Thursday, April 28, 2011

How I am going to tell my mother!

Posted by Angie at 4:56 PM 11 comments
As I mentioned in this post, now that we have our country, our agency, and are officially unofficially accepted, we figure it's probably about time that we let our folks know what we are up to!  (Again, let me give y'all my qualifying note: Our families know that we have an interest in adoption and that we are in an adoption ministry, so this won't come as a complete shock to them that we are adopting!)

Mother's Day is quickly approaching (shameless plug:  need a gift?  we are selling jewelry! or how about a Leaves of Love tree?) and my mother and two younger brothers are going to be visiting us for the weekend.  In addition to celebrating my wonderful mother on Mother's Day, we are celebrating my successful MA thesis defense, my next youngest brother's upcoming birthday (21!), and my littlest brother's graduation from high school.  What a weekend, huh?!  My mom is coming up from Florida, one brother from Alabama, and another from Georgia, so the Future Papa and I are quite excited about hosting this little reunion.

So why not throw our adoption news into the mix :-)  For those of you loyal blog readers who have been with me from the beginning, remember my first giveaway, the paper bead bracelets?  Well, I loved them so much that I couldn't resist ordering one for myself and supporting her wonderful cause.


Isn't it just beautiful?  She custom made it for me!  I asked for it to be colorful (so it would match everything) and also asked for the phrase "one less,"  after the Matthew West song.  If you haven't heard it, here is a link to a music video.

So, on Monday I e-mailed the mother of the little girl who made this bracelet and asked if she could make a simpler version (just one strand, not three, like the one pictured above).  She said yes, so I ordered two and will hopefully be getting them early next week!  One will be for my mother, one for my mother-in-law.  I just got the pictures this morning (woo hoo!!), so here is what they look like:

And so, without further ado, drum roll please......
Grand Plan for Announcing Adoption to my Mother (and brothers, simultaneously)
  • Mother's Day: Have four wrapped gifts on the table.  
    • My one brother's birthday present
    • My other brother's graduation present
    • A gift for my mother for Mother's Day
    • A gift for me for Mother's Day (she will likely assume this is because I am the mama to Dasher, who we spoil rotten and talk about as if he were a human baby)
  •  Brothers open their gifts.
  • Mom and I open our gifts at the same time (of course, I already know what is in mine, the bracelet I ordered months ago)
  • I don't think she is going to get it right away.  Maybe she will, she's pretty quick, but I don't think she has heard the song.  At the point, we head into the living room where we will have set up our "adoption announcement" video.  
  • Que video and surprise!  Y'all are going to be a grandma/uncles!
How we are going to tell my In-Laws
  • Wrap matching bracelet and mail it to them
  • Include a link to blog
  • Have video posted to blog announcing the news
  • Anticipate a phone call from them!
How we are going to tell my Father
  • Ok, so this plan needs help.  Obviously I am not going to mail him a bracelet ;-)  But I still like the idea of sending something?  Ideas?  At this point, I may be keeping it simple...e-mailing him the link to our blog and letting him see the video from there.
Several of my fabulous readers have warned us to guard our hearts for the negative responses we are bound to receive when we start sharing the news of our adoption.  We really appreciate you looking out for us!  Luckily, we are fairly certain that our immediate families, who are well aware that we have a heart for the orphan, will be supportive.  In fact, I have been talking so much about the fabulous adoption ministry we co-founded that I almost wonder if we are going to get the "What took you so long/We are sooooo not surprised" response!  I am so sorry to hear that there is so much negativity out there and know it is going to break my heart when we start getting negative responses...but hopefully this won't be an issue just yet!    

Ok, so I mentioned the adoption video several times, but have not explained what that is in detail yet, I know!  But this post is long enough, you can look forward to news on that early next week.

What do think of our plans?  Ideas?  Suggestions??  We are still tweaking them and would love any thoughts that you have!!

Much love,
Future Mama

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taiwan Birthmothers

Posted by Angie at 7:44 AM 2 comments
First, let me promise that my blog is not going to become a His Hands advertising billboard!  But I figured I should go ahead and wrap up my thoughts that began in my last post.  I hope to tell y'all on Friday about how we plan to announce the adoption to our folks, so stay tuned :-) 

I love the fact that His Hands, the orphanage we are working with, truly loves and cares for birthmothers.  I know they love their adoptive parents too, but it is so important to me that the birthmother of our future child actually be given all of her choices.  Through His Hands, women are given a real choice and the support they need to keep their babies, should they choose to do so.  Here are some pictures (taken from the His Hands website) of some mothers who remained just that, mothers, thanks to the support of His Hands.


