Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oh My, I'm going to have TWO daughters!

Yes I realize this is not new news....but it just hit me tonight as I was hanging up curtains in Laina's room! The crib is up, the walls are painted, and now we have curtains :) The colors in her room are pink, green, and a touch of brown. It looks so girly and special and I can't wait to see our Laina-chicky sleeping peacefully in her new room....a room all for herself....made up with lots of love and special touches just for her. I walked out of her room and passed Zoya's room on my way downstairs....I froze for a second, turned and walked back to Laina's room. I thought oh my gosh I am going to have TWO girls!

I took a moment to stop and soak it all in.  I smiled remembering 5 and a half years ago as Shawn and I walked through on a tour of the empty house dreaming of one day having those empty rooms decorated and alive with children. Little did we know they'd be occupied by two extra-special little girls. I couldn't have ever imagined life this beautiful. Not only are our rooms filled, but our hearts are filled as well...with love and hope and happiness...as we dream of what the next 5 and a half years will bring.

Laina, we are so excited to bring you home. Your extra special little nest is being made right now as we wait to bring you home. You have a big sister who says "baby" every time she walks into your room. You have a mama and dada who dream of rocking you to sleep in the big brown comfy chair next to your crib. You have itty bitty clothes in your dresser just waiting to be worn.  You have everything you'll ever need waiting for you right here. And we'll have everything we'll ever need once you're here with us. I pray you're safe and happy, well fed and snuggled. I hope you're heart is being prepared for us just as ours are for you. Every thought of our future includes you. I can't wait to watch your personality unfold. Until we meet....sweet dreams my little girl.

Beach Giveaway Update and More FAQs

A lot of people have been asking me if you can donate through the button to the right on this blog for the beach giveaway. Yes you can....BUT if you do, make sure you go over to THIS POST ON KATIE'S BLOG to leave a comment with how much you donated...that's the only way you'll be entered into the contest. When you donate with the button on our page (to the right) I can't see who donated or how much....that information all goes to Reece's Rainbow, not to me.  With the chip-in button on Katie's page, I can tell who donates and how much.  So to make sure you get your chance to win, make sure you leave a comment on Katie's blog.

Thank you so much to all of you who have donated...I can't WAIT to see who wins!!!!! Remember, let me know if you share the giveaway link (either on my blog or Katie's) and you'll be entered to win your choice of a $25 gift card to Target, Best Buy, or Starbucks :)

Are you taking Zoya with you to Eastern Europe for Laina's adoption?
No. We debated it for one hot second and then knew it just wouldn't be in Zoya's best interest. I'd love to have her with us for obvious reasons....but with her need for routine, anxiety she's been having, along with some PTSD symptoms....it would be the worst thing we could do for her. If she does have PTSD that would be awful to throw her back into that language, which is a strong trigger for higher anxiety in kids who are adopted and show signs of PTSD. Adoption travel in the country we are going to is VERY UNPREDICTABLE to say the least. It takes about 24 hours of travel to even get there and then there is a 7 hour time change. It is hard for us as adults to make it through all that, and it wouldn't be a fair expectation for Zoya at this point in time. For Zoya's adoption it was go-go-go non stop at times. We often didn't have time to eat or take a potty break....and sat in freezing cold cars waiting for hours at a time.  We took overnight trains and planes within the country and functioned on little sleep and certainly an unpredictable schedule.  It will be the hardest thing we've ever done....since we've never even left Zoya overnight before....but my best friend is staying at the house with Zoya (and is like an aunt to Zoya) and I know Zoya will be in great hands here. We plan on making videos of us talking to her, singing to her, reading to her, etc. so she can watch one a day while we are gone. We are also going to skype every day so she knows we are still present in some way. I know it won't be easy for Zoya, or for us, but we are praying for God's peace for all 3 of us.

What other plans do you have to raise enough money for the adoption?A very fair question considering we're asking others for financial support through this giveaway....and a good question for other families in the adoption process as well...I'll share what we're doing....

First of all, we have cut out a lot of things we don't "need."  We changed our cable and Internet plan to be paying a LOT less than we were. We cut our grocery bill in half and I'm trying my best at couponing (any tips are appreciated!). We aren't going out to eat unless we have a gift card or coupon. We are saving every penny we can. Shawn is picking up extra hours at work when they're available. I changed my student loan repayment plan to pay half of what I was paying. We also redid Shawn's W2 so less taxes are taken our for the remainder of the year...which means we'll get less back at tax time but more back now, which is what we need. We are putting a set amount from each paycheck right into savings and this will be a big chunk of what we need.

