Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Anna Gayle

Yesterday, a judge in Bulgaria officially made us the parents of Anna Gayle!

Anna is two and half years old. She's a tiny, beautiful bundle of energy. She's not talking yet, but we have no doubt she'll have plenty to say when she gets the hang of it. I'm not going to go into all of Anna's needs, other than to say, she's delayed. As a family, we are going to do everything we can to meet those needs, but what she needs more than anything right now is to have a family.

We're praying for travel dates soon! Please continue to pray for all of us as we prepare for this huge transition!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Updates, Transitions from Orphanage to Home, & Prayer Requests

So an update. We have a court date! November 10! We were assigned a judge that asks for a lot of extra documents. There is a lot I could say about that. There are a lot of opinions regarding requesting extra documents at this point. Bottom line? What anyone thinks or feels about this doesn't matter. She wants extra documents, we will do everything we can to get them to her.

I'll admit, I'm anxious. I'm anxious to have Anna here. I'm anxious about the transition and bonding and doing this right. I'm anxious about the responses of friends and family. See Anna doesn't know we're her parents. She doesn't see us as mom and dad yet. All she's ever known is life in an orphanage with multiple caregivers. So when she comes home we have to teach her to see us as her parents. What many others don't understand is that it is NOT harmless for her to be held and hugged and loved on by anyone other than us when she first comes home. For her it could, at the mild end, be confusing, and at the major end, it could hinder her attachments to us and ultimately extended friends and family. Former orphans are often friendly and outgoing, and everyone thinks this is great. While this looks wonderful on the outside, it really means that they are forming lots of shallow attachments rather than deep, meaningful ones. It is of the utmost importance that for a while we keep Anna's world tight and small. That Patrick and I do most of the holding and hugging and meeting of needs. That we spend a lot of time adjusting to life as and learning to be a family of four. It worries me because while I feel like some understand this, others don't. I don't want drama, or anger, or hurt feelings. That is so far from what we want. What we want is to do everything we can to help Anna heal and form healthy attachments. This attachment thing is not magical. It takes work and effort and understanding on everyone's part. But I promise if you allow us this time, which is really just a blip on the radar of her life, there will come a time where everyone can love on her, and she'll be happier and healthier because of it!****

So prayer requests:
* favor with the judge! 
* smooth transition into our home and family. And that the time spent in Bulgaria is amazing and that God uses that short time to bond us strongly. Also that the trips to and from are smooth. 
* amazing bonding and attachment between Anna and the three of us, and vice versa!
* complete emotional and physical health for Anna. I do believe Jesus meant it when He said He came to "proclaim liberty to the captives" (Luke 4:18), and I believe He can and will heal Anna from the hurts and traumas she's suffered in her short little life here on this earth.
* understanding from our many, many friends and family. We love you all so much and are so incredibly thankful for your support. We couldn't do this without you and continue to need you as we go into the next phase! 
* for all of us to be emotionally and physically well throughout this transition, but if you will pray specifically for Andrew. He's very excited, but he's never had to share us. No this is not a bad thing. Not even close, but this is going to rock his world in no small way! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers, your support, your love ... we love you and wouldn't be here without you!

**** I almost didn't type any of this, but I've asked God to help us know how to deal with and respond to others. You've all been waiting and praying right along with us, and I don't want to offend or hurt anyone. It is absolutely so far from my intention. High fives, pats on the back, quick hugs/squeezes while we're holding her are all okay. You can talk to her and smile and be friendly, but please, please help us enforce that we're her parents by directing her attention back to us if and when she reaches out. And like I said before, this will not be forever. It will be for just a few months as we adjust.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Eight Years

At 3:51 this morning Andrew turned eight years old. It's hard to believe it has been eight years. Yet, I cannot remember life without my (not so) little buddy. Andrew is kind hearted. He is compassionate. He is loving. He is 150% boy. He loves superheroes and video games. He has great debating skills ... interpretation: he's fabulous at arguing. He sings so loudly in church that people turn around and look at us. He loves Jesus with all of his eight year old little heart.

Happy birthday Buddy!

Friday, September 4, 2015

And Her Name Is (drumroll) ...

We our wrapping up our week in Bulgaria. It has been amazing, exhausting, exciting, and emotionally draining all at once. Today we are back in Sofia to finish up our paperwork. Part of that includes renaming our girl. With our little one last year, we planned on keeping her name. It fit well in America, and we liked both the name and what it meant. However, for various reasons, which I'm not going to explain in depth other than to say due to some of the origins and history, we decided to completely change our little girl's name.

Name meanings are very important to me. Not in a superstitious sort of way, but in the bible God always called people names that had big meanings. He called them what He intended them to be. More than a couple times throughout the bible, even well into adulthood, people's names were changed. So along those lines we decided to give her a name with a strong meaning. It was not easy to pick a name. It took a lot of back and forth, praying, and a little arguing to come up with her name, but we finally got it. Her first name will mean "Gracious; God has shown favor" and her middle name (my middle name also) means "her father's joy". So now that I've strung you along forever, her name will be ...

Anna Gayle 

We leave early, early tomorrow to fly home. Our connections are tight (short notice on flights will do that) so please pray we have no issues and catch all our flights. Also, please pray for continued good health and safety as we travel. Thank you for all your prayers! 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Countdown to Take Off

Sorry about the silence. Things have been crazy. Even though we accepted our referral three weeks ago, our agency here wanted us to wait on pics and videos before we made travel plans. We finally got them this past week. Oh. My. Word. Tiny, adorable, bright eyed ... did I say "tiny"? ... they're all great words to describe our sweet girl. Certainly worth the wait, and we fully expected to have travel dates Friday morning. What we didn't expect was to be asked to travel with just one week's notice! Yep, I said, "One week". Thankfully, I was already preparing. I have been setting aside clothing. Toiletries were ready to throw in bags. And I was able to get plane tickets at a really good price. So we will be boarding a plane next weekend and heading back to Bulgaria.

Once again, I'm going to throw prayer requests out there:
1. Pray for good health for all of us. Patrick had a stomach bug yesterday. He's feeling better. I'm about to don my hazmat suit and disinfect everything (I'm not really joking). But please pray for good health for everyone both now and throughout our trip.
2. Pray for safe travels.
3. Pray for a great time with our sweet girl.
4. Pray for Andrew's safety and peace as he's starting school while we're gone. I'm a little sad to be missing his first day of 2nd grade, but I know he's in good hands.
5. Pray for smooth sailing for this whole process. Yes, I'm a little apprehensive after what we've been through, but I'm believing that a year from now our girl will be sleeping in her crib in her room in our home.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For everything ... your prayers ... your support ... all of it.