Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baby Book Ideas

Ok - thought I'd share something on this blog for ease.  Emailing pictures this large will likely blow up email accounts.  Some folks are getting to the "photo album" stage - that precious time when you get to send a photo album to your child waiting to know all about YOU!  Here are a few pics we took of our album. 
1.) Think of showing things for the social worker to talk to your child about - we have pictures of an airplane, our van, and even a car seat -- all things these kiddos may not have ever seen before. - Can easily find this stuff off the internet if you don't have a good picture.
2.) Do close-ups so they can REALLY see your face
3.) If you want to send two albums - a great idea is to send a baby cloth album for the child to carry around with him or her - we put ours in a baggie with one of my shirts (with my perfume on it) for abut 2-3 weeks before we sent it off....hopefully she can get used to my scent, her brain will recall that smell when we meet... let the bonding begin!
4.) For us, we used textures for her to touch and feel butterfly and flower stickers. 
5.) We sent some stickers along for her to put on some of the pages - if she wants.
6.) We made copies of HER referral picture and put those also in the book - especially the ones where we added HER to our family.
7.) Make sure to include family pets – it helps for them to get used to dogs, etc. – they are not used to having pets.

Enjoy this little project -- it is a very happy time.  - I hope blogger doesn't blow up with this many pictures :)
Love, Renae.

Baby Album - small and just pictures of her family.

For the other albumn, it has more details .... hope this works  - my IT skills are not the best :)  Hopefully the social worker has been able to go over this album with Lauren many times so she's used to seeing where she will live, her room, etc.  -- and even be a little prepared for a ride in an aiplane.

Hope this helps in sharing ideas for all those at this stage of the adoption.  Enjoy.

My Fitness Pal

Ok - I know this isn't adoption-related - but so excited to share something with all of you.  For those of you following this blog - you know I've been working on dieting and healthy eating like never before for about 9 months now -- and lost 45 lbs.  I felt great and got rid of a bunch of BIG clothes - my mom altered some of my favorite pants and things were going great! Until.... vacation.  Actually, it was spring break - when we went to Hilton Head - and had tons of seafood - which is very fattening.  Anyway -- since spring break and the months in between I've been soooo stressed ... I've eaten my way through life... and gained about 18 lbs back.....UGH  I know 18 lbs isn't too bad - especially given all the sweets I've been clinging to in my stress!  But all that has changed.......

A coworker of mine has lost 35 lbs using an iphone app called My Fitness Pal.  It is the NEATEST thing.  It's like a diary - but you can pull down foods that are already in their database .... like salads from restaurants, etc.... It keeps track of your daily calories and what you have left to eat for that day, in order to lose the weight you want to lose.  You can also record exercise.  And the part I love the most is when it says.... "If you continue to eat like today by _____ (X date) you will weight _____ (X)".  It's all projected out for you and for me.....is sooooo motivating.  You also enter your daily weight in a progress area ....and all the projections update too...... It's like a guarantee of weight loss by this certain time.... IF you do the things you've logged TODAY and every day thereafter.... you enter in each day .... so it really takes those "weekly plans" and breaks them down into days...almost moment by moment encouragement.  And it also summarizes your day at the end in "notes to you" .....all the things you did right that day... positive things like "your exercise burned ___ (x) calories".   

It is really neat.  My friend - who is barely overweight.... lost 35 pounds doing this and is at an alltime low body weight for her --- she really looks awesome.... and we know that the smaller you are, the harder it is to lose.  I generally lose weight really fast when I'm focused on it ....so here's to hoping most of the 18 is gone soon!!! When I'm brave one day .... I'll do before and after pictures :)

No news still on passport - still waiting and praying -- seeing a perfect window still available before VISA expires. :)  Off to Holiday World AGAIN tomorrow -- can you believe it??  We are nuts!  Looking forward to one last summer celebration before school starts.  Joshua is bringing a friend - Donovan who has never been there and LOVES roller coasters and water slides.  Brad is taking the day off work! It's going to be a great day! Pictures to come -- with smiling boys' faces....don't look for any pictures of me - remember, I'll be in a bathing suit :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Trip to the doctor