I will be selling Yankee Candles (tax-free) like I did with Zoya's adoption to try and raise some money....my hope is that part of the money we raise from selling candles will go toward the orphanage donation fee ($1,000) and some "extra" things Laina's orphanage needs (clothes, diapers, etc.). This money will go directly to our Reece's Rainbow FSP account.

A beautiful engagement ring/wedding band set was donated to us to try and sell to raise funds as well. (If you're interested...let me know ;) It is valued at $4,625!!! We are blessed to have this donation!

We are getting ready for a garage sale on Saturday and selling things we sure love but don't need. Things are just things in the end and ya can't take them with you anyways.

....so there are some of the things we're doing....

How did you decide on her name?
I'm planning a separate post for this :)

Please leave any other questions in the comments section!!!

Getting closer sweet Laina-chicky!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Set of Documents Sent!

We had our first set of documents notarized, apostilled (given a big $15 gold sticker from Harrisburg) and sent off to Eastern Europe yesterday! For Zoya's adoption there were two documents that needed to be sent at this time...this time around there were 8! Things have changed!!  Thank God we are getting our notaries done for free because each apostille in PA is $15 with no cap....meaning if we needed 200 documents we'd still pay $15 each. Some states have a cap after you pay for so many the rest are free...not so in good old PA. PA is also one of the most expensive states to get an apostille in! Some states pay as little ast $2 I think! So the cost for this SMALL group of papers?

8 documents x 8 apostilles = $120
Shipping fee overseas = $118.27 (last time we sent them regular mail but this time we're not allowed)
Total: $238.27!!!

Our big dossier packet will be at least triple this cost to apostille and mail. I haven't counted yet but there are probably 30 or more documents this time around that need to be notarized, apostilled, and sent to EE. So for those of you non-adopters, here's a little idea of how the expenses can rack up quickly.

One step closer to Laina-chicky!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beach Giveaway Update!

So far we've raised $1,020!!! Such a blessing! Please remember to pass this fundraiser info along to friends and family.....the giveaway goes until August 31st...so one more month to enter!!! I can't WAIT to see who wins the 4 night stay at this FABULOUS condo in PCB, FL. I would move there if I could!!!

Thanks to all of you who have donated and shared already!!! We are humbled by your support...

Can't wait to see that sweet angel baby in real life!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Cost of a Life

Through Zoya's adoption process, and now through Laina's adoption process, we've heard it a million times...."why does it cost so much to adopt?" or "wow that is a lot of money," or "I wish I had as much money as you're spending on the adoption" (yep someone actually said that).  So in case you're wondering, no we don't have $25,000 laying around (the estimated cost to adopt from Laina's country). And no we certainly did not have $25,000 just sitting in our bank account for Zoya's adoption either. Money is a relative matter. People see the price tag associated with adoption and they get scared and never give adoption another thought because of the costs involved.

But let me ask you this. How much would you pay to save your child's life if it were in danger? I bet every single one of you would sell everything you own. You would beg, steal, and plead if it came to that to save your child if his life were in danger (not that I recommend stealing...but I digress). What if your child were half way across the world alone and scared, spending day after day in a crib with little interaction with the outside world? $25,000 would be a small price to pay if thats all you had to do to save your child's life. Zoya is our child and I can't even begin to put a price on her life.  $25,000 in adoption fees was a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.  God willing, Laina is our child and if all we have to do is come up with $25,000 then I think we're pretty darn lucky.

Let me try to clarify what I'm saying.  Most families own two vehicles these days....there's $25,000 or more if bought new.  People take out loans for cars all the time without thinking twice. How much is your house worth? I'm sure a lot more than $25,000. How about that new roof or windows you needed...I mean you had to pay the bill because you needed them right? How about the credit card bills some rack up into the thousands without thinking twice because we need those things right? But then when we hear it's going to cost $25,000 to keep a child from living a lonely and painful life followed by an early death...we play the "cost" card and let that be our excuse.

