Monday, December 29, 2008

Closing out 2008, Reflecting on our Adoption Journey

I changed our blog background to ladybugs because ladybugs are good luck symbols in adoption. All of my adoption community friends are nodding their heads and smiling because it is a good luck charm adoptive parents come to know. Since we are now closing out 2008 and a little more than a full year from the beginning of our paper chase/homestudy process to now being #10 on the wait list, we are eager for the exciting and magical things 2009 promises to bring---namely our daughter home to us. . . so ladybugs are on order!!!

Adoption is not something people fall into by accident. It is such a long and arduous and costly and emotional and trying process, that only the strongest, most determined make it to the finish line. And,many people are stopped short at various points in the process due to the rigorous standards and constant changes that go hand-in-hand with the adoption journey. I have heard many times that adoption is not for the faint of heart. That is true. It takes great faith, diligence, planning, optimism and patience to walk this road, and sometimes even then can end in heartbreak. But, I cling to the belief that when the time is right (I believe in God's timing), the diligence is rewarded---and the reward is something that cannot be measured in earthly measurements. The reward will go straight through your heart to the depths of the soul intertwining lives together, fulfilling purpose, completing families, making a difference and changing every life touched by the adoption.

The road that led Geoff and me to adoption began over a year ago---but really long before that--long before we even knew we were being called to adopt to complete our family. And, every day has been preparing us since then. Even the delays and heart-aches along the way. Every person arrives at the decision to adopt from different places--but the end result is the same. A child comes home and a family is created.

I look forward to the beautiful things 2009 brings---to our family and to the countless others I've met along this journey. And, my hope is that the other 143 million orphaned children in our world will also come to know their families.

Thank you for following, and hopefully soon there will be exciting referral news for our JOH families. I will post as soon as news occurs!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dancing Lights at Calloway Gardens

Geoff had a good time playing with light on the trolley ride through the Christmas light displays at Calloway. The ride was so bumpy, that it was nearly impossible to get any clear shots--so, he made the most of it and actually liked the result! Kind of crazy and abstract, but amazing what the camera saw on a slow shutter speed. Hope you have fun looking!

Fairy that brings spring

This one is my favorite! I think it may have been an angel.

This is the shot of Snowflake Valley with a fast shutter speed

Snowflake Valley at a slow shutter speed
Gorgeous tree covered in lights reflecting off the lake

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our first adoption purchase!

We bit the bullet and purchased this decor for our nursery! We are so excited!!! This is our first purchase for our adoption. We are still #10 on our waitlist, but when we found this nursery, we couldn't resist!!

Inoticed the full picture doesnt' show up for me unless I click on the mousepad and click on "view image". Then the full picture appears--if you want to check it out!
I'll be posting more pictures from Christmas soon, so keep checking back :-)

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for following our journey!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Angels and Christmas Luaus!!!

What an exciting few days it has been! We closed "Best Christmas Pageant Ever" yesterday after 29 performances! Anna Grace was a lovely angel in the angel chorus. She enjoyed posing for these pictures ;-)

And, today was the day of Anna Grace's birthday luau! What a good time we had. Anna Grace's "Yaya" flew in from Asheville, NC and "Mama B" made a trip into town . Here are a few memories from our special day.

Merry Christmas everyone! And, thanks for reading. . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December Days

Anna Grace and her daddy went exploring at a local camp site!!

Throwing stones in the creek is so much fun!

Sweet girl

Anna G. and her daddy went to the walk-through living Nativity. It was very cold, but they had cookies and hot chocolate. . . mmmmm.
Today was the close of "Amahl and the Night Visitors". I hear we had a special guest attend out show today. . . Patsy Riley!!! How exciting! It feels great to finish a great run and have my evenings with my family back again.
Now, we have a few days to get ready for Anna Grace's "Ya-ya" to come into town, get ready for our Christmas Birthday Luau this Saturday and then Christmas!!!
JOH hasn't had any referrals yet this month. . . I'm hoping for big Christmas referral surprises in the next couple of weeks!
Congratulations to Michelle and Byron Couey (my other Alabama buddies) who just arrived home with their baby girl, Brooke, from Taiwan only yesterday!!
Thanks for reading and following along. . .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What a crazy December! :-)

Well, there is no exciting new adoption news for our family at this point this month. Our latest news is the crazy show schedule Anna Grace and I have. AG is in the Children's Theatre production with me (5 days a week--twice a day----oh. . . . and 2 Saturday matinees), and I am also in an opera"Amahl and the Night Visitors" as the role of the mother. It is an amazing story with beautiful music. It is a beautiful show--not flashy, but beautiful in the message, the story and the music. It runs 2 weekends. So, all in all, I'm performing 7 days a week--sometimes 3 times a day!!! Anna Grace is a little less (but not much). Whew, we are having a great time, but it is very tiring. We both realize that by this time next year, we won't be able to hold that kind of schedule (when we have a little new member of our family :-). But, in the meantime, it is a great way to pass the time as we wait for the phone to ring.

