Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beautiful Bracelets, Beautiful Family

I had the pleasure a few months back of running across a blog about a family who adopted from Ethiopia and were in the process of adopting again. Since I found Erica I have been inspired, uplifted, blessed and truly happy that I know God holds us all in His hands and makes a way for His great plans. Erica lives just up the road from me, though I haven't met her in person or her family I am so moved by her blog and her Facebook posts. She is a true adoption advocate and I aspire to be more like her in reaching out and promoting adoption and a heart for the orphan.

Erica is currently raising funds to travel to Ethiopia to get her daughter. I decided that I'd like to order some bracelets from her for the holidays and wanted to share them here in hopes that more people will support their journey to Ethiopia. These bracelets are beautiful!



You can read more about Erica and her family on her blog:

You can donate, purchase necklaces and tee shirts here:

I love the Baseball tee, I am looking forward to after the holidays so I can order one for myself!


Cookie Party

When I was a child I remember decorating cookies with my family and sometimes neighbors and friends. I loved those special afternoons of icing cookies and covering them with sprinkles. The best part-eating the cookies!

This year I decided to host my very own "Cookie Party" with our adoption group. Not everyone could make it but three families came and it seems the kids all had a great time. I made my favorite sugar cookies and gingerbread too. There was royal icing and all sorts of sprinkles and toppings. I enjoyed watching the kids make memories and enjoy the cookies!














Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Care for the widow and the orphan.

"Aware, heart heavy and praying for fathers (and mothers) for the fatherless this time of year. Over 2400 children ranging from newborn to 18 are signed up for Foster Angels in Hillsborough this year and they only have resources for 800 so far. There are thousands of ministries, organizations and families that could use help this and every time of year."
This is my facebook status today. Today I have a heavy heart. I know that God has called me to be an advocate for adoption and to care for orphans. While we wait, I will work to advocate for the fatherless. It is what I can do right now, in my circumstances. One day perhaps I will be across the globe, but for now, I'm starting in my own world. In my own neighborhood. 
I think about the kids in my own community that are waiting for a forever family. They are longing to have someone tuck them in at night and to have a warm home to call their own. They are craving a place to belong. From your back door to across the world there are opportunities to care for orphans.
I realize that most of us do not think naturally about the world around us, only the world that we live in. I challenge you to look at my blog hop link. Visit some of the blogs. Learn about what these amazing families are doing. If you feel that you are not called to adopt, partner with a family who is trying desperately to raise funds to go get their child. Open your eyes to the possibility.
I have heard so many people say to me "oh I don't know if I could love an adopted child the same". First of all- just so you know, that is really offensive to say to an adoptive mother. Just flatly telling you how it is. Secondly, if the basis of loving a child is on sharing DNA, that says a lot about how much you love yourself. God shapes families through DNA, and sometimes through love. It's all by His design. 

For You formed my inward parts;
         You wove me in my mother’s womb.


I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Wonderful are Your works,
         And my soul knows it very well.


My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;


Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
         And in Your book were all written
         The days that were ordained for me,
         When as yet there was not one of them. 

God designs our lives. From the womb to the grave. He designs our children's lives. He can fashion a family from two broken halves into a family full of love of joy. He can take a crowded home and cram some more crazy  fun kids in the mix. He can open closed hearts and minds. He can bring mercy and grace...love and family to the orphan. He can bring us to far away places to find the parts that belong to our family. He can surprise us with hope in our own back yard. 

Rather you have thought about adoption, foster care or orphan care, do something! All children are equal in God's eyes. All children deserve a loving home. If you truly feel like you are not called to adopt, be the support and the voice for someone who is. 

I can tell you that nothing has made me happier in my life than my own adoptions, and then watching my friends adopt. When my youngest was only 2 months old my goddaughter O came into my best friend's life. We were right there hand in hand with them. We shared their smiles, tears and laughter. We shared their pain and frustration as they waited, their joy and their first moments with their beautiful daughter. And then this last year again we walked the road with friends who adopted their first child. We shared it all with them. We supported them in any way we knew how. 

Now every time I look at these children's faces, I know that God used us to touch their lives. That they are so precious in His sight that he called us to come along side of their parents. They have been adopted into families, communities, churches and into the lives of those who walk along hand in hand with them and their parents.

