Monday, October 1, 2012

Burlap Monogrammed Fall Wreath
Cut burlap into 6-8” long pieces and tie around wreath frame until completely covered. Monogram is made from wooden letters from Michaels that are hot glued together and painted with a gold shimmery color.


Complete our Pottery Barn/boat cleat inspired photo gallery projects in the staircase & upstairs hallway
Prep house and backyard to host a 30+ person rehearsal dinner/bbq for one of my best friends
Plan details of our next trip to Haiti
Celebrate 2 year wedding anniversary


Possibly start an exciting new opportunity  – details to come
Celebrate B’s 29th Birthday!
Host Thanksgiving at our house


16th – Graduate from LSUS with my Masters Degree!
TRY my hardest to enjoy the holiday season – my FAVE time of year!
Discuss adoption plan/timeline with B!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

U-Haul Trucks Can Save a Marriage

An owner of a U-Haul store in somewhere-ville, USA shared this incredible story with a radio DJ and it is one that I will never forget. The owner wanted to express to the DJ how much of an impact this Christian radio station has had on his life as well as many others. He went on to share that every morning, while walking around the U-Haul truck lot, he would inspect the vehicles & set the radios to play on the same station – every day. He said that he had been doing this for years always wondering if this small action would ever have an impact on someone. He had hoped that maybe the songs that played would give encouragement at the perfect moment or perhaps spark interest in someone’s heart who has never heard a song meant to inspire and build faith. The owner continued to tell the DJ how one day a man came into his store to pick up a truck but ended up returning after 30 minutes with tears in his eyes. He seemed to be extremely confused and panicked as he asked the owner what radio station was playing in the truck and what particular song he had heard. He described some of the lyrics in desperation of finding out more about these words and immediately the owner knew what song he was referring to. The song is called “Ships in the Night” by Mat Kearney and the lyrics describe the isolation and hurt that can be experienced in a broken marriage. The customer ended up sharing with the U-Haul owner that he had rented a truck because he was on his way to pack up his belongings and leave his wife and family. He said that as soon as he started driving away from the shop, that this song came on the radio and he ended up pulling over on the side of the road to listen to the words. It was the words of this song that brought him to tears and turn around to the U-Haul shop and give his marriage another chance.

What an incredible story of how our actions can have the most profound impact on a stranger’s life. When I first heard this story I felt so convicted that I don’t do enough. I felt guilty of knowing I am constantly passing by people in the office, at the store and in my very urban, downtown neighborhood who are in great need and that I am just not doing enough. It is difficult to know what we can accomplish when some problems can seem impossible to solve. But this story is a reminder that we can do something and that even the smallest actions can have the biggest impact. A small act of kindness to a stranger can be the exact action that someone needs to help get them through another day or choose between 2 routes that will forever alter the course of their life.

Ships in the Night
Mat Kearney

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by,
Just wasting time,
trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me,
trying to find the light

Like ships in the night, letting cannonballs fly,
say what you mean and it turns to a fight
Fist fly from my mouth as it turns south
You're down the driveway, I'm on the couch
Chasing your dreams since the violent fifth grade
Trying to believe in your silent own way
Cuz we'll be okay, I'm not going to wait
Have you watched it 14 as it went down the drain,
hip-hop stayed the same and your mom's moved away,
how many of our parents seem to make it anyway
we're just fumbling through the gray
trying to find a heart that's not walking Away.

Turn the lights down low, walk these halls alone we can feel so far from so

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by,
Just wasting time,
trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me,
trying to find the light like ships in the night, there passing
Me by, there passing me by, like ships in the night.

I'm at the airport waitin' on a second plane had to pack you had cramps and
I was late headed to a red carpet they won’t know my name right ridding in
Silence all that we wanna say bout to bored when you call on the phone you
Say I'm sorry I'll be waiting at home feels like were burning this out on
Our own trying to find our way down a road we don't know.