On the other hand, we have many friends from our agency who are now in Taiwan traveling to bring their babies home!!! Congratulations, Michelle! There are so many others too---it is wonderful that so many families are being brought together just in time for the holidays :-)

I will have some pictures from our performances and Christmas fun to post soon!

Thank you for continuing to follow along our journey! Hopefully, we will have more exciting news to report soon :-)

Have a great weekend!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Jam-Packed December!!

Well, it is already December, and with it comes LOTS of excitement! Hopefully, there will be many more referrals this month for JOH families. We had such a slew last month, here's hoping for another one like that. If we keep going at that rate, we could have our referral by February!! How thrilling that would be.

In the meantime, Anna Grace and I are opening "Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever" this week, and I'm opening a second show at the same time, "Amahl and the Night Visitors". It's pretty grueling having two shows going at once. But, it has been a great deal of fun too!!! It is truly a blessing to be able to do what you love to do and use your gifts and talents in such an amazing community of professionals--continuing to grow on so many different levels. It's so important to continue to grow throughout life--and how awesome it is to be able to do it alongside my daughter!!!

Not only are we juggling two shows. . . Anna Grace turns 6 this month too!!!! Boy, does time fly. I can't believe little AG is already 6! Her actual birthday is Monday, but we are having her party on the 20th. Brace yourselves . . . we are having a Christmas Birthday Luau. Anna Grace wants to do the Limbo, the hula and have a coconut race. She has it all planned out :-) That's my girl!!

Of course, I haven't forgotten Christmas in the midst of all of these things. This Christmas we have so much to be thankful for. . . the family we have, the job Geoff has (while so many are without), the wonderful opportunities to use our gifts, our health-----and the hope and eagerness that the new year brings. We know that by the time our Christmas tree goes up next year, we will have another precious member of our family. So, this year we celebrate all that we are and all that we have right now and the beautiful changes to come. . .

Have a wonderful Christmas season, and I will post as I have pictures and news to share along the way! Thank you for reading :-)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Finally in the Top 10!!!!!

Wow! What a month November has been for Journeys of the Heart!!!! 5 baby girl referrals for Program III, and the month isn't over yet! That is just amazing! Now, after a whole year of waiting, painfully, I might add, for our homestudy to be completed in order to get on this wait list---we find ourselves (for the 1st time) experiencing a "RUSH" of movement in our adoption process. And, I must tell you----it feels great!!! We got on the waitlist in September as #19 on the list---and we (2 months later) are #10 on the list! You can do the math. . . if the pace keeps up (which is probably not likely) we could have our referral and see our sweet baby girl's face for the first time in January/February! I realize there are dry months with no referrals or only 1 or 2 referrals---but allow me to dream a little!!!! It could happen. . . :-)

This week has been a rough week at the White House. Anna Grace has been very sick with a bug/virus of some sort that has given her a high fever for 5 days straight (103!!) and a terrible respiratory issue with wheezing and barking coughs (violent coughs that lead her to gag). The Dr. couldn't seem to find what was wrong, but did hear the burbling in her lungs. So, this weekend, we have laid low and she has been taking a steriod to bring the inflamation down in her lungs. We're hoping she will continue to feel better soon. She has missed school and rehearsals--and most of all--she has felt just terrible.

We did go ahead and put up the Christmas tree today (since we were all here home-bound). That is the EARLIEST we have ever done that, but I realized with the schedule we have coming up--- 2 shows about to kick into full production mode--travel, etc.--- if we didn't do it today, I wasn't sure when we could. So, it is done, except for the outside. I don't want the neighbors to know we jumped the gun on Christmas decorations--so we'll wait for the outside until "after" Thanksgiving. Haha!!! It feels GREAT to have it done and not have to try to fit it in between a million other things.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, safe travel, and much to be thankful for. Thank you for following! I'll post some pictures soon.