Friends let me tell you, theres not price that can be put on a child's life. People who are raising money to adopt aren't "buying" a baby with that money. They are buying services and paperwork fees and translation services and flights and hotels in country so that they can bring that child home. What if your child is half way across the world right this minute starving for food and attention? What if your child is being treated no better than an animal? What if your child is not having his basic needs met? What if your child is sick with a fever and you're not there to rock her to sleep? You know, without a doubt you'd find a way to that $25,000 to get to your child. For some of you the hard truth is, your children ARE half way across the world and you're too focused on the "cost".....the small cost to save your child's life. So your child sits waiting to be transfered to an adult mental institution where he will likely die, while you carry on with your life because it will cost YOU too much. Is the life of a child not worth everything you've got?

Now please understand me when I say I don't think this message applies to everyone....BUT I needed someone to say this to me when Shawn and I ALMOST decided not to adopt Zoya because we were too scared of, what seemd to us at the time, the huge cost to us. So maybe one person reading this right now is in the same boat as we were at that point in time. To you, I say, what is the cost of life? I look at our beautiful girl and I think to myself, how could I have almost thought $25,000 was too much to invest in her life? And when I look at Laina chicky I think the same thing....money is not growing on trees, but we have full faith that God has led us down this path....she is our child....and there's no cost too high to brng her home.

As I get older I am learning to let go of the material things of this world that once meant so much to me. I still have a long way to go, but I just love how God is working in my heart and helping me to care less about "stuff" and more about love.  I once heard a friend say, "If my house burned down tomorrow I wouldn't shed a tear, there's nothing as important as the lives of my family and if we all escaped with our lives I could walk away and not feel a bit sad about losing everything I owned." I remember thinking, wow, if my house burned down and I lost everything I owned I'd be miserable. I am getting to a place where I can almost say the same thing. I'm letting go of material things in life and embracing the important things....

So what is the cost of a life? Is it too great for you? We almost let it be too much for us....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A slightly sarcastic adoption-related post.....

So adopting the second time around we've gotten some very excited responses and some responses where you just know the people you're talking to are thinking "What the heck are they thinking?"  Shawn and I were just talking about how we feel some people aren't as thrilled for us the second time around (and maybe some of those people weren't really thrilled the first time either)...probably because at this point they're thinking we don't know when to stop or we're "pushing our luck" by adopting another child who could have [insert long list of problems Zoya does NOT have].  Like we think we're going to adopt a healthy child or something...like we don't get the fact that the child has special needs and health needs. You can just tell when someone is thinking we're nuts. They will say things like:
"You ARE?!?!" followed by silence and a look of terror.
What I want to say: Yes and maybe we'll just bring back two or three because they're all so darn cute :)
What I should say: Yes, God has led us on this journey and we're following his lead.  I am honored when people think we're crazy because if you're not doing something crazy to show your love to this world then what are you doing?  "Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all." Helen Keller
What you should say instead: (like if you just can't contain your disapproval) NOTHING! But when someone announces their adoption you should say "Congratulations" or "So excited to hear you're expecting another blessing." (Someone actually caught me off guard when he said "I hear you're expecting again"...I loved hearing that!)
(My favorite surprised reaction was when I said, "Well we're going back to Eastern Europe" and the person said, "You are??? To visit?" LOL I had to crack up because I thought the same thing...why would you go back there? haha)

"Wow that's going to be really hard having two children with special needs"
What I want to say: "Really? Because I signed up for this because I heard its sooooo easy! Hmm maybe I should have thought about that. I mean life with one child with special needs is soooooo easy...our life is just like a fairy tale and we're happy all day long and never ever have any problems at all, why wouldn't it be just as easy with two????" or "In my world everyone is a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies (Horton Hears a Who) so we should be just fine thanks." or "Really? Because life seems a lot harder for you with your two children who DON'T have special needs."
What I should say: "Life is hard with two children PERIOD, regardless of special needs. You weren't put here to have an easy life.  We are aware that we are taking on a challenge and life is about to get a whole lot crazier (and a whole lot lovelier) but God doesn't call us to anything without carrying us through the tough times."
What you should say instead: "Well I'm sure you know life will be more challenging, but also more rewarding. The best things in life aren't easy.  I'm here for you if you need anything when the going gets tough."

"What is wrong with this baby?"
What I want to say: "She appears to have been left behind by a UFO and is growing horns out of her head and nobody knows what to do with her."
What I should say: "Nothing is wrong with her. She needs parents who can provide for her. She happens to have Down Syndrome, but nothing is WRONG with her...she is lovely just the way she was created."
What you should ask instead: "Does this baby have any special needs?"

