Friday, November 22, 2013

Y'all DID IT!!!

As an adoptive momma who must fundraise, I KNOW what a joy these words are to see:

Fully funded!!

And that's JUST what you guys did for the Cole family!!!


Just as I challenged you!!!

I am sooooooooo proud of you!!!!

Just look and see:

This just thrills my heart like nothing else!!!


You lovingly care about orphans no matter if they are here in our own country as well as those on the other side of the planet. You are showing the love of God through your support.

Be blessed knowing that this sibling set is THAT MUCH CLOSER to knowing the love of a permanent family! Pray for God's will to be done in their situation!

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Beautiful Jewelry that Helps Esty Home!

 Check this out!!! A custom piece of jewelry with an awesome message…designed exclusively to bring Esty home!!! 


God called Abram "blessed" in Genesis 12:2…but that was not to be an ending. He was blessed for a purpose. You have been blessed to become a blessing to others. This necklace is created specifically to draw others in…the shape, the design of the
lettering peeking out below beckon you to look further. We are indeed BLESSED…for a purpose. In the same way that this necklace causes someone to wonder, "oh…there is MORE to that necklace," we hope that you will delight in the joy of discovering that your blessings are also for the purpose of becoming a blessing to those around you. The pearl inside represents the sweet treasure that awaits as you pour yourself out for others. 

I love the shape of the two disksthey make a locket of sorts! Each will have the heart on the top even though it is not pictured.

It was so much fun to work together with Stacy, owner of Jubilee's Jewels to create this piece!! I hope so much that you will enjoy it and order several for Christmas gifts for the women in your life! $11 from each necklace will go directly to help pay for the orphanage donation!

Order this necklace by clicking here.

BUT WAIT!!! There's more!

Mother Teresa's continual prayer was that she would never say no to Jesus. As we nurture our children in the way of the Lord (or whatever God has us doing), we often need the reminder to always  say YES to whatever Jesus may ask of us in each moment. We hope this bracelet will help each of us to remember to impart the life of Christ to those around us, especially our precious children entrusted to us.
$11 from the sale of each bracelet will go toward the orphanage donation.
Click here to order this wonderful leather bracelet!

IF you order by November 25th, 2013 (MONDAY!!) you can be sure it will be in your hands in time for Christmas giving! :)

We are so excited to have these amazing tools to help us fundraiseespecially as we just got our I-800 approval and are a matter of 6-8 weeks from GOING TO BRING ESTY HOME!!!

YIPPIE!!! (and a wee tiny YIKES!!)

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

When God Calls…THEY MOVE! {the Cole family}

Today I want to introduce you to one of my phenomenal adoptive momma friends.
Sweet grinnin' Chasity!
Chasity and her beloved husband, Jonathan, have been married since 1997:

We had the DELIGHT of our paths crossing in Uganda together while we were bringing our sons home from that beautiful country. We hung out and did nearly everything together!!

Levy and Zeb 2011 in Uganda

 They are a family who has followed God wherever He leads.

First they had two gorgeous babies the old fashioned way. These babies are now teenagers:
Alex and Reagan
Then God burdened them with adoption. And Uganda. They followed Jesus where He lead them…straight into the arms of two gorgeous sons:
Jude and Levy

They came home the same time Zeb did. What a blessing that God knit our paths together!!

Then, they became burdened for domestic adoption…and they were able to be present for sweet baby Ava's birth and have been soooooo blessed by her presence in their life:

most precious Ava

Recent family pictures were taken and they are soooo adorable, aren't they???

Although they are QUITE busy with their amazing set of five children,
the cry of the orphan STILL reaches their tender hearts.

They have learned about the most precious sibling set of three waiting in a nearby state:

And as incredible as it may seem…THEY ARE MAKING ROOM FOR THEM!!!! :)


My friends need $2,000 right NOW to get this started again. I want to see this happen ASAP! 

Even at this writing they only have $1,690 left!! Friends and lovers of adoption, let's knock this out of the park TODAY!!! 

Go here to donate to bring this sibling set into this loving family!! You can follow their story on her blog, All Things His

Let's cheer them  on in their obedience to love and care for the orphan!  

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Other Kind of Day

From the last post about abundance to today where I'm at a point so overwhelmed my cheeks flush red and I cannot think straight, we just may have a study in opposites.

At one moment today, I dropped my head down on the nurse's desk just to try and take it all in.

We are going to survive.