We just celebrated my friend's Gotcha Day last Thursday. I dragged my two toddlers down to the very courthouse where they were for each of their final hearings. We sat on a bench and watched as they filled the room with their smiles and joy. We watched as precious J was legally adopted into their family. We saw his grandparents, godparents and parents celebrate together the gift of adoption. The very next night I had the unbelievable pleasure of babysitting J while his parents went to a Christmas party. I just hugged on him and played with him. I am so blessed to be a part of his life. I get so emotional when I think of what God has in store for him. I am so glad to know that whatever God's plan is, I'm going to be there to see it come to fruition.

And to know that my own adoptive children are surrounded now with a huge family and friends who will be there through thick and thin. Who will teach them, hold them, love them and protect them...wow...I am humbled at the grace of God. Truly, humbled that his plan includes me as their mother. Hoping that one day they will see that grace fully. I am hoping that I instill in them a passion for caring for orphans and widows.

All I Really Want For Christmas Music Video

Advent Conspiracy

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful.

Every year when the holidays come around I have this sense of pure gratitude and joy. You see, about 6 years ago I was facing a Thanksgiving and a Christmas with sorrow and pain filling my every thought. We spent Thanksgiving that year with my family in North Carolina and while I had a smile on my face I was broken and shattered inside.

With our nieces and my brother during our Thanksgiving trip.


In 2004 my husband and I decided to try IVF. We were finally hopeful. I was very young and the Doctor's all said that our chances were fantastic. We had a successful round of IVF with a positive pregnancy test. I was beyond happy. I was ecstatic! I thought that the waiting was officially over and that my dream of having a baby would finally come true!

That joy lasted about 2 weeks. Then I started having signs of a miscarriage. I spoke with my nurse several times and all she said was that I would have to "wait and see, but probably I was losing my baby". I had an ultrasound at 6 weeks and there was no sign of life. They told me that it could be a late implant but that there was no way to know for another week or two.

Then I started swelling and having severe cramping on my left side. I felt weak and I knew something wasn't right. I asked that they please give me another ultrasound because I feared that I was having an ectopic pregnancy. Turns out I was right. We went in for another ultrasound. My blood pressure was through the roof (and I always have perfect blood pressure). I was shaking and in some pain. Finally the Doctor comes in and we have the ultrasound. I've never forget what I saw on the screen or the words our Doctor spoke in that moment.

"Well I'll be damned"......"There is a heartbeat in your tube".

My left tube had ruptured. I was bleeding internally. My growing, heart beating fetus was not going to live.


As soon as I heard the words and saw my babies heart beat I lost it. I felt faint. I was in excruciating pain, I was undone. I could barely walk. We sat waiting for our hospital papers and called family. I hardly remember anything after that. I remember my husband tearfully holding my hand. I remember my dear friend visiting me and staying by my side after the surgery.

I remember the nurse that cared for me with such sweet gentleness. She was emotionally connected to me. She was exactly the person who should have cared for me. She gently told me about her two miracle daughters. She adopted them both and told me that adoption is a beautiful option.

I left the hospital knowing in my heart that I was done with trying to make it happen. I was not going to go through anymore fertility treatments. I had always wanted to adopt anyways. It just made sense.




In our follow up appointments with the Doctor he asked us what we wanted to do next and we told him we were going to adopt.

Within a month we had signed up with an agency "Heart Of Adoption". By March we were waiting for our first child to be born.



Now every holiday season I remember the pain and the hurt of waiting hopelessly. I look at my miracles and I whole heartedly agree, adoption is a beautiful option. It's the best and only option for me. 

"Beautiful things"
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll even find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

 Every time we sing this song at church I think about how God turned something so painful and horrible into the beautiful family that I have. I am so thankful for my kids. I am so thankful that God has a plan for my life and for my children's lives. I can't wait to do this again! I can't wait to see what beautiful things God has in store for our family, and for yours!

To those of you who have suffered the pain of losing a baby, a pregnancy, or the dream of one, my heart goes out to you. I know the pain of it. I know the misery of it. I can tell you that on the other side, it can be beautiful and joyous and great!

Thankful,

Sarah

Gungor - Beautiful Things

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Guest Blogger-Laurel Feierbach From God Found Us You.