Turn the lights down low, walk these halls alone, we can feel so far from so
Close. like ships in the night they keep passing me by, just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right and if it all goes crashing into the sea if it's
Just you and me trying to find the light like ships in the night, there
Passing me by, there passing me by, like ships in the night.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I have a confession…over the past several weeks I have gone back and forth between understanding if international adoption is really the route Brent & I should take. Through the power of Pinterest, I have witnessed a few arguments take place following some pictures that I have pinned that support international adoption. These arguments are between passionate people on both sides of the issue of Americans adopting children from other “3rd world” or “developing countries” (Haiti, Guatemala, Africa, etc).
I *thought* I had always understood the debate surrounding this issue. I have already been questioned for why Brent & I would “choose to adopt from another country when there are needy children in the U.S.” and I had assumed that all people who are against international adoption just wanted those couples to adopt orphans from the U.S.  instead of another country. I thought that these people were coming from the same mindset of those that have criticized Brent and I for doing community service overseas rather than in America (of course those people forget I committed 10 months to AmeriCorps NCCC).
But the debate extends far past that. There is an entire argument revolving around taking orphans out of their native country and “forcing” them to live in America thus “losing their culture and identity”. This is a view that I had never considered and one that I actually find valid points in. I have read different people’s opinion stating that the amount of money that an American spends on the international adoption process could help save an entire African village and therefore potentially save hundreds if not thousands of lives in the future rather than a single child’s life. This is a strong, very valid point as well and one that completely flipped all of my ideas and strong feelings of our future plan out the window…for a little while.
But God has a way of reminding me of His plan for Brent & I. I know He plans for us to adopt first and I am still not completely certain if it will be domestic or international. But I know that those who are called to adopt in any country are doing so with the hopes and dreams of providing that child a brighter future and safe upbringing.
Brent & I have been saving up for the past several months for a trip to Africa this summer. We currently don’t have a date of departure or a country in mind, but we are saving. I have a strong feeling that this trip will not only change our lives but dramatically impact our vision for our future family. I pray that God directs us to exactly the people and places that we need to go to so that our vision can become clearer and so that we might have a better understanding of our next step.
Right now I am just continually grateful that I have been given this time to research the incredible amount of articles, blogs, opinions, books, and other sources of information that are available concerning adoption. The world of adoption is so huge and incredibly overwhelming and this time that I have to read, process, pray and reflect on this decision is so important to me.
Links to great resources:
How to answer the question, “Why adopt internationally when there are children here who need homes?”

A VERY interesting debate surrounding the issue with many points of view:

UNICEF’s view against international adoption

Friday, January 27, 2012

So blessed to be stressed

This morning as I was getting ready for work and conducting my normal stalking observation of the latest news on FB, I misread a status that ended up completely inspiring me! How did this happen? Well my klutziness exceeds far past just the physical acts of tripping, spilling, getting my hair caught in sweaters (all the time), etc. There are many times where that endearing ;-) klutz side will affect how I interpret misinterpret things people tell me/read a message all together which may be entertaining for an observer but super embarrassing for myself.
Lucky for me (not so much for you), this story is not an embarrassing one but I am positive there will be many of those to come.
So this status I misread ended up being the very well known quote:
However when I read it my brain somehow interpreted it as “So blessed to be stressed”.
I was in awe of my friend’s perspective as I had never EVER thought to view stress in life as a blessing. But as I continued on my way to work, I started reflecting on the things that have stressed me out this week:
  • The seemingly never-ending pile of cleaning that always has to be done. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming up endless amounts of dog hair from this creature: 