"Jesus is here with me now, and NONE of this was a surprise." I reminded myself.
I was sitting in the audiology department getting the news that Zeb hears nothing out of his right ear. And that it is most likely fixable, but we need to get him into a specialist NEXT WEEK. And that we are most likely looking at surgery. A tube. Nothing big.

But at that moment, it FELT big.

All the fundraising, the house changes, the details to bring Esty home...and then the fall that Toby took the night before was simply TOO MUCH in that moment.

I borrowed this sweet woman's desk space and dropped my head down for a brief prayer, "Jesus, help!"

I hadn't slept much last night. At all.

We'd been keeping the sweetest three girls while their mom and dad are out of the country working on bringing their brothers home from their orphanage. It was a crazy fun fest of NINE children last night. Dinner was over and everyone was engaged and it was, well, LOUD.

Then the screams.

"Mommy!! TOBY FELL!"

I ran to him.

I held him and he was indeed quite upset.  My eyes and hands investigating him for what in the past has proven to be a bloody mess…or a broken bone. I asked him where he hurt and he managed to say, "Arm!" Of course I suspected his arm that he had surgery on…but he used that arm and sweet crooked finger to point to the straight one.

The arm that is in a permanently straight position thanks to his Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. 

The arm that was now swelling furiously at the elbow and the arm that now bent.\


I think perhaps I have fluttered around ever since that moment…running off to the ER with him, going to bat for him as the physician on call told me "all his bones look great! nothing is broken!" KNOWING FULL WELL this was not right and the doctor was wrong.

Toby refusing to look at the camera because he hurt so badly. :(
I'd asked the doctor if he'd ever heard of Arthrogryposis. 

He hadn't.

(I hadn't either, remember. But now, I've lived with this blessing of a child for 8 months, and I know Arthrogryposis. And his arm IS broken.)

They decided to splint him "anyway."


This morning, after a very restless night of sleep, I called our local orthopedic office. Our doctor who had treated Toby before (for this SAME injury on this SAME arm) was in surgery. He would have a look at the X-rays and call me in between patients.

Later this morning I got a call that made my mouth drop open: "the doctor says there are no breaks, and he sees no reason for an appointment."

I was stunned.

Toby HURTS. And I know this kid…when his arm bends SOMETHING IS WRONG.

I told the nurse this. But I got no where. Mama bear rose up and I told her I'd be contacting our Arthrogryposis specialists at Shriner's.


Red cheeks. Steam fuming. I was M-A-D. To not even see my child for an exam?!!??!?!

A few hours later I was on the phone with our AMC hand specialist, Dr. Zlotolow. He absolutely agreed that it was inexcusable for a doctor to refuse a patient who had sustained an injury like this. He said that Toby's elbows are mostly cartilage and scar-like tissue and that it will not show up on an Xray. But that if his arm was bending, something was DEFINITELY broken. (and oh the pain in my sweet boy who can withstand SO MUCH!!)

Dr. Z spent a good TWENTY MINUTES on the phone with me. We discussed all the possible doctors who might be able to give him a proper assessment (including a dye injected Xray to show the cartilage) so we can understand if his elbow needs pinned…or even if we might take advantage of this break to HELP Toby's hand position on the left side.


He searched for our hometown and went through every possible doctor in a 5 hour driving radius that he knew personally and trusted to give him an accurate understanding of what Toby's situation. We finally decided on a particular doctor at Children's hospital in Cincinnati.

And he told me to get him there THIS WEEK.

I tried calling for an appointment on my way to Zeb's hearing appointment. The wait time was too long…I got started, but had to go as it was time to go in for the hearing assessment.

Then the news that Zeb doesn't hear and may need surgery ASAP.

Head drop to the desk.

"Help Jesus!"

And He has.

Miraculously, the very doctor that Dr. Z wanted us to see is available TOMORROW afternoon (giving us plenty of time to make the long trip) and he "happened" to be in the most northern located office of the ones he serves. 

Thank You, Jesus!

I was able to schedule Zeb for the specialist this coming MONDAY for his ear. Wow.

Thank You, Jesus!

We ARE gonna make it. 

And my guess? Jesus is gonna get some mo' glory!!

Till then, will you pray? I need sleep, safety traveling, wisdom for doctors and decisions for both boys, spiritual protection...and we need Esty home.