I am honored to have Laurel Feierbach guest blogging for my today. Her story is beautiful and moving. Visit Laurel's blog at God Found Us You for more from Laurel about her adoption experience. Thanks so much Laurel for sharing with us and for your words of encouragement to those who are waiting for their child. -Sarah



"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1.27

This is why we adopted.  How can you get more clear than that?  God says religion, this whole Christian thing, is about taking care of the helpless. 

When my husband and I decided we were ready to have children and wanted to do that through adoption, we researched all of our options.  We wanted an infant for our first child and felt that the greatest need was in international or foster care adoption.  After researching foster care infant adoption, we decided we wanted to go international this time around.  Social workers we talked with told us that we could foster an infant for up to two years before he/she is up for adoption or placed back with the birth family.  For our first child, we didn't want to wait two more years and then start the process all over again.  We wanted a child now.  We do plan on adopting through foster care for our next child.

So we began the process of adopting our son from Ethiopia.  The entire process took a year and a half and brought us to our then 8-month-old baby boy last February.  For me, and I think for my husband, the hardest part of the wait was last Christmas.  As we near the holidays, I am reminded how difficult they were for me last year.

Last Christmas, we had received our referral, we knew who our son was, we became his legal guardians on December 16, but we still had to wait.  We had to wait for our travel date in February, for paperwork to be pushed, for legalities that didn't seem important enough to keep our son in an orphanage halfway around the world for another minute.

Christmas night.  My husband and I were driving home from my in-laws after a long day of splitting time between our families.  I broke down.  I just cried and cried.  I hadn't enjoyed the holiday.  It wasn't fun for me.  

The hardest part was at my in-laws house as we sat around watching our nieces and nephews open their gifts.  Once kids come into your family, holidays become mostly about them, as you know.  Both of my husband's siblings had kids already and each had a child the same age as our son.  So my husband and I sat on the couch and watched these babies open gifts, play, get excited, be loved.  We watched their parents delight in their smiles and laughs.  And our hearts broke.  All we could think about was that big-eyed boy in the photos and the fact that he didn't have us yet.



Are you there right now?  As we go through this holiday season, my heart goes out to you.  Knowing that it probably won't ease your pain or your longing, I still want to tell you that you'll get there.  You'll hold that child in your arms and you'll belong to each other in every sense.  The wait will end, the process will be complete, you'll arrive home with that bundle of life, and you'll know that every second, every piece of paperwork, every phone call, every prayer, every tear was so much more than worth it.



Because this moment cannot be explained.  This moment is enough to fill a thousand Christmases with joy.

 
Laurel Feierbach

Monday, November 8, 2010

This one is from my heart. My son's brother.


For over a year now I have had that longing...the heart aching, brain numbing, emotional rollercoster riding, longing for another child.

We have been through some changes in the last year and we are now in a new "waiting phase". I feel like God must really want me to know how to wait for things because it seems I have been "waiting" a lot in the last ten years.

We are waiting on funds. Waiting on me to finish my college education so that I can be working and contributing to the family income. Waiting on....I don't know, the "right time" to add to our family of 4.

When Princess was a baby I knew I was done. I was overwhelmed. We hadn't planned to adopt again so soon (even though honestly I couldn't wait to have another baby). Mighty Mike was just 18 months old when we found out that Princess was coming in 8 weeks. She ended up coming in 6 weeks. I went from proud mom of one to "what am I doing?" mom of two! Don't get me wrong...I was totally and utterly in love with our new daughter. I knew from the moment I learned about her that she was meant for us and she surely was. Things just tend to change when you have a second child and it was rough for the first year because she was sick a lot and my toddler Mighty needed a lot of attention.

Princess has asthma. She was sick often for the first year of her life. She even spent her first New Years in the hospital with phenomena. We had her on about 3-5 medications at any given time there for a while and had very broken sleep. We were sure that with her health problems we had our hands full and wouldn't be able to handle any more children.

Fast forward two years and she is doing remarkably well. She gets wheezy whenever she gets a cold but we have it down. She is really healthy now and becoming very independent.