Hi all -
As we prepare for ALL the finishing touches of this adoption - we made a trip to the travel clinic.  We've been there before with our travels to Kenya - so we know the drill.  Don't drink the water, no ice, wash hands, take Malaria pills, do you need shots (yellow fever, typhoid, tetnus, whooping cough, polio, and on, and on, and on).   Soooo, these visits can get expensive.  Well, this time, we had many of these things from our Kenya trip -- some of these last for several years.  But Typhoid - didn't need...but apparently do now for India.  So get this.... I elected the oral meds instead of the shot (I really don't like shots).  Oral meds are cheaper and apparently last longer and are more effective at prevention of typhoid.  The only kicker is.... have to take 3 weeks before travel... so I agreed... which means, we KNOW we won't be traveling for at least 3 weeks.  This puts our timeframe real close to VISA expiration - but it's still possible and our agency is saying don't worry about the VISA expiration - she thinks we will travel before that.  We still haven't heard about the passport - but we're sure as of now they don't have it yet -- our agency did say that travel is usually 2-3 weeks from the call with approval, unless you want to go sooner (like within 7 to 10 days of approval).  With school starting soon, we are fine with the 3 weeks at this point to get past that first week of school..... and that's assuming the passport arrives still this week ..... so I guess the 3 weeks for the meds will be fine.  I think it was just one small way of me saying, I'm going to choose this... when I feel so "out of control". 

I know God's wants my reliance on Him - and I'm clinging to that notion the best I know how.  I just need to take my mind away from the waiting right now.... and work has been very busy, so that helps pass the days. Just waiting and trusting on God's timing.  We just might end up celebrating our anniversary in India this year :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Update on NDBox Adoption email

Got good news.... I think, for now.... apparently, the US Embassy periodically checks on cases that are "old" to ensure the family is still in the process and make sure the family hasn't be denied for an adoption or some other issue occurred that would require them to "close out" a file.  Since our file is taking so long, I guess it hit the timeframe where the email was generated. 

Honestly, I think I read this so quickly, I thought it was related to our passport paperwork -- but this is actually the VISA unit.  (which I guess are separate).  JOH rep shared this is nothing to worry about, that she's had several families with this email come through.  I do think this will certainly prompt Lisa to check into our file when she returns from vacation on Monday....praying this is a blessing after all. 

But this causes me to wonder... is there other news that "we are not going to like" - the message Brad got during his prayer time, recall.  Brad's prayer life is rich and vibrant -- and has led our family down some amazing paths .... times of waiting, and times of "going"..... so I trust in his relationship with the Lord and will wait patiently for the next news.  I treasure each of your prayers!

In a panic ....calling all prayer warriors

Hey gals -- I have some preliminary news .... and I'm not sure it's good.... please pray.

I woke up this morning to an email from NDBox Adoptions -- for those of you that have went through the process, you know this email must be from the US Embassy in New Delhi. This is how they communicate the Article 5 with PAPs.  Well this email said, "We are following up regarding the adoption case of Anjali. We issued the Article 5 letter on July 13, 2011. As we have not heard from you since the issuance of Article 5 letter, we are writing to inquire about the status of this adoption."  My first thought before reading the email was...yea, we got her passport - but that was when I just saw the NDBox adoption.... when I actually read the email.... it was panic.  Here are the challenges:

1.) Our head leader at our agency is on vacation - until Monday.
2.) I'm not sure if her assistant has authority to talk to Bal Asha or work on this today - seems some activities are reserved for the leader's handling.
3.) Our travel VISA expires in September -- so I am just sick with worry that something will happen with bad timing and we won't be able to get Lauren soon.
4.) Did our paperwork get lost in the shuffle?
5.) Is this perhaps a mix up on their part - and it can be easily resolved?

Ladies, please pray this gets resolved quickly -- and perhaps we get priority processing when paperwork is found.  When I shared this with Brad this morning his exact words were this, "I prayed about this during my quiet time last week and God told me we would get news soon, but we wouldn't like it".... of course my response was why didn't you tell me God told you this....and of course began crying...... his response, "and get you in a tizzy for who knows how long until we heard news???? (my husband does know me well)   We don't like this news, but this could actually be good for us, because we now may get it resolved completely. God is at work in this, so I'm confident it will work out."    He is so good, so calm, so patient...... and quite frankly, I'm just not.  I think early on in this process .... like perhaps 1 year to 18 months ago, I was patient, calm, and good....but seriously the last 4-6 months have been tough.  I am soooo ready to have Lauren home and life with her begin. 

At this point, I've given up on having her home before school starts for Joshua.... it just doesn't seem possible at this point.  I know with God anything is possible .... but I'm just not sure it's in the plans, so I submit to the process and timing....and just pray it's before our VISA expires.  Calling all prayer warriors -- you service is needed :)

p.s. - if you are wondering about Joshua - he's doing great at Grandmas -- busy with activities, having fun.... I don't think missing us ...yet :)  Brad and I are missing him like crazy, but enjoying our time together.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No News....and trip to Grandma's

Still no news on adoption front.... we are patiently waiting.  Joshua has started praying every night for Lauren's passport and news that she can come home.  It's really sweet.  He too wants to spend time with her before he goes to school in a few short weeks. 