Thank you, friends.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One Incredible Day

This most amazing day began with this reading from Jesus Calling:

"This is a time of abundance in your life. Your cup runneth over with blessings. After plodding uphill for many weeks, you are now traipsing through lush meadows drenched in warm sunshine. I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment. I delight in providing it for you."

And oh MY OH MY how true that was!!!

It began with new pictures of our Esty!!!

Remember when you were 7, 8, or 9 months pregnant?

You were ACHING to meet that little person kicking inside.

Well, in adoption that ache is similar. 

But different.

I await anxiously for news of my child. I cannot know if she is safe at night, or if she is frightened or sleeping peacefully.

I try to imagine the latter.

So it is so comforting to see these images of our girl smiling and enjoying life:

And AWESOME to see pictures from her birthday party!!!
Holding up the gift we sent her!
 I love how this orphanage seems to really celebrate children with their artwork framed up on the wall! Inside that big box is the cake we ordered and sent to her!

Hello Kitty cake! 10 candles!

Esty waiting patiently for her family to come and bring her home forever!
Aren't those pictures WONDERFUL!?!?!?

I knew that I had also gotten a video…but I was unable to open it. My sweet friend was able to change it for me…so I waited.

In the meantime, God did an amazing thing that only HE could arrange: the PERFECT carpet in stock and able to be installed on Friday!!! This was amazing as we wanted to get new carpet for Esty's room that would not hinder her wheelchair. We are being blessed with a new bed and it's coming on Sunday! We couldn't get over how awesome this was!! The carpet is just exactly what we wanted!!

Then…a sweet friend told me that she has a special wheelchair just for Esty! She pointed out that what Esty is using is just a standard issue one…and the arm rests are way high up under her arms and she has arranged for a PINK one to be delivered to us NEXT WEEK!! It will be perfect for her! What a GIFT!! (P.S. Did you know PINK is Esty's favorite color?!?!? God did!!)

All the while, I was posting about the bunny puzzle project! We began this day with 144 pieces left. People were so graciously giving that our CURRENT NUMBER now is 86  81 pieces left!!!! WOW!!! I was literally GIDDY.

Then, the email came with the link to watch her video!!! I'll add it at the bottom. Suffice it to say, we have watched, giggled, cried, delighted and watched it countless times again and again. We absolutely cannot WAIT to get that girl HOME!!!

Then, I went to get the mail. Outside my house sat a large box. It had some fun writing on it:

This box was from a friend I had "met" earlier in the week on Instagram! How cool is that?!??! She's a momma who is at the very beginning of a Chinese adoption. She is selling home goods to bring her baby home.

I commented that the pillow she had was EXACTLY the colors of the room I was putting together for our girl! I showed her this picture of what I had chosen:

And then she did something AMAZING. She offered to send me the pillow I liked FOR FREE. What??? And then, she added a second one that would match!!!
Picture from her Instagram that I fell HEAD OVER HEELS for!

Then today…in the box I was dumbfounded. Inside I found not two pillows but FOUR! Four amazing, expensive, Chinese silk pillows that will so perfectly match her new room that I nearly fainted from my joy!!!

What a gorgeous matched set!!
 The two more EXTREMELY AMAZING pillows:

This is just too much!

The mail ALSO had a notice from immigration with a receipt date for our next paperwork! Things are MOVING!!!

But wait! MORE FUN--our calendar had on it "family night at Zeb's preschool" and so we all 8 loaded up into the van thinking we would go see where Zebby attends preschool. NOTE: I did mention there was 30% of me that was unsure if this event was a go… We got to his school and we were all laughing because we were the ONLY vehicle in any of the parking lots! "Maybe they are meeting on the playground, " someone managed to say between our laughter. (it was pitch dark!) We ended up riding around our town listening to Oliver tell jokes and calling it "Prank parent/teacher conference!" We did get gas for $2.81 a gallon though! SO FUNNY!!

So before I sign off after this most amazing day, I want to leave you with our brand new video of Esty!!! 

WAIT!!! I forgot that we ALSO got an update on her with TEN QUESTIONS answered!!! And here is the MOST AMAZING news (you can understand after this crazy awesome day how this slid to the back of my memory!):

That's right! After only about a MONTH in the orphanage as a baby, she was taken into a foster family. She lived with them until LAST SUMMER. 

This is AMAZING news, y'all. (And I'm from the north where we don't say that lightly.)

She KNOWS how to live in a family!!! She is not going to suffer from the years and years of orphanage life/behavior!!