Mighty Mike started asking us for a baby brother about 2 years ago. He says the cutest (heartbreaking) things. The other day he asked when we passed by our neighborhood hospital if that is where we would find his baby brother and when we could go get him. He says he wants 10 brothers, or maybe 16. He asks God in his little boy voice to "please help us find my baby brother". He asks me all the time "Mommy, when can I have a baby brother?". This is not easy on me. I want to tell him TOMORROW! I want to tell him that I know God's plan. I want to give him a baby brother.

I know that God has a plan. I know that everything is in His perfect timing. I have come a long way in a year through this longing and I am trying to just patiently wait on Him for the answers. I just keep wondering if my son is out there in the world somewhere. Maybe he is being born as I type in Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, China or Taiwan. Maybe he is right down the block in his birthmother's tummy. Maybe he is in foster care. Maybe he is yet to be.

I can't stop thinking about him though. I can't stop longing for him.

<3 Sarah

Fundraiser Link Up.

If you or someone you know is raising funds towards an adoption link up you fundraisers with my sisters blog! I am also planning on doing a permanent link up of fundraisers so comment below if you would like me to include you!



http://www.kristinsreview.com/2010/11/link-up-your-items-for-sale-to-support.html

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gotcha Day Fund For Jax!


This is one of those opportunities that I always hope for, the chance to help someone adopt. My friends Elizabeth and Jeremy are already the most amazing parents to their son Jax. He is their child.
There is this little thing (of huge importance) called a final hearing. Elizabeth and Jeremy have been waiting a very long time for theirs. It is the day that they will call Gotcha Day for their cherished son, Jax.
In order to make this happen they need to raise some funds! They need $5000 by the 28th of November to make this happen. Please consider giving. Even a few bucks will make a difference and help them achieve their goal.
Feel free to share this link on Facebook and pass along to your friends and loved ones.
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166189333410900&num_event_invites=226




Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Home For The Holidays with Michael Franti Adoption Month

An Adoption Blog Hop!

Are you an adoptive/foster parent that blogs? Are you blogging about your adoption that you are going through right now? First of all, I would love to follow you! Secondly, this blog hop is just for you!



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ordinary Hero Blog: It's Adoption Awareness Month! Let us Help You Rai...

Ordinary Hero Blog: It's Adoption Awareness Month! Let us Help You Rai...: "What is the biggest question when it comes to adoption? How will I ever raise all that money? Next Sunday is Adoption Sunday. We want to..."

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Little Late, First Day of School For My Princess.

I have been wanting to post these cute pics for a while. My Princess started Pre-K just 2 weeks ago. She loves it! She already has good buddies. In fact she went to her first birthday party for one of her classmates today. It was great.







Boo'ing The Neighbors


So, many of you blog stalkers have read about the "Boo Your Neighbor" concept. I think it's brilliant and wanted to try it out with my kids this Halloween. We had a blast from choosing our goodies to the actual "Boo". Here's what we did!





Excited!

Lovin' The Crafty Time



First, we made our door hangers with some scrap booking paper, folding it "hot dog style" in half. Then we cut a circle by folding it again and made little cuts around so that it would fit around a door. Then printed out a cute Jack 'O Lantern graphic with "We've Been Boo'd" and glued it on the door hanger. 




Then we attached this little poem to the gift bag:



We used black gift bags with tissue paper that said "boo, trick or treat, happy halloween" all from Target. (PS the black bags were on clearance for .24 cents each!)

We put in them:
Halloween Sugar Cookies (from Target bakery)
Marshmallow Puffs, ghosts and pumpkins
Small First Aid Kit (for a safe Trick Or Treat)







The kids also wanted to make pictures and while we weren't revealing our secret "phantom" identity, I thought that who could resist an adorable picture drawn by my cute kids!


He wanted to make sure they knew that his "bath" was really a bath :-)




And we can't wait to do it again! My Aunt was telling me that there is an old tradition called May Day which follows the same concept of leaving surprises for your neighbors. You do it the first day of May with Spring goodies like cleaning and household supplies, seeds or flowers and spring treats. Wouldn't that be great? I can't wait!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta

This recipe is one of my all time favorite fall recipes. It is earthy and warms you to the core. Shop the BOGO sales for great deals on pasta and parmesan cheese. I want to try this with mushrooms as a vegetarian dish as well.