"When do you get her?"
What I want to say: "Well that all depends on when the pound will release her"
What SHAWN wants to say (I know because he told me LOL): We're not sure, she's currently on backorder.
What I should say: "We are unsure when we will travel to meet or bring home our daughter."
What you should ask instead: "When will you be travelling to meet her?" or "Any idea when you'll be bringing her home?"

Okay I think I'm through with this sarcastic rant. Oh and my baby is a "baby with down syndrome," not a "downs baby" or a "down syndrome baby." I don't call others "diabetes lady" or "wheelchair guy." I know a lot of people forget to use "people-first" language, but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't make my skin craw every time I hear someone refer to Zoya as a "downs girl" or to the new baby as a "down syndrome baby." Its just part of who she is, not all of who she is!

And on that note...I hope nobody takes my "What I want to say" parts too seriously, although one of these days I'm really going to use one of those answers and see what reaction I get THEN!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homestudy COMPLETE!

So only 12 days after committing to Laina we have A LOT done!!! We are moving quickly...way quicker than we thought we would be initially! Lots going on behind the scenes here lately!

We had our homestudy this morning. The same social worker who did our HS for Zoya came back again and she was great! We are blessed with the fact that our homestudy only costs $1,100 including HS reports, milage for social worker to and from Pittsburgh, and notaries! That is a lot less than many people pay. AND our HS agency works very quickly. We will have our draft copy the first week in August! It would be sooner but our SW is going on vacation.  So the visit went great (except for Miss Sassy pants having to show the SW where time out is after she took the SWs shoe off her foot and wouldn't give it back even after being asked nicely and having mama count to 3....she decided to hang on to the shoe and hang her head down pretending she didn't hear a word I was saying......ahhhhh Zoya you are so stubborn and I hope that character trait helps you stand your ground in important situations some day! LOL).

For those of you who followed our journey with Zoya you might remember we decided to give the overly anxious Mya-dog some benadryl before the HS last time. We wanted to put our best foot forward and didn't want Mya misbehaving.  Don't call PETA the dosage was okayed by the vet LOL. But half way through the homestudy Mya wasn't moving AT. ALL. Shawn caught my eyes with his with a look of panic and gave her a little nudge with his foot to see if she was still with us....she barely moved and I glared back at Shawn trying to tell him to chill out...but half panicking myself because it was MY IDEA to give her the benedryl and what if I just killed my dog...how would I hide the fact that she was dead until the social worker left....and how would I ever forgive myself? LOL.  She finally picked her head up, looked at us in a daze and went back to sleep! Since that hillarious event, Mya has been prescribed prozac and is a much less anxious dog. That paired with her vibrating remote control collar to remind her to chill....she is VERY well behaved...haha! In fact, today when the social worker said, "I've never seen such a calm dog" I almost bust out laughing flashing back to our last homestudy, but I contained myself!

The social worker was very impressed that we already have Laina's room painted a nice shade of pink called "hello dolly." Thanks to Shawn for working his tail off painting the whole room AND all the oak trim white! Zoya likes to go in Laina's room and say "baby" although she refused to tell the SW whose room it was LOL.

We are one step closer to being able to love on our sweet Laina chicky! I can't wait to kiss those chubby cheeks and love on her!!! Thinking she could be home before Christmas makes my heart skip a beat! I bought her a fluffly little polka-dot fleece snowsuit yesterday and I can't wait to see snuggled up warm inside when its freezing here (which happens to be about 9 out of 12 months a year!).

Laina chicky I can't wait to have you in my arms and snuggle you and love you and kiss you and tell you all about your big sister and your life in America and how great it will be! Without you here it seems a part of us is missing....hopefully soon we will all be home together lovin' on one another!! Love you sweet chicky! We're coming soon!

Don't forget to donate to our beach giveaway to help bring Laina Hope home!! See the post below if you haven't yet!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

BEACH TRIP GIVEAWAY!!!!

Do you want to stay here???? It is seriously the next best place to heaven!!! 




Look at this view!!!!!!




Okay, so remember that BEAUTIFUL beach trip we had? You can see pictures HERE and HERE. And I told you about how we won the trip and an amazing woman named Katie, who is donating a 4-night stay in her fabulous Panama City Beach, FL condo HERE. Katie has a huge heart for orphans and is doing all she can to help bring orphans home! Katie contacted me and told me she wanted to do another beach giveaway to help us raise funds to bring Laina home. I was so humbled when she offered to do this.