 It never ends!
  • Homework for grad school that is already sucking the life out of me
  • My full time job, my part time tutoring job. Why can’t I just go home after work and sit on the couch and watch trash tv… All. Night. Long.?
  • Traffic. Traffic. Traffic.
Yes, this past week was probably a 3/4 on the stress scale of 1 – 10. Not such a bad week but there were definitely moments of unhappiness and anxiety as little “problems” threatened to ruin my day. But then I think….How blessed I am to be stressed.
  • That never ending pile of cleaning that has to be done exists because we live in a gorgeous home that we never thought we would ever be able to purchase 2 years ago. Those dishes represent the groceries we are able to afford and the food that is keeping us alive. That husky fur that has become a part of our coffee, bedding, home decor? -- well that pup has her own miracle story and she brings us smiles daily!
  • The homework for grad school that is keeping up until 1 am every night is something I should always be thankful for. I never believed I would be able to attend grad school, much less be 2 semesters away from graduation with a 4.0 GPA.  So thankful.
  • My full time job is a job. Period. So many would do anything to be in my position but yet I view it as a burden. So blessed to be able to be stressed about a job at all.
    • Oh and the trash tv part? Thank you God for creating humans that can develop such horrible television so that I can indulge for 2 hours a week in the latest crazies on the Bachelor.
  • And traffic. Ugh now that can be a real stressor. But so blessed to be stressed in my dream car, with air conditioning and music that calms my soul causes me to dance like a maniac.
I pray that I can remember to keep this perspective during the days/experiences that are extremely stressful and difficult to see the silver lining. Every stress or obstacle in our life comes from a gift and I want to remember to always be thankful for those blessings.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

coastal porch swing

Overtime I hope to share some DIY projects that my husband & I have tackled & are planning to take on around our house because setting up our first place together has become something I have completely enjoyed (and am rather obsessed with). We live in a historic neighborhood that has so much southern charm and a real community to go along with it. We know all of our neighbors and are so thankful to have great relationships with them. If God keeps us in Jacksonville for years into the future, Springfield is the only neighborhood to find us in!

One of the unique characteristics about our historic neighborhood are the front porches. Nearly every house has one and it definitely brings people together! I am completely in love with our front porch and am hopeful that we will always live in a home that has one. Here are some of my favorite *dream* porches::

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We were given great advice when we first got married and moved into our home that we should make sure to have "porch time" before the end of every day. They told us that they do this every day, no matter the busyness or outdoor temperature. They make time to stop what they are doing and catch up with each other on their front porch or just sit outside without saying a word.
We loved this idea but honestly haven't been able to keep up with it very much at all. We purchased 2 rocking chairs when we first moved in but those have definitely been used by myself and my girlfriends more than me and Brent.

Opps :(

Thankfully I received one of the most thoughtful presents this Christmas from my sweet husband! A new porch swing! He had listened to the many times I had mentioned a desire for a front porch swing and printed out 3 different options that he thought I would like. I ended up choosing a white 5 ft swing from that is currently on sale!

It arrived last week and my husband was working late in the evening on Sunday to hang it up for me because of course I had an extra special request for this swing...I wanted it hung with rope please and thank you!

Pinterest got me again and I knew that rope would give the coastal look I was going for instead of chain. Ekk - He wasn't such a fan of that request as it would definitely make it harder to hang evenly. But after seeing inspirational pics like this:::

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I knew there was no turning back from the rope obsession! Rope also saved us $12 dollars in the end as purchasing the chain with the swing would have been an extra $50.

We measured the length of the porch floor to ceiling and doubled it to equal the length of rope we needed for one side of the swing. It ended up being 22 ft of rope for each side of the swing & $28 total for the 44 ft of rope.

We used this tutorial to help us out along the way::,,20501527,00.html

and now have this jewel hanging on our front porch :) :)

I love thinking of all the memories & conversations that will take place in this new spot and I am definitely more encouraged to stop the afternoon "to-do list" and have "porch time" with my better half.

Where is your favorite spot to disconnect from the world's distractions and connect with your friends/spouse?

Celebrity Marriage...Is that an oxymoron?