Pumpkin Sausage Pasta - Printer Friendly Version

Serves 6-8
1 pound pasta, cooked (This can be made Gluten Free by using a rice pasta, it is just as yummy!)
1 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling, regular pureed pumpkin or you can roast and puree your own)
1 lb. turkey sausage (I used Jenny-O because they were on sale and I had coupons making it $2.99 a pound)
1 drizzle around the pan of EVOO
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup of cream, half and half or fat free half and half (for dairy free try substiting with coconut milk)
salt and pepper to taste
chives or fresh chopped herb of your choice.
shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook pasta according to package. Drain and set aside.  With a large saute pan, do a drizzle of EVOO around the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook (you may have to remove sausage from casing) until browned. Add can of pumpkin puree and stir well. Add cream and salt and pepper to taste, stir until combined and warmed through. Add pasta to sauce and serve with a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives and shaved parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

No one should ever face this....

The Mathews Story

Please take a moment to read this story and pray with me and many others for this family. Months ago I read this story from a friend on facebook. She posted the link and asked for prayer and ever since I read about their family I can't get them off of my mind. I have never met the Mathews. I don't even really know what they look like except Ezra from the pictures on their blog.

 I know that what the Mathews are going through is tragic. It's aweful. It's not fair. There are things that happen in this life that I don't understand. The suffering of a child is high on that list. 

God be with those who have loved ones with cancer. God be with those remembering the ones they have lost and God help us all to make sense of such tragedy. God, wrap your loving arms around the Mathews family and may others be inspired to be their support and love during this difficult time.


Sesame Street "I love my hair"


What a great way to help encourage confidence in our curly hair girls!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Glazer Children's Museum- Making Downtown Tampa The Place For The Weekend!

We have been wanting to visit the new Glazer Children's Museum since it opened last month and just hadn't made it yet. I've heard some good reviews for it but I was honestly in L*O*V*E with this place!


When you walk in the door there are water play stations which are very entertaining for the kids. It's nice when the big kids don't hog the balls! There were supervisors working the stations and asking kids to take turns which really helped because there were some unsupervised big kids hogging the fun. Next there was a "boat" with a "sand" digging area. The sand was actually chopped rubber which was very cool. No mess!




Up stairs on the second floor is the coolest climbing gear for ages 3 and up. The signs say things like "imagine you are a water drop falling from one leaf to the next". The kids loved climbing through. Very cool.

Plant and Pick Flowers!
Plumbing Area

Plant and pick Veggies!

 The kids had so much fun at each station that they didn't know what to do next! There was a "plumbing" section where the kids could pretend to add plumbing to a bathroom. That was so neat, there were gloves and goggles and you could actually run pipes from the tub to the toilet and to the sink. 




They had building blocks that you could configure any which way. They also had cars and tracks on the other side to make roads.


Yes, this would be My Princess! Only "supergirls" wear tutu's while climbing on walls! I totally wish they had a wall for adults to climb, this looks like fun!


There was a Publix grocery store where the kids could shop with carts and ring up their items (there were actual barcode stickers on the play food and computer check out stations!). There was a Veterinarian station. There was a Doctor station with X-Ray puzzles and more! The boys favorite was the Firehouse. They had a fire-truck and a pole. 

Inside the fire truck
Fire Station Pole. (You can actually go up stairs and slide down the pole).

They also had a Restaurant and Theater where the kids could prepare meals and perform shows with costumes and a show curtain. We could easily have spent a whole day on each of the levels in the museum. I highly recommend taking your family! If you have little bitties they have play areas for three and under with soft cushy toys and floors. There was something for all age groups. The admission is reasonable, especially if you get a years pass. It was $90 for a years pass including five family members. The cost per ticket is $15 for adults and $9.50 for kids 1 and up. If you go even twice in a year with a family of 4 you are saving money with the pass. 



On top of the amazing museum there was a gorgeous field out next to the museum. There was space for a picnic, plenty of room for the kids to run, dance, play ball or play tag. There were several college students out playing ball and frisbee. They also had fountains for the kids to play in.We plan on coming for a picnic and another trip to the museum again this month! Add a trip to our favorite  restaurant Pane Rustica and you have got yourself a wonderful weekend in Tampa! 




Playing Tag!




Disclaimer-this is NOT a paid advertisement. I am just simply a huge fan! I am not affiliated with Glazer Museum in anyway. These are all my own opinions and statements.

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