Monday, December 26, 2011


Jingle Bells:D
Cameron finally gave in... I mean was SO excited about adding to the family! We are so excited about having a new puppy. Jingle Bells is a golden doodle and she's a very sweet, good doggy. We are in puppy training at Pet Smart and she's learning a lot. Welcome to the fam Jingle Bells!! We are so glad you are here!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Oh it's been a good Christmas for us!! I'm not sure we've ever thoroughly enjoyed and soaked each other up quite as much as we have this year and it's been SO good! We have been reading an Advent story this month and finished it today and it was so good. How thankful I am God placed it on my heart years ago to READ, READ, READ to my children. We have read so many rich books over the past few years. So many precious memories we've made through those books.
The kids have had the best Christmas as far as gifts go. Cameron built them the most amazing tree fort!!! We are going to have the most fun in our back yard over the next several years. We also bought them a trampoline for Christmas which they LOVE!!!
Joleigh has thoroughly enjoyed her first Christmas as a Wallace. She has loved seeing the Christmas lights and looking for our Elf friend daily:) She and Piper have played all night long with the doll house. The boys have played all night with legos and Cameron and I were able to watch a movie all alone while they all played.
Thank you God for the blessings You've given us. Oh please continue to guide us as we raise these children You have blessed with. You know I would freeze them in a moment if it were possible. OH I would, I would!!! Please God let them run and chase after You. Let them have a desire to know You more. Let our lives glorify You!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

She is...

... a joy giver!
She is full of life!
She is resilient!
She is a firecracker!
She is beautiful in every way!
She is 3 years old!
She absolutely LOVES to learn!
She also LOVES her momma's crochet projects:)
She thinks life is a song!
Her mommy has had a very hard 6 months and God has given her healing powers!
She is life for my soul and a light in my heart!
Oh thank you Jesus for each moment with have with Piper Jane! We are soaking her up!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I realized a couple of months ago while doing a Bible study with the women at Grace Fellowship Bible that the thing that really grips me, stands in the way of truly following and trusting Him is fear. While we were sharing our obstacles or things we struggle with all of the other women said several things that they personally struggle with and then it came to me and all I had written was FEAR! Everything pretty much revolved around this in my life. What kind of fear? So many different levels. My ultimate fear is that my family will not know the Lord and will not be FOLLOWERS of Him. Oh this fear sometimes cripples me for my children. I somehow think that if I do A, B, and C then they will come to know Him. I know that's not the way it works but oh I wish it were... and then no, I don't want it to be that way b/c I wouldn't do it good enough to lead them there. None of us could ever earn His favor. Other fears are just terrible accidents. People quit telling me about freak accidents b/c then I fear they will happen to one of us. I mean, the more children you have the greater your odds, right?! Sound silly? Well, that's what has gripped me. BUT He has risen and He is a living God and He is NOT finished with me yet. I truly have lifted my arms up to Him and given Him my fears. Fear is not from the Lord! FEAR IS NOT FROM THE LORD! So why am I allowing Satan to have so much control of my life by fearing!! After giving Him my fears and laying them on the alter, I truly feel He has asked me to study His word for EVERYTHING it says about fear AND trusting!!! Obviously if I'm fearing, I'm not trusting. I am SO excited about searching His word. Confession... I have NEVER hungered to be in the word. I've wanted to so badly but never truly hungered for it. Last year I read the Bible all the way through but I still didn't delve through it to learn more and more. I am so thankful for the hunger for His word He has given me.
Here are a couple of passages I've read about fear ... now I don't just read the verses stated I go back and get the entire context b/c I really don't have a great knowledge of the Word. So if fear is something you struggle with, join me!! I told my husband, "WOW... how scary is it for Satan to know that I am giving up FEAR!!"
Genesis 21:16-17 .. Hagar and Ismael: What did she fear and what did the Lord say? I read a couple chapters around these verses to get the story behind them.
Genesis 26: 6-7 .. Isaac and Rebekah: What did Isaac fear? What was the result of this fear? I read a couple chapters around this as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Same pump, totally different story!