And, "cheers!!!!" to more referrals while the ball is rolling!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November News

Well, the good news keeps rolling in on our Journeys of the Heart Yahoo group! There have been 4 baby girl referrals for the month of November and it's only the 18th!! That puts Geoff and me at 11th on the waitlist!! If the referrals keep rolling in, we will receive that call sooner than later!! How exciting. I hope the referrals keep rolling, and I'm so happy and proud for all the folks receiving their good news phone calls!!

I'll keep posting as news occurs! If you haven't been to our adoption bracelet blog, check it out. There's a link over to the right side "Children of the World adoption bracelets". They are really poplular and folks are purchasing them across the U.S. So far, they are adorning wrists in Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, Missouri, and Texas. I would love for them to reach every state and even go international as each one carries a message of "hope" and tells the story of the many orphans still awaiting their families. Not to mention---they are really cool and affordable!! Great stocking stuffers!

Hopefully, there will be more exciting news to report in the upcoming few months! Thank you for following! Have an awesome day!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Anna Grace's "Life Story" Necklace

I had a wonderful time, yesterday, designing this "Life Story" necklace/bracelet set with Anna Grace. I allowed her to choose the charms. I chose the blue stone and crystal beads (I chose the blue because her B'day is December). and I created this set that highlights "everything Anna Grace!" I'm so proud that I did it, and now I know how to design jewelry! Anna Grace loved being a part, and it was very interesting to see what she chose and how she views herself!
Just had to share our successful project!! Still no new adoption news to report on our end. We really don't expect to hear any "referral news" until the spring. So, until we hear about something adoption related, I'll keep sharing our family news and latest happenings!
Have a wonderful day! And, thanks for reading :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween 2008!!! The Year of "Bo Peep"

Fun Halloween Memories 2008!!

Farmer "White" and Goat girl (lovely costume, huh? :-)

Heading out for "Tricks or Treats!"

Anna Grace is ready for a big Halloween starting her day off with her kindergarten dress up day as "Little Bo Peep"!! Boy, are we looking forward to some fun today! After loads of fun at school, we met up with friends and had a "chili fest" and trick or treats. Another great Halloween!!
Happy Halloween everyone!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Salsa Verde, Anyone????

Wow!!! Take a gander at that mother-load of green tomatoes that we pulled off the vine today!! 209 tomatoes on October 29th! We had our first freeze last night--so who knows if they'll be any good. But, fried green tomatoes and salsa verde are two things that come to mind. LOTS of salsa verde and a restaurant full of fried green tomatoes!!!!
We started by just getting the big green ones off the vine, but it turned into a rescue mission for even the tiniest baby green tomato. Each one deserved a right to survive the freeze forcasted for tonight. In Anna Grace's words. . . "No mama, get them all!!! Get that baby one too. It doesn't want to freeze its "toucas" off tonight!!" So, we rescued them all. . . all 209 tomatoes---some red, most green, some large some tiny. But each one important to a little girl named Anna Grace.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some Fall Fun!

We sure had an awesome weekend! Daddy was not working, so we went to the pumpkin patch, celebrated some Bama football and even took a little Sunday hike at Moss Rock Preserve. Ohhh. . and we found the most amazing new pizza joint called Mafiozos---YUM!!! Hope you enjoy our little collection of memories . . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fun Day at the Pumpkin Patch!!!

Runnin' through the "hay maze"!!

On top of the world!!!!

Anna Grace and Kaylee Rose

My hayride buddy. . . :-)

Cotton Pickin' time

Peek a Boo!!!!

Anna Grace and I had a wonderful time, today, at the Old Baker Farm with AG's kindergarten class. We had a hay ride, picked out pumpkins, played in the hay, pet baby chicks and rabbits, picked cotton. . . you name it! It was a fun time, and I hope you enjoy the pics of our fun memories.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beach Memories

Click on the photos to see them full-sized

My sweetie and me at the beach. . .

Sunrise over the salt marsh. . .

Our sunrise walk--gosh it was gorgeous!!!!

Daddy and his beach angel

Kisses for daddy

--check out that most perfect sand artfully designed by the ocean breezes. . .

Shell huntin' success!!!

Anna Grace after she races us back to the condo---and wins!!!

Sunset at Seagrove Beach

Oh, beautiful jellies in the crystal waters---if only you would have let us enjoy the water too!

sun-bathin' beauty

Making "Drip Castles" with Mama "B". . .

Ocean over the dunes. . .

morning walks on the beach--with coffee!!

Our family. . .