WHY was she returned to the orphanage? I asked that!!! They explained it was so she could attend their school, as she is unable to attend the public school. (China is not wheelchair accessible.)

Isn't this awesome??? YES! IT IS!!!! (okay, apart from the fact that she hasn't been to school since just this past summer! But we will work with that!!!)

Okay, NOW I will let you see her birthday party!! (Note: they put make up on her!! I couldn't understand why her lips were so pink in the above pictures…until I saw the video--she has blush on too! Ai ya!)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE being able to understand what is being said! In the beginning, the nanny asks all the children, "Whose birthday are we going to celebrate today?" All the children yell, "Lang Han Han's!" (This is Esty's beautiful name in Chinese! We will be calling her Han Han until she feels very comfortable with us and when SHE chooses to go by Esty. (just a head's up!))

Then the nanny says, "Lang Han Han, today we celebrate your birthday! How old are you?" 

My daughter softly and sweetly replies, "I'm 10!"

Then she asks her, "Are you happy?" Han Han replies, "Yes I am!"

Then the nanny says that her mommy and daddy bought her this cake and that it is especially cute, doesn't she agree? Esty agrees with a happy smile!

Nanny then says, "Look! Look at your cake, what is on it?"

Han Han: "A kitty!" (it's Hello Kitty)

Nanny: "Do you like the cute kitty?"

Han Han: "I like it!"

Nanny: "Now say something special to your mommy and daddy."

Han Han: looks like she's a bit caught off guard…or maybe they HAD practiced a phrase! The nanny kindly reminds her: (in English) "I am very happy, thank you."

Esty: "I am very happy, thank you!"

Then the nanny moves the party into singing time. I LOVE that little down syndrome girl's enthusiasm for singing happy birthday to her friend!! Nanny: "Now it's time to sing happy birthday to Han Han, shall we?"

"YES!" the children reply!

Que Happy birthday first in Mandarin, followed by English!! (Picture this momma singing her heart out to the screen with tears rolling down her cheeks!!)

Nanny then encourages the children to celebrate Han Han by clapping because they are happy! :) (totally over here clapping too!)

Then she asks Han Han to begin serving the cake. And she does. 

From here on…she is frozen…but ONE DAY she will be in my arms and I will be sooooooooo happy!!!

In the event that you are reading this and want to celebrate Han Han/Esty's birthday by joining in the gift of this puzzle we will give her for her birthday: 

Here's the button to donate! Each piece is $10 and your name will be written on the back for her to see and put together when she gets home. Her favorite animal is a bunny rabbit, which is the reason we chose this particular puzzle!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tomorrow's Her Birthday!!

And we are trying to get her HOME!!!
As you may remember, I bought her a puzzle to work with her hands (Since she is in a wheelchair and loves to work with her hands, we won't be assembling it before she arrives...but we will give it to her as a gift! And bunny rabbits are her favorite!!)
How cool it is to have the dear people who are HELPING HER COME HOME have their names on the backs of these 300 pieces that she will work with her sweet hands! 
(Progress report: we have 212 pieces left!!)

 Will you join us in celebrating Esty's 10th birthday by donating $10 to help bring her home from her orphanage?
Each $10 gift will be celebrated by your name on the back of a piece of her bunny puzzle. If you choose to give more, you can just have your name on several pieces!
We are hoping to close the gap on our remaining $14,500 we need to go and get her! 
We are now waiting on our I-800 that will allow her to be approved for a visa to come to America! (we expect to go get her in 9-12 weeks!!!)
If you choose to celebrate with us, you can use the donate button below or click here to give to our Adopt Together account. (Adopt Together donations will receive a tax deductible receipt.) Either place is wonderful!
Let's let Esty know how much we want her home and how much we want her to have a HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY!!!!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Child's Concept of Adoption...a Video

This video makes my heart break into tiny pieces.

I can understand their Mandarin and the words of the children.

Imagine spending your life in orphanage walls thinking that if you are GOOD ENOUGH you'll get chosen for adoption.

I ache.

I long for Esty.

I wonder why I cannot be Momma to ALL OF THEM.

(okay, they won't all fit in our van.)

But I wonder, how long must some of these children wait? 

How long until they learn that they are loved?

How long until they see that they have value?

How long until they feel safe and have that deep need met to have a mother and father of their OWN?

Have YOU considered the waiting child?

Please, please do.