Meanwhile, Joshua is taking an adventure up to Grandma's house -- about 9 hours away!  Tuesday, I'm meeting them 1/2 way and he will be with Grandma and Papa for a week!  (At least that's the plan as it is now, he may decide to come home Saturday).  He's never been up there without us, so he's just not sure.  They have plans to swim, horseback ride, play trains downstairs on Papa's LARGE train layout, and maybe even take a ride in Papa's airplane.  I'm trusting God for all things during this trip and his total safety.  I'm kindof a worrier.... if you haven't noticed or don't know me all that well.  I plan for all contingencies ... and, ok, I worry.  I don't swim well, so water outings make me nervous.  But Joshua has become quite the good swimmer - so that gives me great confidence.  The horses make me a bit anxious, but I know the girls (Joshua's cousins) and Aunt Betsy will be very careful.  Trains downstairs are harmless.... and the airplane is very safe -- and Papa is a crazy safety man, so I'm sure he will do ALL his checks....and the ride is probably a short one.....but if like last time, Joshua might just prefer to "taxi" around the hangers and not actually go in the air (which would be totally fine with me!). 

Someone told me one time when Joshua was about 1-2 years old, and I worried endlessly..... "Joshua is a child of God - he's really the property of God, God has just decided to allow YOU to raise him.... his plan in life is largely set and he's protected by our Great Protector..... so trust in Him and cast your fears aside... He's big enough to handle all these things."

Sometimes, don't you just love your kids so much it hurts?  I am SOOO thankful for my faith to carry me through for upcoming weeks such as these :)  --- and I know Joshua, once there and settled will have a GREAT time.  I'm missing him already :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I've reached the all out beg / whine tone at this point

Ok, so now true confessions here..... I have reached the desparate cry out to God for word we can pick up our little Lauren Anjali.  I am so tired of this long wait.... I've clearly reached the whine mode.  And I know, I know... I'm the one that says with most all things.... "trust in God, His timing is perfect..... He has a plan".  And even today our sermon at church was about "personal responsibility" and our true purpose in life is two fold: 1.) A deep relationship with Jesus and 2.) To become more like Jesus -- to build our character.  So with all this truth and teaching... I have to confess..... I just want my girl!  Doesn't He know that Joshua starts school soon....doesn't he know our summer is almost over????  I want Joshua to be able to spend a few weeks with her before school starts.....and I'm tired of the waiting.  (I know, that's a lot of "I's" -- but it's the truth!)  ... And I'm not even sure I'm sold out on the idea of "building my character!!"...... there, I said it.  I need divine peace in my life, because right now.... I am OUT of SORTS! I am feeling so sorry for myself, and I'm eating like crazy!! There is nothing else to do to get prepared for....we have a baby gate.... our paperwork is in order .... we are partially packed..... enough already.     

but.......... I know in my heart of hearts He is in control...and there's a reason for this wait...and He does know what's good for me (and all of us)..... I also know that I don't have to like it, right?  Right now, I don't like it .... remind me friends... these days are a grain of sand on the full beach of life.  Give me hope...speak God's truth...I'm needing some intense prayer to calm this craziness.  I just can't wait to be "on the other side of this" so I can look back with thanksgiving for His perfect plan .... I'm trying to trust....but it's hard!

(according to Joshua's nighttime prayer last night -- he wants to know something in "8, 9, or 10 days", he said, "it won't be tomorrow.... but 8, 9, or 10 days would be good"  Lord Jesus hear his prayer.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Memories of an unusual 4th of July

Yesterday was really an odd day..... first of all, having the holiday mid-week just didn't seem right.  Brad actually went to work for a bit, while Joshua and I ran around with Nana.  (He's really working hard to get his "phase 2" implemented so that when we get that all important call to leave the country.... we will be ready!!)  First item on our agenda was taking items to Goodwill.  These donations have been on my bedroom floor for WAY too long.  Anyway, for some reason we thought we might want to checkout what's inside....so we ventured in after leaving our donation.  A bit later we came out with a Candy Land game and two stuffed animals for Nana's dog, Riley (Candy Land game is for Joshua, not Riley :)  )  Next item on the agenda was to find a baby gate.... we need several, but we planned to find one we liked using first before buying the 4 we need to section off the house and keep little miss safe from the stairs. After two stops, some bath toys, a bath mat, a new sun hat for Little Miss, we found a baby gate too and ventured home.  Joshua and Nana were soooo goofy playing with the stuffed animals, one was a puppet...which made for lots of car silliness. 

Oh forgot, before we came home, we stopped by to get barbeque at, yes...this is really the restaurant's name, "Butt Rubbin BBQ" - of course you can only imagine the continued silliness as Joshua kept calling Nana's phone pretenting to order BBQ....seriously, who would name a restaurant something like this??  Only in America :)   It is really good though, so we continue to support this local business.