A week ago I was at the Kroger gas pump talking on the phone while trying to get the pump started. Now let me add, I was actually waiting on the phone b/c a friend of mine had to take another call. The pump was messing up and said it couldn't read my Kroger card and then it was canceling the transaction, yaddy yada. Now I'm a pro at the gas pump. I don't waste time. I have found the most efficient order to make sure I get the gas pumping quickly;0) it's true... I don't like wasting time at the pump. HEhe!
Well for some reason the pump was just acting up. I hear someone say, "ma'am". I didn't think much of it and then I heard it again really loud "MA'AM!!" I looked behind me and a middle aged man in a nice truck said, "are you gonna talk on the phone or are you gonna pump gas?" WOW! Are you serious?!!! I calmly put the pump back in the machine and took a few steps towards his truck and said, "Are you talking to me?" He then rudely restates his bold statement. I very calmly (this is true I was very calm) let him know he didn't know me and had no right to address me in a rude manner. I told him the pump was messing up and since he was being so inconvenienced he may need to find another pump. His wife was in the truck and you could tell by the look on her face very few stood up to him. He took my advice and found another pump... at another station. I was just shocked at how rude people could be. I was thankful the Lord held my tongue and just let him know he was being inappropriate instead of being inappropriate right back.
Fast forward a week.
Today I was pumping gas and I see a man who is obviously homeless and probably mentally ill ask a couple of people if he could make a call on their phone. Both men he asked didn't really even give him eye contact and said "no". Oh it broke my heart. But those of you who know me know I have the most ridiculous amount of compassion, like maybe to a fault. He began to walk off and then turned around and came towards me. He said, "do you have a phone I could use to make a phone call?" I said, "absolutely". I got my iPhone out of the car and gave it to him but he wasn't quite sure how to use it so he asked if I could dial the number for him. As he was waiting for someone to answer he began pacing around my vehicle, I said with a smirky smile "okay now if you're gonna borrow my phone you're gonna have to stand by me". He said, "oh no I'm not gonna steal from you. I promise I'm not gonna take your phone." I looked him in the eye and said, "I know that. I believe you but it wouldn't be wise of me to let you out of my sight" :) He then sat there with me by the pump. My eyes just continually welled up. He finally got a hold of someone. When he went to return my phone he said, "thank you. All these folks with a phone and not nobody gonna let me make ONE call". I said "you're welcome and God bless you! I'm going to pray for you." He then stood up and looked at me with the most sincere face and gasped, "My momma is saved!! My momma is saved! I get it. That's why you let me borrow your phone." He continually thanked me and wished to pay me back. I told him, "there's no need!!! This isn't my phone. It's His! God doesn't give us things to hoard, He gives us things to help those in need". Oh my heart was full as we shook hands. When I got in the car I verbally said, "God you don't want me to live life SAFELY!!! You want me to seek you in EVERY circumstance."
Lord Jesus protect my friend tonight!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Wonderfully, painful place to be...

God has me in the most AMAZING place of insufficiency where I know that I need Him for absolutely EVERYthing. It is the most unsuccessful place to be but the MOST joyful place to be. Unfortunately this joy is not how you would imagine it to look. I am battered and torn and ever so exhausted but I am right where HE wants me!! I know God is speaking truth to me and has a great work in store for me so of course right now I am experiencing spiritual warfare that is REAL. Please lift up my family in your prayers. Don't pray necessarily for satan to ignore us but for us to feel the presence of God SO powerfully that we will courageously stand our ground! That even against attacks we are able to glorify God in where He is calling us. Thank you to my friends who have been a constant encouragement to me! You know who you are and God has brought you along for the battle and I thank you for doing your part!

Monday, October 31, 2011

How YOU can help US!!

I know it's impossible to understand bonding with an adoptive child (esp an older child) unless you have literally walked through it. I also know that EVERY adoption looks so very different so even the needs of our family may look entirely different than the needs of another. I am writing this as a Momma Bear protecting my family through clinched teeth. My intent in NO way is to offend... but I am also not concerned about offense taken because I have every right to defend my family in a loving way. So here is what we NEED on this journey!!
1. Pick up Joleigh
2. Mother Joleigh
3. Offer Joleigh treats
4. Feed Joleigh

1. Let us be the Wallace family and not the family who adopted Joleigh
2. Treat Joleigh like you do our other children ... I wish I could describe the damage that is being done to my 3 year old unintentionally by family and friends who time after time shower Joleigh with comments, attention, etc and neglect her sister. Oh she may not look like she's paying attention but she notices EVERYthing you say about her sister and not about her.
3. Try to even ignore Jo is here right now!!!!! I know this sounds horrible but oh if you knew how much it would help us. This is the biggy and I KNOW it's virtually impossible for people but guys when Joleigh receives special treatment and attention from you, she is pulling away from ME!!!!! Let me retype that for you! When Joleigh receives special treatment from YOU she is pulling away from ME!!! It's called mommy shopping. She literally becomes a different kid towards me when someone has dolled all over her. Oh and I can't tell you how hard it is to bond with someone who would rather be with someone else... anyone else that will show her special attention.
Thank you to my KCA co-op family for being so great with this!!!! You guys have really made Thursdays an enjoyable day and I appreciate you helping me in this area!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please be in prayer for our family. Pray for bonding. We are SO very thankful God has called Joleigh into our family. Oh she is a joy!!! An absolutely JOY!!! She needs to feel that love and attention only from us right now. That will, in time, encompass family and friends but right now it has to be only us!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You don't wanna miss this!!

God has really brought SO many dear women to my life through adoption and today I'm gonna introduce you to one of those ladies. Mary Beth and her husband have brought two children home from Ethiopia. She is a dear friend of mine who God is using to speak life into my heart. I am so thankful for our friendship. She would like to share with you guys what He is doing in the lives of His children in Ethiopia. This is definitely a post you don't need to miss. Thank you Mary Beth for letting me be a part!!

Thank you so much Jenny] for allowing me to post on your blog about a subject that is so important to me.

Over three years ago, my husband and I began our journey to adopt our son from Ethiopia. And since that time, God has been filling our hearts with an overwhelming love and passion for the people of Ethiopia. We returned a year after our first adoption to bring our daughter home. After arriving home with her, we knew we had to do more.

We have been so blessed to team up with other adoptive families around the U.S. and with Lifesong for Orphans. Lifesong is doing some amazing work through a small nursery school that they support in Adami Tulu, Ethioipa. You can read more about Adami Tulu here.