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Foster Care and Adoption Support {Orphan Sunday Special}

James 1:27 commands believers to "look after orphans and widows in their distress."

How do we do that, church?

Do we all HAVE to adopt???

Absolutely not.

Recently someone said to a group about us, "If you know Brian and Amy, you'll know they are passionate about adoption. If you hang around them long, you'll become convinced too that you should adopt. They think EVERYONE should adopt!"

He was being facetious of course, but I wanted to highlight the fact that there are MANY MANY ways to love on orphans and support the families that have made these orphans their sons and daughters. 

And for the record, we do NOT think everyone should adopt.

Adoption is a calling. You only do it if God calls you into it. Why? Because you will only survive it by God's power in you. I wrote a post about it recently, you can read that HERE.

You should adopt only if becoming a healing home for wounded children sounds appealing to you. Because it is waaaaaaay more than just fundraising and filling out mountains of paperwork. Just as parenting is way more than pregnancy tests and stretchy pants. It's a lifelong commitment to a child whose beginnings are broken.

Have you lost a grandparent? An aging parent or sibling? Perhaps you've been like us and have lost a child...or three.

But...can you imagine being a child yourself and losing your family?

Being utterly defenseless in the harsh world...with no one to dry your tears and tell you it's going to be alright.

Because so far, it hasn't been.

I know how hard it was to bury our son, and I was an adult with a strong marriage and wonderful friends and family supporting me. 

But being a young child without those support systems? Imagine being one of these children who shivers tonight, eating dirt to fill their bellies just so they can sleep and not be pestered by their hunger.

When we adopt these precious treasured children, their pain comes with them. Even babies adopted at birth suffer loss.

Parenting a child with loss is a serious challenge. And it's not one the family can do alone.

Today, on Orphan Sunday, I want to issue a call to support adoptive and foster families.

Because not EVERYONE is called to do the adopting. Some are meant to be support. And let me tell you, from one who has adopted and is supported...I could not do what I do for my family without that support.

I simply could not.

What does it look like to support a family who has said yes to foster or adoptive children?

I asked a woman who is actively supporting a local family in our church family to brainstorm some ways to help and she had some wonderful insight. Listen to what she shared with me: 

"First we should be in prayer about how God wants us to partner with these families and then we should go where he leads and interject ourselves into their daily lives.  

I think the best thing is to be available.  In my experience with working with the family I support, I try to never be in a position that I cannot add one or two of the little people into my day. I have car seats that I purposely keep in my car.  

You have to be assertive at times because the mommy with an army of kids does not even have a clue as to how you can help so don't ask them what can I do...give them options. For example: "I want to help you right now...I could take one or more of your children for a while, I could take some laundry and do it or I could sit here with them while you go out for a while." Often and open ended question to an overloaded mom is only more frustrating.  

Set up ongoing plans. Offering to do laundry weekly for a given amount of time, doing routine yard work, helping with house work are all great ideas.

Impromptu help such as giving a call when going to the store and asking what could you pick up for her today, or taking momma a special treat during the day since she doesn't get out much. Simply sitting with her for some adult conversation. Taking lunch for her and all her kiddies. Sitting with the little people while she goes and takes a nice long interrupted shower. Setting up a date night on the calendar and arranging care for all the little ones. Getting a list from mom of special people she would want or need to be contacted in case of such an event.  

Also, getting a team behind you to be your go to people is helpful. I believe God does not call everyone to adopt but us all being part of the body of Christ should be part of adoptions to help in parenting these children and ultimately turning their lives around and becoming part of the body of Christ too. 

We all need to be prayerful as to HOW we fit into adoption/foster/orphans lives not IF we do."

I couldn't agree more. We are the body of Christ TOGETHER. Some of us are called to the role of adoptive parent, and some are called to help finance the actual adoption. Some are called to be the friend who gives adult conversation and laughter, others are the nitty gritty hands-on servants who occasionally lift the load of the daily grind.

Look around. There are families around you serving the foster kids in your county. Go find them and offer support. Find the adoptive families and pray about your role in their lives.

How might you help? I know from these people who support that they are blessed in their role as much as I am blessed in my role as adoptive parent.

Start by asking God. He's got the best ideas and no doubt some amazing plan for you and the lives of others. 