And here are some birthmothers who made the loving choice of adoption.
No matter what people may say or think about birthmothers, there is no denying that these women, all these women, have so much strength.  All they go through, especially in Taiwan where their families, communities, doctors, and even church members are telling them to get abortions, requires true strength.  To see the rest of the slideshow, click here.

Today I am praying for the birthmothers around the world.  I pray that they all be given the support and love they need to make the best decision for themselves and their babies. 

Much love,
Future Mama

Monday, April 25, 2011

Still soaking it all in...

Posted by Angie at 7:03 AM 6 comments
Thank you ALL for the positive and encouraging comments to our big news!  We are still trying to convince ourselves that this is all real!  To kick off our second post as an "official-unofficial" His Hands family, here are some adorable pictures of some of the current His Hands babies on Easter!

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All of these pictures came from this blog, written by a young lady who is a missionary teacher in Taiwan.  She volunteers at His Hands, so I have a feeling I will be watching her blog quite closely in the coming months.  Here is what she says about His Hands (her post also includes many more adorable pictures)!

As precious as these pictures are, there are many other reasons (besides the cute babies, I mean) that we have decided to work with His Hands.  Let me start the week with sharing just one.  This is their vision, as they describe it:

"This ministry was born from a vision to counsel, care for, and house unwed mothers in crisis pregnancies. Though the ministry still has a strong focus on these young women, it is growing exponentially and expanding its focus. In a country where there are twice as many abortions as live births every year, there is a desperate need for an alternative to abortion. Because of this dire situation, His Hands Taiwan has turned into a refuge for abandoned babies as well as a refuge for unwed mothers." {quoted from their website}

One of the reasons I love this ministry is because the support and love they show to unwed mothers.  His Hands does not exist for the needs of adoptive parents in the United States, but for mothers in Taiwan.  She comes first, she is counseled, she is shown true love.  If she decides to keep her baby, she is supported.  If she decides to place her baby up for adoption, she is supported. 

Here is what His Hands believes about adoptions: 

In most cases, it is best for a child to remain with his or her biological parent(s). When a mother first comes to His Hands Taiwan, Inc. we encourage her to consider ways to try to raise the child. In some cases, the woman needs a safe place to be while her family “cools down” and accepts the idea of the community knowing about a child born out of wedlock. In other cases, we work with the social workers and the women to help them build life skills and get employment. In still other situations, the woman just needs help getting to doctors’ appointments and learning how to take care of a baby. 

However, there are some reasons why remaining with the biological parent(s) is not a possible option for them. We have seen some shocking cases of physical abuse, serious mental troubles, and destitution. As well, some of the mothers lead a wild life and lack the skills and commitment to keep the child from harm. In these cases, the women often understand that adoption is a wonderful alternative.  {quoted from their website}

By adopting through His Hands, I know that the birthmother of our child was given every option and opportunity to keep her child, but was truly unable or unwilling to do so.  I will never have doubts or fears that our child was taken or tricked away from a birthmother. And His Hands is by no means the only ethical ministry in Taiwan!  For those of you looking for an agency, here are some things to look for.

Let me leave you with a couple more pictures from His Hands...ahhhh, I am so excited to be working with them!
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Much love,
Future Mama
*all opinions expressed about His Hands are just that, my opinions, and should not be taken as fact!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Officially Unofficially Accepted!

Posted by Angie at 7:30 AM 17 comments
We are unofficially officially accepted!  After coming up with an excuse to e-mail our potential agency (do I sound like a true adopting mama yet or what?!), I casually slipped in a question about our application.  We received a response Wednesday night:

"Your application is complete and I see no reason for it not being approved although I am not on the approval committee.  We are running way behind in getting the approval board together.  Don't worry, it will happen and your position in the overall process will not change."

Does that sound like a yes to you?  Because it sounds like a yes to me!  Now, the Future Papa and I have had this evening planned out for awhile now.  We received a gift card to Chile's recently and had been saving it for our "THEY SAID YES" day.  At first we thought that we should celebrate at one of our town's many fine Asian restaurants (we are adopting from Taiwan after all), but then we decided...a free meal (via gift card) would be much more fitting to celebrate the official start to our adoption and the saving/fundraising ahead of us.