Over the past 10-15 years, there have been a few famous couples that I have viewed as the ones who would be married forever. I remember thinking at a young age that if this particular couple were to ever break up, that {in a dramatic voice} I would never believe in true love ever again!!! ::Yes these thoughts may have occured during my teenage years::
Brad Pitt & Jennifer Anniston
Welp, we all know how that ended. Not so great.
I had also viewed this couple as being the epitome of true love and an “everlasting marriage”.
Ryan Phillippe & Reese Witherspoon
Yeah, not so much for those two either.
And  then there is this couple.
Seal & Heidi Klum
A couple that took the time to renew their vows every year in an effort to show their continuous commitment to their marriage. This past weekend they announced that they were going their separate ways as well.
My question is this. How does one stay focused on creating an everlasting marriage when there seems to be no positive examples left in this world to show us how to do it? I am pretty sure I would have a hard time counting on one hand the examples of a happy marriage that I see in my own life. Let me think… Yup, I think there are less than 5 couples that I can think of that are in their older years and are still more in love than ever (one of them being my grandparents).
These thoughts and real life examples can be discouraging and depressing…if we allow them to be. But I choose to believe that my marriage will be different. I choose to believe that I have married the one that God hand selected for me and that everything I have witnessed about “marriage” will help us build something that is the opposite from the world’s view. I believe that Brent & I will be holding hands on a front porch when we are old and gray and we will still manage to have love in our hearts for each other at the end of a very difficult day/week/month/year.
However I know that this will not occur without pushing through the moments that seem unbearable. There will be events that take place that seem impossible to navigate through but I must remember that my husband and I are a team and that we can get through these obstacles together. We must also surround ourselves with the type of people that will be there to support us when we fail each other and make mistakes. Most importantly, we must always have our relationship with our Heavenly Father be our primary focus. Without Him, I have no doubt that we will not survive the challenging years ahead.
It’s going to be hard but there isn’t anyone in the world I would want to experience the ups and downs of life with than the man that God has chosen for me.
What are some of the things you do to continue to grow your marriage and stay connected?


P.S. I love pinterest for the amazing ideas that can be found on there. I have created a board with ideas for dating/marriage including pins for cheap date nights and other activities to do to reconnect with your partner/show them love!   

P.S.S.  One of my Hollywood “example couples” remains intact:  
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw  
Love them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Goals for 2012

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I am not a huge fan of the world “resolutions”. To me that word is a synonym for “to eventually quit”. I don’t know if I have ever reflected on a year where I accomplished my resolutions of “losing 30 pounds”, “journaling daily”, “to stop procrastinating”, or “wake up when my first alarm goes off rather than snooze for 30 minutes”. Yeah, that last one will never be accomplished.
I am however a huge fan of “goals”. I love setting goals that are realistic and can be accomplished over a few days, weeks, or months but not the entire YEAR. 12 months of one goal is crazy talk.
So in an effort to record my goals for the year and hopefully check off a good amount of them towards the end of December 2012, I want to list them here. I feel pretty confident that I can accomplish these and be able to look back on 2012 with thankfulness and gratitude for what I accomplished instead of discouragement.
-       Acquire my Masters of Science Degree in Human Services Administration with a 4.0 GPA … deep breaths….I can do it. I can do it!
-       Find a home church.
-       Get involved with a small group for married couples & one for women
-       Angie & Brent free of credit card debt (or extremely close)
-       Run a half marathon (gulp)
-       Build a veggie garden in our backyard
-       Volunteer with future home church’s youth group or children’s ministry/nursery
-       Go to Africa &/or Haiti on missions!
-       Give Brent a GREAT 29th birthday (since I did not do such a great job this year)
-       Complete all 3 bedrooms in home & staircase. Complete = all items organized, boxes finally unpacked, rooms painted and furniture in place.
-       Land a new job (however if God keeps me in my current position, I will be patient and confident that I have been kept there for a specific purpose and reason)
-       Feel knowledgeable about international adoption & perhaps have a country in mind (!!!!!!!!)

Here we go 2012!

Heigl adoption

Although I am not the biggest fan of this actress ever since she seemingly became too diva-licious for Grey’s Anatomy 

 (you will learn I am a sucker for celebrity gossip), I am so intrigued by this interview she recently did for Parent & Child magazine. In the short summary listed through the link above, she describes how adoption had always been part of her life plan even while she was a little girl. - I never in my life thought I would be able to relate to this actress (except perhaps for her love of Josh Kelly) but I am definitely relating to that dream she had as a child.