We jumped into this adoption with both feet and no reservations because God promised us he would take care of the details....finances included. He is providing the funds we need to complete this adoption. And I am so amazed because we recently got word that we need to complete our paperwork as quickly as possible because Laina needs heart surgery and we need to get her home to get it done....So we were able to get a medical letter stating Laina's needs and hopefully this will help us to get our paperwork though USCIS very quickly. While we are so excited about getting her home sooner, we realize that we need to meet our financial need MUCH quicker than we first anticipated.....and then the day after hearing this...Katie emailed me and offered to do this giveaway.....JUST BLOWS ME AWAY with how faithful God is and how he has each step planned out, even if we can't predict or imagine whats next!

SOOOOOO HERE ARE THE DETAILS!!

Go TO KATIE'S BLOG and read all about how you can win this trip! For each $10 donation you give, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a 4 night stay at their beautiful condo in Panama City Beach, FL (the same one we had the pleasure of staying in!).

AND, if you use your blog or facebook or twitter to spread the word of this giveaway and link to Katie's blog, you can win a $25 gift card to your choice of the following:

Target
Starbucks
Best Buy

Just leave a comment here with a link to where you shared the beach giveaway (facebook, your blog, etc). For each place you share the giveaway I will enter your name into the drawing for the gift card! Thanks friends!!! And thank you Katie for your gracious offer!!!

**EDIT** If you don't have a paypal account but you'd still like to donate, you can send a check to
Reece's Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885
Write "Basile Family" in the memo and then let Katie know how much you donated on her blog!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Prayer Requests

There are a million prayers floating around in my head at any given moment. So I thought I could enlist some of you to help pray for some specific things.

1. Pray that God would prepare Zoya's heart to be away from us for a 2-3 week period for our first trip (I cried just typing that). She has never been away from us for more than a workday and she does like her routine, so I pray that God would begin preparing her heart now and protect her heart, allowing her to feel safe, during the time we are gone. And also for our hearts as they will ache in a way words can't describe being away from her for so long.

2. Pray that Laina's heart condition is not serious enough to require immediate surgery, which would mean she would have to have it there. If it less serious and can wait she will have it when she comes home. As hard as it will be for us to see her go through open heart surgery, it would be best for her here to recover with her family in a house full of love and not a hospital and an orphanage.

3. Pray that our paperwork process would go smoothly and quickly so we can get to our girl sooner and she can get the medical care she needs sooner. We are really hoping we can travel in the fall. Every day less for this sweet angel in the orphanage is a day to be loved on by her family.

4. Pray that the financial need for this adoption will be covered.

5. Pray for her birth family and their selfless act of trusting us to become parents to their daughter. I cannot imagine how difficult it will be for them to say goodbye to her.  I pray that they will feel a sense of peace and hope in giving their daughter a new life with her new family in America. Pray that God will give us the words to say that they need to hear. Pray for our first meeting with them.

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Question and Answer Post

I read that you had sent the birthparents a letter. Is this different from Zoyas adoption or you were just fortunate enough to contact them?
We did send a letter, yes. This is way different than Zoya's adoption and different than most adoptions through Reece's Rainbow in Eastern Europe. Her birth parents are very involved and want her to have a hopeful future in America, so Reece's Rainbow requested that interested parents send a family profile. We wrote them a letter telling about ourselves and about how well Zoya is doing. We sent some pictures as well. We will likely meet her birth family when we travel, which is an amazing opportunity. It will also be a somewhat "open" adoption as we will at least send them updates over the years as they wish. This is a huge opportunity to begin a relationship with the birth parents and show them how capable children with DS are, as well as how loved and accepted they are here. This is a chance to make a huge ripple with a small pebble! I can't even imagine what it will be like to meet her birth parents...it will probably be one of those life changing moments that never fade from my memory.  With Zoya's adoption, the birth mother abandoned her right after she was born and no father was ever listed on her birth certificate. So we have two opposite ends of the spectrum here.    

Also is she ok, health wise? I see the ng tube.
We have heard that she will need heart surgery, but it is unclear exactly what the heart defect is. We are hoping she can wait until she is home to have the surgery (at which point I will be calling on all my OHS-experienced mamas to help me get through) but she will go to a cardiology appointment in her country and they will determine if she can wait or not. I do not know if she still has the NG tube or not. It is also unclear why she needs/needed the tube. I am assuming bc of her low muscle tone (which is common with DS) paired with her heart condition, she may not have had enough energy or strength to eat on her own, but that is all speculation on my part.