So, I called him the moment he got off work.
Future Mama: "Wanna go to Chile's tonight?"
Future Papa: Pause.  "Did you hear from the orphanage?"
Future Mama: "WE'RE HAVING A BABY!!"

Our first "We're Pregnant" picture!

Now, I have never been pregnant (read all about that in the our adoption tab), but I imagine this is what it is like to pee on a stick.  You try and try for months (researching agencies and countries, looking at applications, finally applying) and then finally, in one moment, it's official...you are having a baby!  Two little lines appear!  Or, in our case, an e-mail!!

And of course, once you know you are pregnant, you have to think of ways to tell everyone!  So, at dinner, we talked endlessly on how we are going to announce the news to our families and friends.  (Note: Our families know that we have an interest in adoption and that we are in an adoption ministry, so this won't come as a complete shock to them that we are adopting.  What might be shocking is that we are starting the process now!)

My announcement ideas tend to be a bit crazier than my darling husband's, who likes things plain and simple, ha!  My mother and younger brothers are going to be in town for Mother's Day weekend, so as much as I am itching to pick up the phone and call her RIGHT NOW, I love the idea of doing something special in person.  From gifts to jokes to videos to pictures, we have all sorts of ideas for all sorts of different people...more on this to come :-)

And now that you have read all this, are you ready to know who we are adopting with?!  We are thrilled to announce that we are officially an unofficial...

HIS HANDS TAIWAN FAMILY

I have so many wonderful things to say about this awesome ministry in later posts, but for now, check out their website, blog, or facebook page to hold you over.

May you all have wonderful Easter weekends.  I know we will!

Much love,
Future Mama

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Queen of Night

Posted by Angie at 7:07 AM 4 comments
On November 2, 1864, Confederate soldier John Ramsay wrote the following to his beloved:

"Did you look at the new moon last night?  It shone beautifully, and as I stood, and looked on her delicate, and smiling face; I fancied you might be doing the same, and that though hundreds of miles apart yet, our eyes might be directed to the same object, at the same time; and while my own heart was pleading earnestly, for its chosen One, that my beloved was thinking of me.  Lovers like to look at the moon…did you think of me, while looking at the Queen of night?"


When I read quotes like this, it is as if the voice of this long-dead soldier is now alive again, echoing throughout the quiet confines of my sleepy kitchen.  I can feel his love and ache to be with his sweetheart.  I can also feel his insecurities, seeping though the faded ink, hoping to be thought of by his love.  

My first thought is to my husband.  How I wish I could express myself this beautifully when I am away on a research trip or at a conference.  

But now, I also think of our future child.  Is there a window in the room at the orphanage where our child sleeps?  Does moonlight shine onto our child's crib, giving a hug that he or she receives too little?  Or has our child even seen the moon before?   

Much love,

Future Mama

*please support us through our journey with your prayers, advice,
and donations.  help us bring our child home.  see our donate tab.

Monday, April 18, 2011

First Purchase for Baby!

Posted by Angie at 7:00 AM 8 comments
I just couldn't resist!  Remember when this sweet family had an online auction to raise funds for their Ethiopian baby-to-be?  Well, when I give shout-outs for people's products/events, I love to not just talk the talk but walk the walk, when possible.  So, a couple weeks back, here I am scrolling through their auction...

That's cute...

Oooohhhh...

How adorable...

MUST HAVE!!!!!

So I bid!  And I won!  In the process, I broke all the "rules" I had set for myself.
     Rule 1: No buying things for baby until we have finished our homestudy and are officially in the waiting stage.
     Rule 2: Only buy gender neutral items, since we don't know if we will be having a boy or a girl.
     Rule 3: Try, try, try to not go crazy with the shopping.  Put the money into the gaping hole that is our adoption fund.  Cute clothes, little toys, fun books will all come much more easily in future baby showers...

Ok, are you excited to see the item that broke all the rules?  Here it is!!
Future Papa opening the package
Giving me a goofy face
Taking out the top...see it?!
YAY!!! First baby purchase!!
And the pants! {in this shot you can see that I had been staring at my computer for waaaay too long editing...my eyes were so tired!}
Dasher checking out his potential little sister's first outfit
Close up!  Love the Asian feel to this outfit.
Future Papa put his hat down on the table and claimed the outfit was complete!  It seems we have a future Braves baseball fan coming our way ;-)

I may have broken all the rules, but I LOVE it!  If we have a little girl, this will be perfect :-)  And if we have a little boy...then we can save it for a future little sister!  Or...give it away in a baby shower.