 Adoption has always been a part of what I desired for my future family and I am so thankful that I married a man who is not only adopted himself but also desires to adopt first.

P.S. One of the only perks of Katherine leaving Grey's. Movies like this::: 

Definitely a fave. --   Knocked Up

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A review of 2011

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1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Traveled to Guatemala, went to a LSU game as a LSU grad student (Geaux Tigers & I don’t want to talk about the game, ugh), went to the Bahamas for our 1 year anniversary, ate cake that was frozen for a year (seriously delish), lived with a boy for a year, and other firsts with my man!
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year? My only new year’s resolutions for last year was to write in my journal more. I have one entry from last year. Fail. Well, I always journal when I am on a missions trip so I did write more in Guatemala but definitely not when I was home. Hence one of the many reasons why I started this blog – to try to get myself to document my thoughts more often.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My good friend and sorority sister Chelsea did & then a few other friends. So happy for them as they begin such an incredible adventure!
4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no. I get nervous just thinking about the trials and losses and that may occur in the year to come.
5. What countries did you visit? Guatemala & The Bahamas. Such beautiful experiences.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? I would like to have a more scheduled, organized life at home. Dinners planned and cooked before it is too late and laundry clean and put away in a respectable amount of time. This is definitely one of our struggles! J
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 10-23-11 – Our first anniversary of our wedding. Also July 3rd, 2011 – a day that I came to some significant realizations about life, bad habits, and friendships. That realization has given me a lot of peace.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Speaking at my first national conference! I was the lead speaker for a 60 minute workshop about partnering with libraries and more than 50 people attended. I received great reviews and it was definitely one of the times in my short professional-life that I have felt completely successful. I will be speaking at that same conference towards the end of March of this year.. in San Diego, CA! Hooray!
9. What was your biggest failure? Yikes, too many to name I am sure. There have been many moments where I have failed myself by allowing to be bullied and pushed around without speaking up and stopping it from continuing. It is something I need to work on more.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope! Thank you Lord.
11. What was the best thing you bought? I bought myself a Michele watch after I presented at the National Conference but I immediately regretted it. I got it for more than half off so I convinced myself that it was a great deal and I deserved it. However, whenever I look at it, I just see cash that I could use to go on another missions trip. So it was the best and worst thing I bought because it has reminded me where my heart lies and it is not in material things. I am considering selling it….we shall see.
12. Where did most of your money go? To grown up stuff…car payment, mortgage payment, utilities, etc. Boring but thankful that I am able to pay for those grown up things!
13. What did you get really excited about? Missions, missions, missions, oh and our decision about international adoption!!!
14. What song will always remind you of 2011? Unfortunately – Party Rock Anthem & then my fave pump me up song – My God’s Not Dead by Newsboys

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Sadder when it comes to my job. Definitely. But when it comes to personal life….a lot happier as I have found peace with a lot of things and am falling in love with B more and more daily.
– thinner or fatter? A bit chubbier. Ugh – working to change that but also working to build self esteem along the way. – constant struggle –
– richer or poorer?
Mo money, mo problems. Blessed to have the financial income God has provided!
16. What do you wish you’d done more of? More road trips in the beginning of the year! We did 3 road trips in 3 months at the end of the year and the memories on the road with my hubby, talking about life and our future are unforgettable!
17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Staying in on the weekends, planning on cleaning the house & being lazy instead.
18. How did you spend Christmas? Traveling down to Miami to spend time with my family
19. What was your favorite TV program? Amazing Race – obsessed and I want to do it so badly!
20. What were your favorite books of the year? Books for grad school I suppose. I did not read very much at all.. shame shame!
21. What was your favorite music from this year? Adele & Florence & the Machine. Obsessed.
22. What were your favorite films of the year?  The Help. Speaks so much to everything I am processing these days
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?  I turned 26 this year and definitely had a very low key, relaxed birthday. Walked around Jazz Fest downtown & had people over to bbq afterwards. This year, FL Keys Please!!
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? To have developed a closer relationship with my heavenly father. I have not spent as much time with Him as I desire to.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Hmmmm pretty much – lets go to the outlets and see how much of a deal I can get on jcrew/banana/izod clothes. I rocked that. pretty much robbed those stores with the deals I was able to get.
26. What kept you sane? I find comfort in knowing that this earth is our temporary home and that there will be a day with no more fears, pain, tears. Also, my husband a few very dear friends helped me survive this year. Oh & I can’t fail to mention our first precious first doggie daughter – Jovie. I squeeze her when I want to cry!
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Friendships come and go & that is okay. This doesn’t mean there are hard feelings there or that something is wrong with either of you. It just means that a new time has begun and you must take time to cherish those friends that cherish you in return.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