The whole gang of us at the beach!! What great times we had. . .

Mama, me and Anna Grace---3 generations of women! I'm so glad mom came!

Well, there are times when you just need to take a break from things to embrace the simple, fundamental beautiful things in life--and shut out the clutter, noise, stress and distraction of the every day routine. These times refresh, restore and inspire you--and they shine a light on all the things we have to be truly thankful for--our health, the beauty of nature around us that stays constant even during these tumultuous times in our world, and the people in our lives who are walking this life-journey with us. I became keenly aware during my reflective time at the beach how the simple things, at the end of the day, are what we are left with. And they are what matters--not the urgent matters that vie for our attention every day.

Above are some reflections of our trip----hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We are launching our adoption bracelet fundraiser!!!

Well, no more news thus far on the adoption. We are in the "just wait" phase--waiting our place in line for our referral. In the meantime, however, we have an exciting job to do. Anna Grace wants to be a part of the process and we have created a beautiful adoption bracelet (with her help) to help us raise the funds to bring her sister home from Taiwan----and at the same time, raise awareness for the millions of children more waiting to be adopted into their forever families. We hope this bracelet will reach far and wide spreading the message of the beauty and tremendous need for adoption. Please visit our newest blogsite at

We appreciate you stopping by--and, please, pass word along to others you know. We need to get the word out about our project!

For those of you reading who are in the process of adopting and you have another child at home anxiously waiting for their brother or sister to come home--you might consider coming up with a creative project of your own to allow your child to be a part of the adoption process. It is a great family bonding experience!!

Thanks for reading, everyone! And, thanks in advance for taking a look at our bracelet blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hip Hip Hooray!!! We're Waitlisted TODAY!!!!!!

Well, after what seems an eternity, we took a HUGE step forward today----we got the email that we are on the waitlist!!!!! Truly---I met my husband, dated, fell in love, got engaged, planned a wedding and said "I do" in the same amount of time it has taken for us to get a completed home study and a notice that we're on the waitlist. (We've now been married 9 happy years!! )

Hopefully, the rest of the process will move quickly and with no major snags. We are HAPPY in Alabama tonight!! Wohooooo :-)

Thanks for reading and for your prayers and positive thoughts. . .

Monday, September 8, 2008

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait!!--in little envelopes in the mail!

Well, well, well. . . . guess what arrived in our mailbox today? Our I797 (Immigration approval for adopting an orphan!!!!!). We have been waiting since MAY for this news, and finally it has arrived. Unfortunately, there was a mistake on it---so that is another issue we will have to deal with as this form must match the homestudy. But, it is a HUGE answer to prayer to know that we are approved. Now we can officially begin our wait for our daughter-----And, we CAN NOT EVEN BEGIN to tell you how excited we are, right now!!!!!

Thank you for reading, everyone!! Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Fun Start to School and Ballet

We have had a great couple of weeks as Anna Grace has started Kindergarten! She is loving school and is doing so well. She was tested on her literacy/reading skills and surpassed the benchmark goals expected for her by May!!!! I am very proud of her. She loves riding the bus, she loves being a "big girl" and getting her lunch in the lunch line (she tells me when she wants mommy to pack her lunch), and she absolutely loves her teacher. I am so very thankful for that! We did take pictures of her on her first day of school, and as soon as I get those downloaded (this weekend), I'll add them.

Anna Grace also started ballet at the Alabama Royal Academy of Ballet this past week. She had a very exciting first class!! Here are some photos.
Anna Grace gets ready for her first ballet class!!

Anna Grace and her new friend

"Girls, how many of you watched the Olympics? Do you remember how the gymnasts walked in nicely? We will walk with our hands on our hips."

Anna Grace getting ready for a fun first class

Now, we did have a family Luau (as Anna Grace called it) when I made Tilapia tacos a few days ago. So, we decided to make it a family celebration! Here are a few pics:

A few days back, Anna Grace drew this drawing on her art easel. She explained that it was the Great Wall of China, Mrs. Tien in front (our Taiwan facilitator), daddy behind her, mommy and then Anna Grace (with the bow in her hair). Mrs. Tien is taking us to bring home our baby sister from Taiwan. And, if you look closely, you can see the row of babies she drew. Pretty amazing understanding for a 5 year old.

Anna Grace is holding her new mandolin she is excited to learn to play. Thank you Cool Mandolin for Kids Co.!! You do wonderful things for children and music!

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, everyone! And, again, thanks so much for following along!