After leaving it on our kitchen table for about a week, I finally hung it front and center on my side of the closet.  Every morning I see it when I get dressed and I smile.

Adopting mamas, how much are ya'll buying for your little one ahead of time?  Or, for my mamas who have already adopted, any advice on things we should NOT get just yet?

Much love,
Future Mama

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And the giveaway winner is...

Posted by Angie at 11:39 AM 4 comments
Kryste from A Good Kind of Crazy!  I think their blog tagline is great "We're an Army family in the middle of an Ethiopian sibling adoption... some say we're crazy, but we think it's a good thing!"  I think being crazy about adoption is a good thing too :-)  Congrats Kryste!  Kryste, shoot an e-mail: expectingablessing@gmail.com

Thanks so much to Orphaned No More for their generous donation to celebrate the fact that Expecting a Blessing has 100 readers!  Be sure to check out her blog and consider buying yourself a beautiful bracelet....for yourself, for you mother (Mother's Day!), for your daughter, your sister, or all four!  Of course, I am partial to this Asian beauty...

In other news....MY THESIS IS DONE!!! Well, done for now!  I have handed it over to my committee and now wait until my defense on April 26.  This process has been a tremendous lesson in balance for me.  Or rather, the importance of balancing your life and not allowing procrastination to get the best of you.  As much as I love what I do, this past week has been nothing short of terrible as I tried to cram 3 weeks of revising into 4 days.  Either way, all is complete and now I am looking forward to a fun weekend with my husband and friends (we are going to a rodeo tonight!).  And next week, I can get back to all the the fun baby update posts I have in store for you all.

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone!
Much love,
Future Mama

Monday, April 11, 2011

100 Reader Giveaway!!

Posted by Angie at 7:02 AM 16 comments
Helloooooo fabulous readers!

So I'm going to tell you right now...I am going to be a horrible blogger this week!  Remember that pesky thesis?  Well, this is my last week to finish revising it before it goes to my committee.  Woo hoo and eeeek!  So, to tide you over for the week, I'm having a super fun giveaway!  Check out these beautiful bracelets...
Aren't they just so cute?  And there are so many more!  
Check them out by clicking here.
Want to know the best part?!
That's right!  They are made by an adopting mama!  Ya'll know I am all about shopping for a cause.  I "met" sweet Elisabeth when she became a follower of my blog.  Here is her story, as she tells it: 

HI THERE! 

WE ARE FUNDRAISING TO ADOPT OUR LITTLE GIRL WHO IS WAITING FOR US SOMEWHERE IN CHINA ON THE SPECIAL NEEDS LIST.... BY SELLING THESE BRACELETS WE WILL PAY FOR HER ADOPTION FEES.....EACH ONE IS HANDMADE WITH LOVE, EACH BEAD CAREFULLY STITCHED IN WITH THOUGHTS OF OUR WAITING LITTLE ONE....OUR HOMESTUDY IS PAID! .... NOW ONTO THE NEXT STEPS AND CLOSER TO OUR BEAUTIFUL GIRL! WE CANNOT WAIT TO HOLD HER IN OUR ARMS AND TELL HER SHE IS ORPHANED NO MORE!!!!!

LOVE
elisabeth

How awesome, right?!  What's even more awesome is that you have the chance to win one of her darling bracelets this week!  I'm calling it my "100 Reader Giveaway," because, if you can believe it, my little blog almost has 100 fans!  Here's how you can enter:
  1. Become a fan/follower of Expecting a Blessing!  And if you already are one, you can get a point for that too!
  2. If you have a blog with a blog roll, add Expecting a Blessing!
  3. Last, but certainly not least, I would love it if you sent up a little prayer for the orphans.  Doesn't matter where, doesn't matter when, but a few extra prayers going their way never hurts, right?! 
Comment on this post letting me know if you have done one, two, or all three of the things above.  I will draw a winner on Friday.  Winner gets to pick the bracelet of her choice!!  So go check our your choices here!!!

Much love,
Future Mama

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Funny Patience Pictures

Posted by Angie at 7:30 AM 4 comments
As I mentioned in this post, we have officially submitted an application to an agency and are waiting to hear if we are approved.  Woo hoo!  But...uh ohh...I'm already getting antsy!  