Last year, we, with five other families, raised over $40,000 to build a new building, restroom facility, and gate at the Adami Tulu school. In August, we got to return to Ethiopia to see the new building. We had an amazing trip, and have absolutely fallen in love with Adami Tulu. You can read more about our trip here and here. The school is changing the lives of so many vulnerable children in the area by offering them a wonderful education and two nutritious meals a day.

We've returned home with the knowledge that we have so much more to do in Adami Tulu. So we've agreed to continue our work with Lifesong by raising funds for another school building on the Adami Tulu campus. This will enable the school to expand to include 1st and 2nd grade. More details will be coming soon, but we're anxious to get a jump start on fundraising. We know that this project will cost at least $50,000. But, for these sweet faces, we'll do anything!

We are very excited to announce our first fundraiser for our next phase of the Adami Tulu project: another Aspen Giveaway!

Our Aunt and Uncle have, once again, generously donated toward our fundraising efforts. Only this time they've offered us not one but FIVE stays at the Hyatt Grand Aspen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We are doing well! This is possibly one of my favorite seasons in this life He's given me. Yes, I'm busy and exhausted. Yes, I'm terribly proud that my kitchen and living room are CLEAN while the rest of my house is dirty;). Yes, there are times that the whines of a 3 yr old or defiance of a 2 year old get to me... but oh the JOY, pure JOY I am soaking in on a daily basis. I LOVE LIFE!! Always have really but I love it even more right now. Teaching the boys has been such a blessing for me. They are both doing so well right now in school. They'd rather be playing but they never really complain about having to do work which is such a blessing for me right now. Piper is SOOO incredibly eager to learn. I have no doubt if I spent just a handful of minutes with that girl she'd be reading in no time. She's a sponge. She desperately wants to be able to do the schoolwork they are doing and will often whine "but I just can't READ!!". She can entertain herself easily. She has SO many imaginary friends, it cracks us all up. Joleigh is just a little ball of sunshine. She is content usually in all circumstances. She'll definitely let you know if she's been wronged;0) but she just plays her little heart out day in and day out.
I know God has blessed me with such an amazing amount of contentment. Life has been a whirlwind over the past few months but God has been an ever present strength for me. He has given me a great group of women who have traveled down the adoption path and have poured life into me. He fills me daily with joy and when I lay down joy is still bubbling over. I know I'm the kinda person that easily gets on others nerves b/c I'm just "so happy" but really why shouldn't we be?!? I am a sinner chosen and saved by grace and I pray that I will always be filled with joyful praise!

Monday, August 22, 2011

First week wrap up

We had a great first week of homeschool! We learned about the Vikings and Leif Ericson. We learned about the meaning of names. I wrote a letter to the boys telling them about how we came up with their names and the meaning of their names. They really enjoyed that. At the end of the week, we made cupcakes and put their initials on them to celebrate their names.

We did our first science experiment. They had a lot of fun doing it. Piper wouldn't let us start until she had her "journal" to take notes on the experiment;0).

This week we are learning about the meaning of the name Jesus. We are also learning about Christopher Columbus. We will be making some special little ships to sail across the ocean blue... aka swimming pool. The boys had a great first week. Piper and Joleigh were fabulous. SO far... I haven't had to use the television as entertainment for the girls. Actually, I'm not sure the tv was turned all last week during the daytime. Piper thoroughly enjoys playing with legos while we do school, unless she hears something fun going on at the school table, then she's all aboard. Joleigh just roams from one toy to the next. My house is a WRECK but we're having fun and making lots of great memories! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So I'm really hoping...

to start blogging again! Life has been tough but I feel the fog may be lifting:)
We celebrated Joleigh's 2nd birthday this week. She thoroughly enjoyed a b-day cookie and some b-day cupcake!! She is doing well. She is fully potty trained and we are SO happy about that! We went to Texas for a wedding a couple weeks ago. This was her first big trip and she did so well. All of the kids were so good through the long car ride. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Yesterday we started a new chapter in our lives... homeschool! We are using Adventures in My Father's World and are loving it! Andrew is in the 2nd grade and Parker is in the 1st grade. The first two days have been great! We are not beginning Math until next week but so far they seem to enjoy all their subjects. Here's a few pics of our first few days.
Jo's favorite part of the school day is definitely recess!!
We made American flags to put on the cover of our US History notebooks.
First day of school pic:) Jo was still sleeping;0)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We're good...

Things are going well around here! We've been busy the past two weeks with swim lessons. We are soaking up summertime and spend a good portion of time in the pool:) Andrew and Parker are swimming so well. Andrew's swim teacher said he is 100% ready for swim team so we're thinking of letting him do that in the fall. we'll see.
The girls are great! Piper is a doll face. Tomorrow she has her FIRST dentist appt:) The boys will go for a cleaning and she will go for a counting;0) and Joleigh will probably be stuffing her face with cheerios. That's how she rolls;0)
Joleigh really is doing SO well! She has many new words. She's potty training, too. She is doing very well. It's hard for people to understand that bonding isn't automatic and that not only does she have to bond with me but I have to bond with her! It's really a complicated but beautiful process but it's tough. It's definitely getting better though. I love her more everyday. She is precious.

