Thursday, February 17, 2011

Preschool and other random updates..

We are continuing to do preschool at home.  As many of you know, Evan's birthday is in late-August, so he missed the cut-off to start preschool in the fall.  This is something I was not upset about at all, as I didn't have to make the choice this past year of whether or not to send him to preschool.  Instead of just "randomly" working on letters, numbers, and other preschool"ish" tasks, I made the decision to be more intentional.  At the suggestion of one of my close friends, I tried using the Hubbards Cupboard curriculum.  It is great!!!  I would highly recommend this curriculum to anyone considering doing preschool at home.  It's Bible-based, free, and gives you so many ideas and creative ways to teach.  Although I don't follow their instructions word for word, I definitely use it as a base from which to expand and do with it what I think will be the best and most fun for Evan.  Each week has a specific Bible story, specific letter or number, and a specific topic (all of these have corresponding songs and memory verses for the kids to memorize).  For example, this week we have been talking about the story of Abraham and Isaac, the letter "E", and emergencies (trying to decide what is an emergency and what isn't, what to do in a certain emergencies, 911, etc).  It's been great for both Evan and I and gives us both something to look forward to each week.  Here are some recent photos of Evan's playroom in the basement that is slowly transforming into our preschool room also :)
This is where we do most of our crafts and activities...  And we talk about the days of the week and the weather...

His alphabet.  Each week we incorporate "embellishing" these letters with something that starts with that letter.  For example, the letter "D" has dots all over it. 

World Map and Prayer Wall.  The map has been a great way for us to talk about Evan's baby sister in Africa (notice the hearts in Indiana and Ethiopia), and the prayer wall reminds us to pray for our loved ones.  We occasionally add a new name and talk about the letter sounds.  As a result, he can now "read" each of these names.
 And now for some random updates on our family and Project Life photos:
Playiing at Bounce Mania with friends from church!  It was FREEZING in there- it's inside an ice rink!

My afternoon tea with heart marshmallows- one of my Project Life pictures!

Many of the books I've been enjoying lately... 

Evan and Grandma Bev when we visited with her one day last week...

And for those of you wanting an adoption update:

Our dossier is en route to Ethiopia! Translation for those of you unfamiliar with the process wanting to know what this means- After our dossier was received in Utah by our agency it was sent to the state of Utah to be authenticated and then back to our agency. Then it was sent to Washington DC to be authenticated again and then back to our agency. And now it is on it's way to Ethiopia! When it is received in Addis Ababa (capital of Ethiopia), it will be translated. We are eagerly awaiting that phone call with news of a referral! We still anticipate it to be a little while, but we are high enough on the waiting list that we could be getting that call anytime! We know His timing is perfect, but it's hard not to wonder each morning whether today is the day!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


We are PAPER-pregnant!

I had a friend email me a couple of weeks ago.  In the email (she had sent it to several other friends as well) she talked about how we were all "expecting" this year and how exciting it is that we all get to go through this at the same time.  At first, I thought to myself- "Oops, she somehow sent this to me on accident".   And then I remembered, I AM expecting this year!!  It's been crazy how different this paper-pregnancy has been in comparison to my pregnancy with Evan.  I think the hardest part for me is all of the "unknowns".  Sure, there are unknowns with typical pregnancies....  but you at least know when your due date is, and when you can expect certain things to happen throughout the process.  And it's a CERTAINTY that you won't be carrying your child for much more than 9 months!  And with adoption (especially international adoption), NOTHING IS CERTAIN.  You don't have routine check-ups with your ob doctor, don't get to feel the baby kick, don't get to watch your belly grow, and you don't have any excuses to eat, eat, and eat!! And I must admit, I feel much more emotional with this paper-pregnancy than I ever did during my pregnancy with Evan.  And I can't even blame it on the hormones this time!!

As emotional and uncertain as this road is, I'm really trying to focus on the positives and the "fun" things about our paper-pregnancy.  Which is very hard for a type-A, perfectionist like me who LOVES TO PLAN!!  I find myself thinking everyday about how today could be our little girl's birthday, or wondering if *TODAY* will be the day we could perhaps get our phone call introducing us to our little one!  And I'm desperately trying to replace all my worry and fear with prayers for our little girl.  Prayers that she has someone to love on her today, prayers that she has food to eat, prayers that she is somewhere safe, prayers that God will protect her, and prayers that God will continue to prepare our hearts and the hearts of our entire family to love on this precious little girl.  And in the middle of my excitement to meet this little one and expand our family, I am also torn with the fact that on the other side of the world, there is *most likely* a birth family who is faced with the tough decisions of relinquishing their precious baby..   and I'm a completely different kind of emotional.  Broken as I put  myself in the place of a parent faced with the decision of giving up a child in order for them to have food to eat and a chance at life.   But in everything, I'm CHOOSING each day to trust in God's perfect plan for our family and our baby girl...  knowing that He is in complete control.... 

We treasure your prayers and support for our family throughout this paper-pregnancy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Big News!

Soo...  I mentioned a few weeks ago that a lot had been going on in our house and we would be sharing more details soon...  Mid-January we made the decision to change adoption agencies....  For several reasons, but the main one being time.  We had been told sometime early January that our wait for a referral was lengthened and we starting praying for direction  and clarity.  We were unsure if we were supposed to "wait it out" or start researching other options.  After much praying, research, and phone calls we made the decision to sign on with West Sands Adoption Agency (located in Utah).  This was one of the agencies in our "top list" we had originally considered back in June/July 2010 when we started the adoption process. After MUCH research (if you know Drew at all- you completely understand this!) and talking with other families who have used West Sands, we feel very comfortable with our decision and the switch to West Sands which we know is an ethical agency, just like Holt.

And for those of you who will surely ask- YES we did have to redo our dossier.  Luckily, our homestudy transferred, but we had to completely start over on our dossier since all the documents needed to be notarized and certified originals.  Amazingly, we rounded up all our documents within 2 days!!  LOTS of running around (Drew even drove to South Bend one evening to pick up our homestudies rather than having them mailed) and LOTS of notarizing (thankfully we know several notaries who went above and beyond to help us out).  Long story short, we have been on the waiting list with our new agency for several weeks and couldn't be more excited!!  Our new agency doesn't give out numbers, so this will be a little different, but we know we started out at about #10 on the list and expect that we have moved up slightly since getting on the list (very exciting since we were #52 when we made the decision to switch agencies).   We were told we could expect a referral in 2-6 months, so we are anxiously awaiting that phone call!!  Thank you to everyone who continue to be a support and encouragement throughout this emotional process!  We appreciate all your prayers for our baby girl and look forward to introducing you to her once we get to see her beautiful face!

Dossier #2- we are pros at this now!! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Photo Update!!

I must say that I've been taking a lot more photos in the past month or so because of Project Life!  Here is an update of our last couple of weeks in photos (most of them will make it into my PL album!)....
Evan put together his matching puzzle all by himself one morning while I was showering.  He was so proud!

This is how we want to live....  Our eyes have definitely been opened since we started the adoption process...

We took a little trip this past weekend to a waterpark and Evan didn't sleep well in the hotel and played really HARD.  This was the afternoon we got home.  After demolishing his room during "restime" he fell asleep in the middle of his floor. 

Miss Kathy (with Parents as Teachers) came last week and did a science lesson with Evan about wind.  He loves it when she comes to visit!

Silly boy came out of his room all dressed up the other day....

Don't let this innocent face fool you- he's a strong-willed 3 year old!

Storytime-on-the-go at Pizza Hut... The kids all got to make their own personal pan pizzas and tour the kitchen....

And my favorite- storytime with his animals... This makes my heart so happy....