This past Sunday in bible study we found out that one of our references had not sent in his letter of recommendation yet.  Upon seeing my crazy I want to be a mama now!!! expression he frantically promised to do it that afternoon.  So, we know that it will still be at least another couple of weeks until we hear anything.  The process is basically this:
  1. We sent in our application
  2. The agency e-mailed out recommendation forms to our list of recommenders
  3. The recommenders fill out those forms and e-mail them back
  4. The agency prays about us
  5. Our application goes to their board and they evaluate us on a number of criteria
  6. They decide
  7. They e-mail us
  8. I either scream with joy or dissolve into tears.  Either way, a big carton of ice cream will be involved.
To occupy myself and make this post moderately interesting, I found a few funny pictures on patience.
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And a great quote:
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Sigh...someone please remind me that I don't want to be the crazy mama who sends her agency a million e-mails a day?  Especially when we are waiting to see if they accept us?  I mean, once they are stuck with us...then the e-mails can begin in full force, right?! ;-)

Much love,
Future Mama

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We are FEATURED!

Posted by Angie at 10:33 AM 3 comments
Ooooooooooooooooh!  I am so excited!! One of my FAVORITE blogs, Storing Up Treasures


wrote a feature piece on Leaves of Love today!

 How cool is that?!  Our little ministry is growing!!!  

If you want to read what other people are saying about us, click here.
If you are interested in writing a feature blog post about us, e-mail me!
If you want to be a part of OUR Leaves of Love Tree, click here!
And if you have no idea what a Leaves of Love tree is, you can click here.

YAY!  
Much love,
Future Mama

Monday, April 4, 2011

Adoptive Mamas-- Women who Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Posted by Angie at 7:02 AM 4 comments
Ahhh...money.  Love it or hate it, chances are it's on most people's minds daily.  And if you're like me, you don't like to talk about it.  Deep breath...here goes...
When the hubby and I first talked about adoption, money inevitably came up in the conversation.  Again and again.  How on earth were we going to afford it?

This was and continues to be my biggest worry.  I am not a risk-taker with my money.  You know those obnoxious women with a million coupons who hold up the grocery line?  That's me.  The ones who stand in front of clothing racks, debating on a measly two-dollar difference between scarfs?  Guilty as charged.  The ladies who open their wallets, only to reveal they have every receipt for every purchase in the last month?  I raise my hand.  Who orders water at every meal?  Yep.  I think you get the picture...

In my bible, I have highlighted, circled, and underlined the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 17:19-20).  After his disciples were unable to do so, Jesus healed a young boy, causing the following scene:

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  20 He replied, Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Yesterday's sermon at our church centered upon this verse.  Our pastor (love her!) spoke about how our mountains won't disappear, but we can make them move to the side.  Out of our way.  They don't have to be the focus.  Finances do not and should not be the main focus of our adoption process.

This adoption is going to do so much for the both of us, but for me, I think it is going to be a tremendous lesson in faith.  A lesson in trust.  We are starting this journey with a financial plan but also with a lot of uncertainties.  A lot.  Through this journey, we are going to learn how to not be "too proud to beg." (Remember that song?  Love it!  I couldn't resist putting the video below!)

 

When I first started this journey, I felt so alone in my worries about finances.  I assumed (wrongly) that people who adopt simply had large bank accounts.  I assumed we were strange (perhaps a bit loony) to even be contemplating this idea.  I know now that this worry is not something that just affects me.  Adoption is not just for the rich!  I'm not encouraging financial irresponsibility here, but if that is the only thing stopping a person from adopting, I would urge them to reconsider.  To look at grants, fundraisers, loans, savings, and sacrificing the little luxuries in our lives!  It is a mission, and like most missions, a healthy amount of fundraising is involved ;-)

Much love,
Future Mama

*please support us through our journey with your prayers, advice, and donations.  help us bring our child home.  see our donate tab.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Twins?

Posted by Angie at 3:52 PM 2 comments
Have ya'll seen the newest viral sensation courtesy of You*Tube?  When it popped up on my Face*Book news feed, you know my baby-crazy self couldn't resist watching it:



Is that just too adorable or what?  Now, twins don't come out of Taiwan very often.  So the chances of us being referred the two cutest little babies we have ever seen twins is quite low.  But, of course, the idea has crossed my mind and I couldn't help but run it past Future Papa.

My argument: twins = double the fun.
His argument: twins = double trouble.

Like I said, the likelihood of a twin referral is slim, slim, slim, so I let the conversation drop.  But still...we don't have any other kids...so the likelihood of us being referred twins might be slightly higher than the average family who already has a baby or two...right? ;-)

It will be fun to see what God has in store for us.

Much love,
Future Mama
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