We have also been busy building a table!!! I'm SO excited about it:) We got an old door from a friend, bought some legs, some base boards and a piece of glass and tada... we bought some fun chairs to go along. Everybody has their own special chair. AND ignore the terrible mess on the bar! It was already cluttery and then we cleaned off the other chair arms which added to the mess:)

Friday, June 24, 2011

We're still here:)

Things are going well! Joleigh is adjusting very well. She's happy as a lark... well most of the time;0). She's pretty infatuated with food which is normal for a little girl whose been through all she's been through. Bonding is going well. She does really well when it's just "us" but when we venture out, you can definitely tell bonding is a process! She had lots of "mommies" at the orphanage so when we are out and mommy (ME:) tells her no then she wants to go to another mommy (aka stranger) and see what they'll do for her. It makes for awkward situations b/c I pretty much just have to ask my friends/strangers, "no, please don't pick her up". She really is doing well though. Cam and I talk about how she couldn't be any better. Perfect personality, funny, SWEET!! Our kids love her and she loves them. Every morning we all barge in her room singing the theme song for Jo Jo's circus.. b/c we call her JoJo a lot:) She is a blessing to our family and we are peeling back more and more pedals of blessing a day. Has it been tough? Oh certainly! Honestly I never went through post partum with my bio children but I definitely think I've had some Post Adoption depression with her. I've heard before adoption isn't for sissies and now I totally get that concept. Definitely a tough road but daily God is filling me up and guiding me (us) through. I am thankful He has led us down the road of adoption and I look forward to all the other adventures He has in store for us. We are blessed!!

What are the boys up to? Enjoying summer to the fullest! Swimming daily, catching bugs to feed their lizard, reading, etc. They are so fun to watch grow up together. They really do enjoy each others company and I thank God for that.
What is Piper Jane doing these days? Oh she couldn't be cuter!!! She constantly talks about going to the beach. Thanks Barney:/ I think she saw a beach episode so now everyday she ask when we are going. Sigh! One of these days:) She is a great big sister. I haven't changed a diaper without her:)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Adoption Journey Video

Things have been going really well! We are all still adjusting but everyday gets better. Joleigh is doing very well! She is still trying to figure out all of her surroundings and new family but she is doing very well!
Here's a little video of our journey!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

HB to PJ!!

Happy Birthday Piper Jane!!! Wow! THREE years old!? Hard to believe. Seriously Piper has been a breath of fresh air since she arrived:) She is the sweetest thing. Mommy is her best friend... well and Joleigh now. Piper's favorite thing to say is ... "Dad, he's not my best friend.. no! Mommy is! He can't jump!" haha! We always laugh. She always says he can't jump but sometimes she'll add something else random in there like.. "he doesn't have a nose" or "he can't do a backflip". I hope she doesn't think I can:/ hmmmm

We celebrated Piper yesterday all day long. She's been sick this week with a fever virus which has made things extra sticky for me with Joleigh adjusting and all. Joleigh has always been sick with the crud:( She is congested. She sounds pitiful! Joleigh is doing superb and adjusting more and more everyday!! Very few tears and lots and lots of laughs. Her favorite thing right now is Piper's shopping cart:) She likes to push it around and gather things. SO sweet!!

Here's a pic I took of the sweet sisters yesterday with my phone. They're doing very well together!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wow! It's been a wild ride!!

We are HOME! I've been home with Joleigh Bereket since last Thursday... One week ago TOMORROW! Crazy! It's been good, it's been hard, it's been rewarding, it's been so difficult, I've witnessed miracles, I've witnessed tragedies, I've witnessed a sweet baby, I've witnessed a lot of anger. We are all adjusting to her and she is adjusting to us. She is doing well. Today has been hard. Piper is under the weather and Joleigh is still really clingy so I have two clingy girls on my hands.
Joleigh is a sweet, fun soul but she can also have quite the little attitude. I've tried to nip that quickly, especially when she's ugly with the kids. The first couple of days she was ugly to them at times, almost like a kitty cat would hiss at someone, she's been snarly but I quickly tell her, "no, be nice!" and she's getting it ... quickly. She has done SOOO well the last few days! She really only wants ME. She did good with Cam last weekend b/c he was always here but hasn't done as well about letting him be with her this week while he's been at work. He's going to take a couple of days off soon. That will help.
I'm good.. right NOW. Not always, but right NOW. He's providing strength and rest to me and I am so thankful. The children have been AMAZING! We asked them to just live and allow her to join in as she wants and that is EXACTLY what they've done. I am so impressed with them.
I have friends who have literally been used by Him to carry me through. Whether it's by bringing a meal or by loving me unconditionally through this time. I have some who have adopted and know EXACTLY what this momma's heart is going through and to that I am forever grateful!
Thank you all for riding with us on this journey. Now we need prayers. We need prayers for bonding for sweet Joleigh, prayers for God to heal her heart, prayers for patience for her forever family!! Hopefully we will settle into our new normal soon:) Thank you for letting me be real in our journey and not try to flower it up... adoption is awesome.... God is so evident in this process... but stretching hurts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bittersweet and His hands

I leave tomorrow morning to bring my daughter home! I thought I might never type that sentence. It's been a loooong 18 months and we're finally HERE! Oh goodness the emotions! We are thrilled and so excited but we are also realistic. We know the heart ache this little girl has faced. We know it's going to be a tough road but we are SO thankful He has chosen us to walk through this road with Joleigh Bereket.