so powerful.

If you are interested in international adoption - take 15 minutes to read this post. So powerful.

Red & Yellow, Black & White – They are precious in His sight

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The struggle of racism is one that has been on my mind A LOT lately.
 I am confident that in the future we will have children who will look very different than us and I think because of that realization; I am starting to become much more aware of the thoughts and actions that take place around me.
Racism is a constant battle that minorities face and one that EVERYONE must be prepared to encounter and react to in a positive way. As a born & bred Miami – Hispanic – girl, I have always been somewhat immune to seeing racism in action. I lived in a cultural melting pot and my closest group of girl friends in high school is the most diverse circle I have ever known. I have been SO blessed by these experiences.
However, now that I live in North Florida, racism has become a bit more apparent to me. How should this be handled? Do I keep my mouth shut and know that everyone has their own opinion and it is not my job to persuade them otherwise? Do I open my mouth & let the words that I have not completely thought through come streaming out and possibly burn bridges with acquaintances/friends?
I am still struggling with understanding what my reaction should be but all I know is that racism hurts my heart. Adoption has filled my thoughts and I can’t help but picture the hurtful, ignorant statements that are spewed about African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics, to not be about “them”, but instead – about our future child(ren). That image of our future child being treated as though they are not as important as another person is devastating. However, this is reality and one that I know our future child/children will face time and time again. Our future biological children (if this is God’s plan) will be faced with racist comments for having brothers and sisters who do not look at them and then our adopted children will be consistently judged and stared at because they look so different from their parents.
Am I really prepared for this? Are Brent & I ready to come face to face with such hurtful comments that will threaten to tear apart this family that we love and would give our lives for?
The answer is surprising.
We aren’t ready.
I truly believe that God has planted this seed of adoption plans in our hearts at this early stage to give us the time to build us into the future parents that will be able to face such challenges with love, patience, & kindness. I know we are not yet ready to begin the process but I am so thankful for the year(s) we have ahead of us to prepare our hearts and home to have this journey and hopefully impact lives beyond what we can see.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Encourage one another!

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This picture is one of the most gorgeous photos I have ever seen. I found it on pinterest (link above) and could not stop staring at the colors, the fabric, the sweet baby & the hard working mother. Photos like this tell a story and it is one that I have found myself continually thinking and praying about over and over again. **Africa is on my heart!** (details to come)
As more people are starting to find out about our thoughts & dreams for international adoption, I become more nervous about the greater chance of the destructive and hurtful comments that might arise from those who will not agree with this route we are planning on taking. I shouldn't expect everyone to understand why we are doing this or think that it is the best idea for their family. But what I am coming to realize is that there is no way that Brent & I will be able to get through the adoption process and the difficulties of parenting without a strong support system. 
God has showed me so much over the past week of 2012. I feel so confident in our decision and am incredibly thankful for His perfect timing. There is so much work that I need to do with myself, with Brent, to prepare ourselves to bring a child into our home. We have to continue to build a strong foundation within our marriage and an incredibly strong support system around us so that when the time comes that we are questioned or attacked for the choices we have made, we will be able to hold hands and answer questions in a loving, kind way and be "slow to anger".

Thursday, January 5, 2012

He listens.

