole state. Seriously?! This is what gets us upset? This is what causes "outrage?" I woke up grieving as always, reached quickly for my phone to head off the panic attack, and all I see are people ranting and raving over trees. If you aren't local, I'm not exaggerating. Out of my entire friend's list on facebook, maybe one or two status updates were not about the trees.

Ok, I get that these trees were a big part of your school's traditions. I get that they are history. I love history. I do. I went around the world to study it. But the emotional impact these people had to these trees was a bit ridiculous. To have people drive from all over the state to be with the trees. To have people calling for the death of the individual responsible. To have people spew hatred about the other school because of some wacko. Seriously?!

Now, on top of that, truly news-worthy information, stories that deserve this level of action, attention, and outrage, get very little. A news story about children dying from around the world because of abuse, neglect, poverty...well that's sad, but the trees dying, now that demands action.

We are facing a catastrophic crisis in the world today. 147 million orphans. This crisis will directly impact each of your lives. These children will grow up and age out of the system. They will not have been loved. They will not have been taught how to be productive members of society. All the cards will be stacked against them. Then 147 million individuals will be put out on the streets. These kids are hurting, dying now whether you see them or not. They are out there waiting, needing you, whether you want to help or not.

Where is the humanity in the world that those children receive very little reaction and outrage, but those darn trees get so much attention and action? It is time that we step up. It is time we ACT. It is time that we give these kids the energy and sacrifice they deserve. I'm not saying don't love your football, or your school, or your trees. I'm just saying love these kids as well. Fight for them as well. Follow what you are commanded to do and show your outrage for them. Care for them. Feed them. Clothe them. Do something that really matters with your time. In all honesty, you can drive down to Auburn and hug on those trees all you want, but quite likely they will just die anyway. If you offer that affection to one of these children so desperately needing it, you could make the actual difference between life and death. Human life.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Abigails's Marker

Time to blog finally!

This has been the first time I have had time to blog this week. I have so many thoughts in my head, but no time to stop and put them into type. I promise to be a better blogger once we get through next weekend. If you want to know what I have been doing with all my time, check out The Hope Project.

This week has been full of emotional ups and downs. I feel like I am on an out of control roller coaster this week...but no, not even that...maybe a bucking bull. I don't know, but I do know that the emotion is giving me whiplash. I have had some really high highs--getting my home study in the mail to immigration is a big one! Yay! We are another step closer to Grace and Malachi. The beauty of people coming together to help us with our fundraiser craziness is another. A big one this week is blogger and soon to be adoptive mom whom I have never met wanting to do a fundraiser to honor Abigail and raise awareness for back-over safety just because Abigail's story has made a difference in her life. And my biggest high is continually hearing stories of families making the leap of faith into adoption! Praise God for all of you willing to sacrifice in your own lives to make an eternal difference in the lives of waiting children!

Now my low's-Valentine's was hard. I can see her so clearly last year. The picture in my sidebar is actually from that day. She put her tutu on, over her pj's, put all her hairbows in, and feasted on her favorite dish...chocolate. Her passion and life were never so clear as on that day. This year, we went to the cemetery. I'm having a hard time with how incredibly unfair that is. We desperately miss her chaos. The lowest of the low came Friday, when I was told that her marker had been delievered. It is beautiful, but oh how it hurts to see it there with her name. It is so permanent, so final, and she is anything but. I don't know if I am going to be able to go there by myself for awhile, and that hurts. I love to go and sit with her. It is just a whole extra level of pain to have to stare at her death date right next to her beautiful face. I am so thankful we found a beautiful marker and tribute for her, but I just never wanted to have to choose that for my child, my spunky one.

This week I have also had the priviledge and honor of doing a couple of tv interviews. Thanks in particular to Beth Shelburne of Fox 6. She is doing a beautiful job telling Abigail's story and helping to spread HOPE to Birmingham. Thank you Beth for your very sensitive handling of things. That interview itself had its own highs and lows. It is always bitter sweet to talk about my Abigail. I had to go back to that day and tell the whole story, and that left me feeling very raw. I just wish so desperately that one day wasn't part of her story. However, I also was able to talk about the desperate plight of waiting children. I was able to talk about hope and healing. I was hopefully able to encourage others to ACT. I am praying for a revolution in families locally--appreciate the ones you have, and do everything in your power to help those who have no families.

And I have also dealt with frustration this week relating to some oh so famous trees in this state. More on that to come.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


What a whirlwind these last few weeks have been! God has us on a wild ride. Read our website to get all the details of our upcoming fundraiser!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dear Abigail on Valentine's

(our home study is in the mail to immigration! Yay!)

Suffering is coming home desperate to see your kids only to be hit with the reality again that you will never hold one of them again in this life. Home will never be quite home any more.

I miss you more than words can say baby girl. I have a constant aching yearning for you. I doubt it will ever go away and in fact I never want it to. I bought valentine's cards last year for you to use this year. I'm so sorry you never got the chance to give and receive cards. You would have been so excited. We are all missing you constantly and we seek to keep you an active part of our lives. You are a vital part of our family. Separation sucks. I wish I could see you here with your baby. I know how much you loved him in those 5 short weeks. I am terrified of the day that he is older than you. I am thankful for every moment I had with you, but I am greedy for more. 2 years isn't enough. You had learned and taught us so much, but there was so much more I wanted to share with you. I love you my princess. My little bit. My Abigail.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm still here!

I am still here! I know I have been MIA for a little while. Sorry about that. Life has been out of control crazy (as usual!). We had a wonderful response to our bead party last weekend. I still have some beautiful pieces, so if you missed it, you still have an opportunity to buy some beautiful Ugandan jewelry. Email me!

We are also in the middle of planning a big fundraiser. The Hope Project is Feb. 26th for anyone local. It will feature 3 bands, a yard sale, food, inflatables, vendor booths, and lots of fun. Come and support us anytime that day 7-3 at Oak Mountain Presbyterian (who is generously letting us use their facilities! thanks!!) Preorder BBQ on my sidebar!

On top of that, we are promised our home study before Thursday--yay! We will get it shipped out to immigration as soon as we get it and then...wait some more. That is the last step though before all our paperwork is shipped off to Eastern Europe. Malachi is turning 3 and we are so ready to go meet him and Grace!

I am also in the middle of placement season with exchange students. Let me know if you are interested in hosting! We have some great kids needing to be placed for next school year.

And then I am teaching a few classes again to fundraise. Wow, I wasn't expecting that to be the emotional drain it has been. One of the neatest students I have taught so far died a couple of weeks ago. It was completely unexpected and put me into emotional shock. I am devastated for his family and friends and so wish I had the opportunity to know him more than the 2 classes I taught him. It was strange to return to class and have him missing. Life is so short. I can't say that enough.

In many ways, we feel like we are on a march back through the last months of Abigail's life now that we are in February. Please wrap us in prayer as we prepare to celebrate her life again in April, but without her for the first time. The ache is still so painful 10 months later. I hope we are making you proud my sweet passionate girl.

I have also been spending a lot of time helping others with homeschooling, as well as advocating for orphans. I am constantly amazed and the variety of people God puts in my life to encourage me and that I get to encourage.

Ok, that should catch you up on how I have been spending my last couple of weeks. I have lots of blogs I have started and never had a chance to finish. I have several issues I am thinking about and trying to sort through. I can't wait to hear your thoughts! Stay tuned!