Today is my LAST day of teaching for a while. Cameron and I know God is calling me home for a while to be with our children. We are SO excited about this but oh my goodness it's tough. We are definitely choosing to sacrifice money in this situation. Not only do I make good money b/c of my Master's degree but I'm also National Board certified which means I am loosing a yearly bonus check of $7500/year. But you know what... none of that matters to us. That's not at all why this is so hard on me. It would be so easy to be happy about today being my last day if I were just a teacher of a subject. It would be so easy to call it quits if I did not have a passion about what I do but oh that is so far from the case at hand. I absolutely LOVE my job and by job I mean my family (faculty), my children (students). It's not from me but from Him, and He has given me an ability to connect with those kids on a level to truly touch their lives. They need me... and I need them. We have been so blessed to have a nanny come to our home for the past 6 years to take care of our children but God is giving me the gift to be able to be here now and POUR into them love and truth. I know years from now I will NEVER regret this time we followed Him and I stayed home but today is going to be hard.

Here's an amazing way He chose to bless me through my faculty yesterday... only He could be so cool!! I was told Monday I had 11.5 sick days (7 of those were donated to me by co-workers) and that I would not be paid for 23.5 days. So I was trying to plan out how to spread those days out. Well, one of my co-workers asked the faculty if anyone would like to donate days for my maternity leave... I had no idea and cried and cried at how good these folks are to me. A couple hours later, this teacher came to me with a total of days donated... TWENTY-THREE! I was a mess yesterday. He cares so much about every detail. Then last night another teacher wanted to donate and rounded me up to 23.5. I will be on leave for the rest of the school year but will not miss any pay. This journey has been so tough in many ways but so, so very rewarding and His hands have been all over it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'round here...

Things have been going very well 'round here. We're just waiting for our phone call to tell us to come pick up Joleigh:). We are hoping it will be the 2nd or 3rd week of April.

While we wait...

-We've been getting Joleigh's room ready. Here's a pic I painted to go above her crib:)

-I've been doing TONS of paperwork at school. As a special education teacher, I have to hold Annual Review Conferences (which involves TONS of paperwork) every year for my students and I have just THREE left! That is HUGE news:) They "should" be completed by next week!

-We've been watching some Cosby episodes on our Free Trial Netflix instant watch through the Wii:) We love it!

-I've been sewing a little. I made a couple of shirts for the girls and one for Joleigh. I've actually made several like the one for Joleigh for some of her friends at the transition home:)

I got the idea for the little owl shirts from this blog:) BUT I had NO idea I was using the same fabric. I saw this onsie a while back and wanted to make one so I pulled out some material I had on hand from something else I made for Piper and it was the exact SAME:)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

She's Ours and We are Hers:)

We got the call today that she is OURS! We were so excited!! We actually passed court yesterday but our in-country director didn't send an update to our agency letting them know we passed so we had to wait to get the news today. We cannot wait to get our hands on this little koala bear!! We should get to travel in 3 to 6 weeks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Prayers please:)

Our papers were not submitted to court in time for our first court date. We have a new court date this Wednesday, March 16th. PLEASE remember our family in your prayers Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. If our papers are there and we pass, then Joleigh is OURS!! We will then wait for her to go through the process of getting her VISA and travel back to bring her home within 4-6 weeks. ALSO... let me add that there are two other families who are hoping to pass on Wednesday. Please pray for our friends, also!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Once you have seen...

you can NEVER forget. One of the best parts of our trip was visiting Korah. In the city it was hard to see the PEOPLE of Ethiopia. I felt like so many we came across were so desperate they were trying to figure out what they could get from us. It was somewhat uncomfortable in a lot of places but not Korah!! Oh the people of Korah were amazing! The children oozed of passion for life... a life that we cannot even fathom living. Watch this video to find out a little more about the village of Korah. They are in need!! Watch the video... it'll definitely make you think as you eat your next meal.

Here are some pics of our time in Korah! I will never forget these faces. I met many sisters in Christ here who shared stories of suffering but they were also stories of LIFE!!

For some reason you can't view the width of the video... here's the link on youtube.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our daughter

We met Joleigh Saturday morning. The director's wife brought her in and handed her to me. She cried just a little but was easily consoled. She is very, very reserved and does not care for meeting new people. I think definitely part of that has to do with her age. Piper had terrible stranger danger at 18 months. Joleigh has many reasons for it to be elevated though. She's gone through a whole lot in her short life. She's had to tell the closest people goodbye. I think another reason she was reserved is because the other families were all getting babies so when we were all together in the parent's room, there wasn't anyone her age. The last time I got to be with her, she was able to be around a 3 year old and you could tell she really enjoyed it. Cameron was not able to hold her b/c she just wasn't ready for that. She will come around but it's going to take a little warming up first:) Oh but I had the best time just letting her snuggle me like a little koala bear!
Joleigh's mother is an angel! She's had a tough life. We were able to meet with her for about 30 minutes. When we first introduced ourselves, she hugged us SO tightly and didn't let go. One of the first things she said to us was how Joleigh got her Ethiopian name (I'll post it after court is totally final). She said she knew she would be a blessing from God and that's why she wanted to name her that. We were able to ask her a lot of questions and video tape her answers, as well as write them down in a journal. It was such an incredible peace meeting her. Literally I felt as if she were passing off the baton. I know that sounds strange but I feel God has called us to care for her and raise her b/c her mother is unable to do so. I feel Joleigh not only has one mommy but now has two. Joleigh's mom was able to spend some time with her again. I am SO thankful for that time she had with her. She held her and loved on her. Very, very sweet!!! I even have a couple of pics of Joleigh with her birth mom. Cam and I have several pics of us with her mother, as well. She is short!!! Probably same height as me. I love that:)
I can't post pics until we officially pass court. The Ministry of Women's Affair did not have a paper turned in on time so we had to have reschedule for that info. It happens but OH it's so discouraging when it does. It actually happened to 3 out of 5 families in our group:( Please be in prayer for us about this... they are once again making some changes into the process and since our stuff will not be finished by March 10th, these changes could really have an effect on when we get to bring Joleigh home. Right now we are hoping mid to late April.
Well, I am going cross eyed. I have spent over 30 hours either in a plane or in an airport waiting on a plane. I.must.get.some.SLEEP!! Lots more to share later. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be awake enough to share some of our trip!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And we're off...