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Not even 2 nights ago I expressed a desire to my husband that I would be able to find blogs where young couples are choosing to adopt before attempting to have children naturally. As details of this future adoption are beginning to take up more and more of my thoughts, I was starting to already feel isolated in the VERY early stages of this process. We haven’t told too many friends or family members about this decision and I know what we are doing is not the road most taken by young newlyweds. I felt overwhelmed with the process and wanted to be able to read about another couple that has embarked on a similar journey.
Well, He listens. The very next day I stumbled upon a blog where a young couple felt called to adopt first and that blog led me to several others. I have already spent hours reading their stories and why they felt led to adopt before having children naturally.
Isn’t it incredible that God hears every thought, frustration, complaint, & praise that we have in our hearts? I didn’t even speak my request to Him but it was answered and I feel more comforted than ever.
I know this journey is going to be SO difficult and there will be many more moments where I feel isolated and as though we are making a decision that is “odd”, “different”, “weird”, “CRAZY”. But I am so thankful to know that my God hears our ever desire and that there is a community out there who has also chosen to take this “CRAZY” alternate route.

Blogs referenced to above:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a post that brought me to my desk

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I am currently taking a breather from some tasks at work and ran across the following blog post::

Part of the adoption research that I want to do over the next year includes gathering a group of blogs to read routinely to better understand the struggles and journey that families endure during this process. I came across this blog and a particular posting that identified several facts that she wished she had discussed when she was interviewed on The View. I read a few bulleted points and began to cry my eyes out. Yup, God is speaking to me again and very clearly telling me that this is His plan for us! Here are a few of the points that moved me so deeply::

  • I wanted to talk about how deep my love is for my adopted children.  I wanted to share the way I love them every bit as much as the daughters I have birthed.
  • I wanted to talk about how, when we called our Christian agency about a healthy African American boy from LA county who was in need of a home, we were told that they had no prospective adoptive parents willing to accept a placement of a black child.  NOT ONE.
  • I wanted to talk about the persistent question I hear asking why people adopt internationally instead of taking care of "our own kids" in the US.  I wanted to talk about how every child, in every nation, is deserving of a family, not just American children.  I wanted to say how petty I find this question.
  • I wanted to talk about the 18-year-olds I regularly see on adoption photolistings.  Kids like Percell who, despite being old enough to live independently, place themselves on national photolistings because they desperately want to be adopted.  Because, in Percell's words, he "wants to become a member of a permanent family".  I wanted to talk about what life must be like for Percell, and other kids like him, who age out of the fostercare system despite a deep desire to have a family even as they enter adulthood.
  • I wanted to talk about what responsibility we have to caring for our world's orphaned and abandoned children, and the small part adoption can play in that effort.  I wanted to talk about how much we should all be bothered by the numbers of children in our world who are missing out on basic human needs.  Security.  Love.  Affection.
  • I wanted to say that we should all be doing something.  Not everyone should be adopting.  But we should be doing something.  And we should all be a little sick about it.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans”

I am pretty confident that there are not many committed readers to this blog that is rarely updated, but in the case that there are - you are about to be let in on a pretty significant secret. This secret is one that I am feeling compelled to begin documenting as I know that there are many other families who are experiencing similar thoughts and may find encouragement from my rambling words. This secret is also one that Brent & I have begun sharing with family members and close friends but it is not quite a common topic of conversation among our group.

This important piece of information that I am wanting to share are the thoughts and feelings we are beginning to have about expanding our family in the future! Now I am sure the words "expanding" and "family" are bringing up instant images of a pregnant Angie in the future, but here is where things are different for our family. -- Brent & I are feeling called to adopting our first child, specifically a son.

Allow me to back up and begin sharing some details that have led us to begin pursuing this path of family planning.

