good things

Finally, finally finding a moment to sit down and catch my breath…lots of good things going on.

On the morning of September 26th, we got a surprise phone call from our wonderful Lifeline social worker. I think she was in as much disbelief as we were to hear that we were “match reviewed” – which basically meant our LOA was on the way – after just 29 days.

Huge answer to prayer.

And today we got news that we can mark one more milestone off the timeline to our girl. Our I800 paperwork was expedited as well as our Article 5. More good things.

Now all we are waiting for is Travel Approval and then we’ll be on our way, y’all.

Honestly, the excitement is growing by the day and we are overwhelmed with gratitude to our mighty God.

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I’ve been doing my best to keep a timeline (is it wrong that I had to go to my Instagram to remember a few dates?) and since it’s part of our girl’s story, here we go…

March 12 – received email from Rainbow Kids, inquire with Lifeline about “Pearl”
March 13 – we receive her file and put it on hold for 2 weeks
March 14 – heard back from our pediatrician – she looks great!
March 23 – contact Agape about homestudy
March 24 – we decide to pursue Pearl, will name her Clementine
March 31 – renew passports
April 7 – Clementine turns 1 and we tell the kids with a surprise birthday party
April 7 – first of three doctor appointments for family physicals
April 9 – second of three doctor appointments
April 11 – third of three doctor appointments… whew!
April 14 – Letter of Intent
April 16 – Victoria, Stefanie and Chris go to police department to get printed
April 17 – first homestudy visit
April 21 – Alabama CANs received back
April 22 – Pre-Approval
April 24 – third homestudy visit
May 1 – fourth (and last) homestudy visit
May 10 – completed UAB IAC training
May 13 – Georgia CANs received back
June 6 – USCIS receipt of homestudy
July 29 – USCIS approval date
August 8 – Dossier certified and authenticated
August 12 – Dossier to Chinese Consulate
August 21 – Dossier to China!
August 28 – Log in Date
September 12 – Translated
September 26 – Match Reviewed
October 4 – received, signed and returned LOA
October 4-5 – complete Crossings training
October 14 – I800 approval
October 21 – DS-260 submitted for Article 5
October 23 – Article 5 issued
October 24 – Article 5 picked up and delivered to CCCWA
November ? – Clementine Day!

Wow. I can harly believe we are nearing the end of this part of the process. And we are so close to actually beginning the real journey to Clementine.

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Thank you to everyone who has been praying on behalf of our girl – your prayers are most definitely being felt.

Please continue to pray for her health as well as her heart, especially as we prepare to take her from everything she has ever known. Pray for us as well, as we prepare to grow our family by one.. many little hearts already home that will be impacted by Clementine’s arrival.

The truth is, none of our lives will ever be the same.

And we so want to be fully surrendered to this journey, and cast aside our own plans and expectations. I know my own heart and my tendencies towards ease. Comfort. Safety.

But He is faithful and true. And His plans are good. Trusting that, although we have still not received any updates on our girl, He continues to have her – and us – in the palm of His hand.

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” — Psalm 16:1-2

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the daily

In July, on a challenge from my friend Lisa, I dusted off my Instagram account. And it’s been true love ever since. I was a bit wobbly starting out, not quite sure how to pick and choose what to post. But I’ve since decided to pursue pictures that very much represent *real-life* to me… the things that intrigue me, inspire me, and the things I want to remember.

Maybe my kids being silly. Maybe a mushroom (yes, I have a thing for colorful mushrooms). Maybe my dogs.

Whatever it is, though, the pressure is off and I can just be me. The pictures might not be great, or mean anything to anyone else, but they mean something to me and mine. (Especially mine. In fact, I think my kids are more fascinated by my IG feed than anyone… wait ’til they see the books I get made.)

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And these last few months have changed the way I see things a bit. I’ve found myself looking more for the beauty in the ordinary – the daily – than in the pre-meditated or the planned.

Because beauty surrounds us.

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So when I looked out the window the other day and saw Isabelle pushing Tallula in the little orange car, both still in their jammies, hair messy from the night before, I figured I’d push this *real-life* thing a bit further. And I grabbed my big-girl camera.

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Because this is what we really look like. Messy hair. Still in jammies. Playing away the day.

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True, some days we are still in our jammies, with messy hair, but I’m grouchy or the kids are fussy. Or both.

Those days, I’m not so determined to remember.

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But these days?

Sun shining.

Leaves turning.

Big sister pushing little sister in the cozy coupe.

Seamus on guard duty. (There are deer in these woods, you know.)

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This day, I don’t want to forget.

We found out a few weeks ago that Seamus has an advanced oral sarcoma. Our vet has given him another 2 – 3 months to live. Thankfully, for now, the pain medicine is allowing him a good quality of life and we are able to continue to enjoy life with our beloved boy for just a bit longer. But we would be grateful for any prayers on behalf of Seamus. He will leave an awfully big hole in a whole lot of hearts when he is gone.

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found – news and more news

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Please take a minute and read this one to the end, friends. One week ago, my sweet husband delivered 1300 Found shirts to my door. Since then I’ve done everything in my power to get these on their way. Stat. Honestly, there’s nothing like 24 t-shirt filled bins, lining your bedroom walls, to get you […]

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downtown

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It’s been too long since I’ve taken my biggest girl out for a photo shoot. Like almost a year, y’all. Thankfully, she’s not too old to bribe, and the offer of a free lunch was enough to get her to commit to being my muse for the afternoon. Of course I could have just asked […]

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how do I love thee…

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Seriously, I love this dog. Okay, confession time. I love all my dogs like a crazy-dog-hoarder-person. Thankfully (I suppose?) I married someone who had only a mild affinity for dogs… comparatively speaking. Because it’s kept my wild love for dogs in check. But then came Noah. I know, I know. I wax poetic all the […]

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found shirts – counting down

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After hitting a teeny tiny snag in production, the Found shirts will be ready for pick up this afternoon. My sweet husband is taking the day off work tomorrow so he can drive to A-town to pick them up, to avoid the shipping time and cost. I was planning to go, but my wise printer […]

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Poppy = 5

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One week ago Poppy turned five. (Is it just me or does it seem like I was posting about her last birthday just a month or two ago?) And it was, whether or not I was happy about her turning a whole year older, a lot of fun. Additionally – trying to look on the […]

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beautiful.

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Did y’all see? No Hands But Ours has been completely transformed. *cue angels singing* Because a whole-lotta hard work went into this overhaul. It’s been over a year in the making. Countless hours put in by a group of big-hearted adoptive mamas, as well as some incredibly generous web-design people that were able to envision, […]

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a quarter of a century.

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Yes, her big day was over a month ago. But when you’re already a quarter of a century, a few weeks shouldn’t matter… amiright? We celebrated in our usual fashion. The birthday girl had her choice of dinner… and dessert. This is the dessert that happens when it’s the baker’s birthday and mama has to […]

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because He loved us

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Wow. Just wow. It’s been four days since our fundraiser ended and I’m still basically speechless. Over 700 people gave. Over $36,000 was raised. And over 1500 Found shirts will be printed and worn – God’s people carrying His Word on their back on behalf of one little girl, halfway around the world. Speechless. So […]

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