We finally made it home and daddy arrived shortly after for our BBQ dinner -- then we ventured off in the heat to the park.  It was 97 degrees yesterday...just terribly hot.  The BEST part of the day was seeing Joshua finally be willing to have his training wheels removed from his bike.  He's a cautious kid and just hadn't been ready....until today.  I can't say he's a natural, but he really did a great job.  I think his bike might be a little too small for him, but it was great today for him to be able to put his feet on the ground.  We took the path to the park - he went around the path twice.... took off his helmet, with soaking wet hair from the sweat and said, "I think I'm ready to go home"...this is the boy that could spend hours at the park.  I think the excitement of riding that bike along with the heat was enough for him :) 

Spent the evening playing games and doing puzzles....and then off to bed as the city fireworks were going off in the distance.  With the dryness, no local or private fireworks were allowed....and the crowd and heat downtown didn't seem appealing to us... I guess we're getting old.  Anyway.... a perfect ending to a very unusual 4th of July that we will always remember.  Well, almost perfect...the other thought that continued to linger in my mind all day was..."wouldn't it be great, and easy for me to remember...if we were to hear from our agency that Lauren's passport has been received?"... maybe later this week... still hoping and praying. Regardless, I think I will remember no matter what the day is.....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A little news on passport status

Just a quick update...... passport still not issued; however, we did hear from our agency.  Apparently passports are taking around 2 to 2 1/2 months to be issued (not sure if that is just our region, or all over)..... which should put us somewhere in mid to late July as being received..... I don't know all the steps for this to happen.  But we were told it has passed the "investigative" stage which "takes the longest"... which I don't know what that means, but we continue to trust in the Lord for His perfect timing...our lives are in His hands. 

One thing we've done through this entire process is..... let the process take its course.  We haven't researched or dug in to every single fine tune detail of the stages of processing..... with my personality, if I did this.... I'd be crazy by now.  So we are kept current on the BIG steps.... and leave all the fine details to the powers that be :)

On another note - we went to Holiday World yesterday in about 100 degree weather!  We are crazy!  It was packed, but Joshua LOVED every minute.  Brad and Joshua were two peas in a pod riding rides, going down water slides.... lovin' it all despite the heat.  Some other friends were there with us....so it was a great time, although coordinating alot of people in this type of outing can have its challenges :)  On the topic of heat... we are certainly getting prepared for that India heat these days.....it's just downright HOT here in KY.  Praying for relief around the world..... a friend of a friend is in India right now and said it was 120 degrees..... yikes!  Along with those passport prayers how about toss in a prayer for God's perfect timing for our travel to be accompanied by a nice "cool front"...here and in India :) ??

Holiday World Pics belows -- take note -- it's our THIRD time there -- I think someone is counting :)

Joshua and his friend Trey in the canoe - Trey is in front :)  - These boys love each other --- and even kindof look alike :)

Joshua driving antique car - we have to do all the things we did the first time when here -- and the second time too :) -- this is Third time at Holiday World -- can you tell??

Raging Rapids is fun -- even mommy did this one.  It's a ride that simulates like white water rapids.  Yep - I got drenched! But with the heat, who cares??  Oh course Joshua is still posing with his "third" time at Holiday World.... is this kid 6 or 16?

The next needs an explanation.  There is a large slide (actually there are many large slides.... which my guys went on most of them  :) -- But this one is named Bakuli.  Brad and Joshua have fondly named it "the toilet"....because it goes down and around and drops off at the end.  It's been called "the toilet" since the very first trip.  Here is the exit point.....

Here is the entrance point..... yep those are stairs and if you have GREAT eyes...you might be able to see a tall man in a white shirt and a little boy looking over the stair railing right below the purple flag about mid way in the line.  Brad is facing the other way and the purple flag pole is a line RIGHT to him.... Joshua is along the rail looking out.

And did I mention ....this slide starts really high up?? Here are the middle turns of the slide and at the bottom you can see a bit of the exit.  Better picutes may be found at:

I finally found a seat and quit taking pictures..... basically the day was filled with many more of this...some time in the "Wave pool" which is just like the ocean .... some icecream, LOTS of water...... and we closed it out with a trip to the bumper cars....pictures not the greatest, these were some quick cars :)  This was full of about 15 other cars, but I try not to put strangers in my pictures online.... so let's say most of it was a real traffic jam :)

Joshua can't wait for the day that Lauren can come here..... but we've already told him.... you give her time to adjust.  It's a packed place with alot of activity.... I don't see this happening with her for a few years.  There is a real cute toddler area though that I think she would love.... see below - most pictures are not a close up of people so I guess this is ok.  This might be where little miss could hang out all day with mommy, while the boys go seek their adventure???  Who knows??

Until then ..... I wonder who is counting the days until next time??