We board a plane in a few hours to go to Ethiopia! Oh we've waited for this day for soooo long! We are full of emotions. Goodness it was hard to say bye to our kiddos. It was HARD!! We so look forward to meeting Joleigh and her family. Please pray for our trip and all of our children.
Thank you guys for all your support!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Constantly humbled

I am constantly in awe of how He's writing our family's story!! He literally is using people from ALL walks of our lives to help bring our sweet girl home.
Tonight we had conferences at our school until 7:00 and as I was packing up my CAPs folders, I heard my phone beep. I looked down and had a donation from a friend. It was so weird all of the emotions that came with that beep. Amy was a girl I went to elementary school with at a VERY small school. There were 18 kids in our class and we were definitely family. When she moved off during our middle school years, I always wondered about her. YEARS went by and I still always wondered about Amy. You see.. people didn't move off from our small town so she was like a missing piece to our puzzle. A couple of years ago I found Amy on Face Book and was SO thankful! She lives in another state but we were able to get a lot of our old classmates together and she came for the weekend. It was so surreal being together again! A void had been filled for me in our class, our family. So tonight when I saw that my childhood, now lifelong, friend became a piece to our family's PUZZLE.. I was overwhelmed with how He continues to amaze me. God has used SO many in our journey and we are so thankful for each one!
Just ONE more week and we head across the world to hold our baby!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oh I wish you would...

help out my friends!!!!! They are bringing home an adorable little girl who just so happens to have down syndrome. Rochelle's heart is pure as gold and I love her!! She was actually one of my Assistant Principals at my first teaching position. She and her family are having an iPad GIVE AWAY!!! They actually have several nice prizes but of course the iPad is my personal fav:) If you've got $10 to donate, it would help out a LOT and you might just win ya something special!!!
Check out their post right HERE!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Sometimes I daydream about having a couple of nice pieces of jewelry. Something I could leave as an heirloom to my daughters. A nice bracelet, a nice necklace, etc. One year I even really wanted some small diamond earrings. I hadn't really mentioned it but Cam knew I had wanted some so years back he bought me a pair of pretty, small diamond earrings for Christmas. Crazy thing is after I got them, I just couldn't get comfortable with the idea of him spending $200-$300 on a pair of earrings. Literally by that night, I told him I LOVED them but just couldn't keep them, especially when I could get a pair for a few dollars that you literally couldn't tell the difference between the real ones and the fake ones.
Sometimes I still fall into that lie. Now don't get me wrong, I'd still love to have something sweet and special to pass down to my girls... but you know what I'd rather pass down to them... character, grace, mercy, love, etc. I want them to understand that we could have really nice things and we do have some nice things but really... that is NOT what is important. I want to pass onto them that we're not here to constantly shower ourselves with blessings with the resources He has given us to steward. My girls may not ever have a pearl necklace or earrings but oh I hope they get IT!
Funny thing is the only real, nice piece of jewelry I've ever owned, besides my wedding ring, I sold to help raise money for our adoption:) and I don't regret it at all! I do have two beautiful quilts made from my wedding gown. I am trying hard to teach myself to sew some fun quilts so I can continue to make some special heirlooms for all the kids but Lord help me to never lose perspective about what I'm REALLY here to leave them with!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Celebrating Parker

This week my little ball of passion turned SIX! Oh... be still my soul. He was SO excited! His actual B-Day was on Thursday so daddy took all the kids to McDonalds for some breakfast. I went and checked him out for lunch and we went and had some more McDonalds:) We had a brunch birthday party for him yesterday with fam and a couple of friends. Oh he was SO excited!! He got a lot of fun toys that he has just played with over and over!! Good toys that I can see them getting a lot of use out of:)

We bought him a fun marble maze type of game. Cameron played this when he was a little boy and just knew Parker would love to have one. I just couldn't resist buying him his FAV cereal and juice, too:) He loved it!!! Since I started couponing a couple of years ago, I just refuse to pay over $1.50 for cereal and Parker's FAV cereal is about $3.50 so we don't ever get it anymore. He ask for it every once in a while... same thing with his Plum Smart. He LOVES Plum Smart!! But it's over $3.00, too. SO... for his birthday we wrapped up a box of Cracklin Oat Bran Squares and some Plum Smart and he was SUPER excited to have these all for himself. Last night we ended the celebration with a family trip to the bowling alley. It was a good, good day!!