Oh, and if YOU ARE the adoptive/foster family--LET OTHERS IN TO HELP YOU. Seriously, get over yourself. Yes, your house is a mess. No, you haven't looked in the mirror since 6 am. Yes, they know you have dirty laundry and dirty dishes. LET THEM HELP YOU ANYWAY. 

Both sides will delight in experiencing the blessing of being the Body of Christ to one another. Pray about it...and let Him begin weaving you together.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

LOA!!!!! (House changes and fundraising goodies!)

Look what appeared this past Wednesday night 
(during trunk or treat!):

This is a HUGE milestone in the journey to bring Esty home!

This paper is known as the "LOA" or Letter of Acceptance. It means that China has now read our entire dossier and has fully approved us for our sweet girl's adoption!!

It also starts the time clock in motion! We can now have a good guess as to when we will travel to bring her home! From this point in Toby's adoption, we were 14 weeks until we had him in our arms! Some families are reporting a NINE WEEK time span! That's incredible to me!!!

So we can assume February...but for life planning purposes, we are thinking January. We have TONS to get ready in our home and are working madly to get it complete. (see below!)

In the meantime, this is full on FUNDRAISING TIME!!! We have approximately $18,000 we need to raise! That number is down $10,000 from when we first began! So thankful for our Scentsy fundraiser and our Adopt Shoppe auction. They were both a smashing success! You guys ROCK! THANK YOU!

We have multiple avenues of fundraising we are working on at the same time. TODAY we are beginning a wonderful event with Thirty-One! We held a 31 party last year for Toby's adoption and it was excellent! (And I can honestly say I have never loved bags like I do now! If you need a ditty bag for travel toiletries--theirs is THE BOMB!!) You can go HERE to shop to help bring Esty home. Should I remind you that Christmas is next month and that these would make AWESOME gifts? Nah, you know that!! ;)

We also have our book fundraiser until the end of this month. Usborne books have been NUMERO UNO in our house. (and we have plenty of kids to test books!) Usborne books are the ones they return to over and over again. Especially the non-fiction ones. But they love them all, I caught Jensi this morning reading Shakespeare! Yesssss! You can go HERE to shop for books to bring Esty home.

We are also in the final week of celebrating Esty's 10th birthday with $10 puzzle pieces. See this post for details HERE. At this writing we have had 25 of the 300 people buy puzzle pieces! Do you want to add your name to her gift?

Our Chosen tee shirts will be available for purchase until DECEMBER 4th. At that time we will turn the order in and get it shipped to us so we can have them to you in plenty of time for the holidays. These are custom designed shirts for Esty's adoption that are super awesome! Click HERE to purchase.

We also have some sale tees in our shop...these are our signature "Love with Abandon" tees that we made to bring Toby home. We have adult sizes L, XL and XXL left. We have them marked down to $15 each. AWESOME Christmas present for the man in your life!

We are also waiting to hear back from some grants we applied for as well. You could pray that we would be awarded finances to shrink that $18,000!! We KNOW that God will bring her home...we are just waiting with anticipation to see HOW He does it!

As for life around our house, it's a constant construction zone! My blessed husband has been working hard EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. after a full 10-12 hour work day to change our configuration for having Esty here. I think of Jesus telling us, "I go to prepare a place for you," and that is just what this father is doing for his daughter...preparing a place for her. 

The former office/playroom will become her bedroom...and the former space where we stored extra food will become the office. My incredible inventive husband took an obsolete staircase that had been sealed off (formerly for servants, it used to come down into the kitchen) and changed it into what is now our beautiful pantry! I am so proud of him! The positioning is over the stairs to the basement, so he built a retractable floor and then stairs to the pantry that also fold up. It's quite phenomenal! Here are some pictures I took with my phone:

I really wish I had before pictures...but it was just the bottom of the stairs going up above, so it might not have been anything interesting.

Here's what it looks like with our goodies all moved in!

Oh how this frees up my kitchen cupboards something wonderful!

And now that this major project is done, we are gathering our ideas from Houzz and Pinterest to design the office in this space:

And then FINALLY we will have the room cleared out ready to become her bedroom! More on that later! 

As you can see, we are plenty busy...these house changes on top of regular life as a family of 8 with the holidays will mean that our weeks to wait to go get Esty will FLY BY!!!

Will you pray for all that must happen for us? It's easy to become overwhelmed. My heart is to stay focused on what THESE SIX children need from me first...and then to work on the adoption and fundraising and house changes around the edges. Yah, I'm gonna need LOTS of prayers for that!!!

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