All my life I have wanted a big family. And by big, I mean 6-7 children! I need to look up some of my old diary entries where I shared my desires for many children and the family I hoped to have as I am sure it would be extremely entertaining! When Brent & I started dating 5 & 1/2 years ago and begin talking about a *hypothetical* family in the future, I expressed feelings of frustrations to my closest friends as Brent wanted ONE child and I still dreamed of 6. I told my friends that I was wasting my time on this boy as even a difficult compromise of 3 children would only be half of what I had always wanted.

But thank God for my now husband who is rational and thinks things through that I tend to know small, unimportant things like: finances, time, space, etc. He later expressed to me that he would love a big family as well but is not sure we will be able to afford so many children or have the time for them. Very true & valid points.

Fast forward a few years after those conversations and Brent and I were married on October 23rd, 2010. Immediately the questions came from anyone and everyone: "When will you have your first baby?" To this common question, we always gave the same answer that left many with their mouths hanging on the floor:

"5 years"

We agreed on this time frame during our engagement as we both really wanted to be able to get completely settled into our relationship and lives as a married couple. We wanted to travel together and go on long, international missions trips and become more financially stable.

People have had many responses to our "5 year plan". Mostly supportive, encouraging comments but some words of criticism as other couples seem to think there must be something wrong with us for wanting to wait so long to have children. But this is our plan, and about 14 months into it we are still feeling confident that this is where we need to be....except God seems to have adjusted our plans to be more representative of His.

Go figure.

In August of 2011, Brent & I embarked on our 2nd international missions trip together. The previous summer we traveled to Haiti and this year we were able to experience Guatemala. We went with a small team and visited Casa Para Ninos Orphanage. Our project was to love the children living at this orphanage. That was it. No expected heavy labor or intense construction like we experienced together in Haiti. We were told to spend time with the children and show them God's love. This was a mission that was exhilarating for myself, but a tad overwhelming for my sweet husband. Before Guatemala he was definitely the type that would rather work 12 hours of construction in 110 degree temperatures than be told "go spend some time a child". However if he was given that choice now, I am not sure what he would choose.

During our week in Guatemala, I spent a large amount of my time in the "baby dorm" at Casa Para Ninos. This building was filled with infants - 4/5 year olds who were desperate to be held and loved. There were many times I walked into the nursery/toddler room and was immediately surrounded by sweet little ones crying with their arms outstretch saying "Mama, Mama, Mama!" To them, any female that would hold them was their mama. I spent hours holding these babies and praying for their future. Praying that God would protect them and that they would come to understand what love is and never have to seek it from those who wish to do them harm.

There was one specific boy that my heart was immediately attached to. His name is Angel and he is just the cutest little chubster with a mess of curly hair! I held him the most out of all the children and was in love with his sweetness and innocence. I will never forget him because it was while I was holding him that I believe God spoke to me and told me that we should adopt a boy before attempting to have children naturally.

I remember holding Angel and having this thought come to me and wanting to push it away. The large majority of women desire to be pregnant and have "their own" children before even considering adoption (if they ever do). Why would this thought be coming to me at this moment?

That evening, I sat with Brent as we did every night to discuss our day and chat about our high/low moments. I shared with him how I was feeling about adoption and that I was feeling called to adopting our first child. He told me that he was having the same desire.

God is great.

Ever since that trip to Guatemala, adoption has been in the back of our minds but we are still a solid 3-4 years away from the time we had "planned" to have children. However, over the past few weeks I began feeling compelled to start the process of adopting through an initial phase of research & prayer. We definitely think international adoption is in our future for this first child and the world of international adoption is HUGE. I am planning to read up as much as I can in 2012 to get a better idea of the costs and challenges that arise with international adoption and hopefully by the end of 2012 we will have a clear idea of what country we should be beginning the process with.

Who knows where God will direct us over this next year. I know He must laugh at our plans and specifically  mine as I am extremely detailed but hopefully we will be able to hear His voice and follow His plan for our lives and our future child and children. * Wow that was strange to write!

I plan to share reviews of books that I have read about adoption on here in hopes to encourage/inspire at least one family who may be on a similar journey. This will also be the first of MANY postings that I plan to share as the LONG process to international adoption begins.

Stay tuned!