Happy Birthday Parker Isaac! You bring joy to every room you enter. You are a wonderful boy and have such a sweet spirit. We love you and have loved watching God shape and mold you into who you are today.. can't wait to see what He has in store for you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

He gets it...

I am reading a book to the boys entitled Caleb's Lamb. It's good! A friend read it to his kids and I pretty much copy cat anything he does:) hehe. Thanks Aaron! Anyway... it's about a boy who took his eyes off of a lamb that was about to have a baby. His dad made him stay out all night to find this lamb but when he got there, the momma lamb had been attacked and her baby lamb had fallen in a hole surrounded by thorns. The boy rescued the lamb and ached for it to get better. The baby lamb was resistant against the boy at first but then kind of took to him like he was his momma. So that's how far we've gotten in the book.. just chapter 3. The boys LOVE it! After we finished tonight's chapter I told them it reminded me of Joleigh and how Caleb is now the lamb's "momma".. we will become Joleigh's "momma". How Caleb's heart ached with love for this baby lamb... how my heart aches for Joleigh. It was really a neat conversation. It was like a lightbulb came on for Andrew. I could see his eyes fill with tears and he just laid his head down. His heart literally welled up and ached not only for Joleigh, but for her momma. We talked about how sick Joleigh was when she entered the orphanage and how her mom knew that she could not provide for her. Andrew was heart broken for what the mom must feel after giving up her child. We then talked about how Joleigh might be scared, like the lamb was at first with Caleb and then how God will fill her heart with a love for us as if we were her "momma". It was so sweet to listen to Andrew's prayer for his sister and her family in Ethiopia. We talked about how HE sets the lonely into families and how we are so thrilled that HE chose our family. My heart is full!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Piece by Piece

Twenty-FOUR days until we board a plane to meet sweet Joleigh. WOW... what a journey! There have been ups and downs along the way. Definitely more UPS than downs. Satan seriously was constantly attacking in the beginning but God gave us a peace early on that He was totally in control. He has used YOU to encourage us along the way. Money has obviously been an issue in this journey. Two weeks after we sent our application in, Cameron was laid off and didn't find a job for 8 months. God gave us peace all along the way. We have had people sacrificially give that I've NEVER even met. Literally blows me away.

So... we're nearing the end of our journey and are doing one final fundraiser. We are not sure how much our tickets will be for our second trip but we had a lot of the money UNTIL we spent $1000 on vaccinations:( Everything we've done so far to raise money has been a lot of work and the reason is because we HATE asking for money. We chose to collect cans... folks it doesn't get any nastier than that. I felt SO much better about asking for people's trash instead of asking for their money. We've had parties to raise funds. I've taken pictures to raise funds, even at a WEDDING.. talk about stress! Scary stuff! I've become a Coupon Teacher... who would've thought?! We had a yard sale. We sold t-shirts. All of those fundraisers have been time consuming and some of them were just down right tiring BUT none of them are harder than just flat out asking folks for money. SO... here we are... humbly asking you to give, if you feel led. ANY dollar amount will get your name on a puzzle piece. We are writing EVERY name of EVERY person who has helped us bring our sweet baby home. What a treasure this puzzle will be for her as she gets older and reads the names of all of YOU!

Please know that we are thankful to Him for constantly bringing people along like you who have encouraged us. My heart is full of gratitude. This journey isn't about us. It isn't about Joleigh. It's about Him being glorified!
If you would like to give, you donate via the PayPal button on the top, left side of the blog OR email me @ and I will send you our address.

Monday, January 31, 2011


We leave for Ethiopia in THIRTY-ONE days:) SO exciting! This past week, we received the sweetest video of our sweet little girl. She is SO very serious when strangers are around and just very observant. She really is a beautiful little girl with the most amazing eyes.
I'm home today with two sick little boys... and a pinched nerve:/ but OH what a great sick day we are having. We've played games and just enjoyed each other this morning. Piper is SO stinking adorable. She's really into playing "let's go to school". She puts on a back pack and LOVES to get all her stuffed animals in their little stroller and push them to the "school room";). I pray so much that little Joleigh bonds quickly with her sister. I really believe Piper is going to be an amazing big sister to her.
Andrew and Park have been doing great! Andrew got a Bible for Christmas and he is reading all the sections and little "did you know?" things on each page... which honestly is quite a bit of reading. He is now in John. He is SO proud of himself. He literally has spent HOURS and HOURS reading it. Parker is just a breath of joy! He is really a sweet little boy. Sometimes a little rowdy but he has such a tender heart.

Please be in prayer for our family as we near the end of waiting but as we begin the real journey to adoption. God has grown us in so many ways over the past year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Such an incredible journey...