Is she 2 months old or is that when the picture was taken and one more...how old will she be when you finally bring her home?
I am not sure when the picture was taken but she is 2 and a half months old right now. We are trying to work at lightening speed to get our dossier put together and get USCIS approval due to the heart condition, and just because I can't even wait any longer to meet her! haha. Our hope is to travel in the fall...hopefully October/November, but adoption timelines are so uncertain and we just have no way of knowing what God's plan is. If we travled then, we could bring her home November/December and she would be 7-8 months old at that point. If we could get USCIS approval within a month (last time it took 2 months) we could be ready to submit in September and possibly travel even sooner than Oct/Nov.  I'm thinking October...I don't know why but thats what I keep thinking...maybe its wishful thinking or maybe its my intuitive-ness....LOL that didn't make much sense!

Is she from Russia?
No.

Where does she live now?
She is in Eastern Europe :) That's all I'm allowed to say.

On the Reece's Rainbow site it is said that her parents wish so much that their daughter will be adopted... Could they keep her until then, so that she would not have to live in an orphanage and feel love and learn to bond in her first month?
It isn't an option for her to stay with her birth parents. To be eligible for adoption the parents would have to terminate rights and she would have to reside in the orphanage. I just know the birth parents love her greatly and leaving her there must be very hard for them, but they likely realize it is the only way she can be adopted.

I absolutely love the T-shirt!!! Where did you find it???
HERE. It is from cafe press, but if you order it from their actual website its more expensive, so I found it way cheaper on ebay under the same seller.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wow!

I am amazed by all of the support, love, cheering, and good wishes from all of you!! We are so blessed to have so many people who will walk this journey alongside us!!! I woke up this morning to see that overnight Laina's FSP account was at $340!!!! Wow, wow, and wow! Thank you to whoever donated! Adoption is expensive and that prevents a lot of people from committing to adopt a child....nobody has an extra $25,000 laying around....but God is bigger than money and He will move the mountain!

I'm working on a post with some questions some of you have about Laina and this adoption...if you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I'll be sure to add them to the list :)

Thanks again!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Changed Hearts

I'm thinking our announcement to adopt might take some people by surprise. After all, I was surprised myself! I wouldn't know how long God has laid this adoption on my heart because I didn't really want to hear what he had to say to me about adopting again. Shawn and I were perfectly content with our one-child-life. Things had finally settled into a new normal and a nice comfortable routine with the addition of Zoya just over a year ago. We were starting to get into the swing of things and starting to focus somewhat selfishly on our wants. Adoption is messy and hard and costly and we wanted easy and comfortable. Several months ago I had a one-way conversation with God. It went like this....."God if you call us to adopt again I'm going to have to say 'no thanks' I trust you fully and everything, but we're just not ready for all of that again..." As I recall that conversation I picture God laughing because He knew all along that we'd be beginning this journey only months after our little "conversation."

About two months ago, Shawn, Zoya and I went for a bike ride. As I rode behind them I thanked God for blessing me so greatly with such a wonderful husband and amazing daughter...I had such a full heart as I thanked him.  I've not been sure many times about hearing God's voice, but on that day, I heard Him say "I can bless you again if you let me." Later that night I told Shawn about it because it kind of freaked me out!

And remember THIS POST about the two four leaf clovers? I still tried not to think much of the meaning of the second clover even after some commented about the second clover representing a sibling.

Suddenly I started hearing that little whisper and I continued to ignore it as best I could.

In what seemed to me, one fell swoop, we were staring at our second daughter on a computer screen! Our hearts LITERALLY changed before we could understand what was happening. Isn't God just good like that? We went from perfectly content, to wanting and needing this angel and ready to do anything to bring her home. Life is short. There is a lot I will never understand. But, I'm learning to stop asking so many questions and rely on that tiny mustard seed of faith when I hear that whisper leading toward a path that I'd not typically have ventured toward myself.

Meet Miss Laina Hope

And So It Begins....

Well if you've made it here, you're either here because:

1.) You heard we are adopting another angel and you are so excited to walk this journey with us

OR

2.) You think we've lost our minds and we are just plain old good entertainment!

Either way...we are glad you are reading along from day one of this new, beautiful, messy, life-changing journey to adopt our second little girl. There will be smiles and there will be trials....and in the end, a little girl and her family will become one....and so it begins....