Ugghhh! This roller coaster of ups and downs and ups and downs sometimes leaves me an emotional mess. When we first got our referral we were told Joleigh was 17 pounds @ 15 months old. They told us they would do another weight check b/c they wanted to see if she had grown that first week of being in the transition home. Well, long story short... we've waited for almost two months and still don't have that weight check. We did get word that she "shrunk" but they attribute that to how they measure and discrepancies, etc. To be honest, it has weighed heavy on my heart. I know it's all in God's hands but as a mom, I just want to get there and make sure she's okay.
I have two friends there right now who have made this SO much better for me. One sent me a txt @ 1:30 in the morning to tell me she was outside watching Joleigh play with others and she looked healthy. They both have taken video and pictures. Leah even got some footage of Joleigh in an outfit I sent her:) I don't have the videos yet but it's SO wonderful knowing friends are there loving on her. AND when I say friends, of course I'm talking about folks I've never met but have an incredible bond with.
This is Sabrina's blog... please take a second to read about her Gotcha day with their sweet baby girl AND about the birth family meeting. UGgghhh... I dare ya to not cry!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

$.50 a vote:)

If you have a facebook... go to this link and type "vote jw" and $.50 gets donated toward our adoption.. Now seriously, could it get any easier than that?! ;)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coupon 101

A good friend and I are having a coupon 101 class tomorrow (Friday) night. If you live in the central Arkansas area and are interested in learning about how to save a bunch of money... message me @ The class is from 7:00-8:00 and cost $10. All money goes toward our adoption:)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not Yo Momma's Date Night;0)

I have a FUN husband:) We have the best time together. Cam and I have the same sense of humor and we LAUGH and LAUGH all the time. This past weekend for our date night, we decided to borrow some of the boy's masks and scare some of our friends. Our youth pastor was having a men's night and so we went and TRIED to spook them but they kinda weren't really scared. So we went to Marvin and Pearlie's. We snuck into their backyard... I know.. not very smart but we were counting on the fact that we knew them well enough to hope they weren't packing heat ;0). We got close to the backdoor and there was a doggy door. I thought "jackpot.. I'm gonna stick my head through the doggy door". THEN I see little Cujo come to the door and show some teeth at me. We changed our plans and decided to go to their front door and ring the doorbell. We both turned around and put our hoods on so our backs were facing the door. We heard Marvin tell Pearlie, "I don't know who it is but they got their backs turned". Pearlie said, "don't you open that door". Oh, I ruin everything. I couldn't contain my laughter so Marvin saw my shoulders bouncing up and down and knew it had to be someone he knew. So we turned around screamed and yelled... "Give us all your tea cakes" :) ... it's his speciality. We then had an impromptu visit with the Williams. SO fun:)
Here's some cell phone pics of the masks and tea cake! Can't wait until next date night!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

She needs a sister...

Piper constantly talks about "my sister". It's SO sweet. She said yesterday... "when my sister is here, I'm going to ask her to sleep in my bed with me". Piper keeps us laughing constantly. She is an absolute joy! She is our little song bird. She sings ALL of the time and her favorite song is Jingle Bells. She was so excited about the snow b/c she said, "when I go play in the snow, I'm going to sing ... dashing through the snow, in a one horse...." :)
She loves her brothers but OH how she aches for a sister. We are SOOOO excited for her to get this gift.
This is Piper in her new bedroom, in her new bed, beside her new tree:)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I never know who...

reads my blog soooo just in case you are in need of an excellent travel agent, I've got the girl for you! God has brought a kindred spirit into my life for such a time as this! She and her family are about to bring home their second adopted child. We were HOPING our court dates would match so we could travel together but she'll probably be a couple of weeks behind me... BUT that means I get to take pictures of her BEAUTIFUL four year old... who I kinda matched with her fam;0)
Anyway, if you are in need of a great travel agent... especially if you are adopting and needing some help getting your flights booked you can email Erica @ If you need her phone number just leave a comment and I'll send it to you!

Thank you Erica for helping us get to our daughter! We can't wait to love on your little girl:)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane...

WoooHOOOOOO! Today we got THE call for our court date. We will go to court in Ethiopia March 7th to become Joleigh's family. We are OVER the moon excited!!! We will probably leave on Friday, the 4th, and fly back home late the night of the 7th. We'll only be there for a few days... just long enough to meet our little girl, meet her family and go to court. We will then come back home and wait a month or so and then travel back to bring her HOME!! We are so excited!! After 3rd period today as I walked back into my classroom from my Teaming class, I prayed "Please Lord let there be a message on my phone". Sure enough.. I open my drawer, check my phone and I had a message from our social worker. I literally floated throughout the rest of the day!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Favorite shirt and some pics:)

So if you've seen me over the past two weeks, chances are you've seen me wearing this.....

YEP, my new FAV shirt:) One of my dear friends (okay so I've never physically met her but still a dear friend who I look up to:) is planning an adoption conference for mommies!! OH I wish I could go but I knew it would be too close to when we would be leaving for our court trip to Ethiopia so I didn't sign up. BUT the proceeds from the sell of the shirts go to help other mommies come to the conference. This is a HUGE blessing for moms. Not only are you surrounded by other sisters in Christ who share your heart for the orphan but there are several sessions designed to equip you to take care of your little and meet their special needs. I've not experienced it yet but I know parenting an adoptive child is entirely different than parenting a biological one. This conference will be a blessing to many. If you'd like to order a t-shirt to help with the cost... go over here and do so:) and then you can have a new FAV shirt!!! Oh and they run small... I ordered a Medium.

So I took pics at a wedding this weekend. I pretty much begged the lady to use someone else b/c I've NEVER done that before but she insisted so I obliged. It went really well. The only prob was the lighting in the sanctuary was not great so my camera wouldn't take quickly enough for my liking but I did get to capture some fun memories for the couple.

... and the happy couple:)